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5/09/2003

 

weapons of mass obstruction



this morning, senator bill frist will grow some cahones, strap on his cowboy hat, hop on the bomb, and ride that baby all the way in!

the republicans will attempt to use a series of parliamentary maneuvers to alter senate rules so that a simple majority will be all that is necessary to end a filibuster--sort of. the new rules, if enacted, would only apply to judicial nominees, and even then their effect would be smeared out over several votes. the first attempt to gain cloture would need the normal sixty votes, but with each subsequent vote the amount would fall by three until 51 is reached. the GOP hopes that it can use these rules to end the democrat's unprecedented filibusters of two bush appellate court nominees.

it's a brazen move that's got some observers scared--and no, not just democrats. even the washington times admits the potential risks:

Both sides have referred to the plan as the "nuclear option" because it has such potential to wreak havoc in the Senate and even further intensify partisan discord over judicial nominees.

What makes the plan even more incendiary is that Republicans are considering parliamentary maneuvers that would allow them to make the rule change with a simple majority of votes.


frankly, i love it. as we've discussed before, the democrats are thwarting the spirit of the constitution through their use of parliamentary tactics. the republicans will be thwarting the spirit of senate rules to uphold the spirit of the constitution through similar usage. if the democrats can justify blatant obstructionism and an equally blatant disregard for the constitution through slavish devotion to senate rules, why can't the republicans justify changing the rules in slavish devotion to the constitution? in any conflict between the two, senate protocol must take the back seat.

ignore the "nuclear option" hysteria. that balderdash is only valid if you screw the blinders down tight and pretend the judicial nominee process isn't already a political hullabaloo (remember robert bork? or clarence thomas? or charles pickering? or...) by establishing the filibuster as fair game when it comes to judges, the democrats had done irreparable harm to the nomination process. any president without a two-thirds super-majority would have faced nearly insurmountable obstacles in getting nominees through. but by altering senate rules, the republicans, if successful, will restore the constitution as the governing law in nomination screenings and actually eliminate partisanship from the process by freeing up confirmation hearings and taking the club out of the hands of disgruntled minorities.

locdog thinks it's about bloody time frist did something right




5/08/2003

 

two words for ya...



tort reform.

and yes, locdog wants it super-sized




 

fetus is a body part according to PRC



Peoples' Republic of Connecticut, that is.

first, the setup. a man knocks up his girlfriend but doesn't want to be saddled with child-rearing. now obviously this fellow is a product of our everything-on-demand culture where evading responsibility has become a fundamental right, so he tries to get his girlfriend to have an abortion--by slipping her a mickey. eighty-six the whole non-consent thing and this guy would be a hero. anyway, he gives his girlfriend labor inducing drugs (not that some of you care, but the child survived and was later born healthy) and earns himself a prosecution.

enter the lawyers. our hero's attorney employs arguably the most ironic courtroom defense ever: he defended the botched abortion on grounds of the sanctity of life. no, really. see, the prosecution was trying to convict the deadbeat on charges of aggravated assault, that is, on assaulting the person of the mother. they get their conviction, but the clever defense attorney simply appeals to the state supreme court on grounds that the fetus, being independent, was not the mother and hence there could be no conviction. since our good friend jane taught us that convenience supercedes the right to life, and that a fetus is not therefore a person in a constitutional sense, our hero could conceivably have gotten off scott free--probably not, i mean, i'm sure they would have cooked up something to book him on, but still...

what to do? well, not to be outdone in the irony department, the connecticut state supreme court upheld the lower court's conviction--and dashed dad's hopes of safe, quasi-legal abortion--on the grounds that the fetus is, in fact, part of the mother's body.

