Friday, September 17, 2004

“Uzi, can you see…”

Here's my latest Vermilion column, to be published in the Sept. 22 issue. In case you don't click on the local reference, Dupre Library is part of the UL Lafayette campus (specifically, it serves as the library).

If you’ve been to Dupre Library recently, you’ve no doubt seen the wonderful sign that graces a pillar near the checkout desk:

“Under LAS 44:13, the library makes every effort to protect your privacy, but under the Federal USA PATRIOT Act (PL 107-56), records of the books and other materials you borrow from this library and information about sites you visit and activities you conduct on the library’s public access computers may be obtained by federal agents.

“That federal law prohibits library workers from informing you if federal agents have obtained records about you.”

That has to be the most miserable sign I have ever seen! I pity the nation’s good librarians who are forced to deal with this. It’s the kind of thing you might expect to see in a documentary about a long-defunct fascist regime. Yet here it is, in America, in 2004. I’m not at all a violent person—I often flush cockroaches rather than stomp on them—but I had to restrain myself from tearing it down.

Big Buddy Government would be proud of my anger. After all, we’re living in an age of violence, and there’re terrorists to hunt! If I get mad enough, then I just might buy a gun and become a REAL American! And, thanks to our marvelous majority-ignoring representatives, doing so just got much easier.

The 10-year-old ban on assault weapons, a universally applauded measure widely credited with a sharp reduction in violent crime rates since 1994, lapsed on Sept. 13. We have Congress to thank for murdering it. This expiration brings with it the resurrection of such weapons as the Uzi, the TEC-9 and the AK-47. For millions of Americans, duck season is now in full swing—duck-and-cover season.

William Bratton, LAPD Chief of Police, wrote in the L.A. Daily News that “the best defense of our homeland security will depend on the front lines of local law enforcement officers. We need our lawmakers' help by putting obstacles, such as the assault-weapons ban, in the path of terrorists." But what would some cop living in Los Angeles know about guns?

At least one group sees the return of assault weapons as a key to winning the war on terrorism. "In countries like the United States, it's perfectly legal for members of the public to own certain types of firearms. If you live in such a country, obtain an assault rifle legally, preferably an AK-47 or variations." That quote is from a recently unearthed al-Qaida training manual. Yes, al-Qaida certainly seems to hate us for our freedoms.

All you need to know about where the Bush administration stands on this issue lies in the fact that, after 9/11, Attorney General John Ashcroft allowed for extensive government intrusion into everyone’s personal information. He drew the line, however, at gun records. Weapons possession, Ashcroft said, was too sacred to investigate. Gee, someone’s license plate must read “NRA HOR.”

So remember, citizens: machine guns are good, books are bad! With the PATRIOT Act and the lapse of the weapons ban, it’s less of a hassle to buy a TEC-9 assault pistol than it is to check out “The History of the TEC-9 Assault Pistol.”

To quote that old cliché, the pen is mightier than the sword. And, lately, the pen has been making some pretty good cases for putting down the sword. The guy who sang that “words are weapons” must be turning in his grave right now. And not just because INXS broke up, but because his phrase has been taken way too literally by the anti-intellectual right. Knowledge is the real weapon, one that is feared more by corrupt leaders than any bullet.

56 comments:

Flamingo Jones said...

Fantastic Ian. Now, everytime I drive away from the library, I'm going to have to keep an eye out for that NRA HOR license plate.

Michael said...

The librarians, or most of them, are the ones who know exactly what the Patriot Act means--and they're not taking it sitting down. (Full disclosure: I have an MLS from the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I'm also chair of the Libraries Advisory Committee at the university where I currently work.)

A couple of years ago I asked the dean of our libraries what they were doing about the provisions in the Act that allowed federal agents to examine circulation records, I was expecting not to like the answer I got. I was very pleasantly surprised. If an agent comes to the circulation desk at our library and asks to see someone's circulation record (and I believe they could only get what someone has checked out currently, as they aren't keeping historical records), the clerks have standing instructions to politely ask the agent to wait while they contact the dean. The dean will then come down and politely refuse to provide them with the information they're requesting. And then we see what happens from there.

Phillip said...

i think i'm going to buy two uzis and join the nra and become a republican. as hard as that would be for me, it may be better than all the frustration.

Ian McGibboney said...

Michael,

I can't begin to tell you how good it is to know that. My already-high respect for librarians just went up even further.

I think this is true even at the library in my city, a place considered a lock for Bush (again and again and again and again and again by our local editorial writers). A while back, I was having trouble remembering the name of a book I wanted that I had checked out before. I went up to the help desk and asked if there was any way I could see my personal record to help jog my memory. They told me that such a thing didn't exist, as records are erased once the books are accounted for and fines have been paid. She said it was an issue of privacy, so that no one could obtain and abuse the information. So I felt much better after that. And yes, I eventually remembered the name of the book and had an enjoyable reread.

