Saturday, February 17, 2007

FOX'S "Half Hour News Hour" - Funny Or Lame?

Only FOX would combine the toxic ingredients of two pundits - one who thinks making fun of people with Parkinson's Disease is funny, and another who thinks forcibly converting Muslims to Christianity is acceptable, and expect comedy to come out.

It made me laugh, but it was probably not for the same reasons the producers of the show had originally intended. Put it this way, I wasn't laughing with them.

I almost felt sorry for Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh as they desperately tried to be funny and miserably failed. After all, I expected at least one stinging but good joke from the "Queen of Mean", but nada.

The punchlines were ancient cliches that have been recycled by Republicans so often they cease to have any meaning or bite, if they ever had any in the first place.

How FOX was ever able to drum this stale show out like it was going to be "A Daily Show for Conservatives" is beyond my reasoning, because if it were to be a Conservative "Daily Show" wouldn't it be necessary for it to be funny in the first place?

What a bomb, and a boring bomb at that - until Ann "dropped the bomb"...

When she didn't forget to add in her infamous "invade their [Muslim] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity" cringe inducing statement, it wasn't funny (nor was it funny the first time), but this is what a neoconservative sounds like when they are trying to be funny. (Like an ignorant bigot)

It really clues you into the sociology of hard line Conservatives in America when such a statement could be deemed as "humorous" when it should be considered unacceptable.

If Conservatives knew what was good for the long term prosperity of their political party they would be best suited to distance themselves from such vocal (and apparently unfunny) despots like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.

Surprise, Surprise "Senate Blocks Iraq War Resolution Debate"

The vote (56-34) marked the second time this winter that Senate Republicans have blocked action on nonbinding measures critical of the president's war policies, as reported by the AP.

Senate Republicans blocked the debate after The House has passed the non-binding resolution opposing the troop escalation in Iraq by a vote of 246-182, including 17 Republicans.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Little Thorns In The Sides Of Progress

"This nonbinding resolution serves no purpose other than pacifying the Democrats' political base and lowering morale in our military," claimed Republican Rep. Geoff Davis of Kentucky.

What he did not mention is that a few days ago a Dear Colleague plea titled "Iraq Resolution Debate - Their Terms Or Ours" was circulated among Republicans which stated :

“The debate should not be about the surge or its details. This debate should not even be about the Iraq war to date, mistakes that have been made, or whether we can, or cannot, win militarily.”

So, in other words [in the eyes of the apparent loyalist Republicans] the debate about the surge shouldn't be about the surge... Forget the details, details harm their case. To put it this way, this debate about the surge in the Iraq War cannot be allowed to turn into a debate about our surge in the Iraq War! Screw talking about whether we can win or not, because...

"Rather the debate must be about the global threat of the radical Islamist movement." The letter reads.

Hey - good idea , an even bigger task! Since we have some such a wonderful job in Iraq we figured we ought to spread a little of that democracy to the rest of the middle east, where all the other "Islamofacist" are. You know, because of those "enormous successes" in Iraq.

Newsflash : Our war in Iraq is fueling existing extremist and creating new ones! Instead of fixing problems that led to 9/11 we are creating new ones! Our war in Iraq only contributes to the "global threat" of radical Islam and leaves us vulnerable at home.

The Republicans who wrote the letter even blame the "liberal mainstream media" because Americans understand the consequences of the Iraq War in "American lives and dollars" (Gee, sorry we are worried about all the lives and money disappearing into that abyss, assholes).

The letter focuses on radical Islam in the entire middle east, rather than the facts about the Iraq War and the surge, when the nonbinding resolution is specifically about the increase in US troops.

This is the classic Republican technique of evasion, nothing more and nothing less than running from the truth.

The letter "Their Terms or Ours" shows Republicans trying to shift the debate on the troop surge in Iraq to a blame game and fear mongering.

Forget the fact that the Iraq War has been done by Republican terms and forget the fact that it has been a miserable mistake, by Republican terms.

So, why are the Republicans so fearful of a nonbinding resolution? It will have as much power, as say an Op-Ed in the New York Times, hence the whole nonbinding part.

It's probably very simple, and I doubt it's as complicated as having some grandiose vision of liberty and democracy in the middle east.

They fear an honest and focused debate concluded with a vote because voting against the resolution will harm them (again) come elections, but voting in favor of the resolution puts them in clear opposition with the President, and as we have witnessed this President wields amazing control over the Republicans.

But there will have to come a time and a place when these hardliners have to realize that it is not just the "democratic base" that is opposed to the war in Iraq, it is a fair majority of Americans, and the longer these hardliners refuse to serve the will of the American people, the worse they will go down in the history books as.
War With Iran Imminent, Or A Distracting Red Herring?
CNN: White House Now Blames Briefer For Going Too Far On Iran Intel

Rumors Of War

US Backpedals Accusations Against Iran

Monday, February 12, 2007

Right Wing Extremist Secretly Yearns For Another Terrorist Attack To Make Anti-War Liberals "Irreverent" Again

So, your guessing that the right wing extremist I am writing about is, say, Osama bin Laden or Aiman al-Zawahiri?