Angering both sides of the abortion debate, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a fetus is a body part, akin to teeth, skin and hair that are eventually shed.


i'm not exactly sure what standard the PRC used to determine that something with distinct dna, fingerprints, and possibly blood type was part of the mother's body, but it sure as hell wasn't medical science. if anything, an unborn child would have to be classified scientifically as some sort of parasite (pardon the negative connotations of the word, but it's the only one that will do.) it is a biologically distinct entity which draws sustenance from a host organism while producing nothing beneficial in return--which, come to think of it, gives our hero excellent grounds for an appeal to the USSC. he could argue that he was trying to help his girlfriend by ridding her of a five-pound tapeworm.

one of the justices threw a bone to pro-lifers in a separate, concurring opinion when he suggested that a fetus might have an independent existence, but what he meant by "independent" seems a little vague: "the fetus may both be a part of its mother as well as its own individual being"--as a participant in the collective unconscious, perhaps? no, a baby isn't an itchy layer of scales you molt, nor is it a leech. actually, it's just one more of the 6 billion manifestations of the synchronicity that binds us all. thanks for the token gesture, justice jung, but please, stay off my side.

locdog wonders why he gets out of bed some days




5/07/2003

 

waxman continues halliburton crusade



henry waxman, the democrat's big dog on the house government reform committee, has been racking muck non-stop since news of halliburton's mostly classified no-bid contract for emergency oil infrastructure repair in iraq first broke. dick cheney chaired halliburton from 1995-2000, and so charges of cronyism were inevitable, but that's not to say waxman has lacked zeal. in early april, he began the insinuations by remarking on the "surprising" revelation "that [halliburton subsidiary KBR engineering and construction co.] is apparently the only company capable of performing this work in possession of the requisite security clearances." he then closed the pincers by pointing out instances of wastefulness surrounding cheney's old chums, including over-charging the government on certain contracts and a 2 million dollar settlement they paid to stay out of court. what are you trying to tell us, henry?

a few days after waxman's opening salvo, in an april 14th new york times editorial, howell and the boys honed congressman waxman's point: "Even if a legal basis can be found for these closed bidding arrangements, they are unacceptable. The Iraq war was fought in the name of high principles. Victory should not turn into an undeserved financial bonanza for companies that have cultivated close ties with the Bush administration." the times, it should be pointed out, has no problems with the UN and the french companies they will surely bring in reaping undeserved rewards, and called for UN supervision of iraqi oil in an april 19th editorial.

the initial furor died down somewhat as the allied forces' deft handling of the iraqi oil fields kept all but a few wells free from harm. the halliburton deal, which had an upper-limit of 2 years, 7 billion dollars, has amounted to a scant 50-80 million so far, depending on who you believe. and if you think halliburton was disappointed, imagine how hard waxman and the new york times have taken the news.

but today there's a glimmer of hope. an undisclosed army corps of engineers source has leaked to waxman that, in addition to putting out fires, halliburton is also authorized to pump and distribute oil, prompting the congressmen to proclaim that the deal he hated to begin with "is considerably broader in scope than previously known." except that it isn't. regardless of what halliburton will be doing in iraq, the contract is for 2 years, 7 billion dollars tops--and we now know that the final amount will be considerably less than that since the massive oil field fires everyone had anticipated prior to the war never materialized. so maybe we've learned a bit more about the specifics, but it doesn't change the bottom line. waxman may wish to allege that the administration has been downplaying halliburton's roll, but from the beginning it was known that their work would go beyond putting out fires. in an april 27th story on 60 minutes, it was reported that halliburton was contracted "to put out oil well fires and to handle other unspecified duties involving war damage to the country's petroleum industry." emphasis mine. well, now we know what the other unspecified duties are. is anyone surprised? iraq's oil industry formerly managed by a now-defunct regime. aside from halliburton, there's no one else there to pump and distribute that oil--at least not during the crucial first couple years when iraq needs the revenue more desperately than ever.

