Morons With Bad Haircuts

California may be unhappy with the current Democratic power structure, but it’s in no danger of becoming a Republican state. That’s because the leadership of the California Republican Party are morons.

The California Republican Party Board of Directors met today with Governor Schwarzenegger to have a frank and free flowing discussion about his recent appointment of Susan Kennedy as his new chief of staff.

They have their panties in a twist because the Gov. appointed a Democrat as Chief of Staff.

Schwarzenegger won – as a Republican – by co-opting a number of Democratic issues, interest groups, and practitioners. People like me.I can’t imagine ever calling myself a Republican, but I can’t imagine a California Republican Party that can win statewide elections without the votes of a whole lot of people like me.

But the party is run by clowns with bad haircuts more committed to some fantasy of ideological purity and grade-school sandbox power plays than actually winning elections and serving the people of California.

The best service they could perform would be – simply – to become competitive with the Democrats so that the strident and foolish among the Democratic Party would get shoved far away from the levers of power.

Somehow, I don’t see it happening very soon.

Mindless Killing Machines – Not

Michelle Malkin and neo-neocon (or “Neo” as we call her when she’s wearing her fashionable sunglasses) have posts up excoriating Jane Fonda for her recent commentary that American troops had been brainwashed into killing machines, and so were relatively blameless for all the atrocities they were committing.

No, really.

“Starting with the Vietnam War we began training soldiers differently,” the anti-American actress says in an email to the Washington Post.

Fonda claims she learned of the policy switch in “secret meetings” she had with military psychologists “who were really worried about what was happening to our combat personnel.”

One doctor, she insists, told her U.S. troops had been deliberately trained to be “killing machines.”

“This began,” Fonda maintained, “because the military discovered that in World War II and Korea, [U.S.] soldiers weren’t killing enough.”

“So they changed training procedures” to teach troops how to commit atrocities.

It’s not for a moment worth taking anything Jane Fonda says about anything more serious than movies, cellulite, and celebrity culture with any seriousness whatsoever. What, in her entire personal history, would demonstrate any measure of historical or political awareness?

The fact that this woman would bloviate about this in the middle of a war where our troops take immense personal risk to avoid killing where they easily could; a war with less collateral damage than any war in recent history; a war where our enemies commit atrocities and run schools to condition their young jihadi to do so – unremarked by Ms. Fonda, unsurprisingly – should remove whatever shred of seriousness people may have foolishly granted her.

Let me offer Ms. Fonda some relatively simple facts.

I’m not a soldier and have never been one. I have shot guns competitively, and trained in places where those who train soldiers train, sometimes alongside those trainers.

The exercises we’ve done – in clearing houses, crossing streets and moving through neighborhoods while engaging targets simulating enemies – are, I’m told, very similar to what troops undergoing training for fighting in urban terrain are given. In fact, they are probably more intensive than what a typical infantry rifleman would get.

One interesting thing that is a factor in all these exercises – not shooting certain targets is as important as shooting others. In my first, untrained exercise in Gunsite’s training house, I did what a lot of novice shooters do when they are adrenalized and ill-trained. I shot everything in the house, often several times. Clint Smith was my training officer, and his sad, laconic question when he stopped me mid-drill – “Marc, why in the world did you shoot Bozo the Clown?” – has pretty much stuck with me.

The reality of it is that someone who is well-trained is likely to do two things that pretty much everyone – including Ms. Fonda, if she’d taken time to actually learn anything – would think are good things. They teach you to shoot the bad folks better and faster, and equally importantly, not to shoot the good folks.

I’ve been through maybe a dozen similar exercises since then, and I’m happy to say that I’ve never shot at a “no shoot” target again. Why? because of that awful “killing machine” training that I went through.

Go read any of the milblogs, or ask anyone who has contact with any of our troops. Go read some history about what war was like in the recent past, or what it’s like in other parts of the world. Then realize that the restraint they take, and the risk they undergo to exercise that restraint, far exceeds that of any other army in history. We are not brainwashing our troops into mindless killing machines anywhere except in the fevered imagination of celebrity salons.

I’ll also note that Fonda is largely basing her fantasy on the work of LTC Dave Grossman, author of “On Killing,” a book I like a lot and which I think makes some interesting points. I also believe that some of the core premises of the book – based as they are on SLA Marshall’s work on World War II – are potentially significantly flawed.

