"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Dear Beloved Infidels: The Bell Tolls for Thee

Islam's theological/philosophical enemy isn't the Calvary Baptist Church.

It's the brothels of Amsterdam. You see, the Qur'an has a soft spot for "People of The Book," (i.e., the Bible). But the modernist, secular West is the infidel, the absolute enemy.

Tag, you're it. The Prophet Muhammad started out and made his rep by fighting and conquering the pagans of Mecca, not the Christians. Or the Jews, either. You could look it up.

Which is why anti-religionist Christopher Hitchens, if I may use a dirty word, argues that it's secularists who should most be alarmed by the Islamist threat. Remember that many of the 9-11ers were educated in the West, and saw (what they viewed as) its depravity first-hand. They became convinced that such an empty society a) lacked the will to defend itself and b) deserves to fall. They have met the enemy, and they've decided it's you.

Sure, Islamism is also political: Usama bin Laden's 1996 fatwa/recruiting ad was based on the Iraq sanctions that killed innocent women and children, and also on the crusader (read US/UK) military presence in Saudi Arabia, which was there solely to keep an eye on Saddam.

Well, our crusader-in-chief and his neo-con puppeteers took care of both those bones of contention, n'est ce-pas? Sanctions mooted, troops out of the Land of Two Holy Places. A military presence in Iraq with one foot out the door hardly qualifies as a casus belli now, let alone cause for a whole damn worldwide jihad. Islamism has historically been far more patient at such passing indignities. It sees history in terms of eras, not election cycles.


American narcissism tends to place us, for better or ill (and mostly the latter these days), at the center of humanity's universe: surely we are the only big stick behind the West, with a little help from the UK. And surely our mastery of mass media (Hollywood, CNN) makes us appear to be the biggest of dogs in the current age. But the sins of colonialism and of contemporary moral squalor are largely European: the US is a country geographically far far away from Islamism---more an image than a reality to them. We are not (as of yet) morally fallen, and we were only silent partners or minor participants in the divvying up of the Third World in the colonial period of 1850-1950.

Have I mentioned that I don't like Europe? Not for back then, not now. I understand completely why nobody likes "white people." I don't like 'em much myself. Not only the sins of our European fathers but their children's today are visited upon us, their distant cousins in the United States.

To our beloved infidels, who are indistinguishable from the modern philosophical Left who dominate the Old Country: word up. You can wash your hands and stick the blame for the world situation on Queen Isabella, Napoleon, Admiral Nelson, Lord Balfour, Roosevelt, Churchill, deGaulle, Nixon, Reagan, or a Bush or two.

But the bell tolls for thee, not me. I can pay the dhimmi tax, and they'll leave me alone, as a good-hearted albeit confused person of The Book. But you're toast. Doomed.

So we shall hang together or hang separately, it seems. I will die, if I must, for Cindy Sheehan, or even for Hugh Hefner. Will you die for Pat Robertson? For me? The fate of the West depends on your answer.

46 comments:

Hunter Baker said...

This gets right at the heart of it, Tom. I've consistently wondered why the left has been protective of a group of people whose way of life they absolutely abhor. And you are quite correct. Fellows like you and me could live pretty peacefully under "the Turk" (as Europeans used to say long ago). The folks in Hollywood and a few of our buddies in the TRC comments section would be sitting in the minus-a-head section.

brmerrick said...

I'll die for Winona Ryder, the nice middle-aged lady who lives down the street from me, and several Orthodox Jews on the Jersey coast who shall remain anonymous. But that's it.

Hunter Baker said...

I once lived next door to an ex-cop who was very sincerely willing to die for anyone at any time. The thought was pleasing to him. He had been shot before, had faced major heart trouble, and had one of the most winsome personalities you've ever seen. Amazing fella.

Tlaloc said...

"Well, our crusader-in-chief and his neo-con puppeteers took care of both those bones of contention, n'est ce-pas? Sanctions mooted, troops out of the Land of Two Holy Places."