halliburton's mysterious, no-bid contract was awarded to them because in 2001, halliburton had beat out other bidders for a major army logistical support contract. that meant that they were already prepared to respond to global crises, both in terms of their capacity to deploy (indeed, they are already supporting the army in several nations) and in terms of their ability to handle classified assignments. combine this with the facts that they are one of the few companies large enough to handle this sort of gig and that wartime is not conducive to bidding wars anyway, and they were a no-brainer. the logic of the halliburton selection is so straightforward that even waxman and the times editors have to acknowledge there may well have been legitimate grounds--not that they care. the important thing to them is not whether halliburton was the best-suited company to the task, it’s that cheney used to work there. to answer the congressman's "surprising" revelation that halliburton was the only qualified company, no such claim has ever been made. they were simply the best qualified. and as to wastefulness, waxman, who was interviewed on NPR this morning (in between pledge drives, i heard the waxman interview and a straight news report giving waxman's version as the gospel truth in barely fifteen minutes), said that he viewed these latest revelations as a "green light" to more of the same sorts of shenanigans they've had trouble with in the past. imagine: contractors over-charging someone for work. what scandal. i'm not saying that this exonerates halliburton, but in the context of previous waste among government contractors, or wasteful federal spending in general, waxman's naiveté strikes me as a bit too convenient. besides, it was the same bush defense department that waxman now wants to accuse of nepotism that cracked down on halliburton in 2002 and won the 2 million dollar settlement.

locdog thinks this is a non-story, but he's sure the papers won't

p.s. waxman is a partisan hack who hates bush and never misses an opportunity to malign his administration. to wit, the la times reports today that

Rep. Henry A. Waxman of Los Angeles, the top Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, asked David M. Walker, comptroller general of the General Accounting Office, for a "full accounting of the costs associated with the president's trip," because "last week's event -- which had clear political overtones -- was paid for by American taxpayers."


this is absolutely unprecedented. a politician politicking on the taxpayer's tab? say it ain't so, henry!




5/06/2003

 

ACLU and homeless sue city for cleaning up trash



i don't talk much about local news because, well, it’s boring. i mean, i live here and I can barely stand listening to it. pittsburgh is one of the most poorly run cities in the nation, and if it survives another fifty years then we will have only the grace of God to thank. but once every blue moon something pops up that catches my eye, and today happens to be one of those days.

the American Crusading Liberals Union has teamed up with local homeless in a class action suit against the city of pittsburgh, which, they claim, is depriving the homeless of their constitutional rights.

here's how it works. a bunch of vagabonds settle like trolls under a bridge or overpass, or in some park or other public area. they build little shanty towns and begin to scatter their "possessions" all over the place, essentially annexing large portions of public property as their own. at random, the city sweeps through these public areas and throws away anything left unattended.

and the homeless claim their constitutional rights are being violated.

constitutional rights? constitutional right to what?

The ACLU said the sweeps, which the city has done since 2001, deprive the homeless of their belongings without warning and don't give them a chance to retrieve their property.

City Department of Public Works employees routinely seize belongings that are left unwatched and throw them away, advocates say. Some of the property is trash, but some is personal property like photos, medications, clothing and blankets, said Witold Walczak, legal director of the ACLU.


maybe the ACLU has a freshly amended copy of the bill of rights or something, but i don't remember reading anything in there about a constitutional right to a lost'n'found. if i leave something on public property and the city trashes it, it's gone. i recognize that i was an idiot for leaving something lying around unattended and that i deserved what i got. if one of these bums, vagabonds, drifters, or "street persons" leaves something lying around and it gets trashed, then suddenly it's an invasion of his privacy?

wanna hear a dirty little secret about mr. homeless class action suit? he's living on public land. he doesn't have any privacy. he has no more right to that space than anyone else. heck, if he's not there physically holding something down, how can we even establish that it's a theft should it be taken? it's not like the city is breaking into his home--OH NO! now i've done it. i've just destroyed the myth that the home of the homeless person is wherever he dumps his trash. woops. guess that’s why we call them “homeless.”

