B After The Fact

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Three things about Guiliani, who, according to polls, and IMHO, would be the President of the United States if an election was held today.

a. Will Guiliani's racism (his tolerance for racism) make up for his perceived stands on abortion and gay rights in the minds of Red State voters? While those of us who live here -- Democrat and Republican -- know that New York is a cleaner and safer city now than then -- it is also true he went out of his way to be racially divisive in doing it. I don't know what the rest of the country knows about Abner Louima and Amidou Diallo. I don't think that the racism behind the Brooklyn Museum issue has ever been explored fully. I fear that when the nation finds out the racial issues surrounding Guiliani it will get him some votes and cost him some others. Personally, I bet the number of voters who vote for him because he knows how to keep certain people in their place is greater than those who won't vote for him because of his so-called tolerance on certain other issues.

There will be no starker election possible than a Guiliani/ Obama race.

b. Are the Bushies going to really let the whole Bernie Kerik fiasco go unanswered? Will the Democrats be able to convince the country that Kerik is just the tip of the iceberg -- that Guiliani has the same mind set regarding cronyism and looting the government fisc that Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld have. Only Guiliani is about a billion times more ruthless and more intelligent than Cheney and Rumsfeld combined.

c. On abortion. Specifically, I bet Guiliani says that he has lived in New York all his life. As a New Yorker, he grew up immersed in a certain mind set on abortion. Now, he has travelled all over the country. Now, due to his travels, he sees the other side of the abortion story/ (the other side of the gay rights story?) more clearly. Maybe he has changed his mind.

Generally (and this is just me riding a personal hobby horse). Why does everyone think that if and when Roe v Wade is overturned that the issue of abortion will go back to the states? Do you really think that the anti-abortion movement has labored this hard -- almost 40 years -- to get Roe v Wade overturned one fine day, only to discover that Vermont or some other state has decided, as a matter of states rights, to have easy access to abortion the next day? I suggest that when Roe v Wade is overturned, it will be overturned on the basis that the fetus is a person, under the 14th Amendment, and that no state may make a law curtailing its right to personhood. Of course, this destroys the rights of women under the 13th Amendment. But hey. I'm not a woman, or a follower of Justice Alito.

I think that Guiliani is formidable, electable, and really, really scary.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Abe

Second Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln



At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war--seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish.

And the war came.

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it.

Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.

It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.

"Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh."

If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said

"the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Me Too!

Sullivan (again):

"I was dumb enough to think back in 2002 that we were actually going to send half a million troops for ten years. I thought 9/11 merited such a response. Of course, the president disagreed, never took the war seriously, and ran a bad invasion on the cheap and on the fly."

I would add to all of that, that I was naive enough to think that we would go to Iraq and continue to honor our own commitments to ourselves in Afghanistan, not to mention the commitments we made to others, both here and elsewhere.

I would also add to that, I was naive enough to believe that Americans would fight and win this war with the same value system that won World War II and the Cold War.

We now know that the predominant values used to fight this war are market capitalism, Orwellian constructions of words like "torture," and (to give my poor favorite hobby horse one more swift kick in the flanks) a desire by a critical mass of this country (a majority?)to use this war as an excuse to return this country to what they falsely believe was a happier time before the Sixties (by which, I mean, of course, the 1860s).

We need to get back to the values that won the Cold War and away from the values that lost the Civil War. If I need to admit a mistake, it is in my failure to use whatever thimble full of power I may have to address those issues. I will try to do more of that in the future.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

What's Wrong With You?

I'm still not sure about what torqued me off so much about Bill Kristol's latest bundle of propaganda in The Weekly Standard.

But I sent him back the following response:

"What's wrong with you?

"First -- It's a lie when you say that the troops stand with the President. The troops stand where they are commanded to stand. They have no position on the politics surrounding the war that Senators (or the President for that matter) are obliged to respect. The President and the Senate are having a conversation on the command structure. The soldiers will stand with whoever prevails in that conversation.

"Second, the Senators work for the voters who elect them. If they are now scurrying around like frantic little mice, and changing their positions because their employers are angry -- they are not, as you imply, showing any character defects. They are doing their jobs.

"Third -- It doesn't matter what the Republicans do on this vote, anyway. This vote is solely about the Democrats and what they will do. The President announced this surge solely to get the Democrats to share the blame for this mess with him.

"As you have pointed out almost non-stop since the middle of 2003, when the Republicans were still in control of the Senate, the President took no action to fight this war in any real sense of the word. The question you might want to ask yourself is why didn't the President bother to fight this war when he had control of all three branches of the government?

"Fourth -- You know this, because you admit it by omission. If this surge fails, and since it is not even a half-measure, it likely will fail, the President and the Vice President will have no choice except to ask for another surge. And another one. And your position will be increasingly lonely. Because all your friends, the folks at the New York Post, the folks at the Corner, Senator Lieberman, Secretary Gates, General Petraeus, all your friends, keep referring to this surge as "one last chance". They keep talking about requiring the Iraqi government to work with us. They keep saying that our stay in Iraq is not forever.

"Better stop flogging your natural allies. Better stop treating the 50% of the voters who are Democrats as if they belong to another, unpatriotic nation. Better start laying the groundwork for the fact that United States actions in this region should not be dependent upon the actions of any Iraqi government; better start laying the groundwork for the 20, 30, 40, 80 more years of "one last chances" that American Presidents (or whatever Dick Cheney thinks of himself as) are going to need to make this right.

Forest Hills New York

Law School '82

Democratic Voter

War Supporter (until now?)

Inveterate Bush Basher

Lover of the United States Constitution and its system of Checks and Balances