No, it is right wing pundit Mike Gallagher, who writes in his online blog :

"it will take another terror attack on American soil in order to render these left-leaning crazies irrelevant again. Remember how quiet they were after 9/11? No one dared take them seriously. It was the United States against the terrorist world, just like it should be."

It is a disturbing statement, to say the least and it brings to mind a conversation I had with a friend shortly after the Democrats took the majority in the recent elections.

My friend and I discussed the possibility that fringe right wing extremists might hope for a new terrorist attack, to turn the country back towards the Republicans and back towards a pro-war stance.

I was right, and I was wrong.

I was right with the assertion that some Americans would like to see another attack on America for political reasons.

I was wrong to assume it would be a fringe element of the right wing, because Mike Gallagher is about as Mainstream Right Wing as possible.

But in all my wildest dreams I never thought that a right winger would be so bold as to basically state : look, if there's another terrorist attack it is beneficial to Republicans, it will put the Left back in it's place... and that's basically what Gallagher wrote in a not so veiled way.

Republicans and 9/11, the two dance together in a deadly tango, or should I say tangle.

Republicans revere 9/11, it embodies the height of their power and influence over America.

Gallagher is right; no one dared question the motives of the Republicans and the Bush Administration following 9/11.

So Gallagher, like other hard right Republicans naturally seek a return to "the good old days" following 9/11 during the Republican Age of Unaccountability, and if it takes another terrorist attack... so be it?
New Construction Sparks Old Debate

In a move hoping to defuse anger, the mayor of Jerusalem has ordered a review of construction being done to a walkway near the Dome of the Rock and al-Asqa mosque.

The construction has angered many, who say the construction could harm the third holiest site in Islam and has sparked protests.

The review will not halt preparatory excavations, but is aimed at "proving" Israel will not damage the site. Israel claims it only seeks to repair a earthen walkway that is partially collapsed, but those who are protesting the construction say that Israel will harm the site.

Any sudden moves around the Dome of the Rock, or Noble Sanctuary as Muslims call it, sparks tensions, as the site was formerly occupied by a Jewish Temple which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

It is no secret that the Jews and Christians seek to eventually reclaim this site.

Jews believe the site is "rightfully" theirs and the Christians believe that the Jews must build a Third Temple on the site so that the "Antichrist" can destroy it and usher in the way for Jesus Christ, who will then battle the "Antichrist" and bring about 1,000 years of peace.

When Muslims built the sanctuary it had been abandoned for hundreds of years, and Muslims believe the Rock to be the spot where Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven -- but that does not stop Jews and Christians from claiming that the site belongs to the Jews.

Because of this, and other factors there is a constant tension that can cause almost any move near the site to cause conflicts, as we witnessed following the visit of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to the site in 2000.

The Israeli's claim they just want to repair a walkway and make sure they are not destroying any artifacts in the process.

But my question is : If the construction is so necessary, why didn't Israel consult with the Islamic authorities first, then propose that qualified Muslims carry out the work? To me, it seems that simple, conflict could have been avoided.

I'm not a Muslim, but it is very easy for me to see the sensitivities involved, after all, Israel has taken everything else of value including the land, so one would naturally assume it was only a matter of time before they moved in on the prize of Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock.

The media is failing to connect the dots and see the story from both sides, we also have to consider Israel is building a "museum of tolerance" on top of a Muslim graveyard. How's that food for thought? It's the most insulting and absurd thing I have ever heard.

But Israel is a "liberated democracy", you can't say that...

There was a point in time when early Americans showed the same amount of disrespect to the American Indians, who lived in what is now America millenia before the arrival of the Europeans.

Early European settlers systematically cleansed the land of Indians, herding the survivors into "reservations" and calling the Indians who fought back for their land "barbarians" and "animals" as they stole the Indians land and broke their treaties with them.

The settlers also disrespected the graveyards of Indians, desecrating and stealing from them. It appears as if the early settlers of the new Israel are doing the same thing to the Palestinians, the same thing.

Will it take hundreds of years for the world and the Israeli's themselves to realize what they are doing is wrong, just as it took hundreds of years for Americans to recognize what they had done to the American Indians was bad?

However, moving back to the original point of the blog, it would have been simple for Israel to consult with Islamic authorities about the walkway, it doesn't take a genius to figure out when you show up at the holy shrine with a bulldozer people are going to get tense.

The conflict could have been avoided all together if Israel had consulted with Muslims and asked qualified Muslims to repair the walkway if such repairs are indeed necessary.

UPDATE : Turkey to inspect Jerusalem work