Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tax Simplification

I don't know about the rest of the MojoWire editors, but here's an idea for income tax simplification that I've long favored, and which I think now is a good time to issue a routine reminder to that effect:
Let's Abolish The Mortgage Interest Deduction!
Yes, I know that's an unpopular proposal. I don't care. It's a good idea. It's a defensible idea. Progressives ought to embrace it and engage with the opposition over it.

That is all.

Update (okay, that's not all...): Jason Furman concurs. Oh, and this piece by Roger Lowenstein is worth reading. Finally, have a look at this.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Step away from the Cave please...

Salon has an interesting book review about a new book about Plato's Republic. The author, a British philosphy professor, offers this insight into how this book has been misused in recent years:
Another reading of him, which is I think even worse, is due to the American political theorist Leo Strauss, who saw him as in some sense endorsing the idea that it's a dog-eat-dog world. This was kind of a covert message, Strauss thought, of [Plato's] text. Strauss thought that this covert message or esoteric message was supposed to be perceived only by a number of people of special illumination, amongst which he included himself, of course. And that was the ideology that eventually became American neoconservatism, the view that the servants of the state are entitled to do anything -- to lie, to manipulate, to foment war, to destabilize neighboring states, to disguise their actions under a hypocritical cloak of goodness. So it's an extreme example of realpolitik, which I think is just a 180 degree misreading of what Plato is about. But it just shows that you can put down the clearest words on the page and it will be read saying the opposite.

I think that [Strauss's reading] is very perverse.

It's not just perverse, it's antithetical to the democratic values of the American republic.

Plato was certainly an elitist, and no fan of the sort of democracy practiced by the Athenians at the time, one assumes because it was responsible for the execution of his beloved teacher, Socrates. But the application of Plato's argument (Socrates is assumed to be speaking for Plato in the Republic) in the Republic by the NeoConservatives truly deserves some greater scrutiny in relation to how they view our Constitutional Republic. As the books author points out in the Salon Q&A, The "ideal State" described in the Republic is really just an extended metaphor that Socrates/Plato uses to argue for the validity of living a just and virtuous life as Plato saw it. After thousands of years of Western Philosophy, here we are grappling in the dirt about the ideas of Plato and his Theory of Forms.

I doubt many who consider themselves NeoConservatives walk around plotting to implement the ideas in the Republic, but they do seem to embrace an idealism that goes out of it's way to ignore, reject, or shout down anything that might challenge their conception of what is the "good", and that their might be limits to what they should do to bring that good about. And that is Platonic in a real sense, insofar as they are the ones who get to leave the cave and decide what is the higher reality. I would argue it's useful to view NeoConservatism in this way because it strips it of its faux pragmatism and concern for the public and put's it in the realm of all the other utopians with visons of arrogant grandeur.

One of the ironies here is that Socrates, Plato's teacher,and the argumentive, unemployed nitpicker that he was, would never have been invited to one of those fancy AEI NeoCon symposiums on National Security, but would been "escorted" from the building for asking the obvious moral questions the Neoconservatives don't seem very concerned about.

I wonder if perhaps the Republic should have been on that list of the 10 most Harmful books that Human Events Online compiled a few years back? They limited it to the 19th and 20th centuries, but considering all the damage fairly or unfairly attributed to the Republic, maybe it deserveas an honorable mention?

Do I dare even hope...

...that the Dems on the hill have the stones to really pull the plug on Big Times cash trough? [c.f. "Dems to consider cut VP funding"]

I mean, what the hell, if he's not part of the executive branch of government, then he shouldn't be getting their money.

Screw discretion, there needs to be a full court press, right now. Push Big Time into showing his cards... it's go-time!

Just what are you about Dick? Where you at?

mojo sends

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Brief Reminder About Our Friends The Northern Alliance

Hoisted from comments, Renegade Eye writes:
Many of the prisoners were imprisoned, after the US gave cash awards to friendly Islamists.
...which prompted me to respond thusly:
Actually, it's even better than that. In Afghanistan, the Taliban were the Islamists. The Northern Alliance, whose warlords and tribal leaders were the ones who received the most and largest cash awards were not and are not Islamists. They're about as Muslim as I am Catholic, which is to say "not even remotely Catholic, but I hang around with a couple of guys who were raised Catholic and sometimes have a nice bit of wine and crackers on Sunday mornings."