Flamingo Jones said...

I saw no sign of Ashcroft's vehicle today, but at one point I was being tailed by a SUV with a license plate reading "FN CRAZY" which I suspect does belong to some other member of Bush's administration.

Hegemon said...

You still have to undergo extensive background checks, long waits and register and get approval from your local sheriff to own a semi-auto. Plus you totally ignore the fact that "grandfathered" semi's were never illegal and some manufacturers used loopholes in the poorly written AWB and just renamed their guns and sold them legally. If you think this ban expiring is going to cause some HUGE upswing in violent crime you're nothing but an alarmist.

Ian McGibboney said...

Well, in that case, what is the deal with gun shows? Are the background-check loopholes still out there? I don't know because I'm not what you'd call a gun-show enthusiast.

But my point in the first place is that our laws are seriously going to hell when reading habits are subject to more potential scrutiny than firearm purchases. And even if it IS a formality, as you say, then why did Congress want it to lapse so badly? It's like this damn Amendment 1 thing that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. It's rhetoric that shows how desperate conservatives are to bully us through law. Well, that's apparently winning by about 80 percent, so you guys appear to have two victories in the last three days. Be happy.

Hegemon said...

They wanted to lapse because A.) They believe in the second amendment and B.) It would make their base happy, other people that believe in the second amendment.

No one's reading history has been scrutinized, Ashcroft said so in Senate hearings last year. It really amazes me how much that pisses people off, if Ashcroft wants to see I'm reading Arthur C. Clarke's Rama 2 he's elcome to the info.

And I've explained the reasoning behind the FMA to faggy Zac many times, It's purpose is truely democratic, let the people decide what they want instead of some unelected, unaccountable judge in Liberal City USA forcing his personal interpertations of the law of the entire citizenry. Look the FMA will never pass, it has to get through the House and the Senate and then get approved by 2/3rds of the states. But the point was to pander to another part of the base (christians) as well as let the people decide what they want, that is after all the governments jobs, to do what the people want.

Phillip said...

the fma, awb lapse and now flag burning are all meant to distract voters' attention from the real issues of the economy and iraq, which the present administration has completely and incompetently failed managing. they give major news networks these hot button issues because they know that the media will run the stories to get ratings, i.e. people can understand these issues without needing a great deal of explanations. for/against guns/gays/flag burning are all simple issues that people feel strongly about. when details about the economy and the insurgency in iraq start getting attention and their descriptions contain words with more than five letters people get lost and tune out. this is why george bush is in the lead - he appeals (wisely or in spite of himself) to people's short attention spans and inability to grasp larger and complex issues.

Hegemon said...

Yes, you call large parts of the population mindless sheep and then wonder why your party is out of power, good going.

Phillip said...

yes, we have resorted to your arbitrary right-wing tactics of name-calling and hatred. but since rationale, fact, truth, reason, logic and respect seem to have had little effect on your decision-making process, you have left us little recourse.

Michael said...

The stereotype of librarians as blue-haired old ladies in sensible shoes who do nothing but shush noisy patrons all day is wildly off the mark. It's another profession that doesn't get the props it deserves, much like teaching. You won't find stronger advocates for the First Amendment anywhere; I'd put the American Library Association right up there with the ACLU when it comes to defending free speech rights. The ALA's work with Banned Books Week (which should be coming up early next month) every year is a graphic reminder of how far we have still to come before we arrive at anything like a free society when it comes to minority viewpoints.

I'm afraid all Mr. Ashcroft's denials don't add up to a hill of beans. The ALA, if memory serves, recorded at least 50 attempts within the last year or so where federal agents approached libraries about patrons' reading habits. When I was in library school a decade ago there were huge articles in the journals about an earlier FBI program that had tried to monitor the reading habits of foreign students--that, I think, is where the decision came from not to retain circulation histories anymore, Ian. Librarians used to collect statistics on who read what, because it helped make decisions when it came time to allocate money for new book purchases, or to weed the collection. If nobody's checked a book out in 25 years, chances are it might be safe to pull it from the shelves to make room for something new and more desirable. But no more.

And the problem with this "activist judges" meme that the right keeps tossing around is, first, that it's blatantly a double standard, and second, that it's false. Judges are only "activist" when they make rulings that the conservatives don't like. It's perfectly fine when five unelected judges on the Supreme Court appoint a man to the presidency or allow the government to hide behind executive privilege to shield themselves from having to answer for selling our legislative process to the highest bidder. But just let one of them do his or her job (which is to interpret the laws passed by the legislature, in the light of our foundational document, the Constitution) in any way that the wingnuts don't like, and they're "activists" who are "forcing" their morality on all those good and decent citizens who just want to be free to be their bigoted, narrow-minded selves.

