BSG 3.08

Eric’s comments on "Hero" are now available through his Battlestar Galactica Fanboy Page.


BSG 3.07

Eric’s comments on "A Measure of Salvation" are now available through his Battlestar Galactica Fanboy Page.


Let This Acceptance Take

I find very little grace in political results.  I’m one of those teacher’s-pet liberals who not only hopes others vote in accord with my political views but asks that they do so for the right reasons.  In recent weeks, had I encountered a voter who said, "I normally vote Republican, but this whole Foley scandal has turned me off," I would have replied, "Mark Foley supported enormous tax cuts to the wealthiest fraction of society while government spending expanded beyond that of the Reagan Administration.  He unreservedly embraced the invasion of Iraq and every infringement of civil liberties Bush asked for.  He did his level best to increase the government’s role as cultural nanny and enforcer of social mores as construed by his narrow-minded constituency.  If your only objection to Foley was that he got caught sending racy messages to teenagers, then—please—go vote for Republicans with the other cowards."

I grant that it’s something of a relief to see evidence that, despite gerrymanders and Diebold, Rove’s "permanent majority" hasn’t yet been locked in.  And watching Bush contradict himself and accept Rumsfeld’s resignation was fun.  But looking over the "Blue Wave," I just want to shout, "Where the fuck were you people in 2004?"  More to the point, what do we know now that we didn’t know two years ago?  Nothing, of course.  And now we have Roberts and Alito on the bench, the Military Commissions Act suspended habeus corpus, and thousands more Americans and Iraqis have been maimed and killed.  So pardon me if I’m not very gracious.

Please remember Veterans Day. In Flanders Fields


No Exit

I used to despise exit polls because I felt there was no good use for the information and plenty of poor uses.  For myself, only the final result mattered, so why should I care who some network talking head projected to be the winner?  More vituperously, no model of voting behavior I could construct allowed for influence by exit poll reports, yet allegedly millions of people are so influenced.  I was never so jaundiced as to advocate that we follow the example of France and some other democracies by banning the publication of exit poll results before the polls closed, but I just shook my head at the waste of energy and money for which I had no use.

In recent years, however, I have acquired a new reason to dread reports of exit poll data.  In cases of election fraud, there are varying levels of evidence, from tainted or lost ballots to unaccountable electronic tallies.  It is impossible to conceive, however, of a serious challenge to an electoral result without widespread and rigorous exit poll data indicating that a plurality of voters voted for another candidate.  The result of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio featured just such data, contributing to a poisonous unease that I cannot foresee ever lifting.  We can fight for more accountable elections, but even if Diebold and similar systems are categorically rejected, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch live election returns again without an icy trickle of bile in my gut.


In his column at Slate, Christopher Hitchens takes on the unpleasant task of trying to distinguish the principles behind his support of the invasion of Iraq, now that the role of "little gargoyle" and Hitchens-nemesis Henry Kissinger in forming Bush’s Iraq policy has been revealed.  In so doing, Hitchens takes Kissinger (and his fellow-travelers in the "realist" camp of Iraq war skeptics) for being overly concerned with avoiding "instability."

The "instability" resulting from the invasion of Iraq that most worried me (and, I imagine, many others excluding, tragically, Hitchens) was not that of Iraqi governmental institutions, or even any of the local players in the Middle East, but rather that of the Bush Administration. All of the purported concerns that the Bushies allegedly had that necessitated regime change—WMD, pursuing al-Qaeda, fostering democracy—have been given systematic short shrift by Bush’s actual policies.

  • Russian and Pakistani nuclear weapons remain unsecured due to willful neglect by the Bush Administration, both before and after 9/11.
  • Osama Bin Laden was permitted to escape and the Taliban has reconsolidated control over southern Afghanistan.
  • Safeguarding the Iraqi infrastructure and giving the Iraqi professional class reason to hope that strident political participation would not result in kidnapping and assassination have taken a back seat to force-protection and corporate graft in the Green Zone.

The best reason for opposing the Bush-led invasion of Iraq has always been that Bush clearly never believed in any of his stated war aims or principles, and that he valued the invasion and occupation solely to the degree that they created circumstances of domestic political advantage for (loyal) Republicans.

That’s instability.


BSG 3.06

Eric’s comments on "Torn" are now available through his Battlestar Galactica Fanboy Page.