A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit

Bill O’Reilly Loses His Damn Mind

A young girl was tragically killed by a drunk driver. But this was not enough for O’Reilly. Instead, because the criminal was an illegal alien he added this incident to his ongoing crusade against the brown people.

Anyone of conscience should be upset when someone is killed by a drunk driver. It does seem especially tragic when the victim is young, but that is not really the issue. O’Reilly knows that. He does what has become the stock and trade of the Right, to find some anecdotal evidence to support their ethnocentrism. Did Bill know how many Americans were killed by other American citizens this week. Are the victims in those incidents any less injured, are their deaths any less a reason for outrage. Where was Bill ( or Michelle Malkin, or Little Green Snotballs or the freepers – this is one their favorite tactics) when Congressman Bill Janklow (R-SD) killed someone while driving drunk. If we had unhinged liberal pundits they could have used that as the smoking gun that since Janklow was a Republican, he was drunk, he killed someone – thus all Republicans are an imminent threat to the health and safety of all Americans, Government Will Defend Janklow in Civil Suit

A U.S. attorney in Minnesota has concluded that the former Republican congressman was on official duty when he sped through a stop sign and killed a motorcyclist. This means that the case will be moved from state to federal court and that the government will be substituted as the defendant in the case, which was brought by the family of the victim. It also means that taxpayers will pay any damages awarded in the case, and the family will not be able to file for punitive damages (i.e. pain and suffering). This will greatly restrict the size of any award.

Janklow, a four-term governor-turned-congressman from South Dakota, is currently serving 100 days in jail after being convicted of second-degree manslaughter, reckless driving, speeding and running a stop sign. He resigned his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives but has appealed his conviction to the state Supreme Court.

Janklow had a history of speeding and reckless driving. He had racked up 12 speeding tickets in one four-year period and had been involved in numerous crashes before his fatal crash in August.

Janklow took the stand in his criminal trial and tried to convince jurors that he was suffering from low blood sugar on the day of his crash. He said he ran the stop sign by accident. His defense backfired when jurors, who appeared to buy Janklow’s low blood sugar claim even while many others did not, concluded that Janklow, who is diabetic, should have known better than to go all day without eating.

He was sentenced to a mere 100 days in jail.

I think most Americans are concerned about illegal aliens and the related issue of border and port security. The national debate about those issues isn’t advanced in any productive way by the clear ethnocentric rantings of O’Reilly and his like minded followers.

Pentagon Report Confirms Hussein Was Not Cooperating With Al Qaeda

Captured Iraqi documents and intelligence interrogations of Saddam Hussein and two former aides “all confirmed” that Hussein’s regime was not directly cooperating with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, according to a declassified Defense Department report released yesterday.

The declassified version of the report, by acting Inspector General Thomas F. Gimble, also contains new details about the intelligence community’s prewar consensus that the Iraqi government and al-Qaeda figures had only limited contacts, and its judgments that reports of deeper links were based on dubious or unconfirmed information. The report had been released in summary form in February.

While we’ve known this for years at this point the debate has expanded to include any support for any kind of terrorism. Iraq and just about every country in the middle-east including Israel has had its turn on the terror carousel. The history of the area says a lot about the futility of attacking one nation with the idea that some seed of western democracy will take root and spread. So far Bush has created exactly zero democracies and there seems slim prospects for any new ones based on his leadership. The President’s Global War of Terror which was subtitled on the front page Terror is only terror when they do it. When we do it, it’s foreign policy. Clandestine operations that are a bit murky as far as moral code might be a necessary ingredient in the middle-east, but Bush’s seemed designed not to protect America or even Iraq, but as provocation. Bush can’t handle what’s on his plate so it hardly makes sense for him to widen his spectacular failure by taunting Iraq’s neighbors. The case could be made that he doesn’t particularly care or even know what the repercussions of his actions might be ( remember that before trying his hand at nation building in Iraq he didn’t know the difference between Sunni and Shia) – This may seem like old news, but bear with me, Iran’s new hostage crisis

The regime of Khamenei is in fact deeply unpopular in Iran, especially among youth and women (who together make up the vast majority of the population). These groups had helped to elect the reformist president Mohammad Khatami, who received 70 percent of the vote and served from 1997 to 2005, and who worked for a loosening of puritanical restrictions on personal freedom. His “Second of Khordad” movement, named for the date of his electoral victory, took over the elected Parliament and pushed for a relaxation of press censorship. Fewer than 20 percent of Iranians voted for conservatives in that period. Alarmed, Khamenei and his allies in the theocratic part of the Iranian government rallied to crush the reform movement, an endeavor in which they largely succeeded. They closed down liberal newspapers and forbade liberals to run for office.

While Khatami had won by a landslide in elections with high turnout, his successor, Ahmadinejad, barely got into office in 2005, after a lackluster campaign for which there was little popular enthusiasm.

Bush’s little spy games may seem clever to him and his supporters, but they are doomed to backfire. If Iranian moderates feel they are under threat from the U.S. they will rally round the extremists. This is international political science 101. Give the natural forces at work in Iran to see what dim bulb they have as a leader, let the moderates have time to work their way back into positions of power. Bush and the neocons are pushing the extremists buttons, playing their game and doing their dirty work – handing them propaganda on a platter. For those that have wet dreams about bombing Iran into glass, Bush’s school boy impersonations of an addled James Bond works out great either way. For those that have some moral reservations about killing tens of millions of people that just want to work and raise their children, just like most Americans there is plenty of reason to support Democrats in their efforts to pull in the reigns on an out of control president who just doesn’t get it.

“A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit.” – Thomas Jefferson