Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Patriot act -- scary

I just heard this on the radio, and I had to share. On NPR this morning, they were talking with the new interim Iraqi minister of human rights. One of the interim government's first actions was to invoke a section of their charter that allows for martial law to quell unrest. They asked the minister if he thought there were potential for abuse of the law, and he said, basically, "I don't think so--after all, we lifted the language almost directly from the USA Patriot Act." Nervous yet?

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Arguing with Mom -- almost a hobby

One of the little entertainments in my life is arguing politics with my mom. She's educated and intelligent and possibly the most stubborn anyone ever, and she's an ardent Bush supporter. She's not a Republican apologist--that would imply that she thought that Republicans were ever wrong about anything. She makes Rush Limbaugh sound like Molly Ivins.

I would be the first to admit that my own political views aren't exactly balanced--I think our government is corrupt and self-serving, exists more and more to service the wealthy rather than the common people, and has hurt our world standing through its unpleasantly moralistic, hypernationalist policies. But I can back all this up with actual facts. As soon as anyone's argument devolves to blaming the "liberal media", you know they're at their rhetorical wits' end. The second bad argument is one-sided picking on the facts: you assume your facts are absolute truth, while everyone else's facts are biased and of dubious source. The third most comical arrow in the conservative quiver is Blaming Clinton. Under Bush's tenure, we've been attacked by terrorists; fought one just war and another unjust preemptive one; seen the average American's real wages drop by around 5% while the number of people not working has doubled; had the budgets of regulatory agencies slashed, while our long-term national debt forecasts have quadrupled; and lost the goodwill of most of the world. Clinton? He got a blow job. Hardly a fair comparison.