30 September 2004

Congress swerves from duty

(and they ain't swerving left, either)
Upper Left points out the following facts about the latest Congress (some of which come originally from Steny Hoyer, MD):

  • This fiscal year will be the most fiscally irresponsible year in our history - a year in which we will run a record budget deficit of $422 billion.
  • At the same time, the Congress has enacted just one of the 13 bills to keep the federal government operating.
  • And yet the Second Session of the 108th Congress is on course to work fewer days - 94, as of today - than any single Session of Congress since 1948.
  • And yet the Congress has somehow found time to take on a number of important issues such as:
    - The proposal and subsequent defeat of a gay-marriage ban.
    - Putting Saturday-night specials back on the street.
    - Swerving around constitutional restrictions to keep the Christian God in the Pledge of Allegiance.


In spite of this huge red hole in the U.S. budget, many of the right-wing sites I visit insist that we need less property taxes or perhaps a flat-tax. Perhaps some leftward defective gene in my chromosomes prevents me from seeing how adding minuses together creates a plus. Who's knows? It might just work. Perhaps we could follow the North Korean example and leave our roads unpaved and we can hammer out spoons from our old railway ties and take all the excess labor and metal and use it too build tanks. This would seem to be the logical conclusion of right-wing proposals. The shrublings of the world all want to dramatically reduce taxes while increasing military spending, after all.

Patriot Act on the way out?

According to an article by Larry Neumeister, on Wednesday U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero struck down the provision that allowed the FBI to gather phone and Web records and prevented service providers from disclosing the search took place. The judge cited infringements on 1st and 5th Ammendment rights. That ass Ashcroft has already stated that he will probably appeal the ruling. This is the second time a judge has ruled part of the act unconstitutional. The love for this act, in spite of its infringement on consititional rights, clearly demonstrates how little the so-called "defenders of the constitution" who sit on the right care about that tired old rag called the U.S. Constitution.

According to Marrero, a "state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens." What a novel idea! To those who oppose this notion, I'd like to point out that the Constitution was penned between two major wars with what was then the world's only superpower. With this in mind, it's hard to believe that the constitution's framers expected it to only apply during peaceful times or that its provisions are to be put on hold everytime U.S. troops are sent overseas to topple a third world puppet (an event that seems to happen every couple years, after all).

Kerry and Bush have both supported the act. Among senators, Russ Feingold (Democrat), Royle Melton (Republican), Carlo Poliak (Republican), David Schumann (Independent), and Ken Wegner (Republican) are just a few of those who have voiced opposition. Meanwhile, political figures from both sides of the political spectrum have opposed the act, to include Cobbs (Green presidential candidate), Trainor (Libertarian active in anti-Patriot Act campaign), and Al Sharpton.

For background information, I'd recommend Cathrine Dauenhauer's July 2003 article and subsequent July 2004 article on Common Dreams.

    In other related news:
  • The House Plans to Revive Parts of Patriot Act II as Senate 9/11 Commission Bill Advances

  • Dave Justus (in his prompt comment) has pointed me to the following post on the Volokh Conspiracy:

    "As I noted in my post below, a recent decision of the Southern District of New York struck down part of a 1986 law known as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. How does the press report the decision? No mention of the 1986 law, of course. Instead, the press is reporting that the court struck down a major part of the Patriot Act, in a blow to the Bush Administration's overzealous response to terrorism. As I trace the history of the statute, this is quite inaccurate: the basic law was implemented in 1986, almost 20 years ago. To be fair, the Patriot Act did amend some language in this section; just not in a relevant way. As best I can tell, the court's decision does not rely on or even address anything in the Patriot Act. (See page 14-22 of the Court's opinion for the details of the statute's history.) But of course you don't get that from the mainstream press, which likes to report everything related to terorrism as if it were the Patriot Act."



P.S. For an international perspective, you can read the discussion on Raben Horst (German).

27 September 2004

National Guard numbers down

The blog Howard Beale's Ghost has some excellent posts on recent difficulties the National Guard has been having in keeping its number up or, for that matter, keeping the troops it already has from going AWOL (I guess Bush is a "leader" in more than one way.)

26 September 2004

He may have been a cannibal, but he was an American, by God!

