Evening Terrorism Mystery

The New York Times commemorated Al Haig’s death by reprinting this 1989 op-ed he wrote thinking through counterterrorism strategy after the U.S. got caught in a spate of Hezbollah/Israel hostage-taking. (Background.) Your task is to tell me what this means:

[A]s in any war, a commander in chief must also know that military operations can be designed to minimize civilian casualties but can never entirely avoid them. In other words, acceding to terrorists, no matter how politically disguised, is immoral.

Am I losing my powers of reading comprehension or is this a non sequitur?

In any event, Haig ultimately judges that “our policy should be one of no concessions [to terrorists], not no negotiations,” proving himself to be a naive liberal consumed by a failure of moral clarity and probably responsible in some indirect way for 9/11.

Why do Christianist bigots even try doing rap?

O.M.F.G. Anti-gay WingNutDaily columnist Molotov Mitchell has some serious issues with Islam as well — no surprise there. Rather than waste any time criticizing his broad spectrum of bigotry, evaluate his rap skilz.

Weigh in on the poll.

If you really feel like being punished, watch his diatribe in favor of Uganda’s “execute gays” video.

H/T, Joe.My.God, who calls Mitchell “the teabagger Eminem.” (more…)

'Love' generated for your citizen journalist — and choosing a path for discourse

I mean really, now — how sad must one’s life have to be to make comments like these re: my coverage of the HRC Carolinas Dinner…

North Carolina is the pits. Jesse Helms, Mike Nifong, John Edwards… and Durham is the pits of the pits. Something like, third worst murder rate in the state? No more articles on North Carolina.

POSTED BY: JT | FEB 28, 2010 1:30:39 PM

Pam Spaulding is as useless and self-serving as Joe Solmonese. She is as much to blame for the sorry state of our civil rights movement as anyone at HRC. Her hypocrisy and lies aimed at anyone who questioned Obama’s veracity before the primary election (you know, when it mattered) will not be forgotten.

POSTED BY: GAYLIB | FEB 28, 2010 2:58:59 PM

Believe me, Gaylib, Spaulding was only there for the buffet.

POSTED BY: JT | FEB 28, 2010 7:31:36 PM

LMAO!!!!! HA HA HA HA…

POSTED BY: TANK | FEB 28, 2010 7:34:58 PM

These were harvested from Towleroad, btw, but you can find dung like this all over. Some of Andy’s readers have an ax to grind with me for some reason. I see this sort of sentiment on occasion at other gay blogs and it irks me not because I have a thin skin — trust me, I’ve been called worse.

The problem for me is that I’m friendly with most of these bloggers and they are with me as well; we often collaborate on actions on behalf of the equality movement, share tips, etc. I fail to understand what motivates this hostility in the comments.

Let’s just say I don’t want to see that kind of crap in comments here at PHB; if you have a criticism of someone’s post or perspective (even when it comes to movement leaders, btw), I have to believe that Blenders can find an intelligent, reality-based way of analyzing and communicating your sentiments than what you see above. And it has nothing to do with clamping down expression or making it impossible to hold anyone accountable for what they put out there.

For every self-satisfying toss-off, how many calls do you think these commenters (JT, GAYLIB and TANK) made to their representatives about pro-LGBT legislation? How many even know who their state rep and senator are or visited with them? Even here, I see a fair amount of griping and moaning about the past — as if we can change it — and less strategy on how to stop a repeat failure or to actually achieve a sorely-needed victory.

The reason I bring this topic up is that on a regular basis I receive criticism for statements I’ve never made, positions I’ve never taken and insults or name-calling that are non-existent on my part. Where does it come from? The Blend comments.  

For whatever reason, people looking for an easy way to discredit an essay or post of mine (or another barista) usually burrow into the comments to find “proof” of some malevolent hoohah, even if it’s not anything anyone above the fold has said. I find it a bizarre phenomenon that some readers can’t distinguish between a post and comments, but it happens so often that I have to believe people just see what they want to see.

