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12/20/2003 08:50:00 PM | Greg Klein

What's your favorite holiday song?

I vote for Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. I'm also a sucker for Rocking around the Christmas Tree -- but what's your favorite tune?

There's been a lot of intense discussion on this here blog lately. But, heck, it's the holidays. So let's finally settle the issue of the best song of the season the only way we know how -- blogging and getting the last word.

Oh, alright, I guess I should put something up that people might actually find interesting. Anyone heard of NewsHax? I came across it through Google News, looks like an Onion wannabe.



12/20/2003 08:23:00 PM | Timothy

Semiotics of Saddam
Slate on the Saddam video



12/20/2003 08:17:00 PM | Nikhil

Libya
This is a rather long response to comments on this post:

But back to basics, Nikhil: you're seriously deluded if you think that "diplomacy" (even when "used") is a win-win option with Libya. - I should have specified diplomacy with sanctions, but I don't think a military threat is particularly neccessary. Dictators don't like to go bankrupt. You must be seriously deluded if you think they're in it for anything but the money, and if you're able to offer them a better option, a better standard of living, etc, then why is it delusional to think that they might succumb?

It must cause you physical pain to say that Bush might have done something right -- that must be why you feel the need to insist that he "must have been drunk last night." - Yes Emmet, my psychologist has advised me that when I make concessions about Bush I ought to soften them by calling him drunk. If not, I risk going into a small fit and then crossing the thin line between a left-winger and a freedom hating terrorist.

Also, you and Murphy both dismiss the Iraq war, but if Tripoli had been trying "for years" to normalize relations, what was the catalyst...? - Its not so much me as the Observer, but:

"As the different wordings were thrown back and forth, all present knew they had a long working relationship to fall back on. This was the 'trust factor' that made the deal possible.
The three men in the Libyan team had also negotiated the complex deal between America, Britain and Libya over Lockerbie. That had been resolved to all sides' satisfaction."

So why the talks went easy: A long proccess of negotiation which managed to remove Western objections to dealing with Europe through Libya's agreement to make amends for Lockerbie.

And why the talks started: While Iraq had nothing to do with it, Libya did react to September 11th, Libya's ambassador to Rome amongst other diplomats began talks in Britain in October of that year, quite possibly hoping that the United States would be good to a 'secular' dictator in a Muslim country, hoping to cut down enemies and threats in the wake of 9/11.

That's when the real turnaround happened: e.g. the man who led the delegation to Britain had previously "openely pledged his support for the IRA and declared that Libya would carry out the assassinations of two Gadaffi opponents on British soil." (and three were later found dead)

And the WMD demand was in fact made by the British not on the ground that America would invade if they continued to research nuclear and biochem weapons, but rather on the assumption that "no US Congress would approve the ending of American sanctions, until Libya had renounced its WMD and accepted a regime of intrusive inspections." (Observer)

The Reward: Not survival but the end of sanctions and "millions of dollars of development and trade money".

The Moral: "'Libya had to be shown that a move like this will get results,' said one Downing Street official. 'We have to show that diplomacy can work.' "

Sorry, links to relevant articles:
Observer (via Guardian Unlimited)
Observer pt.2 (via Guardian Unlimited)
Arab News



12/20/2003 05:54:00 PM | Timothy

Repeal the Bush Tax!
Dean's got a new site.



12/20/2003 03:29:00 PM | Graham

re: Bush campaign, throwing around crap again
Tim, you missed the best parts: "Democrats will do or say anything to defeat our president, wild accusations, reckless conspiracy theories and now raising money from foreign anti-American activists."
I suppose, technically, in light of our government's position on the ICC, an international tribunal could be considered "anti-American" these days. I wasn't under the impression that Clark was there to raise money though. Maybe Bush/Cheney '04 had some better intel.

The scare tactic used in "the ask" is great, "Web sites for Wesley Clark and Howard Dean direct visitors from outside the United States to liberal fund-raising Web sites, where foreign donors can pledge money to fund left-wing efforts to defeat President Bush."

Foreigners...Left-Wing Extremists...Anti-Amercan Activists...Somebody call Tom Ridge!



12/20/2003 03:18:00 PM | Graham

Guest Writer
Greetings to all bloggers and readers of Freedartmouth.com.

I suspect that most of you are in your late teens or early twenties. I
graduated from Dartmouth in 1960. Yet I think we agree about an enormous
number of things.