It's odd, isn't it? We go to extensive lengths to provide Jeffrey Dahmer, the psychopath who killed people and ate them, a fair trial, yet could care less if people accidently picked up in the wrong place at the wrong time in Iraq get broom sticks shoved up their ass or a bullet in the head out in the desert. At the same time, we hear of how our politicians felt a terrible moral dilemma when faced with the possibility of having to shoot down a plane-full of innocent Americans in order to save the politicians in the Whitehouse, yet the same people feel no moral compunctions whatsoever about bombing a city-block in Iraq to kill a handfull of insurgents. I realize that we have many intelligent people in the Bush administration. Did one of these geniuses, by any chance, calculate the relative value of an American versus an Iraqi or a South American life? Is it 100 to 1 or perhaps 200 to 1? Do the numbers depend on the color of the skin or the geographic proximity? Is religion also factored in? Or perhaps, GDP has something to do with it? At any rate, I'm sure glad that we spent millions of dollars of our tax dollars on trials for poor ol' Jeffrey. Them Iraqis, on the other hand, they're guilty of being brown, believing in something other than Christianity, and being in the wrong place on the globe. They've violated our Three Strikes laws, don't you think?

For a little bit of perspective on the numbers killed, I'd recommend the Democracy for California's post Hey George, how many kids did you kill today?

Cellular

This weekend, I went out and saw Cellular. In spite of its predictable plot, the film is to be lauded for the clever way it weaves cell phones (and the familiar problems we all have with them) into virtually every scene. The main characters miraculously maintain a single cell call throughout most of the movie, which makes me wonder which service they were using. If I run around the city with my service (AT&T), it drops every two or three miles. I used to have Verizon and they were even worse. I also found that Verizon was run by gangsters. For example, they charged me $20 for a missing piece of cardboard when I returned my cell phone. Later, the company virtually refused to allow me to cancel an order after I ordered DSL from them. After writing numerous signed and dated letters and calling them repeatedly (and getting a computer), I eventually got through to a real person who finally did something after I threaten to sue the company. I'm sure that somewhere in Verizon headquarters, there's an overpaid young man with a Ph.D. in marketing holding up a graph showing that if you make it impossible to cancel service, 10% of customers will stick with it, and this will translate into increased overall sales. Hopefully, 100% of you who are reading this will not deal with the bastards.

24 September 2004

Beheadings and shark attacks

Net Politik discusses the recent beheading incidents:

Beheadings no longer have a spark in the blogosphere. Now, some readers might accuse me of being tasteless for saying such things. I ask those readers to consider the fact that the truth has neither tastes, nor 'values:' it simply is, regardless of how we feel about it. That consideration brings me to my main point: To the average American, Iraq is now just another re-run.

Our minds cannot help the fact that they filter out familiar information. News of bombs, deaths, and chaos in Iraq is now filtered out like street sounds to someone sleeping in New York. This might explain why Kerry's attack against Bush's war is causing so little of an effect on the polls. Frankly, Bush's "its gonna turn out alright" is more soothing than Kerry's 'We're screwed'.


Myself, having been unplugged from the matrix of TV news and talk radio as of late, have only heard of the rash of beheadings through the internet. Unlike many, I have no interest in actually viewing one of the video clips. I can imagine these incidents are gruesome, as so many things are in war. And I fully expect them to continue. The war, after all, isn't just fought in far-away cities over territory. The insurgents clearly want to make sure that the war continues to be newsworthy. Physically cutting off someone's head elicits primal fear and curiosity, much like a shark attack. In terms of the human suffering caused, I'm sure it doesn't rank as high as many methods of killing. Many people must be dying right now in piles of rubble, terrified as they watch their own lives slip away.

In the end, I realize that we in the U.S. will have to live with the repercussions of this war. Many people are dying (mostly innocent Iraqis)--and these deaths are especially tragic in light of Shrub and company's mendacity leading up to the conflict. I see little light at the end of the tunnel. I've been in countries a decade or two after major conflicts and have found that such wars often leave tremendous emotional scars on the people.

23 September 2004

Multitude

I've been reading Hardt and Negri's book Multitude. I would definitely recommend this work to anyone interested in globalization and resulting shifts in the concept of sovereignty. (For a review of this book, see The Multitudes Strike Back, Sharleen Mondal, De File, The Pinocchio Theory, and Multitudes Web.) Multitude is the sequel to Empire, a difficult book by the same authors called Empire. For that 0.0000001% of the population who have a Ph.D. in political science, an excellent facility with confusing academic prose, and surplus time and patience, Empire might be worth a look. I still haven't found someone who can look me in the eye and say they read the whole thing or understood it. Multitude, unlike Empire, is very well written and from what I've read so far, seems to be a very insightful work. I'm only part-way through, so I'll wait until future posts to discuss the author's points. Empire has been discussed in a number of places. Just to mention a few:


P.S. Dialogic has a recent post on the book as well.