Problem with that is, there are certain areas which the Constitution explicitly states are simply too important to allow the majority to run roughshod over everybody else. The Supreme Court itself declared marriage to be a fundamental right (I believe it was in their 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia.) As such, it must, as a matter of bedrock principle, be freely accessible to all who are not otherwise disqualified to receive it. Anything less makes the words carved into the marble above the entrance to the Supreme Court a hollow mockery: "Equal Justice Under Law."

And while I'm on a roll here, Tommy, why do you feel the need to describe everyone who disagrees with you as a "fag"? You obviously don't care for Zachary's opinions. Fine. That's your right. (I don't much care for yours, either, comes to that.) But talking smack about him doesn't advance your case any--quite the opposite, in fact--and it just makes you look bad. Cut it out.

Hegemon said...

Zac is a friend, he knows me calling him a fag is all in good fun.

Ian McGibboney said...

"They wanted to lapse because A.) They believe in the second amendment and B.) It would make their base happy, other people that believe in the second amendment."

So it's worth defeating the FIRST Amendment in order to protect the SECOND? I don't think it was the idea of the Founding Fathers to pit amendments against one another. Though the idea of the Equal Rights Amendment and the Defense of Marriage Amendment going toe-to-toe would be exciting on pay-per-view.

As for making the base happy, at least you're being honest. Republicans talk a lot about "pleasing the base," as if that were the point of a democratic republic. "Pleasing the base," "electing conservative judges," "putting a Republican in the White House" and "making the nation safe for Christianity" are not in the interests of protecting and acting for all people. Just looking out for number one.

"If Ashcroft wants to see I'm reading Arthur C. Clarke's Rama 2 he's elcome to the info."

Exactly! You don't care that the feds see what you read because you have nothing to hide, right? Well, neither do I. But who's to say that the feds won't decide that what I read is out-of-bounds? What if they're looking for an excuse to bust someone? Never, ever assume that you are safe from unchecked power. They're always looking for something or someone to pop.

Michael, your comment regarding Ashcroft, librarians and the hypocrisy of "activist judges" was amazing. You say everything else I wanted to say to the Almighty Alday. Except for this: I don't know of too many gay guys who like being called "fag" by anti-gay Republicans, Tom.

I appreciate the exchange and hope it continues.

Phillip said...

michael and ian - very nice. concerning that "base" - it's worthwhile to note that even a full one-third of NRA members support the ban on assault weapons.

Hegemon said...

Well McGibbonsex I'm not "anti-gay", I'm sure Zac, who I talk to online almost daily wouldn't think I'm "anti-gay" but I'm really not suprised that someone like you, who follows talking points instead of what they actually know would think that, after all isn't "HURR HURR ALL DIM RETHUGS IZ NAZI, GAY BASHEING BABY EATERS" the current meme per the DU?

Ian McGibboney said...

Phizz, I have read that as many as 75 percent of NRA members do not support the organization's right-wing causes. As filmmakers Michael Moore and Richard Donner point out, the NRA began as a gun-safety and education organization, but transmogrified into a political lobbying firm. Donner and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf (!!) both resigned from the NRA for those reasons.

And incidentally, Ald-not-getting-any, Zac said this to me about your allegation of gay-friendliness: "well no, i don't even use the word fag. i hate how it sounds and i hate how people use it so freely." So there you go.

Zachary said...

Y'all love me! You really, really love me.

Kyle said...

Hi Ian,

Nice thread. AK's and the like have been banned and still are since 1934. So all of the huff regarding the assault weapons ban is nothing but fluff. After all, they banned weapons based on the "look" of the weapon. Remember that the Patriot Act is something designed to protect Americans. Unless you are a Fundamentalist Islamic terrorist, I wouldn't worry about it. I'm sure the AG isn't looking at your library record, Ian, unless you are debating building bombs or logging on to terrorist websites and the like. These times call for measures that will keep terrorists/potential terrorists under check. Sometimes, we need to sacrifice in order to keep our freedoms.

Ian McGibboney said...

AK's and the like have been banned and still are since 1934. So all of the huff regarding the assault weapons ban is nothing but fluff. After all, they banned weapons based on the "look" of the weapon.

