Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Ban the Bible

Victor Davis Hanson provides a multitude of reasons why Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons is both a bad thing and a useful thing (Who Fears an Iranian Bomb? Oct 27, 2007). What he didn’t mention is that Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons may also be irrelevant to security.

Even if Western powers could by magic eliminate every possibility of Iran developing nukes it doesn’t mean they won’t get one by theft, sale or donation (see Pakistan or Russia gone wild). And, even if all of these other sources of nuclear WMD could be magically eliminated…there is no earthly or heavenly means to prevent Iran from developing, stealing or buying biological WMD if Iran’s leaders are belligerent toward or fearful of the West. Most experts believe biologicals WMD’s can have a greater killing capacity than a nuclear bomb. And they are far cheaper, easier to hide and nearly impossible to detect, defend against or identify a source of origin.

The far greater problem regarding threats to our security is the intentions of religious fanatics -- be they Muslim, Christian or Jew. Fred Reed in the Washington Times “Technology” section (on the same day as Hanson’s oped) made a clear case for the foolishness of Europe imposing “government censorship” on the Internet to block “Bomb-making instructions” on websites. He acknowledges the information is available elsewhere for anyone seeking it and that the real “danger is determined adults”.

What makes determined adults? It appears that religious dogma creates most determined adults. Look no further than the degree to which Bible quoting Christians work to outlaw abortion and gay marriage or provide unquestioned support for the Jewish state of Israel. They are determined to have their way…just like our Christian President and Vice President officially stating “we will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon”, even if it means “starting World War III”.

The Koran has its obvious flaws when its text is interpreted by radical Islamists to justify mass murdering of innocent non-believers or justifying “end times”. But the Bible is just as flawed when its colorful passages inspire its readers to cherish “end times” that undoubtedly leads to the self fulfilling prophecy of Armageddon – a global bloody war that could be sparked by either a US or Israeli preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

In this context, banning the Bible, the Koran and the Torah would be more beneficial to world peace and security than any efforts to ban access to WMD.

Perhaps it’s time that policy makers in all nations who control the purse strings and weapons consider the ultimate endgame of all mainstream religions and work together to ensure the most basic rights of all God’s people -- the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A spiritual goal that is unattainable without the universal provision of basic health care, education, nutrition, water, sanitation, gainful employment and a livable environment absent the condition of war.

Perhaps a global second Amendment is in order to ensure the right to bear arms globally -- universal arms for self defense and to replace any dictatorial government. Without such a global Amendment and a world government to enforce it, there should probably be an enforceable global ‘first’ Amendment ensuring ‘freedom’ from religion. Specifically, the lunacy of ‘endtimes’ religion. To paraphrase a gun owner’s bumper sticker, WMD’s don’t kill people, religiously inspired presidents kill people.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Gaffney is "LOST" in Sea of delusion.

Dear Editor,

Frank Gaffney had one thing correct (Lost Justice, 10-16-07). He’s not a lawyer. That can explain why he favors the existing global lawlessness regarding the use of the world’s oceans. Without any “law” of the sea we can go on making up whatever rules we want regarding our use of the world’s oceans and its limited resources.

But, A lawyer has the skill of viewing things from another person’s perspective. In the case of “The Law of the Sea Treaty” that would mean another nation’s interests. With most nations having competing interests related to oceanic passage and access to it’s resources have no set laws guarantees future conflicts.

We may have the upper hand now in dealing with those conflicts and doing what we want on the high seas but that dominance will only last as long as we have the strongest military in the world. And that might not always be the case…or even sufficient to getting what we want. Like defeating Al Qaeda.

Our military could have complete control of the seas and the sky and our nation could still be hit by Al Qaeda. We need friends and allies in all nations to help us find and bring all these fanatical mass murderers to justice. But, Mr. Gaffney still appears to worship national sovereignty over national security.

The problem with national sovereignty is that it condones the same chaotic creative rule making for every nation that fuels tensions…not reduces them.

