Archive for the ‘Edwards’ Category

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Just End The “War On Terror”

February 22, 2008

Speaking of memos, Newsweek’s Michael Hirsh has an excellent article up today: Memo to President Obama

It is a debate that only Obama can start. McCain won’t bring it up. Nor will Hillary Clinton. Apart from being on the verge of oblivion politically, she is too fully vested in the war on terror, having voted in 2002 to authorize the war in Iraq as part of it. And if that debate doesn’t start, we as a country will be effectively doomed to a “war” that has no prospect of ending. Bush has gradually expanded his definition of the war on terror to include all Islamic “extremists”—among them Hezbollah, Hamas, and other radical political groups that have no ties to Al Qaeda, ideological or otherwise. In doing so the president has plainly condemned us to a permanent war, for the simple reason that we will never be rid of all the terrorists. It is also a war that we will wage by ourselves, since no other nation agrees on such a broadly defined enemy. As Princeton scholar G. John Ikenberry has written, “It is perhaps a paradox—and one that is fitting for the strangeness of our current age—that we will need to end the war against terrorism because we cannot end terrorism.”

This is something that I’ve argued here in the Chamber many, many, many, many times*.  Would Obama have the political courage to change the paradigm in this country?  I’m not sure. 

During one of the presidential debates last April (have they really been going on for that long?), the candidates were asked to raise their hands if they believed that such a thing as a “global war on terror” existed.   Obama, somewhat hesitantly, did raise his hand:

I’m in complete agreement with Hirsh on this.   If we really want “change”, one of the first things we need to do is to start making the distinction between policies of smart counterterrorism and protecting the homeland and a ‘war’ that is, by definition, unwinnable.  John Edwards understood this, but he did a terrible job in articulating it (the “bumper sticker” thing just wasn’t working).  

I really hope Obama gets this memo.

*For a full list of Chamber entries on this issue, check the “war on terror” tag.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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In ’08 Race, Boo Birds Are Not An Endangered Species

January 15, 2008

Seriously, what’s with all the booing?

McCain booed in Michigan…twice; Update: Video added

Clinton booed at MLK rally in New York 

Mitt Romney Gets Booed For Attacking Ron Paul

Obama Booed At NAACP Speech

Giuliani booed on gun control

Ron Paul gets booed at the Univision GOP debate

Edwards gets booed

Brownback Booed For Support Of Federal Amendment On Gay Marriage

It reminds me of the old Chexx bubble hockey game. It had a “boo” button, which was usually pressed after your opponent scored a goal. It got me thinking.  Maybe I should just keep a “boo” track on my site for watching the debates. It might be fun!

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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The CZ Presidential Endorsement Goes To…

January 4, 2008

*drum roll please*

Barack Obama

I’ve been waiting quite a while to announce which way I was leaning in the race, mostly because I wanted to see a few of the debates (just to be sure).  So here it is; The Official Chamber endorsement, for whatever its worth. But unlike all those newspaper endorsements that have been coming out in recent weeks, I’m not going to lay out the case for Barack in one entry. Instead, I’ve decided to break it up a bit. I guess you can consider this post part I.

I’ll start out with what I feel is one of the most important differentiating factors between Obama and the rest of the leading candidates: Iraq.

Unlike Clinton and Edwards, Obama would not have given George Bush a blank check to wage war with the October 2002 AUMF.  Here is a late-2002 video of an interview with the (then) state legislator, where he shared his views on the subject (h/t Andrew Sullivan):

That’s some impressively keen insight, and it scores a lot of Chamber points.  It’s this type of wisdom that makes someone presidential.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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“Supporting” Genocide In Iraq

August 12, 2007

Today I stumbled upon a blog post over at Bloodthirsty Liberal:  Democrats and Genocide

So here’s the tally: Clinton will allow genocide, Obama will allow genocide, and John Edwards will pull troops out, but if a genocide develops, he’ll put them back in.

