Minutiae
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"Chuck Norris doesn't read books; he stares them down until he gets the information he wants out of them."
- ChuckNorrisFactsdotcom

Sunday, March 28, 2004
After 200+ years they still don't get the whole
separation of church and state deal. Not to mention the sheer tackiness of putting a candidate for the highest office in the position of renouncing his faith or being forsworn, especially in light of their own ethical "missteps".

posted by Rachel 3/28/2004
. . .
Ahem. Without mentioning any names...

Never sign in to any online account from a link in a "your account has been restricted" email.

Thank you, that is all.

posted by Rachel 3/28/2004
. . .
Andrew sullivan
kicks so much ass.
"There is a fascinating and perverse historical analogy here. What we may be witnessing is the 1930s in a strange reversal. In the 1930s, the Euro-fascists - like today's Islamo-fascists - were also a movement of connected cells and organizations across various countries who used terror and street violence and murderous intimidation to weaken democracies into surrender. Eerily enough, Spain was a fore-runner there of dangerous trends to come. Italy was next. And in order to succeed, the movement needed a wedge between the United States and democratic Europe. In an odd reversal, America in the 1930s was isolationist, unwilling to intervene as gathering threats grew in Europe, threats that built on the use of violence, anti-Semitism and thuggery to intimidate weak governments and terrified populations. Today, in a surreal inversion, however, it's Europe that is isolationist, believing that somehow the cauldron of the Middle East will not boil over into the Europeans' backyard, if only they can take cover, look the other way, and salve their worries with insistent criticisms of the crude Americans. In Britain, this position is taken not only by the hard left but increasingly by world-weary Tories, like Max Hastings or Simon Jenkins, latter-day Halifaxes who, when they are not busy running from danger, are busy denying it even exists. But of course, one thing is as true today as it was in the 1930s: it is Europe that is most at risk. It is Europe that is closest to the explosive Middle East that is growing demographically as rapidly as Europe is declining. It is Europe that has a Muslim population most receptive to the toxins of anti-Semitism and medieval theocracy that sustain the new fascists. It is Europe that is most vulnerable to terror because it is geographically far more accessible across borders and national frontiers. And yet it is Europe that is most set on pretending it isn't at risk.

Or worse: pretending that the risks Europe now confronts are somehow the fault of the United States. It should be conceded immediately that the United States has been neither perfect in its conduct of the war nor innocent in its long history of engagement with the Middle East. Looking back with the advantage of hindsight, you could well argue that the U.S. committed too few troops to Afghanistan, misjudged the nuclear shenanigans in Pakistan, woefully under-estimated the security needs in post-war Iraq, and failed to mount as aggressive a diplomatic offensive in the months before the Iraq war as was necessary. It would also be hard to find characters more likely to rub Europeans up the wrong way than George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. So let's concede all that. Let's concede also that almost every Western government misread the intelligence on Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. The deeper point is still this: even if you concede all this, the Islamist war against the West was not created by these mistakes. It existed and grew in strength and potency throughout the 1990s. it draws its roots from the Egyptian Brotherhood in the 1970s and 1980s. It is quite candid in its goals: expulsion of all infidels from Islamic lands, the subjugation of political pluralism to fascistic theocracy, the elimination of all Jews anywhere, the enslavement of women, the murder of homosexuals, and the expansion of a new Islamic realm up to and beyond the medieval boundaries of Islam's golden past. Bin Laden spoke of reclaiming Andalusia in Spain long before George W. Bush was even president. He was building terror camps and seeking weapons of mass destruction while Bill Clinton was in the White House. Blaming the policeman for exposing and punishing the criminal may feel good temporarily. But it is a fool's errand.

And the result of the counter-attack by the West - for all its mistakes - is a real, if still fragile, advance in Afghanistan and Iraq. I'm sorry, Mr Zapatero, but the liberation of millions from two of the most brutal police states in history is not now and never could be described as "a disaster." Even to utter that sentiment is to have lost even the faintest sense of moral bearings. And it is in absolutely no-one's interest either in Europe or America to see those two devastated countries implode or their fledgling democracies fail. Withdrawal from either place now would be catastrophic not just for those countries but for the momentum and power it would give those forces that now seek to destroy the West and any semblance of freedom in the Middle East. For Americans and Europeans to bicker among themselves about the past when their shared and mutual future hangs in the balance is close to suicidal.

We are in danger of missing the most important fact in front of us. It's a fact that, to his credit, Tony Blair has long grasped and still refuses to abandon. That fact is that we are at war. Local terrorism by itself, rooted in territorial or ethnic grievances, might be perceived as something less than a war. But global terrorism, fueled by a unifying Islamist ideology, and potentially armed with weapons more powerful than anything used by terrorists before, is a far more formidable foe. Appeasing this force will strengthen it; blaming allies because they have dared to confront it is simply to play into the hands of the enemy. To say so is not McCarthyite, as some have claimed. In free societies, free people should be able to differ about this with no consequences at all, just as the electorate in Spain should be perfectly free to exercise its democratic choice. That freedom of thought and discussion is what we are defending, after all. But that does not mean that that choice to appease or avoid is not a disastrous and potentially fatal one. What happened last week in Spain was easily the gravest event since al Qaeda struck the streets of New York. It's a portent of catastrophe for Europe. And only Europe, in the last resort, will be able to reverse it."
I do feel as though we're living in the 30's. Hitler hasn't risen to prominence yet but the cracks are showing. The shadow is looming and people are fiddling away the time. I think Sullivan shares my anguish at the political choices we're offered. His in a much more personal way. He might be forced to vote for someone who refuses to recognize his right to marry, in order to protect himself from those who will not recognize his right to live. Or be forced to vote for someone he has grave doubts about in order to protect himself from those who don't recognize his right to live.

This is why I'm so pissed at the democrats. Because their moral abdication has left the burden on me and on other voters like me. The republicans are just continuing to be who they've always been, but the democrats have made it impossible for me to vote for them and that's hard to forgive.

posted by Rachel 3/28/2004
. . .
Oh lord. Do we really want to give
these people any control over this?

posted by Rachel 3/28/2004
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