?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

More on Hastert and Soros

Follow-up on my previous post: http://www.livejournal.com/users/kmo/165683.html#cutid1

saint_monkey kindly provided links to a letter George Soros sent to House Speaker Dennis Hastert demanding an apology for Hastert's accusations that George Soros receives money from drug cartels as well as to Hastert's reply.

Soros demands retraction: http://speaker.house.gov/library/misc/040902soros.pdf

Hastert refuses: http://speaker.house.gov/library/misc/040902soros.shtml

In his response to Soros, Hastert wrote:
Illegal drug use and drug violence already kills thousands of young people on our streets each month in America. Yet you (George Soros) have funded organizations such as The Drug Policy Foundation, The Open Society, The Lendesmith Center, the Andean Council of Coca Leaf Producers, and several ballot initiatives across the country to decriminalize illegal drug use. Promoting drug use, in my view, will lead to more lives lost and more tragedy for our children. I think this approach is simply wrong.

These were the drug groups that I referred to in my comments on the Fox News Sunday program. Chris Wallace said, "drug cartels." I did not.


Say what? Hastert seems to understand that Soros gives money to these groups, so how could Hastert possibly have meant that these are the "drug groups" which might be providing funding to Soros?

Okay, so perhaps Hastert just said something stupid (who hasn't?) but he didn't really mean to slander Soros by implying that he's affiliated with drug cartels. You think? Check out this excerpt from a Slate.com article, Dennis Hastert, Liar or Fool? The speaker's unseemly habit of slandering George Soros, By Jack Shafer:
If you buy Hastert's line that he's being misinterpreted, I invite you to listen to the last two-and-a-half minutes of Hastert's Aug. 23 appearance on WNYC-FM's The Brian Lehrer Show. In it, he slanders Soros on the same subject, only more explicitly. Click here for the interview excerpt, or read the transcription below:
Brian Lehrer: What do you think of the Swift Boat veterans ads, and John Kerry's calls for the president to denounce them?

Dennis Hastert: Well, you find out that if you look into the record, I was against the Campaign Finance Reform Act because that's what I felt that would happen, that you would push into guys like George Soros, who's dumping in $16 or $20 million. We don't know where that money comes from. We don't know where it comes from, from the left, and you don't know where it comes in the right. You know, Soros' money, some of that is coming from overseas. It could be drug money. We don't know where it comes from.


(Emphasis added.)

Let's review Hastert's comments: 1) We don't know where Soros' money comes from. 2) Sorry, we do know where some of it comes from! Some comes from overseas. 3) It could be drug money. 4) Sorry, again. We don't know where it comes from.

Hastert may sound like a confused, gibbering fool who blurted out something he'd like to take back. But an experienced politician such as Hastert doesn't say something this stupid and outrageous twice by accident.


In terms of their policies, nothing meaningful differentiates the Democratic and Republican parties for me, but tactics like Hastert's, which seem pretty much by-the-book in terms of the Republican modus operandi of promoting stupidity and sabotaging any semblance of honesty and rationality in public discourse have got me hoping that Kerry unseats Bush this November. I still wouldn't vote for Kerry, but at this point the Democratic party easily assumes the "lesser of two evils" mantle.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
quietlion
Sep. 6th, 2004 08:26 am (UTC)
I've never before voted against (rather than for) a candidate. But the current administration has so offended me that I will this time.

QL
kmo
Sep. 6th, 2004 11:10 am (UTC)
I've never before voted against (rather than for) a candidate.
I'm still voting for the kind of government I want (which is to say, "Very little, thank you. No, less than that. Just a skosh."), but Lara is jumping ship and voting for Kerry/against Bush. I don't fault her or anyone for doing so.
tragemorph
Sep. 6th, 2004 05:14 pm (UTC)
response part 1
An interesting couple of posts.

To me, a lot of what this issue boils down to relates back to F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous quote:

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."

How this applies to this issue is, of course, whether you can at least understand the argument as to why international drug cartels and all those who find that gross violence is a sound part of their economic policy in participating in the illegal drug trade, would absolutely hate to see the legalization of drugs.

It seems that some look at it as, drug cartels = evil, drug violence = evil, drug legalization = evil, therefore they can't see why those evil people wouldn't support what they see as an evil idea, or an idea which they might see on the surface as allowing them to perpetuate their evil.

