micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
Please send him email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holmquist's full archives are listed here.
Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)
Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)
Wednesday, July 31, 2002
Does your weblog own you?
I think the quiz needs some additional questions like:
1)Do you find yourself blogging regularly but having trouble answering email?
2)Do you feel a sense of joy finding an article that you haven't seen anybody else blog and posting it?
3)Does blogging prevent you from doing other things that you would like to do?
4)Are you jealous of other bloggers who get more hits than you?
5)Are you Jealous of other bloggers who are linked to more than you?
5)Are you jealous of bloggers who get more comments than you?
Go to Cursor -perhaps the most useful web log I've ever come across- right now for a handful of good links on the "war on drugs."
FWIW, here is a New York Times story by David Stout that looks at today's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Iraq.
I suggest reading the transcript of the testimony or watching the hearings on C-Span, which will probably broadcast them a few times between now and next week.
Andrew Sullivan’s Attack Iraq Pool of Paranoia
Columnist and blogger Andrew Sullivan is adamant that the United States attack Iraq. In fact, his blog gives one the impression that Sullivan sees attacking this particular country as an acid test on whether a person is anti-American or not. He also sounds as if he is swimming in a pool of paranoia, hence earlier today he wrote this entry:
STOPPING THE WAR I: Why is it front page news that secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld thinks air-strikes alone can't disable Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction? [All links in the original]
1)Rumsfeld’s comments usually are frontpage news.
2)Rummy said it in response to reports such as this one.
Hasn't this been obvious for ever[sic]?Well it would seem logical but that hasn’t stopped reports such as the one mentioned above.
We've been treated to several competing alleged leaks for ground invasions of Iraq over the past few weeks, as Jack Shafer has noted. Does the Times think that ground troops of 50,000 to 250,000 will be deployed from the air?1)Say what you will about the New York Times, and it most certainly deserves criticism, but when their REPORTERS write stories they are supposed to REPORT things. Rumsfeld said it and the authors of this piece, Eric Schmitt and James Dao, reported it.
It’s a tad comical that Sullivan has far more experience working at publications than most bloggers and yet falls into the common blogosphere trap of not seeing a difference between a commentator, such as Sullivan or Glenn Reynolds, and a reporter, such as Dao or Schmitt.
2)Given what happened three years ago in the former Yugoslavia and so far in Afghanistan, it is unclear if the American public does realize that massive military actions by ground troops are necessary. Rumsfeld was saying that they are and the New York Times was reporting his comments.
Shafer asks the question of why these leaks are occurring but misses an obvious one: the doves in the Pentagon are allying with the doves at the major papers to wage a public campaign against the necessity of war against Iraq.So there is a conspiracy going on? Sometimes conspiracies do happen but in a case like this, a more logical explanation is that a number of military officials have doubts about invading Iraq and reporters are also raising questions about an invasion. Military officials are no doubt talking with reporters about this but so what? Under Sullivan’s definition, any time a person with a point of view talks with a reporter, the two are engaged in a conspiracy.
It is also strange how Sullivan has labeled some military officials as “doves” because they don’t favor a particular military action. Should members of the armed forces uncritically support any military action by the U.S. that has happened, is happening or someone else thinks should happen? If Bush, and this is a ridiculous if, proposed invading China tomorrow would generals and such have a duty to not express concern?
The point of the Times story today is simply to get the following sentence on the front page: "A growing number of lawmakers from both parties are voicing concern that the administration is heading precipitously toward war."It beats me how exactly Sullivan knows this.
The Los Angeles Times chimes in as well.What?!? How dare both papers report on a press briefing by the Secretary of Defense! They must be conspiring.
Come to think of it, there must be a really big conspiracy going. Here is a story at latimes.com on terrorism in Israel today and here is a story on the New York Times site on the exact same subject. Are they trying to weaken Israeli resolve or could it be something even more sinister?
Wait a second, I’m scrolling through the websites of both papers and I notice a lot of stories covering the same events. There must be some sort of evil effort on the part of the two papers. Sullivan must be the greatest investigative reporter ever!
Hearings begin today. But the campaign to protect Saddam's weaponry began a long time ago.When exactly? I have to believe Sullivan has at least as much proof of this as he does that the point of an entire story is to get one sentence, variations of which are hardly rare in the media, onto page one of the New York Times.
Those of us who think the majority of Americans decided last September that war with Iraq was essential to our present and future security had better be prepared.Since Sullivan acknowledges that it is personal belief that a “majority of Americans decided last September that war with Iraq was essential to our present and future security,” I can’t argue with the principle behind this.
1)There are going to be criticisms of this proposed military action and those who favor invading Iraq, i.e. those who Sullivan is speaking to in this passage, might want to be prepared to justify their position. Since attacking Iraq is a positivist action, the burden of proof lies with those favoring the attack so they might want to respond to the points in Jon Basil Utley's "Eight Washington Lies About Iraq" and my own "Eleven Questions for George W. Bush" and "Illogical Warmongering with Ken Adelman."
They might also want to answer why Iraq says more 180,000 people in Iraq died last year as a result of diseases that could not be treated properly because of sanctions.
They should explain why they are not like Glenn "Those who take anti-American stances should realize that there's a price to pay" Reynolds who, as I noted on July 28, wants “factions sympathetic to Al Qaeda” to take over Saudi Arabia so that the U.S. can more easily justify taking over that country as well.
Or maybe to make things easier here the questions that should be answered:
1)What specific threat does Iraq pose to the U.S.?
2)How will attacking Iraq make the U.S. any safer?
3)The U.S. has done tremendous damage to Iraq and yet, according to you, Iraq is still a dangerous threat, that more needs to be done to neutralize this threat?
In all likelihood it won’t make a bit of difference whether advocates of war answer these questions or not. Reports by the Associated Press, Justin Raimondo and Voices in the Wilderness all indicate that the purpose of today’s congressional hearing is justifying war not raising questions about it.
The opposition is determined and organized, and they are passionately opposed to using American power to defeat the forces of state terror.
Elected officials, mainstream journalists and military men and women raising questions does not necessarily constitute "opposition" to "using American power to defeat the forces of state terror." In this case it reflects questions about the best means of "using American power to defeat the forces of state terror."
Few in any of the three above groups are raising as radical of questions about the "war on terror" as I have and yet it appears as if Sullivan believes that any opposition to any particular military action constitutes being opposed to the "war on terror" on the whole.
So the question for Sullivan becomes, who gets to decide what attacks get to be litmus tests? Sullivan? Rumsfeld? King Bush?
I found this entry by Sullivan via a link from Matt Welch, who now appears to be updating his thought provoking blog on a regular basis. Welch is a talented writer who has some interesting things to say on this topic.
