Thursday, January 15, 2015

Open Letter to Jorge Mario Bergoglio

This may be the silliest thing I have ever done, but I sent it.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Je Suis Charlie, quand je vois flotteur de fer

Consider just these stories News organizations wrestle with whether to publish Charlie Hebdo cartoons after attack,Fox News Has No Plans to Air Charlie Hebdo Cartoons, and Many Outlets Are Censoring Charlie Hebdo's Satirical Cartoons After Attack

While saying that they condemn the attacks, and support free speech, new organization for the AP, to British tabloids, to Fox News make the excuse that  it is against policy to "publish hate speech or spectacles that offend, provoke or intimidate, or anything that desecrates religious symbols or angers people along religious or ethnic line." 

I will believe that when I see iron float.

We hear that Cartoonists show solidarity after Paris Charlie Hebdo attack, in pictures.

We hear that he attack on Charlie Hebdo is supposed to be turning point.

There will be great protests and out pouring of sorrow -- but not rage.

The forces that take such actions do not care about the declarations of "Je suis Charlie".  I suspect, that they rather like it -- if the protestation is real, it gives more targets.

It will galvanize the democracies of the world in defense of its basic liberties.

I will believe that when I see iron float.

Prior to the attack, there were calls on the publication from 'right thinking' parties -- such as the government of the French State --  to not offend.

We are already hearing the 'yes, butt-ery' from critics such as the Financial Times' Tony Barber, or on another extreme Bill Donohue, president of the US Catholic League speak about going to far.

There will be more 'buts',  the issue of speech is nuanced, and we must be sensitive, humor should not wound.  One must not give into rage, even for liberty.

And in six months, no one will be Charlie, again.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Torture, the devil, and the law

The problem with torture is not that "it is ... inconsistent with our values as a nation".

The problem with torture is not that the justification of torture -- that it is needed to ensure security-- is at best factually weak, and more likely false.

The problem is  that torture endangers us.

The character of Thomas Moore, in A Man for All Seasons, defends the law against zeal for even justice by saying:
And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned around on you--where would you hide ... the laws all being flat? ... I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.
To parapharase MacArthur to Roosevelt: When some CIA operative drowning, some Marine is being rectally fed, when some Airman is held without sleep for days*, there last words can be a curse on Cheyney, Hayden, and Bush.

*See Stalag 17.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Democrats and ALEC

In the well duh category, the Huffington Post recently posted an article entitled Democrats Create An ALEC-Killer.

Gee, often I have heard the cries about these dark, underhanded, suspicious tactics of this group.

And what are these tactics, why  the Republicans have organized a right-wing group to push for its policies at the state level, providing political discipline, they create draft statutes, coordinate activities,  and support people who agree with them across the spectrum.  And all this has worked for them very well over the last decade.

You know, this is called activism.  I once tried to point this out at a MoveOn meeting I was stupid enough to attend.  The reception to that comment wasn't good.

Sure it's financed by the right's most fanatical and finanically interested participants, and you expected diffierent?

At last someone said, Hey they are killing us by being organized and forceful.  Maybe we should do something too.

Someday, what passed for the American left will actually realize that the game is called politics, and it involves getting things done.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Rant, before it become irrelevant

There will be lots of discussion about why the Democrats lost, and I wanted to get my licks in.

My observation is that there is a common thread when the Democrats have lost significant elections,such as 1980,1994, 2010, or today: the inability to govern, or to put in another way, weakness.

Eisenhower said, "When you appeal to force, there's one thing you must never do - lose."
If you believe in the power of collective action through elected government, then the one thing you cannot do it fail to govern.

Carter was seen (correctly I believe, though people will dispute this) as a weak ditherer.

Democrats under Clinton in 1994, and under Obama in 2010 were hammered because they could not marshal the strength to quickly propose and bring up policies -- most specifically the health plans.

And in the last year, Obama we have had failure to perform governance over, and over again.  There is not justification for:
  • The ACA web site roll out failure
  • That Obama's promise -- however stupid -- not to change existing plans was not honored
  • That the administration was surprised by the VA
  • That the administration was surprised by the board problems
  • That there was not a better Ebola communications plan
  • That there was not better planning about ISIL (screw the CIA missing it, the Economist knew it).
Please note that all of these issues are completely within the purview of an active executive.

The American left (if that is not a null set in any meaningful sense) is big on policies, but has never grasped that implementation -- the sinews of the state -- is an absolute necessity first.

One cannot make a case for government as a useful tool, if its performance is so poor.

Why the current president seems so passively gormless is a question not worth addressing here.

What is worthwhile is the simplest lesson that can be gleaned from this: fill the damned pothots.

Monday, October 27, 2014

"For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen, Before we go to Paradise"*

"For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen, Before we go to Paradise"*

Not everything I post is about doom, to whit:

 To Improve a Memory, Consider Chocolate -

*G K Chesterton The Rolling English Road

Saturday, October 25, 2014

I wish I could be as saguine.

Small article, or report of a talk I suppose, In his own words: Ben Bradlee on liars,

about truth telling.

As I said in the subject, I am not sanguine about ultimate truth telling

    "In a democracy, the truth emerges — sometimes it takes years —

that is how the system is supposed to work and eventually


     I take great strength from that now, knowing that in my

     the truth does emerge. It takes forever sometimes, but it
does emerge.

I think that what Buchwald said is truer: You Can Fool All the People All the Time.