We as Americans have to make the choice in how we will deal with other nations. Will we chose the rule of law… or the law of force? Jesus wisely predicted the fate of those who “live by the sword”. Gaffney need not be a lawyer to comprehend the value of the most basic of all rules…to do unto others. Such ‘justice’ is not a function of national sovereignty. It is a function of law. National sovereignty is no more than the illusion or delusion of national superiority.

In reality it will be far easier to deal with any ‘legal train wreck’ that might occur from yet another unenforceable global treaty than it will be to try and maintain our own security in an increasingly interdependent world. Especially when our insistence on independence only makes us more enemies and more vulnerable to the lawless chaos that mass murders thrive in.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Out Framing the Conservatives

Framing options for Democrats on the Iraq/Iran war issues: (condensed and edited from Chris Currie’s letter to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse)

1. In 2002, the Bush Administration and the Republican Party began using a planned invasion and occupation of Iraq as a political tool to "rally Americans around the flag" (to benefit Republican candidates). Those who opposed war as a solution were "unpatriotic". They may be preparing to repeat this bloody trick for 2008 by using Iran.

2. Bush’s war policy has already cost more American lives than Osama Bin Laden’s entire Al Qaeda network! Overall, Bush’s decision to go to war has resulted in the death of well over a few hundred thousand innocent people and wounded and/or displaced several million more. His war has assisted Al Qaeda’s recruitment and revitalization in both Muslim and non-Muslim nations alike.

3. Bush "justified" the invasion of Iraq based on credible evidence that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. We knew he had them because Bush’s father provided Saddam’s scientists with dozens of biological weapons shipments and hundreds of tons of chemical WMD precursors. US intelligence efforts also provided Saddam with targeting information that he used to effectively mass murdering Iranian soldiers using WMD and simply ignored Saddam’s his use of WMD to mass murder Kurds, If Bush's WMD allegations turned out to be true regarding reports of Iraqi weaponized smallpox, millions of American’s could have perished if Saddam had decided to use them knowing his days were numbered…or had such a bioweapons pandemic been sparked accidentally in the fog of war. Iraqi possession of such powerful WMD was the best reason to avoid a “shock and awe” invasion.

4. Neocon don’t live by… love-your-neighbor-as-yourself principles. They live by the creed of national superiority, US exceptionalism…and might makes right. Peace loving democrats find it difficult to ‘fight’ back. Even Jesus Christ recognized the need to HARSHLY CRITICIZE some of the local religious leaders of his time. But, he NEVER advocated ‘shock and awe”.

5. When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the United Nations General Assembly, most mainstream news agencies were more interested in highlighting his ridiculous comments (no Gays in Iraq) than covering some of the valid points he made or his backing away from denying the Holocaust. Are our news agencies assisting the Bush in building momentum for military strikes against Iran? Is any agency talking about the US body count and economic consequences from entirely predictable yet unstoppable Iranian countermeasures?

5. The deadly anthrax sent through our postal system shortly after 9/11 was manufactured by our own government’s weapons labs. Is a cyber or nuclear home-grown terrorist attack possible "on US soil"? What intrusive/repressive/abusive government measures will be justified to ‘preempt/prevent’ one? Will such efforts inspire an American third-party sympathizers (like the Oklahoma City bombers). As the Book of Revelation says, those who live by the sword tend to die by the sword. The very existence of those weapons is a threat to our security.]

6. Democrats still think they won in 2006. They haven’t grasp the fact that the Republican’s simply lost. In 2004, John Kerry was correctly perceived by millions of voters (including millions of Democrats) as being a "gutless flip-flopping Bush Lite". His campaign “advisors” were more interested in protecting their temporary lead in the opinion polls than they were in offering the American people a bold and practical alternative to the Bush ‘preemptive doctrine’. Democrats were too fearful to offer the American people a global vision. An extension of the American revolution to all humanity. Republicans have since reframed their preemptive doctrine to a global police and nation building effort of ‘protecting freedom’ and ‘encouraging democracy’….something that only a federal world government with an enforceable bill of rights could accomplish (with a real but limited ability to tax people worldwide and a real global police force that could “fight terrorism” by investigating, arresting, trying, and incarcerating proven terrorist … rather than dropping bombs on “suspected terrorists” and their families). Enforceable global government regulations are the only realistic solutions to WMD proliferation, genocide, terrorism, famines, plagues, climate change, economic collapse, corporate plundering and abuse of basic human rights, etc. The Republican’s worship of war, greed, and the reversal of progress in human rights so as to benefit of the top 0.1 percent of our population is un-American, un-Christian, and non sustainable on any level.