A Change of Course

I started work on consolidating the pro-war rationales (well-done by commenter Chris) and then beginning my arguments against the anti-war ones. And I realized that today, of all days – the Iraqi election day – showed this to be a somewhat hollow exercise (as some commenters did point out, I must admit).The only people for whom the pre-war rationales matter are those who believe that the genesis of the war is so tainted that everything that happens – all the fruit of the crime – is irremediably tainted. People who can’t answer whether Iraqis are better off today or not, because to admit that they are better off would make them complicit.

The other people to whom this matters are, sadly, my fellow Democrats, who see it as a lever to move the partisan dial in the country. They intend to do this, in among other ways, by voting pro-war Senator Joe Lieberman out of office.

I’m happy to ignore both groups, to be honest.

I’m more interested in the group with rolled-up sleeves that asks “Where do we go from here?” I’m genuinely interested in what Chris and others have to say in the matter; I’m not likely to change my tune of “We’re In ‘Till We Win” but that begs some critical questions (not to sound too much like a certain good-ole-boy) but … what does “Win” mean? For that matter, what does “In” mean?

There’s probably an interesting talk to have about the leadup to the war; I still believe, strongly that the “pro” arguments outweighed, and outweigh today, that “anti.”

But watching the election news today, I suddenly don’t think it’s the best use of my limited time or your limited attention. I’m sure you’ll let me know if you think I’m wrong.

They Are Voting In Baghdad and Fallouja

They are voting in Iraq as I write this (it’s 8:30 am their time), and I’m surprised at how excited I am about it. You’d think that it would have become routine – the notion of a change in power in the Middle East that didn’t involve dungeons, gallows or the firing squad – after the first ones.

We in the West have certainly participated in enough of those kinds of changes of power over there; to me, this one begins the process of wiping the slate clean.

Go read some Iraqi blogs tonight and tomorrow. Start with my friends at Iraq The Model.

Especially this post.

Building a free country takes a long time. You do it one brick at a time.

What Are The Major Arguments For The War In Iraq?

I invited smart anti-war commenter Chris to mirror what I’d done by compiling what he saw as the best arguments for the war. Here (unedited) is what he sent me, which I’d like to subject to the same process as my own list of antiwar points. Please comment on this post and refine this list; I’ll republish the consensus take (or better, if I can convince Chris to do that much work, ask him to do it).

– A.L.

By way of providing symmetry to Armed Liberal’s post of 12/01/05, he’s asked me to sum up the pro-war arguments as best I can.

However, I should preface this list by pointing out two things. First, in the interests of brevity, I’ve tried to keep the bullet points relatively short, and the arguments limited to what I think are reasonable points that have consistently been made by the hawkish side. This means, for example, that I haven’t included some of the “shifting the political balance to the Shiites” arguments that Jim Peterson has been making over the past couple of days – although this omission should not be taken as an indication that these arguments aren’t interesting or valid.

Second, I should point out that, just as AL’s anti-Iraq war list tended to confuse the issues of “should we be in Iraq” and “how do we win in Iraq”, this list may also confuse certain issues. For example, many people can and have made the argument that while the Iraq war itself was a just and necessary action, the Bush administration’s prosecution of the war has left much to be desired. However, for the purposes of this list, I’ve tried to compile arguments that, by and large, do not make a large distinction between Bush’s leadership and the overall Iraq strategy.
That said…

1. The attacks on September 11 proved that modern technology can act as a tremendous force multiplier, such that even a very small number of relatively unsophisticated enemies can do extraordinary damage to a modern society. By far, the most dangerous such force multipliers are Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), which can cause catastrophic destruction without relying on large organized support structures, such as nation-states and conventional armies. Once in the hands of terrorists, WMDs would be almost impossible to keep out of a large, open, trade-oriented country such as the United States. Therefore, WMDs must be stopped at their source: namely, nation-states which have the capacity to produce WMDs, and a possible motive for selling/giving said WMDs to terrorists. The nation-states at the top of such a list would be Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, with others such as Libya and Pakistan existing in the second tier. Out of that list, Iraq was the logical best choice to take on because of the following reasons:

1a. We had been in a state of hostilities with Iraq since the end of the Gulf War.
1b. We knew that Saddam continued to hold an animus against the US and its leaders (e.g. the assassination attempt on George Bush Sr.).
1c. We knew that Iraq was not above using unconventional means of attack, as evidenced by his support for various terrorist groups.
1d. Strategically, Iraq was far easier to attack than North Korea and Iran: we believed we could attack on at least two fronts, we had experience fighting the Iraqi army, and the risk of severe blowback was far less than with, say, North Korea.
1e. The plentiful oil reserves of Iraq would both help pay for the invasion, and for the reconstruction of the country.