What if the U.N. opposes it or doesn't endorse it?Somehow I doubt this will stop Bush since the United Nations has not absolute authority over U.S. actions and Bush has no problem with current military campaigns by the U.S. that are in violation of existing American laws.
Many visceral doves in Washington will rally.Somehow I don't see a million journalist, politician and soldier march getting off the ground.
(I'm in agreement with O'Neill's post about the U.S. and other countries having no right to interfere in the affairs of Iraq and how many opponents of bombing Iraq don't share that position:
They just want America/the UN/the international community (select according to how 'radical' you are) to do all their interfering and dictating without spilling too much blood. In short, they want a new, polite imperialism.What O'Neill, myself and everyone else who takes this position have failed to do, however, is finding a way to present this argument in a manner that those who think a lot about the war will take seriously and not dismiss out of hand. My recent attempt to showcase how the attacks of September 11 might have been justified shows that this is not the way to do this and eventually I gave up on trying since I realized that those I was discussing with, all intelligent people, lacked the ability to see the U.S. as anything but benevolent.)
If they can isolate the administration from the allies and the Congress, then there's a good chance appeasement will gain even more momentum.THE HORROR!
STOPPING THE WAR II: A central enabler of Serbian genocide opposes the war in Iraq. Figures.1)The piece Sullivan links to is by General Sir Michael Rose, a British General who Sullivan would classify as a "dove." Rose, like a lot of people, including a number of conservatives, criticzed NATO's 1999 military campaign against Serbia but it preposterous to say Rose enabled Serbian genocide. It is possible to be opposed to something and not favor military action in response. Sullivan, for example, is a strong supporter of legalizing gay marriage but he does not call for bombing supporters of Defense of Marriage Acts.
2)Sullivan's makes an additional logical leap in implying that opponents of attacking Iraq favored Serbian genocide.
3)Sullivan does not bother to engage with Rose's arguments but just dismisses them out of hand. Figures for a guy as devoted to attacking Iraq as he is.
STOPPING THE WAR III: King Abdullah of Jordan tells the British prime minister he mustn't support the Bush administration's war against Saddam. The pressure on Blair - internally and externally - is getting truly intense.Yeah it is pretty outlandish for leaders and citizens of countries other than the U S of A to be speaking their mind to the leaders of other countries or pressuring their own leaders to not do something. Don't they know that all non-Americans are supposed to follow the lead of British citizen Sullivan and support whatever Bush and hawkish elected officials, journalists and military officials say that America should do?
Just think of what is at stake here. If the U.S. doesn't attack Iraq, Sullivan won't be happy.
Alan Bock -my favorite columnist at antiwar.com and one of the best columnists writing anywhere IMHO- published an interesting piece last week called "Homeland Security Horrors."
Particularly interesting is what Bock says about Operation TIPS, which he believes could "have a chilling effect on freedom" while at the same time being "a tremendous waste of time and resources."
Whether I'm in the blogging mindset or not, I tend to surf the web to the point that it does prevent me from doing other things -this was no less or more true before I began I began blogging over diaryland on April 20, 2001- that I would rather do for the reasons that I have discussed here and here, amongst other places.
Having said that, I get more done on days like yesterday when I am intentionally not blogging than on days when I plan to blog or am ambivalent about doing so.
All of this is a long way of saying that although I think I probably shouldn't I am going to go back on what I said in today's second entry and blog some this afternoon. I guess the Micah Holmquist who carries a pitchfork is winning.
I have now blogged for 32 straight days, including every day in July if you didn't figure that out, but today is going to be a lot like yesterday in that I won't have much time to be blogging. I've got a bunch of projects to work on.
Todd of Todd's Place could stand to learn there is a difference between a correlation and a causal link, if this entry is any indication. Glenn Reynolds also appears to not know the difference.
Tuesday, July 30, 2002
To follow up on today's first entry, I am extremely disappointed with The Rising and am in the process of writing an essay explaining why.
I just started listening to the new Bruce Springsteen CD. I'll tell you what I think soon.
Monday, July 29, 2002
"Despite President Bush's repeated bellicose statements about Iraq, many senior U.S. military officers contend that President Saddam Hussein poses no immediate threat and that the United States should continue its policy of containment rather than invade Iraq to force a change of leadership in Baghdad," writes Thomas E. Ricks in yesterday's Washington Post.
Daniel Kurtzman wonders if George W. Bush is guilty of plagiarizing George Orwell's 1984 in a witty piece from yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle.
I am having publishing problems again but don't think that is goind to stop me from posting or anything.
In today's New York Times David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker write:
As the Bush administration considers its military options for deposing Saddam Hussein, senior administration and Pentagon officials say they are exploring a new if risky approach: take Baghdad and one or two key command centers and weapons depots first, in hopes of cutting off the country's leadership and causing a quick collapse of the government.Maybe this will happen and maybe it won't. I have to believe the leaks are intentional at this point and every news agency reporting such news should seriously scrutinize their sources. If Bush and friends were to decide on a plan of attack right now and the some news agency ended up reporting the exact plan, how much faith would the public put in the report?
The answer is about none.
The great rock/folk/funk/creative improvised music bassist bassist and composer Mike Watt has some words of wisdom to both musicians and journalists:
There were a lot of independent distributors in those days [the early 1980s] who were working the mom-and-pop stores, people kind of doing what you did, not part of a huge corporate paradigm, so the relationship wasn't that bizarre. Of course politics came out of that -- they started creating their own bands, and you'd have to compete with them -- but what Ian's talking about is totally right on. You create demand -- you try to make things interesting enough for people to hanker [for them]. You just don't say, "This is part of this genre, and since you're wearing the right clothes you deserve this" -- which is the way I see things shaped now. I think to get your records out now… I mean, can you trust any of those middlemen kind of things anymore? You go either people who are genuinely into it, like these mom-and-pops, or maybe a direct thing like the Internet, where people go to your site -- I know a lot of bands are doing that. It's like [being] a newspaper writer -- does he really have to write for a paper anymore? He can publish his own writings. It's a whole change of thinking in a way, and it's gonna come around that way. But again, that's just delivery, you're still gonna have to come up with interesting stories or songs. We're never gonna get off that dilemma -- and maybe that's a good thing.Watt said this as part of an interview that he did along with Ian MacKaye, of Fugazi, Minor Threat and Dischord Records fame. They were interview by Vivek J. Tiwary of StarPolish.
The main theme of the interview is what it means to be an artist with inegrity and that is a topic that should be studied by just about anybody who wants to live with integrity. I'd include some more quotes but so much of the whole interview deserves to be read.
Do note that on third page -the same page from where the above Watt quotes comes- MacKaye praises Neil Young and Crazy Horse.