the homeless are predominantly social dropouts and as such i think a strong case could be made that they have no constitutional rights. if you can't satisfy the nominal prerequisites for participation in an orderly society then you should be thrown into jail for being a bum--which would indeed be a crime if we had any sense at all. we have enough shelters, charities, and work programs that anyone who is homeless is homeless because they choose to be, or, rather, because they let booze or crack make the choice for them. some are mentally or physically disabled and need help, and i don't think anyone has a problem with that. but the rest are just bums. if the city wants to voluntarily notify them of upcoming sweeps or let them know where they could claim their stolen "property" then so be it, but a matter of constitutional law this ain't. the ACLU wants to pretend that this is an illegal search and seizure, that "due process" has been violated. fine. let them get homes first, then we'll talk.

locdog's $0.02




5/05/2003

 

on the stoning of bill bennett



liberals like kinsley are dancing in the streets over what they perceive to be the downfall of one of social conservatism's preeminent spokesmen. they rejoice not because they hate bill bennett and have longed to witness his comeuppance (although they certainly do and they certainly have) but because deep down they believe that all social conservatives are puritanical hypocrites of the do-as-i-say-and-not-as-i-do variety and so, whenever a bill bennett falls, they take it as a confirmation of their long-held prejudices. if one of their leaders gets caught with his pants down, they simply point to the bill bennetts as though that in and of itself were all defense they would ever need.

i will now raise a similar double-standard, but i do so not to exonerate mr. bennett--who failed social conservatives like myself grievously--because he remains, i believe, a good if flawed man. he will recover in time and hopefully lead the charge against gambling with the zeal and moral authority of a born-again believer. but for now, what he did was wrong and he deserves to be criticized for it. wrong, not as kinsley and others believe, because he's captain virtue, but simply because indulging in excessive gambling is a sin, and bennett, in one of his better moments, would admit as much himself. no, i will raise a double-standard simply because wrong is wrong:

bill clinton did not have sexual relations with that woman, miss lewinsky.

"so what," you say. "clinton wasn't ramming his morality down everyone else's throat. clinton hadn't set himself up as a moral paragon. clinton wasn't writing books about how we all needed to be more like him."

which is to say...what, exactly? that unless we are specifically told by the president that we should take his moral character more seriously than that of your average jerry springer guest, we shouldn't? and what about JFK? or jesse jackson?

when all the pretense and hypocrisy (two traits, i do not deny, that mr. bennett has strongly displayed--and that's to say nothing, yet, of mr. kinsley) has been dropped, what the liberals are left with is the following defense:

"it was only his personal life. it never affected his profession. and when you look at all the good clinton or JFK did for the nation, how can you complain about a little oral in the oval office?"

this is precisely my point. you complain about it because it's wrong. it's wrong to cheat on your wife no matter who you are and no matter what your preferred style of penetration. it's wrong to tell a lie, whether you are lying to a total stranger over a ding you put in his car door, or to the entire nation on national tv. (or to a grand jury.) and it's wrong to gamble away millions of dollars whether you're mother theresa or adolph hitler.

but liberals don't see it that way. to the michael kinsleys of the world, the good clinton did far outweighed the bad. bill bennett, in kinsley's estimation, was pompous, bigoted jerk attempting to revive dangerously outmoded moral standards and so no quarter is given. the rightness or the wrongness of bennett's actions, to kinsley and the left in general, is completely irrelevant--and that is why, for all their schadenfreude and their bluster, they could never offer a single, genuine criticism of mr. bennett's transgressions. other than the sin of hypocrisy, to them, bennett has done nothing wrong. even that most commonplace of vices is only useful to them in as much as they think it allows them to discredit not mr. bennett, who in the vast scheme of things matters very little, but the threatening philosophy he represents. but bennett failing to conform to his own high standards no more discredits those standards than clinton's or jackson's failures discredited "thou shalt not commit adultery." it simply doesn't work like that.

mr. bennett has stumbled, and unlike those who should be held to higher standards whether they beg to or not--like bill clinton--or those whose hypocrisy makes bill bennett's seem piddling in comparison--like jesse jackson--he will not be given a free pass. but those who would most dearly love to smear bennett--like kinsley--cannot touch him. they'd have to be at least as moral as bill bennett is to even have a chance.

locdog thinks that's too bad, because gambling is a big problem and this situation could bring about a lot of good if there were more men of bennett's caliber around




 

guess where the following events occured



no googling!

the hungry patrons came running. "It was chaos, wild, something out of a war scene," said one [censored] who was present. "They took everything, even the silverware," she said. Another witness from [censored] said the cafeteria was "stripped bare." And another told TIME that the cafeteria raid was "unbelievable, crowds of people just taking everything in sight; they stripped the place bare." And yet another astonished witness said that "chickens, turkeys, souffles, casseroles all went out the door (unpaid)."

