October 31, 2007
October 29, 2007
October 25, 2007
Suppose a lame duck president with an approval rating of 25 percent were to demand that a Congress controlled by the opposite party pass legislation on behalf of a bunch of large corporations that no one much likes that would absolve those corporations of any liability for past illegal activities they may have participated in at that president’s request. Suppose further that the primary purpose and effect of this legislation is to immediately terminate existing court proceedings that threaten to shed some light on the nature and scope of these illegal activities. And finally, suppose that our hypothetical president is unwilling to provide the public or Congress (other than members of one committee) with any specific information regarding the activities that are to be immunized. Indeed, this hypothetical president won’t even confirm that the corporations being immunized ever assisted the government at all. Oh, and did I mention that this legislation is intensely unpopular among the political base of the party controlling Congress?
October 23, 2007
And with that, Mohammed al-Samarrae hits the nail squarely on the head.
‘Whenever we want to open a new chapter with the Americans, to forget the past and try all over again, they drag us into violence, weapons and fighting again. And to sympathize with al-Qaeda against them. All because of their inconsideration for our blood.’
Chris Floyd, guest blogging at Greenwald’s digs, discusses the Glorious Surge and pretty much sums it up:
“We invaded your country under knowingly false pretenses, fixing the intelligence around the policy, because our leaders, who were in possession of vast amounts of intelligence that undermined or refuted their stated casus belli, couldn’t reveal their true, long-held intentions… We destroyed your infrastructure, we destroyed your society, we destroyed your history, we enthroned extremist militias to rule over you, we tortured your sons and fathers in the same hellhole that Saddam used, we killed a million of your people and drove millions more from their homes. And we intend to stay here for as long as we like, in the vast ‘enduring bases’ we are building on your land. Now if you don’t accept this, if you keep shooting at us and trying to make us leave, then we will go on bombing your families in their homes, we will go on killing your women and children, until you stop.”
What can I add to that?
October 22, 2007
FBI mistakenly picks dude up.
FBI coerces confession out of said dude by threatening to expose his family to Egypt’s secret police.
Reason dude was picked up in the first place turns out to be false.
Dude is let go.
Dude sues the FBI.
Appeals Court sez: Dude, you can totally sue them.
Court publishes decision.
Minutes later, Federal Court posting disappears.
Website asked to take down its .pdf of the decision.
Website’s all like, “No.”
Redacted version of decision is posted by the Feds.
I tip my hat to Steve Bergstein.
The intertoobz win.
Well, we didn’t win anything, but the moral victory is almost there.
Israel attacks Iran. Iran fights back. The US levels much of Iran’s infrastructure. At least of generation of bona fide terrorists are spawned.
Lookie what the Big Dickhead had to say over the weekend.
Our government is so fucked up. If we attack Iran, look for the draft. That is their ace in the hole:
“But we have to have a draft to fight off the Muslim Hordes!”
Never mind the fact that with each new Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, we create untold new enemies. It is almost like they want to incubate terrorists so the military industrial machine had fodder for its unlimited appetites.
Update: Fareed Zakaria breaks it down:
Iran has an economy the size of Finland’s and an annual defense budget of around $4.8 billion. It has not invaded a country since the late 18th century. The United States has a GDP that is 68 times larger and defense expenditures that are 110 times greater. Israel and every Arab country (except Syria and Iraq) are quietly or actively allied against Iran.
October 18, 2007
Something amazing happened today. A presidential candidate stepped forward and showed true leadership in the face of our runaway president and the corporations that hold the puppet strings.
Chris Dodd will put a hold on the horrible Fisa capitulation bill. Greenwald breaks it down.
I am officially supporting Chris Dodd for President in 2008. I contacted the campaign to start volunteering this morning. I am very happy to have a candidate that takes the shredding of the Constitution seriously. None of the big three (Clinton, Edwards, Obama) seem to have a clue when it comes to our basic rights. Could that be because the have tons of corporate cash in their pockets.