I came across your blog site while making a modest financial contribution
to Dean, in hopes that if enough people give even small amounts of money
we will prevail in the next election and succeed in removing Bush from the
Presidency.

To you, my perspective must seem ancient. I remember World War II,
rationing, the atrocities we heard were happening in Germany, the
surrender of Japan. I remember Senator McCarthy's trampling of people's
rights and lives. I remember days when nobody had a television set and we
got our news from radio and the papers. Back then, the family sat around
the dinner table every evening, ate a meal, and actually talked to one
another. I remember Korea and Vietnam. To me these were real, not just
pages in a textbook.

The United States is now in the greatest crisis I've ever seen. We have a
president who actually succeeded in stealing an election. He lied to the
people knowingly and deliberately to plunge the country into war. He and
his associates are destroying the environment, increasing the power of
corporations, and bringing about some of the most fundamental societal
changes since Roosevelt's New Deal.

They do not care about you -- our children. They wish to undo every bit
of social progress made in the last century, to dismantle the government
except for the military, and to do away with most regulation. By the time
you are my age, you can forget having social security. Bush and company
are extremists intent on eliminating most governmental functions.

What can we do to save you from this kind of future? The only hope I see
is the possible election of one of the Democratic candidates. It looks as
though Dean will be the nominee. Any effort you make to unseat Bush in
the coming election, whether a financial donation or a massive
letter-writing campaign or whatever else, will help rids of us the worst
president of the last century, and perhaps the worst of our history.


In saving the country you will be saving yourselves.
Richard A. Goodman '60



12/20/2003 02:57:00 PM | Timothy

Bush campaign, throwing around crap again
These guys have no shame. This is simply an incredibly stupid attack. A fundraising email says "Wesley Clark, who was in Europe when Saddam Hussein was captured, criticized the president this week and said that rather than going after Saddam, he would have let the United Nations continue to seek the dictator's cooperation." And why was Clark in Europe? Maybe because he was plotting and eating cheese with evil French. Or maybe to testify at the trial of a Milosevic, a murderous dictator, whom Clark pushed the U.S. to go to war with.



12/19/2003 09:01:00 PM | Nikhil

Al-Jazeera
Sudan's 'authorities' have decided to shut down Al-Jazeera's local offices for apparently reporting a TB epidemic and landmine proliferation problem too negatively:
The authorities' discontent stems from reports carried by the station regarding tuberculosis, landmine victims in Sudan and events in the western Darfur region.
We shouldn't be too harsh on the Sudaneese for their censorship, though:
Even as British foreign secretary Jack Straw and his Iraqi opposite number Naji Sabri were seeking out the station to spread their conflicting views of the current conflict, British home secretary David Blunkett was slamming al-Jazeera and the Iraqi authorities were banning its reporters from working in Baghdad.
(link here)



12/19/2003 08:32:00 PM | Nikhil

George Bush must have been drunk last night
He decided to use diplomacy, and not with bad results either.
Libya agreed to abandon its programs after meetings with experts from Britain and the United States. No details were immediately available on the nature of these meetings, where they took place and when.
And then he went back to his old self:
At the White House, Bush said the war in Iraq and efforts to stop North Korea’s nuclear program had sent a clear message to countries such as Libya that they must abandon weapons programs. “In word and in action, we have clarified the choices left to potential adversaries,”
One of the many people that knows more about foreign relations than Bush disagrees:
Richard Murphy, a former U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs who is now at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the U.S. invasion of Iraq "might have been a factor" in the Libyan decision to give up its weapons of mass destruction but noted Tripoli had sought better relations for several years. "I would view this as a further step in the Libyan effort to restore itself as a country interested in normal, good relations .... rather than interpreting it as a move to protect itself from a Bush policy of preemption," Murphy said.



12/19/2003 08:19:00 AM | Anthony

Oh No! Constitutional Rights for Criminal Suspects!

Well ladies and gentlemen, it appears that the courts still value the US constitution. The Bush administration is none too happy about this. Read all about it.

But on Thursday, administration officials gave no sign that they would retreat from their approach. "Actually these rulings are an aberration," said a senior Justice Department official. "The administration has been upheld time and time again."

What can I say? Heaven forbid the constitution be upheld time and time again! I won't say anything about international law, seeing that GWB is the only real authority on the planet and answers to no one.