Uh, no. Not by a long shot. If they didn't like sanctions they absolutely hate having the US invade Iraq. And as for our troops they are still all over the middle east. We haven't done anything to take away either of those issues for the muslims at large. Nor have we ceased support for Israel.



"But the bell tolls for thee, not me. I can pay the dhimmi tax, and they'll leave me alone, as a good-hearted albeit confused person of The Book. But you're toast. Doomed."

Obviously you haven't paid attention the fate of Iraqi Christians, Tom.



"So we shall hang together or hang separately, it seems."

No. We will be smart about it or dumb. If we are dumb we will die. Dumb things include cntinuing to abuse the middle east. And yes there are both religious freaks and secular freaks pushing that agenda, and they should both be stopped.

KeithM, Indy said...

Tom - many people forget that when terrorists attack they tend to not worry about the specifics of who is around to be killed.

So, tlaloc, what in your estimation would be the smart way to go about it...

JC said...

These "aren't your father's" Muslims anymore. You may be right about what the Qur'an and "orthodox Islam" preach, but that doesn't mean the modern Islamic terrorist gives a flip. If they'll use a handicapped kid as a bomb delivery device (which they did), I wouldn't put anything past them. Nor would I believe that they are capable of making political or ethical distinctions beyond "Arabs =good, US/Europe/Jews =bad." Even that's a bit of a stretch, given that many targets of terrorist attacks have been entirely Muslim/Arab gatherings.

It's true that in some Muslim countries, Jews and Christians are tolerated somewhat more, especially if they aren't too conspicuous with their evangelism.

There are more direct ways to suggest the left needs to wake up and smell the coffee than excercises like this article.

Tlaloc said...

"So, tlaloc, what in your estimation would be the smart way to go about it... "

I've already told you, but if you want me to restate it:

Withdraw troops from the middle east. In fact withdraw troops from the world in general. The US military should be stationed here, defending here. Not in Korea, or Germany, or Okinawa, or the Philipines, or Cuba, or the rest of it.

Cease military aid to Israel. They've abused us and their neighbors far too much to warrant any military help much less the billions we currently gve them per annum.

Adopt a policy of disengagement from the middle east. Trade with them sure but always at arms length. Stop involving ourselves in their politics and culture. Basically leave them alone.

There certainly are fanatics in the middle east and we'll never reconcile them to us. What we can do is reconcile the main body of the muslim population so that the fanatics lack recruits.

brmerrick said...

"Adopt a policy of disengagement from the middle east. Trade with them sure but always at arms length. Stop involving ourselves in their politics and culture. Basically leave them alone."

Can't say I disagree with this as being a sound policy. I also like Steve Sailer's idea of paying Muslims and other un-American naturalized citizens/immigrants to repatriate to their countries of origin. A melting pot only works when all the elements melt together. This multi-culti ideal being foisted upon us is creating only resentment. If you don't want to assimilate and you came here legally, here's some money. Go someplace else.

JC said...

bmerrick are you serious about paying people to leave, or was that sarcasm?

brmerrick said...

JC,

No, that wasn't sarcasm. It's a legitimate idea that's been floating around, and I got it from Steve Sailer's blog. I don't know where he got it from, but now the idea's been floated here as well. 80 billion to fight in Iraq might just as well be spent on building a decent border, reforming immigration, and offering malcontents to immigrate elsewhere.

I'm not opposed to toppling Saddam, mind you. But there are many more ways to defeat terrorism than exacerbating ME conflicts, which appears to be what's happening right now.

Tlaloc said...

"I'm not opposed to toppling Saddam, mind you. But there are many more ways to defeat terrorism than exacerbating ME conflicts, which appears to be what's happening right now."

What you mean dropping bombs on wedding parties isn't the ony way to fight terrorism?

tbmbuzz said...

What you mean dropping bombs on wedding parties isn't the ony way to fight terrorism?


