Mighty Links

big picture stuff, Bush Administration

What every loyal American should read today:

Frank Rich, “The ‘Good Germans’ Among Us.”

Rod Nordland and Mark Hosenball, “Blackwater Is Soaked.”

Kagro X, “Congress suckered on surveillance. Telco immunity, next?“; Glenn Greenwald, “The Beltway Establishment’s contempt for the rule of law“; and a New York Times editorial, “Spies, Lies and FISA.”

Rosa Brooks, “Too Much Cloak and Swagger.”

The new and improved Tom Friedman takes another tenuous step into Reality World — “Who Will Succeed Al Gore?

On the other hand, George Will is still stupid after all these years — he complains in “Code of Coercion” that colleges of social work are dominated by liberals determined to promote “social and economic justice” as a response to “the conservative trends of the past three decades.” Even worse, George says, students are required to learn to recognize “oppression and discrimination.” Wow, I’m so … not outraged. This column demonstrates why “conservative social work” is an oxymoron.

For more on why contemporary conservatism and the good of society don’t mix, see Christopher Lee, “Vote Nearing in Battle Over Kids’ Health Care.” See also Mark Trahant, “A subsidy so workers can start ‘winning.'”

Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin, “Untraceable e-mails spread Obama rumor.” This could be subtitled “Debbie Schlussel is the reincarnation of Joe McCarthy.”

This headline belongs in the “Irony Is Dead” department — “Rice Worried by Putin’s Broad Powers.” See also The Carpetbagger.

Something I didn’t know — the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize was Theodore Roosevelt.

Update: After you’ve read Frank Rich’s “Good Germans” column, read this right-wing rebuttal. Rich talks about Americans sitting idly by while our government embarks on a pattern of torture similar to that of the Gestapo. Rich presents several paragraphs of examples, with links.

So what’s the rebuttal? The rightie takes offense at the comparison to Nazis, then says,

I believe that when the history of this war is written, it will be seen that our nation waged it in accordance with some of the highest ethical standards ever observed in a major conflict. Yet Frank Rich paints our government as adopting Nazi tactics, and average Americans as akin to passive supporters of Hitler’s regime. Were it not ever-so-gauche to do so, you might call that unpatriotic.

And that’s it. He doesn’t refute a single fact presented in Rich’s column. He just says that comparing the actions of our government to the Third Reich is unpatriotic.

This is a perfect example of exactly what Rich is talking about, and also what Hannah Arendt was talking about when she referred to “the banality of evil.

Update 2:
After you’ve read today’s Tom Friedman column, you might — if you have a strong stomach — check out what that verbal pestilence known as “Jules Crittenden” says about it. Keep Pepto Bismol handy.

Among other things, Friedman wrote,

Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush each faced a crucible moment. For Mr. Gore, it was winning the popular vote and having the election taken away from him by a Republican-dominated Supreme Court. For Mr. Bush, it was the shocking terrorist attack on 9/11.

To which the pestilence replied,

Friedman ventures deep into myth and legend in his latest, suggesting Gore was deprived of his crown by a Republican Supreme Court, failing to note that objective counts have in fact conceded that, according to the rules that govern our elections, Bush won.

Um, what courts would that be? Is he saying that lower courts somehow, in some mystical manner, affirmed the SCOTUS decision? I dimly remember that the SCOTUS expressly forbade lower courts from using Bush v. Gore as a precedent for anything. Am I forgetting something?

Well, never mind. I misread “counts” for “courts.” I’m sure I’m not the only 50-something who struggles to read on a screen.

But the “counts” is an even bigger laugh. The Supreme Court stopped the counts, and subsequent investigations all pretty much concluded that Gore won.

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9 Comments

  1. erinyes  •  Oct 14, 2007 @10:11 am
  2. grayslady  •  Oct 14, 2007 @10:51 am

    The normal quasi-humorous sarcasm was notably missing from today’s column by Frank Rich. Along with the recent works by the two Naomis (Klein and Wolf), the focus has clearly shifted to trying to sound the alarm loudly and clearly. I used to wonder how the German people could have accepted Nazism. I have a whole new insight thanks to the last 7 years.

  3. jeffreyw  •  Oct 14, 2007 @11:50 am

    in update two, it is “counts”, not “courts” in the excerpted bit

  4. goatherd  •  Oct 14, 2007 @11:55 am

    As you have it posted it says “counts” not “courts”.

    I believe objective counts found just the opposite. Florida’s criterion for counting a vote is the “voter’s intent”. When the entire state was recounted, Gore won. When the criterion of voter’s intent was applied to thousands of “overvotes” in which for example, the box for Gore was checked and “Gore” was also written in a space marked “write in candidate”, Gore won by a few thousand votes. I think any rational person would agree that the voter’s intent is clear in this particular kind of overvote.

  5. moonbat  •  Oct 14, 2007 @12:20 pm

    Saying that the war is being fought by the highest ethical standards is a standard rightie canard, by those who refuse to look at the data. Or who don’t care even when they do. We’re righteous, by definition. Period.

    Along with Frank Rich, I’d also add this frightening piece by Naomi Wolf, American Tears. It’s about all the people who’ve come up to her on her book tour (she wrote The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot),who are frightened and paralyzed to take action, because they’ll face some sort of recrimination, or end up on a list.

  6. joanr16  •  Oct 14, 2007 @2:37 pm

    Correct, the “objective counts” argument is complete fantasy.

    And in the subjective court of opinion, Nobel laureate Gore is kicking Bush’s ass.

    To have an American win the Peace Prize this year is something that should make all Americans proud. The current administration’s actions in Iraq had all but guaranteed that no American would win for another 20 or 30 years.

  7. Bonnie  •  Oct 14, 2007 @3:28 pm
  8. grendelkhan  •  Oct 14, 2007 @8:54 pm

    How venial. They’re not even saying anything over at NewsBusters; they’re just getting their ritualized hate on, complete with its obligatory wankish fantasies of Islamofascists cutting the throats of their enemies while they wag their fingers and explain that they told you so.

    But this, I think, is the part that disgusts me the most. It’s cowardice, pure and simple, from a group that prides itself on its machismo.

    bassndude: For my money, I dont care how, what, when or where question these thugs. I dont care if they kill em in the process, so long as it is to keep my grandkids safe in the schools.

    This reminds me of something. Something I can’t quite put my finger on…

    Ah, yes.

    Joel Surnow, creator of 24: I would bet there are a lot of soldiers fighting wars, on all sides, in all sorts of conflicts, under pressure when the bullets are flying and wanting information, who do all sorts of things. And I don’t want to know about it. I just want to be safe.

    If only Ben Franklin had specified that we shouldn’t be so quick to give up others’ liberty to gain our safety, perhaps we wouldn’t be seeing this kind of pusillanimity.

  9. Buzzcook  •  Oct 15, 2007 @10:16 pm

    “Yes, Iraq was always going to be hugely difficult, but the potential payoff of erecting a decent, democratizing government in the heart of the Arab world was also enormous”

    Just pointing out that the new improved Tommy Friedman still thinks the unprovoked invasion of another country was just a peachy idea. Too bad George Bush was in charge of Tommy’s dream or it would have all been tea and cakes.

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