12/18/2003 05:22:00 PM | Timothy

O'Reilly Unhinged
In case you haven't seen this, Drudge seems to have his number.



12/18/2003 05:51:00 AM | Nikhil

Airline Passanger Privacy
Reuters reports this story that you've probably already heard about:
After months of arm-twisting, the EU's executive agreed on Tuesday to pass on to Washington information about air travelers to the U.S. to help in the fight against terrorism.
I fly accross the atlantic once every three months or so, and I have to say this is one of the few things the Justice Department has done which actually makes me feel safer. Despite the various controls that the EU was able to negotiate, Statewatch, a civil liberty NGO in the EU, sees things differently
This will be the first step to vetting all passengers before they get on a plane, boat or cross-border train - denying boarding to those considered an immigration or security risk. The global surveillance of travel will not be limited to combating terrorism but will extend to "other serious crimes" - which is now defined so broadly as to include everything but very minor offences. What is quite unforgivable is that the European Commission thinks that the EU-USA deal - with a state which has no data protection laws and no intention of adopting them - is a better basis for a global standard than the EU's data protection laws which have served as a model for many countries around the world.
At the same time, people take a decision to fly to the US, knowing it has different standards of personal privacy, and unless they choose to leave the European Union they continue to be fully protected by EU laws.



12/17/2003 09:29:00 PM | Timothy

CBS has a story entitled "9-11 Chair: Attack was Preventable"
"As you read the report, you're going to have a pretty clear idea what wasn't done and what should have been done.... This was not something that had to happen." -Tom Kean, former Republican governor of New Jersey, and head of the Commission of 9/11 says. (link)
I have trouble believing that, wow. And Calpundit says: "In any case, something tells me that we wouldn't be hearing this kind of stuff if Henry Kissinger had remained head of the investigation...."



12/17/2003 07:04:00 AM | Clint

Another Lie: Saddam able to use WMD on the East Coast
Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, who sits on both the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, is claiming that shortly before the vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq an administration official told 75 senators in a closed door meeting that Saddam had drones capable of reaching major East coast population centers.



12/17/2003 06:13:00 AM | Nikhil

Building an anti-american future
Comments from Senator Byrd at The Nation's 138th anniversary celebration.



12/16/2003 08:10:00 PM | Jonathan

Judicial Activism and You

Andrew Grossman blogs on the Blanchflower divorce ruling, by now something of which many of you are aware. If not, the essentials can be derived from Mr. Grossman's post.

Grossman seems to be commending the judges for not being activists in ruling that Mrs. Blanchflower's affair with another woman does not constitute "adultery" as narrowly defined. The statute in question suggests that adultery is commited when extramarital intercourse occurs. The justices looked in a dictionary (I wonder if the law states which dictionary they must check), saw that "intercourse" was defined as an act that could only be committed heterosexually, and ruled that Mrs. Blanchflower did not commit adultery. Leaving aside the gut feeling that an extramarital affair should constitute adultery, period, one wonders if Grossman - or other Republicans railing (sometimes rightly) about judicial activism - think Bill Clinton committed when he didn't have sexual intercourse with Monica Lewinsky...



12/16/2003 05:25:00 PM | Timothy

"Being a ‘non-embedded’ minority* on Dartmouth campus is an interesting experience."
John Stevenson on the Dartmouth Observer has a long post responding to Karsten's Barde's article "Recognition", published in The Dartmouth Free Press.



12/16/2003 03:51:00 PM | Dan

Aircraft Carrier Landing = 20 points

Slate's Steven Johnson mulls the possibilities of a presidential campaign video game. Hell, I'd buy it. Creating simulated attack ads doesn't teach kids violence, but it sure could teach them some nasty tricks for the high school class council elections. How many points would you gain for capturing a dictator?



12/16/2003 12:47:00 PM | Jon

Indian mascot debate continues at U-Illinois
Read about it here.
At Illinois, though, the forces of change have met strong resistance. Roger Huddleston, a local home builder and the president of the Honor the Chief Society, calls Carroll's proposal the "November ambush at the O.K. Corral."
"Chief Illiniwek is part of my geographic heritage," he said. "For anyone to dismiss that because I'm Caucasian, that's racist."
Thoughts?



12/16/2003 02:46:00 AM | Graham

On The Subject of Civil Liberties and Free Speech
This might be of interest.
(The link goes to Common Dreams, but the article first appeared in The Boston Globe.)



