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OUR MOVE IS PERMANENT: As of today you'll go to our revamped blog at Typepad if you type in www.themoderatevoice.com and this blog now becomes home to our early archives of some 1,300 posts. It may also be used for special writing projects.
Sunday, May 16, 2004
WE'VE MOVED THIS BLOG...at least temporarily.
DETOUR: Due to continued technical problems here The Moderate Voice will be experimenting with a new address. CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE NEW ADDRESS for the preliminary version of our makeshift new blog.
Saturday, May 15, 2004
NOTE TO READERS: We are having continued problems here at Blogspot. The latest (if you scroll down) is whole sections of old posts showing up in boldface. We have not done any editing on these. Please bare with us on this...it's as unacceptable to us right now as it is to you. Original posts will resume on Sunday...but you may see some in boldface.
Friday, May 14, 2004
WHOOPS! WE MADE A BOO-BOO!!! We're still over at Dean's World -- and will be posting over there today (back to normal here on Sunday).
Thursday, May 13, 2004
I haven't seen it yet but the unspeakably cruel video of the beheading of Nick Berg is being viewed on the Internet by many. Here's one reaction to what is becoming one of the most widely viewed "snuff films" in history.
IS PRESIDENT BUSH'S CAMPAIGN IN SERIOUS TROUBLE? The New York Times and the Washington Post think so. We still think it's too early, although you easily state these facts:
"AHHNOLD" continues to dominate the California political scene as a force almost bigger-than-life -- as much the "star" of state politics as he was in the movies...and highly convincing in his new role as governor. One of his key tactics is to run rings around the politicosl, essentially planning to governor without them if they don't go along with his plans. Would The Moderate Voice mislead you on this? Nope. Read this...
(NOTE TO READERS: We have no idea why part of this post has gone into BOLD FACE. It is one of our many problems here at blogspot, notwithstanding the impressive upgraded package. There's no symbol on our editing to show why it's in boldface...but it is NOT intentional and we apologize. Stay tuned for changes here, hopefully later next week....)
On Tuesday evening, he ripped into his successor for neglecting the real menace of Osama bin Laden to go after Saddam Hussein, and for gratuitously turning world opinion against America. "We had unanimous support for going into Afghanistan, they [the United Nations] participated in the hunt for Bin Laden and supported giving an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to open his country to weapons inspections," Mr Clinton told a business gathering in New York on Tuesday night. "We were in good shape. What happened?"
What happened was the Bush team's obsession with toppling Saddam, he claimed, regardless of the facts about Iraq's WMD and Baghdad's non-involvement in the 11 September attacks. It was an unprecedented volley. Former presidents largely follow a code that sees them keep quiet about the performance of their successors. But Mr Clinton appears ready to re-enter the fray and his book will give him the platform to do so.
"I've been in writer's jail," he told his audience. "For three months I've been reliving my life - and it was hard enough the first time." But now, the 900-page volume My Life is ready. In barely three weeks, the hoopla will start, at a convention in Chicago. Then comes a worldwide tour to accompany publication in late June.
We can expect to see some of the following:
(1)Democrats love Clinton and he will be out on the hustings. Despite all the conspiracy theories about him and Hillary wanting to sandbag John Kerry's tepid campaign, the former President craves an audience and loves political battle. He'll be out there to help the Kerry campaign.
(2)Republicans will try to link Clinton to Kerry. UPSIDE: There are some independent voters and (that vanishing breed) conservative Democrats who are happy Al Gore didn't win because Bush came down so strong on terrorism. DOWNSIDE: Some voters long for the happier times of the Clinton years...especially the economy. So it'll be a wash if the GOP uses Clinton.
(3)Clinton's book will probably be one of the most successful ex-president memoirs and suck up a lot of summertime media attention that would otherwise go to Kerry.
(4)If Clinton takes an activ e role in going after Bush (either on his own or in a surrogate role) and he is joined in his criticism by former President Jimmy Carter it again could influence on swing voters. Various pollsters and experts note that there are fewer swing voters around but in a close election they will be more vital than ever.
(5)Clinton's real value to the Demmies will be as a talking head. He can get on virtually any news show or news magazine he wants to. Will he use this access to go after the Bush administration aggressively? And what would the Bush administration's response be...and how would that response impact the election?
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 10:27 PM
NEW POSTS WILL APPEAR LATE TONIGHT due to all day and early evening schedule today in Salinas.