What the assault-weapons ban did encompassed far more than strengthening barriers to AK ownership. For one thing, it enacted the COPS program, which increased policing for such weapons in the possession of criminals and added 100,000 officers to our streets. Assault-weapon crimes dropped 65 percent, and related crimes in most other categories dropped as well. As COPS funds (and concurrent programs) have been cut, enforcement has been more lax and AW rates have risen. So as you can see, the repeal is the final death rattle to vigilant law enforcement. It's not, as you or someone else wrote, "Banning an S-10 just because of its bowtie. I'll just get a GMC Sonoma instead." A better analogy would be, "Not only were those trucks banned, but state troopers made sure that they stayed off state highways until their funding was cut." Don't worry about the government banning S-10s; as an S-10 owner myself, I won't let them. SUVs, maybe. But I digress...

"Remember that the Patriot Act is something designed to protect Americans. Unless you are a Fundamentalist Islamic terrorist, I wouldn't worry about it."

Bull. Bull. Bull! Tell that to the hundreds of Americans who were detained in the aftermath of the Patriot Act for such dastardly terrorist acts as living near a water tower, merely being Islamic or merely looking Islamic. And those are just the ones we know about. It's really easy for us to say, "Oh, well, who cares about invasion of privacy, right? It's only those people, not us!" Nice attitude. Not only is that racist and smug, but it's also dangerous. When you give the government the right to spy on one group of people, you've essentially given them the right to intrude in all of our lives. You might not care about that, but I sure as hell do.

"These times call for measures that will keep terrorists/potential terrorists under check. Sometimes, we need to sacrifice in order to keep our freedoms."

That is the most irresponsible and reckless statement you've said yet. We must give up freedom in order to protect our freedoms? Do you realize the slippery slope that would bring us down? You will never catch all "potential terrorists." Is it worth destroying everything that our society stands for just so the terrorists don't do it first? You might have a point about the sacrifice thing, though. It might be a good idea, except that Bush told us NOT to sacrifice! Go shopping, he said. Buy the SUV. Don't alter your habits in any way regarding consumption of foreign resources. Oh, but buying drugs helps the terrorists. And so does enjoying our freedoms. Sacrifice those all you want!

Anonymous said...

I don't know how the Patriot Act got into this, but it contains the same things that are in the FISA that was enacted in 1978.

http://www.epic.org/privacy/terrorism/fisa/

The Partiot Act was made to include suspected terrorists. A google search would have told the blog owner this.

Also, the "assault weapons" ban didn't ban any "assault weapons". Carl P is exactly right in stating that it only banned cosmetics of guns. Makers merely removed the banned piece and continued selling the same guns. Same firepower, same calibers, different look. There are NO weapons being put back in to anyone's hands. The lapsing gives rifle owners a chance to buy one with pistol grip if they want. Ooooo! Again, a google search can tell you this.

http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Assault%20weapons%20ban

http://factcheck.org/article.aspx?docID=258

Quit using the same worn out examples the air head anti-gun crazies use: uzi's, AK's and machine guns. THEY'VE BEEN BANNED SINCE 1934!! Please learn to do research!

Of course, you'll have something to say back to this, thinking you're debunking "conservative" thinking. However, you can't dispute facts. But, then again, Dan Rather doesn't have to have a credible story for him to go national, why should you?

Oh yeah, I'm not a gun owner nor would I own one. But I dispise liars and braggers of misinformation.

Kyle said...

Dear John Ashcroft,

In order to appease the leftist nutties, I would like to volunteer my library record for your perusal at any time. I am aware that racial profiling will work when it comes to Islamic Fundamentalism, since they are all Arabs who are shooting at our troops and blowing up children. However, such commn sense should not be applied when it comes to the defense of this nation. Therefore, please use the Patriot Act to "infringe" on my rights so that all of the white people can "feel" more comfortable.

Sincerely,

Carl P

Michael said...

"Anonymous" should take his/her own advice and do a little Google searching. Perhaps s/he could then explain how a weapon that was not introduced until 1951 could have been banned since 1934.

Michael said...

Oh, and Carl, don't be surprised when Mr. Ashcroft decides to take offense at some of the stuff that you do read. Maybe you aren't reading the "right" version of the Bible, or maybe you don't subscribe to enough "Christian" publications. The trouble with allowing the thought police any rein at all is that once they get a little, they want more--and more, and more, and more.

While you still can, you might want to add a little Ben Franklin to your reading list: "They who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." He was absolutely right about that.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind people pointing out my mistakes. That should have been 1989. There's my retraction and correction. Where's Ian's?

Ian McGibboney said...

"I don't mind people pointing out my mistakes. That should have been 1989."