Anyway, I’m just asking to pick up the discourse a bit and help with the problem-solving since we have a lot of work to collectively do ahead, given we have an administration running down the clock, a complex, often thorny relationship between the netroots and our “gatekeeper” organizations, and a well-organized right-wing Dominionist network of barely-tethered-to-reality folks who should not be able to scare our pols, but yet they are.

I know we have a lot of smart, politically aware Blenders here and we need all the brainpower we can get. Save your fire for deserving targets (also, no matter which side they are on). By all means hold me accountable, hold leaders accountable, but try to make your case in a way that is specific, fact-based and productive.

We put ourselves out here to take barbs, threats and all sorts of crap without the cover of anonymity, and at least on my part as a labor of love and desire for equality, certainly not to make a living off of it — or belly up to a non-existent buffet, lol. They don’t feed the journalists (at least not me) at these functions. (more…)

Mahmoud expects that Israel belongs with him

PRESS-TV reports that at a conference held in Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad continued on his charm offensive.

Discussing the future of Palestine, he decided to throw in his analysis of the problems of the planet.

Zionists are the root cause of all wars, terror acts, crimes and destruction in the world.

The Iranian something or other continued his not calling for Israel’s destruction with saying

"Their (Israeli) presence even in one inch of the region’s soil causes threat, crisis and war,"

and adding that

"Unity and readiness of the Palestinian people are the only ways to control this evil demon and send it to the bottom of hell,

where Mahmoud will be waiting to keep a close watch on it, possibly to be in position to announce that Israel is now ruining hell.

Perry dines with Bush, Medina goes international

While Texas governor Rick Perry dines with former president George W. Bush, Debra Medina has garnered international attention in the U.K.’s Guardian. The Guardian article identified Medina as a "tea party" candidate and drew comparisons to Sarah Palin. However, the Guardian did make the distinction that when it comes to speeches, Medina is "no Sarah Palin". Medina goes well beyond simply calling for a reduction in "big government" and pushes for Texas state sovereignty. She draws a clear line in the sand when it comes to issues of federal intrusion such as cap and trade, health care and taxes.

In many ways this gubernatorial primary is a battle for definition. Many who attended the tea party rallies and town hall meetings are just simply fed up. However, to press for a greater definition than that might be pushing it a bit. Most of the generalized angst has been focused on the Obama administration’s spending sprees and push for mandatory health care. However, anything more definitive than these broad issues seems to get lost in the brief attention span of the average tea partier. However, all of that could change with the smell of fresh blood in the water.

This battle in the Texas gubernatorial race is just that, the battle for first blood. Up until now it has all been theoretical. No major party upsets have taken place and any volleys that have occurred have been fired into the air. Although the election of Scott Brown was touted as a tea party victory, it was clearly a choice of the lesser of evils rather than a political statement. Medina, however, is a Paulian. She may be on the conservative side of libertarian, but she clearly holds the value of Liberty higher than most other conservative values she espouses. What this means to someone on the progressive or liberal side of the aisle is that there is common ground, room for compromise. What it means for tea party conservatives is definition.

Until now, conservative tea partiers could listen to Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck and still feel tapped into the mainstream. Their seething anger was soothed and stroked by positive affirmation and empathic understanding. However, no real, substantive change was required. Debra Medina, as well as other libertarian candidates who will soon be grabbing the national stage, are changing that. These constitutional conservatives are reminding the voters of why they were angry a year ago and what the issues at stake really are. This is not about conservative vs. liberal, this is about the people taking back their government.

The definitive characteristic of Debra Medina is that she is not a politician. She is a RN and entrepreneur. Neither is she a Sarah Palin, an elitist soccer mom pretending to be part of the working class. Medina is the genuine article, and in true Paulian fashion she is determined to work herself out of a job! Make no mistake, her push for Texas sovereignty is not about some sort of Neo-Confederate movement. It is about breaking the back of the corporate-political fascism which dominates both political parties today. It is about re-asserting the sovereignty of the individual first, then the community as a whole.

