Blogs

Displaying 101-110 of 25838 results.
ID: 1991
Uid: 18
Author: 32
Category: 41
Title: DEAN: AN ECHO, NOT A CHOICE?
Source:
Body: <P>From Dean's <a href="http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/News2? page=NewsArticle&id=10993&JServSessionIdr006=753x3i22s1.app196a&security =1&news_iv_ctrl=1321">major foreign policy address </a>on Monday:"I have supported U.S. military action to roll back Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, to halt ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, [and] to stop Milosevic's campaign of terror in Kosovo...."<P> Now, I guess that's not surprising. But Dean's argument against the Iraq war has focused on the idea (I'd say, the fact) that Iraq was never a national security threat. Well, it wasn't a national security threat in 1991 either, and Clinton's half-hearted argument that we had national security interests in Serbia amounted to"well, World War One started over there somehow when somebody killed some archduke or something." And if ethnic cleansing and terror argued for war over Kosovo, it's pretty hard to see why they didn't in the case of Hussein, who made Milosevic look like Niles Crain.<P> There's nothing in the rest of the speech that provides any kind of bold new foreign policy vision either. Spend more on foreign aid. Do more to wipe out AIDS in Africa. Work with our allies and don't tick them off gratuitously. Snore. <P> I'm rooting for Dean because he seems angry about something, and I'd like to see a fight, rather than a Clinton-Dole 1996-style lovefest in 2004. But the idea that he'd be a marked improvement over Bush is tough to credit. As somebody put it once, government's a massive runaway freight train careening towards disaster. Every four years we have a big to-do over who gets to sit up in the front car and pretend they're driving. It's hard to get excited about that.<P>
ID: 1992
Uid: 28
Author: 32
Category: 41
Title: SLIPPING THE SURLY BONDS OF EARTH
Source:
Body: <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/12/14/ING6K3JSGA1.DTL"><img src="http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/pictures/2003/12/14_t/ed_2wrights_t.gif" align="right" border="0" vspace="6" hspace="6"></a><P>Before continuing with my serialized autobiography, I&#8217;d like to do some blogging&#8230;.</p><p>Hurray for <a href= http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/12/14/ING6K3JSGA1.DTL>Orville and Wilbur Wright</a>! Sunday&#8217;s San Francisco Chronicle featured a number of articles honoring the 100th anniversary of their first flight. Staff Science Writer Keay Davidson contributed the contrarian, &#8220;<a href="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/12/14/INGI83L6B61.DTL">Techno-skeptics weren't all wrong about Wrights</a>,&#8221; (though I&#8217;ll be criticizing it, I think it raises some interesting questions and I did enjoy reading it.):</p><p><I>&#8220;Aviation pioneers weren't just nuts-and-bolts types who loved tinkering with gadgets. They were also social utopians. They believed airplanes would transform the world.&#8221;</p><p>&#8220;Consider the closing vision of an 1894 book by Octave Chanute, a leading aviation enthusiast and ally of the Wrights: &#8216;Upon the whole, the writer is glad to believe that when man succeeds in flying through the air the ultimate effect will be to diminish greatly the frequency of wars and to substitute some more rational methods of settling international misunderstandings. This may come to pass not only because of the additional horrors which will result in battle, but because no part of the field will be safe, no matter how distant from the actual scene of conflict.&#8217;&#8221;</I></p><p>According to Davidson, Chanute and the other aviaphile dreamers were wrong:</p><p><I>&#8220;The results of military aviation include some of the worst horrors of the 20th century, events so ghastly that a single name evokes them: Guernica. Dresden. Hiroshima.&#8221;</I></p><p>I don&#8217;t share Davidson&#8217;s confidence that Chanute was wrong &#8211; at least not based on this quote. All 3 of Davidson&#8217;s examples of the ghastly horrors of military aviation occurred in the same war, which was also the first war in which aerial bombing was effectively employed, and the last war (so far) in which two opponents bombed each other. The learning process suggested by Chanute might at least partly explain Thomas Friedman&#8217;s McDonald&#8217;s dictum: &#8220;No two countries that both have a McDonald's have ever fought a war against each other&#8230;&#8221; &#8211; though, of course, since the US&#8217;s post&#8211;Cold War world order destabilization campaign we&#8217;ve had to change that to &#8220;<a href="http://www.salon.com/media/col/poni/1999/04/05/poni/index.html">&#8230;except for the US bombing of Serbia&#8230;</a>,&#8221; or just replace <I>McDonalds</I> with <I>Starbucks</I>, <a href="http://216.239.39.104/search?q=cache:BdJ2RUdbQZQJ:www.oxfordstudent.com/1999-05-13/features/1+Fukuyama+argues+that+getting+a+Starbucks&hl=en&ie=UTF-8">as Fukuyama suggested</a>.