But American’s would have to pull them selves away from the latest holliwood or congressional scandle to learn enough about the threats we face to really understand the need for global solutions.

Unfortunately Churchill was likely correct. Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing…but only after thoroughly exhausting every other possibility…at least twice…

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I agree with Bruce Fein.

Washington Times
October 2, 2007
Pg. 14

Seeing The Caskets

By Bruce Fein

Members of Congress aim to enrich understanding of the Iraqi war. They would enact legislation to substitute sunshine for the prevailing Defense Department photo blackout of soldiers' coffins on their journeys back to the United States. One picture is worth 1,000 words.

The eye more effectively pricks the soul and stirs the conscience than volumes of philosophy. During the Vietnam War, the photo of a Vietnamese child's terror while engulfed in flames underscored the human cost of the conflict. Photos of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq would similarly concentrate the minds of the public and Congress on the steep price of persisting militarily in Iraq for the sake of persistence, just as photos of the September 11 abominations correctly focus attention on the terrorist danger. Photos of coffins are surrogates for numerators in the Iraqi war equation. When they become larger than the war's denominators, the public may come to clamor for an end to aimless American deaths.

The Pentagon's blackout policy was initiated in 1991, ostensibly to protect the privacy of grieving families. But the caskets do not identify the names of the dead. They are like a statue celebrating the Unknown Soldier. The proposed legislation might propely limit photographing of coffins to bona fide news organizations. The government should not be a party to commercializing war tragedies. But the idea that a photo of a flag-draped coffin, simpliciter, encroaches on privacy is unconvincing.

Victoria Clark, a former Pentagon spokeswoman, explained her disagreement with the photo ban to CNN: "I happen to believe that people should be allowed to cover those events. I think if you are going to sign pieces of paper saying young people are going to put their lives at risk, that young people are going to die for important causes, then we should be willing to let people see what happens and the kinds of terrible things that can happen in conflict. I think that is being very straight with the American people."

The need to remind Americans that war entails sacrifices is exceptionally urgent regarding Iraq and Afghanistan. The vast majority of citizens are unaffected by those conflicts. In contrast to Vietnam, there is no draft. In contrast to World War II, there are no victory gardens or meatless Fridays. And the staggering expense of the wars has been shifted to future generations by equally staggering budget deficits.

Virtually the entire burden of the wars is borne by a relatively small circle of military families. But the votes of the vastly greater number of unaffected citizens dictate the views of Congress. Human nature inclines them toward complacency with the post-Saddam quagmire since they are neither pinched nor discommoded.

Photos of the coffins of returning soldiers would spur voters to think more seriously about U.S. policy in Iraq just as a visit to the Holocaust Museum awakens more sober thinking about genocide.

The authority for the proposed legislation is at least twofold. The First Amendment's protection of freedom of expression does not saddle the government with a duty to make available to journalists sources of information not available to the public generally. The United States Supreme Court further elaborated in Houchins v. KQED (1978) that, "There is no constitutional right to have access to particular government information, or to require openness from the bureaucracy. The public's interest in knowing about its government is protected by the guarantee of a Free Press, but the protection is indirect. The Constitution itself is neither a Freedom of Information Act nor an Official Secrets Act." The court added, however, that Congress could ordain openness through carefully drawn legislation.

The Constitution also entrusts to Congress the "regulation of the land and naval forces." That power includes stipulations for the treatment and publicity provided to soldiers who have given that last full measure of devotion.

The legislation contemplated by members of Congress would not purport to tell the whole story about the Iraq war. The universe of considerations that should inform the United States mission there is much wider. But the legislation would add to the public discourse an important part of the war story now hidden by the Pentagon's blackout edict.

Bruce Fein is a constitutional lawyer at Bruce Fein & Associates and chairman of the American Freedom Agenda.