.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


news & opinion with no titillating non-news from the major non-news channels.


I am: progressive, not a wild-eyed Progressive; liberal, but shun liberals and Liberals; conservative, but some Conservatives worry me; absolutely NOT a libertarian. I am: an idealist, but no utopian; a pragmatist, but no Machiavellian. I am a realist who dreams.


I welcome all opinions.

Monday, January 31, 2005

week in review - in collection

fox news
- bird flu takes another victim in Vietnam
- 2 Vietnam priests, critics of the Vietnamese government, released from prison for "having well reformed themselves" according to Vietnam
- Kerry calls for more UN efforts in Iraq, accuses Bush
- Kennedy calls for immediate and definitive timetable for troop withdrawal
- Lieberman supports Bush
- China, US begins talks on defense matters over Taiwan Straits, 6-way talks over N. Korea
- Iraq elections poll 8 million voters; 9 suicide bombers kill 35; terrorist group claims credit for downing British transport with anti-tank missle as it flew at low attitude killing 10 Brits
- Kerry: "no one should overhype election", "it may not even be a legitimate election", "
- Kennedy - "the American military has become part of the problem, not the solution"
- Lieberman disagrees fully, (Kerry) "it wouldn't have happened without the American military" (Kennedy) "I wish Teddy had waited three days later" "Democrat Party has many voices" "I wish there was less carping about the past"

Sunday, January 30, 2005

from the Desk of the Other Senator from Massachussets

Fred Barnes from the Weekly Standard takes the Democrats to task for "taking the moral high ground" when in fact they are engaged in "a failed strategy" of "blatant obstructionism". Sen. Kennedy gave a speech that sounded like the successful strategy of the then-future Sen. Kerry when he called for an unconditional public commitment for American military withdrawal from Vietnam nearly 30 years ago, a position that most people now realize just made the Viet Cong more intransigent in the Paris "Peace" talks.

Here is the Other Senator's own words on the eve of Iraq's first democratic election in over 40 years:

We need a serious course correction, and we need it now. We must make it for the American soldiers who are paying with their lives. (we need to stay the course and fulfill the commitments we made to Iraq and the commitments those soldiers paid for with their lives - ed. note)...
It (the insurgency) is also becoming more intense and adaptable. The bombs are bigger and more powerful. The attacks have greater sophistication. (I guess the Senator hasn't been watching the news out of Iraq on election day - ed. note) ...
We have the finest military in the world. (no thanks to you or your other MA Senatorial collegue - ed. note) ...
the goal of our military presence should be to allow the creation of a legitimate, functioning Iraqi government, not to dictate it. (exactly - ed. note) ...
Creating a full-fledged democracy won’t happen overnight. (ibid - ed. note) ...
The process cannot begin in earnest until Iraqis have full ownership of that transition. (ibid - ed. note) ...
If we want Iraq to develop a stable, democratic government, America must assist -- not control -- the newly established government. (ibid - ed. note) ...
Unless Iraqis have a genuine sense that their leaders are not our puppets, the election cannot be the turning point the Administration hopes. (ibid - ed. note)...
America must give Iraq back to the Iraqi people. ...
We need to let the Iraqi people make their own decisions, reach their own consensus, and govern their own country. ...
The Iraqi people are facing historic issues—the establishment of a government, the role of Islam, and the protection of minority rights. ...
The United States and the international community have a clear interest in a strong, tolerant and pluralistic Iraq, free from chaos and civil war. (ibid, ibid - ed. note) ...
At least 12,000 American troops and probably more should leave at once, to send a stronger signal about our intentions and to ease the pervasive sense of occupation. ...
America’s goal should be to complete our military withdrawal as early as possible in 2006. ...

Ok, enough is enough. America's goal should be to demonstrate support for the democratic forces of Iraq. Abandoning Iraq to the dangers Sen Kennedy describes (chaos, civil war) does not demonstrate commitment. Does the not-so-good Senator understand what brought this electoral opportunity to the Iraqi people?

Evil: The Holocaust Revisitied 60 years later

Some excerpts from some of the speeches at Auschwitz:


Galicia Jewish Museum
Krakow, Poland

January 2005

I remember reading General Eisenhower's account of seeing one of the Nazi death camps at the end of World War II. He wrote, and I quote: I visited every nook and cranny of the camp because I felt it my duty to be in a position from then on to testify at first hand about these things in case it ever grew up at home the belief or the assumption that the stories of Nazi brutality were just propaganda. Eisenhower was one of the many who were determined to let the world know what happened, and to ensure that the evidence be kept so that the terrible truth could never be forgotten or erased. We have the preservation of memory at the camps themselves and for these last 60 years, we will have lived amongst survivors of the camps, ... Today many Holocaust survivors have children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. That, I believe, is the greatest victory of all. Evil did not have the final say. You survived terror. You have let the world know the truth, and you have preserved the memory of those who perished here. ... these great evils of history were perpetuated not in some remote uncivilized part of the world, but in the very heart of the civilized world. Men without conscience are capable of any cruelty the human mind can imagine. ...

Juliusz Slowacki Theater
Krakow, Poland

January 2005

On this day in 1945, inside a prison for the innocent, liberators arrived and looked into the faces of thousands near death - while, miles beyond the camp, many thousands more were being led on a death march in the winter cold.

Inside barbed wire, and behind high walls, soldiers found "baths" that were not baths ... and hospitals meant not to heal but to kill ... and the belongings of hundreds of thousands who had vanished.


The story of the camps reminds us that evil is real, and must be called by its name, and must be confronted.

First Lady Bush

10th Anniversary of the Holocaust Memorial Museum

June 2003

... we will never understand the Holocaust. I thought I knew my history, but when I visited Auschwitz a few weeks ago, I realized there are things textbooks can't teach. They can't teach you how to feel when you see prayer shawls or baby shoes left by children being torn from their mothers - or prison cells with the scratch marks of attempted escape.


Auschwitz, Poland

May 2003

The sites (Auschwitz) are a sobering reminder that -- of the power of evil and the need for people to resist evil

Remarks by the President in Days of Remembrance Observance
United States Capitol
Washington, D.C.

April 2001

During the war, a Nazi guard told Simon Wiesenthal that in time no one would believe his account of what he saw. Evil on so grand a scale would seem incredible. Yet, we do not just believe, we know. We know because the evidence has been kept, the record has been preserved.


Their crimes show the world that evil can slip in and blend in, amid the most civilized of surroundings. In the end, only conscience can stop it, and moral discernment and decency and tolerance. These can never be assured in any time or in any society. They must always be taught.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Ramsey Clark: "Evil Doesn't Exist"

This morning, on NPR's Weekend Edition - Saturday, Ramsey Clark, one of forty (?!) members of Saddam's legal defense team, declared that he doesn't believe evil exists". This was in the context of how Saddam has been "demonized" by his American captors with respect to his legal rights. While I might agree that evil (and even good) cannot be personified or even deified, that doesn't mean evil, as even an abstract concept, does not exist. Clark went on to explain that people do bad things, but that is not the same as evil.


If there is any qualitative difference in the American psyche between pre- and post-9/11, it has got to be this: the majority of Americans now believe that evil, like consciousness, is something created out of our own existence and is greater than the mere composition of its creator.

Evil has as much existence as the soul.

I guess Clark believes he is only ten or twenty dollars of highly organized chemicals.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Iraqi Elections:no time for dissent

Well, we're in the final stretch. Elections are three weeks away. Now is not the time for dissent. Hu-rah!