Shine, Perishing Republic

If you believe that our rights our being trampled upon and the government is now a tyranny, than why aren’t you in jail?

~ Ron Marks

Justin Raimondo replies:

That may come sooner than anyone thinks. Check this out: “The Neocon Case for Imprisoning and Executing Congressional War Opponents.”

And also this: “When Does Politics Become Treason.”

The point is that they COULD jail anyone they like, under the terms of the horribly oxymoronic “U.S. Patriot Act,” simply by labeling them an “enemy combatant.” Do you approve of that? It sounds to me like you do.

Note to David Brooks: That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore

The bottom line is that most people I have known who are paleos are anti-Semitic, they even admit it quite forthrightly and proudly.

Why don’t you guys have the courage to write why you are stuck with the anti-Semitic ring around the neck as opposed to being called anti-Australians?

When paleos like Joe Sobran write articles like this, what else are we to conclude?


Matt Barganier replies:

I‘m going to respond to your snide comment in a civil tone, though, judging by your weblog, I expect no such courtesy in return.

To begin, how many paleocons do you know? I know very few, none of whom confess to anti-Semitism “forthrightly and proudly,” or even quietly and tacitly.

At any rate, paleocons are only a sliver of the folks who are concerned about neoconservatism. There are libertarians, liberals, leftists, and plain old non-prefixed conservatives who have written about the history of neoconservatism, its aims, and its influence. Some of its biggest critics are, in fact, Jewish. There is nothing anti-Semitic about noticing or critiquing a movement that certainly does exist (just ask Irving Kristol).

As Brooks’s essay made clear, the anti-Semite tag is used to squelch debate, to marginalize legitimate criticisms of neoconservatism or Bush policy generally. You can continue to support the president and his policies all you want – I wouldn’t think of even trying to persuade you otherwise – but if you are an honest and decent person, you should protest the tactics of Brooks, Frum, Limbaugh, et al.

I just read your vicious, hate-filled attack on David Brooks of the New York Times. There are I suppose some people who are worthy of a no holds barred barrage of insults, specifically those who are motivated by personal hatred of others. But David Brooks is not that kind of person, and your assault on him was wholly unwarranted. …

Upon reading Mr. Brooks’ piece last week I sent a letter explaining my dismay with the content. Having been an active critic of Israel, and in particular its nuclear weapons program, and a critic of the neocons, I wanted to convey to Mr. Brooks how inappropriate I believed it was to try to stifle debate on such an important subject matter.

That said, I did not believe the entire column was without merit. Mr. Brooks did articulate one very essential truth – that some are all too quick to lump their political adversaries together, thereby denying each person their own individual humanity. I find no greater affirmation of that insight than your attack on Mr. Brooks today.

Throughout your column today, you kept mentioning the names of David Frum and others to buttress your case against Mr. Brooks. Well, Mr. Brooks is not Mr. Frum. And perhaps if you were more willing to distinguish individuals from groups, let alone humility from hubris, the vast differences between these two men would be more clear to you. But because they are or have been considered to be in the same political clique, you used Mr. Frum’s words and behaviors as a basis for your attack on Mr. Brooks. And that just goes to show that despite its major flaws, Mr. Brooks’ column from last week was not without insight.

What is equally disturbing about your column is your hostile reaction to Mr. Brooks’ apology. I had no idea Mr. Brooks made such comments until I read the links you provided. Here is a man willing to rethink and reconsider his published statements. It goes without saying that such things are rare in our political discourse, so why on earth would your knee-jerk reaction amount to a written flipping of the bird?

I don’t want to get preachy on you, Mr. Barganier. I’ve already pissed off enough people when attempting to draw boundaries on unwarranted anger and aggression, and I have no reason to expect any different from you. But as one twenty-something to another twenty-something, I have to ask you what kind of world you are aiming for? Do you want to contribute to a political environment that is so polarized that most people have to decide which camp they belong to, as opposed to always learning more and always expanding their perspectives? …

And calling someone a mental microbe goes way beyond mean-spirited.

