Todd Zywicki posts yet again about why "intellectual diversity" in academia is necessary for a liberal education (no pun intended). But, like many conservatives, he dodges the question of why there is a lack of "intellectual diversity" in the first place. I think that Pat Moynihan said it best when he commented that "you are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts". What modern conservatism seems to be all about is the development of one's own facts. When conservatives didn't like the facts of global warming, they made their own. When they didn't like the fact that Saddam didn't have terror links or WMD, they made their own. And the list goes on. There are some issues where a legitimate difference of opinion exists; most of these are religious social issues, where the fundamental difference is one of faith. But many conservative policies are based on a foundation of lies. These range from tax cuts, to Social Security privatization, to the war in Iraq, to opposition to Kyoto. I could list dozens more. If conservatives are going to be taken seriously in academia, they are going to have to start caring about what's true and what's false. After all, that's what academia is all about.
New documents found in the files of the former East German intelligence services confirm the 1981 assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II was ordered by the Soviet KGB and assigned to Bulgarian agents, an Italian daily said on Wednesday.
The Corriere della Sera said that the documents found by the German government indicated that the KGB ordered Bulgarian colleagues to carry out the killing, leaving the East German service known as the Stasi to coordinate the operation and cover up the traces afterwards.
Bulgaria then handed the execution of the plot to Turkish extremists, including Mehmet Ali Agca, who pulled the trigger.
Is this enough to put the nail in the coffin of liberation theology? For years, this ideology claimed that Marxism was necessary for the fulfillment of Catholic teachings. Now it appears that the most prominent Marxists in the world ordered the assassination of the leader of Catholicism, presumably for his support of Solidarity in Poland. Is that really fulfilling Catholic teachings? Killing the pope? Disgusting.
Matt Yglesias links approvingly to a post that singles out neoconservative support for "benevolent hegemony" for criticism. While the war in Iraq and the neoconservative "democracy promotion" agenda most definitely deserve to be attacked, the principle of "benevolent hegemony" is a good one. The U.S., most would agree, is the most power nation on earth. "Hegemony" is a good term for that. As we're in this position, doesn't it make sense to use it "benevolently"? What we should criticize is not this fundamental principle, but the neoconservative definition of "benevolent". Their definition is inherently unworkable, due to worldwide nationalist opposition to democracy promotion. However, if we were to embrace benevolence defined as, say, stopping genocide or other forms of humanitarian intervention, would that necessarily be a bad thing? I think we can agree that it's better than just sitting back and doing nothing with our power.
Barack Obama's stock has just gone down by a lot in my book:
Early Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., sent an appeal over the Internet urging people to contribute to the re-election campaign of Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va.
In less than 24 hours, more than 15,000 contributors gave $634,000 to Byrd’s campaign, according to the National Journal’s daily Internet publication “Hotline.” The average donation was about $42.25.
In Obama’s appeal, sent out by the MoveOn Political Action Committee, he wrote, “In 2006, Senator Byrd will be the target of Republicans because he stands up for what he believes. Will you join me in supporting Senator Byrd’s campaign for re-election, before a critical deadline this Thursday?”
Obama told The Charleston Gazette on Wednesday, “Sen. Byrd has spent his career in the Senate standing up for the Constitution and putting principle over politics. The people of West Virginia are lucky to have such a distinguished and powerful advocate fighting for them who consistently delivers results.”
Hat-tip Taegan Goddard. Let's get a few things straight: Robert Byrd is a disgusting excuse for a human being. He is a former KKK leader, a racist, a homophobe, and a disgrace to the Democratic party. It was bad enough when our party let him become Senate Majority Leader, and later Senate President Pro Tempore. But for our rising star, a black man, no less, to endorse this piece of scum is disgusting. Byrd is one of few remnants left of the dark days when our party defended slavery, sided with the Confederacy, fought Reconstruction, and opposed the Civil and Voting Rights Acts. If anything, we should endorse his Republican opponent in 2006, or else run a primary opponent. He certainly deserves it.
Sometimes, a blogger writes a post that is just so brilliant, insightful, and correct that it commenting on it would only diminish its greatness. This post, by Kevin Drum, is one of those posts. Read the whole thing, and pay attention. It's the best thing you'll read all year.
If someone were to tell you that the Bush administration used federal dollars to hire Republican party staffers to impersonate Secret Service officers in order to intimidate political opponents, you most likely wouldn't believe them. And you'd most likely be wrong:
Very rarely does the everyday public get a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes in a normally-secret Bush Administration.
But Monday, March 28, the Secret Service called three everyday people into their offices to discuss why we were kicked out of a presidential event in Denver last week where Bush promoted his plan to privatize Social Security. What they revealed to us and our lawyer was fascinating.
There we were - three people who had personally picked up tickets from Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez's office and went to a presidential event. But as we entered, we were told that we had been "ID'ed" and were warned that any disruption would get us arrested.
After being seated in the audience we were forcibly removed before the President arrived, even though we had not been disruptive. We were shocked when told that this presidential event was a "private event" and were commanded to leave.
More astonishingly, when the Secret Service was contacted the next day they agreed to meet with us this Monday, March 28 to discuss the circumstances surrounding our removal. We had two big questions going into this meeting:
How is the Bush Administration "ID'ing" citizens before presidential events?
Why was an official taxpayer-funded event called a "private event" - leading to citizens being kicked out?
Most shocking of all, we got answers to both questions.
