bush lied, people died. escalate nonviolence.
Having technical difficulties this weekend. Hopefully, I'll be back to the usual ranting and raving by Monday.
Update: Fixed sooner than expected. Yaaay!posted by Natasha at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK |
Friday, February 07, 2003
If Hussein Had An Army Of Evil, Flying Pigs
I've been seeing an increasing number of anti-war arguments that run something like, "There is a good case to be made for a war with Iraq, but team Bush hasn't made it." This posits that there's an excellent reason running around out there in the wild blue yonder, and that if Powell could just nab and harness it for his boss, all objections would be withdrawn. (Imagine Powell running around with a butterfly net in full dress uniform. Or don't.) As if we would all immediately be compelled to say, "Oh, well that's alright then," on pronunciation of the magic words.
There are flaws with the underlying logic here, but I think a big one is that simply being opposed to war for it's own sake (or because of the participants involved) is considered an 'unreasonable' position. We all want to be reasonable, so what could it hurt to imagine some fictitious scenario and posit that if that condition were satisfied, then yes, war would be okay.
Unfortunately, the Bush administration is playing the same game. Some exceptionally bright bulb must have figured out that 'when pigs fly' wasn't a literal condition they needed to meet to win over public support for the proposed adventure. But they realized that an equally unlikely condition, were it true, would pass muster with the public. Hence, the media blitz to imply to the unwary that Saddam Hussein has been linked to Al-Qaeda, and might be/have been/could be in the future involved with 9-11 or some hypothetical event *just like it.*
Friends Like These
Now, there might actually be other good arguments for war, but I'd like to suggest that the Bush administration is fundamentally incapable of making even a single one of them. Yes, the massive volcano under Yellowstone could bury half the continent in lava, and "[I] Might Already Have Won A Million Dollars," but I'm not going to plan my day on any of that. For one thing, the vast number of really good arguments involve international law. And with friends like the Bush administration, international law doesn't need any enemies.
For another thing, most of the precedents that Hussein has violated don't implicate just him. Actually prosecuting him or his minions in anything but a kangaroo court would require prosecuting their accomplices. Who were their accomplices? Oh yes, that would be us. Or rather, the entire senior staff of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, '41' himself, and a number of US companies who supplied Hussein either directly or through foreign subsidiaries. And where is that senior staff today? Working for George W. Bush, mostly.
So the administration is caught in a dilemma. They can support the law, under which all relevant parties should be brought to some accounting for what are admittedly terrible atrocities. Or they can have a grudge match, which would clearly put the US in the wrong by the rules they claim to be playing by. At least that would be the way sane people might view it.
Just like their budget which should miraculously balance while spending more and earning less, team Bush would like to have a grudge match sanctioned by laws they feel themselves to be above. But as their track record thus far would imply, they'll have all skipped town before the bills come due.
'Not even God can beat the Ace of trumps with a pair of deuces.' - Old Russian joke
"Your enemy is not surrounding your country -- your enemy is ruling your country." - George W. Bushposted by Natasha at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK |
Busy, Busy, Busy checks some facts and catches William Safire lying. Interestingly, the lie has to do with the transcript Colin Powell read at the UN. Turns out that if you read the whole thing, it doesn't sound particularly damning.posted by Natasha at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK |
Mark Morford weighs in on Powell's performance at the UN, and the ongoing assault on the world that is the Bush administration's every waking act.posted by Natasha at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK |
Who're they pissing off now?
Apparently, Germans don't like being compared with Cuba and Libya.
The administration proposes to cut education funding for the children of military personnel, presently numbering around 240,000.
According to the CNN news reader, even House Republicans don't like this planned overhaul of retirement accounts. They've asked Bush to send a "more bipartisan" plan to congress.posted by Natasha at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK |
Thursday, February 06, 2003
It went by on the CNN Headline News ticker this morning that today is the anniversary of Ronald Reagan's 1985 announcement of his support for "freedom fighters" around the world (I question the precision of that date, but any excuse for a retrospective.) What freedom fighters was he thinking of? In part, he certainly meant the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Just a short time later, March 21st of that year, he proclaimed Afghanistan Day. This is what he envisioned for that country when the brave Mujahideen had finished ousting the Soviet aggressors (links mine):
This repost of a 1986 Guardian article talks about Mujahideen leader Abdul Haq meeting with Margaret Thatcher. The post is prefaced by a Reagan quote from a 1985 speech where he says, "...all of us are privileged to have in our midst tonight one of the brave commanders who lead the Afghan freedom fighters-Abdul Haq. Abdul Haq, we are with you." The article opens:
What happened to Mr. Haq? Didn't this brave freedom fighter get to take a leading role in accomplishing the aforementioned Reagan dream for his country? No. About a month and a half after 9-11, his forces were pinned down by the Taliban and he was captured and executed. American war planes only arrived to provide support an hour after the battle which had gone on for hours.posted by Natasha at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK |
The FDA warns that genetically modified pigs have been improperly sold into the food supply. Charming. Our food web dependencies have been developed over thousands of years, but certain irresponsible researchers feel comfortable with releasing new organisms into it after just a few years of playing around with genes.