</p><p>If Chanute was right in the longer-term, then we can conclude that sometimes (at best) the world isn&#8217;t transformed by potentially horror-producing technologies until actually experiencing the horror. And the <a href="http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/articles/article310.html">one-sided bombing of the various non-McDonalded countries</a> over the years brings to mind the joke:</p><p>Question: What&#8217;s the difference between a language and a dialect? Answer: A language has a navy.</p><p>Davidson stacks the deck, in way that&#8217;s <a href="http://www.math.temple.edu/~paulos/">surprisingly innumerate for a newspaper&#8217;s Science Writer</a>:</p><p><I>&#8220;Suppose you had lived in 1903 and someone told you, &#8216;If heavier-than-air aviation comes true, then 71,000 people will die in plane crashes over a half-century [1945-2001].&#8217; How would you reply? Would you say, &#8216;No problem, those deaths are worth it if I can get to Reno a few hours earlier&#8217;? &#8230;</I></p><p>This is deceptive since it presents the human cost of aviation without comparing it to the cost of the alternatives, and also includes no benefits except the ability to get to Reno more quickly. (I see why Davidson is a Science Writer, rather than, say, <a href="http://pw1.netcom.com/~ntaleb/">an options trader</a>.) Aviation has enriched people&#8217;s lives by making travel cheaper, quicker, and, yes, safer &#8211; unlike, say, nuclear weapons, which never did anyone any good, and reportedly <a href="http://www.antiwar.com/blog/system/index.php?sx=&m=weblog&p=view&id=127&s=1">are still on hair-trigger alert</a> in civilization-destroying quantities. Which brings us to the conclusion of the aeronautics-skeptical article:</p><p><I>&#8220;Already, skeptics warn us of the possible consequences of unregulated biotechnology, nanotechnology and other futuristic wonders that true believers claim will enrich our lives at no social cost. Like Newcomb and Melville, the new doubters might prove wrong on certain facts. But on matters that count most in the long run, they might prove terrifyingly right.&#8221;</I></p><p>&#8220;Unregulated&#8221;? But the only actually-existing technology (though I&#8217;m sure more are in the pipeline) with the capacity to destroy civilization is entirely regulated.</p>
ID: 1993
Uid: 26
Author: 32
Category: 41
Title: THE NEW JERSEY CONSPIRACY
Source:
Body: <P>First it was the (intentional?) leak of <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/executive/rumsfeld-memo.htm">Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's memo</a>, which brought into question the administration's effectiveness in the"War on Terror." Rumsfeld may have been born in Chicago, but he was educated at Princeton University. In <I>New Jersey</i>. Hold onto that fact for a moment. <P>Then, it was former EPA head and former governor of <I>New Jersey</i> (do you sense a pattern here?), Christie Todd Whitman, who slammed the Halliburton contracts in Iraq."That was dumb," this former Bush appointee said in November's <a href="http://www.harpersbazaar.com/"><I>Harper's Bazaar</i></a>."Why in God's name [would] you let that happen? Halliburton may be the best people to do the job, but you have to bid it, because it just looks terrible." <P>Now it's another former <I>New Jersey</i> governor, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/19/national/19KEAN.html?th">Tom Kean</a>, who is singling out"immigration inspectors,""visa people,""FBI people," for not being vigilant enough to thwart the 9/11 attacks. He's not"yet" naming any incompetent senior administration officials, but he's hinting that more than a few heads should have rolled because of the monumental collapse in US intelligence and defense on that dark day. <P>Forget Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Forget the Hollywood Left and the antiwar movement. Perhaps the administration ought to take a closer look at <I>New Jersey</i>, and all of its own appointees who are being a little too critical, and who may have had some <I>connection</i> to that state. Methinks there's a conspiracy afoot.
