There’s clearly something to what Garance is saying here though to be fair the afflication seems to me to be generalized among male writer/intellectual types rather than Jewish men per se. Still, the main psychological point remains that there’s a remarkable tendency to equate advocating that others engage in risky acts of physical violence with the idea of possessing courage and strength as personal characteristics.
It seems that during tonight’s debate, Mike Huckabee worried that were Hillary Clinton to become president we might not have “the courage and the will and the resolve to fight the greatest threat this country’s ever faced in Islamofascism.” The greatest threat we’ve ever faced! The astounding thing is that it’s barely astounding; at this point, that kind of wild overstatement has become totally banal GOP rhetoric on a par with the random paens to Ronald Reagan.
Katherine Seelye notes John McCain’s attacks on Mitt Romney: “Mr. McCain goes after down Mr. Romney. He first jabs at Mr. Romney’s line from the last debate that he would consult his lawyers before undertaking a military action. ‘Those are the last people I would call in,’ Mr. McCain said.” McCain is promising us, I guess, that in a McCain Administration military action will be undertaken without regard for the laws and constitution of the United States? How reassuring.
Challenger Donald Tusk of the Civic Platform party ousted current prime minister and strong Bush ally Jaroslaw Kaczynski in Poland’s parliamentary elections today. During the election, Tusk promised that “if elected, he would try to bring home the 900 Polish troops in Iraq.”
Heaven forbid we would show the sort of cruel indifference to the fate of the Iraqi people that might prevent us from continuing a military operation in which air strikes accidentally kill Iraqi toddlers and other civilians who “were people sleeping on roofs to seek relief from the heat and lack of electricity.”
Dick Cheney channels Bernard Lewis at the Washington Institute on Near East Policy:
Dr. Bernard Lewis explained the terrorists’ reasoning this way: “During the Cold War,” Dr. Lewis wrote, “two things came to be known and generally recognized in the Middle East concerning the two rival superpowers. If you did anything to annoy the Russians, punishment would be swift and dire. If you said or did anything against the Americans, not only would there be no punishment; there might even be some possibility of reward, as the usual anxious procession of diplomats and politicians, journalists and scholars and miscellaneous others came with their usual pleading inquiries: ‘What have we done to offend you? What can we do to put it right?’” End quote.
I’ve heard this before, and always thought it was a good reason to decide that whatever the merits of Lewis’ academic scholarship, his political judgment is terrible. After all, the Soviet Union was (a) vicious and horrible, and (b) spectacularly unsuccessful. The United States, after all, won the Cold War. Why would you conclude that the United States ought to emulate the Soviet Union? Because our practices have failed to render the country 100 percent immune to terrorist violence? Even from a 9/12 vantage point, as bad as 9/11 was for the United States, the Soviet imperial adventure in Afghanistan was much worse for the Russians. But in keeping with this bizarre mentality, Lewis and his fans like Cheney went on to advocate an imperial adventure in Iraq that, like the Soviet policy initiatives they admire so much, has dealt a more severe blow to the United States than al-Qaeda ever would have been able to pull off on its own.
This is all via Greg Djerejian who aptly notes that “from this premise, use of torture and black-sites and detention without habeas corpus makes all the sense in the world, doesn’t it?”
The New York Times takes a look at the major corporate players in the state lottery game. The key to doing well in this business seems to be bribing state lottery officials. Getting caught doesn’t even seem to be a big problem.
If we’re going to have lotteries at all (I have mixed feelings about this) doesn’t it seem like we really, really, really shouldn’t make them state-licensed monopolies? After all, I imagine that if you had a whole bunch of different competing lottery firms they might need to start offering somewhat better odds in order to keep their customers.
At a speech on Friday, ousted U.S. attorney John McKay revealed that the “U.S. Inspector General may recommend criminal prosecution of departed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at the conclusion of an investigation, possibly as early as next month.” The Spokesman Review reports:
McKay said he was summoned to Washington, D.C., in June and questioned for eight hours about possible reasons for his firing by investigators with the Office of Inspector General, who will forward their final report to Congress.
“My best guess is it will be released sometime next month,” and likely will include recommendations for criminal prosecutions of Gonzales and maybe others, McKay said.
Gonzales “lied about” reasons for the firings when questioned under oath in July by the Senate Judiciary Committee and now has hired a lawyer and is refusing to answer questions from the Inspector General, McKay said.
emptywheel has more.
“A new kind of hybrid uses less gas and more electricity. All-electric cars are already here. What will this mean for the road trip of the future?”
Find out in this Travel & Leisure article by early plug-in advocate David Morris. A very good discussion of recent news on electric drive cars.
I feel like David Broder needs to think harder about this:
What I learned about Leavitt in his years as governor is that he is blessed with vision that sees future policy challenges and developments more clearly than most politicians. In this case, he is visualizing a radically different kind of medical marketplace, in which families armed with specific information about the treatment success and prices of hospitals and doctors can shop at will for the best quality and most affordable care.
Maybe there’s some situation in which this would be a good thing, but mostly it sounds terrible.
By contrast, here’s an anecdote. Some time ago, I noticed that the sole of my foot was incredibly painful to walk on. I took off my shoe and sock and saw some kind of weird grossness bumpy thing down there and could tell that that was the epicenter of the pain. I called my doctor’s office describing the problem as best I could and asked for an appointment. I got one about two days in the future (waiting times! even in America!) and hobbled around until then. I went into the office, the doctor looked at my foot, immediately diagnosed it as an abscess and did some incision and drainage and then — bam! — it was done. That involved poking me with a sharp object, which seemed like it would be an unpleasant experience, but I trusted that it was the right way to go because he’s a doctor and I came to his office to be told what to do with my foot not to do independent research, ask around, start haggling, second-guess everyone, and generally remain in pain while I tried to sort things out according to Magical Market Medicine.
People want to live in a world where, when you have a medical problem, you locate a doctor and that doctor either does what needs doing, or else points you to an appropriate specialist doctor who does what needs doing. Shopping around for gadgets or browsing bookstores is fun for those of us who are into them; others like clothes-shopping or shoes. But nobody wants to shop around for medical treatment. That sucks. Sick people want treatment.