12/15/2003 03:34:00 PM | Jonathan

More Corporate Malfeasance!

Isn't it disgusting how corporations, even in this country, mistreat their workers?



12/15/2003 02:59:00 PM | Jonathan

Freedom of Speech: Not Unconditional at Dartlog?

Over at The Inner Office, Andrew Grossman writes that Ben Richards should be expelled from this blog for this remark. Nevermind that A.G. mistakenly conflates the opinions expressed on the blog with those of the Free Press as an institutional body (although it seems many of the posters are members or alumni of that publication). Or that he thinks Mr. Richards should be receive a more public response to his comment (the comment thread is rather excoriating, in my opinion - and I've certainly noted my disagreement with the blog post in the thread). What is more troubling is that because Mr. Richards's statement is "anti-American" (I think you could argue that it isn't, but that's another story), Mr. Grossman thinks that he shouldn't be allowed to post any longer. So much for libertarianism.



12/15/2003 12:49:00 PM | Timothy

Kerry and the war
Eric Alterman, Art Spiegelman and others question Kerry in a Manhattan apartment, in an interesting read here.



12/15/2003 12:34:00 PM | Timothy

On the capture of Saddam
Juan Cole has thoughts worth reading.



12/15/2003 09:35:00 AM | Clint

One way that the McGovern-Dean comparison is correct
In this op-ed piece, Bill Press tries to debunk the Dean=McGovern myth. I agree with him that the connection is mostly bunk, and Press' argument--that McGovern "lost so badly mainly because he ran a lousy, inept campaign"--is probably true. He notes that the inept campaign "started with a circus of a convention."

That's strictly correct, because the campaign to that date had been absolutely stunning. The McGovern campaign started with a stubborn persistence against giving up despite a perception that the nomination was 100% Muskie's. Morris Dees virtually invented small direct mail contribution solicitation for McGovern, passing up the other forms of donor solicitation. Gary Hart put a great deal of emphasis on using the grassroots. The campaign originally drew its strength from middle and upper class liberals, and Vietnam war opponents. Hart made the ignored Iowa caucuses into the vital circus that they've become, and gave McGovern a large amount of Media attention. They weren't supposed to win, and they did.

The parallels are obvious. Dean was basement dwelling--below Sharpton--for the first months of the campaign, and treated as a 'who is this guy' curiosity if recognized at all. A lot thought that Kerry was unstoppable. The folks in Burlington virtually invented small donor internet solicitation, in a lot of cases passing traditional fundraising sources. Trippi has micromanaged the grassroots to an enormous extent. The campaign originally drew its strength from middle and upper class liberals, and Iraq war opponents. Trippi didn't ignore the MoveOn primary, a victory that rightly or wrongly gave Dean a big early dose of national cred.

But the differences are obvious too. Unions never came around to McGovern, preferring Humphrey and Muskie. And in the general, the AFL-CIO basically sat out '72. Despite initial hesitation, a lot of labor has turned on to Dean. He will be fanatically endorsed by all of Labor in the general. The same can be said for party insiders. They never really signed on to McGovern--Mayor Daley among the most prominent leaders of the ABM (Anyone But McGovern) movement. Democrats at the national level are reconsidering their ABD stubbornness. It seems very unlikely that Dean will be a party pariah by convention time.

McGovern probably ran the best primary campaign in Democratic history. And Dean is giving the '72 squad a run for their money. But the dynamics of the post nomination Dean campaign will be vastly different.

Does this mean Dean will beat Bush? Maybe. Does it mean he can? Yes.



12/15/2003 07:56:00 AM | Jonathan

Bush's Press Conference on CNN

Was anyone else watching the Bush blurb yesterday on CNN? If so, did you notice that in the caption below, where it normally gives a piece of information about what the talking head is saying, or a summary of the speech, for a brief instance the words "Does this work? Didn't think so." flashed?

UPDATE:
Nuts, the site I was trying to grab the picture from doesn't allow me to do so...Clint offers a link to it in the comments, though.