I just checked Instapunditwatch to see if "Instapundit Watcher" had been saying anything about about the interestingly strange and sometimes stupid posts from Glenn Reynolds that I've been commenting on lately. Turns out the blog as been inactive as of late. With Style, the site’s proprietor explains:
Yes, I.P. Watcher has been inactive lately. She has a life outside of watching a certain professor make a fool of himself and this took over for a while.Well as addictive as I find blogging to be I can't argue with this. Longer essays and stories involving actual reporting will add more to the world in the long run.
One cool thing I did find from the site was a link to Michael C. Labossiere's Fallacies, a useful guide to detecting logical fallacies.
I've read the material before and found it highly useful. It is good for both people with no experience in the field and those who want to keep their skills sharp.
I've been the owner of operationtips.blogspot.com for 15 days now and I'm not sure what to do with it. I've though about making it into a blog about civil liberties issues but I am not sure if the time needed to do that would be worth it.
I've also been thinking about making some design changes on this blog as well as updating some of the commenting features.(Yeah I know it would be strange to update the commenting features given how few comments I get but that's irrelevant "since this blog," as I said on Friday "has no purpose but entertaining me."
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Glenn Reynolds has his own take on the Robert Novack column I linked to in today's third entry.
Reynolds has been very critical of the proposed Department of Homeland Security lately but largely from the perspective of he doesn't think it is going to work and not increasing the rate at which civil liberties are diminishing, a topic that he hardly anything to say about so long as the topic involves anyone that the President has labeled as a terrorist. In his mind, the fact that Bush doesn't want to move on Clinton causes him to have even less faith in what he calls "this whole Department of Homeland Security enterprise."
Maybe I am missing something but doesn't it seem like a bit much for a supporter of the "war on terror" to one day, as I noted yesterday, say he wants "factions sympathetic to Al Qaeda" to take over Saudi Arabia and then the next day complain about Bush not keeping him safe?
"Thousands of Palestinians defied the Israeli army's around-the-clock curfew Monday for the second straight day, and took to the streets of Nablus as shops and banks opened to accommodate them.
"If Nablus residents effectively lift the curfew on their own, such actions could spread to other West Bank cities. Palestinian residents under curfew have not previously challenged the army restrictions on a mass scale," writes Mohammed Daraghmeh of the AP in story dated July 29.
Daraghmeh goes on to write:
"There is a curfew and we are aware of the violations," military spokesman Lt. Col. Olivier Rafowicz said of the situation in Nablus. "For the moment, we are not responding."
This might end up being a big development if it is the start of shift away from terrorist actions on the part of Palestinian militants and toward mass actions.
It will also be interesting to see what the Israeli government does in response. Although I wouldn't bet on it, Ariel Sharon and company could likely stop this -with a lot of bloodshe of course- but nonetheless allow Palestinians to engage in what some commentators will no doubt call a "festival of the oppressed" as a way of allowing the Palestinians to blow off steam.
In today's Chicago Sun-Times Robert Novack writes:
The mystery surrounding Internal Revenue Service tax audits against critics of President Bill Clinton during his administration has been cracked. A smoking gun has just been released by the IRS. The unmistakable evidence is that the supposedly nonpolitical tax agency responds to complaints by prominent politicians.Novack also says in the piece that the Bush administration is upset with Judicial Watch for filing a law suit against veep Dick Cheney but doesn't explain that the suit concerns Cheney's behavoir while he was CEO of Halliburton. (John King of CNN has written a piece on the suit while Warren Vieth of the Los Angeles Times has written an even better piece on the same topic.)
Judicial Watch has issued a press release on the IRS documents. If Judicial Watch wants to boost their credibility they will soon pubish all of the documents on the web so the public and journalists can take a look at them and see if they add up to everything Judicial Watch says they do.
Even a brief gander at judicialwatch.org will show that the group is conservative and I certainly don't agree with all of their cases but I commend their vigilance over both Democrats and Republicans.
Hopefully this will also be a wake up call to journalists to realize that while investigative reporting take a lot of time and effort, that it is worth it.
It certainly isn't an overdone activity.
Saturday I mentioned the posting of my piece "Illogical Warmongering with Ken Adelman" on the message board of billhicks.com.
Since then there have been a handful or so of followups that my public might want to read. I can't recall a previous time when I've been called a "piece of shit" but here it is from an individual called "Islam is Evil 2" so it must be true.
The previous entry probably answers Friday's question about why I check Instapundit. I do so for the pure joy or reading someone honest enough to say that what he really loves about the United States is how powerful it is.
Sunday, July 28, 2002
Glenn Reynolds -you know the guy who once said, “Those who take anti-American stances should realize that there's a price to pay"- is itching for war with Saudi Arabia.
Reynolds even admits that he he hopes Saudi Arabia's government will soon "fall to factions sympathetic to Al Qaeda" because that will provide a better justification for taking over Saudia Arabia, what Reynolds calls "corrective action."
No wonder Reynolds and company don't want a serious discussion about why the U.S. is hated by many around the world. They're too busy fomenting more hatred.
It has been less than 11 months since September 11 and already appears that the first goal of at least some advocates of the "war on terror" is not getting al Quaeda or protecting the United States but rather Uncle Sam exercising His power all over the world.
It is of course good that the miners have been rescued but three things need to be pointed out repeatedly.
2)If the miners had died on Wednesday and everybody knew this, only a small percentage of the people who are so interested in the topic right now would care.
3)There needs to be an investigation of why this happened.
Saturday, July 27, 2002
"Brushing off Congressional complaints about creating a "snitch system,' Attorney General John Ashcroft said today the administration would go ahead to form a corps of truck and bus drivers, port workers, meter readers, letter carriers and others to report suspicious activities around the nation," writes Adam Clymer in today's New York Times.
My guess is that this program will begin sooner or later because What Bush Wants, Bush Gets.
"Tony Blair has privately told George Bush that Britain will support an American attack on Iraq if Saddam Hussein refuses to accept resumed UN weapons inspections," write Simon Tisdall and Richard Norton-Taylor of The Guardian. This is another very useful read.
Note the following:
The agreement between the leaders comes as diplomatic, military and intelligence sources revealed details of a new plan for the invasion of Iraq, which could take place sooner than had previously been presumed.And:
Two options have been widely discussed in Washington. One would involve inserting Iraqi defectors, backed by 5,000 US troops and "precision" air strikes. The plan was once dismissed by General Anthony Zinni, America's Middle East envoy, as a recipe for a "Bay of Goats" disaster, comparable to the 1961 Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba.And also:
Mr Blair is understood to have told Mr Bush that British support is contingent on the completion of a genuine effort to persuade Iraq to readmit weapons inspectors.You know I hate to be paranoid but if that document is ever published, and I don't suggest betting that it ever will be, but I wouldn't be suprised if it is only available via the Internet in the United States.
