Archive for March, 2005

March 1, 2005

Help Me Keep the Heat on Horowitz

What is it about Republicans? Why do they hate intellectual property rights so much that they insist on stealing the copyrights of photos? No one knows what evil dwells in the copyright-thieving hearts of men, but we do know that David Horowitz is like a burglar who, having found one house well-guarded by a dog and alarm system, moves on to his unluckier neighbor.

As readers of the Rallblog know, Horowitz wisely removed my copyrighted photo from his neo-McCarthyite smear site last week. Now, however, a new photo of yours truly is back up.

Here’s where you come in. The new photo, evidently from some TV appearance I did, is not copyrighted by me. I sincerely doubt, however, that Horowitz coughed up money for reprint rights from whatever TV network aired the show on which I appeared. I’d better dollars to doughnuts (where the hell does that expression come from, anyway?) that the neocon thug swiped it from a website.

So. First Friend of Rall to successfully identify the original source and copyright holder of this new photo receives a free signed copy of GENERALISSIMO EL BUSHO: Essays and Cartoons on the Bush Years. I’ll be sure to let the copyright victim know they’re being robbed by Horowitz.

Email chet@rall.com, and thanks!

U.S. Supreme Court Bans Executions Under 18

An excellent decision and good news for our republic, this will help bring us into the 20th century. If we want to move into the 21st, we should do away with capital punishment entirely. I’d rather let a thousand guilty men go free than kill one innocent man, and we’ve killed dozens of innocents. Besides: murderers do deserve to die. The state, however, shouldn’t debase itself by getting into the business of killing them.

Book Review: “The Torture Papers”

The San Diego Book Review carries my review of the book “The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib.” Here’s an excerpt:

“The Torture Papers,” a compilation of legal opinions, memoranda and military reports concerning the treatment of prisoners detained in the global war on terror (GWT, in govspeak), is a notable exception to the Dead Kennedys rule: It sets the record straight on an ongoing scandal resulting from policies that remain in full force. Here, in mind-numbing slegalese (footnotes, depositions and appendices included), are the tortured legal contortions that led to the infamous photos of Pfc. England holding a nude Iraqi inmate by a dog leash and Cpl. Graner beating the crap out of another freshly liberated soul at Abu Ghraib. Both former soldiers are now new fish on the opposite side of the guard-prisoner dynamic, but their iconic crimes reside at a thousand Islamist recruitment sites. Meanwhile, their bosses ponder how to invest their 401(k)s.

Was Hitler Democratically Elected?

Daniel writes:

I find your stuff very funny and insightful I always make a point of reading it even though I disagree with your politics.

However, in your March 1, 2005 Cartoon I believe you made an error of fact. Hitler was not democratically elected in 1933. Chancellor Von Hindenburg had I believe two years or so left in his term. Hitler, Gobbles [sic], and his brown shirts had convinced the German people that Von Hindenburg could not solve the German Nations [sic] problems, and Von Hindenburg, who had beaten Hitler in the last free election, resigned in favor of
Hitler. An illegal and unconstitutional act, but very popular at the moment.

I know liberals hate admitting they make mistakes too, but in fairness you really should retract that part of your cartoon.

Read the Rallblog. I admit my mistakes, but this ain’t one of them. As he had carefully schemed for years, Hitler rose to the chancellorship using legal means. Hindenberg, who appointed him, was president and remained so after Hitler came to power until his death. Under the Weimar Constitution in force at the time, the brokered deal (after a 1932 election that Hitler lost, but demonstrated substantial minority support) that put Hitler on the road to totalitarian rule over Germany was standard operating procedure. But don’t believe me. You can, and should, look it up. Maybe I should have said “democratically appointed.”

Another Reason Bush Isn’t Like Hitler

Eric brings up an excellent point:

Reasons Bush isn’t like Hitler was darn funny. However, I think you left something out. Hitler–from what I’ve heard, anyway–was a great public speaker with fine control of his native language. I’m sure there are more differences, too, but that jumped out at me. Anyway, thanks for being our BS detector. I can’t wait to read some of the poorly thought out and even more poorly written hate mail you get from this one.

Damn, wish I’d thought of that one. It’s so obvious, too.