2. It has been the goal of the United States since WW2 to spread democracy and free markets throughout the world. Our experience thus far has shown that societies which embrace these ideals tend to prosper. However, because of an unfortunate mix of historical accident, dependence on foreign oil, realpolitk and outright cultural prejudice, the US has not only failed to promote western values in the Middle East, but has frequently supported regimes that have, in turn, actively suppressed democratic reforms. From a generational standpoint, our battle with Al Qaeda will only be won when their culture of intolerance (radical Islam) has been supplanted by a culture of tolerance (Western democracy). Again, Iraq was the logical best choice to “flip” over to western values because:

2a. Iraq is centrally located in the Arab world. A democratic, vibrant Iraq would be a far more visible example to the rest of the Middle East than, say, Afghanistan, which is relatively isolated and ethnically dissimilar from much of the rest of the Middle East.
2b. Iraq, although visibly crumbling under Saddam’s rule, still had a good deal of experience with modern technology and other trappings of modern culture. Again, compared to Afghanistan, Iraq would have much less of a distance to travel to be a true economic, cultural, and technological peer of the US and other developed countries.
2c. Iraq has a good deal of historical significance to the Muslim world: a Baghdad once more restored to its rightful place as a center of commerce and learning would be a huge blow to the insular ideals of radical Islam.
2d. A “flipped” Iraq would serve two strategic purposes: it would encourage our ideological allies (i.e. reformers) that positive change is possible, and it would frighten our enemies – neighboring countries would be discouraged from acting out, lest what happened to Saddam happen to them.

3. Simply put, the best defense is a good offense. Anti-US sentiment exists in the Middle East and will not simply go away: far better to focus it towards military forces capable of defending themselves, at a time and place of our choosing, rather than sitting back and waiting for the attacks to come to us.

4. The humanitarian case was extremely straightforward: Saddam was a tyrant who was harming his people, and the US-led sanctions were further penalizing the innocent victims in Iraq. Freeing Iraq in 2003 would both do a great deal of good, and make up for our failure to properly liberate the country in 1991.

5. Criticism of the war as “unjust” is misguided: Iraq was unquestionably guilty of several offences (firing on US fighter jets, attempted assassination of political leaders, a history of aggression against its neighbors, funding Palestinian terrorists), any one of which legitimately qualified as a casus belli. The presence of WMDs is beside the point: Saddam was unquestionably evil, and Iraq is better off without him. To complain that the war was justified to the American people on the basis of WMDs and not on other reasons is like complaining that Al Capone was jailed on tax evasion charges rather than murder, etc. Either way the formal reason is less important than the fact that the bad guy is gone.

6. Criticism of the war as poorly fought is likewise misguided. Comparing the traditional aims of virtually every war ever fought (“Kill ‘em all until they can’t possibly fight back, then dictate terms of surrender”) vs. the goals of the US in Iraq (“Disable the command and control structure while taking great care not to harm civilians, destroy important infrastructure, or look particularly bad to the world media”) indicates that by any reasonable standard, the Iraq war was a smashing success.

7. Current political, military, and logistical difficulties in Iraq are laughably light compared to what the US has had to deal with historically (say, in WW2). By far the greatest threat to the rebuilding enterprise is not internal or foreign insurgents or hostile governments (Iran and Syria), but a loss of political will here in the US. That being the case, the anti-war left and mainstream media have not been helpful in the slightest.

8. The Iraq war has freed the United States from outdated organizations that had essentially become antagonistic to US interests, such as the United Nations. By invading Iraq with the help of truly loyal allies, we have reaffirmed our national sovereignty and our right of self-defense. We have likewise reminded the world that nations are powerful because of their current vitality, and not because of the diplomatic respect historically accorded to them (i.e. France).

9. The attacks of 9/11 represented not merely a few malcontents, but were instead a harbinger of a far greater clash of civilizations that could eventually build to a conflict on the scale of WW2 or the Cold War. That being the case, if a successfully fought war in Iraq can forestall or entirely prevent such a conflagration, then the Iraq war should be embraced as the lesser of two evils by far, even taking the war’s occasionally inept prosecution into account.

Beyond that, I think the arguments tend to get fairly marginal. I hope the pro-war folks find this a relatively accurate expression of their beliefs, and I welcome comments and corrections.