No one believes at present that they pose a significant risk, saying that the altered protein shouldn't be in the meat. Yeah, and kids used to run and play in the DDT when the crop dusters came around. Let's hope the optimists are right.posted by Natasha at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK |
Prime Minister Blair is walking a fine line.
Well, North Korea didn't take kindly to the rumored suggestion of a US strike on its nuclear facilities. They say that it will start an all out war, and that they may preemptively strike at our forces if we seem to be planning an attack. The BBC makes the case that they are indeed a threat, even as we shrug them off.
Does anyone seem to recall that a short two years ago, North Korea was getting back in touch with its neighbors and talking amicably enough with the South. No one trusted them, but there was also very little posturing, no threats back and forth. There was even talk of direct diplomacy with the US. The situation was tense but improving. How times have changed.
'Never get into a land war in Asia.' - The Princess Brideposted by Natasha at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK |
Wednesday, February 05, 2003
Impeach Bush today!
For boasting about the assassinations of foreign nationals(1), threatening to lead our country into preemptive war(2), and for failing to follow international laws recognized by previous administrations(2), this administration should be investigated. For reaching beyond the powers of the executive office by pulling out of treaties approved by Congress(3), the administration should be tried before the public. Charges of bribery should also be investigated regarding the formulation of the administration's energy policy(4) as an improper favor for campaign contributions by parties proven since to be financially corrupt.
The people of the United States being directly affected by these acts of the Bush administration deserve to have them investigated in public by our elected representatives.
BTW: The linked site is sponsored by Ramsey Clark of ANSWER. If you care, I don't want to hear about it. If you agree with the message but can't stand the messenger, organize your own drive for impeachment. If we don't hang together, we will all hang separately.
(1) "Let's put it this way - they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies."
(2) Read this open letter by a group of law professors indicating that we're treading down the same road as other aggressor nations, and breaking our own laws in the process:
(3) Remember the ABM treaty?
(4) Cheney refused to release records of meeting with energy industry officials including Enron representatives, which resulted in a policy that matched the industry sponsored document almost word for word.posted by Natasha at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK |
In the process of a demolition effort in the Gaza Strip, IDF forces bury a woman alive in her stepson's home, and tear down a mosque built without proper permission.
Saudi Arabia concerned about regional stability after a war in Iraq.
Russia and Saudi Arabia strengthen ties, plan to increase trade.posted by Natasha at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK |
As all good news junkies know, Colin Powell made his case at the UN today. The only response to that right now is... Teaspoons, Teaspoons, Teaspoons! But seriously, I'll wait for additional information and mull on it for a while.
On the other hand, this is as good a time as any to note that while disgruntled rumblings have emanated from the US military, Britain's military leaders are similarly unsold on the ethics of a preemptive war and worried about confused objectives. Whatever your disposition, the world has come a long way when the senior military officials of the world's major powers are hesitant to jump in with both feet. Cheers to our men and women under arms for being more level headed than their civilian administrators.
Civilization is all about separating what you can do from what you should do. It doesn't take long for Shock and Awe to turn into grief, rage, and a smoldering determination to Get Even.posted by Natasha at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK |
In the Asia Times:
India and Iran draw closer. An interesting historical perspective on the influence of Persian culture.
Tensions are rising between Pakistan and the US, and between Russia and India. Pakistan and Russia are looking to improve relations, even as India and the US form stronger ties. Do-si-do.
Iraq: beyond oil?
Will Saudi Arabia's plan to limit the number of foreign workers fix their unemployment problem?posted by Natasha at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK |
The First Lady's decision to cancel a literary symposium is backfiring. And not only contemporary, but classical American authors' anti-war sentiments are unwelcome. This Walt Whitman directive quoted in the article was beautiful and perfect (okay, so I'm a sap, ya got me):
Go to Poets Against The War for more goodies.
And, for anyone wondering who the hell cares what a bunch of artists think, well here goes. Aside from the absurdity of the conservative crowd who worship at the feet of Reagan making pronouncements of this nature, there's some sentiment in each of us that asks "What do (insert favorite punching bag group) know about such and such?" For me, it's the Christian Nationalists who want to turn this country into a theocracy. Those people tick me off every day, and twice on Sunday.
But here's the rub: Because I'm a believer in the democratic process, I think that even those people have the same duty and responsibility that I do to participate and speak up. They have that duty as citizens of the country. If they have a special gift of eloquence, or a bigger platform, good for them.* If I disagree, then I have the duty to say so loud and clear. We learn through the process of democracy, sometimes by not getting our way, sometimes by getting it. The results of our collective decisions will continue to reshape the dialogue that happens between all of us.
We can disagree with each other until the conservatives beat their swords into ploughshares, but there is no occupation anywhere in the country that gives someone less right to participate in the public exchange of ideas than any other citizen. Not artists, not actors, not janitors, not secretaries, not CEOs, not fry cooks, not housespouses, not teachers. It's the duty of each of us to get as informed as we can, participate, and pay attention to what's going on.
* Arguing about whether or not the media bullhorns have been fairly distributed falls outside the scope of this post. For more discussion on that topic, Seeing The Forest is always a good bet.posted by Natasha at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK |
Yep.posted by Natasha at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK |
Today's funny pages, links courtesy of World Net Daily. Purveyors of fine Christian Nationalist paranoia, war fever, and spiritually sound financial advice.
Subscribe to Business Reform magazine, a publication for the Christian entrepreneur, and receive the book 'Doing Business God's Way' absolutely free. Read this fine sample article from Business Reform, explaining that the real culprit in the recent wave of corporate fraud and scandal is government regulators and insufficiently conservative politicians.
Evil Democrats plan to filibuster Bush judicial nominee Miguel Estrada. Maybe they've just been reading their constituents' letters.
What brought down the Coumbia? Why, environmentalism, of course.
Ann Coulter's and Katherine Harris' book signings were a big draw at a recent wingnut event. Harris' book about the 2000 elections, 'Center of the Storm', is published by World Net Daily Books. One fan is quoted as saying of Coulter, "I admire the way her mind works...I also think she's pretty babe-alicious."posted by Natasha at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK |
Well, here's the wrap-up (for now) to the so-called 'strike.'
The opposition has stopped crippling the economy, and are collecting petitions instead to force the constitutionally mandated August referendum. They didn't think of that before because...?
Oil prices fall as Venezuelan production rises. People are beginning to be worried about oversupply later in the year.
Everyone but PDVSA workers are back on the job.
TNR toes the official line, and yes, Virginia, it's all about the oil. This last bit pretty much summed up the character of the piece, and the US attitude (emphasis ours):
The ReachM High Cowboy Network Noose has moved. Mosey on over.posted by Natasha at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK |
Republicans are good for the economy?posted by Natasha at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK |
Tuesday, February 04, 2003
Then go check out Ampersand's very good post about how feminism can't work without simultaneously addressing men's issues, with a response to anti-feminist critique, courtesy of Body and Soul (who has some good posts up today as well). A brief clip to get you hooked:
But go read the whole thing, and the rest of his current entries as well. Good stuff all around.posted by Natasha at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK |
"Mine is bigger than yo-oo-ours." At least, that's what you might hear if Bush was having his little tantrum with Kim Jong Il in a junior-high school bathroom, which is about the maturity level of the current posturing. Kim Jong Il's response would then have to be, "Oh yeah!? Well I'll beat up your punk little friend after gym, he won't be able to show his face for a week and you can't stop me." Both: "Thbppffffft."posted by Natasha at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK |
The main provisions of Bush's medicare plan are already being tried after a manner of speaking, and don't work very well. I'm not especially surprised, but if the plan is a flop, Karl Rove may well be astonished when faced with the full might of the AARP. It's that whole youth and skill vs. age and treachery thing. You could almost feel bad for the guy, if in fact he was even remotely sympathetic.posted by Natasha at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK |
Monday, February 03, 2003
There is no unusual mistreatment of women, or any particular discrimination against them, anywhere in the world. It would be crazy to suggest such an outrageous idea, and it promotes discrimination against men. Any suggestion otherwise is propaganda from feminist imperialists.
posted by Natasha at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK |
It would appear that Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont, Democratic dark horse in the presidential primary race, is opposed to methadone clinics. This stance does not endear him to me, but we'll see what he says for himself as the campaign heats up, he otherwise seems like a decent pick. The sad thing is, such a position is unremarkable in either party.posted by Natasha at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK |
Digby points up the dangers of letting people who don't believe in science to take science majors as grad students. This is a continuation of the discussion picked up in blogistan recently about a professor who refused to issue letters of recommendation to students who didn't believe in evolution, but wanted to go on to med school or life sciences. He links to PLAs excellent suggestion as to what should be done about the matter, there's also the question of the merits of the professor's stance.
While it has to be admitted that your average MD does not need to be able to recall Darwin's theories in order to prescribe your Ritalin, Vicodin, Ambien, etc., there's more to it. Not everyone who goes to med school ends up practicing family medicine. There's infectious disease study and epidemiology. The field of medical research is also available. Teaching positions might come later in the career. For each of these three cases, it's vital that a student accept the basics of life sciences based on the likelihood that in a long career it will become important.