"The Bush administration is moving forward aggressively with planning to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, laying the groundwork for a possible U.S.-led invasion early next year, according to senior U.S. officials and individuals involved in the planning," write Warren P. Strobel and Jonathan S. Landay of Knight Ridder Newspapers. The entire article is worth reading.
"The American air campaign in Afghanistan, based on a high-tech, out-of-harm's-way strategy, has produced a pattern of mistakes that have killed hundreds of Afghan civilians," writes Dexter Filkins in a story for the New York Times that is highly worth reading.
A few people have respond to the post I mentioned earlier today. IMHO, I think what I wrote here is funny.
Click here to read Action Comics #1 online. Maybe this whole "internet" thing will amount to something afterall.
Click here for a little shameless promotion of this log that didn't go as I wanted it to.
My good personal friend "conservative chicagoan" appears to have joined the ranks of "american arnie james" and "proud patriot" and been banned from Free Republic. For what I don't know. Maybe he changed his mind about executing all "scum."
Interestingly though his posts are still available for perusal.
An individual named "hicks fan" has been kind enough to post "Illogical Warmongering with Ken Adelman" on the message board of billhicks.com.
I want to thank her or him for doing so. At least for now I give anyone the full permission to repost anything I post here anywhere on the web so long as they link to this site. I would appreciate it if you sent me an email of left a comment alerting me to where you've posted it, however.
"You know all that money we spend on the military ever year - trillions of dollars? Instead, if we use this money to feed and clothe the poor of this world, which it would do many times over, then we can explore space, inner and outer, together, as one race." - Bill Hicks
Friday, July 26, 2002
I just checked my counter and see that I am now over 1,000 hits in less than three months.
No, this isn't impressive but it is a milestone nonetheless.
To follow up on an entry from earlier today, I've been listening to "Mary's Place" and I like it a lot.
You can now listen to "Mary's Place" at brucespringsteen.net.
Less than 96 hours...
The publishing problem appears to be gone at least for the moment.
Yesterday Glenn Reynolds called Eric Alterman "brave" for Alterman's defense of recent Israeli military actions.
What exactly is so brave about an American coming out in support of America's big ally? (An ally that, as I noted yesterday, some Americans view as nothing but an extension of U.S. interests?) It seems to me that Reynolds like many bloggers is so much in the mindset of being under beseiged by anti-war thought, or even thought that is any way critical of U.S. foreign policy, that they deem anybody who supports U.S. military actions as somehow being brave despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans support these actions. There is nothing brave about getting with the program especially for somebody like Alterman who has already said he supports the "war on terror." (I find a link to that but Alterman's blog doesn't all you to go to the archives as far as I can tell.)
Wait a second, I suppose it is always possible that Alexander "Henry Hill " Cockburn, Noam "Tommy DeVito" Chomsky and Edward "Jimmy Conway" Said could run a hit. I mean look what they did to Hitch...
If you are interested in the sanctions on Iraq, you should check out this collection of documents, which the Global Policy Forum has put together. I plan to spend a lot of time reading them.
The publishing problem remains despite some efforts on my part. I guess now that I've had a taste of publishing, I find myself wanting the pie. Hmmm... pie
FWIW, a Reuters story from earlier this week says, "Iraq's Health Ministry says more than 180,000 people, including about 80,000 children under five years of age, died last year of diseases blamed on the sanctions."
Bill Herbert disagrees with the column by Ben Shapiro that I responded to in "What was it Malcolm X said?" To be specific, and to Herbert's credit he disagrees with Shapiro's assertion, in Herbert's words, "that we should arrogantly place a higher value on an American soldier’s life than on an Afghan mother-of-seven’s."
But don't take this all that seriously. If Herbert actually believe that in practice then how could he stand up for the war on terror, which by any reasonable measured is based on the premise that the lives of Americans are wroth more than those of people who live elsewhere. And if Herbert or anyone else disputes this point, I have to say, "I am glad you now recognize the right of Iraq to retaliate against the government of the United States which bears the responsiblity for killing what is likely millions of Iraqis."
Glenn Reynolds, if this entry is any indication, doesn't understand the difference between reporting and linking.
I woudl say checking Reynold's blog is something that I out of habit but, just as now, I can't really remember a time when I found his blog was interesting as anything but a study in the pro-war mentality. No offense to his many fans but I have long wondered why he is so popular. (Just in case you want to say, "Well instapundit.com is better than your blog," let me tell you that says nothing at all since this blog has no purpose but entertaining me and a readership fitting of such a mission.)
Thursday, July 25, 2002
I am now able to publish but strangely a couple posts aren't showing up in total. I've removed the html and just put in the general topic -both covered the same topic- and will try to fix this situation soon.
The biography of Ben Shapiro that townhall.com has up is interesting. He was born in 1984 and is currently a sophmore at the University of California at Los Angeles and "He was hired in the summer of 2001 by the advertising team that had run George W. Bush's presidential campaign, writing copy for its planned ad campaign in support of Israel."
There is no mention of military service so it seems more than likely he, like a lot of other poeple, advocates military killings but doesn't want to get his hands bloody.
What was it Malcolm X said?
I am getting really sick of people who whine about "civilian casualties." Maybe I'm a hard-hearted guy, but when I see in the newspapers that civilians in Afghanistan or the West Bank were killed by American or Israeli troops, I don't really care. In fact, I would rather that the good guys use the Air Force to kill the bad guys, even if that means some civilians get killed along the way. One American soldier is worth far more than an Afghan civilian.Yep, this atitude perfectly sums up the war on a noun. American lives are worth more than the "scum" in other countries. The United States can kill millions of innocent people around the world and that's no big deal but when a few thousands Americans die, everthing has changed, many become convinced the world is going to end and the President says the U.S. has the right to attack anybody so long as he deems it necessary.
Is it any wonder that those in other countries view the U.S. as arrogant?
Also note how Shapiro conflates the U.S. and Israel. Arguably this is a fair comparison since the two countries are very similar in both good -both are very liberal and relatively democratic societies- and bad -both were founded on the forced removal of others and continue to deem themselves as above considering the humanity of others- ways. Still it is odd since the two countries aren't exactly one nation.
Shapiro gets even more interesting when he says the U.S. should treat all Afghans as combatents:
The New York Times and other news services call both Afghan "non-combatants" and American "non-combatants" civilians. This is disingenuous. American civilians are people who go about their daily lives without providing cover for terrorists or giving them money. Afghan civilians are not...Leaving aside Shapiro's pig headed belief of American superiority, there is a certain degree of internal logic to this but it would follow that each individual American is at least as responsible for the actions of their governement as any Afghan is for the actions of their government since the U.S. has a far more democratic political process. Hence, under this logic, each individual American, including Shapiro, is responsible for U.S. support of Saudi Arabia, which Shapiro opposes. Now since one of the things Osama bin Laden and company are most angry at America about is the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, it figures that Shapiro is directly responsible for a large part of why bin Laden and company attacked and killed Americans on September 11. Does Shapiro take responsibility for this?
Furthermore, if every single individual American is responsible for U.S. giving military aid to Israel, why shouldn't Palestinians cheer when Americans die? If every single individual American is responsible for the U.S. enforcing sanctions that have killed what are likely millions of people in Iraq, why shouldn't Iraq want to use weapons of mass destruction on the U.S. as a means of retaliation? These are hard questions that just about nobody seems to think deserve consideration.
I'm just a singer of simple songsThese lyrics more or less sum up the reactions of many Americans to the September 11 attacks and that is the problem. The U.S. has a long history of involvement with both Iran and Iraq and, by Shapiro's logic, each individual American is responsible for these policies. And so if individual Americans see no shame in not being able to distinguish between two countries that are at least as different as Canada and the U.S., why the hell should a member of al Qaeda care if the Americans they kill are civilains or soldiers? And why should any person of conscious care about Americans dieing anywhere?
What was it Malcolm X said?
Right now if you click on http://google.yahoo.com/bin/query?p=beneath+the+valley+of+the+ultra+vixens+download&hc=0&hs=0 you end up seeing this log as the fourth entry to come up.
Wednesday, July 24, 2002
Matt Groening would have us believe that The Great Homer J. Simpson is Canadian, according to this story by Nelson Wyatt of Canadian Press.
This outright poppycock is no doubt part of the effort for Canadian World Domination.
I've got only thing to say to this. To quote The Honorable Simpson, "USA! USA! USA!"
Steve Earle isn't the only musical artist being slammed for taking unacceptable views on the war on a noun.
In another article in todays edition of The Sun, Mohan and Brian Flynn write, "ANGRY Americans jeered and heckled George Michael yesterday as he spoke on a live talk show to defend his controversial single."
The controversy stems not so much out of Michael writing the song but rather his not releasing it as a single in the United States while doing so in other parts of the world.
Neither article explains exactly how "Shoot the Dog" criticizes the "War on Terror." The absence of this is at best the result of bad reporting.
As I said on Monday, I've been having a lot of trouble actually publishing lately and haven't been able to do so since Friday.
While I certainly don't like this situation this isn't the worst time for it to be happening. I have some personal matters and writing projects right now that are taking up most of my time. I will keep blogging and whenever you read this, you will be able to read what I have wrote. Funny how that works.
Tuesday, July 23, 2002
Operation TIPS will be no more than a proposial if House Majority Leader Dick Armey gets his way, according to this report by Ellen Sorokin in The Washington Times.
"The Justice Department is forging ahead with establishing a network of domestic tipsters -- despite being dealt what may be a deathly blow to the plan: House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, inserted last week a ban on the program in the bill to form a new Homeland Security Department," writes Karen Branch-Brioso of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in an article appearing yesterday.
Also, we don't know what the Senate will do and what compromises the House will be willing to make, although perhaps the incentive for inclusion of the program will not be great since public support for Operation TIPS is not great according to this story by Isaac Baker of Newsday.
Monday, July 22, 2002
Friday's laughter has almost subsided. I could comment on a lot of posts to both this story and the posting of my review of Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair's Al Gore: A User’s Manual but I think I will leave things to this comment by Lowelljr.
I don't know what "homosexual references" he saw over at micahth.diaryland.com but I doubt I ever said I was gay since I'm not. And, for the record, I have been to a gay bar only once in my life and it was a disgusting experience. As I looked at the crowd on September 21 that had gathered at The Gentry in dowtown Chicago all I could see was blatant demonstrations of hetrosexuality. It was truely repulsive.
I apologize for the delays in posting entries. There have been some problems with the normally wonderful Blogger.
Sunday, July 21, 2002
Saturday, July 20, 2002
I've responded to a comment left by "conservative chicagoan" in response to this entry.
I really need to update my comments to get some additional features.
Few things could make me happier right now than new get your war on cartoons plus the following line, "we've been lazy-- sorry! more soon."
To follow up on this July 8 entry, Ken Layne is back and updating his blog. No word on whether he has found a way to provide a "real alternative to the dullard papers, magazines and teevee" or whether he now thinks his blogging is worth more than he said it was on July 1.
I'm really not sure if College Memorials is amusing or depressing.
Over at CounterPunch there have been a lot of interesting pieces of late including Jeffrey St. Clair's "Seduced by a Legend: The Return of Jimmy T99 Nelson" and Dave Marsh's "Vincible: Michael Jackson, Race, Class & the Music Cartel," both of which focus on the not exactly uninteresting topic of music.
Friday, July 19, 2002
My good personal friend "conservative chicagoan" posted "Return of the FReepers" on Free Republic about an hour or so ago. I could comment on this but that might interfere with my laughter.
Thursday, July 18, 2002
Wednesday, July 17, 2002
Tuesday, July 16, 2002
Monday, July 15, 2002
"When I saw the dead and dying Afghani children on TV, I felt a newly recovered sense of national security. God Bless America." -Katie Sierra. A jury has decided that Sierra's wearing this message on a t-shirt is disruptive to the education of her fellow students at Sissonville High School, a public school in Charleston, West Virginia.
"If you call this a free society, you'd have to be really stretching the phrase, I think."-Merle Haggard
The funny thing about yesterday's second and final post is that when I think about the six friends I mentioned by moniker, I can guarantee that you that law enforcement on one level or another must have intelligence files on two of them and I woudln't be suprised if there are files on the other four as well.
You can put me in the former category.
Funny what happens when you have participated violent poltical protests, isn't it?
Sunday, July 14, 2002
President Bush wants at least four percent of U.S. citizens to be spies and help out Operation TIPS, which is part of Citizens Corps, according to a report by Ritt Goldstein appearing in the Sydney Morning Herald.
For the record I am one of the spies and have already turned in the balloon tosser, BBS, fivestring, OBC and PRG. I will have to do more searching on Adrian. Two years ago, on November 7, she told me she had "proudly" voted for Gore so maybe she has gotten with the program and decided to do her part to defeat, to use the lexicon of "conservative chicagoan," "communists," "leftists," "scum," "terrorists" and "traitors." Then again, like many liberals, she had, and still may have, a vision of Bush that mirrors how Republicans viewed Clinton. So I might have to soon report her to the authorities.
I recently started reading Ted Rall's To Afghanistan and Back and plan to write something about it soon but for right now check out his current column "How to Win the War on Terrorism: Constructive Suggestions Bush Will Surely Ignore."
Saturday, July 13, 2002
I've added a comment in response to this entry by Roy Edroso over at Warblogger Watch. I guess hyperlinks aren't allowed so here is the comment as I wanted it to be read:
Muslims who don't participate in holy wars are no more and no less unobservant of their religion than Christians who don't believe slavery is just and/or do not practice a whole bunch of other things that most Christians don't believe in yet are arguably supported by the Good Book.
As someone who has trouble with the whole concept of God but has spent and continues to spend a long time thinking about religious faith, I don't quite understand how or why Christians and Muslims, or practioners of any other religion, feel they can pick and choose what parts of their sacred texts they believe in and what parts they don't but any person who has every though seriously about religion and religious practices will have to include that there is no one true Christianity or Islam. Rather these religions have proven to be very flexible and will surely continue to change in the future.
In case you are interested, for a good summary of how Islamic fundamentalism is a recent phenomenon and actually a product of modernity, check out Tariq Ali's The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity.
After packing up and leaving micahth.diaryland.com, I began logging at mth.blogspot.com on May 13 so today is the two month anniversary.
I've actually posted here a lot more than I had planned to and probably more than I will in the future. I keep saying this but I have a lot of projects going on right now and blogging as much as I do probably doesn't help me since I have long had trouble consistently finishing all of the projects that I start. Ideally I would like to update this log 3-4 times a week and continue to feature of mix of links to more substantial pieces that I have written such as my June 28 entry, serious opinion pieces like "Illogical Warmongering with Ken Adelman" and "How was your Fourth?", personal observations like "Fred loves to play fetch..." and links to cool things on the net like Bruce Springsteen songs.
If that sounds like a lot, it is because it is. Once I get this system humming there might not be a lot of any thing but there will be a little bit for my beloved public. If you want to keep up on what is happening in the world. don't rely on me as I don't even come close to linking to every story I find interesting. You're better off going to sites like antiwar.com or Cursor, or reading sites that have multiple reporters doing actual reporting. (If you don't understand the distinction, don't worry, no less a blogger than Commander Reynolds -to borrow the nickname that Warblogger Watch bestowed on him- that apparently thinks linking to a story amounts to reporting it.
Yesterday I noted that I hadn't had a chance to listen Peter Brotzmann's Machine Gun and read Joe Sacco's War Junkie as I'd hoped to.
Well I corrected that situation and listened to them last night and it was great. Perhaps I should make of habit of listening to Brotz while reading Sacco.
Friday, July 12, 2002
Over at The Stranger, Dan Savage supports invading Iraq and says:
...the recently unveiled Bush Doctrine (rough translation: If we think you're coming after us next Tuesday, we'll be bombing your ass flat this Tuesday) is a necessary evil.This doesn't seem to be a very accurate description of this doctrine. My translation: The United States reserves the right to label any country, group or individual as being terrorists without any evidence. The United States then reserves the right to do anything it wants to these countries, groups or individuals.
What I find interesting is how two years ago Savage spent a lot of time arguing that the people who wanted to vote for Ralph Nader should vote for Al Gore. At one point he said:
This is a close race, and no one on either the left or the right has the luxury of tossing away their vote on a vanity candidate. Hey, lefties, why do you think Buchanan isn't getting any traction on the right? Because hard-right wackos can tell the difference between Bush and Gore, and they would rather see Bush in the White House. Gee, if the right-wing wackos think there's a difference between Bush and Gore, how come the left-wing wackos don't? Could it be that the left-wing wackos are... WRONG? Putting Bush in the White House not only won't create a viable third party, but will have devastating consequences for women, gays and lesbians, the environment, the Supreme Court, and the poor--hey, that's everyone and everything Nader voters claim to give a shit about!Hey, jingoist sex columnist, can you now see why people like me voted for Nader? We didn't want someone like Gore in office who pursue policies similar to those of Bush.
I guess this gets at something that I think many liberals who voted for Gore didn't understand then and probably never will. Most who voted for Nader, including me, weren't voting for him and not Gore because they agreed with Nader on more issues. Rather it was because the two came from a different space in the political spectrum. And Nader is at least closer to where we stand.
Return of the FReepers
Last year, on September 26, I wrote "anger, rage and destruction of various sorts" as a way of expressing what was going on in my life and, more specifically, how I felt powerless to prevent the United States military from continuing it practices. It was also a way of me trying to clarify why I cared so much when, as white citizen of the U.S., I have the ability to say to hell with the rest of the world without it negatively impacting my life.
The following evening I wrote:
Last night's entry wasn't the most eloquent or profound thing that I have written in these pages but it was the most heartfelt. I laid out exactly how I had been feeling and didn't pull any punches. It wasn't meant as a political tract or anything like that but rather was just me trying to come to grips with a lot of what I was feeling. To a large extent I did that and felt better because of it.I agree with everything I said above but the readers at Free Republic weren't exactly supportive. "american arnie james" -who is now banned from the site although my guess is he could sign in under a different name- posted "anger, rage and destruction of various sorts" onto to that discussion site and a lot of very critical comments were made made both about the piece and micah holmquist the person, some of which are contained in this entry. I was called "a wanta-be Timothy McVeigh" by a poster whose handle I didn't record.
"micah holmquist is a true enemy and hater of America, Americans, and what we stand for!," said "Grampa Dave."
I wasn't in one of my better periods at the time -it would be fair to say I was depressed- but I guess I can't say that these responses brought me down. They were from people I didn't know and quite frankly I don't really care what they think of me as a person. Besides it lead to a lot of hits on my site, although no long term readers. As October rolled on and I continued to write out against the war, "american arnie james" posted things that I had written a few more times and that lead to more comments and hatemail.
On October 19 "Burton, Charles" emailed me to say:
To be a liberal, is to commit treason against the United States of America.In another email from October 19, "Barbara J. Harris" told me, "Young man, get help before it is too late. I mean this in all sincerity. You're link to earth is stretched about as far as it can go."
I wrote what I believe was a thoughtful response to Ms. Harris where I said:
Although I can't help but believe that Ms. Harris is coming from a patriotic perspecitive, she is right about my need for help. As she may or may not know, and regular readers of micah holmquist's thoughts and links will know, I do see a therapist and that is quite helpful to me, or at least it feels that way...Another guy sent a lengthy email to me on October 20, basically saying that I needed to get some religion, specifically the Christian religion. I didn't reprint his emails at micahth.diaryland.com both because he asked me not to and because his was clear from what he said that he was sincerely trying to help me. I didn't respond to him and I don't intend to, but I have kept the message and I do appreciate his effort
One thing that I found funny, and I did mention it on October 20, was how so many FReepers -that is, the denizens of Free Republic- assumed I was pacifist when I had said no such thing and am not a pacifist.
IIRC, nothing of mine was posted on Free Republic during November but that changed on December 6 when "proud patriot" -who also since been banned- "Eleven Questions for George W. Bush" -one of my all time favorite blog entries- was posted. and the responses and hits started flying in. Actually the FReeper responses to this piece, which I have chronicled here, were by far the most entertaining I have ever received for anything I've written.
At Free Republic, "Jadge" wrote, "Micah sits down when he pees."
"Please go help your taliban friends - John Walker did it so can you. Come now put up or shut up," wrote "Jim Spangler."
"Ed Hamilton" wrote:
Your 'eleven questions' posting was very thought provoking, my thought is, How can you be provoked into shooting yourself and making this world a better place?Well what I can I possibly say?
For better or worse, over seven months -seven months that included such entries as "Dear President Bush," "note on 'There will be no Christmas in Iraq this year,' "Speaking of The Simpsons" and "How was your Fourth?"- passed and yet I got no response from FReepers until yesterday when I sardonically wrote that all the talk of war had inspired me to read War Junkie -a collection of stories by cartoonist Joe Sacco that takes its name from a couple stories that focus on Sacco's own obsession with the Persian Gulf War- and listen to Machine Gun -a landmark 1968 recording by the great saxist Peter Brotzmann. Neither is a strident anti-war tract but both do explore war in thoughtful and moving ways and I felt inspired to engross myself in them due to the world situation. (Regretably I wasn't able to do so last night as life got in the way.)
A FReeper named "Conservative Chicagoan" suspected something sinster, however and made a post out of the entry titled "What does this mean? Is it some kind of terrorist signal?"
Almost all of the other FReepers who responded to the thread, to their credit, didn't see any threat. "Shermy" was the first to respond and wrote, "May I be the first to say 'What the heck are you talking about?'"
In a later post "hellinahandcart" wrote:
I just did a quick search on Micah Holmquist and it turns out he voted for Nader.Well I voted in Michigan, a state that Gore won and quite frankly I wouldn't have voted for Gore if Nader hadn't been running so I guess I'm not of much electoral use to you.
"hellinahandcart"'s first comment basically killed the thread in terms of discussion relevant to me but there was a neat thread about the name "micah," which actually began slightly before the first post by "hellinahandcart."
"conservative chicagoan" actually appears to have some interest in what I write. Yesterday morning he posted the indymedia.org version of "Illogical Warmongering with Ken Adelman.That post has only generated five comments, so far at least although quite likely that is all it will end up getting, probably in part because the white font that indymedia.org doesn't show up well on a white background. (Joke all you want.) That said, I have to love "conservative chicagoan"'s first comment, "Can somebody explain to me how exactly we benefit from letting traitors like this spew their anti-American garbage?"
He also posted" Dave Douglas at the HotHouse!," which I did for jazzreview.com. (I have no way of knowing for sure but I wonder if "conservative chicagoan" became aware of this piece due to yesterday's second entry. This thread only got three responses -two of which are from "conservative chicagoan," but opened with him asking:
What do FReepers know about this "musician" (read terrorist supporter)? Do patriotic people protest his concerts or try to have them shut down?"Cable225" sensibly responded although it appears "conservative chicagoan" didn't get the message.
Although the posting of "What does this mean? Is it some kind of terrorist signal?" on Free Republic did lead to 76 hits yesterday, making it the best day ever for mth.blogspot.com, I find it interesting that I didn't get any hatemail and no FReeper left a comment on this site. I also find it interesting that more FReepers appear to be expressing rational opinions than they did last year.
This wasn't true for everybody, however. I looked through "conservative chicagoan"'s posting history and it appears he likes to use the words "communist," "leftist," "scum," "terrorist" and "traitor" a lot. He called me "leftist perhaps terrorist scum" and has labeled Allen Iverson a terrorist.
You know, Ralph, that is ha ha funny.
Thursday, July 11, 2002
In a story dated July 10, the UPI's Richard Sale writes:
President George W. Bush and his advisers are reviewing plans for a massive, full-scale military conquest of Iraq, composed by Central Command under Gen. Tommy Franks, that would require five ground force divisions numbering 200,000, two Marine Corps divisions, and 15 wings of U.S. fighters and bombers, key administration officials told United Press International.I think I'll spend this evening reading Joe Sacco's War Junkie and blasting Peter Brotzmann's Machine Gun.
Sometimes I can't help but ask myself why I both with Eric Alterman's blog but I guess the answer is so that I can read a mention of Dave Douglas and that Wynton Marsalis is one of the few people with enough common sense to not like the Beatles. The music discussion that goes on at the blog is far more interesting than the political talk. For the record, however, Witness is a vastly superior disc to The Infinite.
Blogger has been experiencing some archiving problems so I don't know if this link to "Illogical Warmongering with Ken Adelman" will work but you should check out the piece either by taking the link or just scrolling below.
Wednesday, July 10, 2002
Illogical Warmongering with Ken Adelman
Ken Adelman, who ran the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency during Ronald Reagan's presidency, appeared on Monday's edition of CNN's Crossfire to talk about Iraq or, to be exact, about the United States attacking Iraq.
Saddam Hussein "has known it for a good long time, that he's the No. 1 threat to America. And so we should remove that threat," said Adelman. "We know this guy hates America. We know he hates President Bushes, you know, of any generation. And we know, given a chance, he would attack us and we know that we shouldn't put up with it anymore."
In other words Adelman is saying:
1)Hussein is the biggest threat to the U.S.
2)Hussein knows he a goner.
3)Hussein would America if he could.
For the sake of the argument let's assume all of these things are true. Why hasn't Hussein attacked the U.S. yet? Adelman would probably argue that he has as he clings to the theory that agents of Iraq -a governement not exactly friendly to Islamic fundamentalists- met with al Qaeda operatives prior to September 11. This is pretty weak as even Adelman conceded that there is no solid evidence this took place, let alone that this meeting lead to or even had anything to do with the attacks of September 11.
There is of course the alledged 1993 assasination plot of the George H.W. Bush that lead to Bill Clinton getting over his missile launching virginity and becoming, in the words of Bill Hicks, "one of the boys." But I have to ask you dear reader, have you actually seen any evidence that this plot existed?
