Friday, January 07, 2005

Washington State GOP Demands New Election for Governor

Bulworth has been pondering this request-demand-plea by the Washington State GOP to have a new election in their state for Governor, after their candidate was declared the loser in the recount.

It seems to me that there are two avenues for my other party friends in that state to pursue in this matter. One, is the legal angle, to which all Bulworth can suggest is that you file a lawsuit or whatever it is that good Republicans do when all else fails.

The second, is of the public relations variety, whereby, at their insistence, and with the widespread good favor the Republican Party has engendered among peoples of all persuasions in the past several years both in Washington and across the nation by their good deeds, kind words, and overall cooperative and Christ-like behavior, they can appeal to a citizenry and opposition party that will be desirous of aiding them in their time of need.

But you need to ask nicely. And say "please".

On second thought, never mind. No, you don't get to have a new election.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Some 1 Million Overseas Iraqis May Vote

However, there has been no decision by the interim Iraqi government to a request by Republican Party members to challenge these ballots, which some Republicans believe may be fraudulent, or consist of known sympathizers of Saddam Hussein's Baathist Party.

"We don't know who these people are" remarked Republican Party spokeswoman, Phyllis Shafterfly. "And we know for a fact that many of them do not reside at the addresses to which they registered. At considerable expense we mailed them special registered letters, many of which were returned to us unopened or unsigned", Ms. Shafterfly said.

Still other Republican Party officials complained about the flood of registerants as indicating fraudulent activity by mischevious parties desiring to increase turnout among poorer Iraqis and democratic participation overall. "These people (sic) have no experience at all in voting or with democratic values. It is unlikely they are aware of the issues involved in their election and for that reason, we believe they should not be allowed to cast ballots," said the Republican Party Deputy in charge of elections in Bagdad.

The newly established cable television news media in Iraq is also skeptical of election participation by these foreign Iraqi's. "They don't even live here", explained Bill O'Really, host of the highly rated "Baghdad Factor".

Still other Republican officials in Baghdad expressed hope regarding other efforts to limit the suffrage such as by shredding and discarding ballots from certain jurisdictions or for members registed for parties deemed to be "terrorist" in nature, and by widely circulated reminders that only those Iraqi's with special photo identifications or property deeds--both of which are highly rare among Iraqi's still alive after the U.S. bombing and insurgent attacks--may vote in the upcoming elections, regardless of whether they live in Iraq or the U.S.

We're optimistic that the large majority of these so-called "one million likely voters" will not have their votes counted", stated the head of the Iraqi State Republican Party.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Still in the Holiday Spirit

If you have a lefty blog and would like it listed in the links to the side, write and let me know.

Conservative Contempt for Freedom and Democracy

I swiped this from Left2Right:

Conservatives used to be stunningly forthright in their contempt for equality and dignity. Here's Edmund Burke in 1791 -- once again, kudos to the good folks at the Liberty Fund for getting this stuff online -- sputtering over democratic citizenship and officeholding: "I can never be convinced, that the scheme of placing the highest powers of the state in churchwardens and constables, and other such officers, guided by the prudence of litigious attorneys and Jew brokers, and set in action by shameless women of the lowest condition, by keepers of hotels, taverns, and brothels, by pert apprentices, by clerks, shop-boys, hair-dressers, fiddlers, and dancers on the stage ... can never be put into any shape, that must not be both disgraceful and destructive."

Liberals and democrats won the battle on voting rights, and the sky didn't fall. (A conservative friend once confided in me that no, the universal franchise "wasn't a great idea," but he sighed and agreed it was ludicrous to contest it now. A minor but delicious historical irony is how conservatives of a traditionalist stripe embrace the victories of yesteryear's liberals, the ones their own ancestors so bitterly contested.) Against frantic opposition and predictions of doom, liberals and democrats also won the battle against restricting marriage to same-race couples. (In the trial that launched those legal proceedings, the judge declared, "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.") The ongoing battle over gay marriage is just farther down the same road, which is not to say that gay marriage stands or falls with voting rights or interracial marriage.

Yeah, it's a shame America's not the same country it was in 1789, huh? Remember this vision of the conservative "ideal" the next time you hear about the need for "strict constructionalist" judges and other attempts to turn back the clock on individual liberty.

