Democracy Arsenal

January 25, 2008


Role Model in Chief
Posted by Lorelei Kelly

This is somewhat of a cheap shot, but I can't help myself. Harper's magazine has the gem of the week. If you want to leave the office today and laugh all the way home, have a look at this.

Short version: Bush’s favorite painting, from which he draws great religious inspiration, is actually a painting of a horse thief about to be re-captured by a lynch mob. Irony is not dead.

July 28, 2007


Ready for Rapture Israel?
Posted by Lorelei Kelly

Seems the Armageddon Lobby was in DC again in mid July. The intrepid Max Blumenthal covered the event and the video is posted here. Despite being very explicit about the need for right-wing religious types and American Jews to band together on a pre-emptive strike on Iran, they obfuscate and wobble when asked about how end time scenarios fit into their lobbying scheme. Looks like their press people- at least-- have gone through the Leadership Institute i.e. spin camp for the Righteous. Why, oh Why Joe Lieberman do you show up at these events? Do you realize you're sharing the dais with felons? Advice for Jews and Christians RUN!

June 11, 2007


From West Point to Boston and back....
Posted by Lorelei Kelly

All with a nine month old in the backseat....

To those of you tuning in here at DA, you're early adapters! Apparently, online newsis going to overtake TV news within 5 years. Sorry I've been so absent. I just drove up and down the East Coast going to two separate conferences, the first at West Point in New York. The Social Science Department's Senior Conference this year was about American civil-military relations....It was a terrific event. To summarize: both the civilians and military at the event--on the dais and in conversation-- were at varying levels of worry and frustration about this relationship from the general public up to the White House.

The second thing I attended was a three day training by the Public Conversations Project a group in Boston that is well known for its innovative work on public discourse. Each of these events are bookends of a civil-military dialogue project I'm working on...more on that later.

Here's a fantastic site full of political brain candy....ever wonder who is working behind the scenes on the presidential campaigns? This site has the most comprehensive information I've yet seen. Go to the candidate's page and link to "organization" for the inside scoop.

May 31, 2007


TB and Terrorism
Posted by Lorelei Kelly

It's not just dangerous nuclear, chemical or biological materials that can devastate. What about the guy with a dangerous drug-resistant form of tuberculosis...who just left and re-entered the USA and is only now under quarantine? Buzzflash has a good analysis up about it.

I'm not suggesting anything about this man in particular-- who was just trying to carry on with his wedding and was not stopped by authorities--but I don't even want to see the stats on how unprepared we are to deal with this kind of threat.

March 06, 2007


At the Movies: The Prisoner
Posted by Heather Hurlburt

The filmmakers who brought us Gunner Palace  (American and East German, which should resonate all by itself) have put together something which sounds extraordinary (please note, I haven't seen the film and this is NOT an endorsement of it or its contents):


The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair

Baghdad, September 2003: In a middle class house on a quiet street, a family is fast asleep. Without warning, the front door is crashed and American soldiers storm the house looking for weapons and bomb-making material.  Cameraman Michael Tucker documents the event as the men in the house are cuffed and forced to kneel in the garden. A search of the house uncovers no incriminating evidence, however Yunis Khatayer Abbas and three of his brothers are taken and detained.

Continue reading "At the Movies: The Prisoner" »

February 19, 2007


Torture: It's just so Trite
Posted by Rosa Brooks

If you haven't yet read Jane Mayer's piece in this week's New Yorker, you should. She describes the politics behind Fox's hit show "24," in which all-American hero Kieffer Sutherland successfully uses torture to stop impending terror attacks in virtually every episode. Surprise: the genius behind the show, Joel Surnow, is a big fan of Dick Cheney.

Mayer describes a confrontation between West Point Commandant Brig. Gen. Patrick Finnegan and some of the show's producers. Finnegan took the producers to task for glamorizing torture and making it hard for him to help cadets understand why America should respect the rule of law.

So now there's good news and bad news, as usual. The good news? The makers of 24 now say they plan to cut back on the torture scenes. The bad news? It's not because they care one jot what the military or the human rights community thinks. It's just that, well, all those torture scenes are "starting to feel a little trite," says executive producer Howard Gordon. "The idea of physical coercion or torture is no longer a novelty or surprise."

I'm not a big Michael Moore fan, but when I read things like this I do start to wonder,  "Dude, Where's My Country?"

February 08, 2007


D'Souza's Folly
Posted by Lorelei Kelly

I never thought I'd say this, but Thank You, Victor Davis Hanson--who weighs in to criticize fellow conservative Dinesh D'Souza's new piece of penmanship "The Enemy at Home," which, you guessed it, is a laundry list of attacks on the Left (a book that uses one-off occasions of liberal criticism that become conservative mythology)

---say---like the myth about how anti-war activists in the 70's persistently spit at veterans returning from the war. Which the New York Times repeated for all our benefit in their coverage of last month's anti-war march in DC....

February 06, 2007


More Satire... for Children of the 70s
Posted by Heather Hurlburt

You either laugh or you cry, and via Steve Clemons, Andy Borowitz proclaims that "like many other TV series entering their seventh seasons, Bush has jumped the shark."

Steve's addition of the Fonzie-waterskiing-in-a-leather-jacket photo is worth a click-thru all by itself.  And Borowitz comparing Bush to cousin Oliver on the Brady Bunch... c'mon, if you were watching tv in the 1970s, this is the happiest you will be all day.

February 05, 2007


Fruitcake more popular than President Bush?
Posted by Rosa Brooks

Well, sorta. This, anyway, is the claim put forth by Radar Online. Unscientific... but as the White House has often suggested, science is over-rated. Right?


Quotes of the Day
Posted by Rosa Brooks

In Regarding the Pain of Others, the last book she published before her death, Susan Sontag quotes Virginia Woolf in Three Guineas: "War is an abomination; a barbarity; war must be stopped." Commenting on Woolf's remark, Sontag asks: "Who believes today that war can be abolished? No one, not even pacifists."

Is that true? I think it is. When I was a child, I genuinely believed that war could be abolished-- that humans could find better ways to resolve disputes-- that the US government could and should work towards the abolition of war. I've never been a pacifist: it has always seemed to me that some things are worth fighting for. But I used to think that a world without war was not an impossible dream.

True, I haven't believed that since I was ten or so-- but at various points in recent history, many adults, including many serious, hard-headed thinkers, have believed in and sought a world in which there is no such thing as war. After World War One, for instance; and again in the immediate wake of World War Two. But today, in this world of proliferating conflicts and proliferating complexities, can any serious people maintain that war can be utterly abolished?

And if the answer is no, have we lost something by losing that hope? Or gained something?

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