This goes beyond a simple mistake. No one confuses 1934 with 1989, not even advanced Alzheimer's patients. Yes, a gun ban does exist that was enacted in 1934, as well as one in 1989. Both have been excessively mentioned by the right as a reason not to worry about the assault-weapons lapse. However, two things give me reason to worry: 1) for all of their cries of the uselessness of the AW ban, the right seems really happy that it is gone and 2) the AW ban itself, as I've mentioned before, encompassed far more than three specific weapons. It covered crime-prevention programs (COPS) and closed loopholes in gun transactions, among other things. So when critics complain that we're concerned about a problem that does not exist, they show their ignorance by reducing the ban to the issue of one or two modified guns. Like with all legislation, there are far more complexities.

So even if I was wrong about one or two specific weapons (itself debatable), then I'm still right about the necessity of the ban. I don't need to apologize. By the way, the right-wing rhetorical tactic of fishing for apologies is far too overused.

Kyle said...

So this Islamic Terrorism is only a temporary thing? Cool! We should just ignore it, huh? It should go away if we just leave it alone. Kind of like a mosquito bite. As long as you don't touch it, it will go away.

If Ben Frankilin and the like were alive today, we would be nuking the Middle East right now.

Kyle said...

Michael,

I forgot to add something: If your library reading record is "essential liberty", than you my friend, need to look up what "essential" means and get a friggin' life.

Memo to Ashcroft: You ain't telling me which version of the bible I should read as the nutty lefty Michael suggests.

Ian McGibboney said...

Carl,

You have a serious fetish for wanting to kill Muslims. I suspect that this did not hatch full-grown on Set. 11, 2001; your hatred seems to have its roots much deeper than that. As for Ben Franklin, I don't think that he or any of the other Founding Daddies sought out destroying other countries as the aim of the United States. And keep in mind this was at a time when our precious "Coalition of the Willing" was still "The Coalition of the Willing to Kill Us."

As for your mosquito-bite metaphor, it unfortunately forgets the fact that mosquito bites DO go away by themselves. How about a better metaphor: you develop cancer in your arm. Now, do you attempt to remove the growth locally? Do you decide that the arm is so cancerous that there's no choice but to lop off the entire limb? Do you keep scratching and scratching the cancer hoping that it will get the message and die? Do you decide to ignore the cancer and lop off your other, healthy arm because it MIGHT contract cancer later, forgetting the fact that your sick arm is getting worse and worse and spreading to other areas of your body?

As for the library records, Carl, we're all aware of much of the right's dislike of books, reading or intellect in general. But some of us prize our libraries and the freedom to read whatever we choose. We're simply afraid of the possibilities that come with big government spying on our reading list. Big Government--whatever happened to that outcry? Oh, yeah, Clinton's out of the White House...

Kyle said...

Please stop calling me a racist. I don't want to kill all Muslims, just the filthy Islamic terrorists. If you were sawing off heads and shooting children in the back in the name of Allah, I would want to kill you to. You know the difference, so stop being ignorant. Your typical left-wing name calling not only proves your age but your willingness to roll over and give up in times of trouble, like Kerry and the rest of his ilk.

OK, Cancer is a good metaphor...you nuke it (radiation), or cut the growth from the arm.

Give it up on the Patriot Act already. It isn't an ammendment and has an expiration so "Big Government" won't have that power forever. Perhaps is was you instead of Cleland that slipped those horrible forgeries to Rather and you don't want to be exposed as a seditious traitor who protects the enemies of America?

PS I love books and Jesus!

Michael said...

No, Carl, you're the one that needs to get a fuckin' life and who doesn't understand the meaning of the word "essential." The government has zero right to tell me what I may or may not read, and it's no damn business of theirs what I am reading.

This semester I don't have much to worry about: my two research projects are on an English manor in the Midlands in the last quarter of the 13th century (and attendant dry issues of English law, feudal customs, land measurement, and the like) and the policy of the French military government in Germany after WWII toward illegitimate children.

But for the last two years running I've been doing extensive research on the Second World War, with particular reference to the Nazis and their policies. My specific interest is in the Nazis' policies toward groups and persons they described as "asocial"--people that included gays and lesbians, the unemployed, prostitutes, Jehovah's Witnesses, "loose" women, and the like. Just looking across the room to my overflowing bookshelves, I can see the following titles: The Gestapo and German Society; Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under the Nazis; Inside Hitler's Germany; Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews, and Ordinary Germans; Hitler est-il mort?; The Theory and Practice of Hell; The Order of the Death's Head; Doctors Under Hitler; and Nazi Policy: Jewish Workers, German Killers. I wouldn't care to speculate about the kinds of conclusions such a list of titles might inspire in a nosy FBI agent. Particularly if he had it in his head that I was just another uppity librul who needed to be taken down a peg or two and he was casting about for a convenient excuse.

Ian McGibboney said...

"Please stop calling me a racist. I don't want to kill all Muslims, just the filthy Islamic terrorists. If you were sawing off heads and shooting children in the back in the name of Allah, I would want to kill you to[o]."

