the quickies archive The newer quickiesFeb 2005
...his database– like so much of his work after the attacks of September 11– is designed not merely to blur the distinction between the far left and the far far far left, but between the far left and goddamn Barack Obama, Barbra Streisand, and Bill Moyers. "It should be obvious," David writes, "that even the otherwise innocent Barbra Streisand shares negative views of the Bush Administration and its mission of liberating Iraq with anti-American jihadists like the aforementioned Zarqawi, even though we are sure that she deplores some of his methods." So there it is– anyone with negative views of the Bush Administration, anyone who opposed this war, is in cahoots with Zarqawi....Also comment #11 by Rick Perlstein makes another interesting point.
QUESTION FOR THE DAY: IF LIBERALISM isn't dead, then why are autopsies performed so regularly? In the latest examination of the much-probed cadaver, the New Republic 's editor-in-chief, Martin Peretz, recalls that John Kenneth Galbraith, in the early 1960s, pronounced American conservatism dead, citing as heavy evidence that conservatism was "bookless" or bereft of new ideas. Peretz writes, "It is liberalism that is now bookless and dying." Liberals, he says, are not inspired by any vision of the good society; the liberal agenda consists of wanting to spend more, while conservatives want to spend less. And the lack of new ideas and the absence of influential liberal thinkers, he says, are obvious.-USNEWS
President George W. Bush is betting billions of dollars – well over $10 billion in FY 05 – that at some point a missile will attack the continental United States. This has not happened yet, nor will the most threatening countries be capable of an attack like this for the better part of a decade. Still, the money and the rhetoric keep pouring in. However, one very real and pressing missile threat has been largely ignored: shoulder-launched missiles menacing commercial aircraft. Over 700,000 of these missiles, also known as man-portable air defense systems (or MANPADS), litter the globe and are particularly ubiquitous in current or former war zones. These missiles can range up to 15,000 feet in altitude and, as their name implies, can be carried and launched by a single person.-CDI
All knowledge is compromised by issues of power and bias. Therefore, there is no way to come to judgment about anything, since judgment itself rests on quicksand.The problem is that people like John Leo share a pattern of pulling these conclusions out of their posteriors. The combined effect is The Republican noise machine, which is the real reason why we are in this situation.
Given that there is no crisis, why are the president, right-wing politicians and pundits, corporate leaders, business organizations—and the media—all calling for “reforms” to “save” the system? They understand that the Baby Boom generation, as it approaches retirement, poses a crisis—not for Social Security, but for their political agenda. They know that if they can effectively kill off the program before it becomes a core Boomer issue, it will be much harder to reestablish it....-Beating the Boomers Why Bush and Co. are racing to cut Social Security, by Dave Lindorff
In a few years, we can expect to see an unprecedentedly large senior lobby that knows how to organize, and how to take it to the streets and fight hard when its own interests are at stake. Once they near retirement, this powerful voting bloc will see Social Security and Medicare as their number one political issue. If Social Security is already the “third rail” of electoral politics, not to be touched, in a few years, it will become the Molotov cocktail, exploding the political status quo.
Corporate America knows this. The people in the boardrooms and the conservative think tanks aren’t worried about 2042. They don’t think that long-term. If they did, they wouldn’t be so cavalier about the destruction of the environment and about global warming. They’re worried about 2010 and the senior revolution that is around the corner.
One does not have to look far in Washington these days to find evidence that government policy is being crafted with America’s biggest corporations in mind.-The People’s Business Controlling corporations and restoring democracy, by Lee Drutman and Charlie Cray
For example, the Bush administration’s 2006 budget cuts the enforcement budgets of almost all the major regulatory agencies. If the gutting of the ergonomics rule, power plant emissions standards and drug safety programs was not already enough evidence that OSHA, EPA and FDA are deeply compromised, the slashing of their enforcement budgets presents the possibility—indeed, probability—that these public agencies will become captives of the private corporations they are supposed to regulate.
A Jan. 25 report from the U.N.-appointed International Commission of Inquiry on the conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan noted evidence of “crimes against humanity,” but found no evidence of “genocidal intent” on Khartoum’s part. Yet as the violence enters its third year, Khartoum’s counterinsurgency warfare becomes ever more conspicuously genocide by attrition.-Genocide by Attrition, by Eric Reeves
The scale of human destruction and suffering in the region has reached almost incomprehensible dimensions. The non-Arab African tribal populations from which the Darfuri insurgencies have drawn forces have suffered total mortality from disease, malnutrition and violence in the range of 400,000. Another 2.5 million people have been internally displaced within Darfur or across the border into Chad. Forced relocation of the displaced remains Khartoum’s ultimate solution to the humanitarian problem. Altogether, roughly 3 million people are now “conflict-affected,” and in increasingly desperate need of humanitarian assistance....
What is the international response to ongoing genocide in Africa—a genocide that may ultimately claim more lives than the Rwandan genocide of 1994? To date, aside from a humanitarian aid effort that serves fewer than half those in need, this response consists of 1,400 AU monitors, who have been deployed without a civilian protection mandate, are woefully underequipped, and are prevented from investigating atrocities or cease-fire violations unless Khartoum agrees. Further, the AU troops—whose deployment is a fig leaf to cover the world’s inaction—have been constrained by contrived fuel shortages for their helicopters, hostile ground fire and denial of access by Khartoum....
