Last week The Guardian ran an interview with him, on the occasion of the publication of his second book. I did not realize how real Zen was, and how difficult his life has been.
Worth a read.
unabashed liberal rants. secular humanism. logic. typos.
The president-elect of the Christian Coalition of America has declined the job, saying the organization wouldn't let him expand its agenda beyond opposing abortion and gay marriage.
The Rev. Joel Hunter, who was scheduled to take over the socially conservative group in January from Roberta Combs, said he had hoped to focus on issues such as poverty and the environment.
"These are issues that Jesus would want us to care about," said Hunter, a senior pastor at Northland Church in Longwood, Fla.
Hunter announced his decision not to take the job during an organization board meeting Nov. 21. A statement issued by the group said Hunter left because of "differences in philosophy and vision." Hunter said he was not asked to leave.
"They pretty much said, 'These issues are fine, but they're not our issues, that's not our base,'" Hunter said.
MANCHESTER – Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich yesterday said the country will be forced to reexamine freedom of speech to meet the threat of terrorism.
Gingrich, speaking at a Manchester awards banquet, said a "different set of rules" may be needed to reduce terrorists' ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message.
"We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade," said Gingrich, a Republican who helped engineer the GOP's takeover of Congress in 1994.
Gingrich spoke to about 400 state and local power brokers last night at the annual Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment award dinner, which fetes people and organizations that stand up for freedom of speech.
Gingrich sharply criticized campaign finance laws he charged were reducing free speech and doing little to fight attack advertising. He also said court rulings over separation of church and state have hurt citizens' ability to express themselves and their faith.
(Jane) Harman supported the most disastrous strategic decision in our nation's history and repeatedly defended the administration's worst excesses. That ought to be disqualifying on its face. But the Beltway media are guilty of the same crimes, so they want to pretend that Harman -- just like Steny Hoyer -- did nothing wrong and the only reason not to anoint her to her Rightful Place is because of petty, womanly personality disputes that have no place in the public arena.
For the same reason, they decree that Pelosi must prove that she's a "responsible" and serious leader. How does she do that? By embracing the Beltway establishment types, including those -- especially those -- who have been so wrong about so many things.
That's why the media has taken such an intense interest in the otherwise mundane matter of who will be House Majority Leader and House Intelligence Chair. Jane Harman, like Steny Hoyer, is the symbol of official Washington, the broken, rotted, corrupt Washington that propped up this war and enabled this administration in so many ways. Pelosi has to prove that she's one of them, or else suffer the consequences of being mauled and scorned.
The Platonic form of journalism – Edward R. Murrow taking on Joseph McCarthy, Walter Cronkite taking on Lyndon Johnson after the Tet Offensive, Woodward and Bernstein taking on Nixon – is today a fantasy unrecognizable in the flickering phosphors on the walls of our contemporary caves. Perhaps journalists once took risks in order to share dangerous truths with readers and viewers, but that time seems to have passed into history. What passes for journalism in Washington and New York today is in large measure as corrupt and despicable as the subjects it glosses.
If what Judith Miller and the New York Times and CBS and Time and NBC did is journalism, if what Tim Russert and Chris Matthews and Andrea Mitchell and Robert Novak continue to do is journalism, then I want no part of it. I find far more honor in the term “blogger” than in the charred, empty husk of the word “journalist.”
So call me a blogger, please. Journalists turn my stomach.
"It is unlikely that the Pentagon's vision of a rapid departure ever could have worked, Bremer or no Bremer. What is striking, however, is the way that the most momentous of decisions were taken in the most shockingly haphazard ways, with the power in the hands of a few Pentagon civilians who knew little of Iraq or the region, the expertise of the rest of the government almost wholly excluded, and the President and his highest officials looking on.
In the event, the Bush administration seems to have worked hard to turn Kennan's problem of knowing the facts on its head: the systemic failures in Iraq resulted in large part from an almost willful determination to cut off those in the government who knew anything from those who made the decisions."
