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Messages - BT

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3DHS / Re: Bill Clinton melts down on Fox News Sunday
« on: September 23, 2006, 08:07:46 PM »
There is a school of thought that says it is less important which opportunities were lost in the lead up to the war on terror, than what opportunities are taken advantage of now that we are in it.

I'm thinking of matriculating to that school.

3DHS / Re: Death of Opinion Journalism
« on: September 23, 2006, 08:05:23 PM »
    Is debate an adversarial exposition and search for truth , or more like a game of "King of the Mountain"?

I believe it is a gathering of opposing forces where loyalty tests are performed periodically on the troops. At least that is how it seems lately.

3DHS / Re: Gas prices are plummeting, yet...
« on: September 23, 2006, 03:01:45 AM »
Funny how the gas prices SUDDENLY start going down in the run up to the November elections.  Odd, how that happens a lot in the last five years.

Well it certainly happened in 2000, when Clinton released the strategic reserves right before the election. It's a supply and demand thing.Clinton added to the supply to artificially lower the price. If you must be cynical be cynical across the board.

Why? Why not do it nationally? Why fund it with a sales tax as opposed to another type of tax?

The better question is why not. If it is a local option everyone decides whether it is a worthy expense. At the fed level the will of the people gets diluted.

Everyone pays sales tax. Not everyone pays income tax.

At a local level interested parties can experiment with the proper mix of services vs costs. At the federal level usually one size fits all.

Let it incubate at the local level.

Aren't the people of our country a valuable resource?  Shouldn't we take care of them, as regards health care? 

You want health care, provide it locally and fund it with sales tax.

I believe we have had this discussion .

3DHS / Nasrallah’s Malaise
« on: September 21, 2006, 05:06:35 PM »
Nasrallah’s Malaise 
By Ehud Yaari
Jerusalem Report, October 2, 2006

Hassan Nasrallah is showing clear signs of “dejection, melancholy and depression,” according to the editors of the Lebanese daily al-Safir, who are counted among the most steadfast supporters of the leader of Hizballah. Alongside a tiresomely long interview with him, published on September 5, they note that the man radiates a sense of “disappointment and distress.”

It is no trifling matter that Nasrallah, who is always punctilious in demonstrating self-confidence and determination, comes across this way to those visiting him in his hideout. “I myself don’t even know where I am,” he told his interviewers. “They have moved me from one hiding place to another dozens of times.”

Nevertheless, his words were as polished and considered as usual, and included the now-familiar remarks about Ehud Olmert’s “stupidity,” fictional accounts of his ongoing communications with fighters on the frontline during the war, and wild exaggerations about his achievements in the last round. This is the same Nasrallah that we have known for years, and at the same time, a different Nasrallah than we have seen before. An analysis of the text helps solve the riddle of why Nasrallah is so frustrated even as he claims “victory,” and what the source of his anxiety is, even though, in his assessment, he succeeded in “defeating” the Israeli army.

The impression given is that Nasrallah is worried about not being able to continue the armed muqawama, or resistance, in the new framework of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. He understands that in South Lebanon, in the area below the Litani River and on the slopes of Mount Hermon along the contours of the Hazbani, his people will no longer be able to set up open military camps. In addition, they have lost the numerous positions they had seized close to the border with Israel following the Israeli withdrawal of May 2000, and from now on, they will have to conceal their weapons in secret mountain caches, outside the villages. Hizballah’s southern “Nasr” (Victory) unit will no longer be able to move freely in the area, where the 15,000 soldiers of three regular brigades of the Lebanese Army will be manning roadblocks and carrying out patrols, bolstered by the troops of an upgraded UNIFIL force.

There are already signs that Hizballah has started moving its military equipment from the South toward the Lebanese Biqa. In other words, Nasrallah understands that the South has ceased to be “Hizballahstan” and he is conceding the role that he had taken upon himself in the past, to serve as the guardian of Lebanon’s border.

Moreover, Nasrallah fears that under these circumstances, he stands to lose control over portions of the Shiite community. Indeed, there is growing evidence of disaffection with Hizballah, and reservations on the part of some of the Shiite middle class, and among the local village leaderships, about the disaster visited upon them by Nasrallah’s belligerent adventurism. Nasrallah’s promises to provide generous and speedy compensation to the thousands of families who lost their homes are not being realized. So far, only a few hundred families have received downpayments on the $12,000 each is supposed to receive to cover a year’s rent pending the rehabilitation of their permanent homes. At least 30,000 families, most of them Shiite, are expecting funds from Nasrallah’s “Construction Jihad” organization—a huge financial burden even for Iran, and all the more so considering that the Lebanese government will receive hundreds of millions of dollars from the Arab states and other donor nations to compete with Hizballah for the hearts and minds of the victims.

Nasrallah is now forced to rely more than he would like on his partner/rival in the Shiite sector, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a sleek and shrewd politician who heads the more secular “Amal.” Nasrallah has suddenly taken to calling Berri “my big brother,” and is advising all the other actors in the Lebanese arena to accept the aid of Berri’s “infinite wisdom.” All this smacks of Nasrallah conceding his seniority, if only temporarily, in the Shiite leadership.

What’s more, Nasrallah fears rising tensions between the Sunnis and Shiites in Lebanon. He is trying with all his might to avoid open confrontation, but Sunni public opinion, under the leadership of the Hariri family and its loyalists, has turned largely against him. Hizballah is now forced to rely on second echelon Sunni elements in Tripoli and other places, but at this stage, he has squandered any opportunity of getting the central pillars of the Sunni minority to identify with his positions.

Surprisingly, Nasrallah’s standing among the Christians is somewhat better for now. That is because of the alliance he struck before the war with the strongest Maronite, Gen. Michel Aoun. Together they are pressing to rout the anti-Syrian government headed by Fuad Siniora, or at least to broaden the coalition by adding more partners from Hizballah, along with Aoun’s faction (the Patriotic Current) and other figures such as the Christian Suleiman Franjieh from the north, the Druze Majid Arslan and the Sunni Omar Karameh. But the Aoun-Nasrallah alliance is not firm and may not hold up over time. And herein lies Nasrallah’s concern that he will be left without any powerful allies in the Lebanese arena, amid growing pressure on him to disarm, as demanded by the March 14 anti-Syrian coalition.

Nasrallah has apparently come to the conclusion that he was too hasty in pulling the trigger on July 12, and admits that he did not expect so strong an Israeli reaction. From his perspective, the war did not end with the cease-fire, and the results will only become clear once the dust kicked up by the internal wrestling in Lebanon has dispersed.

3DHS / Re: Gas prices are plummeting, yet...
« on: September 21, 2006, 12:37:05 PM »
Watch and see, after the elections, the price will rise again.

Certainly. After the elections we will be in the dead of winter and the need for heating oil will rise.

3DHS / Re: Is the Hitler analogy outdated?
« on: September 21, 2006, 10:10:29 AM »
Many people are saying that it is the top priority and the number one issue facing Americans. I think the question is - should it be? What are we giving up to fight this "war?" Don't tell me we aren't giving up anything as I know how public finances work. Everything is a trade-off of limited resources.

I agree. Let's dismantle Homeland Security ASAP.

3DHS / Re: Tracking the Torture Taxi
« on: September 21, 2006, 12:04:51 AM »
According to the article I referenced, the Clinton program was a tiny fraction of the Republicans' operation

Fact remains Clinton invented it. Just keeping the record straight.

3DHS / Death of Opinion Journalism
« on: September 20, 2006, 10:58:01 PM »
Everybody Has One: Bloggers and the Death of Opinion Journalism
by Brendan Nyhan

Not that long ago, many people thought the Internet would break down partisan boundaries and improve the quality of political debate in this country -- a prediction that sounds as silly today as previous hype about the educational potential of television and radio.

Today, online politics has come to be dominated by two warring camps, just like offline politics. And while many critics complain about the polarization of the blogosphere and its effect on elections, how blogs will affect the economics of opinion journalism is less well understood. In particular, partisan blogs have become so popular that they are threatening the business model -- and the independence -- of center-left opinion magazines, which may be forced to toe the party line to ensure their survival.

I learned this lesson the hard way after I signed on as a contributor to The American Prospect's media criticism blog a few weeks ago. It seemed like a bit of an awkward fit -- the Prospect is a liberal magazine, and I had previously co-founded Spinsanity, a non-partisan watchdog of online spin -- but I assumed they knew who they were hiring. I was wrong.

Last Wednesday, controversy broke out when I slammed two liberal blogs for using an airline employee's suicide after 9/11 to take a cheap shot at President Bush. My post, which initially contained a minor factual error, prompted one of the bloggers, Atrios (aka Duncan Black), to label me the "wanker of the day" and to call on TAP editors to "rethink things a bit." Hundreds of Atrios readers filled the Prospect's comment boards with vitriol. In an email Friday morning, Sam Rosenfeld, the magazine's online editor, asked that I focus my blogging on conservative targets. He specifically objected to two posts criticizing liberals (here and here ) that I wrote after the Atrios controversy. I refused and terminated the relationship.

Why was I asked to slant my work to the liberal party line? In an email statement, TAP editor Michael Tomasky said that "[t]he Prospect is hardly averse to criticizing liberal verities" and that the magazine had no problem with my initial posts criticizing liberals, but "there were a few posts in succession that struck us as either inaccurate or an effort to draw equivalencies where none existed. The Prospect has always opposed a 'pox on both houses' posture, and that's what we came to believe you were doing."

However, no editor at the Prospect ever contacted me about the posts, nor did any of its writers attempt to engage me in a public debate. More fundamentally, while TAP can choose to (almost) exclusively criticize conservatives, isn't open and honest debate a value that liberals prize? Is it appropriate to largely ignore one side while jumping on virtually any misstatement from the other?

One important factor shaping TAP's decision may have been the popularity of Democratic bloggers like Atrios, who pump out a stream of pre-filtered news and commentary. Before the rise of online competition, opinion magazines had some freedom to be idiosyncratic and less partisan than their readers. The initial incarnation of the Prospect, for example, had a thoughtful, academic tone. But the availability of more points of view online (while laudable in many ways) has paradoxically increased the pressure on ideological publications to pander to readers, who have the option of seeking out exclusively partisan blogs instead.

In addition, the huge audiences of the partisan bloggers make them a key source of online traffic for opinion magazines if they supply ideologically favorable content. (At Spinsanity, we quickly learned that it was virtually impossible to get links from liberals when we criticized a liberal, and vice versa for conservatives.) Similarly, the risk of not getting links means that few commentators are willing to criticize the gatekeepers.

In some cases, the threat may be existential. Opinion magazines lose money -- a lot of money -- and are vulnerable to further financial losses. Atrios, Kos, and other liberal bloggers have attacked The New Republic for years, helping to undermine the center-left magazine's lagging popularity among liberals. If TNR's subscriber base were to shrink as a result of these attacks, the viability of the magazine could be threatened.

Considering these factors, TAP's decision makes perfect sense; they have no incentive to incur the wrath of the liberal heavyweights whom they depend on for traffic. According to, is less popular than Atrios and dwarfed by Daily Kos (whose site also includes reader blogs and discussion boards). With Eric Alterman [a former blogger now on Media Matters] and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of Kos joining Atrios' attack on the Prospect Friday afternoon, the risk was real.

At a deeper level, these developments may offer a preview of the future of opinion journalism. Ex-reporters and political insiders currently dominate the nation's op-ed pages, but mainstream news organizations like the Washington Post are hiring a new generation of ideological bloggers who are likely to take their place. And conservative magazines, while less heterodox than their liberal counterparts, also face competition from ultra-partisan blogs like Power Line, Time's 2004 blog of the year (sample quote: "It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice.")

Ironically enough, the liberal writers who decry the excesses of capitalism have failed to recognize what it is doing to their business. In a marketplace where publications compete on partisanship and ideological consistency, our democracy loses.

3DHS / Re: Children fight troops in Iraq
« on: September 20, 2006, 10:39:41 PM »
I think the debate here got needlessly sidetracked into a discussion of as if it had a lock on all liberal thinking on Afghanistan.  That's bullshit.

Lanya asked for a source and i provided background information. No other claims to Moveon being a bonafide represenative of liberal thought were made. They also were against the death from above tactics of Clintons Kosovo
pacification campaign. They have long roots in the antiwar movement and seem to be consistent.

3DHS / Re: Children fight troops in Iraq
« on: September 20, 2006, 09:28:49 PM »

Apparently Moveon was not in the mainstream.

3DHS / Re: Children fight troops in Iraq
« on: September 20, 2006, 07:37:07 PM »

3DHS / Re: Is the Hitler analogy outdated?
« on: September 20, 2006, 05:16:42 PM »
Well, take the little blue pill, Mr. President. Leave us alone

Don't think FDR can take the pill, being dead and all.
And the mechanism in which people are tracked is by their social security number. And guess who gave us that.

3DHS / Re: Tracking the Torture Taxi
« on: September 20, 2006, 05:01:24 PM »

All I can say is, thank God that Bush and his cronies and the military and security types that do their dirty work are all so fucking DUMB!!! otherwise none of this information would ever have surfaced.[

Rendering of prisoners back to countries with less stringent laws was begun under Clinton.

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