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Team America: World Police

I’m sure this will turn out well:

As loyalist Libyan forces bomb the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, the United States is pushing the United Nations to authorize not only a no-fly zone but airstrikes against Libyan tanks and heavy artillery.

Reuters quotes U.S. officials as saying Washington has concluded that a no-fly zone is not enough to turn the tide against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s forces.

Gadhafi is expressing increased confidence he will prevail. Libya’s armed forces offered to stop military operations Sunday to give rebels a chance to surrender, Al Arabiya TV reports.

At the United Nations, where a vote on the proposal could come as early as today, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said the Security Council is weighing “a range of action” for protecting civilians in the fighting.

Why doesn’t our country ever learn its lessons? Seriously.

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Colin Farrell as Alexander

No, I haven't seen the movie either. Doesn't mean I can't mock it!

Andrew Sullivan rounds up some of the big pro-war voices out there. He aptly dismisses all of them. I think I like Larry Diamond’s the best: “Presidents do not get elected to make easy decisions, and they certainly never become great doing so.”

I’m not going to do the whole epic takedown of neoconservatism thing–I’ve attempted that already, and you can check that out at your leisure by following the “Neoconservatism” tag at the bottom of the post. But it never ceases to amaze me just how indifferent these people are to anything that isn’t abstract. It’s all abstractions to them: greatness, patriotism, strength and weakness (technically, perceived strength and weakness, because they could give a shit if America is worse off due to their wars), and so on. This is sheer derangement from the concerns of actual people, but it’s par for the course for the neocons.

I know this might cause some controversy, but I think neoconservatism is the most awful ideology currently floating around on the American Right, which would have to put it in the running for worst ideology worldwide. The other options on the right pale in comparison. Libertarianism is a mixed bag for me, and racially-tinged populism is pretty awful, but neocons are absolutely the worst. Seriously. A grown fucking man wrote a sentence imploring the president to start a third land war in the Arab world solely for the sake of greatness. He sees nothing wrong with this. I see it as the sort of thinking we should have left behind when Alexander the Great died. That an American in 2011 would actually recommend that is just unfathomable to me.

Update: I forgot to include “credibility” to the list of neocon abstractions. It deserves to be there as much as any of them.

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Lev filed this under: , ,  
Sarah Palin Winking

Rich Lowry's Computer Wallpaper. You know it is!

I agree with Metavirus that Rich Lowry can’t be taken seriously, but I just can’t quit him. His columns are bizarrely fascinating to me, even though I never agree with them and they’re always poorly reasoned and argued. Then again, I’m a fan of bad movies, which probably makes me more of an ironist than most, and like Karl Rove, Lowry is an unintentional genius at irony. Here’s a segment from his latest opus (entitled “Whiniest President Ever”, which begs the question of what Lowry would call his starburst queen if she somehow won):

Pres. Barack Obama has belatedly joined the ranks of presidential fatalists. The job isn’t too complex necessarily; it’s too damn influential. According to the New York Times, Obama has been telling aides that it’d be easier to be president of China. No one hangs on Hu Jintao’s every word, or expects global leadership from a grasping, one-party state that has never been a beacon to the world. […]

Obama lacks executive flair. Talk to New Jersey governor Chris Christie and he will tell you at length how much he loves making decisions. It’s hard to imagine a Chris Christie enjoying life as a legislator. Obama came to the presidency after a political career spent marinating in senates, first in Illinois, then in Washington.

But, as always, I give credit where it’s due. Lowry actually cops to this: “The no-fly zone isn’t a panacea — realistically, it’d only be a way station to more robust military action.” It’s almost refreshing to see such candor, being as it makes his position that much easier to reject. Still, Lowry is a difficult person for me to gauge. As David Bowie said, sometimes you can’t tell the bullshit from the lies. Hu Jintao is a dictator, and yet nobody hangs on his every word? Isn’t that the “dict-” part of dictator, that what he says goes? The Christie puffery is obnoxious, but this is a strangely bipolar argument. On the one hand, there’s the clear implication that Obama wants to be a dictator with unlimited executive power because of an accurate (though uncomfortable) joke, on the other, he’s too much of a legislator. It’s almost as if Lowry just wants to criticize Obama with every Republican talking point he can cram into his article! And Obama’s remark, funny or not, was a joke about legislative gridlock and frustration. He doesn’t literally want to run China. It takes a special kind of obtuseness to take that remark seriously. One can imagine a 10 year old Lowry on the recess playground, dispassionately insisting that his mother is not at all overweight.

As usual, Lowry’s column is a mishmash of conservative talking points, haphazardly assembled in a way that falls apart rather than coheres when subjected to even a smidgen of logic, and that barely coheres to his ostensible theme. Like many of the right’s “thinkers” (a category that excludes people like Daniel Larison, who do actually think), his only talent is synthesis of various strands of Republican populism, and his talents at that are meager enough. Surely what Lowry’s done can be done better? I mean, I’m a liberal and even I could make better right-wing arguments than this guy. And Lowry’s considered to be one of the smarter conservatives in the Republican mainstream. The sad thing is, he is.

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Awesomesauce:

funny facebook fails - Big Brother Paranoia FAIL

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Yes, those Crusades:

Rick Santorum launched into a scathing attack on the left, charging during an appearance in South Carolina that the history of the Crusades has been corrupted by “the American left who hates Christendom.”

“The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical,” Santorum said in Spartanburg on Tuesday. “And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom.”

He added, “They hate Western civilization at the core. That’s the problem.”

After asserting that Christianity had not shown any “aggression” to the Muslim world, the former Pennsylvania senator — who is considering a 2012 run for the White House — argued that American intervention in the Middle East helps promote “core American values.”

Is any parody capable of being as funny as the self-parody they foist on themselves?

h/t JC

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Just so that you know, a bunch more bullshit is coming out of Arizona that will all be tossed out in court. Basically, it’s a lot of Prop 187-style stuff designed to deny any services to illegal immigrants. Not sure why Republicans are so deliberately trying to piss on Hispanic voters to pass stuff that has again and again been tossed out as un-Constitutional, just as Prop 187 was here in California. And not only did the right wing lose that battle in California, it turned out to be nothing short of demographic suicide for the Republican Party in the state, as it surely will in Arizona in the future. So, why? It’s not like these folks aren’t usually bought off with a little symbolism anyway. I don’t get it. Maybe they are just that stupid.

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Lev filed this under: , , , ,  

This is really fucked up:

Louisiana, like most states, bars prostitution. But the state also has a 206-year-old law that carries special penalties for those charged with soliciting oral or anal sex — the so-called Crime Against Nature statute.

Those convicted under the C.A.N. law can be required to register as sex offenders.

Yesterday, the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights filed suit in New Orleans, claiming the law unconstitutionally discriminates against gays and others who engage in the targeted acts. (Here’s a report on the suit from the New Orleans Times-Picayune and here’s a copy of the complaint.) […]

At a news conference in New Orleans, attorneys for the plaintiffs said the registration requirement erects “insurmountable barriers” to people who are trying to restart their lives, the Times-Picayune reports.

In New Orleans, according to the paper, nearly 40 percent of the people registered as sex offenders are on the registry because of a crime against nature conviction.

Louisiana is the only state where people convicted of selling their bodies can be required to register as a sex offender, the Times-Picayune reports, citing the lawsuit.

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