At the center of the international failure, however, is a continuing refusal to speak honestly about the genocidal nature of the human destruction in Darfur. This reflects in part an obscene deference to Chinese diplomatic efforts to protect the Khartoum regime. The National Islamic Front is China’s indispensable partner in oil production and development efforts in southern Sudan, and Beijing will allow no actions that threaten rule by this tyrannical clique of genocidaires. Moreover, the war in Iraq continues to take its toll on U.S. efforts to act effectively within the United Nations—efforts that have been hobbled by the profligate squandering of diplomatic capital.
The Hotel des Mille Collines has managed to endure the traumatic events of 1994, depicted so forcefully in the movie "Hotel Rwanda," but much like Rwanda as a whole, it cannot shake the memory of the killing frenzy that took place just outside its leafy grounds and that left 800,000 or more ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead....-Horror still lives in memories of staff, by Marc Lacey (Ebert's review)
. "Nobody died here," said Musonera, 47, dressed in blue coveralls and black work boots and taking a break from his workday. "God protected us and Paul protected us and all of us helped each other." He recalled how the hotel began to break down as the violence in Rwanda worsened and the number of people seeking refuge inside grew and grew. The water ran out. The electricity stopped functioning. The generator eventually broke down, plunging the hotel into darkness....
Jean Mudadira, 34, a bartender, remembers being on the roof of the hotel one day when Hutu militia fighters stormed in. He said he considered leaping off to his death to avoid dying in an even more brutal manner. To his surprise, though, the killers let him live.
The idea of leaping from the hotel roof to avoid certain slaughter came up in the "Hotel Rwanda" movie, which neither Mudadira nor most other employees here have seen, but which has been nominated for three Academy Awards, including best actor for Don Cheadle in the role of the hotel's manager during the genocide....
Another movie on the killing spree, "Sometimes in April," was shown last month in one of Kigali's main stadiums, a place that had itself been the site of a mass slaughter. Five thousand people crowded in to see that movie but many of them found it difficult to watch.
Another movie, based on the book "A Sunday by the Pool in Kigali" and also set in the Mille Collines, is in the works. At the end of the impromptu screening of "Hotel Rwanda," the spectators said that no matter how violent the film portrayals seemed, reality was far worse.
Another former employee of the Gorilla Foundation has filed a lawsuit saying that she was repeatedly forced to partially disrobe in front of Koko the "talking" ape.- SFGATE
"To Rivera's shock and surprise, Patterson informed Rivera that Koko was communicating by sign language that 'she wants to see your nipples,' " the suit alleged. "When Rivera expressed her incredulity at the apparent request, Patterson pressured Rivera to comply, telling her, 'Everyone does it for her around here' and telling Koko to 'calm down' and 'just give her time.'
"Rivera then reluctantly raised her T-shirt briefly to reveal her bra, but Rivera admonished her that Koko 'wants to see the nipples (italicized in the suit).' Rivera grudgingly complied. Patterson then exclaimed, 'Oh look, Koko, she has big nipples.' "
The sessions ended in August, Adams said, after what he described as a particularly unsettling encounter.
Jordan "had recently been in Iraq," White explained, "and I think he was reflecting a great deal of frustration from not only his own people in Iraq, but others there as well, that they weren't getting a very good deal in terms of the way they were being treated by the military."
According to White, Jordan said that the American military dealt unfairly with journalists, especially Iraqi journalists, and deliberately treated them in often-petty ways that revealed an underlying hostility toward the media.
White summed up Jordan's message as he heard it: "Effectively, the American military were out to get journalists. And some of them were deliberately targeting journalists."
Did Jordan say they were targeting journalists in the sense of trying to kill them, I asked.
"No," said White. "That is not what I heard him say."
Less familiar with the working life of journalists in Iraq, others in the audience heard Jordan's words with different ears. In White's view, "They got the wrong end of the stick."
"This talk about fighting for democracy, that is absolute, to use a phrase, bullshit," he said.-Iraq to Be a Vietnam: Retired General (Major General Alan Stretton)
"You have three different people in three virtually different areas. The most you could have would be some sort of loose confederation."
Now a few prominent liberal scholars are aggressively promoting a concept that they believe can nurture democracy and allow an authentic Islam to thrive in the modern world. Islam can regenerate itself, these scholars say, if it returns to the principle of ijtihad.-Who Owns Islamic Law?, by David Glenn
The Arabic term -- which literally means "strenuous effort" -- has historically referred to the practice of systematically interpreting Islamic religious texts in order to resolve difficult points of law. (In an oft-cited example, early Muslim jurists strove to interpret an ambiguously phrased Koranic verse about how long a divorced woman must wait before remarrying.) In the early centuries of Islam, ijtihad was confined to an elite set of scholars and jurists (mujtahidin) with rigorous training in the religion's texts and laws. Beginning around the 12th century, most Muslim communities restricted the practice even further: Some juridical schools declared outright that "the gates of ijtihad have been closed," while other regions limited the practice of ijtihad to questions of the family and everyday life.