Ironically, the only time you seemed to identify with Mr. Brooks was when it came to writer’s block. If writer’s block is an ailment you suffer from, I would suggest doing what Mr. Brooks does – go outside and observe other people, not just the political adversaries you may have become obsessed with. Like Mr. Brooks has demonstrated throughout his career, when you do that, there is an awful lot to write about. …

~ Timothy Rieger, Miami, Florida

Matt Barganier replies:

David Brooks called me and legions of others “anti-Semites.” That’s the most poisonous term in American politics. He only backed down (in a form letter to critics – not the pages of NYT) when people called him on it.

I think “mental microbe” was pretty mild.

Crumbling Case For War

In Alan Bock’s article, I just wanted to ask him what manifest talents John Fund has….

~ Bill Hawley

Alan Bock replies:

Hey, he’s a good writer and sometimes a good analyst, especially of situations in which he doesn’t obviously have a horse in the race. He sometimes uses his writing to advance liberty-oriented causes. It’s just too bad he’s such a … a … Republican!

Why can’t you use the word LIARS?

~ Bill P. Ondrovich

Alan Bock replies:

Gosh, I was trying to be polite and to stick with facts that are unimpeachable. If you prefer “liars” feel free.


“…the second as a (delightful) farce.”

Not, unfortunately, to the families of nearly 600 Americans, Britons, and other members of the coalition, and the families of some untold number of thousands or tens of thousands of Iraqis whose lives have been snuffed out by this “farce,” not to mention the thousands or tens of thousands more permanently injured. Not to mention the millions of now-unemployed Iraqis, and the countless Americans suffering from cutbacks in services needed to pay for this war.

“Farce”? No, this is a tragedy of the first order.

~ Eli Stephens, Left I on the News

Justin Raimondo replies:

Uh, I was referring to the Plame affair, not the war, as a delightful farce.

I‘m a big fan of JR, but Justin, who often combines the acidic wit of Mencken with the subtlety of a .357 Magnum, is a bit optimistic that ANYTHING can dislodge Bush from the West Wing.

In “War-Gate,” Justin wrote: “In the run-up to war the sheer volume of lies produced by this administration was meant to overwhelm Congress, the media, and the people with its inventiveness” Unfortunately for these same people, lies usually HELP a president get elected or reelected. The Gulf of Tonkin resolution (“30-Year Anniversary: Tonkin Gulf Lie Launched Vietnam War“) was a huge lie but it didn’t hurt LBJ get reelected. Nixon lied when he campaigned in 1968 on the platform of ending the war in Vietnam. By 1972 the war was STILL going strong and “Tricky Dick” got reelected. … In fact I predict Bush will get reelected. on a LANDSLIDE of lies.

Justin Raimondo knows his Mencken, and H. L. Mencken, the Bad Boy from Baltimore was, like Justin, a newspaperman renowned for his tough, rather cynical style and wit. Mencken invented the word, Booboisie, for just the sort of people who watch FOX, listen to Limbaugh or Savage, and vote for the Liar despite ample evidence of the lies. Perhaps we should heed Mencken here: “I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious. I believe that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty.” Justin, my man, if only the light that shined on the lies could illuminate the minds of men. Alas, we too often get the leaders we deserve.

~ Douglas Herman, Kodiak Island, Alaska

Move On, Already: Bush as Hitler Falls Flat

So what’s up with this article? Are you actually denying that Bush is like Hitler? Well then, you can’t see the forest for the trees. Sure, he isn’t as extreme, but neither was Hitler in the beginning. Besides, even if Bush never gets that bad, he suffers from exactly the same problem as Hitler did – no absolutes (his protestations of Christianity notwithstanding). Without God and His word, this world rapidly becomes a world of Hitlers, each one seeking to be his own god and destroying all others who oppose. Mr. Bush is using the same tactics as Hitler did, and that makes him dangerous, especially since the American public (boobus Americanus) will buy anything from the state. Too bad you wrote this little silliness – who are you trying to impress?

~ Michael Paul Tuuri, Livermore, California

Anthony Gancarski replies:

Yes, I am denying that Bush is like Hitler. Does this mean I retract the many criticisms of him I’ve made over the last couple of years? No. What it means is that the case that Bush is equivalent to Hitler would have to come with a much higher body count attached, systemic genocide /liquidation measures (see Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot), a self-serving autobiography along the lines of Mein Kampf, and so on.

What purpose does it serve to invoke Hitler’s name? We are discussing, last I checked, politics – the art of persuasion and kayfabe. Even with the justification that ‘Hitler started out as a moderate too, so Bush could become just as bad’ (The Threat Is Imminent!), I’ve seen the name Gancarski on a few Holocaust death rolls. Last I checked, W wasn’t shoving my extended family into ovens. Sure, my phone is tapped, my email is read, and suspicious things happen to me every once in a while, but such measures resemble “soft” totalitarianism more so than a prelude to deracination.

MoveOn.Org countenancing these claims for even a New York second suggests a few things. One is that they are comfortable with all manner of misrepresentation to get an idea over. Another is that they are willing to allow ‘extremists’ inside their quasi-mainstream (tailored to the’ Crate and Barrel liberal’ crowd) structure to play bad cop to the official good cop of their organization. Yet another is that Soros supporting such an enterprise raises questions about his credibility, creating the perception that perhaps he has a vested interest in the undermining of the US. Such issues are not the kind of thing I’m willing to gloss over. I can see alternatives on the horizon that would make the Bush era look like an Eisenhowerian oasis, and therefore am not interested in seeing the case for a noninterventionist foreign policy wrapped up with such odious gestures as likening the current President to Hitler. You ask who I’m trying to impress, Mr. Tuuri. No one at all. I’m just doing what should have been done by the Soros minions in the first place, and suggesting that the very best way to argue the case against Full-Spectrum Dominance may not be to liken the current President to Hitler.

One more cavil: your diagnosis of Bush suffering from the same “problem” as Hitler likely doesn’t meet the muster of DSM-IV. Hitler scrapped and clawed his way to the top in uncertain times, driven by a desire to be the lead gangster in Germany. W? A legacy in American politics (third-generation) without peer. You might as well compare Richard Nixon to Stalin, because both leaders presided over aggressive wars. Finis.

Come on, Anthony. While I understand railing against Lindoff for his praise of the two ads in question, it’s not fair to bring down MoveOn.Org. MoveOn made it clear on their web site that they did not support those ads:

“None of these was our ad, nor did their appearance constitute endorsement or sponsorship by Voter Fund. They will not appear on TV. We do not support the sentiment expressed in the two Hitler submissions. They were voted down by our members and the public, who reviewed the ads…”

MoveOn sponsored a very democratic process in allowing people to submit ads and having their members view them and vote on them, and the people spoke. The ads were voted down.

Yes, those two ads went too far but with over 1,500 ads submitted it’s hardly surprising that a couple of them did. What’s truly embarrassing is the hyperbolic way the RNC is holding these two ads up as being exemplary of those submitted. They were not, and you would have done well to note that.

Incidentally, I viewed and voted on a few dozen of the ads myself. Content-wise, I thought many were way off the mark though some were right on target. I was surprised that most were as well-produced as they were.

~ Greg Garno, Falls Church, Virginia

Anthony Gancarski replies:

Come on, Greg. It’s the height of cynicism to float the Hitler meme – a waste of Soros money, in my opinion – and then disavow it. Reminds me of a debate I had with a certain M. Ledeen at National Review who would write, time and again, “Tokyo Rose” styled screeds about the murderous mullahs of Tehran but when challenged, he’d say he sought a “peaceful regime change.” If MoveOn.Org’s staff can’t control what’s in the “amateur” agitprop it pimps, they expose an ignorance of the business of politics that will serve them and their backers poorly in the upcoming months.

“They put words in people’s mouths which were never said.”

Believe it or not, there is a reference for the Bush quote about striking al Qaeda and Saddam for God – see “George W. Bush’s Theological Diplomacy.”

The Israeli newspaper, Haaretz (26 June 2003), reports that Bush told Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas that, “God told me to strike Al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did.”

~ David Keyser

…” Voter Fund is a so-called section 527 political organization, and is prohibited from expressly advocating for the election or removal of specific candidates for federal elections” so Gancarski’s statement about “Dean, Kucinich, or whichever scrub the website ends up endorsing” could not occur, since no endorsement is allowed. …

~ Jeffrey Sainio

I was looking on your site, but I couldn’t seem to find it – maybe I just passed over it and maybe it’s just not there, but, hah, I will ask anyway.

Do you know what the civilian death toll in Iraq currently is?

If you could help me out with this, it would be most appreciated.

~ Mike C.

Eric Garris replies:

We have their counter on our casualty page, but here is a direct link to the best source for Iraqi civilians killed:

Support the President’s Decisions

I hate you people. You are why we lost Vietnam – how can you say you support the troops but not the President’s decisions? The boys over in Iraq and Afghanistan support the President and they are the ones who have to die over there. It makes me sick to see that people of this great nation feel that they need to rebel against the government that has given them so many liberties. You have no concept of sacrifice, duty, patriotism, and honor.

~ James Wicker

Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About the Neocons

As always a great article – keep fighting Justin!

Bush will never support the neocon agenda regarding China as long as the Chinese continue to buy billions of our dollars to bail out the bad loans made by their regional banks. As long as they continue to do this, interest rates will stay down and President Bush’s deficit spending can continue unabated. The War Party will never let simple ideology jeopardize this arrangement. Of course, as the dollar continues to sink against the Euro, and Gold and Oil continue to rise – it wont be long before the Fed must raise interest rates with a consequent meltdown in the stock and real estate markets. This pot is ready to boil over with unknown consequences. As always, the truth is found when you follow the money and empire ends in bankruptcy and ruin.

~ Barry Warburton

Could this be Raimondo’s masterpiece? His finest hour? Truly righteous stuff, from beginning to end! Reading Raimondo, I think of Keats:

“Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific – and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise –
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.”

Glorious work. Well done.

~ Tim Shore

If It Feels Good Do It

The SWP (The Socialist Workers Party) is not, as you have written, a major bastion of the Euro left, nor of the British left. It just likes to think it is. It is just fairly expert at taking advantage of whatever political manifestation is the flavour of the moment, and at sometimes getting its foot under the door and involved at an organisational level in such a movement (though it doesn’t always like doing some of the leg work, preferring a more vanguardist role). Thus, hoping to raise its profile and recruit further members while telling us what we should think on a particular issue, what the current party line is: whatever piece of cod Marxism they are currently hawking – and with the war, it’s ‘Oil, Oil, Oil’ unspliced with any ounce of thought. The rest of us have to waste time and energy keeping an eye on them and what they are up – they can be rather parasitic.

They’re very easy to spot – even when not trying to flog you their paper at some unearthly hour of the morning while waiting to get on a coach to a demo – as their tactics almost invariably involve trade unionists and getting them to strike, and ‘building the movement’. They seem to be currently enamored of George Galloway tediously promoting this rather vain man around the country. Last summer, I watched one of his ‘polished’ performances and their leading of the clapping and the standing ovation: a poor piece of theatre much lacking in content, but brimful of ego. And that’s enough from this catty British lefty.

~ Simon Vinyl

George W. Bush, Pod Person

In reference to the Bush administration jumping anyone’s ass when information is leaked to the public there is only one thing to say: Classified for whom?

If all information is made available when requested by the public – as it should be in any democratic system – the administration won’t have to chase after its own like a mad cow. If classified is for national security purposes that is understood, but if classified means concealing truth from the public (which is the case here), then this administration must be on its way out today before tomorrow. Bush is a puppet president “an emperor child” picked up by heads of neo-con theorists to deploy flawed policies home and abroad. It is a total embarrassment to our great country.

~ Armour Seamill, Chicago, Illinois

Message from the Middle East

I‘m stationed in the Middle East and I was reading your web page, interesting stuff. I’d like to bend your ear a bit, if you have time?

I hear people on the right and folks on the left disagree on the war issues. I think the “issues” are an endless debate around in circles. I suggest all of us not look at the issues as “wrong or right” because it’s like a Johnny Cochran court case, you can make ANY side LOOK correct. It’s pointless. I say forget the issues and all of us UNITE around the MONEY. Money can bring everyone together. The issues just polarize us into a gridlock. The funny thing is, people will disagree on an issue, but when you take the same issue and talk about the COST, they AGREE! It’s bloody magic!