Whenever you use words like "filthy" and refer specifically to Allah instead of saying that I would be killing in the name of any god, your biases shine through.

"Your typical left-wing name calling not only proves your age..."

How exactly does being a 24-year-old graduate student label me immature and unequipped to talk politics?

"OK, Cancer is a good metaphor...you nuke it (radiation), or cut the growth from the arm."

When you nuke the cancerous cells, you also nuke your healthy and innocent ones.

"Give it up on the Patriot Act already. It isn't an amendment and has an expiration so 'Big Government' won't have that power forever."

Yeah right! Would YOU give up unlimited power? Lapses are for assault-weapon bans!

"PS I love books and Jesus!"

Well, you should have a right to. Who wants to be told what to read and who to worship?

Kyle said...

OK, so I am biased toward killing terrorists. What's wrong with that?

Ian McGibboney said...

Because one man's terrorist is another man's proud patriot.

Zachary said...

Can we get back to talking about me?

Hegemon said...

"Because one man's terrorist is another man's proud patriot."

lol, and that's why people like you should never be anywhere near a position of power in times like these.

Zachary said...

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=6173004

and that's why people like you should never be anywhere near a position of power in times like these.

Ian McGibboney said...

If people like me were in power, then our foreign policy might have more substance than, "Bang bang, brown guy, you're dead."

Hegemon said...

Like it did in the 90's? that Kill-us-while-we-look-the-other-way policy of Clinton was tops, or maybe you were refering to Jimmay Cartah's Please-take-our-people-hostage-while-we-blow-up-our-own-helicopters-in-your-desert policy?

Ian McGibboney said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ian McGibboney said...

Like it did in the 90's? that Kill-us-while-we-look-the-other-way policy of Clinton was tops, or maybe you were refering to Jimmay Cartah's Please-take-our-people-hostage-while-we-blow-up-our-own-helicopters-in-your-desert policy?

Remember back in 1998-99 when Clinton was bombing Iraq and Kosovo and taking action against Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan? What was it the right said? "HE'S JUST TRYING TO DIVERT ATTENTION FROM MONICA LEWINSKY!!" I might have merely been a college freshman back then, but I think I remember that pretty well. I also recall that an evaluation of Clinton's foreign policy at the end of his presidency criticized him for spending too much time and resources on bin Laden. And in the years of the Clinton presidency, Iraq dismantled its WMD programs and became less and less significant as a terroristic power. That's hardly what I'd call a passive foreign policy. More like, smart and effective. Everything that Bush's isn't.

As for Carter, well, I'd say he was the right guy at the wrong time. It also didn't hurt that Iranian officials were willing to release the hostages in October 1980 until Reagan's people made a deal with them to keep them until January 1981.

Yep, no one screams bad foreign policy and bumbling leadership quite like Clinton and Carter, two of America's least-loved and most despised presidents worldwide. Oh, wait a minute...!

Hegemon said...

Wow, imagine that, countries that don't have America's best interests in mind have no problem with 2 presidents with non-exsistent to downright shameful foreign policies?!? strange.

Michael said...

How like a wingnut to think that other countries exist solely to support Amurrika's policies. And that Amurrika is always right.

I love my country. I hate the government with which it is presently saddled, and I live in hopes of popping the cork on a nice bottle of fine French champagne sometime late in the evening of November 2 when I get to watch Emperor C+ Augustus concede the election to Senator Kerry. Any thinking human being has to realize that Bush is a disaster that has already happened--and that four more years of him in power would be four more years of exactly the same kind of crap and destruction that the last four years have meant.

Ian McGibboney said...

Contrary to what you want to believe, The United States of America is NOT the only nation in the world. You seem genuinely surprised that we are not the only nation in the world that looks out for our own best interests. Can you step out of your America-first-and-only cocoon long enough to put yourself in the midset of another culture even for a second? Do you not think that Iraqis and Afghanis are second-guessing the motivations of American troops who are killing innocent civilians in the name of freedom?

Clinton and Carter are beloved around the world for their reaching out to other nations for alliance and support. Wherever Clinton goes, virtually anywhere in the world, he is mobbed by well-wishers and is revered as an American icon. Carter recently won the Nobel Peace Prize. These are two honors that your boy Bush will never, EVER even come close to having. So if you want to chide me for aligning myself with Clinton and Carter, then go right ahead. Because despite your best efforts, I am not at all ashamed of that association.

Kyle said...

Heh. Carter and Clinton are beloved by Yasser Arafat, Castro, Ayottolah and Jong-Il. All of them, hell bent on America's destruction. I'm glad you pointed out exactly what side the Democrats are on. Would you like some Ketchup with your shoe?

Michael said...

Tell me, Carl, does having your head that far up your ass cut off all the oxygen to your brain, or what? Which ayatollah were you talking about? (And you might make a stab at actually learning how to spell the title properly while you're at it.) Similarly, "Jong Il" is President Kim's first name, you doofus. As with most Asian countries, in Korea the family name comes first.

But since we already know that Osama wants Dumb-ya to remain in office, and since you seem to feel that American politicians who are well-liked by terrorists and other not-so-nice people should not be retained in office, may we therefore assume that you'll be voting for Senator Kerry in November?

(That unpleasant sound you just heard was Carl's head exploding on being asked to confront an inconsistency in his cognitive structure.)

Kyle said...

You know who I am talking about!! Ayatollah Khomeini. That filthy Islamist who took our citizens hostage during the Carter presidency. That dumb goober didn’t do shit! Wait, you were probably not even itching your daddy's balls then. I wanted to call the North Korean dictator by his first name, so there. President Kim? Boy, if I were you I’d watch out. You sound like a real I hate America/terrorist in the making.

The rest of your post was unreadable. Somehow you think Osama wants W to be re-elected?? Can you explain that without blowing up and becoming all violent, especially about my ass? W is well-liked by terrorists? You are a sick little monkey! It is time for your meds, Michael Meyer. I can see the spittle collecting in the corners of your mouth.

Memo to Ashcroft: Since we are both into the “Lord”, I want you to know that you will need to read all of Michael’s email and tap his phones. He is on the verge of committing terrorist acts. He is also a deranged lunatic who has a fetish with my ass while correcting me about Communist North Korean naming conventions. Not only that, he used the word cognitive correctly in a sentence.

Thanks,

Carl

Ian McGibboney said...

"Boy, if I were you I’d watch out. You sound like a real I hate America/terrorist in the making."

Ironic it is indeed, Carl, that you are cutting down people for their age when in fact you make the most childish arguments of them all. Sorry, man, but Carl P is not the only barometer of what it means to be an American; therefore, disagreement with you does not automatically mean that someone is a terrorist. Get real.

"Somehow you think Osama wants W to be re-elected??...W is well-liked by terrorists? You are a sick little monkey!"

Carl, you might be interested in this: http://www.iht.com/articles/510898.html

"'We are very keen that Bush does not lose the upcoming elections,' [a statement by the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, responsible for the Spain attack] said.

"Addressing Bush, it said: 'We know that a heavyweight operation would destroy your government, and this is what we don't want. We are not going to find a bigger idiot than you.' The statement said Abu Hafs al-Masri needs what it called Bush's 'idiocy and religious fanaticism' because they would 'wake up' the Islamic world.

"Comparing Bush with his Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry, the statement tells the president, 'Actually, there is no difference between you and Kerry, but Kerry will kill our community, while it is unaware, because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish infidelity and present it to the Arab and Islamic community as civilization.'"

al-Qaida also said a few months ago, "Whereas Bush reacts to violence with violence, Kerry will destroy us right where we stand..."

So yeah, I'd say the terrorists like Bush.

Memo to Ashcroft: Doesn't your eagle have somewhere to soar?

Kyle said...

Ian, the International Herald Times???

That is some source you've got there. I wonder if they are legitimate as the United Nations?

I don't think you are a terrorist, Ian, and you disagree with me about everything. So your argument is bunk. I actually think you are a centrist in liberal clothes.

Michael said...

Gee, Carl, you really are as dumb as you look. All you had to do was take a look at my profile (or my blog) and you could easily have discovered that I started high school the year Carter was sworn in as president. I remember his presidency very well. I also remember the first President Bush making a secret deal with that same, what was the word you used, "filthy" Ayatollah Khomeini to have him hold on to the hostages until the day Saint Ron of Reagan was inaugurated, so he could go all manly and shit and claim to have freed them.

I'm afraid I'm not buying your "I meant to do that" argument. Everyone else you referred to in that list was either by title or by last name. Referring to Kim by his first name sticks out a little, don't you think?

And what's wrong with giving the man his title? Like him or not, he is president of North Korea. Doesn't mean I agree with him or his policies. Which is also why you won't hear me calling the present occupant of the White House by that title--it isn't rightfully his, as far as I'm concerned. Nor will I describe his collection of halfwit loons and chickenshit chickenhawks as an "administration." That word is reserved for a democratically elected and properly appointed bunch of people running the county: and neither is appropriate to the Shrubbery.

If that makes me an "America-hater" in your book, so be it. I prefer not to take my directions, political or otherwise, from 11-year-olds.

Kyle said...

Michelle,

You are a very hateful man. Your disdain for my country is dispicable and you should be ashamed of yourself. You are a raging lunatic like Algore the Robot. Considering you are a self-proclaimed America hater, why don't you live in a country that's more to your liking and lifestyle? I'm just wondering, being so dumb and all. I know that if I were a pinko-leftist America hater, I would move to Canada or become a European. Think about it, you will have lots of other weenies to hang around with. You will have your beloved Socialized medicine. You will have so much more "tolerance". If you are so proud of your views, why don't you disclose where you work in Education?

P.S. Your blogger profile doesn't disclose your age, just what astrological sign you were born under.

Ian McGibboney said...

Carl, if you're going to make a personal attack, at least have something to counter the political arguments that Michael makes. Otherwise, you just sound desperate.

That said, if your comment is any indicator, you have to be one of the most un-American people ever to stop by here. "A self-proclaimed America hater?" Please. He deserves this comment because he criticizes Bush? What I see in you again and again, Carl, is a severe prejudice against anyone who doesn't think exactly like you. You seem to think that you are the arbiter of citizenship for the United States. You're not. And neither am I. The difference between us, however, is that I'm not calling for your immediate deportation simply because we disagree. America is all about disagreement and the tolerance thereof. For you to say that liberals should go off to some other country and that we want the terrorists to win are irresponsible and absolutely tasteless.

And if you are going to criticize someone, at least be witty! "Algore the Robot?" That has to be one of Rush Limbaugh's least-amusing catchphrases ever.

Kyle said...

Ian,

I am not calling for deprtation of anyone. I'm simply asking if the self-righteous left despise America and what it stands for so much, why do they continue to live here? It is a legitimate question.

Ian McGibboney said...

"I'm simply asking if the self-righteous left despise America and what it stands for so much, why do they continue to live here? It is a legitimate question."

It is precisely BECAUSE we love this country that we question the actions of its leadership. Part of loving your country is acknowledging and fixing its mistakes when they occur. We're not perfect, as you seem to think we are, but we're okay with that. Real courage comes from owning up to questionable things that we have done and admitting we have thought it out wrong. In other words, it's my right as an American to despise the recklessness of the Bush administration. I'm not going anywhere; you'll just have to put up with me.

Kyle said...

I agree that is good and American to question the leadership of the country. I just wonder if you do it with the same enthusiasm for the the Democratic side.

Michael said...

Oooh, Carl, I'm all a-tremble. I'm such a girly-man that I can't find anything to say after you used my girly-name.

Not.

If either of us has disdain for this country, it's you. One of the reasons I'm so furious at the Shrubbery is what they've done to the country I love and the things it stands for. My ancestors came to this country within a generation of the Mayflower. Three of my ancestors fought the British in the Revolutionary War, and one of them died at Valley Forge. Many more of them fought for the Union in the Civil War, for the United States in the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, the First and Second World Wars, and the Vietnam conflict.

If you wanted to find my age, you had only to look at the Blogchalk segment of the sidebar at the left of my blog page. It's listed right there.

As to why I might not want to publicize where I work, well, gee, what reason might there be for that? It couldn't have anything to do with that batch of roaming conservative morons who make what amounts to a federal case each and every time someone who works for a university says anything that Unca Karl doesn't like, could it? Or the desire not to appear improperly to be speaking on behalf of or in the name of my employer?

There's also the problem that I make no bones on my blog about how I feel about the idiot in whose congressional district I happen to live and work. At the same time, my employer has a very good relationship with him, and would like to keep that relationship going. I owe my employer a fiduciary duty not to embarrass it in its relations with the federal government, particularly as it is trying to increase the level of external research funding.

That's probably something you wouldn't understand, being a conservative. You people tend to take whatever it is your little hearts lust after at the moment, and screw the consequences. Your philosophy is basically "Fuck you as long as I get mine."

I don't work like that. I play by the rules. I do my job, and I do it damn well. But that doesn't just mean not spending my days playing shoot-em-up games on my computer, it means thinking about my employer's well-being and not doing things to impact it adversely. It also means that I take the "service" component of my job very seriously. I have a public face in my job, and I'd just as soon not have to leave any of my colleagues apologizing for something I said in my capacity as a private citizen.

You don't like that I don't like your man Bush? Boo fucking hoo, buddy. Get over it. It's my right. You don't like that I criticize what I see as wrong with the government? Tough shit. Also my right. In fact, by my understanding of our history and our foundational documents, it's also my civic duty.

You see, I believe in one of your kind's favorite principles: "My country, right or wrong." But unlike you, I don't think that means shutting up and soldiering whether my country's in the right or not. I think it means supporting what's right with my country, and the governments that lead it, and working to change what's wrong. That's how Sir Winston Churchill defined "conservatism," you know.

Or probably not.