..."The question is: Will this war secure these freedoms for millions of people in Iraq?" he says. And this is the key to understanding Hitchens's apostasy, and his contradictions. His is a Trotskyite's approach to international freedom (he writes of Trotsky that "his most enduring and tenacious battle was against the monstrous regime that had resulted from his earlier exertions"). Having reached the conclusion that freedom even under occasionally brutal American rule is better for the Iraqis than always brutal Baathist rule, he has embraced the only viable way to achieve that freedom, former comrades be damned. "What I want people to notice from this argument, and my willingness to examine myself on it, is that a very interesting thing has happened in the past decade, the rise of the status quo left—people who are basically afraid of change," he says. But he later admits, "I sometimes get more praise from right-wingers or Republicans than I want."-The Hitch, by John Giuffo
"Speed-readers work by training their eyes to scan and pick up key words. They have a template in the mind of the visual structure of words they are looking for and they don't read the other words. If you present them with a completely new passage on a subject about which they have no previous knowledge then they wouldn't be much faster than you or I. It's perhaps controversial of me to say this, but in my opinion they're not really 'reading'. They're picking up the gist."-A whizz with words, Telegraph
...On one occasion on the eve of the elections, Don Apolinar Moscote returned from one of his frequent trips worried about the political stiuation it the country. The Liberals were determined to go to war. Since Aureliano at that time had very confused notions about the difference between Conservatives and Liberals, his father-in-law gave him some schematic lessons.
The Liberals, he said, were Freemasons, bad people, wanting to hang priests, to institute civil marriage and divorce, to recognize the rights of illegitimate children as equal to those of legitimate ones, and to cut the country up into a federal system that would take power away from the supreme authority. The Conservatives, on the other hand, who had received their power directly form God, proposed the establishment of public order and family morality. They were the defenders of the faith of Christ, of the principle of authority, and were not prepared to permit the country to be broken down into autonomous entities.
John and Jackie Knill of Vancouver, British Columbia, pose at a resort in Khao Lak, Thailand, on December 12, 2004. The couple was killed when the December 26 tsunami struck the resort. Their digital camera was found, and though the camera was destroyed, searchers were able to recover photos of the tsunami from its memory card.-CNN
The Republican establishment is haunted by painful memories of what happened to Old Man Bush in 1992. He peaked too early, and he had no response to "It's the economy, stupid."-Hunter S. Thompson
Which has always been the case. Every GOP administration since 1952 has let the Military-Industrial Complex loot the Treasury and plunge the nation into debt on the excuse of a wartime economic emergency. Richard Nixon comes quickly to mind, along with Ronald Reagan and his ridiculous "trickle-down" theory of U.S. economic policy. If the Rich get Richer, the theory goes, before long their pots will overflow and somehow "trickle down" to the poor, who would rather eat scraps off the Bush family plates than eat nothing at all. Republicans have never approved of democracy, and they never will. It goes back to preindustrial America, when only white male property owners could vote.
...Nixon was a professional politician, and I despised everything he stood for -- but if he were running for president this year against the evil Bush-Cheney gang, I would happily vote for him.
The peoples of the Mideast "aren't like" Americans, not least because they don't "value life' in the same way. By this, it should be understood that Middle-Easterners, unlike Americans, have no history of exterminating others purely for profit, or on the basis of racial animus. Thus, we can appreciate the fact that they value life – all lives, not just their own – far more highly than do their U.S. counterparts.As far as I know, Turkey is still in the Middle East and surely the Armenian Genocide counts as well as the political murders the occur all the time in the Dictatorships throughout the Middle East, which are done to maintain power from which they profit. Simply put, genocide is a world-wide problem. This does not discount that the relative size of our power versus our unability to confront or contain genocide time after time suggest that we don't care as much for all life.
Well, I posit my conclusions that if you want to avoid September 11s, if you want security in some actual form, then it's almost a biblical framing, you have to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. As long as you're doing what the U.S. is doing in the world, you can anticipate a natural and inevitable response of the sort that occurred on 9/11. If you don't get the message out of 9/11, you're going to have to change, first of all, your perception of the value of those others who are consigned to domains, semantic domains like collateral damage, then you've really got no complaint when the rules you've imposed come back on you. If you are going to alter that scenario, you first have to value those little brown bodies that are embodied in the Iraqi children, the half million that were mentioned first, or the Palestinians, or the Grenadans, or the Guatemalans, or the Nicaraguans, or tick off the list. You are going to have to treat them as having human faces, actually having human value and not something, some form of existence to be slaughtered with impunity. And the best signification of that, rhetorically at least, is the U.S. has always postured itself at the forefront of valuing others even as it treats them like toilet paper.-Ward Churchill
The argument I make in my book is that what I describe as the new American militarism arises as an unintended consequence of the reaction to the Vietnam War and more broadly, to the sixties. We all appreciate the extent to which that period was one of enormous upheaval, political change, cultural change, social change. That change did not go down well with some quarters of American society, and it evoked a powerful response. If some people think that the sixties constituted a revolution, that revolution produced a counterrevolution, launched by a variety of groups that had one thing in common: they saw revival of American military power, institutions, and values as the antidote to everything that in their minds had gone wrong.-Andrew Bacevich [metafilter]
None of these groups — the neoconservatives, large numbers of Protestant evangelicals, politicians like Ronald Reagan, the so-called defense intellectuals, and the officer corps — set out saying, “Militarism is a good idea.” But I argue that this is what we’ve ended up with: a sense of what military power can do, a sort of deference to the military, and an attribution of virtue to the men and women who serve in uniform. Together this constitutes such a pernicious and distorted attitude toward military affairs that it qualifies as militarism.
Fake "reporter" flees before bloggers. How did a man with no known journalism experience get repeated White House press room access, where he denounced Democratic leaders at press conferences and loudly supported President Bush? It's a question asked here before. But now, in an example of citizen journalism, bloggers have apparently exposed "Jeff Gannon," whose other activities may lend a new definition to the label "Republican tool."-Metafilter
Pornocracies, sterile atomic flies, intellectual property absolutism, and the heavy metal umlaut. Plus an amazing amount of information about people who went up against the laws of thermodynamics and lost. All this and much, much more in the Wikipedia unusual articles category.-Metafilter
What if there really was no need for much - or even most - of the Cold War? What if, in fact, the Cold War had been kept alive for two decades based on phony WMD threats?Hyping Terror For Fun, Profit - And Power by Thom Hartmann
What if, similarly, the War On Terror was largely a scam, and the administration was hyping it to seem larger-than-life? What if our "enemy" represented a real but relatively small threat posed by rogue and criminal groups well outside the mainstream of Islam? What if that hype was done largely to enhance the power, electability, and stature of George W. Bush and Tony Blair?
And what if the world was to discover the most shocking dimensions of these twin deceits - that the same men promulgated them in the 1970s and today?In the past, politicians promised to create a better world. They had different ways of achieving this. But their power and authority came from the optimistic visions they offered to their people. Those dreams failed. And today, people have lost faith in ideologies. Increasingly, politicians are seen simply as managers of public life. But now, they have discovered a new role that restores their power and authority. Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us from nightmares. They say that they will rescue us from dreadful dangers that we cannot see and do not understand. And the greatest danger of all is international terrorism. A powerful and sinister network, with sleeper cells in countries across the world. A threat that needs to be fought by a war on terror. But much of this threat is a fantasy, which has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It’s a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services, and the international media.It happened.
"...I have a sinking feeling that I’m just not the kind of lunatic academic leftist the folks behind “Brainwashing 101” are looking for."-Michael Bérubé
GEORGE BUSH - By the year 2042, the entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt.-Progressive Review
This is the major lie of this year's State of the Union address. The entire system will not be exhausted and bankrupt. At worst we'll just have to fund social security from the regular budget, perhaps taking it from the Pentagon. That would be invigorating and fiscally sound, not exhausting and bankrupt.
Atlas Shrugged is a celebration of life and happiness. Justice is unrelenting. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should. - Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan, writing in 1957 to the NY Times about a critical review of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.Sam hits the nail again. I'm getting images of Logan's Run, but you have to both old and poor.
SAM SMITH - The economies of developed countries no longer demand the amount of work by most of their citizens that helped to create the myth of capitalism. Changes in technology, outsourcing, and labor intensiveness have made and will continue to make a growing percentage of the American population superfluous to the needs of the country's capitalists, a phenomenon that is being dramatically reflected in our politics but not in our understanding of it.
You have to read between the lines to see it. For example, a remarkable article published by the Washington Post just in time for the State of the Union borrowed heavily from right wing analyses of the Brookings Institution and the Center for Strategic & International Studies to paint a picture of older Americans as a looming crisis just this side of terrorism:
Wrote Jonathan Weissman:
"From untamed health care programs to military pensions, housing and heating assistance to coal-miners' benefits, programs for the elderly have proliferated and grown more generous, even in the face of an aging trend that demographers have long seen coming. In that light, the fight over Social Security marks only the beginning of a national debate over the cost of a graying society -- and the inevitable reallocation of resources that is sure to produce winners and losers, in the United States and around the world. "The question is whether we can support the elderly with a decent standard of living without imposing a crushing burden on the young," said Richard Jackson, director of the global aging initiative at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. "Whether we can is a real concern."
In short can we afford to have old people or should they, in Greenspan's phrase, be considered "parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason [who must] perish as they should?"
You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for 5 years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.
Electric Sheep is a distributed screen-saver that harnesses idle computers into a render farm with the purpose of animating and evolving artificial life-forms.The project is an attention vortex. It illustrates the process by which the longer and closer one studies something, the more detail and structure appears.-metafilter
I think there's a way out of it, maybe. I can tell you one thing. Let's all forget this word “insurgency”. It's one of the most misleading words of all. Insurgency assumes that we had gone to Iraq and won the war and a group of disgruntled people began to operate against us and we then had to do counter-action against them. That would be an insurgency. We are fighting the people we started the war against. We are fighting the Ba'athists plus nationalists. We are fighting the very people that started -- they only choose to fight in different time spans than we want them to, in different places. We took Baghdad easily. It wasn't because be won. We took Baghdad because they pulled back and let us take it and decided to fight a war that had been pre-planned that they're very actively fighting. The frightening thing about it is, we have no intelligence. Maybe it's -- it's -- it is frightening, we have no intelligence about what they're doing. A year-and-a-half ago, we're up against two and three-man teams. We estimated the cells operating against us were two and three people, that we could not penetrate. As of now, we still don't know what's coming next. There are 10, 15-man groups. They have terrific communications. Somebody told me, it's -- somebody in the system, an officer -- and by the way, the good part of it is, more and more people are available to somebody like me.-Seymour Hersh on Democracy Now [metafilter] Hersh again.
"I suffer from depression, whiplash in my neck and back pain. I went to bed and the next morning I felt so much better. I didn't know what I had taken so I asked my friends. They said it was cannabis.
"But I don't like smoking so they said I could cook with it."