ID: 1994
Uid: 26
Author: 32
Category: 41
Title: SADDAM & U.S. COMPLICITY
Source:
Body: <P>I have been debating"pro-war" advocates on several lists over the newest developments in Iraq, but it seems that I've earned the disapproval of at least <a href="http://www.strike-the-root.com/3/halbrooks/halbrooks6.html">one antiwar advocate</a> too, because of my"Death to Tyrants" approach to Saddam Hussein. <P>Let me say, in response, that I am second to none in my appreciation of the role of U.S. foreign policy in engendering the demons it now seeks to exorcise from the world stage. I address the issue of Saddam and U.S. complicity in <a href="http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/essays/internet1203-104.htm#18-December-2003">this post</a>, where I quote appropriately from scripture:"If we sow wickedness, we will reap the same." <P>My <a href="http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/essays/internet1203-104.htm#17-December-2003b">recent discussion</a> of the lethal triangular relationship between the US government, the Saudi government, and ARAMCO is yet another instance of my emphasis on the role of US complicity in the eradication of life, liberty, and property. (And if you want to puke over the Saudi role in all this, take a look at <a href="http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/031215/usnews/15terror.htm">this article</a>.) <P>But I do not believe that US complicity qualifies as a"mitigating circumstance" in judging Saddam's guilt. It is not a defense in morality or international law for Saddam to say:"Hey, everybody knew I was doing this, and the US encouraged me, and nobody raised hell about it before. Why now?" Saddam deserves due process, and if found guilty, he deserves the ultimate penalty for his crimes. <P>Still. US complicity must also be put on trial. In the court of public opinion. It is my hope that such a court will begin to understand the horrific internal contradictions that US policy has generated, day-in, day-out, for <I>decades</i> now, with no end in sight. And perhaps its political pragmatism will be put to death too, to make way for the rebirth of a politics of principle.
ID: 1995
Uid: 17
Author: 32
Category: 41
Title: THE SOCIALIST ORIGINS OF THE PLEDGE
Source:
Body: Invoking the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott in today's Wall Street Journal <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB107171713352841800,00.html?mod=opinion%5Fmain%5Fcommentaries"> asserts </a>that &#8220;[t]he Pledge of Allegiance, too, is part of our common heritage.&#8221; <p> Nonsense. The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by socialist Francis Bellamy.<p> Like many American socialists of the era, Bellamy subscribed to John Dewey&#8217;s notion that government should exercise monopoly control over education in order to produce citizens with sound &#8220;progressive&#8221; ideals. It&#8217;s no coincidence that the pledge was written for an event (sponsored by the National Education Association!) called the National Public Schools Celebration. The goal was to instill mindless loyalty to the national government so that it could more readily socialize American society &#8211; a goal that America&#8217;s founding generation would have found deeply abhorrent.<p>
ID: 1996
Uid: 16
Author: 32
Category: 41
Title: NATIVITY SCENES, KWANZAA, MENORAHS, AND THE PUBLIC SCHOOL MONOPOLY
Source:
Body: Here is another reason to support the <a href="http://www.sepschool.org"> separation of school and state <a>. <P> Principal Karen Davis of Horsham&#8217;s Dorothea Elementary School in Montgomery County, Maryland has ordered the removal of a nativity scene display but allowed other displays to remain in place including <a href="http://www.nbc10.com/education/2712441/detail.html"> a Menorah and an item representing Kwanzaa <a>. Her reasoning is strained. She claims that &#8220;Kwanzaa isn&#8217;t a religious holiday and the Menorah is as much of a cultural symbol as it is a religious symbol.&#8221;<P> Unfortunately, the existence of the public school monopoly, which forces parents and children with diverse perspectives into a &#8220;one best system,&#8221; guarantees that silly stories of this type will continue to plague us on an annual basis.<P>
ID: 1997
Uid: 16
Author: 32
Category: 41
Title: GENE HEALY JOINS LIBERTY AND POWER
Source:
Body: I am delighted to announce that Gene Healy of the Cato Institute has joined as a permanent member of Liberty and Power. <P> Gene has just finished a new Cato Policy Analysis paper, <a href="http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-503es.html">"Deployed in the U.S.A.: the Creeping Militarization of the Home Front."</a><P> In this piece, he argues against looking to the military to solve domestic problems, such as illegal immigration, the threat of terrorism, and drug prohibition. <P>
ID: 1998
Uid: 28
Author: 32
Category: 41
Title: GUEST BLOGGER THANKS &amp; INTRODUCTION
Source:
Body: <p>Like previous guest bloggers I'd like to thank David Beito for inviting me &#150; and also for creating this high-caliber blog. I don't believe that I've met any of you regular L&amp;Pers in the real world (that I've heard so much about) but I have read and admired a number of your books and articles (enough said), so I feel privileged to be able to share my thoughts with you all. Please feel free to comment on and criticize what I write, as I think conversations and debates are often more useful and entertaining than serial monologues.</p><p>Moving right along, I'd like to explain why I've been asked to guest blog. The short answer is that I'm on loan from <a href="http://www.antiwar.com/blog/index.php">the Antiwar.com (AWC) blog</a>, which debuted this summer. A couple of years ago I started AWC's letters-to-the-editor section, called <a href="http://www.antiwar.com/letters/letters.html">Backtalk</a>, and I've run it since. I was also Assistant Managing Editor /Webmaster in '01 &amp; '02. It was a challenging job before the 9/11 attacks, after the attacks it was what my mom calls an AFGO, or <i>Another F-ing Growth Opportunity</i>. I'd like to ramble on a little here and describe the events that brought me to AWC.</p><p><a href="http://www.sidekickmagazine.com/reviews/h/highfidelity.html"><img src="http://www.sidekickmagazine.com/reviews/h/highfidelity.jpg" border="0" vspace="8" hspace="8" align="right"></a>I graduated from high school in Massachusetts the '80s, skipped college, moved to San Francisco and played music (no, you never heard any of it) while working at a series of low-paying jobs (visualize <i><a href="http://www.sidekickmagazine.com/reviews/h/highfidelity.html">High Fidelity</a></i>, close enough). I read a fair amount but somehow managed to keep from learning anything at all about economics. I was somewhat interested in but repulsed by, and basically uninvolved in, politics (much of the repulsion remains). Then two things pushed me in a different direction, the Kosovo conflict and the Internet.</p><p>Unlike every other non-former-Yugoslavian I've ever met, the Kosovo conflict motivated me more than any other foreign war has. I'm not sure exactly why but it might have had something to do with the President's unconstitutional end-run around Congress's war-declaring powers, the US's (and NATO's) violation of the UN Charter (which also seems to have violated the Constitution's requirement that the government honor its treaties), near-conflict with nuclear-armed Russia, and the never-adequately-explained bombing of nuclear-armed China's embassy, among other abominations &#150; and all of this in the pivotal post&#150;Cold War era and directed against a country that (unlike Iraq) no one even pretended was a security threat to the United States. And to top it off, many of my liberal friends and coworkers that opposed Republican wars and, retrospectively, at least, the Vietnam War, thought the Kosovo intervention was a great idea. The Clinton administration had ordered US officials not to use the word &quot;genocide&quot; when hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were killed, in order to avoid pressure to intervene there, yet we were supposed to believe that a conflict that had killed 1% as many people had to be stopped for humanitarian reasons.</p><p>One thing that motivated me to get involved in the antiwar mini-movement was my anger at the US media's propagandizing. For example, I remember walking past a newsstand and seeing a front page photo of Kosovo Albanians being forced onto trains. The headline, if I remember correctly, was &quot;Shades of the Holocaust.&quot; What the story actually reported when I read past the front page, however, was that the Albanians had been forcibly evicted from their homes in an area where frequent attacks against government officials had occurred. The train ride had lasted several hours and soft drinks had been provided. Forcible eviction is a terrible thing, and depending on the circumstances might be war crime but what had occurred was not what the references to boxcars and the Holocaust implied.