The mob then moved on to the [censored] Café, a popular snack bar in the [censored]. It was also stripped bare. The takers included [censored] who finished off the raid with free drinks at the [censored]. When asked how much liquor was lifted from the [censored] bar, one [censored] responded: "I stopped counting the bottles." He then excused himself and headed towards the men's room.

An [censored] estimated the food "removed" from the [censored] main cafeteria at between $7,000 and $9,000 not including the [censored] restaurant, the [censored] Café or the [censored] Bar. The value of the missing silverware has yet to be estimated.


was it a commercial district in tikrit? a baghdad shopping center? a basra bazaar? were the mobs stealing food from the mouths of starving iraqi children? and the looters themselves, were they disgruntled kurds? irate pro-saddam forces? angry shiites looking to get a little payback?

locdog is shocked--SHOCKED--that bush would allow something like this to happen

hint: take a guess first, and then check here to see if you were right.




 

happy cinco de mayo!



not to be confused with mexico's independence day, cinco de mayo actually commemorates the defeat of the french at the battle of puebla. it's sort of a dubious honor--i mean, who hasn't defeated the french--but if you live in mexico, i guess any excuse to celebrate is a good one.

for we americans, cinco de mayo serves as a promotional event for corona beer (much like valentines day is to hallmark and debeers) but this year it may hold special significance. after all, we made the french look pretty damn silly here recently, did we not? and i do hope someone lets the iraqi people know about this holiday, because there probably hasn't been so many people so overjoyed at a french defeat since the original cinco de mayo lo those many years ago. so pass the lime and pour me up another glass of cold, frothy freedom, mohammed. mmm...freedom.

locdog suddenly finds himself feeling a tad thirsty




 

citizen raines



and one more from our friends over at the times...

since bush has now "tacitly acknowledged" his failure to prevent north korea from obtaining plutonium, he will be forced to retreat to a softball position on the kim regime and abandon clinton's hard-line stance. no, really. that's what they said.

in an article that made use of the former president's name four times, bush is taken to the woodshed for deserting plans of "military action against the main nuclear facilities that Mr. Clinton considered attacking."

bush the wimp, continues the curiously hawkish diatribe, reversed a decade of policy devoted to preventing north korea "by any means necessary, from producing plutonium or highly enriched uranium. President Bill Clinton ordered the Pentagon to draw up plans for a military strike when the North threatened to begin production in 1994, but a nuclear freeze agreement was reached later that year."

a nuclear freeze was reached a year later, huh? just like that? clinton rattles his sabre and bang! instant diplomacy. funny, i seem to recall us giving them oil, food, and a nuclear reactor in there somewhere. and i also seem to recall that clinton's posturing and the so-called "nuclear freeze" it won did absolutely nothing to deter kim's nuclear ambitions, and in fact probably made the problem far worse by giving us an excuse to ignore the koreans for the whole latter half of his administration. but if you think that's bad, wait until you hear what might happen if we reverse course:

Still, Mr. Bush's approach is a major gamble — one that depends on superb intelligence about North Korea's efforts to sell its weapons. So far, though, the nuclear program has been what one American intelligence official calls "the black hole of Asia."