While many, many stories have appeared about the new book that purports that the 16th president was gay, The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln by C.A. Trip, few have mentioned that the book had a co–author who dropped out of the project, and fewer still have talked to that co–author about why he dropped out. Now, that co–author, Philip Nobile, has written a review of the book for The Weekly Standard, and he finally tells his side of the tale. The essential reason for the split? "We quarreled constantly over evidence: I said the Gay Lincoln Theory was intriguing but impossible to prove; he said it was stone–cold fact," writes Nobile. " I quit the project first in 1999, when Tripp refused to include citations to Charles Shively, a former University of Massachusetts historian and Tripp's main guide to the gay Lincoln . . . . Although Tripp profusely copied ideas and references from Shively's flamboyantly rendered Lincoln chapter in Walt Whitman's Civil War Boy Lovers, he brushed off proper mention because he thought Shively's reputation for being 'too gay–lib' would dissuade readers." Plus, says Nobile, "The book is a hoax and a fraud: a historical hoax, because the inaccurate parts are all shaded toward a predetermined conclusion, and a literary fraud, because significant portions of the accurate parts are plagiarized–from me, as it happens." The article, which appeared last week, went on to detail the charges, but in short order, Andrew Sullivan began attacking Nobile on his blog [direct link to article]. Sullivan also wrote to the Weekly Standard (letter unavailable as a free link) calling Nobile's review "character assassination" and demanding, "Will The Standard correct?" In a response, (also unavailable), the magazine's editors write that they have not "yet been able to find anybody here at the magazine who understands what it is precisely we're supposed to correct." They discuss some of Tripp's sympathetic writings about pedophilia and declare, "Clarence Arthur Tripp was not a 'social scientist.' He was a lunatic. Will Andrew Sullivan correct?" Meanwhile, Nobile writes his own rebuttal to Sullivan: "My hard case against Tripp's flim-flam is based on facts documented in my article, none of which Sullivan bothers to mention or refute."
Maybe you better sit down and pop a Xanax before reading any further, because what I’m about to tell you should seriously short you out: not only is the average soldier’s salary barely life-sustaining, the combat pay of the average grunt in Afghanistan and Iraq is only $7.50 a day or a measly $225 a month. And to make matters worse, the folks bringing up the rear – hundreds of miles from the horror show – are pulling down the same combat pay as our heroes who daily lay their lives on the line.-David
There’s more to supporting the troops than slapping a bumper sticker on the back of your wheels or occasionally flying Old Glory and feeling good about vowing to bring freedom to the world.
G.W. Bush is got to learn that the story of the good Samaritan is a bible tale and not the basis for US foreign policy--the Indonesian Government just handed the president his head over US Tsunami relief in Sumatra...-Colonel Bor-Komorowki
So you really have to wonder what SECSTATE Powell and his side kick, the president's brother JEB, were doing there except expressing official sympathy and horror over the ravaged areas--did they set into play a relief program advanced by US forces that was not cleared by the Indonesian government-?-- even die-hard Republican apologists will have to confess that was dumb-- should have sent Miss Muffet Condoleezza Rice just to offer condolences---she knows about Chevron oil tankers, but not ships of war and strike forces-her unfamiliarity may have saved the US its current embarrassment.--to damage limit, the Administration dispatched our seedy, disheveled Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz-he was the guy in Fahrenheit 911 who spit on his comb before he combed his hair-and the audience groaned--he is one of the highest ranking Neocons who vigorously promoted the Iraq war with every possible misleading statement--promoted the crook Chalabi-despite military advice , he refused to send adequate troops during the invasion --he also bungled his mission to Turkey, failing to receive permission which would have allowed the 4th Division to invade from the North into Iraq-on his last junket to Baghdad, a rocket hit his hotel , a floor below his--the Israeli press, THE JERUSALAM POST made him man of the year-so keep your expectations low when he is in South Asia--he seldom does anything that aids the US.
US National interest in the Middle East is oil--just buy it-do not try to steal it--past, European powers, many of which were democratically elected, learned the hard way in Africa, Middle East, Asia and Latin America-came away, broke and battered, mumbling WHITE MANS BURDEN--pretending to be misunderstood by nations who fiercely opposed missionary zeal cloaked in greed and exploitation.--the Bush template for democracy does not fit in Pakistan-nearly all the Arab states-and China-- a---- freely democratically elected Chavez of Venezuela who is supporting Marxist terror in Columbia and threatening to sell his oil to eager Chinese buyers undermines Bush's thesis that democratically elected governments are democratic------ Bush's hypocrisy is obvious and will continue to erode his and the US world standing. .- Colonel Bor-Komorowki
Right now Dr. Rice's vision of the Middle East stability is being rejected by the restless, raging, people of Iraq--the first of elections is mandated by an increasingly desperate Bush Administration to cover the fact that an estimated 100,000 Iraqis have been killed while the US imposes democracy---some election !---- no international observers,, Baghdad Airport closed, polling places in many areas not announced until the day of the election--candidates refuse to enter their names-vehicle traffic stopped during the election-candidates unable to campaign for fear of being killed--by US admission over half the population is in insecure areas and may be afraid to vote--even in so called secure Basra, two candidates were killed a few days ago--borders closed----Iraqis living outside the country will vote--this is an absurdity-almost as bad as Israelis voting in Florida elections---does anyone except GW Bush and his devoted Dr Rice believe that this election will weaken the insurgency?--the insurgency will grow and grow--estimated number this week 200.000--major escalation from Rumsfeld’s few dead enders--there are now more insurgents than US forces---and the US is now on the defensive----some Sunni leaders made an interesting proposition to Bush--set a date for departure of US troops and we will vote--Bush rejected it--still will not let go-still has to be his way--so we will fight on--the civil war in Iraq has already started----propelled forward by Sunni Jihadists killing Shiites and US forces use of Shiite forces against Sunnis--in the suppression Fallujah, US employed Shiite troops who left posters of their hero, Sistani plastered in and outside buildings of Fallujah--last report from Fallujah is only about 25 per cent of the over 250,000 inhabitants have returned---is that spreading freedom or chaos?
To those fortunate people who have not endured the agony and grief of losing a loved one in Iraq and Afghanistan, the issue of whether or not the Secretary of Defense personally signed a condolence, or had the document executed with an autopen machine, may seem abstract and not that important.-Ed Offley
But to soldiers and their families, this seemingly minor point carries great resonance, for such a letter is supposed to reflect the fact that the U.S. military – despite its size and far-flung operations – is even today, in this era of smart weapons and spaced-based sensors, a band of brothers united in common cause to protect the nation. There is no better way to symbolize that spirit of community than to have the nation’s senior defense official personally sign the personal communication to a slain soldier’s loved ones.
Arab human rights activists say the Iraqi election is deeply flawed and will give democracy a bad name. They say violence and the prospect of a Sunni Arab boycott will undermine the poll. Many Arabs, already suspicious of U.S. intentions in Iraq, are also dismissing the vote's credibility because of the presence of the 150,000 U.S. troops there. Many Arabs think elections held under U.S. occupation can only produce a government similar to the U.S.-backed interim government, which they view as an American puppet.- TOM PERRY
Arthur Laffer, an economist commonly known as the 'father' of supply-side economics, has denounced corporate social responsibility, calling it detrimental to stockholders' interests and harmful to corporate profitability. . . At a news conference organized by the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute last week, Laffer said corporate responsibility really means "irresponsibility" and that modern corporations are simply meant to create wealth for shareholders.
Companies, Laffer says, are under pressure from "mainly left-of-center lobbies" to demonstrate attention to social and environmental concerns as much as to bottom lines. But he says that puts businesses on the defensive when their chief executives should be realizing corporations are "legitimate entities whose prime responsibility is to make profits for those who have invested in them".
On Dec. 22, 2004, Iraqi Finance Minister Abdel Mahdi told a handful of reporters and industry insiders at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. that Iraq wants to issue a new oil law that would open Iraq's national oil company to private foreign investment. As Mahdi explained: "So I think this is very promising to the American investors and to American enterprise, certainly to oil companies."- ANTONIA JUHASZ
In other words, Mahdi is proposing to privatize Iraq's oil and put it into American corporate hands.
Scientists have begun blurring the line between human and animal by producing chimeras-a hybrid creature that's part human, part animal. Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs. The embryos were reportedly the first human-animal chimeras successfully created. They were allowed to develop for several days in a laboratory dish before the scientists destroyed the embryos to harvest their stem cells.- MARYANN MOTT
In Minnesota last year researchers at the Mayo Clinic created pigs with human blood flowing through their bodies. And at Stanford University in California an experiment might be done later this year to create mice with human brains.
Monty Python's Terry Jones talks about becoming a political writer, the decline of the British press and how Bush and Blair have erased the line between absurdity and horror.[link]
The hardest thing for garden variety American liberals to grasp is what a truly politicized and hateful place much of America has become---one long mean ditch ruled by feral dogs where the standards of civility no longer apply. The second hardest thing for liberals is to admit that they are comfortably insulated in the middle class and are not going to take any risks in the battle for America's soul not as long as they are still living on a good street, sending their kids to Montessori and getting their slice of the American quiche. Call it the politics of the comfort zone.- By JOE BAGEANT, The Politics of the Comfort Zone
While Abu Musab al-Zarqawi declares a "bitter war" against democracy, Josh Muravchik suggests that Realists—"those who are skeptical of injecting issues of freedom, democracy and human rights into the conduct of foreign policy"—have historically been less in-step than pro-democracy Idealists. Responding to Bush's Inauguration Day comments about confronting tyranny in the coming years, many Iranians cheered.John Waters makes waves on NPR.
Dream Job. "It's Linklater's faithful adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel A Scanner Darkly, which is being brought to full paranoid life via Bob Sabiston's gloriously surreal software abilities, which, as in the team's previous Waking Life, utilizes hi-def filmmaking overlayed with a rich, rotoscope-inspired animation. Thirty-plus animators, and, here's the catch, so pay attention: They need more.
Seems the media's STILL scared of looking too closely into BUSH's history... and WHO helps him cover up on the way...
Israeli researchers discover gene for altruism Why are some people more prone to give charity or put themselves in danger in order to help others? A team of Israeli psychologists claim they have the answer - they've located the first gene linked to altruistic behavior.
Perverted, God-Hating Frenchies vs. Inbred, Sex-Obsessed Yokels Truth About Liberals #1: They're Just As Moral As Conservatives Truth About Conservatives #1: They're Just As Smart As Liberals An interesting article on the role of faith by Steven Waldman that exposes 'moral values' as not being the sole domain of either side while pointing out that the media continues to polarize by playing tempest
With Venezuela harbouring and aiding Colombian rebels; namely the leftist FARC is the US administration looking to intervene in Latin America?