While it is true that most of these libertarian-leaning political candidates come from a conservative background, what is lost on both sides of the main stream media is the major paradigm shift which
has occurred with these enlightened activists. Most, if not all of them, have laid down the personal agendas they used to cling to in their previous political arenas. They have embraced the concept of inalienable rights, especially the right to Liberty as witnessed in this exchange with Adam Kokesh. What this means is that previously non-negotiable issues such as abortion and gay marriage may now be open for discussion. While many of these candidates may not fully embrace these views, they are certainly open to their freedom of expression and possible compromise. Evidence of this can be seen during the recent CPAC convention when a group of Paul supporters defended a Gay GOP group against an attack by a conservative attendee.

Progressives remain naturally suspicious, but there is an impeding agenda at work as well. Where the "rub" comes in is that progressives and liberals want the government to enforce social programs and corporate regulation. This is the same as government enforcing moral agendas and human rights. Neither belong in the realm and scope of government. Regulation needs to be largely taken up by the citizenry. The government by far is the largest corporation in America, and is comprised of elitists who picture themselves above the needs of the average citizen. The common ground between progressives and libertarians is putting the power back into the hands of the people and allowing the people to be responsible for regulating and enforcing proper behavior through the free market and the rule of law.

When the tea partiers see that putting one of their own into a position of government dismantles the "system" and allows unjust legislation and encroachment to be nullified, the excitement and passion will be irrepressible. Unless of course the prospect of governing oneself is too frightful to contemplate. In which case there is always a politician available for the task.

Sunday Late Night: How Did They Name Canada?

The people living there decided to pull letters out of a bag, like you do to start a game of Scrabble™.

Well, that’s a C, eh?

And an N, eh?

And a D, eh?

And, more specifically, here’s the top ten reasons to live in Vancouver:

1. Weed
2. Two million people and two bridges
3. The local hero is a pot-smoking snowboarder
4. The local wine doesn’t taste like malt vinegar
5. Your $400,000 Vancouver home is 5 hours from downtown
6. A university with a nude beach
7. You can throw a rock and hit three Starbucks locations
8. If a cop pulls you over, just offer them some of your hash
9. There’s always some sort of deforestation protest going on
10. Cannabis

And, to honor the Canadan hockey team which won a Gold Olympics™ medal to the United States of America’s Platinum Olympics™ medal, here’s some Manitoba jokes: (more…)

Watercooler – On The Ground With The Coffee Party

Last night, I reported on the birth of the Coffee Party movement, which seeks to be a civil counterpart to the combative Tea Party mentality and the obstructionism of Congress. Here’s a report from the Washington, DC chapter from Seminal reader "michaelkarpman":

Yesterday, I joined about 30-40 people at the first meeting of the Coffee Party Movement’s Washington, D.C., chapter at Potter’s House in Columbia Heights. Because these groups are still in their infancy, and not yet established in each neighborhood, folks from all over the metro area attended. There were participants from as far away as Baltimore and Annapolis. A diverse mix of white, African American, and Asian American residents, most were current or former Obama supporters, dismayed by the Tea Party movement, and leaned left of center. Everyone, organizers included, was there as a volunteer – no one was on any organization’s payroll or working for a specific political cause. In that sense, this was probably the most grassroots meeting I’ve ever been to.

Despite the crowd’s progressive inclinations, the meeting was not in any way ideological – unless commitment to participatory democracy and civil discourse is an ideology. The Coffee Party organizers – and Annabel Park, the “accidental” founder of the effort – emphasized a vision that is very much about changing our nation’s political culture and, in particular, the way we talk about politics. It is an alternative to the Tea Party in that it seeks to counteract the Tea Party’s discourse and tone. It also seeks to “get beyond sound bites” that have made the national political conversation stale and slowed our nation’s progress to a halt. Ms. Park’s description of the event as a “self-help meeting for sane people” seemed accurate – there was a noticeable absence of crazy people who are usually drawn to meetings where they may have a chance to complain.

The full report is worth the read, as is a glance at The Coffee Party’s website. So far on The Seminal, there has been mixed reaction to the movemnet. Some think it is a breath of fresh air that can advance our political process. Others feel it is too centrist and will water down the aims of progressivism. Still others think the efficacy of the movement will vary between local chapters.

Whichever of these descriptions is most accurate, The Coffee Party is light years ahead of the movement that tried to shout down civil discourse instead of promoting it.

What’s on your mind tonight?