The Northern Alliance, let's remember, are the assholes who were pissed off with the Taliban mainly because, out of all the things that militant Islamist extremist fuckwits like to do when they have a seat in the United Nations, they cracked down on the opium farmers. The Northern Alliance tribal warlords made most of their money growing dope, and the Taliban — with the help of the U.S. under the Clinton administration, let's not forget— were working to eradicate the opium crop yields.

So, in comes the Bush Administration, 9/11 happens and do they negotiate a deal with the Taliban to have Osama bin Laden surrendered? No. The Taliban made an offer for such a deal; it was refused without even being considered.

Now, I'm not saying that the Bush Administration used 9/11 as an excuse to put the opium warlords back into power in Afghanistan, but that's who the CIA paid to capture all these Islamist suckers currently cooling their jets and enjoying the tasty lemon chicken at Guantánamo. The Taliban is out of power and the opium yields are higher than they ever were before the Taliban. You can draw your own conclusions.

My take is this: the Bush people insisted the Taliban had to go, but they also insisted that it be done with a minimal commitment of force. Beyond that, they said, we don't care how you do it — just do it. The CIA said, um... we could use the Northern Alliance, but that would mean trading in the Taliban for a bunch of opium warlords. Is that okay with you? And the Bush people said, why are you people still standing here? Get the hell out of my office and do something! And that's how we got where we are today.
Adding... do we all remember what my first words were when I heard that the CIA had captured John Walker Lindh? I do. I said, "I wonder if we're going to pin a medal on him for taking the War Against Drugs seriously enough to go join the foreign legion?"

Remember, they picked him up because he had joined the Taliban army to fight against the Northern Alliance in the spring of 2001. Interestingly, he later confessed to having joined al-Qaeda. Considering how such confessions were routinely obtained from guys in his position in those days, and what tended to happen to those who didn't, I think even I would have confessed in his place. Probably a lot sooner than he did.

Friday, June 22, 2007

"Especially the Guilty..."

Listening to NPR this afternoon, there was a heartbreaking example of the irony-challenged in a piece on the possible closure of the Guantanamo Prison Archipelago.

They were talking to people who live around Fort Knox, Kentucy, which is one of the biggest federal/military prisons in the United States. They were asking people what they thought of the possibility of having GTMO detainees transferred to Fort Knox, when the reporter caught the following audio actuality from a poor unfortunate Redneckistani who said:
"Well, we're a prison community... I say lock 'em all up and throw away the key... especially the guilty ones. yeah, just lock em all up."
This is the tragedy of irony-deficiency. Won't you give generously to help people like this regain their sense of irony or at least context.

I would be willing to bet this guy actually said "Git 'r Done" but they edited out because no one who listens to NPR would believe it wasn't a hoax at that point.

Intellectual anemia is a horrible thing. Together we can find the cure for the irony-challenged.

mojo sends

Thursday, June 21, 2007

You've mistaken Big Time for someone who gives a shit about Article II of the Constitution...

Well, to add to S9's post, below, this is even a little more disturbing than the W deciding that Congressional action doesn't apply to him...

Apparently, the Vice President's office is not part of the executive branch of government.

This from the House Oversight Committee, today:
"The Oversight Committee has learned that over the objections of the National Archives, Vice President Cheney exempted his office from the presidential order that establishes government-wide procedures for safeguarding classified national security information. The Vice President asserts that his office is not an “entity within the executive branch."
So there it is, at last; the Vice President is not part of the government.

As such, The Waxman has released a fairly comprehensive list of examples of the Vice President not wanting to be part of the government. From his exemption from taking orders from the President, to his pathological need to ignore Congress, it is getting more difficult with each passing day to justify the continued presence of Big Time anywhere but in a federal prison.

The contempt being shown for the rule of law is frightening. You have to wonder, what is a guy like this capable of doing in his quest to maintain and expand his power? What is he contemplating doing to the republic?

And it's with this in mind that I get troubled when I hear Al Gonzalez talk about "sprinting to the finish line." Because he's signing off on much of this nonsense for Big Time.