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
ARE BLOGS GOOD OR BAD? Are blogs a new form that competes with, supplements or undermines journalism? You can get some answers by listening to an NPR show featuring David Adesnik of Oxblog (one of The Moderate Voice's favorite blogs) by clicking here.
SO HOW IS THE LIBERAL TALK SHOW RADIO NETWORK AIR AMERICA DOING? It truly sounds as if they are blowing it, and we aren't referring to the top executive resignations and problems with some radio stations. Their problems are more profound.
ARE ALL ARABS IN THE MIDDLE EAST DANCING IN THE STREETS WITH JOY BECAUSE AN AMERICAN WAS DECAPITATED? Not all: some consider it barbaric. And it's more than one lucid voice.
IN THIS CASE IT WAS THE HUSBAND WHO WAS FRIGID: From Reuters:"A Portuguese woman confessed to murdering her husband and hiding his body in a kitchen freezer for three years, Lusa news agency reported." If she wanted him stiff she could have given him Viagra.
MORE ON NICK BERG'S LONG NIGHTMARE..DOES THIS NEWS STORY REVEAL HE WAS TARGETTED?: More details are coming out about the illfated journey of Nick Berg, who was beheaded by terrorists in a public execution carried via the Internet (and further spread by websites and talk shows).
WHAT IT SUGGESTS TO US: Someone in the police tipped off the thugs who picked him up and butchered him. Which means terrorist forces in Iraq maintain strong ties with "moles" in Iraq's security forces. In other words, this tidbit suggests he wasn't just picked up off the street randomly. Like journalist Daniel Pearl who suffered the same exact fate, his religion had much to do with his fate.
FOOTNOTE: After seeing the glee with which they slaughtered this young man, can any sane person suggest that these terrorists would not hesitate for second to explode a nuclear device if they got their blood-stained hands on one? Their goal is a body count.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:08 PM
NOT EXACTLY A COINCIDENCE: Jeff Jarvis notes a fact that seems to get lost in the media coverage: Nick Berg, the young American beheaded on camera by his extremist Muslim terrorist captiors in Iraq, was Jewish...as was journalist Daniel Pearl, also beheaded by his extremist Muslim captors.
MCCAIN FOR DEFENSE SEC? John Kerry says his first chioce for Secretary of Defense would be Republican Arizona Senator John McCain. Smart move: McCain remains one of the most respected figures in American politics.
IS THE NEOCONSERVATIVES' MOMENT IN HISTORY IS OVER? Columnist, talk show host and former third party candidate Patrick Buchanan thinks so and spells it out in a column titled "Time for Truth."
Is Pat jumping the gun? Maybe not.
There's a sense that there's a lot of institutional rethinking going on these days -- that the original assumptions on which recent U.S. policy was formulated may have been seriously flawed. The Moderate Voice personally feels the jury is still out, but Buchanan sees it differently:
He offers some suggestions, all of which in one way or mean withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq or from "any Arab country that wishes us to leave."
Indeed, this is a point that Democratic and Republican partisans refuse to believe...although we cast it in a far different light than Buchanan: there is a basic CONSENSUS between the two parties' leadership on U.S.foreign policy's basic outline and on American goals. To Buchanan, Ralph Nader and Howard Dean supporters that may not be a good thing. But to the majority of Americans it may be.
But all that can change. As we've said here many times, external events more than ever seem in control of U.S. policymakers' -- and the electorate's -- choices.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 9:06 AM
DID THE IRAQI PRISONER PICTURES CAUSE A BEHEADING? The Centrist Coalition's Rick Heller thinks it's a possibility. And he explains exactly why.
TRYING TO CREATE KARMIC BALANCE BY SPREADING THE GOOD: How do you make sense of the beheading of Nick Berg? While you're sorting that out you can do something to help strenthen the good.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
THE BUTCHERING OF AN AMERICAN: SALINAS,Ca: I heard the news on the radio with a sinking feeling bordering on nausea.
The next day, April 6, Nick Berg was released. He told his parents he had been riding in a taxi on March 24 when he was arrested by Iraqi officials at a checkpoint in Mosul.He told his parents he had not been mistreated Nick Berg said he would come home through Jordan, Turkey or Kuwait. But by then, hostilities in Iraq had escalated, and Michael Berg said they have not heard from their son since.