Where are the strawman cops when you need them?

KeithM, Indy said...

ah, good ol' isolationism...

Wash your hands of the problem and hope it goes away.

James Elliott said...

Will you die for Pat Robertson? For me?

Sure, if your life really was in danger. I'm not terribly convinced that it is - at least, not any more than it was on September 10, 2001.

Little known fact (don't tell my mom): I tried desperately to join the Army after high school. Applied to West Point. Tried to enlist. Went to the reserves. Went to ROTC. Unfortunately, I'm deaf in one ear from childhood tumors and had corrective surgery for a congenital heart defect at age 16. That tends to kill one's opportunities in the armed forces or law enforcement.

I also like Steve Sailer's idea of paying Muslims and other un-American naturalized citizens/immigrants to repatriate to their countries of origin.

All I can say is, "Wow." Please don't ever be in the same room as me and let me know who you are. I'll have to kick your ass out of sheer principle and for fear that you might breed. What is this, the founding of Liberia all over again?

This multi-culti ideal being foisted upon us is creating only resentment.

Out of curiousity, do you live anywhere that might be considered more than 5% non-white? Here in the Bay Area, we live the multi-cultural dream, and let me tell you, not only is it peaceful and fun, it is delicious. I love me my shawarma's from Sam's and falafel sandwiches from the Falafel Drive-In. And that's just some of the Arab food! On any given day of the week, I can go anywhere I want and visit virtually any culture and any religion, just for my own edification. You haven't lived until you've been to the Indian Cultural festival in Fremont, or to Cinco de Mayo and the Tet Celebration in San Jose. Move here for a few years, live real multi-culturalism and not some far-rightmost talking points version, and you'll change your tune. I guarantee it.

Tell me, if this multiculturalism thing is so bad, how much racial unrest does Detroit experience from its large Arab Muslim population? None? Something around that level.

Back to Tom's post:

Seriously. What kind of real, substantive threat do the radical fundamentalists pose to America's way of life or Western civilization? None, I'd say, unless we radically alter our country out of fear.

Sanctions mooted, troops out of the Land of Two Holy Places. A military presence in Iraq with one foot out the door hardly qualifies as a casus belli now, let alone cause for a whole damn worldwide jihad.

Uh... what? Do you live in an alternate world, able to cross the barrier into our dimension to write things with only a passing resemblence to reality?

What a radically ridiculous thought experiment you have engaged in here.

Tlaloc said...

"ah, good ol' isolationism...
Wash your hands of the problem and hope it goes away."

Indeed, when the problem is that you have ahistory of inciting the locals by interfering with them then Isolationism is a cure. However I wouldn't suggest real isolationism. Rather we should rely on our strength which is not (no matter how much you want to believe it) our military. Our strength is in sitting back and being a very lucrative trade partner and having an aggressive media based culture.

Let those things spread our influence overseas instead of force of arms. It'll work where as the military option is failing badly.

brmerrick said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
KeithM, Indy said...

Real substantial threats...

A radicalized oil producing country buys the bomb, and uses it to cripple the worlds economy.

Or maybe just ship it over to the US and cripple a good chunk of our economy.

Or maybe they just shut down the wells and cripple the worlds economy.

Just for spite.

or just for not being devote Muslims.

Leaving them alone is no guarantee of world peace and prosperity.

brmerrick said...

"I can go anywhere I want and visit virtually any culture and any religion, just for my own edification."

I live not too far from NYC. I am aware of plenty of people from plenty of other places. The problem is not the "melting pot" of NYC (or America, for that matter), which point I made in my previous post. It is the tendency of our country of late to become lax in encouraging people from other countries to assimilate to our culture. I can enjoy an Indian raga almost as much as a Bruckner symphony, that is not the point, mon. The problem is growing resentment as people group into their own subcultures and feed off lies perpetrated by leftist factions in MSM and academia that they'll always be outsiders here.