12/14/2003 08:11:00 PM | Nikhil

H.R.W.
I know how little regard some of these blogs readers give to Human Rights Watch, but here's their comment on the law establishing the Iraqi war crimes tribunal. This came before the Saddam capture, but it is even more pertinent today:
“The tribunal might be seen as a court of revenge, not justice.” The Iraqi Governing Council issued the tribunal law without providing any opportunity for transparent consultation or public comment. The drafting should have been transparent to help ensure an effective and fair accountability process, Human Rights Watch said.
And just in case someone feels like claiming they're unqualified yet again, they had a jumpstart on analysing Iraqi war crimes:
Human Rights Watch over the years has engaged in extensive work to document human rights violations in Iraq and press for justice for these crimes. Human Rights Watch played a particularly active role in documenting crimes committed as part of the Iraqi government’s genocidal Anfal campaign against the Kurds in 1988. In 1992, Human Rights Watch obtained and analyzed 18 metric tons of Iraqi state documents. In 1994 and 1995, Human Rights Watch urged states to bring a case against Iraq for genocide against the Kurds before the International Court of Justice.
While we're talking about HRW, i mightaswell add this link to Off Target: The Conduct of War and Civilian Casualties in Iraq to expand upon this post.



12/14/2003 04:27:00 PM | Timothy

Funny Saddam interrogation report
TIME: After his capture, Saddam was taken to a holding cell at the Baghdad Airport. He didn’t answer any of the initial questions directly, the official said, and at times seemed less than fully coherent. The transcript was full of “Saddam rhetoric type stuff,” said the official who paraphrased Saddam’s answers to some of the questions. When asked “How are you?” said the official, Saddam responded, “I am sad because my people are in bondage.” When offered a glass of water by his interrogators, Saddam replied, “If I drink water I will have to go to the bathroom and how can I use the bathroom when my people are in bondage?”
....
Saddam was also asked whether Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. “No, of course not,” he replied, according to the official, “the U.S. dreamed them up itself to have a reason to go to war with us.” The interrogator continued along this line, said the official, asking: “if you had no weapons of mass destruction then why not let the U.N. inspectors into your facilities?” Saddam’s reply: “We didn’t want them to go into the presidential areas and intrude on our privacy.”
....
The official said it may soon be clear how much command and control over the insurgency Saddam actually had while he was in hiding. “We can now determine,” he said, “if he is the mastermind of everything or not.” The official elaborated: “Have we actually cut the head of the snake or is he just an idiot hiding in a hole?”



12/14/2003 02:59:00 PM | Dan

Compare Milosevich and Hussein

It's an incredible coincidence that Saddam was captured on the very morning that Wesley Clark was leaving to testify against Milosevich at the International War Crimes Tribunal. Comparing the human and financial costs of capturing the two dictators offers a startling example of how unncessary and wasteful it is to use unilateralism.

On a related topic, the Bush administration is attempting to censor Clark's testimony. But it couldn't possibly be for political reasons, right?



12/14/2003 09:56:00 AM | Ben

Terrible news: Saddam is captured. The chicken hawks will gain in power now.

My Way News
Address:http://apnews.myway.com/article/20031214/D7VE6MI80.html Changed:6:45 AM on Sunday, December 14, 2003



12/14/2003 09:49:00 AM | Nikhil

"We got him!"
Not the most dignified way to announce it, but the coalition has captured Saddam Hussein. Saddam was hiding in a hole, and apparently growing a beard that makes him look suspiciously like Karl Marx.

Bremer's statement in full here talks about "a great day in Iraq's history" and goes on a bit about justice and rebuilding stuff; Tony Blair was significantly better spoken.

Problems:
- Is the US going to allow an international tribunal? After all, Saddam perpetrated crimes against his people, crimes against humanity, but not crimes against the United States. In all fairness, we should see a Milosovich-esque trial. Will GWB allow this? Chalabi of the Iraqi Governing Council seems to think so, but what exactly will its structure be? And what of the risk of discussions in or around such a trial regarding the role of previous US administrations in supporting him with military technology while some of these crimes were taking place?
- Does this affect American reconstruction efforts in any major way? There still isn't enough money, the contracts still smell rotten, etc. To top it all off, the resistance was increasingly muslim fundementalist anyway, and its these groups that have the big bucks.
- Was this the 'victory' that was really needed, or should the US have concentrated the time on operations against fundamentalist groups who, with U.S. attention increasingly focused on Iraq, may have been given breathing room and regrouping time through the rest of the world.

So congratulations to the coalition, but let's not get so carried away with Saddam's capture that we forget the sub-standard school reconstruction, the still violent atmosphere and still active resistance, and all the work that remains to be done.

Finally, Reuters (via IOL) has a quick timeline of the war here.



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