This seems to be the new talking point on Iraq;  Those who wish to leave Iraq will be responsible for the inevitable genocide that will result.  Here’s a month-old post by Jules Crittenden, where I scoped out this comment:

If genocide is NOT happening presently in Iraq (the Times states that it could happen if we leave), then how could keeping troops in Iraq make things worse????( assuming that genocide IS worse than what we have now).

What am I missing?

First off, genocide is probably a loaded word.  There are, however, those who claim that it is happening now:

BAGHDAD – Iraq’s most senior Sunni politician issued a desperate appeal Sunday for Arab nations to help stop what he called an “unprecedented genocide campaign” by Shiite militias armed, trained and controlled by Iran.

Genocide?  Let’s look at the definition:

gen·o·cide  (jn-sd) n.

The systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group.

I think the key word there is extermination.  To me, it’s always implied a strong force imposing it’s will on a significantly weaker or helpless force.  The Shia certainly outnuber the Sunnis in Iraq, but I’m not sure that the goal is extermination or instead to drive them out of Baghdad.  The difference between “genocide” and “civil war” goes beyond semantics I think.  “Genocide” has a certain “crime against humanity” ring to it, and “civil war” sounds akin to a domestic dispute that wouldn’t otherwise be any of our business.  Maybe all war is a crime against humanity?  Whatever you want to call it, it appears to be happening now.  The real question is whether we can stop it.

What are we doing to stop it, anyway?  Calling for a cease-fire?  Disarming the militias?

But you know, if we leave, it will surely get worse.  The real genocide will begin.

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Are We Clear, Kristol?

July 21, 2007

According to Federal Election Commission figures tabulated by a diarist on Daily Kos, the Q2 donations made my active-duty troops to presidential campaigns breaks down like this:

Anti-war:
Ron Paul 26.23%
Barack Obama 24.02%
Hillary Clinton 11.08%
Bill Richardson 5.59%
John Edwards 2.63%
Joe Biden 0.84%
Mike Gravel 0.16%
Dennis Kucinich 0.05%
Chris Dodd 0%

Pro-war:
John McCain 18.31%
Mitt Romney 4.05%
Rudy Giuliani 2.44%
Mike Huckabee 1.84%
Tom Tancredo 1.63%
Duncan Hunter 1.05%
Sam Brownback 0.07%
Tommy Thompson 0%
Jim Gilmore 0%
John Cox 0%

In other words, 70.6% to anti-war candidates vs. 29.4% for pro-war candidates (although I’m not sure if it’s fair to lump candidates like Brownback or Biden into opposite camps, seeing as they seem to be advocating a similar way forward in Iraq, but you get the idea).

Then, today, we get another wonderful bit of wisdom from William Kristol:  They Don’t Really Support the Troops

Having turned against a war that some of them supported, the left is now turning against the troops they claim still to support. They sense that history is progressing away from them–that these soldiers, fighting courageously in a just cause, could still win the war, that they are proud of their service, and that they will be future leaders of this country. They are not “Shock Troops.” They are our best and bravest, fighting for all of us against a brutal enemy in a difficult and frustrating war. They are the 9/11 generation. The left slanders them. We support them. More than that, we admire them.

–William Kristol

Does anyone else smell that?

groisman_fewgood.jpg
Clear?

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Does Terrorism Have A “Root Cause”?

July 1, 2007

Well, I get back from vacation to see the news this week coming out of the UK, and I felt compelled to put a post up after spotting this thread on LGF:  UK Jihad Doctors

Many of the LGFers pointed out that this kinda shoots a hole in Edward’s plan to fight terrorism (from his website):

As president, Edwards will put America on an offensive footing against those who would harm us. First, Edwards will strengthen our military to better address the threat posed by terrorist groups to the United States. Second, he recognizes what our military commanders have made clear military action is only one of the tools we have to stop terrorism; we have to supplant the lure of violent extremism with the hope of education, opportunity, and prosperity.

After all, if the jihadis in the UK were well paid doctors, so what else would it take to “supplant the lure of violent extremism” in this case?  Many people will also point out that Mohamed Atta (the purported leader of the 9/11 hijackers) was well educated.  Bin Laden himself was prosperous.  What would it take?

Bush, on the other side of the aisle, has long used the talking point that our presence in Iraq is justified as a means for fighting terrorism because the spreading of freedom and liberty will defeat the “hateful ideology”.  It’s a line that actually isn’t too far divorced from Edwards’ (although his doesn’t involve invading countries), as long as you assume that ‘freedom’ provides hope of education, opportunity, and prosperity.

But if there is an emerging problem in the UK (as evidenced by the past weeks events and those of a year ago), and the main perpetrators were already living in a free nation, how can one assume that bringing democracy to Middle Eastern countries like Iraq will ‘defeat’ this ideology?

One thing seems to be certain.  We’ve received plenty of empty rhetoric from our politicians about terrorism.  I haven’t really stumbled across any that make much sense on this issue. 

So what is the root problem?  If you ask many of the LGFers, they’d say that most of the politicians and the media are ignoring the big elephant in the room: Islam.  Of course, the big monkey wrench in that theory has long been the incident involving Tim McVeigh, which still ranks as the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in the history of the US.  McVeigh was not Muslim.  In fact, many acts of terrorism over the years and all over the world have had nothing to do with Islam.

So what is it?  What causes it?  What or who should we be afraid of?  And how do you stop them?  Can you stop them?  Can the threat ever be eliminated? Could it be that the ‘root cause’ of terrorism is more complex? Or, is there a ‘root cause’ at all, beyond hate, anger, and a passion for vengeance?

Sorry if this post appears to be more of a rant than making any specific point.  I guess if this post does have a point, it is that everyone thinks they understand terrorism, while I think that the debate hasn’t really even begun on it even while we’re supposedly fighting a ‘war’ against it. The politics of the day are focused on who is ‘tough’ and ‘weak’ on terrorism, and I’m still not sure exactly what that means.

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WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

May 25, 2007

I had an idea (strange, huh?). Originally I thought it would be neat to add political WordPress.com blogs in a special section of my blogroll, and create my own little community of amateur pundits that use the service. In a way, ALL WP.com bloggers are part of a community already, but I thought I’d start a club just for those who like to talk politics.

Most political bloggers will have blogs from other services in their blogroll.  Not everyone uses WP, after all.  There are advantages to staying within the community, however. One advantage would be ease of commenting. Once you’re logged in, you can hop from blog to blog without having to enter in tedious email info and quickly drop a comment (nice to have avatars too), and all discussions can easily be kept track of through the “my comments” section of our dashboards.  Another advantage: you don’t have to do a lot of work to ping these blogs.  All you have to do is link to a post, and it pings them immediately (leaving a pingback in the comments section).  With other blogs (or blog services), you may have to copy/paste trackback urls, and that can be a bit of a crap shoot.  It can work real slick for some blogs and not work at all for others (or at least I’ve discovered). Yet another advantage is how easy it is to search for tags within the community, but that is less special because services like technorati seem to be dialed into it as well. Anyway, you get the idea….

So, every so often, I’ll click on the WP ‘politics’ tag and check out what people are posting.  If I stumble upon a blog that I haven’t seen before, I’d just add it to the blogroll.  I’ve been adding a couple a week since I started it.  I’m sure there are more, so as time goes on this list will grow in my sidebar (under “wordpress political blogs”)

Then I started thinking. What if we formed some semi-formal alliance? A ‘club’ made up exclusively of WP.com political bloggers (right, left, and center) who could regularly exchange ideas and comment on others’ posts. So far I haven’t seen anything like that. Maybe it’s worth a shot?

I whipped up a ‘club’ button that we can put in the sidebar. You’ll have to forgive my photoshopping skills, but here goes:

wppoliblog1.jpg

If you want to add the button to your blog (it links back to this post), here is the code (with border):

<a href="https://chenzhen.wordpress.com/2007/05/25/wordpress-political-blogger-alliance"><img src="https://chenzhen.files.wordpress.com/2007/05/wppoliblog1.jpg&quot; alt="WordPress Political Blogger" /></a>

WordPress Political Blogger

…and without a border:

<a href="https://chenzhen.wordpress.com/2007/05/25/wordpress-political-blogger-alliance"><img border="0" src="https://chenzhen.files.wordpress.com/2007/05/wppoliblog1.jpg&quot; alt="WordPress Political Blogger" /></a>

WordPress Political Blogger

Update 11/2:  The alliance has become interactive!  The lowdown:

What I’m attemping to create here is a tool that we can use to make our blogs more lively and entertaining.  I’m not really forcing any obligations on anyone, so I don’t want you to get the impression that going along with this means that there’s going to be a whole list of expectations (beyond etiquette).  You don’t have to respond to every ping.   Just so you know.  

If you want to participate, there are just a few details…

  1. In order for this to work smoothly, everyone needs to create a page that can be pinged.  It took me about 2 min. to make mine: https://chenzhen.wordpress.com/wp-political-blogger-alliance/ .  And I need to know the link so that I can consolidate them, so just post it in that thread or respond in email once you’ve whipped it up.  That’s really the only requirement.  A handful of you already have done this, and the pings work beautifully.  The idea here is to compose a code that is easy to paste in your post that allows you to ping everyone in the alliance at the same time.*
  2. I don’t really like the idea of any one blogger “abusing” the tool by using it to try to dominate the discussion.  In other words, if you’re calling out and pinging the alliance 3 times a day it might get a little annoying.  Sure, it’s easy enough to just ignore such a thing, but nevertheless I think it would be akin to blog whoring just for the sake of blog whoring.  It’s kind of a fine line, and we’ll probably tweak the guidelines as we go forward, but for now I’ll stick with a rule of 1 per day max.  No minimums, since some of you might prefer to comment only.  And, it probably goes without saying, but we don’t want to double up on a topic either, so try to make sure that a story or headline hasn’t already had pings sent by someone else first.  If it has, and you’ve got your own unique analysis that you just spent like 2 hrs on, just link to that thread in your post instead.  We’ll see it.  Make sense?
  3. Be somewhat civilized.  This might be the hard part, ’cause a) there’s a very diverse crowd being pinged and b) it’s the internet.  In debate, you win by attacking the argument or idea, and you lose once you resort to attacking the person (there is a difference).  Keep that mindset, and we’ll be fine.  That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy a good blog war.  This will be a bit of a free-for-all, so I hope people are relatively thick-skinned when it comes to having  logic, facts, position, etc. challenged.  We’ll just have to see how this goes, cause I’m not sure if anyone has really tried anyting like this before. 
  4. This is about “politics”, so use the “politics” tag/category when you post, and only send the pings when you post about “politics”.  You might have a cool car, for example, but please don’t ping the whole group to show off the latest pics you just posted.  Also, consistent use of the “politics” tag in general means more views from the wider wordpress.com audience.

Luckily, it’s pretty easy as individuals to block urls and IP’s if #2 or 3 becomes a problem for someone.

* The up-to-date code can always be found in my sidebar (——>): 

Founder of the

WordPress Political Blog Alliance

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

Simply copy the “WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance” and paste it at the bottom of your post. Once your post is published, it will send a ping back to everyone in the alliance.  Easy!

Update 11/4: A tag (category) specifically for the alliance:

WordPress Political Blogs

Create the “WordPress Political Blogs” category and add it to your alliance-oriented posts.  In2thefray and I have already added the RSS feed for this tag in our sidebars, so we can see the latest offerings right on our blogs:

RSS WP.com political blog alliance

Even better, if everyone uses the tag consistently, the above link will provide a great chronological record of the posts within the alliance. In addition, you will have a record of your own contributions to the alliance in your sidebar (assuming you have added the “categories” widget).  Remember to use “WordPress Political Blogs” exactly (alternate spellings and abbreviations will be a different tag, technically)