I think most Americans are like you and me, genuinely interested in other cultures. But if what you bring to this country is hatred, resentment, anger, and vengeance for real or perceived wrongs, then I have no problem with giving incentives for citizens to VOLUNTARILY leave. I have a big problem with the use of force against any citizen, naturalized or native.

And if simply expressing an opinion (or really, in this case, merely an idea) is reason enough for you to kick someone's ass, then please also let me know who you are so I can avoid you, as well as the thought that you might also breed.

KeithM, Indy said...

I would suggest that it isn't mearly interfering with other nations, but propping up autocrats that has been the Wests main problems in the 3rd World.

And the export of our culture is one of the excuses the radicals use to justify their bombings.

James Elliott said...

Well, Keith, sounds like you've just given a good reason for a real commitment to an alternative energy policy, eh?

Never mind that your scenarios are really kind of farfetched.

But if what you bring to this country is hatred, resentment, anger, and vengeance for real or perceived wrongs, then I have no problem with giving incentives for citizens to VOLUNTARILY leave.

See, Merrick, that's a caveat you didn't include originally, nor does it bear even the slightest hint of reality. Such a comment is ascribing a perceived motivation to a HUGE swath of people. It's the same problem Keith's "just for spite" comment above suffers from, and it's precisely what I was objecting to. Such comments paint with a broad brush and, as with anything that uses so broad a statement (pot, kettle, I know...), they are bound to have profound inaccuracies of both thought and purpose embedded in them.

And the export of our culture is one of the excuses the radicals use to justify their bombings.

It both is and isn't. They see the sexualized part of Western culture as a threat. But more importantly, they see the tolerance, the empowerment of women, and the embrace of multiple points of view representative in American media as bigger threats. However, there are indications that the globalization Tlaloc encourages is, in fact, working.

Tlaloc said...

"I would suggest that it isn't mearly interfering with other nations, but propping up autocrats that has been the Wests main problems in the 3rd World."

That's certainly part of it, a very big part. But even in Iraq where we are now nominally trying to make them democratic the problem is that we are still an outsider trying MAKE them democratic. We are trying to force a solution on them. It may not be as bad a solution as the last one (Saddam) but it's still something imposed from the outside rather than a product of their own labors and culture.




"And the export of our culture is one of the excuses the radicals use to justify their bombings."

To some extent but it's really a low priority one as far as whipping up the masses. As long as we are smart and simply offer product for them to consume or nt at their leisure the vast majority of arabia aren't going to see that as a big deal.

Tlaloc said...

"Leaving them alone is no guarantee of world peace and prosperity."

No not a guarantee of world peace or prosperity, nothing will guarantee those two. But it is the path with the greatest chance of reducing islamic based terrorism to mere nuisance level. Think Basque separatists. They are terrorists but they are not a major threat. They are no bigger deal than say the maffia. Al Qaeda could be the same in a generation or less if we would just be smart about it.

KeithM, Indy said...

I wasn't painting a broad brush with my "just for spite" comment.

It is the people who hold power, and the radicals that support them, that could in the end, do these things just for spite. For some centuries old grievences, or claims to regional hegemony.

I don't feel the rulers of Iran speak for every Iranian, Muslim, or Shiite Muslim, any more then I think the President, the Pope, or Pat Robertson speaks for every Republican, Christian, or Christian Republican.

But, those that hold the power have to act responsibly with that power, or should face the music.

Here in America, our President faces the music every 4 years. And even despite any corruption, we still have a pretty darned good system of governance. Not perfect, but pretty darned good.

****

However, there are indications that the globalization Tlaloc encourages is, in fact, working.

****

I'm all for globalization. Why wont China attack the US? Because we are their biggest trading partners.

And generally, it isn't the citizens who are keeping their borders closed to the outside, it's the rulers of the country.

So, how do you open these nations so that the citizens may engage the global economy (if they so desire.)

Closed nations are failed nations as far as I'm concerned. The regimes of North Korea, and Iran will fall. The citizens of those countries just may need some help in doing that.

