An idea is a greater monument than a cathedral. And the advance of man’s knowledge is a greater miracle than all the sticks turned to snakes or the parting of the waters

Joan Walsh at Salon also noticed something odd about the Bush administration’s sudden desire to get chatty with Syria, When flip-flopping is a good thing

“Speaker Pelosi is a high-ranking United States official. Nothing changes — nothing has changed in Syria’s behavior over the years when high-ranking U.S. officials go to see them. We sent Secretary Powell early on; the behavior doesn’t change. Syria uses these opportunities to flaunt photo opportunities around its country and around the region and around the world, to say that they aren’t isolated, that they don’t need to change their behavior, and it alleviates the pressure that we are trying to put on them to change their behavior.”

Walsh also notes that Rice’s mission was to get Syria to tighten it’s borders and do something to keep the more radical elements from joining in the Iraq free-for-all and noted that the number of foreign fighters from Syria had slowed since Speaker of the House Pelosi’s (D-CA) recent trip. Maybe the Bush’s were in such a hurry to haul ass to Syria was to keep Democrats for getting any credit and showing the world that ignoring authoritarian states like Syria does not have the magical effect of making them suddenly go away. To be fair the Stephen Hadleys, Bill Frists and Victor Hansons  might have a point when they advocate we just nuke half the middle-east – in the midst of a nuclear holocaust there is a tendency for people to be herded more easily. This idea lacks anything resembling morality, but that is the center piece of their whining – that we’ve had too much morality and not enough carnage.

The aptly named right-wing Hot Air endorses the idea that presidents should be allowed to lie Americans to their deaths. They don’t say why they believe that, they just do and one assumes that they think anyone who is true red patriot should have the same attitude, Video: Sean Penn says Bush, Cheney, Rice, Tenet “should be in f***ing jail”, posted at 8:30 pm on May 5, 2007 by Ian

Actor and far-left activist Sean Penn said President Bush, Vice President Cheney, SecState Condi Rice, and former DCI George Tenet “should be in jail” for “deceiving the American people” and for the murder of “young men and women from this country and others.” Penn also said the following on last night’s edition of “Real Time” with host Bill Maher:

I read the comments on the post looking for something that resembled a factual rebuttal to Mr. Penn’s remarks and couldn’t find one. They Knew

And so the Bush administration struck fear into the hearts of Americans about Saddam Hussein’s supposed WMD, starting with nuclear arms. In his first major address on the “Iraqi threat” in October 2002, President Bush invoked fiery images of mushroom clouds and mayhem, saying, “Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.”

Yet, before that speech, the White House had intelligence calling this assertion into question. A 1997 report by the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)—the agency whose purpose is to prevent nuclear proliferation—stated there was no indication Iraq ever achieved nuclear capability or had any physical capacity for producing weapons-grade nuclear material in the near future.

In February 2001, the CIA delivered a report to the White House that said: “We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since Desert Fox to reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction programs.”

The series of lies about Iraq’s threat and its relationship with terrorism is what Americans with values call treason. When they conspired to betray a CIA agent because her husband exposed one of the administration’s lies. Libby was convicted of lying, but lies like Libby’s only served one purpose to protect Dick, George and Unka Karl. Put another way, if a Democratic president and his administration would have engaged in the deeply illegal and immoral behavior that this Republican administration and a Republican Congress cheered on had engaged in,  Hot Air and their commenters would be drooling on their keyboards as they demanded a lynching. By comparison Mr. Penn’s request that criminals be put in jail where they belong seems both mild reasonable and just – as Republicans are very quick to gloat that will never happen – not because Bush and Gang don’t deserve to spend the rest of their lives in six by eight cell in a high security prison, but because power and money will protect them from the simple justice that applies to the rest of us peons. One has to appreciate the unintended humor of the rabid Right as go ballistic over Penn and yet rally round a second rate character actor that played a president on TV and now thinks he could thus be one in real life.

There are many reasons not to be a conservative, besides the obvious lack of anything that resembles a sane set of values. One that is especially disturbing is the special pucker they have to practice as they kiss the posteriors of the American Taliban – Romney Reaches to the Christian Right. Mitty Boy has had plenty of practice at genuflecting to the conservative guardians of power and even liberals on occasion as long as he takes another step up the ladder – Mitt Romney GOP Hypocrite of the Week Digby says Mitt seems a bit weird, Weird Willard, but on the Right that is actually a plus on their resume. Mitt might get conservatives so confused about what he actually stands for that he’ll win the nomination is the whirl of confusion. On the other hand Mitt might lose some of his supporters to Rudy Giuliani who knows how to keep things simple – if you don’t vote for Rudy you’re gonna die.

Rather than a reasoned discussion — rather than a political campaign advocating your own causes and extolling your own qualifications — you have bypassed all the intermediate steps and moved directly to trying to terrorize the electorate into viewing a vote for a Democrat, not as a reasonable alternative and an inalienable right … but as an act of suicide.

This is not the mere politicizing of Iraq, nor the vague mumbled epithets about Democratic “softness” from a delusional vice president.

This is casualties on a partisan basis — of the naked assertion that Mr. Giuliani’s party knows all and will save those who have voted for it — and to hell with everybody else.

And that he, with no foreign policy experience whatsoever, is somehow the messiah-of-the-moment.

Henry Drummond: Yes. The individual human mind. In a child’s power to master the multiplication table, there is more sanctity than in all your shouted “amens” and “holy holies” and “hosannas.” An idea is a greater monument than a cathedral. And the advance of man’s knowledge is a greater miracle than all the sticks turned to snakes or the parting of the waters.
from Inherit the Wind (1960)