Saddam Hussein and the autocracy he ruled were the product of a dysfunctional politics, not the cause of it. Reform of such a politics was always going to be a task of incalculable complexity. Faced with such complexity, and determined to have their war and their democratic revolution, the President and his counselors looked away. Confronted with great difficulties, their answer was to blind themselves to them and put their faith in ideology and hope—in the dream of a welcoming landscape, magically transformed. The evangelical vision may have made the sense of threat after September 11 easier to bear but it did not change the risks and the reality on the ground. The result is that the wave of change the President and his officials were so determined to set in course by unleashing American military power may well turn out to be precisely the wave of Islamic radicalism that they had hoped to prevent.
George W. Bush resolved to democratize Iraq also as a way to confront three grim facts of our recent past.
(1) The United States had been far too friendly with atrocious regimes in the Middle East. ...
(2) At key moments in the 1980s and '90s, the United States signaled it would appease its terrorist enemies rather than engage in the difficult work of uprooting them. ...
(3) The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, changed how the U.S. looked at the Middle East status quo. That attack was the work of terrorists enabled by our autocratic clients in the Middle East and emboldened by our previous inaction. In response, Iraq was an effort to end both the cynical realism and the convenient appeasement of the past -- and so to address the much larger problems of the Middle East that, if left alone, could lead to another large-scale terrorist attack in the United States.
Kissinger says that if we leave now, all hell will break loose and Iraq will never achieve stability. Never mind that all hell has already broken loose. Never mind that Kissinger said the same thing would happen if we left Vietnam--all hell would break loose and Vietnam would never achieve stability. Vietnam has become so stable that Presidents Clinton and Bush, both combat cowards during the Vietnam war, have made well publicized, utterly safe visits to the country Kissinger used to think didn't have a chance without us.
The Democratic victories this month led to a surge of calls for the Administration to begin direct talks with Iran, in part to get its help in settling the conflict in Iraq. British Prime Minister Tony Blair broke ranks with President Bush after the election and declared that Iran should be offered “a clear strategic choice” that could include a “new partnership” with the West. But many in the White House and the Pentagon insist that getting tough with Iran is the only way to salvage Iraq. “It’s a classic case of ‘failure forward,’” a Pentagon consultant said. “They believe that by tipping over Iran they would recover their losses in Iraq—like doubling your bet. It would be an attempt to revive the concept of spreading democracy in the Middle East by creating one new model state.”
The small bet made in invading Afghanistan, though it originally appeared to be a winner, is rapidly turning into a dramatic loss. That bet was doubled in Iraq; even senior Administration officials are so certain that the news is from Iraq is unambiguously awful that they have resorted to refusing to prepare a National Intelligence Estimate for Iraq because they know they won’t like what it says. And like the perfect fools the Martingale System requires, the Neocons are demanding that their losing bet be raised again.I want to make it clear that I am not now and never have been a Pentagon consultant.
When Carville criticizes Howard Dean, keep in mind that he is using Howard Dean as a placeholder to attack the entire progressive netroots and the entire progressive movement on behalf of big donors and consultants who once again want to rule the party with an iron fist. But we were the ones fighting for these seats, tooth and nail, along with local Democrats on the ground. National Democrats from the corporate wing of the party were nowhere to be found in these races.
I knew this would happen. I pick up my copy of the New Statesman, London's leftist weekly, to find a review of Borat, bannered on the table of contents as "Sacha Baron Cohen's exposure of crass Americana" and on the review page itself with, "The Kazakh ace reporter uncovers uncomfortable truths about the US." The author, Ryan Gilbey, proceeds to say the following:A redneck rodeo crowd shows no compunction about cheering Borat's gung-ho speech about Iraq, clearly not realizing that what he actually said was: "We support your war of terror!" And it's shocking to witness the tacit acceptance with which Borat's ghoulish requests are greeted. Trying to find the ideal car for mowing down gypsies, or seeking the best gun for killing Jews, he encounters only compliance among America's salespeople.
Oh, come on. Among the "cultural learnings of America for make benefit glorious nation of Kazakhstan" is the discovery that Americans are almost pedantic in their hospitality and politesse. At a formal dinner in Birmingham, Ala., the guests discuss Borat while he's out of the room—filling a bag with ordure in order to bring it back to the table, as it happens—and agree what a nice young American he might make. And this is after he has called one guest a retard and grossly insulted the wife of another (and remember, it's "Americana" that is "crass"). The tony hostess even takes him and his bag of shit upstairs and demonstrates the uses not just of the water closet but also of the toilet paper. The arrival of a mountainous black hooker does admittedly put an end to the evening, but if a swarthy stranger had pulled any of the foregoing at a liberal dinner party in England, I wouldn't give much for his chances. "The violence that Borat encounters on the New York subway after trying to greet male strangers with kisses is frighteningly real," writes Gilbey, who either doesn't use the London Underground very much or else has a very low standard for mayhem.
There exists in every organization, whether it be a football team, a business, a political party, or a military, a point at which it is to the individuals folly to continue to subordinate their will in favor of the directives of their individuals. A quarterback shouldn't follow his coaches plan to run into the wrong end zone, an administrative assistant should not follow his bosses directions to engage in illegal business practices that will ultimately bankrupt the company, soldiers should not follow orders to round up Jews and send them to the gas chamber, and even generals committed to the idea of civilian control of the military must still at some point do what they can to dissuade their civilian superiors from a disastrous course.
It is so tempting to praise the famous discipline of the Republican coalition of the past few years, from Bush to Delay to Rush, as a critical component of what felt like great strength and success. But the failure to recognize that line where individuals needed to press back against the direction of their leaders was also an essential component of why so many of their actions resulted in catastrophe.
There is no easy guideline for when you need to stop being a team player who just tows the line and become a conscientious dissenter. But individuals who follow orders well past that point should definitely be considered lackeys, hypocrites, complicit accomplices, or worse.
The strength, and the weakness, of such a closed, tautological system is that it is entirely immune to refutation by fact or logic. It is a strength, at least in the short term, because a black and white world view is seductive, and when packaged with blanket statements that also obviate the need for accepting responsibility, they are virtual opiates. Hoi polloi are comforted when medicated by pseudo-intellectuals with such circular, hand-washing nonsense as “The terrorists hate us for who we are, not what we do” and “The killers are killers because they want to kill, not because the coalition invaded Iraq, or Afghanistan, or because there are bases in Saudi Arabia, or because Israel will not retreat to the 1967 borders.” But with time, such insularity becomes weakness. As time and events inevitably increase the distance between rigid belief and reality, the necessary suspension of disbelief becomes ever more difficult. Galileo’s work outlived the Inquisition; Reagan traded arms for hostages although “in his heart” he thought otherwise; Iraq spirals further into Hell despite the spin of a hundred Panglosses. History unfolds heedless of the illusions of its spectators and even, to a large extent, of its participants.
So our President knows Karl Rove is innocent of any wrongdoing, no matter what facts may bubble up from the tar pit he nurtured but cannot acknowledge. Because Bush cannot recognize the incompatibility between his knowledge and the facts that refute it, he cannot resolve that contradiction. Thus it falls to Patrick Fitzgerald to resolve it for him.
As the Plamegate case goes forward, and the evidence against Rove in the real world mounts, it is likely that Bush will, to his ruin, continue to cling to his belief even as the tsunami of contrary facts engulfs him. If we are lucky, those who are so blind that shall not see will decide that following Bush lemming-like into that abyss might not be such a good idea after all. And maybe, just maybe, after the deluge we will finally have a meaningful confrontation between the "reality-based community" in which facts matter and actions have consequences, and the fairy-tale world where Neocons and fundamentalists know things because, well, just because.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, may have agreed to caucus with the Democrats in the next congressional term, but the Connecticut independent made it clear Wednesday he would not hold the party line on a call for phased troop withdrawals.
"Both general Abizaid and Ambassador Satterfield were quite clear and to me convincing, that for congress to order the beginning of a phased redeployment, a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq within the next 4 to 6 months would be a very serious mistake and would endanger ultimate the United States," Lieberman told reporters after the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Iraq.