And why shouldn't we help the oppressed free themselves. We had help doing the same thing. And shouldn't we be using our power for good.

James Elliott said...

I'm all for globalization. Why wont China attack the US? Because we are their biggest trading partners.

Actually, the EU is China's #1 trading partner.

James Elliott said...

Closed nations are failed nations as far as I'm concerned. The regimes of North Korea, and Iran will fall. The citizens of those countries just may need some help in doing that.

And why shouldn't we help the oppressed free themselves. We had help doing the same thing. And shouldn't we be using our power for good.


The impetus for such change must come internally. I'm all for providing a stalwart ally to countries throwing off oppression. But the external imposition of democracy - especially Western-style democracy - requires a number of factors, many of which are missing in the Middle East. We are unfortunately - for reasons Tlaloc has articulated involving dictators, the CIA, and American foreign policy - perceived as, at best, somewhat inconsistent and hypocritical advocates of democracy. Let us not forget that our president has publicly pledged that his idol was a president who was completely willing to undermine democratically elected governments when he decided he disagreed with their ideology or their goals (Nicaragua comes immediately to mind). Bush's own actions - support for Sudan and Kazakhstan's ruling governments - bely his mission of evangelical democracy. Evangelical democracy is a dangerous, dehumanizing philosophy - in the form espoused by our president - and we seem to be the only people collectively incapable of seeing that.

As framed, the President and his enablers say, "all people want the God-given gift of freedom, of democratic self-determination." What then, to make of the people fighting us tooth-and-nail? We are only there to help! Why, they must be inhuman, unnatural, slaves to an ideology that eschews humanity and God's freedom. They must be animals, and we must reject and hate them. That is where blind evangelical democracy takes us.

Especially when it comes to radical Islam, our own democratic evangelism works against us. Violent Islamism has its own factions, many of whom disagree with one another and not all of which call for a return to "the Prophet's Islam." As political movers - a la Hezbollah and Hamas - they need one defining factor to become potent: a perceived imperial threat. Without this threat, without foreign forces on their soil, radical Islam lacks the needed element of perceived self-sacrifice it requires to justify its violent actions. By striking at the forces or infrastructure of a violent, occupying foe, they become a force for national (not just Iraqi, but a larger Arab Muslim identity) liberation. Their actions make them thugs. Our presence - and the resulting nationalism - makes them martyrs in the eyes of the community. And it takes a community to make a martyr. Jesus without followers like Paul, able to form and motivate a community of believers, was just a dead guy on a stick, divinity or no. So, too, the suicide bomber - without the lens of nationalism to lend credence to his actions, he is merely a nihilistic psychopath, his allies and goals as shunned by the community as by his targets.

James Elliott said...

Don't believe me? Let's do some math, courtesy of Robert Pape, of the University of Chicago, and his new book, Dying to Win.

Suicide terror (a largerly Shia invention -the hashashin- with the added potency of explosives courtesy of TE Lawrence's insurgency campaign in WWI) is motivated by one or more of the following: "1) religious fulfillment; (2) revenge; (3) founding a state; and (4) resistance to occupation." Pape argues that (4) and (3) are the most prevalent motivations, with (1) and (2), contrary to popular opinion, as ancillary and contributing factors. He even provides the data, compiling all known information about the 315 suicide attacks from 1980 to 2003.

Among the seventy one al-Qaeda terrorists who committed an act of suicide bombing from 1995 to 2003, "twice as many came from Muslim countries with a significant fundamentalist population as from those without it, but an Al Qaeda suicide bomber was ten times more likely to come from a country occupied by the United States than from an unoccupied country."

Perception is the key here. 5,000 troops on a Saudi Arabian airbase may not seem like an occupying force to us, but then, we don't have anything to compare: the Canadians don't occupy American soil at all, do they? It is a fundamental matter of perceived imperialism in a region with a bitter history of colonialism.