</p><p>I started reading everything I could find about Kosovo &#150; I once calculated that I'd read well over 1000 articles. From a Yahoo News link I found Antiwar.com and Justin Raimondo's Wartime Diary, a daily proto-blog. (Actually, I recognized Justin's name from his articles in <i><a href="http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/">Chronicles</a></i> magazine, which I'd discovered when I worked at a magazine kiosk, though I wasn't familiar with his work.) I think it was at AWC that I read a column, originally posted on tenc.net, which challenged the reader to find a single Milosevic quote that was overtly racist or hate-inspiring. I looked and looked and never found one. This doesn't prove that Milosevic isn't a war criminal, of course; a leader can kill without saying nasty things in public. Still, if he was the new Hitler, as government and media alleged, he was a Hitler who ran a shrinking country, didn't annex neighbors, and refrained from hate-speech.</p><p>AWC intrigued me with its news from around the world and viewpoints from around the political spectrum. It was so obvious but for some reason unusual: people who disagree on less important issues should work together to work on the more important problem of illegitimate and dangerously irresponsible government aggression. (<i>Dangerously irresponsible</i>: it's now pretty clear that US <a href="http://www.lewrockwell.com/spectator/spec143.html">support for jihad in the Balkans</a> and <a href="http://exile.ru/153/153010101.html">elsewhere</a> led to <a href="http://www.antiwar.com/blog/comments.php?id=P243_0_1_90">the compromising of US security</a> domestically.)</p><p>A friend of a friend of mine, who was also a union representative where I worked, spoke at an antiwar teach-in within walking distance of my house. As it happened, Justin Raimondo mentioned in his column that he was attending meetings by the group that hosted this event and invited his readers to join him there, so I did.</p><p>As I later learned from Justin, who is, surprisingly, an expert on all things commie, the coalition had been founded by a number of Trotskyist groups or grouplets that didn't want to belong to International ANSWER (which is itself a Trotskyist group, I think). A dozen or so people were in a relatively mellow mostly Baby Boomer group that I'm pretty sure was called Socialist Action. Their members struck me as sincere and well meaning, and they seemed to want to include non-communists. There was also a somewhat larger group that also had Socialist in its name, their members were younger and the men in the group struck me as somewhat creepy, cultish and unpleasant. </p><p>The coalition was very democratic, every detail was voted on, but the Socialists tended to vote as a bloc, sometimes it was socialist group against socialist group, sometimes socialist groups against non-socialists. The coalition included a number of independents &#150; that is, people who weren't in a group &#150; but a larger number of independents attended one meeting and didn't return, possibly they were discouraged by the fact that the Socialists tended to drag in their whole agenda. Still, I was encouraged. Justin, the token right-winger, and independents like me were allowed to participate in and even lead various projects, and by the time the crisis ended the Socialists had agreed to invite one or more non-leftist opponents of the war to speak at the next event. I think that if the Kosovo conflict had continued, before long enough independents would have joined that non-extremists would have outvoted extremists, and the coalition would have become more effective. If nothing else, I got a new appreciation for the <a href="http://middleeastinfo.org/article878.html"> Judean People's Front</a> skit in <i><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/948331.stm">Life of Brian</a></i>.</p><p>That's enough about Kosovo. I'll talk about the Internet next time.</p>
ID: 1999
Uid: 22
Author: 32
Category: 41
Title: JUST TRIAL THEN EXECUTE
Source:
