Monday, January 15, 2007


I would like to say something about the legacy of Martin Luther King, but I’m afraid I haven’t been able to craft sentences to match my feelings. It will hardly be controversial, I hope, to say that the world—but the United States in particular—owes a huge debt of gratitude to Dr. King and what he did for the Civil Rights movement. The nonviolence Dr. King taught, continuing in the tradition of Gandhi, is one of the most powerful weapons humanity has for combating injustice. Doctrines of nonviolence could have a tremendous positive impact on our struggle against terrorism, if only our political leaders were willing to learn and practice them.

I've been listening to Terri Gross's interview with Michael Honey, author of a new book about Dr. King and the Memphis sanitation workers' strike, during which Dr. King was assassinated.

I don't know what to say about Dr. King. The world needs him so. It is a tragedy that great men are taken from us before their goals are realized, at times when they could do so much more. But there is a purpose to that tragedy, I suppose. It teaches us that we must not rely on great men. We have to make the world better ourselves.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Wrong on Iraq, but doing just fine, thanks

This story by

Friday, January 12, 2007

Is Bush's plan merely dumb, or the worst plan ever?

I've been browsing around, trying to find the most direct criticism (from an informed critic) of Bush's "new" "plan" for Iraq.
The most succinct so far is probably the comment made by Hawaii Representative Neil Abercrombie (D) to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace, quoted in the Washington Post: "This is the craziest, dumbest plan I’ve ever seen or heard of in my life.” Granted, I don't really know how informed Rep. Abercrombie is, but such blunt language directed at a senior administration official during public hearings is pretty remarkable.

I also like Max Sawicky's comments (and his great graphic), comparing Bush's 'surge to disengagement' with Nixon's invasion of Cambodia:
Tonight I hope the utter bankruptcy, the abject mendacity, the total absurdity, the bottomless evil of Bush's posture becomes manifest to all, and a mighty uproar ensues. The parade of lies would have embarrassed Tricky Dick. Who wants to be among the thousand that will die this year in pursuit of the president's ambition to cover his sorry ass? What patriot could fail to hang his head in shame at complicity in this exercise?
Zbigniew Brzezinski, in an op-ed in the Washington Post, says:
The commitment of 21,500 more troops is a political gimmick of limited tactical significance and of no strategic benefit. It is insufficient to win the war militarily. It will engage U.S. forces in bloody street fighting that will not resolve with finality the ongoing turmoil and the sectarian and ethnic strife, not to mention the anti-American insurgency. ... America is acting like a colonial power in Iraq. But the age of colonialism is over.
Almost no one likes this plan, and even fewer people believe it has a real chance of success. There are ominous rumblings of threats and provocations toward Iran, and the possibility of a serious Constitutional crisis if Congress votes (as seems likely) to place conditions on further Iraq war funding or even to cut off funds for the 'surge' altogether. Bush administration officials are claiming already that the money has been authorized, and the new deployments will begin in a matter of weeks.

Heck 'uv a job, Bushie!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Wait, isn't it Orwellian to re-define "Orwellian"?

Mmm, irony deep-fried in hypocrisy, with a chutzpah dipping sauce! And Terry Gross just ate it up. What follows is a verbatim quotation from her Fresh Air interview with Republican pollster Frank Luntz, aired tonight. Luntz is the guy Republican politicians seek out to disguise the stench of bad policy with verbal perfume (e.g. saying “energy exploration" instead of "drilling" when talking about ANWR). Within the first five minutes of the interview, almost as if he were trying to pre-empt charges of Newspeak, he said:

“The average American assumes that being Orwellian is a negative, that being Orwellian means that you mislead. If you read ‘On Language,’ to be Orwellian is to speak with absolute clarity, to be succinct, to explain what the event is, to talk about what triggers something happening, and to do so without any kind of pejorative whatsoever.”

Re-defining “Orwellian”—wow. Is that diabolically brilliant? Or just one last pitiful grenade lobbed at the reality-based community from those cynical trenches?