American officials have apparently been unable to find new facilities they believe North Korea is building — presumably underground — to produce highly enriched uranium, a technology obtained largely from Pakistan in a trade for missiles.


in other words--BOOM!

ah, i can just picture howell there in the times newsroom, kicking up his heels with the rockettes to the thunderous applause of his staffers. banners with "remember the maine!" are stretched from wall to wall and confetti fills the air. the crowd claps in time as a chorus breaks out to the hot jazz music coming from the band in the corner:

There is a man - a certain man
And for The War you may be sure
That he'll do all he can!
Who is this one?
This fav'rite son?
Just by his action
Has the North Koreans on the run?
Who loves to smoke?
Enjoys a joke?
Who wouldn't get a bit upset
If he were really broke?
With wealth and fame
He's still the same
I'll bet you five you're not alive
If you don't know his name
What is his name?...
It's Howell Raines.
It's Mister Raines.
He doesn't like that Mister
He likes good old Howell Raines.


flushed with emotion, howell turns to the crowd and cries "are we going to declare war on north korea or are we not!"

and on cue, someone shouts in reply "the times already has!"

locdog's gotta hand it to howell: he's the champion of the little people! the fighting liberal!




 

whose lie is it anyway?



amidst the doom and gloom of today's new york times news stories, comes this little gem from author scott atran:

One given in the war against terrorism seems to be that suicide attackers are evil, deluded or homicidal misfits who thrive in poverty, ignorance and anarchy.

President Bush, at last year's United Nations conference on poor nations in Monterrey, Mexico, said that "we fight against poverty because hope is an answer to terror." Senator John Warner, the Virginia Republican, argued that a new security doctrine including wars of preemption was necessary because "those who would commit suicide in their assaults on the free world are not rational." A State Department report issued on the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks said that development aid should be based "on the belief that poverty provides a breeding ground for terrorism."

As logical as the poverty-breeds-terrorism argument may seem, study after study shows that suicide attackers and their supporters are rarely ignorant or impoverished. Nor are they crazed, cowardly, apathetic or asocial.


emphasis mine.

atran goes on to paint a portrait of terrorist as worldly sophisticates who can be found bandying about the finer points of wittgenstein when they aren't flying airplanes into buildings. he predictably suggests that military responses to terrorism are counter-productive, and that the real solution lies in getting tough with israel. to support his case, he cites an equally predictable but surprisingly unheralded un study which claims that al qaeda recruitment went up as the united states moved against iraq. stock liberal claptrap all--the sort of thing that we on the right have been dealing with since back before afghanistan.

so you'll pardon me if i skip the tedium of atran's tired, it's-all-israel's-fault approach ("Shows of military strength don't seem to dissuade terrorists: witness the failure of Israel's coercive efforts to end the string of Palestinian suicide bombings...America must address grievances, such as the conflict in the Palestinian territories, whose daily images of violence engender global Muslim resentment.") and deal exclusively with what i found genuinely shocking about this article:

i, as a conservative republican, agreed with it.

to refine that a bit, i mean that i agree that terrorism is not caused by poverty even though i don't agree with atran's proposed solution. but how can that be? according to atran, it's people like me who were out there claiming that poverty breeds terror--and hence people like me (and george w. bush) who are now discredited.

seems to me it was liberals and/or democrats who were extending their classic root-causes crime-fighting strategy to foreign policy. i can recall numerous instances in which leftists blamed the misery and destitution of the third world (which, of course, is caused by the greed of evil western capitalists) for terror. heck, if you as a socialist can't blame the old, rich white guy who's hogging up all the loot, then you ain't got much of a philosophy. i don't need to give any examples to back this up because anyone with half a brain knows i'm right. but what the heck. i'm a nice guy:

who could forget senator patty murray, who, in a speech to school children, famously said of bin laden:

We've got to ask, why is this man so popular around the world? Why are people so supportive of him in many countries that are riddled with poverty? He's been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. We haven't done that. How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that, rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?


last october, slate's emily yoffe wrote essentially the same article as atran did except she gave credit where credit was due by citing liberal politicians, professors, and writers:

Since the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 mass murder declined to leave a note mentioning the "root cause" of their actions, a chorus quickly found one anyway: poverty. "But the end game is not eliminating terrorism. The end game is using our new global coalition to fight poverty and give hope to kids all around the world so the only option they have isn't joining some fanatical group," said Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif. "We need a systematic approach that helps everyone in the world … not only by catching terrorists but by addressing the root causes of terrorism, like resolving conflicts in the Middle East, addressing poverty," said William Ury of Harvard Law School. "To prevent terrorism, we must make war against poverty," proclaimed playwright Harold Pinter.


in november of 2002, the vietnam veterans of america foundation conducted a poll in which they found that 54% of democrats agreed that "fighting the conditions that breed terrorism in other countries ­like poverty and religious extremism­ is just as important as maintaining a strong military in fighting the war on terrorism" while only 42% of republicans held the same view. conversely, 49% of republicans favored a military response alone, a clear plurality.

representative marcy kaptur (d, ohio) outdid the afore mentioned patty murray by first establishing that

I think food and education will help stem the poverty of the young people who are being drawn into terrorism every day," she said, even though America's own government schools are sorely deficient. The reason I think this is such an important moment in history is because the United States cannot become the target of the anguish of the dispossessed in the most undemocratic region of the world.


and then arguing that

...Osama bin Laden and these non-nation-state fighters with religious purpose are very similar to those kind of atypical revolutionaries that helped to cast off the British crown.


and what about our honorary iraqi information ministers, bonior and mcdermott, back during their baghdad tour:

"Fifty thousand Iraqi children die prematurely each year, because of this destruction that war brought," McDermott said yesterday at a news conference at a sewage treatment plant on the outskirts of the city.

"The sanctions have punished the Iraq people; they have not affected the leadership, they have not brought 'regime change,' and to go to war again would simply punish the Iraqi people again and put our own soldiers in harm's way in this country for a problem that I think can be handled diplomatically."


ok, ok--you got me. technically, they weren't blaming terrorism on poverty. but they were blaming poverty on america (vis-a-vis un sanctions of which we were the chief proponents) and decrying military solutions to problems which they believe are better dealt with through diplomatic accommodations--military solutions which they believed would only exacerbate the problems hampering the people of iraq. besides, i'm more than willing to go out on a limb and suppose that bonior and mcdermott couldn't find much to disagree with when it comes to the poverty=terror logic espoused by their peers.

then there's representative barbara lee (d, ca) who cast the lone vote against authorizing bush to use force on al qaeda. the darling of san francisco's hard left set, she has consistently opposed military responses to terror with platitudes about violence begetting violence and, of course, appeals for funding: "We worry that weak states and porous borders may facilitate terrorism. We know that poverty and despair can feed anger and violence."

and it's not just the lunatic fringe of the democratic party who feels this way, either. in an attempt to snuggle up to liberals put off by the presidential hopeful's hawkish iraq position, dick gephardt has called for a new "marshall plan" in the middle east, since, he says, most arabs "live in abject poverty. Many are educated in radical thought, even by advocates of terrorism." similarly, nancy pelosi has quoted marshall in the context of terror:

"It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace."


and went one step further in an interview with cnn's robert novak and al hunt:

I think the alleviation of poverty and some of the goals of our foreign policy, our humanitarian assistance throughout the world is going to be very, very important because...much violence springs from the fury of despair that people have where they have no options -- they have no economic options.


and folks, i haven't even started on the hollywood left.

a few instances of republicans paying lip-service to the root-causes argument doesn't make us bleeding-hearts any more than john ashcroft saying "i will respect the law of the land" makes him pro-choice. the fact is, the root-causes position is intrinsic to the left's worldview and has been championed loudly and proudly by many democrats, both hawks and doves alike. in some cases, as in gephardt's, it's been championed specifically to sure up the liberal core constituency. one doesn't have to be poor to be brainwashed, and one doesn't have to be uneducated to be misled. what one does need is a friendly government giving one's terrorist mentors a nice, cozy swamp to breed in, hence the republican's militaristic response. if the root-causes argument has failed, that's certainly no shame on the right.

locdog thinks the left ought to have the integrity to take the blame for their own mistakes