What finish line is there to sprint to, and what do they get for crossing it.

mojo sends

The Answer is? DULL SURPRISE!

Apparently Mitt Romney's Mormonism is exposing a faultline in Grand Old Party:

In a presidential race in which Romney's candidacy is testing the country's attitudes toward Mormonism, the comments by a McCain representative in Iowa are the latest of several instances of rival campaign operatives trying to bring Romney's faith onto the campaign playing field. Over the past year, staff or volunteers from at least three opposing campaigns have, at times subtly and at times not, spread negative information about Mormons in an apparent effort to damage Romney's bid for the presidency.

I'm shocked, SHOCKED that there is gambling going on here!

This should come as no surprise for everyone not a demented Red State partisan. The strain of Evangelical Christianity elevated in the last several years as the official dogma of the Republican Party is notoriously intolerant of theological deviations. Not just divergences about gays, or women's rights, or evolution, but also flavors of Christianity that do not share their American Protestant Third Great Awakening roots. It took decades and whole lot of swallowing centuries of enmity to find common ground with conservative Catholics centered around abortion and sexual politics. I suspect it will take an equal effort to accept a Mormon in a leadership position like the Presidency.

But what I think is more at play here isn't just the natural tendency to look askance at theological differences, but rather the sort of politics fostered in the Republican Party in the last few decades in the hothouse of the College Republican system. This whisper campaign to attack Romney through his Mormonism is pure Rovian politics. College Republican campaigns are infamous for their dirty tricks and lie campaigns. Anyone familiar with the 2000 GOP primary job on McCain should have seen this coming. Remember the stories about his kids?

It's not going to get any better either. Let's face it, it has worked too often for anyone to decide they are better of not trying it. The fact that the James Dobsens of the GOP find Mormonism apparently distasteful and not authentically christian make it all the more likely it will not only continue, but the effort will intensify. Don't kid yourself either that Giuliani's East Coast Catholicism isn't sticking in a few craws in the Dobsen camp, particularly since their anointed one, Sammy Brownback, languishes in the single digits. The Obama/Clinton scrap is going to look like rock/paper/scissors next to the mudfest that is coming.

Naturally the press corp isn't catching on to this story. There are so many "Hilary is an uppity liberal elitist" stories to run above the fold at the Times and Post for a gruesome bloodbath awash in religious intolerance to bother with. Besides, Mitt Romney smells nice, like a summer day, or a pine forest, or some such pleasant odor. Hilary probably smells like Grandma.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"I See The Congress Passed Another Bill For Me To Sign. How Quaint..."

The Washington Post reports today: President Bush In Open Reckless Disregard For The Law.
President Bush has asserted that he is not necessarily bound by the bills he signs into law, and yesterday a congressional study found multiple examples in which the administration has not complied with the requirements of the new statutes.

Bush has been criticized for his use of "signing statements," in which he invokes presidential authority to challenge provisions of legislation passed by Congress. The president has challenged a federal ban on torture, a request for data on the administration of the USA Patriot Act and numerous other assertions of congressional power. As recently as December, Bush asserted the authority to open U.S. mail without judicial warrants in a signing statement attached to a postal reform bill.
As I keep trying to remind people, it's important to remember that just because the Military Commissions Act says that certain forms of torture are no longer authorized for certain kinds of government employees to practice on certain kinds of prisoners, that's no reason to expect that it doesn't happen anymore.

The President did issue a "signing statement" on the MCA that essentially says, and may the gods of high journalism strike me dead if my paraphrase is inaccurate here, it says, "Yeah? Who gives a fnork what you liberals think?"

I understand there are people in Europe who are very concerned that perhaps the U.S.A. might still be torturing people and doing it inside prisons located in E.U. countries. You think? Do you people NEED TO SEE HIGH-DEF WAR PORN VIDEO BEFORE YOU WILL BELIEVE IT?

Why, oh why, please someone tell me, WHY are senior U.S. administration officials still permitted to move about the E.U. at will, trailing their ridiculous security details everywhere? How come none of these people have been snatched at a customs checkpoint, arrested and brought before the International Criminal Court. (It's clear to me that the U.S. is incapable of bringing prosecution against its own war criminals, so the ICC is the last resort here.) All those E.U. countries are signatories to the ICC Treaty. WTF is it going to take?