21 September 2004

AFL-CIO's petition for Chinese worker's rights

The Summer 2004 issue of Dissent has an interesting article on the AFL-CIO's petition submitted to the U.S. government asking the U.S. trade representative to take action to promote the human rights of China's factory workers. The petition cites section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974--the first time this section has been invoked in reference to worker's rights. The petition thoroughly documents China's systematic exploitation of workers and demonstrates how this abuse has placed downward pressures on wages across the globe. The petition was rejected by the Bush administration as an example of "isolationism." I find the petition quite remarkable for its application of the law (in favor of workers instead of corporations). It is also an irony that China, which is nominally "socialist" (emphasis on the "nominally"), no longer trusts its own workers to organize for their own benefit. The section of the AFL-CIO report in Dissent discusses ways in which the permit system (allowing workers to live and work in urban areas) is used to exploit rural workers who come to the city for jobs.

20 September 2004

Visions of Polyanna have now conquered my mind...

An article in today's Washington Post has confirmed the middle class's sense of foreboding regarding the economy. Key points of the article include:

"All kinds of jobs that pay in the middle range . . . are vanishing . . . Such jobs were a big reason America's middle class flourished in the second half of the 20th century. Now what those jobs share is vulnerability."

"Of the 2.7 million jobs lost during and after the recession in 2001, the vast majority have been restructured out of existence, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York."

"Meanwhile, income inequality has grown. In 2001, the top 20 percent of households for the first time raked in more than half of all income, while the share earned by those in the middle was the lowest in nearly 50 years."

"The growing income gap corresponds to a long-term restructuring of the workforce that has carved out jobs from the center."


Of course, Shrub keeps telling us to remain optimistic. To spit in the face of these dour economic statistics or intel reports on the Iraqi quagmire. So I guess I need to go out and get a big U.S. flag and hang it across my porch before my house and car get repossessed and I get hit by the next war tax.

Iraqi quagmire

Barefoot and Naked, Mark Kleiman, Tom Dispatch, Baghdad Burning, and Arran's Alley have good posts on how the Iraqi War is becoming a quagmire. I think the administration is going to do everything possible to hide the true situation from the American people prior to the election, but it's hard when even the U.S. intelligence agencies are putting forth grim forecasts.

18 September 2004

Yearning

I've added World So Yearned For (Maeumeuro Keurineun Sesang) to my Damned Import links. Though in Korean, the site provides an excellent photo log on the gritty day-to-day existence of life in the South Korean Army. In South Korea, all men are required to do service in the military. Soldiers receive an insignificant pittance for their period of enlistment and must undergo a great deal of harrassment from their superiors. Of course, new recruits yearn to return to their normal lives on the outside.

P.S. Some of the photos show men holding hands or touching. This shouldn't be misunderstood--in Korean society men (or women) who are simply friends sometimes hold hands or touch each other.

P.P.S. In somewhat related news, there's a recent South Korean scandal about movie stars who have been avoiding the draft by leaving the country. Song Seungheon, a teen heart-throb in countless Korean TV series, recently re-entered the country to face charges, leading to an uproar in the nation's media.

A proposal on turning the war around

News outlets report that Kopi Annan has clearly stated that the Iraqi war is "illegal." Annan has also expressed doubt that Iraq would be able to hold free elections as planned by January 31st. These comments have come amidst the pessimistic outlook presented in the National Intelligence Estimate by the National Intelligence Council, which include the chance of an Iraqi civil war by 2005. Many yellow-bellied American liberals are now pessimistic that this war can be won. I, however, still feel there's hope. Since George Bush was AWOL from his Guard unit and since regulations at the time said that anyone missing 3 months of duty could be callled to active duty for two years, I think the National Guard should call Shrub back up and have him complete his duty in Iraq. Thousands of other National Guard personnel are, after all, being pulled out of their jobs and away from their families to serve in the war. I'm sure with Shrub in the cockpit, the nation would have nothing to fear. And I'll be the first to sing a dirge beside his cooling corpse if he gets shot down.

