Saturday, April 26, 2003

What Would Jesus Do, Mr. President? It seems Washington will not let bygones be bygones when it comes to France. The Independent reports that the Bush Adminstration is seeking to punish France severely for being "anti-American" in the lead up to the Iraq War. Bush must have something against anyone of French ancestry since he canceled a visit in May to see Candian Prime Minister Jean Chretien. It was on the campaign trail that Bush said that Jesus was his favorite philiosopher. I maybe wrong, being an ordained minister and all, but didn't Jesus taught that we should love our enemies and forgive those that hurt us? Is revenge a Christian virture? Was Mr. Bush not in church that Sunday?

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Blind Spots: I've been thinking more about the recent crackdowns in Cuba lately and the Left's silence on the matter. The Left loes to assume that everyone on the Right is a fascist. I would agree that the temptation of the Right is fascism and those of us on the right must fight against it. This leads me to ask this question: if someone gave you what you crave, would you give up your rights? The Right craves order and stability and so they are tempted to give up their rights for tradition (remember Santorum). The left wants equality and social justice for the poor and if means having a dictator, so be it. This explains why the Left is always silent about Castro and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. They claim to help the opressed and so they are championed. Such problems like human rights abuses, which the Left seems to squawk about with every Right-wing dictator is not talked about.

This is not to make the Right innocent. The Right has turned a blind eye to regimes in Chile and South Africa because it was better to have a repressive dictator than "communists" running amok. However, it is time that the Left start to see that their love for communism was misplaced. It might have guaranteed eequality but at a Faustian bargain that just is not worth it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Earth Day Redux: Yesterday was Earth Day. This is a good time to be reminded of W.'s record on the environment. Please go to the Republicans for Environmental Protection website to read about their record at mid-term. It is not horrible but it's not really a "gentleman's C" either.

Lottitis Strikes Again: When Trent Lott pined for Dixie last December, he was denounced by his own and sent packing from the Senate leadership. Now comes Rick Santorum, who equated consenual gay sex with incest. Andrew Sullivan has a great article about what is going on in Mr. Santorum's mind. It does send a chill down my spine. I agree with many in saying Santorum needs to step down from his post as chair of the Policy Committee.

The sad thing is that in 2003 it is still acceptable to slander gays. I doubt the GOP will do anything since it would cost votes with the Radical Right which is against homosexuality. It was easy to denounce Lott because no one supports bigotry anymore, at least not openly. But there are many like Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council that do support bigotry against gays and hold sway over the Party. So, I sadly think Santorum will keep his job for now.

Le Judgement:So it seems that France will now have to pay a price for standing up to the US. According to CNN Secretary of State Colin Powell said the US will have to take a look at our relationship with France. It's sad that a nation that has been our ally since before we were a nation is being treated like this. Of course, France is arrogant and thinks of its interests, but so are we.

The neocons seem to think the only form of politics is one of sheer power. Anyone who fails to agree with them is to be punished. This does not seem like the markings of a democracy but an empire. And woe to anyone who crosses Ceasar.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

The Real El Jefe:I have never understood the Left's fascination with Castro and Cuba. Now unlike some rabid conservatives, I do think we should lift this silly embargo against Cuba. Free trade will lead to free ideas and utimately will bring down his regime. Even many dissidents in Cuba believe that the embargo needs to be lifted to allow for more freedoms. With that said, I still don't understand the Left's love of Castro. They marvel at a land where the poor are treated fairly and where there is free health care. All that is good, but what about the loss of the civil liberties that they are saying we are losing here? Canadian columnist Margaret Wente talks about what has happened in the Socialist Paradise as of late. About ten years ago, I participated in writing letters to governments about the treatment of people for Amnesty International. I remember hearing the story of a Cuban poet whose house was broken into by Castro supporters and forced to her poems. Thankfully she has immigrated to the US. I wonder if the Left shows pity for this artist.

The Left seems to get mad and steamed at dictators like Pinochet, but have a big blind eye with the likes of Castro because he is a leftist. Nevermind that he locks up dissidents or executes people, just as Pinochet did, he's helping the poor. Please, give me a break.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Who Could Challenge Bush?Hello all. I decided not to write during Good Friday and Easter, but now I'm back. Brian Youmans, a Republican from Massachusetts that is the genius behind Republicans Against Bush , has called for someone in the GOP to challenge the President. But who could do it? Who would you want? I'd like to know who you would like to give Bush a run for his money. Please send me your names to by 8am Thursday, April 27th. Please make serious choices and please be civil. Thanks.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Conservative Quote of the Day: The quote for today comes from the late Margaret Chase Smith, longtime GOP Senaor from Maine. With the rise in groupthink these days, I think it is worthwhile to read.

The Revolt has Started:Well, it has finally happened. Check out thiswebsite. I say it's about time. Bush has done much to give the GOP a bad name.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Southern-Fried Republicans: I'm not a big fan of beating up on the South. My father hails from Louisiana and I still have many of my "peoples" there. I also love the Southern accent. Regardless, I think Michael Lind's article explains a lot about the state of the GOP today. It does tend to border on the conspiracy-theory, but other than that what we are seeing in the Republican Party is "southernification." I have started to see it here in Minnesota as well. Minnesota is in the midst of a budget crunch as most states are. Gov. Tim Pawlenty decided that this was a good time to put the government on a diet saying the state spends too much. The fiscal conservative in me might agree, until we see the cuts which are aimed at low and moderate income people. The suburban well to do are sparred the tough choices. The GOP and the governor are against any tax increase whatsoever.

Here in the North Country, we have come to expect high-quality governmental services. We don't see government doing everything, but Minnesotans knew that to have a good society, one needed a good and well funded government. The state GOPs plan evicerates that heritage, one that also included moderate Republicans.

It's one thing to control spending, it is another to hurt the weak to do it.

In my view it is time that the few moderates that have the courage to call themselves Republicans speak out and take back the party. The South is a wonderful place, but frankly, I don't want an entire country to look like Louisiana.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

E-mail info:For some reason, it is really hard to see the e-mail address for this blog. Just so you know, the e-mail address is I will try to fix this template soon.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Oil vs. Art:Guess Who Wins? You may have heard by now, but amidst all the looting in Bagdhad, many museums filled with millenia old artifacts were stolen or destroyed. The US military did not stop the carnage of this nation's heritage, but it did protect the Oil Ministry.Gee, I'm so glad that Washington was so willing to care for Iraq's percious treasure. On public radio this morning, a caller basically said we should not put our men and women's lives at risk for art. So, we can put their lives on the line to gas our SUV's? Methinks our priorities are really screwed up. If you want to read more about this sad spectacle, read Joe Conason's piece in Salon.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Did the Peace Movement Blow It?There is now a lot of crowing from the War Camp about how uncaring and unpatriotic those of us who opposed the war are. There is also a lot of self examination going on about how we blew it. I still think it's too early to say the debate is lost, but here are some insights:

First, the Peace Camp, comprised mostly of the Left, was stuck in hard place. The War Camp had two convincing arguaments on their side that were hard to dismiss. First, the neocons kept talking about this as a war of liberation to bring democracy to Iraq after 25 years under Saddam's boot. The kept bringing up the massive human rights abuses. Who could be against bringing some modicum of freedom to a nation who is under a cruel regime? It was hard to deny this. Then the War Camp talked about weapons of mass destruction. In America post 9/11, we are fearful of regimes that might have it in for us. The War Camp used lies to present an Iraq that was willing to do whatever it takes to bring us down. Remember the fib about lead hijacker Mohammed Atta meeting an Iraqi agent in Prauge? It came down to telling a lie so many times that people start to believe it.

Second, the Peace Camp has never grasped the depths of 9/11. Many of them saw this horrid and evil event as just a bad day or the US finally getting its comeuppance. The left tended to think that the attacks were the cry of the oppressed and not a bunch of religious radicals who want to destroy us. The Left needs to realize that it's a changed environement and must respond accordingly. Once they understand that bin Laden and his ilk want to take a way many of the freedoms that we enjoy espcially many on the Left enjoy, they might see that it will require dealing with this threat in a more grown up way.

Third, the Peace Camp focused on the wrong root of the war. The Left thinks that every war has to deal with economics. It's time to get rid of the Marxist thought and see that this was more about ideology and power than about oil. This war was about reshaping the Middle East and not about seizing oil fields. The neocons are looking to reorient the region into serveral client states that are non threatening to Israel without asking them to deal with the Palestinians. Challenging that viewpoint required some skilled thinking. Of course saying we should not start wars to conduct foreign policy is not as catchy as "no blood for oil." What needs to be done is to educate the public about what is really going on. Does a nation that believes in freedom want to to set up defacto colonies? Do we want to have eternal war? Instead of protest there needs to be more teach-ins.

More later....