Does President Bush have to rape, torture, murder and eat a little French girl in the middle of a live interview on the Fox News Channel with Sean Hannity before you bastards will finally stop trying to appease him? JEEBUS!!!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Give me that old time religion...

Apparently GOP candidate Ron Paul has introduced a bill to abolish the Federal Reserve system. The text of the bill has not made it online, so I'm fuzzy on exactly what Congressman Paul is suggesting we replace it with, if we replace it at all.
The real entertainment is, of course, the comments. I've been reeling from the Sy Hersh article on Taguba, and this piece made me nostalgic for good old fashioned economic nuttery. I was particularly amused by people who invoke the name of Uncle Milton Friedman in their effort to get rid of the Fed. It's clear they don't know what Friedman's argument was about the Great Depression in his book, Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960.. In a nutshell,he and his co-author essentially argued the Federal Reserve could have made a difference in the early days of the Great Depression by increasing the money supply. If anything, their book supports the idea of central bank.

I was particularly fascinated by the gold standard hysteria. We haven't had a really nasty gold standard and specie brawl in this country since the election of 1896. The idea that the gold standard, would prevent inflation/deflation requires a concerted effort to ignore the economic history of the United States in the 19th century, where the country routinely oscillated through boom/bust cycles, despite the existence of an international gold standard that operated up to 1914.

It seems the problem to these people is the idea of currency without a net. Essentially, our monetary system is founded on the idea that the currency issuer isn't an international deadbeat. Which is why I've been screaming on the Mojowire for the last 6 years about the utter stupidity of the Administrations' lackeys spitting and hissing into every camera they can find about how U.S. bonds are I.O.U's, and the U.S. might default on them. Nothing breeds confidence in a rapidly globalizing world more than the worlds biggest creditor nation threatening to climb through a men's room window to avoid paying it's bar tab.

There really are issues to be concerned about regarding currency and debt in the current international system. Some of the commentators in the linked piece come close to touching on a few of them, namely the threat of U.S. creditors redominating into Euro's. That will be a day to use an umbrella when strolling down Wall Street.

Economic paranoia and ignorance is almost refreshing compared to people who advocate and justify brutal and sadistic torture. Thank you, Congressman Paul, for the distraction.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Turning Point Ministries on Armed Forces Radio?

This morning, on my commute to the day job, I head Dr. David Jeremiah say that his Turning Point religious broadcast will be carried soon by the Armed Forced Network radio service.

If that's true, then we are so screwed. David Jeremiah is the guy who took over for Tim LaHaye as the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church. He's a Baptist who promotes a dogmatically militaristic, spiritual-warfare heavy variant of hyper-conservative evangelical Christianity. If AFN Radio is carrying this guy, then they're just not pretending anymore.

Seriously, tune into your local evangelical wingnut radio station (if you live anywhere in the United States, then you have several to choose from in your radio market, and one of them probably carries his show) and listen to the guy. Then come back here and tell me that Christianity is different from Islam, and it could never harbor "jihadists" in their midst.

And this guy is going to be proselytizing to our troops in Iraq?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Nina Berman Pictures From FleetWeek™

Click through the picture and see the rest (but try not to look at the triggers). Then go read this again.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I don't know how much time I have to write, so I will be brief...

Freekin' Zombies! Can you believe this shit?

And leave it to the GOP to turn in to a "Get Out The Vote" drive. Fortunately, I never made it to the LA National Cemetary. From what I hear, everyone who did is either dead or undead.

Right now, there are about a dozen of us, holed up in Gallaghers in Long Beach. Big glass frontage means we can be seen but if we don't move around too much we don't draw attention.

At least I can get a drink...And Ciaran has cricket bats and hurling sticks on the walls...

I was running late to the event because the 405 was unusually crowded, so I got off at Wilshire, thinking I could make my way there on surface streets. However, there was a squad of DHS guys in what looked like Bradley fighting vehicles cordoning off the VA Hospital and Federal Building, so I had to back track further into West LA and try to come at it from the south.

