Friday, July 08, 2005

London Update

Brit Hume of Fox News talking about the bombings:

"I mean, my first thought when I heard -- just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, 'Hmmm, time to buy.' "
My first thought upon reading this:

"Hmmm, time for Brit Hume to get fired."

Hume's monumental heartlessness might be funny if it weren't so frighteningly crass. And he won't get fired, either. Conservatives will rush to his defense, claiming context and nuance. Because... you know... conservatives are such staunch defenders of context and nuance.

Also, just to clarify last night's post, I still think Bush sent the right message. That doesn't mean that Bush's latest rationale as to why it's so important for war in Iraq -- fighting terrorists there so we don't have to fight them here -- has not been completely and utterly disproven. Iraq has proven to be less flypaper than a petri dish.

posted by Scott | 7/08/2005 | |

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Tragedy In London

This morning's coordinated terrorist attacks in London were nothing short of horrifying. Though the death toll -- in the dozens -- was far smaller than those of 9/11 or Madrid, the well-choreographed nature of these bombings, taking place in one of the most important cities in the civilized world, reminds us all that our safety from those who wish us harm is not something to be taken for granted.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, two statements from elected officials struck me as hitting the exact right chord. One came from a man of the left. The other came from a man of the right.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone:

I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.

That isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith - it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee, that the city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I’m proud to be the mayor of that city.

Finally, I wish to speak directly to those who came to London today to take life.

I know that you personally do not fear giving up your own life in order to take others - that is why you are so dangerous. But I know you fear that you may fail in your long-term objective to destroy our free society and I can show you why you will fail.

In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.

They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don’t want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.
George W. Bush:

The contrast between what we've seen on the TV screens here, what's taken place in London, what's taken place here is incredibly vivid to me.

On the one hand, we got people here who are working to alleviate poverty and to help rid the world of the pandemic of AIDS and that are working on ways to have a clean environment. And on the other hand, you've got people killing innocent people. And the contrast couldn't be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who kill, those who've got such evil in their heart that they will take the lives of innocent folks.

The war on terror goes on. I was most impressed by the resolve of all the leaders in the room. Their resolve is as strong as my resolve. And that is, we will not yield to these people, will not yield to the terrorists.

We will find them. We will bring them to justice. And at the same time we will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate.
I suspect I'm going to take a lot of heat for giving Bush credit on his statement. To be completely honest, there are parts that I don't care for so much. I'm not sure I even believe that Bush really buys his own rhetoric. Then again, I'm not sure he doesn't buy it either. But the rhetoric is as close to being right on as it's ever going to get with Bush.

What Livingstone and Bush both inherently get is that al Qaeda is essentially a worldwide gang of maniacal mass murderers who hide behind false religious and political ideology. What they also seem to get is that, at the end of the day, we will win. We believe in hope and progress. They believe in death and intimidation.

But it's one thing to believe in something and another thing altogether to act on it. I believe that al Qaeda will ultimately lose. But it does scare me that they are seemingly much more willing than we are to act to create the world they'd like to see. It's good to go to your local Live 8 concert and nod seriously as Bono talks about debt reduction. It's nice to slap a magnet on the bumper of your car or a rubber bracelet on your wrist to show your support for an issue. But we've been lulled into a sense that these things count as action in the Western world. They don't.

The civilized world will eventually win out over the thugs and murderers. But the road to that victory would get much shorter if the silent majority of this world -- the good and decent people who believe in simple concepts like peace, freedom, liberty, and equality --would stand up to act with courage and conviction to fight for the world they want to see just as hard as the terrorists have been doing in New York, Baghdad, Madrid, Bali, and now London.

posted by Scott | 7/07/2005 | |

Supreme Court, Etc.

So I haven't joined many of my friends on the right and the left going cuckoo over Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement. The main reason for that is that Bush hasn't nominated anyone yet. It's a bit silly to freak out over a nominee who hasn't been nominated yet, isn't it?

There will likely be two Supreme Court vacancies during the second term of the George W. Bush Presidency -- O'Connor and Rehnquist. Both are conservatives. Both replacements will be conservatives. Will they be more conservative than O'Connor and Rehnquist? It's quite possible. But at the end of the day, will it matter? As the DLC's Bruce Reed has pointed out in his new blog at Slate (which I like more than I want to), on the most partisan Supreme Court decision of the last decade -- Bush v. Gore -- O'Connor voted with her party. Can it possibly get worse than that?

(Tangent: Yeah -- I'm saying that Bush v. Gore is ultimately more important than Roe v. Wade. Imagine that right now, Al Gore gets to pick two Supreme Court justices. Now tell me which case is more important to the woman's right to choose. Okay. Tangent over.)

And besides, who says a conservative Supreme Court is such a bad thing for progressives? As I've written before, federalism works for us. A conservative judge is not necessarily bad for liberal causes. A Christian conservative judge? That could be a problem. But it seems to me that mainstream America wouldn't stand for a flaming theocrat on the Supreme Court.

So if Bush's pick winds up being Gonzales, as he seems to be leaning, then the Democrats should grill him fast, express reservations, and then unanimously confirm him. Because A) the religious right hates him way more than we do (which could very well split the GOP in time for '06), B) they need to save both their energy and political capital for a potential Rehnquist replacement, and C) based on his tenure on the Texas State Supreme Court, he probably won't be a such bad judge.

On the other big topic of the moment, it's really crazy that the media doesn't seem to get the difference between protecting a whistleblower from those in power and protecting those in power when they try to smash a whistleblower. Do I think Judith Miller should go to prison? Sure. Why not? She's made her choice and she's accepted the consequences.

The fact that Matt Cooper has received permission from his confidential source to use his or her name in court testimony is very interesting. There's a theory floating around (actually, to my knowledge, only Eileen from OH at dKos has mentioned it) that Cooper could be protecting someone in the White House who outed the outers, as it were, telling Time who in the White House leaked Plame's identity originally. Cooper's source, if he or she was the original leaker, would probably be much more worried about prosecution. But as it stands, that's apparently not so much of a concern. That would indicate that Cooper's source is not the person who outed Valerie Plame.

This thing gets more confusing by the minute. Can't they just frogmarch Rove out the White House and get it over with already? Sheesh...

posted by Scott | 7/07/2005 | |
social security
There Is No Crisis: Protecting the Integrity of Social Security
Amazon Honor System Click Here to Donate Learn More
reading room