I say ban all talk of issues and instead strictly zero in on the money pouring out of Washington like a sieve. The Left and the Right are equally guilty of plundering our national piggy bank. I suggest we stop judging issues, instead put them on a “sliding scale of priority.” None of them are WRONG. That’s a BAD word. …

Sending a 280 million dollar golf cart to Mars is by no means “wrong” “foolish” or “wasteful” It’s just not a priority that rates a 850 million dollar project. Invading Iraq for 87 billion is not “wrong,” Iraq needs to be fixed, it’s just possibly not at the right priority level. I guarantee you if we STOMP out the “issues” and start following the money, we can come together and “win the war on money.” By forgetting about the money and arguing (for-or-against) the war it divides us within and we all go nowhere. You can argue about Iraq forever, but you can’t argue about fiscal responsibility. I recently downloaded the entire US budget for last year, it’s a 34 meg .pdf file. It’s listed by departments and how much they get. It unfortunately does not list the large percentage of PORK dollars, you can get that at I suggest the Office of Management and Budget include the PORK in the official document, and they list every line item by PRIORITY from top-to-bottom. Right now all the Departments are listed in ALPHABETICAL order with no priorities. This seems to exactly reflect our fiscal policies! No priorities. Meanwhile we’re all arguing about Iraq as the money pours out the back door.

~ Sgt. C

Paul O’Neill: a Choice of Loyalties

I am surprised that anyone is surprised to hear Mr. Paul O’Neill state that the Bush Administration was planning to go into Iraq from start. The Program for a New American Century has made no secret of its desire to go to war in Iraq (and many other places with strategic resources) and it is no coincidence that the movers and shakers of the PNAC are at the center of Bush’s Administration (and those that got him the job): Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, James Woolsey, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Bill Kristol, James Bolton, Zalmay M. Khalilzad, William Bennett, Jeb Bush. So why is anyone surprised that Bush was planning to invade Iraq from the start? At the time of the 2000 election fiasco I was sending dozens of notes through Internet chat rooms to military folks who were supporting Bush with a strong voice. These fine military men and women believed that George W. Bush was going to “support them.” I told them that they were mistaken. Bush would use them, yes, but they were likely to see their benefits and pay cut, as the cost of Bush’s wars got out of control. I told them that before Bush’s second year was up, they would be fighting in Iraq. So, my timing was off a little, but I don’t even have access to the intelligence community or the people making the decisions and I could see the Iraq fiasco coming back in November of 2000. But no-one listens to common sense anymore.

Look into the PNAC and see how their strategy for global domination (military, economic, and cultural) include more wars on the horizon. The plan even includes domination of space, so it is no coincidence that Bush wants to go back to the moon. This is no secret conspiracy, this is official U.S. doctrine under the Bush administration – get a copy of the published document “National Security Strategy of the United States of America.”
Or go to the PNAC website and look at their letter to President Clinton encouraging the attack of Iraq:

The National Security Strategy developed by these PNAC members in power includes: attacking possible future competitors first, assuming regional hegemony by force of arms, controlling energy resources around the globe, and maintaining a permanent-war strategy. Scary stuff.
Paul O’Neill had to choose between loyalty to a president with dangerous plans and loyalty to America. He chose correctly.

~ Linda Wilson (Moderate Republican), Sitka, Alaska

Casualties in Iraq

I am the editor of my high school’s yearbook this year, my senior year, I am proud to say. For the third publication in a row, two pages are dedicated to highlight the news of the past year. The intention is to remind students when they look back in a few decades what happened, and what was on our minds. Needless to say, Bush’s recent gung-ho endeavor will be mentioned. When I was googling recently, I came across your casualty counter and was frankly astonished at how many deaths have occurred since he declared the war over in May. When the last few remaining pages are sent out in the February to be published, the current death toll as researched by will be featured. Indeed, respects must be paid. And hopefully this monumental total will make my pro-war classmates at least think the next time they shoot their mouths off about the glory of battle, if not change their opinions.

~ Jaclyn W.

Iraq’s WMD

This question has never been asked to my knowledge, of any of the supporters of the invasion of Iraq, and so not answered:

IF Iraq did have WMD as Colin Powell stated at the UN, why on earth did Saddam Hussein not use them against the coalition forces?

To me, it seems such a simple and obvious question, but has been totally ignored or talked around. (But then that’s what politicians do best).

~ A. Hughes, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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