Take the Israeli occupation of Lebanon as another example. "...twenty-seven of the forty-one suicide attackers 'were communists or socialists with no commitment to religious extremism; three were Christians. Only eight suicide attackers were affiliated with Islamic fundamentalism.' The common motive of those willing to take their own lives was fear of 'a religiously motivated occupier,' and the actions are mainly intelligible as 'extreme self-sacrifice to end the occupation.'"

Ah. "Religiously motivated occupier." When the enemy - in this case, us - is overwhelmingly a different religion and led by a man who is quite vocal in commitment to the mission of spreading "God's gift," perhaps we can see how this might lead some to a perception of imperialism?

As Pape importantly points out, Islamist suicide bombing is not the act of a solitary fanatic or brainwashed cultist. Suicide bombing is notoriously a team act, a ritualistic gesture of solidarity from the smaller community of the terrorists to each other and the larger community they claim to represent.

These nihilists, these agents of death, are, in fact, not nihilists. They act not because they want democracy, but because they overwhelmingly want something at once tangible and indefinable: a nation. They worship at the alter of a violent aesthetic - witness the hero worship of suicide bombers from the Tamil Tigers to Hezbollah. But don't we worship an aesthetic of violence just as much? "War on Terror." "Shock and awe." We are just as atavistic as they.

Tlaloc said...

"And why shouldn't we help the oppressed free themselves. We had help doing the same thing. And shouldn't we be using our power for good."

There is a huge difference between helping an internal power struggle and initiating one ourselves.

We did indeed have hlep from France for instance in our revolution but it was always a home grown movement. Had it been a french initiated program it would have turned out very different.

Here's our role as I see it. We stay on our side and try to be a good example. We offer our goods to the world but we don't force them. In the case of screwed up places like North Korea we stay hands off. If someo f their citizens flee we offer them shelter and if there is a totally unacceptable development (like Hitler's march across europe) then we participate in a n internation solution which may possibly include kicking their butts.

Other than that though we play merchant, not thug. Carrot not stick. It's worked really really well. Much better than our strongarm tactics.

Matt Huisman said...

James, I'm curious about some of the motivations that Pape identifies...does he ever talk about the process where these suicide bombers come to decide that their life is forfeit?

There seems to be a lot more going on there then just the motivation categories listed. In other words, it seems to me that there's a 'What the heck' moment that precedes the motivations listed.

Anyway, just curious if he had a thought on that.

KeithM, Indy said...

if there is a totally unacceptable development (like Hitler's march across europe) then we participate in a n internation solution which may possibly include kicking their butts.

****

OK, unacceptable developments...

Like genocide...

Like a population that is starving...

Or how about governments that are truly and totally corrupt...

And how "international" does the solution have to be?

UN - B.S. they haven't lifted a finger to really help places like Darfur, or Rwanda.

African Union - ineffective.

So, somewhere in between, maybe the G8 or an expanded version such as the G20?

While diplomatic means may be preferable, that doesn't mean there will be less death?

Sanctions and blockades - count on people dying.

Internal revolt - count on more people dying then if we were to take out the regime ourselves (or with an international coalition.

connie deady said...

This gets right at the heart of it, Tom. I've consistently wondered why the left has been protective of a group of people whose way of life they absolutely abhor. And you are quite correct. Fellows like you and me could live pretty peacefully under "the Turk" (as Europeans used to say long ago). The folks in Hollywood and a few of our buddies in the TRC comments section would be sitting in the minus-a-head section.

Color me stupid. But I don't understand a bit what you and Tom are talking about Hunter. Who is the left protecting and why are we angry at Europe? I'm completely missing the argument.

I think you guys spend far too much time agonizing about the "left" (whoever they are). I'd actually enjoy reading a description of who this evil enemy of all that is good is and see if I qualify.

BTW, my daughter is spending this semester in Italy and she visited Amsterdam on her way there. Her impression was that the red light district was no worse than parts of New York City or Georgetown.

KeithM, Indy said...

Another thought on the "leave them alone" strategy...

What makes you think that absent American involvement, there wouldn't be equally bad (or worse) meddling by other foreign powers, say Russia, China, or even France...

****

I do believe what Hunter is talking about is how the "left" is often supportive of people who do not follow a liberal ideology.

IE, if the typical leftist/liberal were living in the society of those they support, they would most likely be imprisoned, killed, or otherwise abused.

Take for instance the Taliban. Hardly a word was said before 9/11 about their treatment of women, gays, non-devote Muslims, and people other religions. Multi-culturalism is lost on such people. Tolerance of others, is not something they practice.

James Elliott said...

I do believe what Hunter is talking about is how the "left" is often supportive of people who do not follow a liberal ideology.

IE, if the typical leftist/liberal were living in the society of those they support, they would most likely be imprisoned, killed, or otherwise abused.


Well, golly, isn't that what being inclusionary and living and dying by your principles is all about? I even support your right to be in the 10% extreme that violently and virulently disagrees with my 10% extreme. Even though under your 10%, I'd likely be subjected to a Torquemadan torch party. Which, you know, is fine. I'd just take some of 'em with me, and the rest would be missing body parts.

You look at the pacifists and war protesters and think the whole left is represented by them? No more than Pat Robertson represents you or anyone else here.

Tom Van Dyke said...

James, I honestly am having trouble telling the Democratic Party and the Loud Left apart. I'm sure the upcoming elections will help sort out my confusion, and trust that Americans will find those who cannot govern their emotions unfit to govern the nation.

But mostly, I hope there are still some Democrats left out there.

James Elliott said...

Honestly, Tom? You're not paying very good attention then. There are a lot of Democrats out there who don't mirror "the Loud Left." Hillary Clinton. Russ Feingold. John Kerry. Just about every Democratic senator from a Red State. So, either your definition of "Loud Left" - whatever, exactly, that means - is so all-encompassing as to be meaningless, or it's completely inaccurate.

I, for one, am having difficulty finding a Republican not embroiled in something resembling the Abramoff imbroglio.

KeithM, Indy said...

Oh Please, Ms Hillary's rhetoric not withstanding, the last administration has a far, far, far, far, far worse record of ethics then the current. By a large magnitude. The rhetoric doesn't match reality.

The latest jab, (ie the NSA domestic spying that wasn't) was not only blocked, but has the Democrats playing defence. Oh, well, we don't want to stop it, we just want you to say pretty please with sugar on it. Or is this just another case of being against it before they were for it. All seemingly hinging on the popular opinion that catching terrorists in phone calls to their compatriots in the US is a GOOD THING.

And here's a little test, why don't you list those Republicans "embroiled in something resembling the Abramoff imbroglio." I can think of less then a dozen that have made the national news. And if it's soe bad for Republicans, then it's equally as bad for Democrats. They had their hand in the cookie jar as well. And the practice certainly did not start or end with Abramoff.

connie deady said...

Now I'm really confused. I'll revert to my original question - who is this "left"? Seems like Keith's left is different from Tom's because I don't think there is a member of Congress who supports the Taliban.

If you are talking the intellectual left like a Noam Chomsky or a Howard Zinn, well then cool. I like their viewpoints, but in no way would I ever, ever, ever equate them with the positions of anyone in Congress. I'm old enough to remember Ron Dellums and have heard some of his speeches in the House and nobody would ever have accused him of being Tip O'Neill.

Frankly, as a Democrat and a leftist I get really, really, really, tired of hearing my party and myself for that matter getting accused of attacking the neo-facist pig George Bush of for partisan political reasons.

I hate the man, personally, philosophically and consider him a mass murderer. But it has zippo, zero, nada to do with partisan politics. He's an abomination to the country I live, the philosophies I hold and the future I envision for this good earth.

/end of rant.