P.S. Simply Appalling has a good post on the Shrub NG "service" and the new documents scheduled for release. Ratboy's Anvil has a good post on the gap between Shrub's rosey predictions and the pessimistic outlook of U.S. intelligence.

History is a'changin'

Certain events have recently given me flashbacks to the book 1984, and its description of how history was being rewritten so fast that it outpaced the memories of those still living. The Memory Mole had the following interesting example on his site:

"On 21 September 2002, The Memory Mole posted an extract from an essay by George Bush Sr. and Brent Scowcroft, in which they explain why they didn't have the military push into Iraq and topple Saddam during Gulf War 1. Although there are differences between the Iraq situations in 1991 and 2002-3, Bush's key points apply to both.

But a funny thing happened. Fairly recently, Time pulled the essay off of their site. It used to be at this link, which now gives a 404 error. If you go to the table of contents for the issue in which the essay appeared (2 March 1998), 'Why We Didn't Remove Saddam' is conspicuously absent."

Kudos to Democracy for California for pointing me to this. A Relative Path also has some interesting posts on Republican flip-flopping.

14 September 2004

How are the chosen chosen?

During the last week, I keep running across posts discussing that age-old sore spot in the American body politic--separation between Church and State (and the lack thereof). In the U.S., the more aggressive stance of fundamentalist Christians rests on the premise that they are in fact the chosen people and thus have an obligation to shine their lamp on those of us bumbling around in religious darkness. Personally, I wonder how many of these people have really analyzed their own beliefs. In particular, there seems to be an unsettling issue for those who follow theistic beliefs when it comes to how the "chosen" are chosen. As I see it, there are a couple of alternatives--none of which are very satisfying:

  1. The believers are the smart folk who are able to look at the world and really figure out the underlying reality behind appearances.

    Problem: If this were the case, we would expect to see all those with high IQs in church on Sunday, and everyone else boozing it up in the local bar watching pro football. Test scores would match religious affiliation and a roster of world chess champs would provide us with the names of leading bishops and cardinals in Rome. This option is clearly out.

  2. Believers are the sincere folks. Anyone who wholeheartedly seeks the one true Way with all their heart is sure to find it.

    Problem: It would then follow that only people of certain nationalities have a high capacity for sincerity. There would be entire swaths of the world population, say in Yemen (overwhelmingly Muslim) or Myanmar (overwhelmingly Buddhist), who are almost incapable of sincerity. The American South, on the other hand, must be chocked full of sincere truth-seekers. Of course, this runs completely counter to our experience if we leave our provincial little town in Alabama and travel anywhere else. We meet sincere Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus, people so sincere in fact that they give up everything in life to pursue religious truth, people for whom virtually every waking moment is pregnant with religious devotion or inquisative awareness.

  3. God simply took out a book, wrote down all the people who were going to get saved, and tossed the rest of the names down to his co-conspirator in the basement.

    Problem (?): This is perhaps the most logical solution and one that many will accept as doctrinally consistent. The problem of course is that it belies the "sincere" efforts of all who work to convert us soul-less people not written in the Book of Life. If we ain't in it now, we never will be. Hell, you might as well just drop bombs on us and take our resources away, cause we don't matter. This so-called solution really isn't a solution at all since it doesn't leave any space for moral indeavor or religious insight.

In the end, I think this problem of how the chosen are chosen is a koan for our times, and as such, is actually more daunting than the traditional brain-teaser of theodicy (i.e., how a benevolent, omniscient deity allows evil to occur.)



There's a strange confluence of religious-related posts in the blogosphere at Viking Zen, Wildhunt, Pharyngula, Chuck Currie, Mirror of Justice, Blogicus, Get Religion (offering a Pagan view), The Objectivist Club at the University of Utah, Dispatches from the Cultural Wars, Dummies for Idiots, and Toni Saint's blog. (Is it a sign from the Heavens?)

13 September 2004

Swerve . . uhm . . . right?

Today ABC News has a televized report of two women who were arrested for holding an anti-Bush sign on a street. Evidently, that is now against the law in this country.

WARNING: YOU ARE CURRENTLY VIEWING AN ANTI-BUSH SITE. PLEASE TURN YOURSELF IN AT THE NEAREST CENTER FOR HOMELAND SECURITY IMMEDIATELY.

