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31 August 2006 — A Little Taste of Liberal (3)

Warning: This entry contains profanity and political ranting.

I am a small-i independent.

I have some Conservative views, especially with regards to money. But I have some Liberal views, too, especially with regards to social issues. You might say that Get Rich Slowly is devoted to my Conservative side. Today, let's explore my Liberal side, shall we?

First comes word that the Catholic church will excommunicate the doctors who performed an abortion on an 11-year-old girl, a girl pregnant because her stepfather had raped her. Repeatedly. For four years.

A Vatican official has said the Catholic church will excommunicate a medical team who performed Colombia's first legal abortion on an 11-year-old girl, who was eight weeks pregnant after being raped by her stepfather.

Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, the president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, said in addition to the doctors and nurses, the measure could apply to "relatives, politicians and lawmakers" whom he called "protagonists in this abominable crime".

The girl, whose identity has not been released, had "fallen in the hands of evildoers", the cardinal said in an interview with local television on Tuesday.

What the fuck, Catholic church? What is really the "abominable crime" here? This is where your priorities rest? Screw the poor girl who has been raped since she was seven years old. She can carry that baby to term! It's what God wants! "Suffer the little children", indeed.

Fucking idiots.

Secondly, here's a fabulous piece from Keith Olbermann, decrying Donald Rumsfeld's myopic assertion that dissent harms the security of the United States. I've posted the YouTube video (via) and the complete transcript (via).


The man who sees absolutes where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning is either a prophet or a quack. Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.

[Mr. Rumsfeld’s remarkable speech to the American Legion yesterday demands] the deep analysis and the sober contemplation of every American. For it did not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence — indeed, the loyalty — of the majority of Americans who oppose the transient occupants of the highest offices in the land; worse, still, it credits those same transient occupants — our employees — with a total omniscience, a total omniscience which neither common sense, nor this administration’s track record at home or abroad, suggests they deserve.

Dissent and disagreement with government is the life’s blood of human freedom, and not merely because it is the first roadblock against the kind of tyranny the men Mr. Rumsfeld likes to think of as "his" still fight, this very evening, in Iraq. It is also essential because just every once in awhile it is right, and the power to which it speaks, is wrong.

In a small irony, however, Mr. Rumsfeld’s speechwriter was adroit in invoking the memory of the appeasement of the Nazis. For, in their time, there was another government faced with true peril, with a growing evil, powerful and remorseless. That government, like Mr. Rumsfeld’s, had a monopoly on all the facts. It, too, had the secret information. It alone had the true picture of the threat. It too dismissed and insulted its critics in terms like Mr. Rumsfeld’s, questioning their intellect and their morality.

That government was England’s in the 1930s. It knew Hitler posed no true threat to Europe, let alone England. It knew Germany was not re-arming, in violation of all treaties and accords. It knew that the hard evidence it received — which contradicted its own policies, its own conclusions, its own omniscience — needed to be dismissed.

The English government of Neville Chamberlain already knew the truth. Most relevant of all, it "knew" that its staunchest critics needed to be marginalized and isolated. In fact, it portrayed the foremost of them as a blood-thirsty war-monger who was, if not truly senile, at best morally or intellectually confused. That critic’s name was Winston Churchill.

Sadly, we have no Winston Churchills evident among us this evening. We have only Donald Rumsfelds, demonizing disagreement the way Neville Chamberlain demonized Winston Churchill. History — and 163 million pounds of Luftwaffe bombs over England — have taught us that all Mr. Chamberlain had was his certainty and his own confusion. A confusion that suggested that the office can not only make the man, but that the office can also make the facts.

Thus did Mr. Rumsfeld make an apt historical analogy, excepting the fact that he has the battery plugged in backwards. His government, absolute and exclusive in its knowledge, is not the modern version of the one which stood up to the Nazis. It is the modern version of the government of Neville Chamberlain.

But back to today’s omniscient ones. That about which Mr. Rumsfeld is confused is simply this: This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely. And as such, all voices count, and not just his. Had he or his President perhaps proven any of their prior claims of omniscience — about Osama Bin Laden’s plans five years ago, about Saddam Hussein’s weapons four years ago, about Hurricane Katrina’s impact one year ago — we all might be able to swallow hard, and accept their omniscience as a bearable, even useful recipe, of fact, plus ego.

But, to date, this government has proved little besides its own arrogance and its own hubris. Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused, morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina to flu vaccine shortages to the entire "Fog of Fear" which continues to envelop this nation, he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies, have — inadvertently or intentionally — profited and benefited, both personally, and politically.

And yet he can stand up in public and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer’s New Clothes.

In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised? As a child, of whose heroism did he read? On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight? With what country has he confused the United States of America?

The confusion we, as its citizens, must now address is stark and forbidding. But variations of it have faced our forefathers, when men like Nixon and McCarthy and Curtis LeMay have darkened our skies and obscured our flag. Note, with hope in your heart, that those earlier Americans always found their way to the light and we can, too.

The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense and this Administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought.

And about Mr. Rumsfeld’s other main assertion — that this country faces a "new type of fascism" — as he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that, though probably not in the way he thought he meant it. This country faces a new type of fascism indeed.

Although I presumptuously use his sign-off each night, in feeble tribute, I have utterly no claim to the words of the exemplary journalist Edward R. Murrow. But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could I come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of us, at a time when other politicians thought they, and they alone, knew everything, and branded those who disagreed "confused" or "immoral."

Thus forgive me for reading Murrow in full: "We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty," he said, in 1954. "We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men. Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular."

And so: good night, and good luck.

It's no secret that I think our current President is worse than incompetent — he's a bigger threat to this country's security and prosperity than any terrorist. My greatest fear is that there's going to be some sort of monkey business to arrange for him to get a third term. Fortunately, I think the Administration has squandered their political clout. While they might have been able to achieve this once, I don't think it's possible now.

For all of my Liberal friends: Kris swears by the Cursor Link news summaries, an ongoing daily summary of current events with hyperlinks to (biased) news stories with more information. I'll let her praise the site in the comments.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go post something Conservative at my personal finance weblog.


Comments
On 31 August 2006 (01:18 PM), tim said:

Yeah, I couldn't agree with you more about this administration. In fact, this particular speech by Rumsfeld has been the primary content of my blog for the past two days.


On 01 September 2006 (12:48 PM), Joel said:

My politcal outrage comes and goes these days in direct proportion to the amount of news I imbibe. These days, I gather all the news I need from the weather report, but I do catch the occasional headline as I walk briskly to my next thing. I find that the rage is always there, waiting in the wings for its next full-throated aria.


On 01 September 2006 (04:59 PM), Andrew Parker said:

Wow, Olberman's totally getting audited this year.