Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Carnival of the Liberals # 21
What have I gotten myself into? Twenty authors. Thirty-nine posts. How am I going to make sense out of all of this? How can I narrow this down to just ten posts? Is it too late to back out? It is too late? Oh. Well I better get hosting. Let’s see, where to start? Ah yes, start with the writer who best understands the importance of gratuitous flattery…

In "Smoking Kippers," Doctor Biobrain takes on the always-annoying phenomenon of self-proclaimed moderate Democrats who think that it is more important to distance themselves from radicals they agree with than to confront Republicans that they disagree with. How is it that people who think bad manners are more dangerous than bad policy get to be taken seriously as policy commentators? If style is what’s most important to them, why aren’t they writing style columns? The good doctor can’t explain why these people still have an iota of credibility, but he does give a couple of them the smacking that they deserve.

In "On patriotism" Barry Leiba expresses the anger that many of us feel over the right claiming the term patriot as their wholly owned brand property and, in the process, soiling the word almost beyond recognition. "I want to take the term 'Patriot' back," he tells the right. "If you walk around singing 'God Bless America', you have to live by the American ideals. Otherwise, you're just whistling 'Dixie.'"

Richard Chappell of Philosophy, et cetera talks about real radicals, as opposed to rude bloggers, in "The Ethics of Activism." Without giving in to a merely emotional rejection of all traces of radicalism, Chappell discusses procedural liberalism and whether violent activism can ever be justified.

Marcella Chester
gives her take on the recent removal of a Pennsylvania law requiring political candidates to sign a McCarthy-era loyalty oath. She gives us a brief lesson in the bloody damage that the fear of radicalism can wreak on our country and reminds us that, although the McCarthy laws might be gone, the mentality that created them is still going strong.

The Ridger at Greenbelt discovers that Dick Cheney's remarks have "lost their news value." How can that be, considering their substance? The man who stands only a pacemaker generated heartbeat away from the presidency is the architect of some of the most anti-democratic actions ever undertaken by this country. Yet, because he’s personally unpopular and kind of creepy in person, the press have deemed him unnewsworthy. As long as he has the slightest bit of influence in Washington, shouldn’t the press be paying more attention to his deranged utterings, not less?

Last week, President Bush admitted to the existence of a system of secret prisons where the United States has kept captives in violation of American and International law. At any other time in our history, this would have prompted an immediate constitutional crisis. The position of the Bush camarilla seems to be that this is something to be proud of and something that can be used to their advantage in an election year. As Idiot/Savant points out, that we accept this with anything except horror and rebellion can only mean that "The US no longer even has a sense of shame."

Hell’s Handmaiden points out a possible explanation for this ugly situation. Sadly, it appears that the rights that Thomas Jefferson so optimistically assigned the entire human race are not “Self-Evident” to most of our fellow citizens. To far too many, rights do not belong to the people, they belong to the government to dole out or withhold as it sees fit. As long as this condition continues we will have more Abu Graibs, more Guantanamo Bays, more secret Gulags, and fewer rights for fewer people.

An Aussie commenter reminds GreenSmile that "America Hater," the oldest empty smear that wingnuts can make against liberals, is bound to arise from the deliberate habit of liberals to be better informed about their world. Historical perspective can be a terrible burden.

In "Sistani Gives Up / 30 Years War Starts," Ali Eteraz draws an interesting parallel between the present and the start of one of the ugliest conflicts in European and Christian history. We may not have passed the point of no return yet, but it’s not far away. Will we recognize it when we get there?

MW finds a different and more recent historical parallel for the present and suggests that accountability demands that Bush replace Rumsfeld. Political junkies get too involved with finding the right moment and publicly useful reason to get rid of Rummy and we forget that he’s just bad at his job and he’s getting people killed. He needs to go. Sometimes change for the sake of change is the right answer.

The rules of hosting the Carnival of the Liberals are that I choose ten posts from those submitted and promote only those. Presumably that means I have to evaluate which ten are the best. But I’m a liberal, I can spin off into weeks of agony over whether I have the right to judge and what I should do about the potentially hurt feelings of those not in the ten. And what does best mean? How can I make these decisions? With great power comes great responsibility.

Yes, but with great responsibility comes great power. And what good is power if you don’t abuse it? (I believe that’s the motto of the modern Republican Party.) If I’m the host, I can break the rules. Who’s going to stop me? I don’t have to pick the best posts; I can just pick the posts that best reflect my mood at this moment—cranky and grumpy—and offer my compliments to those who were in too good a mood for me (in fact, I admit to passing up some excellent posts on gender, environment, and science just because they didn’t match my mood). I can also throw aside the limit of ten and insert an eleventh.

I’ll finish with a political haiku by Madeleine Begun Kane, just because I feel like it.

The Difference Between Republicans & Democrats
Republicans chide
The press, when it tells the truth.
Dems decry press lies.

See you at the next carnival.

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