Go to war over a fu*kin coat?

I wouldn’t label Victor David Hansen an intellectual, but the far right in desperate need of anyone or anything to wrap a nice bow around social-dawinism has decided that he is. At National Review Online in an article called The Vocabulary of Untruth dated July 28,2006 Hansen, or Pangloss as I like to call him tries his hand at what passes for clever conservative humor,

“Civilians” in Lebanon have munitions in their basements and deliberately wish to draw fire; in Israel they are in bunkers to avoid it. Israel uses precision weapons to avoid hitting them; Hezbollah sends random missiles into Israel to ensure they are struck.

That’s a real knee slapper Vic. Children can be pretty devious, but to purposely draw missile and bomb fire to be martyrs for Lebanon seems a little far out. Let’s give this definitions game a try, how right-wing intellectuals define “children”= collateral damage.

“Innocent” often refers to Lebanese who aid the stockpiling of rockets or live next to those who do. It rarely refers to Israelis under attack.

Victor “Pangloss” is a conservative deep thinker so when he says that there are only two sides and Israel is the good side. All discussion ends. Its Victor’s black and white world. Whatever Israel does is so good and so virtuous as to be beyond question, the current crisis need not be cut with Occam’s Razor . Victor is a champion of the right’s crusade to see the world in the starkest most simplistic terms. He doesn’t think, for example that someone like you or myself can be sympathetic to Israel in general and Israel’s current security problems while at the same time condemning the excessive and indiscriminate killing of Lebanese civilians.
Pangloss wants everyone to be logical, to see his irrefutable logic. He might want to start by setting a better example then his current drivel. First. I realize that Victor is getting along in years, but even an armless legless man can always win a fight with a straw dog,

But most of all, the world deplores the Jewish state because it is strong, and can strike back rather than suffer. In fact, global onlookers would prefer either one of two scenarios for the long-suffering Jews to learn their lesson. The first is absolute symmetry and moral equivalence: when Israel is attacked, it kills only as many as it loses. For each rocket that lands, it drops only one bomb in retaliation – as if any aggressor in the history of warfare has ever ceased its attacks on such insane logic.

Straw dog: the world hates the Jewish state? is that part of some yet to be published research? Unsupported argument. Go sit in the back of the class professor Hansen. What much of the world is not crazy about is Israel’s killing of innocent civilians, but then Pangloss doesn’t think that anyone outside of Israel’s borders is innocent by his own snarky assertions. As for the rest, yes it would actually better serve Israel’s long term security interests better if they took an “eye for an eye”. On what planet is it moral to not just punish the perpetrator, but to kill the perpetrator’s neighbor too. That is what VDH is saying. Like the majority of the conservative fringe, Hansen doesn’t really understand national security or justice. if the guy next door attacks you, then in retaliation you kill him and blow up my house in the process, then I will be I’ll be pissed and I will get payback. The far right again and again doesn’t understand that the lack of proportion, a word that Hansen and others have come to write with contempt, makes more victims and creates more violence. We’ve seen three years of the conservative plan for peace in Iraq, Hansen is of that school of thought that thinks we’re not winning because not enough people have died yet. Its Genocide 101. Hansen thinks that the complete abandonment of morality is the only true morality. Acting with strength and restraint, the way of real courage, is seen as weakness by the desktop warrior of conservatism. This marks the second time in the last week that I find myself thanking conservatives for showing their true colors. Mahablog has a selection of non-Panglossians, real thinkers on the mid-east crisis, “A Childish Fantasy”

There is a case for a full-scale Israeli ground offensive against Hezbollah. It may yet come to that, if Israel can’t find any other way to protect itself. There is also a case for restraint – limited counterstrikes combined with diplomacy, an effort to get other players to rein Hezbollah in, with the option of that full-scale offensive always in the background.

But the actual course Israel has chosen – a bombing campaign that clearly isn’t crippling Hezbollah, but is destroying Lebanon’s infrastructure and killing lots of civilians – achieves the worst of both worlds.

We could say that the right-wingers are just loath to admit that this is the case, but that is really only part of the problem. The real failure of the rightie fringe is a failure to even see the problem. So here we are again, the right wants to claim they have something worthwhile to contribute to the national debate and yet they are positive that killing a few innocent neighbors and their children along with every legitimate target is just swell, its the best of all possible worlds.