The Secret Service revealed that we were "ID'ed" when local Republican staffers saw a bumper sticker on the car we drove which said "No More Blood For Oil." Evidently, the free speech expressed on one bumper sticker is cause enough to eject three citizens from a presidential event. (Similarly, someone was ejected from Bush's Social Security privatization event in Arizona the same day simply for wearing a Democratic t-shirt.)
The Secret Service also revealed that ticket distribution and staffing of the Social Security event was run by the local Republican Party. They wanted us to be clear that it was a Republican staffer - not the Secret Service - who kicked us out of the presidential event. But this revealed something else that should be startling to all Americans.
After allowing taxpayers to finance his privatization events (let's call them what they really are after all,) and after using the White House communications apparatus to set them up, Bush is privatizing the ticket distribution and security staffing at his events to the Republican Party. The losers are not just taxpayers, but anyone who values the First Amendment. Under the banner of a "private event" the Republican Party is excluding citizens from seeing their president because of the lone sin of expressing the wrong idea on a bumper sticker or t-shirt. The question for Americans is - will we allow our freedom to be privatized?
Hat-tip Josh Marshall. You know, we have a phrase for activities such as this. It's called the "crushing of dissent".
Starbucks has recently begun putting famous, thought-provoking quotes on coffee cups, for reasons unknown to basically everyone. Anyway, it seems that conservatives, having the victim complex that they do, seem to think that the quotes are liberally biased. At first I dismissed this as ridiculous, as these people are, after all, idiots. However, I decided to see some of the quotes, just for kicks. I went first to the featured author page. And guess who the first featured author was? Noted liberal Jonah Goldberg. Seriously, Goldberg's not just a conservative, he's a stupid-beyond-belief conservative. If anything, lumping him together with the other quotes suggests a conservative bias, as anything thought-provoking that comes out of Goldberg's mouth is purely accidental. But those Seattle latte-makers just have to be liberal. They sound too French not to be.
In other news, Jesse Jackson, the adulterer who somehow thinks he has any credibility when it comes to morality, has entered the fight to prolong the life of a person with a liquid brain:
The Rev. Jesse Jackson arrived Tuesday at Terri Schiavo's hospice and called on Florida lawmakers to have the brain-damaged woman's feeding tube reinserted.
"This is one of the profound moral, ethical issues of our time, the saving of Terri's life," the civil rights leader said. "And today we pray for a miracle."
Let's see that one line again:
"This is one of the profound moral, ethical issues of our time, the saving of Terri's life."
He honestly thinks that one of the "profound moral, ethical issues of our time" is saving a single person's life? He doesn't want to put genocide, or abortion, or sexual freedom up there? Not murder, or war? No, just Terri Shiavo? Okay then.
The man responsible for letting a murderer go free, for exacerbating racial tensions in America, and for making the use of race as a defense acceptable rather than ridiculous, has died:
Famed attorney Johnnie Cochran, 67, perhaps best known for his defense of O.J. Simpson, died Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles.
"Johnnie Cochran was a loving, heartful human being who cared about everybody," said Pastor William Epps of the Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles, which Cochran attended for 18 years.
Everybody, that is, except Nicole Brown Simpson. I think everything that Johnnie Cochran did to America can be summed up by one line in a Chapelle's Show skit. Dave Chapelle is being questioned as a potential jury member in the O.J. trial, and is asked by the prosecution if, considering the plethora of evidence against Simpson, he believes him to be guilty. Chapelle replies, "My blackness forbids me from answering that question." Just when America was starting to heal from the wounds of Jim Crow and, more recently, Rodney King, Cochran had to take what would have been a typical murder trial and made it about the fact that the defendant was African-American, ripping whatever chance we had of becoming a color-blind country apar. Moreover, being a lawyer, even a defense lawyer, is about pursuing the truth. Cochran took an obviously guilty client and got him off scot-free. This isn't pursuing the truth; this is pursuing cash. Cochran was a disgrace to the legal profession, and did more damage to race relations in the United States than anyone since George Wallace.
I usually don't recommend the use of hypocrisy as a campaign point. It comes off as quibbling, and distracts voters from the real issues, which is where Democrats really win. Whereas the Republicans are seen as the strong, formidable party whose positions are largely opposed by the populace, our views are popular, but we are seen as wimpy. However, what seems to be blowing up recently is just incredible. First, it was revealed that Tom DeLay, facing a situation similar to that of Terri Shiavo, chose to remove his father from life support, committing an act that he would later call "medical terrorism". Dwight Meredith (hat-tip Kevin Drum) has discovered that, among other things, President Bush once sued Enterprise Rent-A-Car because of a car accident one of the twins was a part of, Rick Santorum's wife sued her chiropractor for pain and suffering, and Arnold Schwarzennegger has engaged in forum shopping. These are the Republicans of "tort reform" fame. I have long held that my problem with the Republican party is not its ideology. After all, if I didn't respect someone because of their ideology, I wouldn't respect anyone, considering the eccentricity of my opinions. My problem with the Republican party is its severe incompetence, corruption, and sleaziness. Now the party can't even claim to have a consistent ideology at all. It doesn't stand for anything except bribery, lies, and negligence. They don't care about America. They don't care about our soldiers, our tired, our poor, our sick. They just care about their own power, and will do anything, even deny their core principles, to get it. This is the party that is ruling America. I think that explains basically everything that has happened over the past four years.