Everything's Black and White--Except When It's Not--Morally Absolute Politics II

If like me you're confused by conservatives who claim to believe in moral values and to support moral absolution in the political arena but seem to have a strangely selective--and highly self-serving and self-justifying--process for determining when such moral absolute distinctions apply, then you're not alone.

But I'm here to help. Here are some clues to recognize when the issue shouldn't be viewed through the lense of morality or absolute values:

1. If the certain something is an emblem or matter of "heritage". This "heritage" idea comes around a lot when someone wants to wear a confederate flag on their prom dress, paint a confederate flag on their pick up truck, or include a confederate flag symbol in their state's State flag, or attend functions sponsored by associations that celebrate the "historic South". While not celebrating the slavery of the old South, or even the segregation of the past mid century South, mind you, although if they could reverse those decisions, they would, all the conservatives really want us to know is that if something seems unjust to us or others, then we're guilty of "political correctness".

2. When the conservatives "aren't especially interested in the subject". Such apparently is the case with blubberline and the Tom Delay affair(s). Just not interesting. So no moral issues at stake here.

3. If the issue involves guns and shooting defenseless animals.

4. If the issue involves "patriotism" or a war for whatever purpose and conducted in whatever manner against whatever enemy even if said enemy was once and not long before an ally of ours, so long as it's sponsored by a Republican administration and can be used to generate profits for American military companies and serve as a wedge issue to keep flagwaving, jingoistic concerns up front and other less comfortable, social welfare or civil liberties issues to the back.

5. If from the perspective of conservatives, the initiators or the subject of an issue are "politically motivated" or "notorious partisans", than the issue doesn't fall under the perview of morally absolute politics.

6. If the conservative is "just kidding around" about torture or exterminating non-Christians.

So what's the lesson for progressives here?

To be like a conservative when challenged on an issue and avoid being pelted with the stones of moral absolution we need to claim that our position is based on either a matter of (a) "heritage"; (b) patriotism; (c) our "just not being very interested in the subject"; (d) our need to just "let off some steam"; and that our opponents are (e) politically motivated, notoriously partisan hacks and; (f) persecuting us with "political correctness".

Please feel free to add any additional items as necessary.

Conservatives and Fascism

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Patriotism as Instinct

I was rereading C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity this weekend and noticed where he mentioned patriotism in the context of his defense of a higher moral right that was separate from an "instinct" to do good or to save others or whatever. Basically, Lewis included patriotism as one of several instincts that were neither good or bad, but which like other instincts, like let's say the sex instinct for argument sake, which needed to be regulated by a higher morality. This made me think of how conservatives have made patriotism in general, and "support" for our troops in particular an absolute moral value, a kind of a mandatory social response that presumably one should not question. But it is not. As Lewis notes, patriotism can be taken to an extreme where the absolute right or good is forgotten, and other people are made to suffer unjustifiably.

I was thinking of this line of argument when I happened upon James Wolcott's site this morning and read this post on the article from The Economist about the American conduct of the ongoing war in Iraq. After a holiday of continued tributes to "the troops" on every program from football to beer ads, I wonder at what point we raise the issue of our troops' conduct and attitude and of the overall war effort. The "support the troops" rally cry is the hallmark of political correctness and is pressed on us in a subtle but emphatic attitude that warns off dissent for the war, defended always in the name of "fighting for our freedom". But everyone except Faux News and knows the war there has nothing to do with our freedom.

A couple weeks ago, one of my blogging colleagues (Roger Ailes or No More Mister Nice Blog, I can't remember which), reflected on their sympathy for the troops and concluded that they supported the troops (and presumably their families)--to a point. It's hard to say what I or any of us would do there were we trying to survive, but the troops have for voluntary and to a large extent for attitudinal and ideological reasons put themselves in the position of armed warrior in a hostile land serving at the whim of their CIC, who, surveys tell us, they support.

So, for reasons relating to moral right, I don't think the troops should be off limits to criticism, or their political (but not economic) supporters given a free pass on the "values issues" given their blind and relativist support for American military operations there and anywhere, whenever a Republican president and Republican congress are in charge.

New Year, Same Old "Christian Right"

I suspect the reason for the dirth of commentary on the Tsunami from our friends on the Christian Right is they figure it's a creation of the "liberal media", and is, at best, unworthy of their attention, and at worst, represents a diversion from the really vital issues like gays, Christmas, and the need for more "strict constructionist" judges.