Thursday, April 10, 2003

The Good Ole Days:In today's Minneapolis Star Tribune there is a story about former Vice President Walter Mondale and former Senator Georgre McGovern talking about the "high tide" of liberalism in the 1960s and castigating the present Administration. I have many criticisms about Bush, but I'm interested in how Democrats are pretty much stuck in the 60s. They want to relive those halcyon days. That is part of their problem. Here in Minnesota, the Democrats tend to rely on the Old Guard such as Mondale and end up losing. Yes, the Democratic agenda that passed such civil rights laws have greatly improved this country. But that was 40 years ago. What is their plan for the 21st Century? Take Social Security. This plan was created in an age when people were not expected to live long and many people stayed in jobs for 20, 30 even 40 years. Today, we live much longer and move around from job to job. Also with the graying of America it will be impossible for Social Security in its present form to be viable. Is it really so cruel so place some of Social Security in the stock market? I mean the Democrats that denounce any attempts of "privatization" surely have 401(k)s. Could we not change to a system that placed the money in the market under government regulation?

The current Administration has major shortfalls. But the Democrats need to take off the tie dye and start living in 2003.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

The Other Anti-Semitism: Ever since 9/11, I have seen a huge amount of anti-Arab talk from the Right. This is not simple criticism, but dances on the age of out and out bigotry. The Right has been quick to tar any criticism of Israel as anti-Semetic which is laughable. Saying that one disagrees with the policy of a government does not mean that you are tarring a whole people or their faith. But then again, the people saying this are the ones that take any criticism of American policy as being a traitor.

Last week on NPR, there was a story about a meeting of a group called Stand Up For Isarel, a group made up of fundamentalist Christians who believe that the Bible calls on them to support the modern state of Israel. Attorney General John Ashcroft spoke at the event. One speaker called the Palestinian Authority "evil" generating great applause.

There have been other examples of bashing. Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son, has denounced Islam as have other leaders inlcuding Jerry Fawell. Then there was the case of evagelical students protesting the fact that a university in North Carolina wanted it's students to read a book about Islam. Then there is the case that Graham and others are waiting in Jordan until they can enter Iraq with food and the Christian faith.

Then there are the neocons in the Bush administration. They have pushed Bush to disregard the Oslo accords which had brought some peace between the Israelis and Palestinians and want to see Israel reoccupy the territories and smash any hopes for Palestinain self-determination.

I have never heard anything from leading figures on the far Right that is good about Arabs or Islam. No mention of moderate leaders who are trying to bring democracy to their corner of the world. They are all a desparate lot that either need our help, or are going to blow us up.

Yes there are many "bad Arabs" out there like bin Laden. Yes the Palestinian Authority is corrupt and Yassir Arafat is not a good man. But the realist approach would see that living in a state of permanent war is not acceptable or tolerable. Arafat was the person that we have to deal with reagardless unless the Palestinians choose to remove him. The Senior Bush knew that. His administration knew that peace and stability in the Middle East came from resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict best they could. The current Bushies think they can solve this problem through brute force against recalcitrant Arabs.

I think we need to call this animosity what is: bigotry against Arabs and Islam. This is not about political correctness, but about hating people because of who they worship or their ethnicity. Just as we fought against bigotry against Jews, we need to fight against those who would paint an entire people with one wide brush.

Bittersweet:There is celebration today now that Baghdad has fallen. I have mixed feelings about this. I am happy that at the very least, Iraqis can see the end of a wretched dictatorship. Hopefully the cult of Saddam is finished. But I am still troubled by how we got here. I'm troubled by the fact that war was the only answer and has been for nearly a decade. I'm troubled that people who have never been in the military are willing to send our young men and women to fight for their idealistic vision of the Middle East under an American thumb. I'm troubled that foreign policy is no done by the point of a gun instead of through negotiation.

I was happy when the Taliban fell. But that action was justified. We had been attacked by bin Laden who was supported by the Taliban. There was no way we could talk to a person who was beyond talking. But Iraq was different. We had options and they weren't used.

Today there is dancing in the streets. I wonder if we will all be dancing a year from now.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

American Empire: Michael Lind does a stunning job of explaining how the neocons are now running American foreign policy. In Wednesday's Salonhe talks about how neoconservatism's roots are found not in conservatism but in the far left. Gone is the conservative realism of the past, in with the new idealistic conservatism. This is a chilling story of how a few people were able to hijack a politcal party and the entire world with their radical ideas. There has to be some way to take the party back from these johnny-come-latelies.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Fingerprints:It seems that missle that struck a Bagdhad market last Friday was not Iraqi but American. The Independent was able to find the serial numbers in the remains and traced it to Raytheon, a US weapons manufactuer. I wonder if we will hear about this in the breifing in Dohar.

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