Forget, for the moment, that the proposed “compromise” torture legislation effectively abrogates the Geneva Conventions.
In regards to the Bush Administration’s “Enabling Act”, as Mr. Steinberg calls it, pay particular attention to the use of the word “alien”. No one is suggesting that this power be used to detain or imprison American citizens. If it were, I would be the first to lead the charge against theThe first highlighted statement is false. The exact reach of the MCA is not clear, but many people in positions of authority have indeed suggested that it applies to citizens. (Appeal to anonymous authority, perhaps. Or error of fact. Take your pick.)
. Mr. Steinberg’s logic here is that foreign nationals are afforded the rights and privileges of a Capitol Building citizen; namely our Constitutional right of due process. I once again fail to see how a foreign national that presents a clear and present danger to our national interest operating outside our borders can be mystically granted the privilege of our Constitutional protection. The extension of Mr. Steinberg’s argument is that all foreign nationals are protected under all of our laws, at any time and any place. I will leave you to ascertain the dynamics this implies. United States
The ability to "disappear" legal U.S. residents without charges, without process and without recourse is the exact danger I warned against. It is a danger Kannard is either unconcerned with, or refuses to recognize.
In 2001, al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar, was in the United States legally, on a student visa. He was a computer science graduate student at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, where he had earned an undergraduate degree a decade earlier. In Peoria, he lived with his wife and five children.
In December, 2001 he was detained as a "material witness" to suspected acts of terrorism and ultimately charged with various terrorism-related offenses, mostly relating to false statements the FBI claimed he made as part of its 9/11 investigation. Al-Marri vehemently denied the charges, and after lengthy pre-trial proceedings, his trial on those charges was scheduled to begin on July 21, 2003.
But his trial never took place, because in June, 2003 -- one month before the scheduled trial -- President Bush declared him to be an "enemy combatant." As a result, the Justice Department told the court it wanted to turn him over to the U.S. military, and thus asked the court to dismiss the criminal charges against him, and the court did so (the dismissal was "with prejudice," meaning he can't be tried ever again on those charges). Thus, right before his trial, the Bush administration simply removed Al-Marri from the jurisdiction of the judicial system -- based solely on the unilateral order of the President -- and thus prevented him from contesting the charges against him.
Instead, the administration immediately transferred al-Marri to a miltiary prison in South Carolina (where the administration brings its "enemy combatants" in order to ensure that the executive-power-friendly 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over all such cases). Al-Marri was given the "Padilla Treatment" -- kept in solitary confinement, denied all contact with the outside world, including even his own attorneys, not charged with any crimes, and given no opportunity to prove his innocence. Instead, the Bush administration simply asserted the right to detain him indefinitely without so much as charging him with anything.
Finally, Mr. Steinberg uses a poor form of argument by bringing up the German Enabling Acts. The Enabling Act has nothing to do with the topic at hand and is called a non sequitur argument. If Mr. Steinberg wishes to present his views on a piece of legislation the Bush Administration is presenting, then stick to that.A serious flaw if true. But is it? I did not say Bush is Hitler. I did not say Republicans are Nazis. I merely cited the text of two laws, and argued that each allows the executive unchecked power. Most constitutional scholars agree. The argument is only a non sequitur in the sense that Kannard can neither dispute the premise nor accept the conclusion, so he must deny the logic without ever explaining why it is inappropriate. (Further deduction for finding a flaw where none exists, K.)
President Bush will not relent in his defense of John R. Bolton, his nominee for U.N. ambassador, despite unwavering opposition from Democrats who view Bolton as too combative for international diplomacy, aides said yesterday.
For $5, residents of one of the city's hardest hit neighborhoods received three tennis balls Saturday - and a chance to vent 15 months of frustration at the slow pace of rebuilding since Hurricane Katrina.
The object of their annoyance sat perched atop a dunk tank - Bob Josephson, director of intergovernmental affairs in Louisiana for the reviled and much-lampooned Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Politicians invited to be dunked who politely declined included Mayor Ray Nagin and Gov. Kathleen Blanco. No shows included City Council President Oliver Thomas and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in charge of fixing the city's levees.After spending nearly 45 minutes in the dunking booth, FEMA's Josephson took off his sopping shirt and tried to warm himself with a towel.