Broadband Alert for Diehard Fans

Apparently you can download the BBC 30-minute documentary about me that aired Monday. They ask, however, that you use this service only for non-commercial, private viewing purposes.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Pat wants to know:

I am somewhat dismayed by your challenge. It seems that your discourse on this went the extra mile to coarsen the dialog and further separate people into two camps. Providing a place to air name calling and threats of violence may relieve some of the bile poisoning the hearts of Americans, but I can’t help but hope for a coming together rather than further imbroglio. I’d like to suggest that looking for and reporting on bipartisan respect will strengthen our country much more than looking for some silver bullet to vanquish the hated opposing policy wonks. I’d also like to mention that most Americans do not fall into either extreme camp of ideology, and I myself am willing to admit that some of the far-right activities appear to be bringing about positive changes in the Mid-East. Am I happy about fighting a war based on false data? No, but don’t forget that many in the Democratic party openly stated that they felt that Iraq had WMDs as well – and that includes Al Gore, John Kerry, and even President Clinton.

I’ll avoid Iraq here since everyone knows my feelings about that. But far from coarsening dialogue, I believe that my exercise was enlightening. At least it was to me.

Seriously, look for the good in your opposition. You’ll be better respected by everyone, although I imagine that there will always be hate mail to remind us of man’s aggression.

I do try to look for the good in my Republican compatriots. Unfortunately, this Administration is so illegitimate, so steeped in a culture of lying, so dedicated to hatred and violence, so murderous, that it’s impossible for me and many other opponents to dismiss those who support it as less than willfully supportive of their crimes.

Tens of millions of Americans believe that Bush bullied the Supreme Court into violating the Constitution, and threatened a military coup during the Florida election crisis. Even if he had turned out to be a great president after that, how could such a crime ever be forgiven?

Tens of millions of Americans believe that Bush used 9/11 to curtail civil liberties and as a lame excuse to launch a war against Iraq that had been planned since at least 1998 even though he knew it presented no threat whatsoever to us. We know that tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed as a result. How could this act, by itself, ever be forgiven?

Tens of millions of Americans believe that Bush is out to bankrupt the U.S. Treasury with his irresponsible tax cuts for the ultrawealthy and destroy Social Security with a “reform” that is designed to ruin the last middle-class government entitlement program left. How could bankrupting the world’s wealthiest nation ever be forgiven?

I can’t speak for other Democrats, but if a Democratic politician had committed any one of these crimes I would have voted for his Republican opponent. It’s a simple matter of morality. That’s why the country is so divided; I have trouble treating anyone with respect who clearly despises the basic values on which the United States, which I love, was founded.

The Lebanese Crisis

Allen asks:

A couple questions for you: What do you think about the recent developments
in Lebanon regarding the Syrian army? Do you think this has anything to do with our action in Iraq? Seeing how you admitted that you were wrong in regards to the liberal blogs is there any scenario where you could admit that you were wrong in regards to Iraq? Or was that action ill conceived no matter what the outcome?
Even though we disagree I like to hear your opinions because you’re obviously intelligent and well thought.

To echo Chou En Lai’s comment to Kissinger about the French Revolution, it’s too early to tell whether the US invasion of Iraq has had an impact on the current situation in Lebanon. I’m a big supporter of national self-determination, so I hope Syria pulls out and allows the Lebanese to run their own affairs. On the other hand, the street demonstrations may have been organized by CIA or other US-funded cover agencies. Time, and journalism, will determine whether these are authentic Lebanese patriots–remember, after all, that the “happy Iraqis” dancing around Farbus Square in Baghdad were all on the Defense Department/Ahmed Chalabi payroll.

As for the bigger question, there is absolutely no scenario under which I believe it could be proven, after the fact, that invading Iraq was the right thing to do. Even if we had been greeted as liberators, even if WMDS had been found, the way the Administration rushed into it, refusing to let the UN inspectors finish their work, not giving diplomacy a chance, and more to the point–invading a country that presented no certain threat to the country (despite the Administration’s lies about WMDs) would forever taint the invasion in my eyes.

Sometimes good things result from bad intentions. But that doesn’t exonerate the evil mindset of those who made those good things come about.

Bush should be impeached and imprisoned for 100,000-plus consecutive life sentences for first-degree murder. Meanwhile, it would be nice to see Iraq become a peaceful, prosperous place. Neither is likely to happen, unfortunately.