This is especially the case when dealing with the influence of microorganisms that go through several generations in the time it takes you to read this blog entry. Bacteria don't care whether or not you 'believe' in survival of the fittest and beneficial (if you're the disease organism) mutation. They will go ahead and practice it anyway. You should even be able to grasp this when you have to decide what sorts of sanitary practices are followed in a medical facility, as disease organisms have found many hospitals to be proving grounds where they get stronger all the time.
And getting back to our family doctor, what about their prescriptions for antibiotics? I wrote about the menace of indiscriminate antibiotic use a while back, and it seems relevant to the discussion. If a doctor doesn't believe in evolution, and feels just fine with revising out whole portions of established science, what will their stance be on the need to curb their profession's over-prescription of these medications? If they're making health recommendations to government or agriculture, what will their response be to the data demonstrating that in the span of a human lifetime, disease organisms have been getting stronger due to overuse of antibacterials.
Medical professionals don't always make these decisions correctly now. How will it be when they don't even have to believe in a portion of their science that's led to tremendous advances over the years. Once again, religion is great in private, but not so good for determining matters of science, policy, and governance.posted by Natasha at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK |
In the Asia Times:
More on Hindu Nationalism in India. Just as in every other country where politicians attempt to divide the public over theology, the material needs of India's citizens are being neglected by all sides. Does this scenario sound familiar to anyone...
Iran's economy loosening up. I'm all for a healthy bit of welfare statism, but when the mullahs got together and planned that country's economy, it seems they picked the worst of every possible world. On the other hand, at least they still own their country, which will stand them in good stead when they finally get around to ditching their command economy. The same can definitely not be said of many other developing nations.posted by Natasha at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK |
Daily Kos points out in his very timely way that indeed the FBI and CIA know of no link between Iraq and Al-Qaida. Maybe they have telepaths working for the Pentagon?
And also, in the ongoing holy war by the Justice Department to deprive the state of California of the ability to follow their own laws, Ed Rosenthal has been convicted of 3 felonies. The jury was not allowed to hear the case made that Rosenthal's drug holdings were perfectly acceptable under California's medical marijuana laws. The jurors were devastated, as they understood the medical nature of the use, but had not been informed that they were allowed to declare innocence.
As a btw, juries do not absolutely have to convict for anything. They do not have to absolutely declare innocence for anything. The whole point of having juries is for there to be an additional point of independent decision. This can sometimes be infuriating in cases of bodily harm, but in fact it seems that in drug cases, juries feel that they 'must' convict. Which is just society's warped little way of saying that drugs are even worse than assault, murder, rape, or robbery.posted by Natasha at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK |
Sunday, February 02, 2003
In Government Executive:
NASA job cuts may have endangered shuttle safety.
Someone who works for Total Information Awareness tries to reassure people about the program. I'm basking in the glow of his comforting words.
Port and border security agencies to form private sector partnerships.
More info on budget cuts for first responders.
Bush's cabinet graded. They have a cumulative GPA of 2.5. Hmmmm.posted by Natasha at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK |
Seeing the Forest talks about voting machine shenannigans, and provides links to a number of posts and articles on the topic. Apparently, Christian Nationalists are cornering the market on machines that leave no records of the votes entered on them.posted by Natasha at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK |
Body and Soul tells us about rice for peace.posted by Natasha at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK |
A look at a present day society that outlaws abortion in virtually all cases:
Don't think it couldn't happen here.posted by Natasha at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK |
Update: Daily Kos examines whether Bush's Iraq policy got a significant boost from the SOTU.posted by Natasha at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK |
Chavez declares that the strike is dead.
Oil production is up, and the opposition holds on to an increasingly tenuous position.
Marcela Sanchez suggests that both sides need to chill out. She notes the 'apocalyptic' terms used by both, which I have to say never bodes well. Yet in today's political climate, where the whole world listens to the medieval rhetoric coming out of the Bush administration, it's hard to blame the world (all sides, many regions) for looking a little more wildly fanatical than it did a few short years ago.
In last Monday's Venezuela update, I posted a link to a letter by Larry Birns regarding Thor Halvorssen, who he claimed was the former drug czar of Venezuela. Thor Halvorssen was that, but it was his son, also Thor Halvorssen (Jr.?) who's been doing all this article writing. In an email yesterday, he requested that I post a link to his response to Birns' letter, which explains the identity mix-up.
So to clarify for once and all, the Thor Halvorssen who's written a number of articles slamming President Chavez' government is the heir of Venezuela's ex-drug czar, not the drug czar himself ;) He is in fact (and I'd wondered about this when Googling the name) the Executive Director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, as praised in World Net Daily and the National Review.
WampumBlog has a tremendous post on the Ivory Coast meltdown, which also points up the hypocrisy of Americans who expect the whole world to care about every little thing that happens to us, at the same time that we can't be bothered to be aware of what's happening to them.posted by Natasha at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK |