"It is obvious that the EU would never countenance funding a regime that continued an armed fight against Israel," said Ignasi Guardans, a Spanish member of the European Parliament. "But we cannot push for democracy and then deny the result of free and fair elections."
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President Bush said this morning that he hailed the free elections in the Palestinian territories, but will not work with Hamas unless it renounces its pledge to destroy Israel. Is that hypocrisy?
Just because we advocate democracy, we are not obligated to work with any elected government. If the Palestinians choose to elect terrorists (which wasn't their intention, their intention was to oppose corruption in Fatah and support the social services Hamas provides), there's no reason the Americans, the Israelis, or anyone is obligated to work with the terrorists. Recognizing the legitimate government of Palestine does not require one to work with them. Indeed, democracies can and do negotiate by not negotiating, it's a legitimate political means. The most positive outcome of this election is that now Hamas is in power, the pro-Palestinian international Left will have to confront them, and confront the fact that Palestinians are making their own bed to lie in. Finally.
The Palestinians will suffer if Hamas does not moderate. And Hamas will suffer. Israel will remain status quo and will even earn the sympathies of those who perhaps were on the fence before. Another upside is with Hamas in power, they will no longer need to be "controlled" by the PA, which may decrease the threat of civil war among Palestinians...they will have to "control" themselves if they don't want to be isolated internationally. And they won't want to be isolated. As evidenced by their participation in elections, and with Hamas having already agreed to a largely observed cease-fire with Israel, I think they'll go pragmatic.
The election victory has added new incentive for Hamas to maintain its current cease-fire with Israel. It has no interest in provoking the Israelis, because it is now determined to carry out its promises to the Palestinian electorate — promises which are very much based on local concerns over corruption and lawlessness. Before the election, many commentators had asked whether Hamas entering parliament with a minority share in power would create pressure for the movement to disarm. Now, the situation is turned on its head: Hamas will appoint its own people to run the Palestinian security services, and will make sure that many of its own militants are now drawn in to those forces. And they will have an interest in clamping down hard on violations of law and order by armed groups. It will likely instruct its own supporters to stop bearing arms in public, and it will expect the same from Fatah.
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What's the biggest fear among Israelis? That Hamas will unleash its military might upon them? Hasn't Hamas already tried that?
Philip Seymour Hoffman's Truman Capote is one of the most mesmerizing and phenomenal performances I've witnessed from an actor, ever. Capote is the best film of 2005, in my opinion, and I've seen most of the top dogs since my Dad brought em in on DVD bootlegged from China a couple weeks ago. I was more impressed and more affected emotionally by Capote than by Brokeback Mountain.
The most important single image in the film, which acts as a recurring theme, is that of one of the victims of the killings Truman Capote investigates for his non-fiction novel, In Cold Blood. The Cuttler family's (who are all murdered by two sociopathic drifters in Holcomb Kansas in 1959) son is in bed, and the killers lay a pillow under one side of his head to comfort him, while a shotgun is put to the other side and fired. It is this act both of sensitivity/comfort contrasted with the harsh means of taking life to serve one's own that encapsulates the character of Truman Capote. He befriends the killers, humanizes them, and offers them false comfort and hope, as he exploits them and wishes them (and essentially allows them) to die to serve his "story". He's a brilliant manipulator, who is not just manipulating others, but himself as well. The scene when he confronts his subjects for the final time is gut-wrenching, multi-faceted, and a master achievement by Hoffman.
Love expresses itself in strange and horrible ways, especially when you're so afraid of it.
Hamas' success has alarmed Israel and the West, but Abbas has argued that luring the group, which has been behind dozens of deadly attacks on Israel, into politics would tame it and increase the chances for peace. The election will usher in a new parliament and Cabinet, but Abbas, who was elected president last year, will remain head of the Palestinian Authority regardless of the results.
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I'll tell you what a good thing is: the leader of the Palestinians making pragmatic and genuinely positive statements about a rival political party gaining power, in spite of yesterday's events.
He's so completely wrong about this that it's bizarre:
"Which brings us to Hillary’s other problem male: her husband. It’s impossible to imagine him in the White House as a “first lady” figure, arranging state dinners and redecorating the Lincoln bedroom. Electing Hillary means re-re-electing Bill.
When Bush Jr was elected no one believed his dad would actually be running the show (although a few chastened conservatives might have appreciated some old-school moderation at the helm these past few years). Electing Hillary will be the same two-for-one deal it was in 1992 and 1996. Americans like moving forward, not backwards."
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He's got to be kidding.
Most of the country believed that Bush Jr’s Dad was going to run the show, that’s why he was elected. It’s weird that Andrew sees it otherwise. On what other criteria were people voting for George W. in 2000? Because they wanted private accounts for their social security? The entire Republican establishment backed George W. because his last name was “Bush”… the supposedly respectable 'moral' Texan who was sure not to get his dick sucked under public employ.
Americans like moving forward? Most Americans are conservative, and that goes for liberals too. People feel safer in the past, whether the past was good or bad. Hillary Clinton means Bill Clinton to a very large portion of the voting public, and that’s powerfully in Hillary’s favor. Andrew thinks people really believe Bill will be relegated to interior design? He's underestimating not only the Clintons but voters as well. Bill and Hillary represent pre-9/11 economic glory, peace talks, and desperate housewives without Iraqi guilt. Who wouldn’t want to move backwards? You’d think, as the most astute pundit around, Andrew would know better.
Brokeback Mountain doesn't ask us to approve of homosexuality. But it does ask us to face up to the truth of what homosexuality is and how profoundly it impacts the person who finds him- or herself so afflicted. Most importantly, it raises the question of whether we who don't approve of it as morally right shouldn't feel more compassion toward friends, family members and neighbors who find themselves in that painful dilemma through no fault of their own. After all, the crux of their pain lies in the very fact that they don't approve of it either. And they can appreciate all too well what parents, fellow church members or hunting buddies might think if they were to find out, because it would be the same horrified reaction as their own, and they are quite frankly scared to death.
Imagine if George W. Bush was smart... you might then have Ralph Reed. My nominee for 'most likely to emerge as the anti-Christ'. He's beginning his intended ascendency to the Presidency by running for Lt. Governor of Georgia. Hopefully, his ties to the now shamed GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff will stop him before he begins. I doubt it.
Ralph Reed epitomizes the Christian hypocrite. He's a corrupt corporate crony who disguises his greed and personal ambition behind a guise of fundementalist Christian morality. Would Jesus have encouraged his followers to advocate for the rich and powerful at the expense of the well-being of the powerless, as Ralph Reed does? Christians...if you care about Jesus, unite against Ralph Reed now!
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In Ralphie's defense. He's no Pat Robertson, apparently. However, he did bring Robertson's organization into mainstream power. What, then, does that say about his integrity?
This article is the most comprehensive analysis of a potential conflict with Iran that I have so far read. It's a bit long but very fast reading, especially if you're one of us who takes this crisis seriously and believes a military confrontation is just about inevitable. Essentially, we're in a no-win situation in Iran, and you can thank Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.
During the war game the regime-change plan got five nays. But it was clear to all that several other big issues lay on the table, unresolved. How could the President effectively negotiate with the Iranians if his own advisers concluded that he had no good military option to use as a threat? How could the world's most powerful and sophisticated military lack the ability to take an opponent by surprise? How could leaders of that military imagine, after Iraq, that they could ever again propose a "quick in-and-out" battle plan? Why was it so hard to develop plans that allowed for the possibility that an adversary would be clever and ruthless? Why was it so hard for the United States to predict the actions and vulnerabilities of a regime it had opposed for twenty-five years?
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My instincts tell me Israel will strike Iran before the end of this year. I have no idea what will happen then. The article covers all the basic scenarios, and I hope it's wrong about all of them.
Most of our panelists felt that the case against a U.S. strike was all the more powerful against an Israeli strike. With its much smaller air force and much more limited freedom to use airspace, Israel would probably do even less "helpful" damage to Iranian sites. The hostile reaction—against both Israel and the United States—would be potentially more lethal to both Israel and its strongest backer.
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What can we do other than allow Iran to produce Nukes and hope they don't use them? According to James Fallows, we have three years before Iran acquires a bomb. Enough time to stoke an internal revolution? It might have to be.
The House "has been run like a plantation, and you know what I'm talking about," said Clinton, D-N.Y. "It has been run in a way so that nobody with a contrary view has had a chance to present legislation, to make an argument, to be heard."
"We have a culture of corruption, we have cronyism, we have incompetence," she said. "I predict to you that this administration will go down in history as one of the worst that has ever governed our country."
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I'm nearly shocked that she has decided to be so bold. She's spent her tenure in the Senate building bridges across the aisle - she voted FOR THE WAR, she's against gay marriage for no apparent reason - and she's made every effort to appear as moderate as possible. To refer to the Bush Administration as one of the worst in history, which of course is true, is a call to arms against moderation.
It's a brilliant move. Bush is unpopular even among Republicans, which will be so much in evidence when you see Republican candidates avoid being mentioned in the same breath as the President in the upcoming elections. As Hillary has become "respectable" across the political spectrum (no longer the left wing-nut), it will be more difficult for Republicans to dismiss her as a Moore/MoveOn/Sheehan - ist. Of course, the RNC will go after her egocentrism:
RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said: "On a day when Americans are focused on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Hillary Clinton is focused on the legacy of Hillary Clinton."
... as they always do with Gore (he's just bitter about 2000), but that's all they got. And it's lame. I'm not convinced that such strong and wacky attacks on Bushism - like this "plantation" bit - are gonna work, but they have a chance if they're backed up with alternatives that make sense to people. Looking forward to hearing those from Senator Clinton in the near future.