So what we have here is a situation where the U.S. wants to not only attack but also invade Iraq -this invasion could take place in less in "roughly a week,"according to a report out today by Sally Buzbee of the Associated Press- and yet the U.S. government has provided no evidence whatsoever that Iraq has any intentions of harming the U.S. Adelman even conceded as much describing evidence as "a detail. The fact is we know that this guy is involved in terrorism."
Perhaps Hussein does want to kill lots of Americans. I'm not so naive as to believe this is the actual reason Bush and friends want him out so badly but it is stated reason. So before Uncle Sam steps up its killing of innocent Iraqis, would it be too much for the government to provide a little bit of proof?
Head over to brucespringsteen.net and listen to "Lonesome Day" and "The Rising" via Real Audo. Neither is what I would term a masterpiece but both are fine additions to his library. I look forward to July 30 when I can hear both on CD if not vinyl.
Batman and Superman will be fighting in a movie to start filming early next year, according to a story by the AP. I feel a fair degree of confidence that they will get along by the end to defeat one villain or two. I'm even more confident that it won't be a good movie, not that I have any intentions of seeing it.
Tuesday, July 09, 2002
Vanilla Ice likes to smoke pot and drink Starbucks frappucinos, according to a story in the Dallas Observer by Robert Wilonsky.
Monday, July 08, 2002
Well I have certainly done a fair amount of posting today, probably too much.
Today is the 9th straight day I've posted at least once and, while it has been fun, I have feeling the amount of posting I'm going to do will be going down soon. Time is short and I have other things to do.
Brendan O'Neill is one of the better bloggers I have come across in a while. Today he has a good post about journalism students interest in the news and yesterday, after linking to some stories about U.S. war plans towards Iraq, including the one I linked to on Friday, he asks:
So what's it going to be - an all-out attack from bases surrounding Iraq? No attack at all? Or just more of the occassional bombings that have gone largely unreported for years...?Nobody outside of power knows the answer for sure so I'm not going to make any ventures but it it worth thinking about.
I haven't had the time yet to go through many his essays for Spiked and other publications but those I've read so far have been interesting. A piece for yellowtimes.org, for example, asks, "Why shouldn't third world states have nukes?''
Perhaps I should explain my July 1 post.
In Norhtern Michigan "classic rock" radio stations like WIHC and WKLT treat Michigan natives like Ted Nugent and Bob Seger like they are musical greats instead of the washed up has beens who never produced good music that they really are. Amazingly enough, much of the populartion up here has fallen for this line.
Speaking of Harvey Pekar, Dark Horse Comics is putting out a new three issue series called American Splendor: Unsung Hero. The first issue comes out next month and the Dark Horse site an interview with Pekar and it appears the series will be illustrated by David Collier and chronicle the life of Vietnam veteran Robert McNeill. Collier drew the enjoyable two-pager "Ameritech" that appeared in last year's American Splendor: Portrait of the Artist in His Declining Years.
Fred loves to play fetch, especially with squeaky toys. What I find interesting is how when he returns the toy to me, he wants to fight me over it but then as soon as I have pulled it out of his mouth he runs a pattern like he's Charles Rogers. He likes to struggle over it but once I win, he has no doubt whatsoever that I am going to throw it to him again.
Matt Welch -who once left a comment on this blog in response to a May 31 entry- has a piece in Saturday's edition of National Post that is clearly and correctly titled "Dubya losing the benefit of the doubt: Moratorium on Bush-bashing is over."
Although he doesn't do a whole lot of original reporting, Welch is clear that he is talking about "non-Republican supporters" of Bush starting to criticize him. What he doesn't follow up, perhaps out personal bias and since this is a column as opposed to a news article this isn't a problem, is how the politics of these critics shapes their critiques. To put it bluntly, they are only concerned about whether or Bush is effectively fighting terrorism from the standpoint that the most effective way to fight terrorism is to wage a war and institute more agressive law enforcement.
This means they probably aren't going to criticize Bush for planning to attack Iraq while curtailing civil liberties, unless the basis of this criticism is that such actions are undermining support for the "war on terror" and they are unlikely to make such cricisms because attacking other countries and limiting civil liberties is the MO of this war so if those methods are losing support, the popularity of the whole war is losing support. These individuals believe the war as it is currently being waged is just and the only question is whether or not Bush is doing an effective job of waging it.
But this of course is only a very narrow criticism of the war. There are those who since September 11 have made criticisms of both the means and intentions of how the Bush and company have responded to the events and aftermath of that day. Welch is aware of these critics as a quick glance at his "war blog" -currently on hiatus more of less although he did link to the story in question on Saturday- and the pieces he has written on the topic will show but he doesn't mention them.
Why they were left out is not clear. Perhaps Welch merely feels they are out of the scope of the piece -that is most logical explanation- but none of this changes one simple fact. When Welch declares the "Moratorium on Bush-bashing is over," he isn't talking about all criticism, just acceptable criticism.
Ken Layne announced 7 days ago that he was putting his blog on an indefinite hiatus.
You can read his reasons for doing this yourself but do note the section where Layne admits to having been a hack journalist at one point:
Today, any jackhole can do what I once did for a Major Wire Service: scan the news sites and type up a piece. Some of these volunteer writers are very good. Most are far better than the hacks filling the op-ed pages of the daily paper.Many, if not most, journalists have probably done some work they aren't proud of at one point or another so this really isn't a big deal except that from reading Layne I always got the sense that he viewed himself as being above the hacks.
Even more interesting is what Layne has to say about journalism: "Journalism means reporting from various scum pits and glory holes." And then later saying:
Sure, I'll give you humorous rants and links to monkey photos. But is that worth anything? Probably not.What? Is Layne actually saying that the future of journalism is reporting and writing stories and not just linking to stories that other people have written?
Wait a second, this is my belief and the main reason I pulled back from blogging earlier this year. Quite frankly I think writing articles, essays and reviews is a more productive use of one's time that leads to a more useful finished product and probably are things more people are going to want to read as opposed to links and rants on topics I don't have any real expertise on and haven't spent much time reporting, or in many cases even researching, on.
But, having said all that, I don't want to imply that I don't think blogging is useful. I enjoy blogging as sometimes do a lot of it, like I have as of late, and sometimes only a little bit of it, like I probably will do soon or as I did since from late January to mid May over at micahth.diaryland.com. Blogging is fun and sometimes useful tool for just saying things that I feel an urge to say. Hopefully it will soon be a way to better promote more substantial pieces that I write and communicate witht the readers of those pieces. Nor do I want to say that blogging is useless. There is no harm in you or anybody linking to a bunch of stories and give thoughtful and/or glib opinions on them. Just don't think you are changing the world in the process.
Blogging may or may not be journalism but it is not reporting and, at the end of the day, that is usually the most useful form of journalism and what I am trying to focus on.