Thursday, December 06, 2007

Rolling Stone :: How America Lost the War On Drugs

"At the beginning of the Clinton administration ... the War on Drugs was like the War on Terror is now."

Also, Prof. Ben Attias has some interesting (If rather dated, now) notes on our government's involvement in drug trafficing.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Memorials You Don't See

'Renarf' interrupts the debate over Google's logo design with a few more relevant observations:

More than 25 percent of the homeless population in the United States are military veterans, although they represent 11 percent of the civilian adult population, according to a new report.

CNN has more about that study here. And you can hear more about how well we're 'supporting the troops' here, here, here, and on the streetcorners and sidewalks of any medium to large sized American city.

Veterans ... find themselves in a Catch-22, not able to find a job because of the lack of an apartment, and not being able to get an apartment because of not having a job...

When it was time to lay the wreath today on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the President found he had better things to do. Just as when it was time to fund veteran's and soldier's healthcare, provide them with equipment and body armor, and come up with a viable strategy and an exit plan for them in Iraq. And just as when it was time for the President to serve, himself.

Jesus wept.

The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans accepts donations every day of the year. No yellow ribbons required.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Acts of Congress

They can't be bothered to end the war - or in any other way defy the current administration - but when it comes to their own districts, and massive construction projects therein, then Congress gets motivated. It's a sad indicator of how terribly things are going that we greet this as a positive sign.

President Bush suffered the first veto override of his seven-year-old presidency Thursday as the Senate enacted a $23 billion water resources bill despite his protest that it was filled with unnecessary projects.

This Is What We Voted For, Folks

A prescription-drug-addled puppet who doesn't even realize that the words coming out of his mouth have meanings, let alone what they might be. The President claims "You can't be the president and the head of the military at the same time.".

Jesus wept. Mind, it is very difficult for this President to be President and do anything else at the same time. It's like walking - or riding a Segway - and chewing bubblegum.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Why Does A Salad Cost More Than A Big Mac?

In case you've ever wondered, the Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine provides some needed perspective:

Healthy food generally will always be less popular than unhealthy food, but it doesn't help matters that on a national and domestic policy level we have our priorities so completely bass-ackwards.

The New York Times has more about this phenomenon, and specifically the farm bill making the rounds in Washington now.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Salon :: The Dark Truth About Blackwater

Following the recent revelation that - surprise - when you put 160,000 heavily-armed amoral soldier-for-hire thrill junkies into an environment bereft of oversight or consequences, sociopathic behavior emerges, Salon's P.W. Singer offers this prosecutorial screed:

When we evaluate the facts, the use of private military contractors appears to have harmed, rather than helped, the counterinsurgency efforts of the U.S. mission in Iraq, going against our best doctrine and undermining critical efforts of our troops. Even worse, the government can no longer carry out one of its most basic core missions: to fight and win the nation's wars. Instead, the massive outsourcing of military operations has created a dependency on private firms like Blackwater that has given rise to dangerous vulnerabilities.

Likely NOLA residents felt plenty vulnerable when these Keystone Soldiers arrived in their back yards - but what happens to 'those people' isn't such a concern.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Candidates On Climate Change

Courtesy of the New York Times, a guide to the various Presidential candidates's current positions and past actions regarding the environment and global warming.

Check the sidebar for similar guides regarding Abortion, Health Care, Immigration and Iraq.

Gitmo's First Poolboy

Bush the Elder's poolboy, one Mr. James Razsa, on what his job means to him:

"What do you say? 'Thanks for School of the Americas, and Iran-Contra, and NAFTA, and shipping all those jobs overseas, and arming Saddam, and funding the Taliban?' What do you say -- 'You're a jerk?' There's nothing that can be put into a sentence that would capture the lives these people have taken, and the way of life that's been taken."

Worth quoting, especially as Mr. Razsa will soon no longer be among us.

Happy Holiday

Tonight's a full moon, too! Enjoy a moon cake and consider the rabbit's tale.

"Long ago," said the rabbit, "three sages disguised as beggars set out to test the generosity of the Fox, the Monkey, and myself. They asked the Fox for some of his food, and the Fox gave grapes to each of them. They asked the Monkey for some of his food, and he gave each a piece of melon. But when they came to me purporting to be starving, I had only grass to eat, which cannot sustain beggars. Feeling pity for them, I told them to skin and dress me and have me for their meal. As reward, my spirit was made immortal."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Rolling Stone :: The Great Iraq Swindle

The administration has consistantly turned any and every foreign or domestic disaster into a giveaway to his family's business partners. The result has been billions flowing unaccountably out of public coffers and into who knows what private hands.

How did this happen? The short answer is, because we have allowed it. Rolling Stone offers a little more exposition:

Operation Iraqi Freedom, it turns out, was never a war against Saddam ­Hussein's Iraq. It was an invasion of the federal budget, and no occupying force in history has ever been this efficient. George W. Bush's war in the Mesopotamian desert was an experiment of sorts, a crude first take at his vision of a fully privatized American government. In Iraq the lines between essential government services and for-profit enterprises have been blurred to the point of absurdity -- to the point where wounded soldiers have to pay retail prices for fresh underwear, where modern-day chattel are imported from the Third World at slave wages to peel the potatoes we once assigned to grunts in KP, where private companies are guaranteed huge profits no matter how badly they fuck things up.

Of course, these are the same people who ran Vietnam - which gives the President's recent gaffes concerning that conflict a certain extra resonance. Whatever else that particular military adventure might have been, it was also the most profitable scam of the previous century. Ask any good detective, and he'll tell you: always follow the money.

Terrorist Watch Lists: 'Excessive, Inaccurate, Ineffective'

Surprisingly, this is news to some people:

The numbers "suggest a staggeringly high rate of false positives with respect to the identification of supposed terrorists. This really confirms the long-standing fear that this list is inaccurate and ultimately ineffective as an anti-terror tool."

The administration needs to be introduced to the Base Rate Fallacy. Bruce Schneier has more to say on this subject.