That's when I saw the first one. Looked like some homeless guy walking down the median, and he looked injured. I asked if needed a ride, and with surprising speed, all the more for lacking most of his lower jaw and his left foot, he sprang at the car...

Further down near the office for former Congressman Steve Kuykendahl, there were a bunch of teenagers in Victory '08 t-shirts trying to hand out voter registration cards to a badly organized line up of what looked like freshly exhumed corpses.

Every now and then one of the volunteers would have to stiff arm one of the creatures to retreive a pen or form without getting their arm gnawed off.

I saw those odious fake Christian protesters out there with their giant signs proclaiming the loving wrath of God. They were not being attacked, but it was tough to say whether they were Zeds or not. They kept trying to get the attention of the others and pointing away towards West Hollywood... I shudder to think why...

There was a guy that looked like State Sen. Pete Knight, standing on truck bed with a large caliber hand gun making a speech to the crowd with a giant megaphone, about the need for them to get out there and help get America back to its traditional values.

Then he would shoot one or two of the buggers if they got too close. I didn't hang around that long to see what happened next. All I could think about was trying to get back to Long Beach before day break.

The next several hours were a night mare, trying to make my way back towards Long Beach down the coast. I kept trying L. on the cell phone, but only managed to get through once for about 15 seconds. She muttered something about United Rentals, a place she used to work.

Great, I thought, she's gone crazy... Couldn't reach Biz or s9, although s9 has since made contact through the blog... we're comin' brother...

Anyway, made it as far as San Pedro by dawn. There was a red haze of smoke over LA and Long Beach from numerous fires. It looked like at least one refinery was ablaze. The streets were deserted and I sought refuge in a Starbucks at the top of 25th Street that looked relatively in tact.

I tried to get a text message out to L, letting her know where I was. No reply.

Every once in a while I saw a few shambling figures, go down the street. But as the morning wore on, I noticed more and more of them seemed to be ambling about. A few tried to get into the Starbucks at one point, although I had barred the doors.

Even beyond the freekin' grave, ya gotta have that double cap in the morning...

It was about noon when I inadvertently knocked over a coffee urn, and drew the attention of about a dozen or so Zeds outside, who immediately, and with frightening alacrity, began trying to force their way in...

They had almost beaten my puny barricade, when I heard a great big engine sound followed by a lot of crashing... that's when the front wall of the Starbucks gave way. I thought I was done.

The Zeds (as I'd taken to calling them), had not gone down to the water front for large construction equipment.

L. apparently had. She had pretty much scooped away most of the crowd immediately in front with a large skip loader/bulldozer combination. Now I understood the reference to United Rentals.

She packed the cab with many of our favorite home defense weapons, some Boken, a couple of long blades, an aluminum baseball bat she found.

She said there was a small group of people already in Gallagher's, mostly regulars who wanted a final drink before last call. It was about 12:30 by the time we got there.

After a couple of quick pints and an attempt to find broadcast media saying anything besides "stay in your homes" we are formulating a plan...

We are going to take as much of the canned food from here as we can hold, and go steal a sail boat to sail up the coast, we are planning to leave as soon as we can, although I am still trying to reach Biz.

I figure with decent winds, it should take no more than a week to make it to the Golden Gate. From there, we need to get to Suisin Bay to find S9... Perhaps I'll, have more once we have busted out of here...

mojo sends

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Something's up at the Los Al reserve base... also LAPD has been put on tactical alert. Lots of helicopters up over the port right now...

In the meantime, lots and lots of people invited to the GOP midnight presser at the LA National Cemetary. Hell, even I got an email invite, and I haven't worked for a newspaper in 7 years...

May call in sick to work tomorrow and go check this out... if I can get there through all the cops...

mojo sends

Bridges And Overpasses

The insurgents in Iraq have started destroying bridges and highway overpasses.

Um. You do realize what this portends if they keep it up, right? More chokepoints and opportunities to ambush U.S. and pro-American Iraqi troops. Oh, and don't think for a second that the "surge" is going to help keep those bridges and overpasses from being bombed out. Think about the simple arithmetic people... how many troops does it take to hold onto a bridge? How many bridges do the Americans have to hold 24/7 as long as there's an insurgency? How many divisions of American troops are in Iraq? How many divisions of Iraqi forces are available to help them?

This message brought to you by the letter 'Y' and the number 1941.


Richard Rorty is dead.

The cause was complications from pancreatic cancer, said his wife, Mary Varney Rorty.

He taught at Wellesley College, Princeton and the University of Virginia. He accepted a post-retirement assignment at Stanford as a professor of comparative literature and retired again in 2005.

"At 12, I knew that the point of being human was to spend one's life fighting social injustice," he wrote in an autobiographical sketch.
That autobiographical sketch was my first exposure to his thoughts, an essay called Trotsky And The Wild Orchids. You can read it here. I've since read some of his other works, and I now consider him to have been 20th century America's most important philosopher. Your mileage may vary— I understand a lot of people have found his brand of neo-pragmatism to be somewhere on a spectrum going from tedious all the way out to blaphemous and profane.

I met him once. It was after he spent a couple hours in a lecture hall before an audience of mostly evangelical Christians having a "frank exchange of views" on the nature of Authority with the noted theologian, Dallas Willard. (One of those in attendance that night liveblogged the event, but my unpublished notes contain references to other aspects of the talk.) He was waiting outside the hall, probably for his wife to pick him up and drive him home, and I approached him to offer my thanks for having written Trotsky And The Wild Orchids in such an approachable voice that an amateur like me could get his arms around it. He was polite and maybe a little surprised to have this big scary young person come at him when he least expected it.

Anyway, I'm glad I was able to meet him and give him my thanks for what he's written, and I'm saddened to learn of his death. As he wrote...
[...] Despite my relatively early disillusionment with Platonism, I am very glad that I spent all those years reading philosophy books. For I learned something that still seems very important: to distrust the intellectual snobbery which originally led me to read them. If I had not read all those books, I might never have been able to stop looking for what Derrida calls 'a full presence beyond the reach of play', for a luminous, self-justifying, self-sufficient synoptic vision.

By now I am pretty sure that looking for such a presence and such a vision is a bad idea. The main trouble is that you might succeed and your success might let you imagine that you have something more to rely on than the tolerance and decency of your fellow human beings. [...]
Thanks, Dr. Rorty, for running that to ground for us. I'll try to pass that along.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dr. Strangelove, indeed...

If this isn't rock bottom, then I'm not sure there is a bottom.

This really does render me speechless momentarily.

Here's the money quote:
""The Ohio Air Force lab proposed that a bomb be developed that contained a chemical that would cause enemy soliders to become gay, and to have their units break down because all their soldiers became irresistably attractive to one another [...]"

That's right... it's the freekin' Gay Bomb!

This has got to be a hoax or a joke or something... And yet, I find it strangely probable that a bunch of closeted desk-top generals looking to assert their hetero-sexual manly manlyness would seriously consider something this insane.

I simply don't know where to start... the amorality involved in chemically inducing behavior in opposing troops, the idea that making them gay makes them a less effective fighting force, the idea that someone even thought this was possible?

Was Dr. Strangelove a documentary?

mojo sends

Thursday, June 07, 2007

America: Land Of Free, Home Of Brave, Da, Da, Pass The Borscht...

I hope nobody here is pretending that, with the passage of the Military Commissions Act, the CIA isn't torturing anybody anymore.
June 7, 2007 | WASHINGTON -- According to news reports, the White House is preparing to issue an executive order that will set new ground rules for the CIA's secret program for interrogating captured al-Qaida types. Constrained by the 2006 Military Commissions Act, which contains a strict ban on abuse, it is anticipated that the order will jettison waterboarding and other brutal interrogation techniques.

But President Bush has insisted publicly that "tough" techniques work, and has signaled that the CIA's secret program can somehow continue under the rubric of the Military Commissions Act. The executive order will reportedly hand the CIA greater latitude than the military to conduct coercive interrogations. If waterboarding goes the way of the Iron Maiden, what "tough" techniques will the CIA use on its high-value detainees?

