Monday, February 19, 2007

Deja Vu, all over again

"Those who cannot remember the past
are condemned to repeat it."

Does history repeat itself? A question that is often asked, and often answered in the affirmative. I attribute this to the fact that as humans, we tend to make mistakes-sadly the same ones. It is not from ignorance (well, GWB may be the exception) but due to stubbornness, selfishness, egotism, and blindness. People are often too full of themselves and full of self importance to see that situations from the past apply to them.

Take Vietnam. In 1964 Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, giving President Johnson the ability to escalate the war. Well, a few years later it came out that the administration and the Pentagon had not be completely truthful with what happened. By that time we were so entrenched in IndoChina that it took several more years, and 10's of thousands of American and Vietnamese lives.

Fast forward, oh lets say 38 years. The current President (and hopefully LAST) Bush and the Pentagon go public with evidence that Iraq was developing WMDs, as we all know. This led Congress to give the President the ability to wage war in Iraq. After a few years, we all learned that things were, once again, not what the administration and Pentagon had portrayed. And, we are deeply entrenched in a war that is costing American and Iraqi lives. , starting to sound familiar?? Well, the scary part is yet to come, I fear....

Fast forward to 2007. Pentagon and the Administration announce that they have conclusive proof that Iran is directly involved in supplying insurgents with weapons and explosives. (though there is some backpedaling on just exactly what they were saying and what it all meant). Questioned about whether or not they were making a case for war with Iran, Bush et al cry foul, saying there is no such plan or effort. In fact, GWB gets quite indignant, wondering why people are so skeptical (see, I said GWB was the exception).

A quick fast-forward to today: Reports say Iranian patrol boats are making incursions into Iraqi territorial waters........

.. it's deja vu, all over again.

The administration HAS to know that Congress and the American people will remain skeptical of anything that it puts forward, so it will look for something more substantial to push us into another war. I feel this is being done for two reasons. 1. They really really want to 'get Iran' and 2. A means of taking the Iraq war off of the front page.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Is John McCain a man of his word??

We may have the chance to find out, MAY that is. The senior senator from the great state of Arizona and perennial Presidential candidate filed a voluntary statement with the Sec'ty of State Brewer that says he would resign if he lost a recall election. Well, the paperwork for a recall election has been filed and petitions are now being circulated.

Recall drive targets McCain over Iraq
A new recall drive targets Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a top contender for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination.

Organizers oppose McCain's continued support of the unpopular Iraq war and consider him complicit in what they perceive as the erosion of American civil liberties associated with the war on terror.

"For the most part, he's been all right, but he's supposed to be representing Arizona, and right now he seems to be just representing himself," said William Crum, treasurer of Americans for Integrity and Justice, the Glendale-based recall committee. "He's got tunnel-vision for the presidency."
The recall application filed Tuesday with the Arizona Secretary of State's Office accuses McCain of "shirking his duties as a senator from the great state of Arizona" and of having "acquiesced in his role as a member of the legislative branch to strongly check the power of the chief executive, who has for all intents and purposes become a king."

"Please, help restore our democracy, recall 'Bloody John McCain,' " the handwritten application says.

McCain's Senate office did not respond to requests for comment. McCain was elected to his fourth Senate term in 2004 and is not up for re-election until 2010.

The recall group faces long odds. It must collect 381,696 valid petition signatures by June 13 to force a statewide vote. That is 25 percent of all votes cast in the 2004 Senate election. Although McCain is a federal officeholder not bound by the Arizona Constitution's recall provisions, he has signed a voluntary pledge on file with the Secretary of State's Office agreeing to resign immediately if defeated in a recall election.

I doubt that they will gather enough signatures, but lets play make believe.
If they do get the sigs and the recall goes forward, McCain has a huge warchest to fight the recall and would likely win. But I don't think things would get that far. His pledge says he would resign if he lost, but I think he or others on his behalf would challenge the validity of the recall on Constitutional grounds. The recall provision does not apply to senators, and that will be the basis of a challenge, that I believe would be successful. McCain could not afford to be fighting a recall while running for President, there is no way he lets this get in his way, he will back such an effort to challenge the recall, though probably under the table. (though I could see some other Republican prez candidate quietly funding the defense of the recall)

Besides, we already know that Mr McCain is not a man of his word. HE still walks this Earth after promising to kill himself if the Democrats took back the senate and house.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Free press and Free speech, Can you go too far???

The editor at Central Connecticut State University's newspaper, The Recorder, wote an editorial that seems to have gone just a little too far. In the editorial, he claimed that rape was a positive force and that it benefitted 'ugly women'. Here is the article, taken from the PDF version of the paper (February 7th, page 7):

Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It
Opinion Editor
Most people today would claim that rape is a terrible crime almost akin to murder, but I strongly disagree. Far from a vile act, rape is a magical experience that benefits society as a whole. I realize many of you will disagree with this thesis, but lend me your ears and I’m sure I’ll sway you towards a darkened alley.

If it weren’t for rape, Western Civili¬zation might not exist as we know it today. When the Romans were faced with a dispro¬portionate ratio of women to men in the early kingdom, they had to do something, lest their fledgling society die for lack of sons. To solve their little dilemma, they did what any rea¬sonable man would do: they threw a festival for their Sabine neighbors, and then stole and raped their women. It’s quite logical; in fact I don’t understand why the settlers at Plymouth didn’t do the same to the local Indians—it cer¬tainly would have saved on shipping costs.

Obviously, in the case of the Rape of the Sabines, rape was a tremendous help to society. The Sabine women, for their part, didn’t seem to mind so much, as they threw themselves between their brutish old Sabine husbands and their charming new Roman ones to prevent bloodshed when the Sabine men came to reclaim their wives. Yet even when society was totally against a rape, the raunchy act has benefited society too. Where would the Romans be, after all, if it weren’t for the Rape of Lucretia infuriating the people to the point of overthrowing their last king, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus? If it weren’t for that event, the world might never have had the Roman Republic for a pristine example of flawless government.

Rape’s glorious advantages are not, how¬ever, exclusively found from 2,000-year-examples. In actuality, rape’s advantages very much be seen today. Take ugly women, for example. If it weren’t for rape, how would they ever know the joy of intercourse with man who isn’t drunk? In a society as plastic-conscious as our own, are we really to believe that some man would ever sleep with a girl re¬sembling a wildebeest if he didn’t have a schnapps in him? Of course he wouldn’t—least no self-respecting man would—but there in lies the beauty of rape. No self-respecting man would rape in the first place, so ugly women are guaranteed a romp with not only sober man, but a bad boy too; and we all know how much ladies like the bad boy.

Ugly women are not, however, the only people who benefit from rape—prisoners en¬joy its many perks too. What, after all, could possibly be more boring than spending years of your life confined to some tiny cell 23 hours a day? The answer, of course, is spending years of your life confined to some tiny 23 hours a day and never getting some hot ac¬tion. With rape, prisoners never have to worry about that. Instead, they merely need worry about treating their rapists with enough love and respect to earn a quick reach-around.

But if there is one bread and butter reason for why rape should not only be accepted, even endorsed, it is because our news editors are in dire need of interesting stories for front page. Bookstore stories? Fossils? One dollar coins? Please. Now, some saucy circle-jerk rape action? Yeah, that’s the ticket.
As you can imagine there has been quite an uproar:

Author of Rape Editorial Faces Critics
NEW BRITAIN, Conn. -- A former college newspaper editor who wrote an article describing rape as a "magical experience" apologized to a large crowd of students and faculty at Central Connecticut State University.

John Petroski's Feb. 7 article in The Recorder was headlined, "Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It." It argued that rape has been a positive force in western civilization and benefits "ugly women."

The 23-year-old sophomore history major was removed as the newspaper's opinion editor over the weekend amid protests by campus groups. Critics also demanded the resignation of editor Mark Rowan and the paper's faculty advisers.

Petroski said the article was satire.

"When I hear about girls crying or feeling suicidal over something I wrote, it doesn't make me feel so good," Petroski told the gathering Monday afternoon. "I'm concerned about you, and I want you to hang in there."

One student, Nicki LaPorte, tearfully condemned the article.

"I am not a victim of rape, I am a survivor of rape," LaPorte said.

Rowan, who has no plans to resign, said Petroski will be allowed to continue writing on a limited basis. He said the experience has made him more sensitive.

"Up until now, I had always seen the world from the narrow vantage point of a 21-year-old white male, but now I see that it needs to be broadened," Rowan said.

The newspaper plans to appoint a woman to replace Petroski as opinion editor. The current editorial board has seven men and four women, he said.

When I first read the above article, I was really beginning to doubt my faith and belief in free speech and freedom of the press. I mean, rape is good?? I was appalled that someone would even THINK about writing that. Maybe prior censorship is needed after all. Sure, the young man claims that it was satire, but that was after the fact. People are always finding excuses for their indiscretions and faux pas.

But, after finding the actual editorial and reading it, I think that the young man was actually attempting satire. He just didn't do a good job, and picked a very poor topic to attempt to be Jonathan Swift. Read Swift's A Modest Proposal.

The real question is, should this editor and others be canned (the author was)? After reading this article, I say no. I think that the uproar has taught this kid a lesson. I also think that as offensive as we may find the choice of a topic, we still do have a free press in this country. Giving into a group just because they were upset about the content. I know that this will upset many of my fellow liberals. Before you rush to judgement, think about this: in the 60's there were newspapers that called for equal rights, a very controversial thing to do. Would you have fire these editors? If we are to truly have a free press and free speech (you know, those things mentioned in the Bill of Rights) we must allow unpopular and offensive ideas and statements to stand. Suppressing and oppressing unpopular views and ideas would make this a totalitarian state. I know we all (well, all but a select group @ 1600 Pennsylvania) very much oppose.

Corrupt Intelligence

And this time it it isn't justification for war... or is it???

The former 3rd man in charge at the CIA, Kyle Foggo, is about to be indicted for corruption. Here we have the man who was in charge of the day to day operations of the CIA accused of corruption involving military contracts. He is linked to the same contractor in the Cunningham scandal.

This has to make you wonder if this whole push by the CIA into the Iraq war was motivated by contractor bribes???

Friday, February 09, 2007

Don't be quick to judge....

The murder of three migrants NW of Tucson Wednesday has become a popular topic among some of my fellow liberal bloggers. Two that I read regularly, potential City council candidate Daniel Patterson and Man Eegee, seem to want to tag this as the work of vigilante groups. These vigilante groups have clearly have a negative image among many, myself included, and deservedly so. However, the groups do not have a history of violence as of yet. (Hannigan Brothers Being the exception.) The violent nature of this particular attack indicates it was committed by someone to whom violence is not something that is new to them, but quite a routine thing. If the vigilante groups had gotten to this level of violence, we would have seen a significant number of acts of a lesser violent nature, with the nature of violence increasing steadily. To me, this is clearly NOT the work of vigilantes.

I suspect, and posted so on both of the afore mentioned blogs, that this is quite likely the handiwork of a rival coyote gang. Violence between these coyotes is nothing new. A few years ago there was a running gun battle on I-10 between rival coyotes. There is a lot of money to be made smuggling people. Some of the same groups doing the smuggling are also drug runners. This level of violence is nothing new to them.

I hate the vigilante groups and think that their presence poses more problems than they pretend to solve, but let us be rational in our analysis of the situation and avoid the lynch mob mentality. Otherwise we are no better than they are.