It comes down to being able to understand ramifications such as, for example, one of the reasons why illegal drugs are so lucrative for crime syndicates is that when they deal in cigarettes, if they hijack or destroy a shipment of a competitor's, their competitor can go to the authorities and have them track down that theft of their drugs, whereas if they do the same for a shipment of marijuana or cocaine, their competitor does not have that option of going to the authorities.

Because, of course, this kind of understanding requires putting aside the notions of good and evil at least for the time it takes to actually process the information in the proper way.

To me, this is one of those sorts of logical litmus tests which pops up from time to time, and when I think about this one it reminds me of its relatively new sibling on the block, which relates to terrorism.

And that is the argument that, put simply, George Bush's "crusade" is the best recruiting advertisement that Osama could have ever dreamed of. Now, I don't necessarily judge people negatively if they don't agree with that view- what concerns me, however, is that I think that- similar to the issue of drug lords being against legalization- a lot of people can not, or at least have not, understood that argument.

Personally, it seems so obvious to me- and I don't see why it shouldn't be clear as day to anyone else. But then, I realize that not everyone else in the world has read the Illuminatus! Trilogy and the part about the Tar Baby principle. These two issues, drugs and terrorism, are about the two most perfect examples of the Tar Baby principle I can think of. And I really wish that most of the rest of the country could have the chance to understand how this makes me quite distraught with the "war" our government is fighting on each.

Of course, it's easy to take things as far as the point where you can see what most people don't but should understand and see what you do. But I don't think it ends there by any means.

kmo
Sep. 7th, 2004 07:33 am (UTC)
Tar Baby Principle: "You are attached to what you attack."
Folks interested in a longer discussion of the Tar Baby Principle can find it here:

http://www.livejournal.com/community/debate/1802015.html?
kmo
Sep. 7th, 2004 07:40 am (UTC)
Re: response part 1
Of course, it's easy to take things as far as the point where you can see what most people don't but should understand and see what you do. But I don't think it ends there by any means.

Nice wrap-up of part 1. It certainly had me currious about part two.
tragemorph
Sep. 6th, 2004 05:15 pm (UTC)
response part 2
We all know how divided this country is politically right now, and really I think it's a shame, because I think that at least a third of that division is held in place by pure Tar Baby karma. Leaving aside the absurdly cocksure Bush and "what's his position on that again?" Kerry, I think a lot of people in this country agree with each other a lot more than they might think they do. I think the main thing holding the division in place is how obnoxious and self-righteous each continues to see the other side as being. To paraphrase Nietzsche, sometimes one remains resolute for a cause only because of how much the other side keeps acting like a bunch of total dickheads.

And so it goes. It used to be as I'd listen to talk about politics on the radio, TV, or idle discussions and debate, I'd cringe whenever I heard some right-winger spew some jingoistic, xenophobic, logic -impaired nonsense. These days, though, I find I cringe a lot more when I hear someone bashing Bush in a way that betrays a lot of ignorance about the facts and issues at hand mixed with a near toxic dose of self-righteousness. It annoys me more because I'm hearing them say things that are fundamentally based in something I passionately agree with, yet spoken in a way that lends far too much credibility to neoconservative types who claim that they and those like them are foolish and, out of touch, and frankly it embarasses the shit out of me.

As for actually voting for Bush, Kerry, or none-of-the-above, I can't blame you for not voting for Kerry. Although he may somehow turn things around and convince me otherwise, in the past week I've decided that instead of voting for Kerry I'm just going to vote for myself. I really don't support what any of them are doing or saying.

However, this choice is, without a doubt, influenced by the fact that I live in California, which is a solid blue state. In 2000, after flirting with the idea of voting for a third party candidate and finally voting for Gore, my vote was one of the 500,000+ more votes that were undisputedly cast for Gore than Bush, but had diddly-squat effect on the actual election since Gore carried California by such a huge margin.

If I were in a battleground state, however, a group to which Arkansas belongs, I think I'd feel a bit differently. I think if I lived in a battleground state, I'd probably talk a lot of shit through November about how Kerry is just more big government, how he's Bush Lite and all the rest, but when I was there in the polling booth, I'd vote my conscience knowing that the effect my vote had on the battle between the two front-runners was tangible and real.

What do you think about the reality of being a voter whose true vision is miles away from either of the two candidates, yet realizing now more than ever that there is an undeniable difference between the two, and living in a "grey state" and thus being one of the few in this nation whose choice will thus actually affect the final balance in this election?
kmo
Sep. 7th, 2004 08:05 am (UTC)
tar baby karma: an anecdote
I think the main thing holding the division in place is how obnoxious and self-righteous each continues to see the other side as being.

Yesterday I was having lunch at the local Chinese buffet with my wife and my oldest friend. We consciously chose to got to lunch in the 11 o'clock our because the Berryville Labor Day parade started at 11 o'clock. We got there around half past, and the strategy worked like a charm. The place was empty, and the waitress, who had been asking me on a daily basis (the cell phone store where I work is in the same building as the resturant) when she was going to get to see our new baby, had plenty of time to fuss over Callum and commiserate with Lara on baby topics.

Then at noon, a sea of locals rolled into the place in the aftermath of the parade. From the next booth, I heard someone saying, "I can't abide Democrats. Every single one of 'em supports abortion and homosexuals. Every single thing they stand for is exactly opposite to the word of God." (And pretty much those words exactly -- not just words to that effect.)

Lara and I made eye contact, and she got up and took Callum out to the car to nurse. I got up to go pay the bill, and I got a good look at the speaker. He was a very large man, with thick arms covered in curly hair that sprouted all the way up onto his shoulders. I could see his shoulders because he was wearing a button-up denim shirt with the sleeves cut off. He had a chain tattooed around his right upper arm. A tatoo of a cross was breaking a link in the chain. He wore jeans so filthy that I think his fellow diners could have raised a very legitimate complaint about his bringing them into a resturant. He had long, thin, Gollum-esque hair hanging down out from under a maroon baseball cap that looked nearly as dirty as his jeans.

As I looked at him I recalled seeing John McCain on the daily show at the end of the Republican convention. He talked with Jon Stewart about a speech he had given in which he tried to throw a thimble-full of water onto the confligration carefully cultivated by the GOP strategic elite. He reminded his fellow Republicans that the Democrats were their opponents but not their enemies, and warned of the dangers of demonizing their fellow Americans to the extent that folks like Dennis Hastert, Dick Cheney, and Zell Miller have taken to doing as a matter of course.

I imagined that little thimble-full of water landing on this man and intantly boiling away in a tiny hiss of steam.

As for your closing question, I'll let it simmer for a bit and get back to you on it.
kmo
Sep. 7th, 2004 08:57 am (UTC)
long division
We all know how divided this country is politically right now, and really I think it's a shame, because I think that at least a third of that division is held in place by pure Tar Baby karma.

Thinking about the division you mention and about my encounter with the man in the Chinese resturant, I take the position that the division has very little to do with politics outside of the Republican Party's great success at reframing the growing cultural divide in political terms and casting the Democratic party as the avatar for everything that the "Red State" cultural mindset finds repugnant and frightening about "Blue State" coastal culture.

I cringe a lot more when I hear someone bashing Bush in a way that betrays a lot of ignorance about the facts and issues at hand mixed with a near toxic dose of self-righteousness. It annoys me more because I'm hearing them say things that are fundamentally based in something I passionately agree with, yet spoken in a way that lends far too much credibility to neoconservative types who claim that they and those like them are foolish and, out of touch, and frankly it embarasses the shit out of me.

Yes. I too cringe harder at the high-minded but fact-imapaired tirades from the supposed moral high-ground of the PC academic left than I do at the sort of talk I heard coming from the man at the next booth in the resturant. I attribute this to some lingering sense of identity with the academic left. I feel no sense of identity with the Jesus-invoking cultural reactionary (JICR), so I feel no sense of embarrasment when I hear them recite their lines (unless of course I'm out of the country and hearing them via some foriegn news service's co
kmo
Sep. 7th, 2004 08:59 am (UTC)
continued
I feel no sense of identity with the Jesus-invoking cultural reactionary (JICR), so I feel no sense of embarrasment when I hear them recite their lines (unless of course I'm out of the country and hearing them via some foriegn news service's coverage of the American political scene, in which case I cringe at the thought of someone making judgments about me as an Amercian based on the utterances of JICRs).
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

August 2017
S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Ideacodes