(lest there be any doubt as to why I stand, strident and all). Now, please tell me when you have heard Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid, etc., etc., etc. ever come close to expressing the strident views I just expressed.

Enough of the BS neo-con lies about me and my party.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Well, that about sums it up. Over to you, James.

"I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for..."---Howard Dean, Democratic Party Chairman

connie deady said...

Link please Tom for your Howard Dean quote.

I don't hate "the Republicans" Two parties are necessary. I hate the scum that has hijacked our country.

The latest jab, (ie the NSA domestic spying that wasn't) was not only blocked, but has the Democrats playing defence.

Please clarify your point Keith. I'd love to argue this issue with any supporter of Domestic spying since I'm well briefed in the 4th Amendment.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Connie, are you serious? The Thoughts of Chairman Dean are just a google away.

I'll cheerfully fill in the gaps about what we dreaded neo-cons think, since we are shut out from the cabal that controls your local newspaper, non-Fox News TV, and (apparently) your entirely reality-based echo chamber, but geez. Your subtext is that this conscientious correspondent simply makes stuff up.

I mean, you gotta meet me halfway or we're never gonna get anywhere.

connie deady said...

I have two local newspapers. One is Republican, one is Democrat. What's your point Tom. Are we off in the liberal media BS again? Spare me and talk to me about issues not fantasy.

I'm gathering that you can't prove Dan ever said that since you didn't give me a link.

Tom Van Dyke said...

My point is that it's easier and more polite to google it than to take the time to write a comment questioning my honesty.

Sigh. You're right. There is no point to this.

connie deady said...

Tom, I have to love the fact that you give me a link to the New York Daily News with a headline that reads "Dean's howling
to lead DNC"

Liberal media? "Howling"?

Though I do concede the comment. But it's rather misleading to attribute it to him as the head of the DNC. According to the article it was made during a campaign speech to become head of the DNC. It sort of reminds me of what Buddy Ryan would have said before a Dallas Cowboys game.

I'm tired of this too. I've been tired since of all the anti-liberal rhetoric for years. I'm tired of your comments and every other neocons constant references to democrats hating America. For example, here's a google search of "hate democrats" al 8,620 entries.

http://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial_s&hl=en&q=Democrats+hate&btnG=Google+Search

A google search of "hate Republicans winds up with 8,140.

So the shrillness and hate rhetoric seems pretty even.

When do we get to debate the NSA wiretapping. It's an issue near and dear to my 4th Amendment loving heart. How would Edmund Burke feel about it? It would be an interesting philosophical discussion if we managed to take it out of the imperial Bush/unpatriotic democratic rhetoric.

KeithM, Indy said...

So you think it's wrong to tap the phones of people being called, or calling known or suspected terrorists overseas???

Tlaloc said...

"So you think it's wrong to tap the phones of people being called, or calling known or suspected terrorists overseas???"

Illegally? Yes, absolutely. With a statute required warrant so that there is oversight? No, not a problem.

KeithM, Indy said...

What I described is not illegal...

So then you must be for it.

connie deady said...

So you think it's wrong to tap the phones of people being called, or calling known or suspected terrorists overseas??

Is that all you think they are doing? You're quite wrong.

I have no problem tapping the phones of people calling known or suspected terrorists overseas. I have a problem with them tapping calls between my daughter and myself.

They data mine thousands of calls and pull those out that match certain criteria. That's profiling. If the phone calls are with "suspected or known terrorists" they would have zippo, nada problems even getting retroactive FISA Court warrants.

The lodestone of the 4th Amendment (guaranteed to all Americans, even when calling overseas, they didn't lose their rights as Americans) is that the our privacy (phones, homes, personal belongings) cannot be violated without probable cause.

The Bush Administration not only has eliminated the warrant requirements altogether (even though they are right in the 4th Amendment) and allowed retroactive under FISA, it has also lowered the standard for searches to "reasonable suspicion"

This takes the 4th Amendment to places it has never even sniffed before.