Body: he was moved to compassion as he saw"this man destroyed, being treated like a cow as they [the US military] checked his teeth." The media and military treatment of Saddam looks like vengeance, not justice...and this could turn Saddam into an object of pity for some, a rallying point for others. Bush may yet snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. <P> For one thing...why mention the death penalty? It was akin to throwing gas on a raging fire for the joy of making sparks. As <A HREF="http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=473984"> the UK Independent notes</A>,"the death penalty issue could cause friction between the United States and Europe. All 15 member nations of the European Union have abolished capital punishment, and they often encourage other countries &#8212; most notably the United States &#8212; to abolish it. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan also has said the world body would not support bringing Saddam before a tribunal that might sentence him to death." Ever the faithful lapdog, Tony Blair courageously stated that, although Britain opposed the death penalty, it would have to accept an Iraqi decision to execute. My point: why even raise the issue of executing Saddam...and so prominently? It is as tho' Bush sat down and pondered,"How can I possibly make the situation worse?" The answer is obvious, of course. He doesn't care how his statements impact the world as long as they please the American electorate. <P> Don't expect to see a trial or public process of any sort surrounding Saddam in the near future. The US is already announcing a long delay before a trial date is set. After all, what Saddam could say in a public trial might prove tremendously embarrassing to the Bush administration. As the BBC <A HREF="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3324053.stm"> reports</A>,"Iraq had invaded Iran in 1980 but the Iranians had held the advance and were striking back with human wave attacks. Iraq was known, by 1983, to have used chemical weapons to stop these. A US State Department memorandum in 1983 stated: 'We have recently received additional information confirming Iraqi use of chemical weapons.' President Reagan determined nevertheless that Iraq should be supported and he sent Mr Rumsfeld to Baghdad with a personal letter from himself to Saddam Hussein. Mr Rumsfeld had been defence secretary under President Ford and was then head of a private pharmaceutical company. Minutes of their meeting in December 1983 were taken by an American diplomat and later released in edited form under the Freedom of Information Act. They were published by the <A HREF="http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/"> National Security Archive</A>, a private research group." I doubt if Bush wants photos, like <A HREF="http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/"> this one</A> of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam, to circulate before the elections next fall.
ID: 2000
Uid: 26
Author: 32
Category: 41
Title: DICK CHENEY'S WORDS OF WISDOM, CIRCA 1992
Source:
Body: <P>Vice President Cheney is in the news today. First, Paul Krugman, in <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/16/opinion/16KRUG.html?th">Patriots and Profits<a>, mentions Cheney in connection with Halliburton and crony capitalism. No surprises there. Even the liberal Krugman admits that"worries about profiteering aren't a left-right issue. Conservatives have long warned that regulatory agencies tend to be 'captured' by the industries they regulate; the same must be true of agencies that hand out contracts." I talked about this phenomenon in"<a href="http://hnn.us/articles/1621.html#12120303">Mixed Economy 101</a>." <P>But the <I>best</i> Cheney reference today, by far, is this one, in Todd S. Purdum's <I>NY Times</i> article,"<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/16/international/middleeast/16BUSH.html?th">After 12 Years, Sweet Victory: The Bushes' Pursuit of Hussein</a>." Purdum writes: <P><B>There were ample reasons for the first President Bush not to go after Mr. Hussein. The current vice president and then the secretary of defense, Dick Cheney, outlined some of them in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation in 1992, when he said:"If we'd gone to Baghdad and got rid of Saddam Hussein &#8212; assuming we could have found him &#8212; we'd have had to put a lot of forces in and run him to ground someplace. He would not have been easy to capture. Then you've got to put a new government in his place, and then you're faced with the question of what kind of government are you going to establish in Iraq?" <P><B>"Is it going to be a Kurdish government, or a Shia government or a Sunni government?" Mr. Cheney continued."How many forces are you going to have to leave there to keep it propped up, how many casualties are you going to take through the course of this operation?" <P>Purdum adds:"Most of those questions remain as relevant today as they were a decade ago..." <P>Amen.