There are always those who think they know what is your responsibility better than you do

New biography debunks Livingstone greeting

A new study has revealed that explorer Henry Stanley may never have said the words famously attributed to him — “Doctor Livingstone, I presume.”

This is one myth that I am kind of sad is biting the dust.

Ezra Klein had the opportunity to interview former Senator John Edwards and gave Edwards an opportunity to clarify his views on Iran and some other issues, JOHN EDWARDS AND IRAN, IRAQ, ETC.

Iran: His position here is more thoughtful and nuanced than his comments at the Herzliya conference revealed. “What happens,” he asked, “if America were to militarily strike Iran? Well you take this unstable, radical leader, and you make him a hero—that’s the first thing that’ll happen. The Iranian people will rally around him. The second thing that will happen is they will retaliate. And they have certainly some potential for retaliating here in the United States through some of these terrorist organizations they’re close to, but we’ve got over a hundred thousand people right next door. And most people believe that they have an infrastructure for retaliation inside Iraq. So, that’s the second thing that’ll happen. And the third thing is there are a lot of analysts who believe that an air strike or a missile strike is not enough to be successful.

I wish that Edwards wouldn’t have used the term “successful” without defining what that would be. Even for those that want to buy into the argument that Iran is the monster under the bed waiting to grab some ankles that is only one way of looking at any immediate or potential military threat from Iran. America has a huge arsenal of weaponry at its disposal while Iran has no real defense against modern weapons of warfare. It is childishly simplistic to think that America could not deal a pretty devastating blow to Iran’s military and infrastructure without putting boots on the ground should they ever do anything extreme. Iran’s leaders might be a little goofy, but they aren’t crazy enough to do something that would provoke the deaths of possibly hundreds of thousands of its citizens. Anyway there is a full transcript of the interview at the link.

Prominent Jews call for open debate on Israel

A group of prominent British Jews will today declare independence from the country’s Jewish establishment, arguing that it puts support for Israel above the human rights of Palestinians.

Independent Jewish Voices will publish an open letter on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website calling for a freer debate about the Middle East within the Jewish community. Among the more than 130 signatories are Stephen Fry, Harold Pinter, Mike Leigh, Jenny Diski and Nicole Farhi, as well as leading academics such as Eric Hobsbawm and Susie Orbach.

Israel has become one of the worse of the hot button issues. Conservatives have ruled that liberals may not even say its raining in Tel Aviv without accusing them of anti-semitism. We’re left in the rather sad position of trying to always include a Jewish leader or cleric when referencing our concerns. You see there is a Jew that thinks exactly the same thing. This barrier to rational discourse could be cleared up rather quickly if the Right would just grow up, but I wouldn’t advise anyone to hold their breath waiting for that to happen. So liberals should simply continue to have thoughtful opinions and maybe some day the rug rats of the Right will catch up with the people that have real ideas and want problems solved.

Opposing the Surge: Damned Whether It Succeeds or Fails, speaking of rug rats Noemie Emery writes,

Giddy with joy at their sudden good fortune, the Democrats have set out to embarrass the president, pushing resolutions of less-than-no-confidence, clubbing his Iraq surge plan as it lies in its cradle, and declaring defeat in advance. In some sense, they have achieved their objectives: They have embarrassed Bush, exposed his weakness, and won over a cadre of frightened Republicans. But they have also painted themselves into a number of corners, from which they may find it hard to escape. If Iraq is stabilized this side of chaos, the congressional Democrats will be remembered as the people who fought to prevent it, who tried to kneecap the commander and demoralize the armed forces, and all in all make the mission more difficult.

I personally have never been “giddy” to get that out of the way. Poor Noemie really thinks that Democrats not shaking their pom poms hard enough is the reason that Bush has failed in Iraq and Afghanistan. This flighty right-wing nonsense isn’t especially new we’ve been hearing something like this directed at Democrats since Nixon used American troops as cannon fodder – that kid on the corner with the dirty long hair is what lost Vietnam. In the right-wing book of anatomy the knee bone is connected to the ear bone. It doesn’t matter how absurd and unsupportable their assertion are they reel them off like comical carnival barkers. Bush in so many ways typifies modern conservatives and Emery is just his echo, Bush has never taken responsibility for anything in his life. He couldn’t find oil in Texas – that was someone else’s fault. Bush became an alcoholic and coke user – that was his parent’s fault I guess. Bush got a blank check after 9-11 to do almost anything he wanted and has failed year after year – and the fault is Democrats because we’ve noticed that Bush and his squad of dunces wouldn’t know what success was if you wrapped a ribbon around it and yelled come and get it. The Emery’s want to try and blame the Right’s failures on Democrats, hey bring it on.

“There are always those who think they know what is your responsibility better than you do.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson