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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The CIA and Torture

I'm starting to think that Christopher Hitchens is about the smartest man in America.  Not all knowing, but better at analyzing things than others.

His latest column on the CIA and its use of torture, defended by so many good christians of the right wing, is another example of his ability to bring clarity to a topic fouled by moral equivocation.

Here's the money quote:

On 9/11, according to Bob Woodward, George Tenet audibly hoped that the suicide-murderers of al-Qaida were not connected to the shady-looking pupils at those flight schools in the Midwest. The schools, that is to say, about which the CIA knew! In other words, and not for the first time, the CIA (which disbelieved the evidence of Saddam's plan to attack Kuwait in 1990 and continually excused him as a "secularist") had left us defenseless and ignorant. Unprofessional and hysterical methods of interrogation, therefore, were unleashed in part to overcompensate for—and to cover up—a general lack of professionalism at every level of the agency from the top down. 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

U.S. Grant on

I was doing some research and happened to come across a quote that had absolutely nothing to do with what I was researching, but it was so good I had to take note of it.  It's from President U. S. Grant and it speaks for itself.  

"It did seem to me, in my early army days, that too many of the older officers, when they came to command posts, made it a study to think what orders they could publish to annoy their subordinates and render them uncomfortable. I noticed, however, a few years later, when the Mexican war broke out, that most of this class of officers discovered they were possessed of disabilities which entirely incapacitated them for active field service. They had the moral courage to proclaim it, too. They were right; but they did not always give their disease the right name."

Nope, I never met an officer like that.  :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Master of Saying Nothing

Obama has shown a complete mastery of publicly standing for nothing.  His latest stunt is a very interesting nuance on that theme.  He says he wants to look to the future, not to the past.  He's been saying that for a while now.

And there are a lot of politicians that holler one thing and do another.  That's not new.

But what The Won has done now is nothing short of brilliant as a demonstration of getting others to do dirty work while he professes to stay above the fray.

He released the classified legal briefs formed for President Bush concerning how different types of torture and maltreatment could be allowed in a twisted and immoral interpretation of law.  But then he says, oh, but I don't want to do anything about it knowing darn well that congress will.

Don't misunderstand me.  The use of torture, no matter what it may have or may not have gained us in intelligence, was a disastrous and immoral position that will stain the honor of our nation for centuries.  Why would any nation strive to copy our form of government if we allow torture and mistreatment of people, no matter how barbaric or vicious they might be?  Dick Cheney quipped that if Obama is going to declassify the papers describing the torture and mistreatment allowed, then he should also declassify the results obtained.  I have respect for Cheney because I think he is very intelligent, but he is also morally bankrupt on this issue.  He is also part of the team that believed that a war can be won using only special forces and limited numbers of people.  For all his intelligence, he certainly has no appreciation for human nature and the citizens of nations.  

It doesn't matter what intelligence was gained, it was not worth it.

I digress.  Back to the point.  

B. Hussein has succeeded in stirring up a hornet's nest.  His lackeys in the press won't call him out on it, and indeed they have been faithfully parroting his disingenuous protestations that this unprecedented breach of security was innocently intended.

Meanwhile, lawyers who wrote a legal opinion for their client are being threatened with criminal prosecution.  The dean of the University of California at Irvine (a very well known man in the legal community) has said, and he made sure that we knew his comparison was intentional and exact, that the writers of these legal opinions were precisely as guilty as the Nazis who slaughtered 6 million Jews.  

As he has done all his life, B. Hussein will get to eat his cake and have it too.  Others will do the dirty work, while he sits back and lets them do it.  This is precisely how he is going to turn this nation into a Soviet Republic of America, the dream of the Communist Party of the United States.  He is going to nationalize the banks by converting preferred stocks into voting common stocks and then we will be doomed.

Can you tell that I'm not happy about the way things are going?  

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


I've been seeing videos by Alfonzo Rachel for a couple years I think, and I decided that I want to link to him today.  He's the exception to the rule that blacks are racists.  Here is a man who thinks for himself and refuses to support The Won simply because his father was a black man.

Some of his videos are better than others, but I especially like the one when he imitates The Won by holding a teleprompter in his hand.  

I hope this man gets into politics.  He has a quick, likeable wit, and he isn't afraid to go against the vast majority of blacks who are too racist to vote against a communist simply because he is black. 

 Update:  Pajamas TV has now put Alfonzo Rachel on a pay only status.  When his stuff was free it was funny.  It's certainly not worth paying for.  I don't understand Pajamas TV.  I think they have a failed business model.  They need to get much more professional quality before they're worth paying for, and even then, there's too much free political commentary out there that there's no need to be paying for any.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Why Libertarianism is Failing

The Libertarian Party has been the leading third party for a few decades now, but still has yet to be effective or even influential.  Their basic message should resound with the majority of Americans, for the basics of the libertarian philosophy are the core of the beliefs of the founders of our nation and are still accepted by the majority of Americans in most jurisdictions (Berkeley and UC Davis be damned).

So why have they failed?  Well, first let's see where they have "succeeded."  The past few days we've learned that more and more states are recognizing homosexuals being "married."  A strong libertarian philosophy would deny the government any role in recognizing any marriage, but the LP has been at the fore front of supporting this issue.

What we've seen is that on little issues that mean very little to true freedom, the LP has been been pushing hardest.  Yet the important issues, such as government involvement with private industry, they have almost totally ignored.  

I'm reminded of Ayn Rand chiding the youth of the late sixties and early seventies for believing that freedom means being allowed to play rock and roll on the radio.  She believed that such a facile understanding of freedom was dangerous.  Even in the worst times in the Soviet Union, she pointed out, people were allowed to listen to music of their choice.  The evils of soviet totalitarianism were rooted in economic freedom.

While the two major parties have been conspiring to subordinate our economic freedoms through Rooseveltian socialism, Nixonian price controls, Johnsonian war on poverty, and now the Bush and Obama nationalization of the largest parts of our private industries and monetary institutions, they've tossed a few bones to us about homosexuality.  Yeah, big deal.  Homosexuals can "marry" and will likely be allowed in the military (with subsequent lowering of its prestige), but soon no one will be able to hire a doctor of their own choice, or even own property even if they had sufficient money to do so.

Thanks Libertarian Party.  You've really kept up the fight for "freedom."  But somehow it doesn't seem a good trade.


Monday, April 06, 2009

What to do about Korean Missiles

So North Korea, a despotic, murderous regime, threatens to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile.  This is not good.  But what should we do about it?

One option would have been to shoot it down.  In fact, there were rumors that US Navy ships were deployed that were capable of doing that.  This capability is still very new, still being tested, probably not entirely reliable.  So, say we did decide to shoot it down, what would have happened if we missed?  The world's attention would have been focused on us, our ineptness, and on how to stop our rogue behavior.  This would have been very bad.  North Korea would have been triumphant while we would have been shamed.

But now that it has splashed in the ocean we have a lot of good data on North Korean incompetence and how they are advancing their capabilities.  

The truth is that international law is only observed by the lawful.  And the lawless get to demand that the lawful do so.  This is essentially how terrorism works.  Terrorists can destroy anything, kill anyone, and get their way.  Civilized nations can't do that.  

There are only really two ways to deal with this.  Either we wipe out the North Korean government, or we live with their threats.  There's no other workable solution.