America, Hearts, Movies

I’ve believed for a while that it is increasingly in books and movies that the perception of things – and thus often, the thing itself – is defined.

I don’t think that’s completely new; Homer, his tales, and his lyre defined much of what classical Greece thought of itself, and I can push the model forward through history.

I was thinking about it because of three films we’ve seen in the last month, each of which, in its way says something about what America means to its creators and reflects strains of what I see and we all see as well.

The films were “Walk The Line,” “Syriana,” and “The World’s Fastest Indian.”
To me, “Walk The Line” was a wonderful display of incredible, pitch-perfect, believable acting. The plot is unmemorable, except for one scene, where Cash and his band have managed to beg Sam Phillips of Sun records for an audition, and are playing competent country spirituals – old folk spirituals to a harder beat. Phillips is obviously bored, and stops Cash and says (something like):

“We’ve all heard those songs before. I’m not interested in recording them again. If you were dying in a ditch and could only sing one song, what would you sing?”

And Cash begins to awkwardly play “Folsom Prison Blues,” gaining confidence as his band figures out the song – which they’ve never played – and joins in.

It’s an incredibly powerful scene – where Cash finds his real voice – and it nails the image of America where we are most powerful because we are most ourselves; we believe that where we find the thing that is truly us, we are fulfilled.

In Cash’s case, it is a pretty complex self, and the film works most of all because Joaquin Phoenix manages to make the contradictions – a man deeply in love who has affairs; a pious man who takes drugs; a deeply rebellious man who comes to a local church every Sunday – believable; he makes them something that one man could plausibly contain, and shows us the struggles between these contradictions inside himself.

America seems much the same to me; we accept and absorb contradictions in personal and national character that should shatter us.

We were then invited to Arianna Huffington’s screening of “Syriana.” (thanks, Arianna!)

The movie is another exercise (like Traffic) in a John Dos Passos-like fragmented narrative, centering around a fictional emirate in the Middle East, it’s leaders, their oil, and the people who want it.

The fragments about the terrorist cell were actually quite good; it traces the path of two young terrorists from displaced oil workers to members of an Islamic school, to their final act. The facts are slightly different, in that many of the real jihadis aren’t driven by the need to get a decent meal, but are in fact disaffected middle class kids – and that story would also have been a powerful one.

George Clooney’s performance is a great one; it takes the young swaggering alpha male and runs him forward about twenty-five years, when he’s been passed over for promotion because he won’t play bullshit games, and he’s physically headed down the curve. He’s the reason to see the movie, surprisingly. He’s been a star more than an actor for most of his career, but here he raises the bar and jumps over it. I’ll never think of him in as limited a way again.

The core of the movie is the conflict between the emir’s good son (the reformer), a greedy oil company (whose lobbyist explains that corruption is the American way of life), a noble oil analyst, and the CIA.

Simple plot explanation: CIA bad, oil companies bad.

Sadly that oversimplified plot is pretty close to what actually unfolds; had the film had more moral nuance (see “Walk The Line” above) it would have been far more interesting.

The audience we saw it with loved it (except for Marc Cooper, apparently); as I pointed out to TG as we pulled into the parking lot set aside for those attending the screening “every Prius in L.A. is here tonight.”

The writer and director, Steve Gagan got up and gave a rambling speech, the nut of which was a simple sentence about halfway through.

“We’ve got problems as a people. We’ve got some kind of hole where our hearts should be; it used to be BMW-shaped, and now it’s Iraq-shaped.”

That pretty much summed up his views for me.

Which brings us to the next movie, which is really about hearts; the damaged heart of an obsessive old Kiwi motorcyclist (wonder why we went to see it?) and the warm hearts of the Americans who – literally in some cases – take him in and support him in pursuing his dream.

Bert Munro was a real man, who at the age of 63, went to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, after setting records in new Zealand and Australia, and – on a shoestring and a home-made motorcycle – set world land speed records.

The movie is the story of his first trip, and it’s a simple narrative, as he is handed from one helpful American to another – from a transvestite motel manager to a pot-smoking used car salesman to an indian to an amorous grandmother to the Wendover land speed community, who at first rejects him and finally supports and embraces him.

Anthony Hopkins is Bert Munro, and he’s unsurprisingly wonderful. the part is made for him; it’s a man who completely shields his inner self from the world, and expresses himself only through action (think ‘Remains of the Day’ with sex and motorcycles).

The uniform kindness of those that Munro encounters – from the Immigration official who’d read about his motorcycle in Popular Mechanics and so gives him a visa, to the speed community that houses him and chips in to help fund his trip home – bothered me when I saw the film. It felt saccharine. Where’s the antagonist? Where’s the drama, I asked.

And, to be honest, it would have been a better film with more conflict – even if Bert’s wonderful streamlined motorcycle has been more fragile and less twist-and-go fast.

But constant kindness to strangers is almost a uniquely American thing, and the community that converts gasoline to speed is also one that is intensely welcoming and helpful.

We do open our hearts frequently and widely, and from my experience in Europe, we do so more thoughtlessly – more automatically – than most other cultures.

Gagan may have a hole in his heart, but the ordinary Americans shown in “Indian’ certainly don’t. And, to be honest, I think more of us are like them than like him.

Weblog Awards Again…

Over at the Weblog Awards, we’re firmly in the middle of the pack in the ‘Best Group Blog’ category. It doesn’t look like we’ll win – but it’d sure be nice to beat MySecret and MyDD, who are just ahead of us, and catch up to Pandagon. Yes, I totally admit it’s immature, but as the ad for North Sails once said, “Any time two boats are in the same body of water, there’s a race going on.”

Actually, I’m not sure exactly why that’s relevant, but it seemed like the right thing to say…

…so please go vote for us!

We’re In ‘Till We Win

Over at LT Smash’s shop, he’s drumming up calls and emails in support of “We’re In ‘Till We Win” (if I may paraphrase).

It’s a week before the elections in Iraq – one of the first and freest in the Arab Middle East – and, for partisan advantage, the leadership of my party is saying that we should tell the Iraqi people “OK, we’re going home now. Nice visiting you, sorry we didn’t finish cleaning up the mess.”

I emailed my hawkish Democratic Member of Congress, Jane Harman a few weeks ago.

Here’s what I got in reply:

Dear Mr. Danziger:

The 2,000th American casualty provides a grim marker for our involvement in Iraq, but it also presents an important opportunity to answer the American people’s most pressing question: What is our exit strategy?

This war is costing far too much in American lives and taxpayer dollars. It is creating a new breeding ground for terrorists where one did not previously exist. It is setting back our efforts to confront Iran. And it is causing our allies to question our competence, policy judgments and above all, our word.

But just as staying indefinitely is not an option, so too is an immediate pullout of most American forces. We are not able to keep order with the number of troops we have there now. Withdrawing most of our forces immediately would effectively turn Iraq over to Al Qaeda, or perhaps Iran, leaving in our wake civil war, increased human suffering, and a far-more dangerous place than we found 31 months ago.

Thus, the most prudent exit is a steady efficient drawdown of U.S. troops beginning after the Iraqi elections in December. Exactly how many and at what pace? Those numbers may be important but only for symbolic – not necessarily strategic – reasons. Troops signify intentions, and the American people (and the Iraqi people, for that matter) are concerned about our intentions.

For that reason, America must clarify its intentions if this drawdown – this exit from Iraq – is to succeed.

First, President Bush should state unequivocally that the U.S. does not seek and will not maintain permanent military bases in Iraq. Our 60-year presence in Germany and our 50-year presence in Korea rightfully make people nervous that a half-century from now, American Marines will be living on a base in downtown Baghdad. President Bush should put that to rest – and make clear that U.S. policy is to leave Iraq completely.

Second, President Bush must clarify our intentions with respect to Iraq’s oil. We have no designs on Iraq’s precious natural resource, but Iraqis don’t believe us. We should state clearly that oil revenues belong to the people of Iraq and no one else. At the same time, we should also help Iraq get the oil flowing and encourage its neighbors, like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, to assist.

Third, we should redouble our diplomatic efforts to get allies and partners to come into Iraq to share the burden for security and infrastructure. Internationalizing our efforts will take the target off our back and make it easier for us to leave. But it will only work if we invite others in – and if the offer to cede control is genuine.

Fourth, President Bush should ask a high-level personal envoy to focus on nothing but ironing out the political conflict between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. Creating a weakened, balkanized state is not our intention, despite the conspiracy theories of some. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Dr. Zalmay Khalizad, who engineered the Sunni “buy-in” to the recent Constitutional referendum, is a natural choice for this role, but it will mean reducing his other responsibilities.

And fifth, we must set forth a clear plan to have a fixed number of Iraqi military units trained to operate independently by a certain date. Establishing metrics for success, and sticking to them, will send the unequivocal message that the Iraqi people will be the defenders of their own country.

These five statements of American intention, backed up by concrete action, must accompany any drawdown in troops. No one – not in the Muslim world or here at home – will believe us unless we begin to leave, but no one should believe us unless we state now that we want a future for Iraq that is free of American involvement.

America seeks no empire, yet we give the impression to some that we do. Putting that issue to rest, once and for all, will allow the democratically elected Iraqi government to gain control over their country and will let our brave men and women finally come home.


Member of Congress

While I actually agree with parts of this (esp. the “Your oil belongs to you”), once again, her objective isn’t success against the insurgents; it’s “what does it take to get us to come home,” as clearly stated in the opening paragraphs.

Her notion that internationalizing the war – involving ceding control – is a good idea mystifies me. Who, in the feckless UN or EU, has shown any measure of resolve in dealing with this?

And this just makes no sense to me at all…can anyone help?

These five statements of American intention, backed up by concrete action, must accompany any drawdown in troops. No one – not in the Muslim world or here at home – will believe us unless we begin to leave, but no one should believe us unless we state now that we want a future for Iraq that is free of American involvement.

I’m composing a new letter and will get it to her by the 14th.


I’ve been wrestling with my views on Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams and whether he should be granted clemency. It’s been a tough call for me.

I’ve come to be generally opposed to the death penalty. Why?

Two reasons.

One is simple: to kill someone in cold blood…not in the heat of defense or battle…seems to me to be simply inhumane. The deliberateness and spectacle of it contradict much of what I believe I would be willing to fight to defend about our society.

The other is simple as well: the justice system is deeply flawed. It doesn’t make sense to make irrevocable decisions using a system as imperfect as ours – even if it is likely to be better than anyone else’s.
On the other hand – there’s always another hand – I’d have no qualms seeing Saddam executed. Or Hitler.

It’s not to prevent recidivism; it’s not likely that the 1950’s would have presented Hitler much chance to retake the reins of power in Germany.

It’s because certain acts are so far beyond what we can and should accept that they deserve some special, significant sanction. It’s not because I believe that vengeance should be served, or blood repaid; Saddam could never – not if he were tortured unimaginably for decades – repay the debt that he’s incurred.

It’s a way of setting up boundary stones at the edges of our human culture. You and me, over here. Saddam, Hitler, over there. Ted Bundy…over there as well, I’d say.

There are criminals whose crimes are so great, and whose guilt is adequately certain, that I’d probably put them on the other side of the markers as well.

Not ordinary criminals; not the ordinary stickup-gone-bad killer, or the sullen wife murderer. Not even the glassy-eyed killer of one’s own child.

But the extraordinary criminals. The truly evil.

And, I have to say, I’d put Tookie in that camp, which puts him on the far side of the marker, and scheduled for the table, restraints, and sharp needle.

Not because of the four people he killed in cheap stickups, and mocked to his friends afterward.

Those were cheap crimes, and not worthy of more than a locked door and a forgotten man behind it.

Because of the twenty thousand young black men (and women) who died in the gang wars he helped trigger.

For that crime, he should pay.

It may well be that if Tookie hadn’t come along, the social conditions would have given that role to someone else.

And if someone else had bought Sierra DOS, Bill Gates would be an upper-middle class techie.

Yes, he’s written books, and lectured. I’ve read them, and read his work. And I’ve listened for the voice of redemption in it, and not heard it.

He may be redeemed; I hope he is. But he’s still on the wrong side of the boundary marker. His redemption is a matter for him and whatever God he may accept, not for the powers of this world.

Ted Rall And The L.A. Times

I keep seeing less and less value in my subscription to the L.A. Times; fortunately they keep dropping subscription prices fast enough that it just doesn’t quite seem worth it to cancel.

Then I open yesterday’s editorial pages and see a cartoon by loathsome slug Ted Rall (sorry, I’m not linking to him).Ted is notorious most recently for circulating his perverted sexual fantasies about returning veterans (in fact, I think Googlebombing “Ted Rall perverted sexual fantasist” might be fun). And seeing him in all his glory on the editorial pages tends to tip me toward dropping the subscription.

But then I had a better idea. As I understand it, much like television has “sweeps week” newspapers have periodic circulation audits.

So why don’t we do some research, find out when they are, and publicly drop our subscriptions for a month?

It’s a free country, and Rall is free to trail his slime, and the Times free to print it. And I’m free to organize boycotts to try and change their mind.