He explained that FEMA is a part of the community and allowing himself to be dunked was an attempt to show that he and his much-criticized colleagues are not so different from their neighbors.
"It's all in good fun," he added, as residents thanked him and offered dry clothes and a place to change.
The hundreds of Republican staffers — not to mention more than a few Members — who will lose their jobs in the next few weeks are going to face a hostile marketplace on K Street as unemployed Republicans flood the market.In which alleged small-government advocates learn, up close and personal, about being downsized.
Shallow people look at election returns to see who won. Profound people look for world historical trends.Ah, yes Bobo, that's the word I associate with your work -- profound.
I’ve got my shallow side, and what I see so far is a Democratic tide but not a tsunami.... Republicans are losing, but only by a little. Defeat with honor.Yes, David, you have a shallow side. You know how many sides a Möbius strip has? That's how I visualize your shallow side. And the utterly un-ironic allusion to Nixon's "peace with honor"... priceless.
This is Joe Lieberman’s country. No the country is not with him on the war, but he’s being re-elected and he will find plenty of company in the moderate Democratic camp when the new Congress convenes.
"I thought we were going to do fine yesterday. Shows you what I know."
pissed. frustrated. perplexed. but mostly pissed.Tonight was inconceivable two years ago. The takedowns of Abramoff and Ney and Delay, the neocon circular firing squad, the near-mutiny in the military -- all beyond imagination.
Sacha Baron Cohen is Jewish, and uses his heritage as a defense for Borat’s anti-Semitism. I’m not Jewish, so I don’t know what is particularly offensive to their community, but the jokes against Jews were way over the top. Just because you’re part of a group doesn’t mean you can make fun of them as much as you want. At the end of the film, Borat proudly proclaims that Kazakhstan is now Christian, and they no longer stone Jews. The film then cuts to several “Kazakh” people poking a Jewish man with a pitchfork as he is tied to a cross. That is just flat out offensive and unacceptable, whether Baron Cohen is Jewish or not.
A gay man and admitted male escort claims he has had an ongoing sexual relationship with a well-known Evangelical pastor from Colorado Springs.
Mike Jones told '9 Wants to Know' Investigative Reporter Paula Woodward he has had a "sexual business" relationship with Pastor Ted Haggard for the past three years.
Haggard is the founder and senior leader of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. The church has 14,000 members.
He is also president of the National Association of Evangelicals, an organization that represents millions of people.
Haggard is married with five children and an outspoken critic of gay marriage....
Jones started talking to 9 Wants to Know two months ago. He claims Haggard has been paying him for sex over the past three years, even though Haggard preaches that homosexuality is a sin.
Jones also claims Haggard used methamphetamine in his presence on several occasions....
Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw profiled Haggard in 2005 in a series on mega-churches. Haggard was also listed by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential Evangelicals in America last year.
At the time, Colorado Springs was a small city split between the Air Force and the New Age, and the latter, Pastor Ted believed, worked for the devil. Pastor Ted soon began upsetting the devil's plans. He staked out gay bars, inviting men to come to his church; his whole congregation pitched itself into invisible battles with demonic forces, sometimes in front of public buildings.Oh my.
BAGHDAD - Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki flexed his political muscle yesterday and won U.S. agreement to lift military blockades on Sadr City and another Shiite enclave where an American soldier was abducted.
U.S. forces, who had set up the checkpoints in Baghdad last week as part of an unsuccessful search for the soldier, drove away in Humvees and armored personnel carriers at the 5 p.m. deadline set by al-Maliki.
Their departure set off celebrations among civilians and armed men in Sadr City, the sprawling Shiite district controlled by the Mahdi Army militia loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Men and children danced in circles chanting slogans praising and declaring victory for al-Sadr, whose political support is crucial to the Shiite prime minister.
The prime minister's challenge to U.S. conduct of the war was the latest in a series of acts designed to force the American hand and test Washington's readiness to give him a greater say in securing the world's most violent capital.