Squashed Philosophers is Glyn Hughes' gift to mankind. "Unfortunately, life is rather short, the little storeroom of the brain doesn't have extensible walls and the greatest of thinkers seem to also be among the worst, and the lengthiest, of writers." Try Plato's The Apology in 22 minutes, or Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy in 26 minutes. Really pressed for time but need a lift? Maybe you'd prefer Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Idea in 12 minutes or, if it does it for you, Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil condensed to only 14%. (just add water)
As part of sweeping "economic restructuring" implemented by the Bush Administration in Iraq, Iraqi farmers will no longer be permitted to save their seeds, which include seeds the Iraqis themselves have developed over hundreds of years. Instead, they will be forced to buy seeds from US corporations. That is because in recent years, transnational corporations have patented and now own many seed varieties originated or developed by indigenous peoples. . .
The global warming danger threshold for the world is clearly marked for the first time in an international report to be published tomorrow - and the bad news is, the world has nearly reached it already. The countdown to climate-change catastrophe is spelt out by a task force of senior politicians, business leaders and academics from around the world - and it is remarkably brief. In as little as 10 years, or even less, their report indicates, the point of no return with global warming may have been reached.- MICHAEL MCCARTHY, INDPENDENT
Tampering with software and servers owned or used by the Army is cyber crime.- Executive Producer Phil DeLuca
In the early 1940’s, Japan learned an important lesson – “let the sleeping giant lie.” We may not react swiftly, but when we do it’s with unstoppable force. The Army has partners that deal with cyber crime as a matter of course. These include not just various Army IT departments, but also the Department of Justice, the Secret Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
It’s going to get uncomfortable for some of the bad guys, but you know what? They brought it on themselves. Knowing this anyone who continues to be bad is just plain foolish. Keep trying, though. Sooner or later the bad guy will realize we’ve known about him for a while… and by then it’s too late.
Allow me to speak directly to the bad guys for a moment: When you get banned, know that we know and have records showing you were doing something that’s a violation of terms of service, breaks your EULA, and also happens to be against the law. We know who you are, and can track down where you play from. We have incontrovertible proof you did something illegal. The Army is angry, and we’re coming for you.
George W. Bush’s reëlection was not his only victory last fall. The President and his national-security advisers have consolidated control over the military and intelligence communities’ strategic analyses and covert operations to a degree unmatched since the rise of the post-Second World War national-security state. Bush has an aggressive and ambitious agenda for using that control—against the mullahs in Iran and against targets in the ongoing war on terrorism—during his second term. The C.I.A. will continue to be downgraded, and the agency will increasingly serve, as one government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon put it, as “facilitators” of policy emanating from President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. This process is well under way.-Seymour Hersh
Journalism's vacation from the truth One day after Tucker Carlson, the co-host of CNN's "Crossfire," made his farewell appearance and two days after the network's new president made the admirable announcement that he would soon kill the program altogether, a television news miracle occurred: even as it staggered through its last steps to the network guillotine, "Crossfire" came up with the worst show in its 23-year history-Metafilter
Over the objections of many of its own employees, the Social Security Administration is gearing up for a major effort to publicize the financial problems of Social Security and to convince the public that private accounts are needed as part of any solution. The agency's plans are set forth in internal documents, including a "tactical plan" for communications and marketing of the idea that Social Security faces dire financial problems requiring immediate action. . .Using SS to destroy SS.
One case was described in 1999 by Mark Schapiro in Salon. Outlying a planned "junk science" sting by ABC's John Stosell against Dr. Grace Ziem, who was treating medical ailments resulting from exposure to environmental toxins, Schapiro wrote:
"One of Ziem's patients had read a report in the newsletter about an appearance Stossel made in early September before the Federalist Society, a group of conservative lawyers," and had made a pitch for corporate sponsors: "'I certainly would encourage any of you who knows somebody who buys advertising on television to say 'please buy a couple of ads on those Stossel specials.'"
"'A pitch for sponsors is generally not what an investigative reporter does,' observes Jeff Cohen, director of FAIR. . . The Stossel case reveals how reporters seemingly in search of 'the truth' all too often are compromised by financial and personal connections with the very people and organizations they are covering. . .
Since we hate stories that become simultaneously this complicated and this dull, we think we'll drop the whole matter right here. In short, the Journal screwed up, in part because the bloggers eschew clarity and don't give a shit, and if you wish to read the their full self-righteous responses the links are below
One thing is certain about the CBS documents: If they are not real, then they were prepared by someone who had enough inside information to make them look almost real, but who also knew enough to include a few small telltale signs that might point to their inauthenticity - clues that might be overlooked by a news organization racing to put out an important, timely story under competitive pressures.- RUSS BAKER
It's striking that the critique of the documents appeared on the Internet just hours after CBS aired them, and that the person claiming to be a document expert turned out to be an attorney with strong GOP connections who had no such credentials. How was this man able so quickly to produce his critique, and how did the story grow so quickly to overtake the basic questions about the president's own murky past performance? Did Rove's well-documented history of aggressive last-minute campaign ploys have anything to do with this episode? And why, despite all the questions, has Bush never offered a detailed accounting of his doings in those missing years? That's a news story no one yet has tackled.
The number of Arabic linguists discharged from the military for violating its "don't ask, don't tell" policy was nearly three times as high as previously reported, according to records obtained by an advocacy group. Between 1998 and 2004, the military discharged 20 Arabic and six Farsi speakers, according to Department of Defense data obtained by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military under a Freedom of Information Act request. The military previously confirmed that seven translators who specialized in Arabic had been discharged because they were gay. The updated numbers were first reported by The New Republic magazine.- KIM CURTIS
Aaron Belkin, the center's director, said he wants the public to see the real costs of "don't ask, don't tell." "We had a language problem after 9/11 and we still have a language problem," Belkin said Wednesday.