And the Conservative Campaign Against the Rule of Law shows little abatement, Bush Admin May Have Violated 26 Statutes

The laws implicated by the Administration’s actions include federal laws against making false statements to congress [sic]; federal laws and international treaties prohibiting torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; federal laws concerning retaliating against witnesses and other government employees; Executive Orders concerning leaking and other misuse of intelligence; federal regulations and ethical requirements governing conflicts of interest; the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; communications privacy laws; the National Security Act; and the Fourth Amendment.

This is part of a very clever campaign strategy on the part of conservatives to retain control of Congress. It looks like their pollster have told them that there is a national wave of sentiment that says we don’t need no stink’n constitution or American ideals and they’re just rid’n the wave.

Meanwhile Antonin Scalia, who claims to be a strct constructionist thinks that any notes a president makes are part and parcel of all laws pased by Congress, Under the Radar – Does Scalia’s Dissent in Hamdan Boost the Validity of Presidential Signing Statements?

In his dissent, Scalia cites to a statement issued by President Bush on Dec. 30, 2005 setting forth the administration’s position that that Detainee Treatment Act essentially stripped courts of the power to hear “existing” detainee lawsuits.

By citing to this signing statement (and including its language in a footnote), Justice Scalia has laid the groundwork for adding presidential signing statements to the list of resources used in interpreting constitutional law. While signing statements have historically been used merely as administrative directives, and have made only minor appearances in passing in cases before, the process of establishing their validity and giving them weight equal to that of legislative history in now under way.

Antonin has a crew sifting through the Whitehouse trash looking for notes that George passed to Dick during the last debutante ball. Look for those missives to become part of Antonin’s future decisions effecting crucial constitutional issues brought before the nation’s highest court.

This is a distinct shift of constitutional power and may alter not only the traditional spheres of separation of powers, but circumvent the institution of judicial review by the Court. As Professor Neil Kinkopf points out, “the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized, the Take Care Clause – which provides that the President ‘shall take care that the Laws be faithfully executed’ – establishes that the President does not hold the royal prerogative of a dispensing power, which is the power to dispense with or suspend the execution of the laws. The Take Care Clause, then, makes plain that the President is duty-bound to enforce all the laws, whether he agrees with them or not.”

Small films that are made more out of love for the material then trying to break box office records is nothing new, Pocket Money (1972) with Paul Newman and the inestimable Lee Marvin are the original urban cowboys. They’ve cut a few corners in life, not that its gotten them anywhere, but they’re honest in a world where it seems that everyone has some kind of scheme going. Worth watching for many reasons but especially for two scenes, the TV off the baloney and the last three minutes.

The best movies about movies: Day for Night with the caution that it should not be watched if you’re in the mood for a plot driven rather character driven movie. If you’ve seen any of the Project Greenlight docu-films then this may be a disappointment.The Stunt Man (1980) which has Peter O’Toole in it, which is all one really needs to know. A running theme in Hitchcock movies was the everyman thrown into a bizarre situation; Cameron serves as our everyman who thought the regular world was surreal enough only to find out that movie making is even more so. What is real and what isn’t, this movie has plenty of twists and turns. The result is that you don’t know what you think you know. Then there is the eight hundred pound guerrilla in the room 81/2. Not to be watched with a hangover or if your Zoloft prescription has run out. Like it or not, understand it or not, it is the film equivalent of Ulysses. Film buffs must try and sit through at least one viewing to get some idea of how a great director’s mind works.
Wouldn’t it be great to erase painful memories, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Maybe, but then again..


Whatta you want me to do Ray? Go to war over a fuckin coat? You’re lucky the guy didn’t kill you. The coat was a Christmas present for Christ’s sake.


You gotta do somethin’, Jimmy. This man’s got no respect for us.


He’s got no respect for you, and I don’t gotta do shit. Chili Palmer don’t work for me, he works for Momo up in Brooklyn. So as long as Momo’s around, nothing happens to Chili Palmer. You understand?

from the screenplay GET SHORTY by Scott Frank, based on the novel by Elmore Leonard