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March 21, 2006

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Congrats on being a finalist!

To play the devil's advocate:
I think many of us take a great amount of time and thought into detailing why various policies and acts by the Bush administration are wrong. However, I never do hear any suggestions of how to protect America. To be specific, how would the left protect America?

IntricateHelix: I have, shall we say, extensive views on this, and it would be nuts to try to spell them all out. However, a few highlights:

(a) After 9/11 (if not before), I would have embarked on a major effort to do what it takes to make the homeland more secure. (Added benefit: it would have stimulated the economy much more than Bush's ill-designed tax cuts.) Port security, securing critical infrastructure and chemical plants, etc. This administration has done a lousy job of that.

(b) I think that part of securing the country is maintaining our freedom of action by reducing the extent to which we have depend on other countries, possibly not very pleasant ones. As best I can tell, this administration hasn't been thinking this way at all. It has done next to nothing to promote energy independence, and thus has left us dependent on such delightful countries as Saudi Arabia. It has let the deficit go out of control, thus making us dependent on the continued willingness of e.g. China to buy our debt. (I don't think a lot of people realize just how dependent we are on other countries in this respect.) Etc. Changing this matters for national security.

(c) No invading countries that do not, in fact, pose a threat to us. I would have kept the focus on Osama bin Laden, and would have avoided a war that plays into his hands while tying our army down.

(d) Like I said: keep the focus on terrorists. Work hard. Don't get distracted.

(e) I would have gotten serious about nuclear non-proliferation and securing loose nukes. Letting countries like N. Korea get nuclear weapons, and leaving existing nuclear weapons scattered around Russia barely secured, is just stupid.

(f) I would have really tried to do right by Afghanistan. Besides being the right thing to do, it would have been smart: do a really good job of reconstruction and creating the conditions in which democracy can take root (e.g., basic law and order); help Afghanistan to become a functioning state; then leave. This would have surprised the hell out of al Qaeda, and would have been very visible to Afghanstan's neighbors, which include Iran and Pakistan.

(g) Basic diplomacy (as opposed to insulting everyone in sight) wouldn't hurt either, especially since a lot of other countries can help us a lot in tracking down terrorists.

(h) Trying to deal with other threats before, rather than after, they become serious.

That's just what occurs to me off the top of my head. A lot of is is common among e.g. serious Dem. candidates for President in '04.

Vote cast. So many incredibly good nominees; so much fine writing!

From a midnight elliptical prose contributor to one of the Graham amendment threads on this site, I offer my somewhat embarrassed praise. The series was evocative of the country's spirit.
Of course, ethicists know how to tug upon the heart strings.
In a more direct way, I believe you have done a lot to stimulate thought on this complex matter.
I argee with your proscription against insulting everyone in sight at the wilde west rodeo; but that is how inexperienced politicians first approach a complicated job, evidently. Now, if the voting machines record the actual votes, and the Supreme Court remains dignified and well tempered, the next two phased elections will remedy some of these malfeasances in harmonious fashion.
I think the obstacles within the dynamic of governing by this administration were numerous and puzzling to our leaders; and in times of crisis, over-regulation is a kind of (ill-advised) reflexive approach: for one, upon entering office, the Bush administration was vocally against 'nation-building', which was their prime identity during the campaign to distinguish themselves from the prior administration which they told voters was disgraced because of its inclusion of nation building among its priorities.
Seems now, however, only a coinage of a new word for process ongoing among many nations as we exist in a milieu of commerce and civilized exchange.
I leave the remainder of the thread to your many experts who have built an ample supply of alternatives, which you so nicely summarize in your alphabetic list.
Congratulations on your nomination. Most deserved.
John Lopresti

Since it's an open thread:

"On Wednesday, March 1, 2006,in Annapolis at a
hearing on the proposed Constitutional Amendment
to prohibit gay marriage, Jamie Raskin, professor
of law at American University, was requested to
testify.

At the end of his testimony, Republican Senator
Nancy Jacobs said: "Mr.Raskin, my Bible says
marriage is only between a man and a woman.
What do you have to say about that?"

Raskin replied: "Senator, when you took your
oath of office, you placed your hand on the
Bible and swore to uphold the
Constitution. You did not place your hand on
the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

The room erupted with applause."

From an email recently forwarded to me. Urban myth or the real deal? You decide (or google).

And, JFTR, hilzoy, I'd vote for you for pretty much anything.

hilzoy: I brought the topic up because I am dissapointed that democratic members of congress don't fight enough for what they believe the best course of action should be. Not that Bush would even listen to them, but its important to continually spell of what the course of action should be. I do not think democratic members of congress are playing as tough as they could be and it is to say, at the very least... a bit frustrating!

