Archive

  • The UN and its Critics

    Praktike's criticisms of the UN are on point, I think, but downplay the obstacles to fixing it. Because, as is, the neocons don't hate the UN because there's an inequitable distribution of power, but because there in fact is a distribution of power. Since the only logical ways to reform the UN are up, and by up I mean adding to the Security Council, giving the resolutions more teeth, making it possible to override vetos, and so forth, they'll only worsens the multilateral heartburn of the hawks. I'm not really sure how you fix that, but it seems to me that the UN will remain their bete noire no matter what reforms are instituted, and the neocons just have to be considered marginal so far as critiquing the institution goes. Otherwise it's like an intervention where the alcoholic's worst enemy is invited and he continually presses for even more drinking and, if possible, suicide. You just can't listen to that guy.
  • Blogroll Update and Liberal Philosophers

    Finally put up a long-overdue permalink to the excellent Shakespeare's Sister . Helpful readers are encouraged to head over to her site and apologize for my tardiness. Also, you guys should read Tomasky's piece on progressivism's estrangement from philosophy. One thing I think he omits is that, in addition to talking strategy, we talk a lot of policy, and we generally mistake the latter for philosophy. I think that has something to do with empiricism becoming a stealth philosophy for liberals, but that's a side issue. More to the point, I've already sent in my critique and suggestions for The Prospect's magazine, so I'll put this one here. Tomasky is completely correct that liberals don't have a strong grasp of their own ancestry. He's also one of the few people in the country able to do something about it. I'd love for his magazine to feature a monthly history lesson, zooming in on an important progressive person or event. By the time I became conscious of politics, the Clinton years...
  • Rule #1: Don't Piss Off The Old Folks

    Well Sam certainly hit that nail on the head. The question, though, is whether or not setting some weird front group like USA Next in opposition to AARP is really such a smart idea. AARP's spokespeople certainly won't be alone in news articles, but whether or not anyone actually cares about the pull quotes from both sides is open to dispute. Moreover, they never got articles all to themselves, a CATO-flack or heritage "expert" always contradicted AARP's take, so I'm unconvinced that this play for media equivalency does the right any good. More to the point, G.W. had a good thing going in mending fences with AARP. There's no doubt that Medicare would've failed without their backing, and, even if it had miraculously passed without AARP's, there would've been no cover when AARP decided to turn out its members against the scoundrels who wrecked their system. But even though AARp lined up against Medicare, if you can't be friends, you can at least be enemies only temporarily. Siccing USA...
  • The Amazing Self-Sustaining Argument

    Justin Logan writes : What I wonder, though, is what it would take for hawks to admit they were wrong. Say, for example, a dirty bomb is set off in Chicago. Say several hundred people die in the melee, there's billions in economic damage, and intrusive new government powers are enacted. Say that we trace back the attackers to Iraq. They emerged in the aftermath of the invasion, learned the ways of urban counterinsurgency, and melded together into a group that wanted to hit the U.S. where it hurts most. They were mobilized by the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and then they organized, recruited, and trained in its aftermath. It's crystal clear that they emerged as a direct result of our policy in that country. Would the hawks have to say, "Jesus, I really called that one wrong..." Of course not. It would just be a sign that the more dovish of us don't understand how insidious the enemy is, and how much we need to take the fight to the enemy before he takes it to us. You can amplify any of the...
  • Fafblog Gets It Right

    This is easily the best eulogy I've seen for Hunter S. Thompson.
  • Minutemen

    Can we spell recipe-for-total-fucking- disaster ? As impressed as I am by retired accountants forming militias to patrol the border, it's not exactly the best idea. The first time they meet with a coyote expedition and start shooting at the fleeing smugglers will be the last time the gangsters who run the coyote operations forget to bring heavy arsenals along for the journey.
  • Why National Security Matters

    Some friends and I went by SF MOMA this weekend, the idea being to soak up some culture and decompress from hectic weeks. But I'm not so good at turning off the political part of my brain, and so I found myself browsing the old newspapers strewn about Robert Goder's superb installation . One of them had an Anthony Lewis op-ed from the 1992 GOP Convention that I thought was good enough to Nexis and excerpt here: "GOP Needs a Kremlin to Bash," the lead headline in The Chicago Tribune said the day before the convention. It neatly stated the seeming dilemma of a Republican Party that for 40 years had made a theme of denouncing the Democrats as soft on Communism. But the collapse of the Soviet Union did not faze Pat Buchanan, Pat Robertson or the others who speak for the Republican Party today. They bashed the un-Christian and the un-straight. They bashed Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton. And they even managed to flog the Red menace. If the Democrats won this election, Republican chairman...
  • Set Phasers on Mock

    Can I just say how excited I am to read the critiques of this " wherefore art the female intellectuals " piece? It's going to be great fun.
  • Who Triangulates?

    Over at The Washington Post, Dan Balz has a slightly alarmist article on the leftward drift that Dean's chairmanship, and the party's new reliance on grassroots donors, might provoke. Standard stuf, to be sure, but he makes an interesting strategic point midway through: As Dean takes the helm as party chairman, Democrats now face a competition between what might be called the Dean model and the Clinton model, between confrontation and triangulation. This amounts to a contest between a bold reassertion of the party's traditional philosophy that fits the polarized environment of the Bush presidency vs. a less provocative effort to balance core values with centrist ideas that proved successful in the 1990s but has since produced a backlash within the party. This is a total, and very dangerous, misread. Triangulation is not a strategy for parties to implement, it's a playbook for individual politicians seeking to transcend party status. For them, it's a good idea. The generally...
  • "W" Is For Women (When Convenient)

    You owe it to yourself to read Riverbend's wrenching post on what the constitutional codification of shari'a law means for Iraqi women: “And is Iran so bad?” He finally asked. Well no, Abu Ammar, I wanted to answer, it’s not bad for *you* - you’re a man… if anything your right to several temporary marriages, a few permanent ones and the right to subdue females will increase. Why should it be so bad? Instead I was silent. It’s not a good thing to criticize Iran these days. I numbly reached for the bags he handed me, trying to rise out of that sinking feeling that overwhelmed me when the results were first made public. It’s not about a Sunni government or a Shia government- it’s about the possibility of an Iranian-modeled Iraq. Many Shia are also appalled with the results of the elections. There’s talk of Sunnis being marginalized by the elections but that isn’t the situation. It’s not just Sunnis- it’s moderate Shia and secular people in general who have been marginalized. ... It’s...

Pages