My work has caused me to become perhaps unhealthily preoccupied with the problem of evil. Why do people commit evil? What conditions allow it to flourish? How is it best prevented and, when necessary, suppressed? Each time I listen to a patient recounting the cruelty to which he or she has been subjected, or has committed (and I have listened to several such patients every day for 14 years), these questions revolve endlessly in my mind.-Theodore Dalrymple
This debate about a perfect language leads to a central concern of Eco's writing: the illusory nature of certainty and orthodox truth. In an essay in this collection called "The Power of Falsehood", Eco questions certainty of any kind: "Since in the course of history many have acted in the belief of something that someone else did not believe in, we are obliged to admit that for each of us, in different measure, History has been largely a Theatre of Illusions." After bringing on Columbus, Dante, Erik the Red, Ptolemy, Macrobius, Roger Bacon and the Rosicrucians, Eco concludes plainly enough: "Deep down, the first duty of the Community is to be on the alert in order to be able to rewrite the encyclopaedia every day." Any "truth" may be another illusion of science, or religion, or myth.
Reporting on what he saw of dehumanised Americans with his own eyes day after day, year after year, Algren said in effect, "Hey - an awful lot of these people your hearts are bleeding for are really mean and stupid. That's just a fact. Did you know that?"
And why didn't he soften his stories, as most writers would have, with characters with a little wisdom and power who did all they could to help the dehumanised? His penchant for truth again shoved him in the direction of unpopularity. Altruists in his experience were about as common as unicorns, and especially in Chicago, which he once described to me as "the only major city in the country where you can easily buy your way out of a murder rap".
Pope John Paul II, who opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq and the Bush administration's policy of preventive war, on Monday criticized the "arrogance of power" that he said should be countered with reason and dialogue.-PalmBeachPost
God and the Lamb, Christ, surrounded by the 'Council of the Crown', are judging human history in good and evil, but showing us however the ultimate end in salvation and glory. The songs which are found in the Apocalypse and which serve to illustrate the issue of divine glory which regulates the flux, often disconcerting, of the tide of human events...Satan, the original adversary, who accused our brothers in the heavenly court, has now been cast down from heaven and therefore no longer has great power. He knows he has not much time left because history is about to see a radical turning point in freedom from evil and therefore he is reacting full of great fury. And then the resurrected Christ will rise up, whose blood is the principle of salvation and who received from the Father royal power over the entire universe, in Him are centred salvation, strength and the kingdom of our God. In his victory are associated the Christian martyrs who chose the path of the cross, not yielding to evil and it virulence, but delivering themselves to the Father and uniting themselves to the death of Christ by means of a testimony of donation and courage which brought them to give up life in order to die....the words of the Apocalypse regarding those who have vanquished Satan and evil through the blood of the Lamb, echo also in the splendid prayer attributed to the Christian martyr Simeon, from Seleucia-Ctesifonte in Persia, 'I will receive life without pain, worry, anguish, persecutor, persecuted, oppressor, oppressed, tyrant or victim, there I will see no threat of king, or terror of prefects, no-one will quote me in court or terrorise me and no-one will drag me or scare me.-The Pope
The old people on that poll want their money, damn the future generations. Not enough of the public knows how big a problem this is, and as such doesn't want it to be changed as long as Grandpa's rollin in the dough.-posted on 01/03/2005 8:02:36 PM PST by polyester~monkey on Freerepublic
Upon this desiccating planet, will I employ religion to increase pain threshold. Why? So I may get my freak on.Me neither.
posted by mcgraw at 10:01 AM CST (28 comments total)
I don't get it.
posted by sciurus at 10:08 AM CST on January 12
"I think people attack me because they are fearful that I will then say that you're not equally as patriotic if you're not a religious person," Mr. Bush said. "I've never said that. I've never acted like that. I think that's just the way it is."Of course, when he says "I don't see how you can be president at least from my perspective, how you can be president, without a relationship with the Lord," it means he thinks the White House should be off limits to Atheists. Uniter or divider?
What exactly does this mean? The way it's phrased makes it sound like he's saying he hasn't ever said you're not as patriotic if you're an athetist, but that's "how it is". I'm pretty sure that's not what he means, but it sure reads that way.
posted by The God Complex at 3:25 PM CST on January 12
The Bush Administration has decided that it will stand by its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah’s flood rather than by geologic forces, according to internal documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).-PEER
The head of a company vying to sell voting machines in Ohio told Republicans in a recent fund-raising letter that he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."-Julie Carr Smyth
The Aug. 14 letter from Walden O'Dell, chief executive of Diebold Inc. - who has become active in the re-election effort of President Bush - prompted Democrats this week to question the propriety of allowing O'Dell's company to calculate votes in the 2004 presidential election.
O'Dell attended a strategy pow-wow with wealthy Bush benefactors - known as Rangers and Pioneers - at the president's Crawford, Texas, ranch earlier this month. The next week, he penned invitations to a $1,000-a-plate fund-raiser to benefit the Ohio Republican Party's federal campaign fund - partially benefiting Bush - at his mansion in the Columbus suburb of Upper Arlington.
The letter went out the day before Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, also a Republican, was set to qualify Diebold as one of three firms eligible to sell upgraded electronic voting machines to Ohio counties in time for the 2004 election.