The answer is most likely a measure long favored by the CIA -- sensory deprivation.
Do read that whole Salon article. You may be surprised to learn how brutalizing the method of sensory deprivation can really be.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon Inspector General reports that psychologists are implicated in the worst of the prisoner abuses prior to the MCA, including the practices of waterboarding and sexual humiliation. (Oh, and yeah— waterboarding is another of those torture methods which people often fail to understand the brutality of it.)
Were Psychologists Involved in the Transformation of SERE Training Techniques into Interrogation methods? YES.

Did the Interrogation Methods Considered by the Pentagon's "Working Group" and Authorized by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld Originate With SERE Psychologists? YES.

Were the SERE Techniques Used in Iraq and Did Psychologists Play a Role in Bringing Them There? YES.

Did SERE Techniques Migrate to Afghanistan? YES.

Did the OIG Find the Use of SERE Techniques to be Inappropriate? YES.

Were Psychologists Central to the Development and Promulgation of Abusive Interrogation Techniques? YES.

What has the APA Said About Psychologists Participation in National Security Interrogations [emphases added unless otherwise noted]?

The APA leadership has repeatedly said that psychologists' participation in interrogations helps keep them "safe, legal, ethical and effective." [...]
...and the American Psychological Association (APA) continues to endorse it.
Although the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association have passed resolutions prohibiting members from participating in interrogations, the American Psychological Association refuses to, despite the outrage of many of its members.
Have a nice day, citizen. Do try to maintain your composure. It'd sure be a shame if you were to require consultation with a psychologist to be a functional productive member of society.

New Republican Electoral Drive

Hmmm...GOP to unveil new strategy on June 13.

But why are they making the announcement at a midnight press conference at the Los Angeles National Cemetery?

mojo sends

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

See Ya!

Goodbye Mr. Libby, it's been swell..

From the Washington post:
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison and fined $250,000 for lying to investigators about his role in leaking the identity of an undercover CIA officer

Christy at Firedoglake breaks the bad news for Libby diehards:
Arguments on whether or not Libby will be allowed to remain free on bond pending appeal will occur next week — but Judge Walton has already indicted that he is disinclined to buy such arguments from defense counsel. That sets a high bar for them in terms of changing the judge's mind on that issue. In the meantime, Libby was sentenced today to a 30-month term in federal prison, with a 2-year term of supervised release following the completion of that sentence, a $250,000 fine, and a requirement of 400 hours of community service.
(emphasis mine)

Ooops...It looks like Scooter is going to have to sit in jail while he waits for that pardon, which probably won't be forthcoming until after the election. Sucks to be you Scooter. I hope you don't get bitter about the fact Karl Rove is walking free and probably sold you down the river to save his flabby ass. I'm sure the VP and his wife have you in their prayers. Which demon lord do they pray to? I keep forgetting...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Those Damned Christian Zionists…

You knew this was coming, right? Via the excellent TalkToAction.Org, comes Richard Bartholomew to tell us about how those damned Christian Zionists are getting ready to make the 2008 elections into a referendum on Armageddon.
The latest issue of Christian Retailing magazine (page 4, not online) has an interesting round-up of the latest crop of apocalyptical Christian Zionist and anti-Islamic titles from Christian publishers, under the sub-heading "Geopolitical, apocalyptical books offer 'perspective' in forthcoming election campaign". Highlights (with links to some of my previous discussions added) ...
My favorite highlight in the set is this one:
Steyn's book...sees Europe's demographic trends and its multicultural 'post-nationalist' secularism as leading inevitably to the 'Eurocalypse,' to the 'recolonization of Europe by Islam', to the emergence of a 'Eurabia', and to the onset of a 'new Dark Ages' in which the United States will find it difficult to survive as the 'lonely candle of liberty'...Steyn...sees Islam - and not just 'Islamist radicals' or 'jihadis' such as al-Qaeda - as a unique threat that cannot be reconciled with 'free societies.'
I have said it before, and will keep saying it again and again: when our own homegrown far right terrorists start blowing people up on a more regular basis in America again, these Christian Zionist folks— and there are tens of millions of them— will be harboring them in their churches and their private summer camps.

Oh yeah: isn't "eurocalypse" just about the most ridiculous neologism you've ever seen anyone try to coin?

Friday, June 01, 2007

"Yeah. I Bet You'd Like That..."

Once again, comedian Will Farrell in the role he was born to play: