Archive for March, 2011

20
Mar
11

Update: Anti-war crowd still kind of around

Yesterday I noted a strange silence from the anti-war left regarding Obama’s Congress-free decision to bomb Libya’s air defense system back into the 19th century. Well, turns out they just needed a little time to shake the rust off.

Ralph Nader called for Obama to be impeached for war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he participated in an anti-war demonstration outside the White House. From The Hill:

“[Bush officials] were considered war criminals by many people. Now Barack Obama is committing the same crimes,” Nader said. “In fact, worse ones in Afghanistan. Innocents are being slaughtered, we are creating more enemies, he is violating international law.”

Michael Moore, who’s descended into a sad, bitter shadow of his former self, let forth a volley of tweets criticizing the strikes (Twitter being his biggest platform these days in lieu of Oscar podiums). Here’s some of Moore’s trademark wit on display:

It’s only cause we’re defending the Libyan people from a tyrant! That’s why we bombed the Saudis last wk! Hahaha. Pentagon=comedy

And we always follow the French’s lead! Next thing you know, we’ll have free health care & free college! Yay war!

We’ve had a “no-fly zone” over Afghanistan for over 9 yrs. How’s that going? #WINNING !

Khadaffy must’ve planned 9/11! #excuses

Khadaffy must’ve had WMD! #excusesthatwork

Khadaffy must’ve threatened to kill somebody’s daddy! #daddywantedjeb

Apparently Moore doesn’t find the wholesale slaughter of civilians by an insane dictator excuse enough for intervention. He also apparently finds it to be a good opportunity for cheap laughs.

And finally, we have the reliably crazy wing of the Democratic Party. From Politico:

Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Donna Edwards (Md.), Mike Capuano (Mass.), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Maxine Waters (Calif.), Rob Andrews (N.J.), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) “all strongly raised objections to the constitutionality of the president’s actions” during that call, said two Democratic lawmakers who took part.

Good ol’ Dennis Kucinich is also pressing for impeachment. And perhaps underscoring why presidents and the Pentagon often avoid involving Congress in military decisions as much as possible, Rep. John Larson (Conn.) posed this series of queries during a conference call with media (emphasis added):

Whose side are we on? This appears to be more of a civil war than some kind of a revolution. Who are protecting? Are we with the people that are supposedly opposed to [Qadhafi]? You think they have a lot of people with him? If he is deposed, who will we be dealing with? There are a lot of questions here from members.”

This is certainly not to say that I think the power of Congress to declare war is a bad idea. The president should seek approval from Congress for all large-scale military actions. In fact, it’s pretty much his constitutional duty to do so. But when it comes to time-sensitive operations, Congress is probably the last deliberative body you’d want involved, as the above quote amply illustrates.

However, there is a good argument to be made that Obama’s actions were outside the scope of his power. For example, here’s the man himself, Barack Obama, in 2007:

“The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Well then!

Hat-tip to The Agitator.

19
Mar
11

Libyan citizen journalist killed

From The Guardian:

The death has been announced of Mohammad Nabbous, described as the “face of citizen journalism in Libya“.

Nabbous was apparently shot dead by Gaddafi forces in Benghazi on Saturday.

Known as “Mo”, Nabbous set up Libya al-Hurra TV, which broadcast raw feeds and commentary from Benghazi, on Livestream.

Andy Carvin, social media strategist at NPR, said on Twitter: “Mohammad Nabbous was my primary contact in Libya, and the face of Libyan citizen journalism. And now he’s dead, killed in a firefight.”

Sharon Lynch, TV station representative, said: “He touched the hearts of many with his bravery and indomnitable spirit. He will be dearly missed and leaves behind his young wife and unborn child.”

It’s easy to forget amid all the preening Anderson Coopers and self-aggrandizing reporters, but people like Nabbous are what journalism is all about. Here’s the audio from his last report:

19
Mar
11

Let’s Be Clear: Eight Years Later

Today the president ordered a military offensive against a brutal dictator without the approval of Congress. I bet there will be all sorts of outrage and massive anti-war riots in the streets. Let me just check some popular liberal sites … hmm … nothing on Daily Kos. Talking Points Memo is fairly muted, and Michael Moore is still squawking about Wisconsin. Hell, HuffPo looks downright hawkish. “Not in our name” indeed.*

Putting aside the snark, here’s a statement from Obama:

I am deeply aware of the risks of any military action, no matter what limits we place on it. I want the American people to know that the use of force is not our first choice and it’s not a choice that I make lightly. But we cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy, and his forces step up their assaults on cities like Benghazi and Misurata, where innocent men and women face brutality and death at the hands of their own government.

Coincidentally, today is also the eighth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. What did our current commander-in-chief think of brutal dictators prior to the invasion of Iraq? Here’s a quote from a 2002 stump speech:

Now let me be clear: I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. The world, and the Iraqi people would be better off without him. But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

Let me be clear: I’d like to think the experiences of the last eight years — Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Tunisia, Egypt — have made Obama a little wiser in regards to America’s responsibility to foster and support freedom in the world, hence his decision to stop Gaddafi from slaughtering his own people. However, I suspect his rhetoric and actions, just as they were in 2002, are motivated more by political expediency than anything else. (Say what you will about Bush, and there’s plenty to say, but no one ever accused him of making the easy or popular decisions.) Luckily for the people of Libya, political expediency is in their favor.

*Not in Our Name shuttered its doors in 2008 after liberals became profoundly unconcerned with what was attached to their name besides “hope” and “change.”

17
Mar
11

Protection for me, not for thee

California lawmakers would like to remind you that carrying a concealed handgun doesn’t make you or those around you any safer … unless you happen to be a California lawmaker.

Legislators in California have introduced a bill that would allow themselves to carry concealed handguns, a right not extended to the general public. Under California law, one must apply to the sheriff’s office and present “good cause” to get a CHL. “Good cause,” in this case, usually constitutes working in a dangerous job, such as bail bondsmen or a jeweler. The sponsors of the California bill apparently think they deserve special treatment because people hate them for being politicians. From the L.A. Times:

“I’ve had guys physically come up to me ready to punch me out,” said Democratic state Sen. Lou Correa of Santa Ana, co-author of a new permit proposal.

Correa, who owns a gun but doesn’t have a concealed-weapon permit, said he has received threats of violence in e-mails, some of which are filled with racial slurs. He said staffers in his Orange County district office have been spat upon, and some have felt threatened by members of the public who come into the office and scream at them because they don’t like the way the state is run.

After the Arizona shooting, one staffer requested that Correa provide a Taser for the office, something he is considering.

Sen. Rod Wright (D-Inglewood), another gun owner and co-author of the proposal, maintains that lawmakers need permits as much as other professionals who have them. Permission should be available, he said, “if you have people who might shoot you because of your occupation.”

And the hypocritical cherry on top:

Opponents of gun control note that some of the lawmakers behind SB 610, including its third author, Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani (D-Tracy), have opposed some efforts to make it easier for others to carry guns.

Wright and Galgiani voted for legislation in 2009 that limits the ability of residents in small counties to use their gun permits in big urban areas. Wright and Correa supported a Galgiani bill last year that barred people from carrying even unloaded firearms into the state Capitol or any legislative office or hearing room.

I’d like to see the look on these legislators’ faces if someone used the same arguments that anti-gun politicians and lobbyists use to keep law-abiding citizens from carrying guns at public universities. Let’s try, shall we?

It’s just plain dangerous to add firearms to a Capitol atmosphere of politics, fiery tempers and booze, and shootings like the one that occurred in Arizona are so rare that it doesn’t warrant the risk of allowing legislators to arm themselves. Second, legislators have well-trained police and security forces to protect them. There’s simply no need for self-defense. Third, it is largely a myth that legislators can effectively protect themselves with a handgun (Harrison Ford in Air Force One notwithstanding). In all likelihood, they would accidentally shoot someone else. How will police tell the difference between a real threat and a politician anyway? Finally, it would make the other legislators very uncomfortable to know their colleagues were potentially armed.

10
Mar
11

“You’re really anti-choice”

Senator Rand Paul, kicking ass and taking names:

So is this what a crazy Tea Party Congressman bent on destroying the foundations of government sounds like?  If so, more please.

08
Mar
11

Shameless Self-Promotion

I’ve been bored. So I made a few cartoons. You can watch all three of the current episodes here. I probably be adding more of these over time, whenever I feel inspired (or bored enough) to spend the time.

Enjoy!

07
Mar
11

A Fitting Tribute

As the Space Shuttle Discovery left the International Space Station for the last time today, the crew and the ship received a tribute from William Shatner:

“Space, the final frontier,” Shatner said in a prerecorded message. “These have been the voyages of the space shuttle Discovery. Her 30-year mission: to seek out new science, to build new outposts, to bring nations together on the final frontier, to boldly go and do what no spacecraft has done before.”

Damn right.