The Bergs have hounded the State Department, the FBI and the International Committee of the Red Cross, seeking information. Michael Berg said the State Department sent an official to Nick Berg's hotel, where an employee told the official they had not heard of him. The Bergs hired a private investigator, who talked to an American hotel guest who said he remembered Nick Berg.
Sometimes, they tell themselves their son "is a resourceful fellow who can take care of himself," Michael Berg said."Other times we think perhaps he was dead on April 10," he said. "My worst fear is that I'll never hear anything."
So this 26-year-old with personal ideals and modest business aspirations was released. And just think of the sense of relief he must have felt that he'd soon be going home....
Then he was captured by terrorists.
Those final days and moments must have been hell. Just think about it as you read this:
The video showed five men wearing headscarves and black ski masks, standing over a bound man in an orange jumpsuit similar to a prisoner's uniform who identified himself as Nick Berg, a U.S. contractor whose body was found on a highway overpass in Baghdad on Saturday.
Sitting in a chair, Berg made the following statement: "My name is Nick Berg, my father's name is Michael, my mothef's name is Susan," the man said on the video. "I have a brother and sister, David and Sarah. I live in ...Philadelphia.".
The video then changes to a scene of masked men, with Berg sitting in front of them.After reading a statement, the masked men were seen pulling the man to his side and putting a large knife to his neck. A scream sounded as the men cut his head off,
Just another death? Not quite:
(1)This 26-year-old man was slaughtered like an animal by people wanting to make a political statement. If they could make one by killing you, me, your infant daughter,
your son, and your grandmother they most certainly would. The death of Pearl, an Italian contractor, now Berg, is clearly part of a pattern. Expect more of them. Possibly LOTS more. It gets them publicity and spreads fear.
(2)Some politicos and commentators on the left immediately suggested it was cause and
effect. Their "WE TOLD YOU SO!" attitude stemmed from their contention that Berg was murdered in retaliation for the way Iraqi prisoners were abused by American prison guards. And that is indeed what Berg's killers said, except it doesn't make sense:
If there had been no guards' scandal they wouldn't have taken him out for a nice dinner and camel ride and released him.
Berg was doomed to be butchered on some pretext the second he was caught.
(3)Some politicos and talk show hosts on the right began inching towards the position that this somehow negates the scandal over how Iraqi prisoners were abused -- and that it shows Iraqi prisoners deserve it. Or suggesting that since American guards didn't cut anyone's head off then what happened to Iraqis prisoners was not that bad and the inquiry should be dropped or buried.
So let's be blunt:
The fascists masking themselves in religious rhetoric gleefully holding up a head sliced off a terrified, screaming young American moments before contrast starkly with the smug jailers in the photos humiliating Iraqi prisoners in one important way.
The terrorists will be cheered by many on the Arab Middle East street and won't face consequences unless governments rub them out. The American guard jailers will be tried, punished -- and likely shunned. And that'll happen because Americans value law and life.
But even with all the political implications I return to one all-encompassing thought: those stressful last weeks of Nick Berg in a foreign land, under arrest, kidnapped, then having his young life ended in such a horrorific way.
We can't forget our values in the Iraqi prisoner scandal; we can't forget our goals in the war against terrorism. And we can't forget Nick Berg.
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Article Link - Joe Gandelman 11:06 PM
If It's True How Could That Date POSSIBLY Be Of Any Significance?: Josh Marshall writes: "There is chatter in Pakistani intelligence circles that the US has let the Pakistanis know that the optimal time for bagging 'high value' al Qaida suspects in the untamed Afghan-Pakistani border lands is the last ten days of July, 2004."
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ONE OF THREE PEOPLE ON ONE OF THE INTERNET'S MOST THOUGHTFUL BLOGS GOES ON NPR? Read about David Adesnik's baptism of fire here...
IS JOHN KERRY REALLY DOING MUCH BETTER THAN SOME POLLS INDICATE? That's what Democratic analyst Ruy Teixeira argues here, citing specific data that he says shows Kerry gains overall and on specific issues. He concludes: "Bush is running out of options. And, as Bush is sinking, Kerry is cranking up his campaign. Stay tuned."
MAN BITTEN TO DEATH BY SEXUALLY AROUSED HORSE: Rosie O'Donnell on the rampage? Nay...(The Real Dummy thanks Steven Taylor aka Poliblogger for the tip).
HEAVY READING: Bill Clinton sent a 900 page memoir to his publisher. And that's just the part where he discuses what "is" is.
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