10 September 2004

Cobb and LaMarche

I was just looking at the website of Cobb and LaMarche (the Green Party candidates for president and vice-president). Their platform advocates the following:


  • An immediate withdrawal from Iraq
  • Universal healthcare
  • Energy independence
  • Gay rights
  • Sustainable economics
  • A vigorous environmental policy
  • Reparations for slavery
  • Repeal of the Patriot Act
  • Legalization of marijuana

I wonder how many people would support such a platform if the Greens were the sole option to the Republicans. Perhaps we should chastise the Democrats for running against the Greens, since they thereby remove the chance for a strong leftist coalition that seeks real change. I'm also surprised at how much media coverage Nader is getting compared to the Green Party. Nader lost the Green Party nomination, after all.

Whether or not we vote for Kerry, I think we should not register Democrat but rather join the Greens or other parties. Through party affiliation, we can send a message that the Democrats can't take the left for granted. Ultimately, of course, it would be nice to see a party take power that truly represented grass-roots concerns instead of these bank-rolled behemoths like the Shrublicans and Democryts who only exist to support elite corporate interests.

9 September 2004

Real men shoot pre-emptively.

Yesterday in the wake of the school siege that killed hundreds of people (including many children), Col. Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, chief of the Russian General Staff, claimed the right to pre-emptively strike terrorist bases anywhere in the world. On the surface, the remarks are reminiscent of Bush's doctrine of pre-emption adopted after 9/11, although I personally don't think the so-called "Bush doctrine of pre-emption" represents a signficant break with the past. The U.S. has been pre-emptively invading countries and nations even before the U.S. was the U.S. Perhaps the only thing that has changed is the government's compunctions about such actions. There is no longer an obligation to drum up some lie or fabricate an event to justify military aggression. With Bush, the prez can now simply swagger onto a platform and cite the fact that he has received the mandate of Heaven. All other discussions about right and wrong and just war are for the girlie-men in their liberal academies. Real men, after all, shoot from the hip and ask questions later (or not at all).

8 September 2004

Wicker Park and Collateral

Last weekend, I watched both Collateral and Wicker Park. Expecting the worst, I was pleasantly surprised. At least I can say that both movies deserve to be called "entertainment" (more than can be said for most Hollywood fare these days.) Wicker Park suffers from a few flaws in the script's story-line but the acting and shooting are quite good. Collateral is of course violent and unrealistic in parts (I have a very hard time believing that anyone in the world can shoot with great accuracy with a pistol while moving but the script includes enough existential musings to make things interesting. Tom Cruise is good in this movie. Personally, I've liked his acting in every movie where he doesn't play the stereotypical pretty-boy American stud (Is it his acting or the character I dislike?) He was good, for example, in Vanilla Sky. Anyway, if you, like me, have no TV and are bored on the weekend, these two flix are probably some of the better one's available at the moment.

P.S. I noticed after posting this that a frikin bug--the Search Miracle bug--in my system is creating links from key words (I went back and delete them). Someone tell me who these SOBs are. (Where's Tom Cruise when you need him). I've tried to get rid of this Adware and nothing will get at it. It looks like I'm going to have to completely reinstall everything. Pisses me off.

If anyone else runs into this, they might want to look at this site where there's a post on steps to get rid of the bug. I've tried it and hopeful it's gone now.

6 September 2004

Happy Labor Day!

Just in time for Labor Day, some rather depressing economic figures have just come out:

According to the Economic Policy Institute's biannual study, "Many of the problems that beset working Americans in the 2001 recession and protracted jobless recovery persist today." The report mentions the stagnant hourly wage rate and the growing number of unemployed. According to the report, "The United States has been tracking employment statistics since 1939, and never in history has it taken this long to regain jobs lost over a downturn."

Even more damning, real personal income has grown at 1.9% (last 12 months), but productivity has grown by 3 to 4%! With all those extra widgets coming out of the end of the assembly line, you'd think some of the folks in the blue overalls might be getting a few pats on the back (as well as a 5% raise) but evidently those at the top need this extra cash (along with the tax-cut from Shrub). We really shouldn't poke too much fun at these people. It's hard to play golf all day and those flights from golf course to golf course really are quite expensive. (And have you seen the price of cognac these day?! My gracious, it's going through the roof!)

Dispatch from the Trenches has some excellent economic commentary on recent economic trends. I found the following passage of particular interest:

"From 2000 through 2003 the median household income fell by $1,500 (in 2003 dollars) - a significant 3.4 percent decrease. That information becomes startling when you consider that during the same period there was a strong 12 percent increase in productivity among U.S. workers. Economists will tell you that productivity increases go hand-in-hand with increases in the standard of living. But not this time. Here we have a 3.4 percent loss in real income juxtaposed with a big jump in productivity."

And than there's this from Dear Free World (amidst a good discussion of tax codes):

"The super rich make millions because they are thousands of times more productive than you are, so they should get to keep more of taxes than you do, so they have an incentive to work harder when po' folk like yourself don't need one. Right. Sure."

3 September 2004

Tragedy in Russia

Russian troops stormed the secondary school in Beslan, North Ossetia (a sovereign republic in the Russian Federation) where civilians and school children were being held by terrorists. Evidently, the action was taken after the hostage-takers inside the building started firing at school children who were attempting to escape. Over a hundred civilians are reported dead so far. Obsidian Wings has links to Russian photos of the massacre.




News sources include Gazeta.ru, Pravda, Kommersant (provides a detailed timeline), The Moscow Times ("150 may be dead"), and St. Petersburg Times.

And there seems to be a silence about this from much of the Chechen Press. The Chechen Times, while claiming the moral nature of the independence struggle, concedes that the current terrorist attack besmirches the movement's sense of "honor and honesty."

A BBC article details some of the probably failures of the Russian security forces. One that sticks in my mind is the ability of hostage takers to possible flee the area. It's hard to see how this could happen. We aren't talking about people running around a province, afterall, but people holed up in a school! Isn't it possible to set up a perimeter at a safe distance away from the school and clear out everyone within it (excluding those in the school) before anything happened?

1 September 2004

It's okay, cause they're all crooks!

Today, The Washington Times had an editorial by William Campenni on Bush's Guard service. Campenni, one of those shuck and jive Shrub apologists, dismisses the various charges against Bush with the usual you all just don't understand the way the Guard works spiel. (Actually, the problem is that we understand only too well). Interestingly, he does accept that favoritism may have been at play, but tells us, "It is ironic that the media is hypocritically worked up on this fact of life, given William McGowan's study on the nepotism for the children of media biggies in their own profession." I don't quite get the point being made here. Is it: Our politicians are worthless, but that's okay, because our media is worthless as well? I have heard that Bush was accepted to the Guard on the same day he applied! (This, with over a hundred-thousand applicants and the lowest test score that one could apply with!) If this is true, we can only agree with Campenni that our media (as well as our plutocrat leaders) are indeed totally worthless--Why haven't they dug this up and droned on about it like they have about the Swift Boat folks? [Incidently, this entire post should be read along with my post below on Bush and the Guard.]

For those interested, click here for William McGowan's article in the National Review Online. McGowan evidently wrote a book called Coloring the News (discussed in a related post on Instapundit.

Matthew Yglesias, commenting on McGowan's ideas, writes, "Journalism isn't exactly your golden road to riches, so insofar as nepotism is a factor in blocking social mobility (which it surely is) one probably wants to look elsewhere for the truly troubling examples. Cops, firefighters, and soldiers all legendarily often form family traditions in those professions and I don't thing anyone finds that terribly worrying."

Tapped sends McGowan to the McTrashbin with the following:


Indeed, Tapped can, without thinking too hard, name just as many conservatives in the media who are the sons and daughters of conservative journalists or conservative society types. Let's see: William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard and son of Irving; John Podhoretz (whom McGowan mentions), columnist at the New York Post and son of Norman; Rupert Murdoch's son Lachlan, who became publisher of the Post at the age of 30; humorist Christopher Buckley, son of Bill, Jr.; talk show host Michael Reagan, son of Ronald. Near the top of the masthead of the online publication in which McGowan has published his screed is Jonah Goldberg, whose first job in journalism was as founding editor of NRO, and whose mother is wingnut doyenne Lucianne Goldberg. Last but certainly not least, there's Adam Bellow, son of Saul. Who is Adam Bellow? He's a book editor who, ironically, is about to publish a volume in defense of nepotism -- and he's also the guy who commissioned McGowan's last book.


In sum, Campenni bases his illogical argument (that oh so subtle rhetorical flourish called "Well, they were doing it too though!") on an equally illogical argument (a couple A's are B's so obviously all A's are B's).