I’d be real happy with a Dodd/Obama ticket. I don’t think that Barak has quaffed too much Kool-Aid yet, but he’s certainly teetering above the slippery slope.
October 17, 2007
October 16, 2007
In today’s Washington Post, 12 Army Captains deliver a sober assessment of the war:
What does Iraq look like on the ground?
…Many roads, bridges, schools and hospitals are in deplorable condition. Fewer people have access to drinking water or sewage systems than before the war. And Baghdad is averaging less than eight hours of electricity a day.
How do you like yer democracy, Iraq?
Iraq’s institutional infrastructure, too, is sorely wanting.
…At the local level, most communities are still controlled by the same autocratic sheiks that ruled under Saddam. There is no reliable postal system. No effective banking system. No registration system to monitor the population and its needs.
The gist of the article is that we either need to get serious, instate a draft, and really try to win, or immediately withdraw.
I have been saying for some time that if this Global War on Terror is the conflict of our generation, then let’s have us a draft. Quit screwing around and ask the American people to actually, you know, sacrifice something.
Why was World War Two won in four years? Because we pulled together and actually fought a war. The whole nation had War on the Mind 24/7. We rationed. We volunteered. We acted like it mattered.
Call me cynical, but I believe we never would have continued down this road to War Profiteer Hell if we had instated a draft. This war seems to be about power and oil, and nothing else. And as these Captains point out, we have made no headway in the last five years.
There is one way we might be able to succeed in Iraq. To continue an operation of this intensity and duration, we would have to abandon our volunteer military for compulsory service. Short of that, our best option is to leave Iraq immediately. A scaled withdrawal will not prevent a civil war, and it will spend more blood and treasure on a losing proposition.
America, it has been five years. It’s time to make a choice.
October 12, 2007
I stumbled across and article in Smithsonian Magazine that prompted some thoughts. The article is about a young behavioral research scientist who studies chimpanzees. He has looked into the link between aggressive behavior and intelligence:
…we would not have evolved the kind of intelligence we have—the kind that allows us to use our brains together, to build things, to be mentally flexible—if we hadn’t had a shift in temperament.” That is, we had to become more like bonobos and less like chimps, which are high-strung, fearful of strangers and generally intolerant of any chimp lower on the social hierarchy. “We had to lose all those traits in order to become who we are.”
The article explains how he studied foxes at a research facility in Siberia. These foxes have been bred for compatibility with people, and nothing else. So this scientist, Brian Hare, devised tests to asses the ability of the foxes to infer what another being is thinking from social cues. The selectively bred foxes:
…performed brilliantly on tests to understand human gestures, while a control group of normal foxes did not. “The fearless foxes hadn’t been selected to be smarter,” notes Hare. “They were selected for ‘niceness,’ for being able to be handled…
So a tentative link is being drawn between the ability to get along with others and intelligence.
…some scientists have claimed that animals are more likely to survive and reproduce if they are able to read social cues…
But Hare focuses on a slightly different type of social intelligence, the ability to work with others, regardless of whether they are strangers or rank lower in the social hierarchy. Hare’s quest [is] to find the primate roots of our social tolerance—and hence, according to him, our intelligence…
He also finds that when testing chimpanzees for similar traits, the more aggressive chimps fail:
…”because of social tensions. They can’t get beyond that to work together,” Hare says. “Only those chimps that eat together are able to cooperate to solve this task.”
Cue every hedonist’s favorite primate, the bonobos:
But bonobos, close relatives of chimps, relieve social tensions quickly and enthusiastically: when two or more bonobos, of either gender, encounter each other, they have a quick bout of sex. Then they settle down and work on the problem together. Bonobos ace Hare’s tests.
This all makes me wonder if the reason they can’t find a single missing link is because there are more than one. Is it not possible that in separate parts of the world, advanced species of primates could have evolved in a parallel manner? This would explain the chasm that exists between the Right and Left in this country. And, according to this article, the species more adapted to cooperation and empathy is bound to win out in the end. If they don’t kill us all first.