Sunday, January 16, 2011

Kelly doesn't really rise to the occasion

Today Kelly is somewhat complimentary to President Obama. But he also gives us numerous examples of Democrats who tried to pin Loughner to right wing lines. The funny thing, for me, is that Kelly closed with "In the debates to come, let us focus more on the policies and the facts supporting them, and indulge less in name-calling and finger-pointing.". Fair enough, except that Kelly just spent a entire column pointing fingers.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The talkfest ...

Over on Two Political Junkies Maria posted rather angrily about Gabrielle Giffords. I don't blame her, and I am not happy that conservatives and Tea Party types have spent the last 24 months making relatively frequent veiled violent threats. What I found somewhat appalling is that the first and several more comments suggested Loughner is/was connected to the left. In other words, liberal complaints about the right's violent rhetoric are totally unjustified, and the right's claims that the left is plotting the overthrow of t he government are vindicated by Loughner. It has turned into a heated comment fest, 26 at last look.

Similarly, but in a more subtle way, the New York Times columnists have joined the national debate. Paul Krugman, not surprisingly, blames the culture of anger (indistinctly) cultivated by conservatives aand Tap Party types. To his credit, he does not specifically say the shooter was a Republican or Tea Party type, somewhat less to his credit he singles out Bill O'Reilly an Glenn Beck as two of the figures responsible for the "Climate of Hate" we are experiencing. I say somewhat less because while I personally don't like either man, there is a large group on the right involved in reckless rhetoric.

By contrast, Ross Douthat concentrated on the nuttiness of the Tucson shooter. He brings up the Communist connections of Lee Harvey Oswald, and the nuttiness of other assassins. He also noes the accusations of the left (he could almost be talking about Krugman's column). While I agree thee Loughner certainly looks like a classic nut, his apparent anti-government rantings certainly seem more at home on the right. And then there is Republican opposition to gun control.

Which brings Gail Collins. who makes what I feel are the most sensible points. Collins is appalled (as am I) that Loughner could purchase a (concealable) handgun capable of firing 30 bullets without reload. Collins notes the Giffords herself is opposed to gun control, But Collins also notes that Giffords is practical Democrat who likes to find compromises that allow legislation to go forward. So maybe Giffords would have supported a limited gun control, one where maybe the next nut might only shoot six people, instead of eighteen. Which is to say that Collins tries to find solutions that might reduce the level of violence, instead of pinning or denying blame. Which no one besides myself will praise her for.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Kelly today, and other matters

Howdy all, Sorry I missed last week's Kelly. I had a bit of surgery done, and now I am home recuperating.

But I couldn't ignore Jack Kelly's column today. In fact, if it were up to me, I would not have chosen to publish that column today, in light of the events in Tucson yesterday.

I am not going to go into great detail about the column, I think the obvious is enough without detail. If Kelly was right that there are the two kinds of Muslims, wouldn't we see civil wars across the Middle East? Yes, Pakistan has something of a civil war going on, and it is caused by the Taliban moving over from Afghanistan.

There is unrest in the Middle East, caused by occupations, poverty, repressive governments, etc. There is also anger at the way the US has behaved in Muslim countries. And some of that anger has made it to the our shores. Still, let's think about this. Eric Holder says that 50 of the 125 arrested in the last two years are American citizens. That's with the current administration still using Bush era wire-tapping and surveillance techniques. Given how much damage twenty terrorists did on 9/11, 50 citizens is nothing to sneeze at. But given how hard the government is working on this, should we suspect their might be hundreds or thousands more out there? Do we want McCarthy-like witch hunts, with persecution of Muslims throughout the US?

I think the answer is obvious.