Xanax, I'm committing that one to memory for future use. I have sworn many an oath, and I get real tired of defending non-promotion of religion to the body politic.

"You decide (or google)."

Hardly an effort:

"Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You didn't place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

-Jamie Raskin, testifying Wednesday, March 1, 2006 before the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in response to a question from Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs about whether marriage discrimination against gay people is required by "God's Law."

Of course, that it was on candidate Raskin's webpage doesn't mean it happened that way, but it's a source.

Thanks, for the "solid" research Gary. And by the way, I for one missed your input on hilzoy's "State Meme" tagging. And, another by the way: welcome back from where'ere you been.

Applause! The work of the series in informing the public was a mitzvah.
Same thing I posted on Jesus' General:
Those of you who are going over to DovBear's for Deserving of Wider Recognition, please read the comments. 70% of the time, they are better than the post, and they establish the atmosphere. (I am sorry that Heshy came back. Heshy is a certified troll.) DB has a very, very uphill climb in this category. He has probably already lost the anti-organized-religion vote before he began.
In fact, I think he was stunned to be a finalist.

I visited DovBear, among other Koufax sites I wasn't familiar with, and I'm a bit surprised, too. It seems good-hearted and earnest. But it's, um, specialized. I just don't have the background to understand many of the posts.

The Medium Lobster explains what needs to be done:

Oh, terrorists would still be aware the U.S. was trying to wiretap them, but they wouldn’t know it was trying to wiretap them illegally. Now that information has fallen into enemy hands, and it could be used to orchestrate the most dangerous attacks on the American government the United States has ever known: censure, Congressional hearings, or even an independent investigation – all of which could prove devastating in the Global War Against the President’s Approval Ratings.

[...]

Tragically, Senator DeWine’s bill simply doesn’t go far enough. It’s one thing to ban journalists from talking about the NSA program, but what’s truly needed is a law to prevent the public from thinking about it.

I'm sure Jeff Goldstein would approve.

Celebrate the third anniversary of Fafblog's founding!

Today's Detainee law news on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit hearings on the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005.

Cripes, the details of this story are awful.

Specter has scheduled a hearing on censure.

Berman vs. Fukuyma. Discuss.

Does anyone besides me read these open threads?

Here's a question: what is there to see and do in Bangladesh? I'm going on a Habitat for Humanity global village trip there in late April/early May for two weeks, and I have about three-four days free to travel on my own. Anyone been before and have any recommendations?

Since this post has now scrolled off the sidebar list, after Hilzoy's two latest, maybe it is now time for a new open thread?

Meanwhile, anyone want to read this, and talk some chipper happy talk about the good news from Iraq that isn't making it into the MSM? Anyone? I don't think going to Iraq The Model is going to be much use any more, for that. Anyone know any happy Iraqi blogger with cheery news they'd like to point to?

Yeah, I didn't think so. But surprise me.

Sorry McMasterchef: bangladesh I've never been to. I've read that there is some beautifull jungle you can go to by boat (Sundarbans), and that the capital Dhaka is well worth a visit with quite a few nice attractions.

You get around! Japan, Bangladesh...

And yes Gary, I read, but do not have much to add. Ill husband, ill kids, social engagements and a need for at least 6 hours of sleep per night...

Hope the illness passes, as well as the other stress, DM.

Why do Republicans favor chemical attacks on America?

Yeah, an inflamnatory way of putting it. Pretend that the RNC made this as an anti-Democratic (sorry, "anti-Democrat") commercial, and then get to the real issue.

Gafy: I read about that years ago, and allready assumed not much had changed in that particular vulnerability. Though I also feel that you can try to make the country less vulnerable, but you cannot make it invulnerable (same goes for the Netherlands, obviously).

tnxs for good wishes: with three little kids liberally spreading virussses it might be a while before we are less eh...... vulnerable :) I'm afraid.

About democratic/democrat: I remember in the old pre-911 days Republicans hammering me for stating the the US was a democracy. It was a Republic, they told me, and that was appearantly totally different from what a wacky European like me called a 'democracy'. Which resulted in me regularly translating 'democracy' with Republic if the right wing speaks - makes reading Bush's speeches kind of funny...

That should be Gary of course, sorry for the typo.

Since this seems to be the only open thread current: this piece by Kingdaddy is very recommendable.

Back to the V for Vendetta thinking: what is allowed and what is not allowed in fighting the good fight. Hilzoy has stated a few times that in order to keep the moral high ground you have to obey the objectively deductible moral rules. But for effective counterterrorism you have to have inside info - and thus you have to condone their practises where you could have stopped them. Or, as in this case, even participate for the higher good.

It raises some serious and very hard to answer questions, for me at least.

Hey, LJ: here is something on Iranian politics for ya (and everyone else).

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