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.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

World Government still a good idea. But not likely.

Who's Afraid of World Government? Thursday 19 November 2009
by: Lawrence S. Wittner, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

A few weeks ago, Glenn Beck of the Fox News Channel, with that hysterical flourish that has made him the darling of right-wing extremists, proclaimed: "America, if . . . you're not really into that whole One World Government thing, watch out." This kind of warning, regularly issued on Fox News, seems rather absurd today, given the obvious weakness of the United Nations and the failure of mainstream political figures to even suggest that this international organization might be strengthened to provide more effective world governance.
Nevertheless, not so long ago the idea of world government had greater influence in the United States. Amid the enormous destruction unleashed by World Wars I and II, American presidents successfully championed the establishment of the League of Nations and, later, the United Nations as instruments to curb the narrow nationalism that traditionally had led to war. During the Second World War, especially, an avalanche of books and pamphlets called for new thinking about global governance. Probably the best-known of them was "One World" (1943), a best-seller by Wendell Willkie, the 1940 Republican candidate for president. Serialized or printed in brief versions in more than a hundred newspapers in the United States and Canada, "One World" - within two years of its appearance - sold two million copies in book form.
When the war culminated in the most shocking action yet, the atomic annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world government movement acquired even greater momentum. In early October 1945, twenty prominent Americans - including Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts, US Senators J. W. Fulbright and Claude Pepper, novelist Thomas Mann and physicist Albert Einstein - called for a "Federal Constitution of the World." The movement quickly gathered powerful supporters: businessmen such as Owen D. Young, W. T. Holliday and Robert Lund; labor leaders such as Philip Murray and Walter Reuther; university presidents such as Robert Hutchins; magazine editors such as Norman Cousins, and news commentators such as Raymond Gram Swing.
With world government groups springing up across the United States, six of the largest merged in February 1947 to form United World Federalists. By 1949, that organization - dedicated to working "to strengthen the United Nations into a world government" - had 47,000 members in 720 chapters across the nation.
Furthermore, the idea of transforming the United Nations into a world government was endorsed by 45 important national organizations, including the General Federation of Women's Clubs, the National Grange, the Farmers' Union, the United Auto Workers, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Young Democrats, the Young Republicans and numerous religious bodies. The Communist Party was not among these organizational backers, as the Soviet line of the time was that the world government movement was part of an imperialist plot to invade Communist nations.
Thanks to this broad support, World Government Week was proclaimed in early 1949 by the governors of nine states and by the mayors of approximately fifty US cities and towns. By mid-1949, twenty state legislatures had passed resolutions endorsing world government. That same year, 91 members of the House of Representatives (64 Democrats and 27 Republicans) introduced a resolution to have the House go on record as supporting world federation as a "fundamental objective" of US foreign policy.
This proved the high-water mark of the movement. As the Cold War heightened and as a hot war broke out in Korea, establishing world government began to look increasingly utopian. To the American right, in fact, it looked downright subversive. The House Un-American Activities Committee conducted a grueling investigation of United World Federalists. Seizing the spotlight, Senator Joseph McCarthy and his cohorts repeatedly attacked the "one-worlders." In 1952, Senator Pat McCarran succeeded in attaching a rider onto federal legislation barring the distribution of funds to federal agencies that promoted "one-world government or one-world citizenship." A scramble immediately began to remove suspiciously globalist books from the US government's overseas information centers.
What remains today of the world government movement in the United States is comprised largely of Citizens for Global Solutions, a small organization dedicated to strengthening the United Nations and the scope of international law. Its modest efforts hardly put this unruly planet on the brink of world government, or even provide much of a counterforce to the rabid nationalism peddled by the American right.
But let's give Glenn Beck and his ilk their due. If there were a more effective global organization, that world body would be able to reach across national boundaries to cope with global warming, defend human rights, prosecute war criminals and terrorists, regulate multinational corporations, provide famine relief, enforce arms control and disarmament, and prevent military aggression. And should patriotic Americans support such practices?
Why not?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Major Hasan is not a terrorist. He is a murderer.

Dear Editor (New York Times),
David Brooks may be missing the motivation of Major Hasan’s bloody assault at Ft. Hood (“The Rush to Therapy” Nov. 10, 2009). Hasan was a biochemist. If terror were his motive the death toll could have been far higher. Perhaps his murderous action was “to teach us a lesson about the reality of our war on terrorism”. Such a motive wouldn’t be “evil”, irrational or even insane. But it would be bloody.
It is possible that Hasan’s natural “drive to seek coherence and meaning” in the culture and nation that he was “born into” had come to a bitter end – and, he found our real “war narrative” monstrously unacceptable. And no one – especially those in power -- would listen.
Our national story is that ‘we try to avoid “collateral damage”, apologize when it happens, and then continue fighting’. Perhaps forcing of Hasan to participate in this narrative was an error. Undoubtedly, our “narrative” that ‘the loss of innocent life is acceptable when we are fighting a war for our freedom and security’ -- is better than a narrative that intentionally targets innocent life. But, both narratives justify murder. First degree murder is far worse than third degree murder – but ‘in country’ both are still a murderous crime, while elsewhere, if innocent Muslims die, it’s “Sorry! Just ‘collateral damage’. Our bad!”
There is no doubt that lethal impact of American firepower on the innocent lives in Afghanistan and/or Iraq is numerous, horrific, and unavoidable as long as we continue our other national narrative of ‘war’ as solution. Many of our active soldiers and army doctors know of this deadly outcome – yet they continue to follow orders. Hasan couldn’t follow those orders. He could have taken his own life, went AWOL, or retired to the brig to avoid ‘service’… but that wouldn’t even dent our narratives. General Shinseki confirmed this week that our war narrative is virtually immune to US soldier suicides (since 9-11 more US veterans have committed suicide than been killed in combat during the same period – yet we don’t question war as a solution).
Did Hasan hope to shake our nation’s narrative of gross disregard for third degree mass murder of tens of thousands of innocent Muslims? Perhaps his “shock and awe” assault was the only way he could shock us into thinking rationally about our “war narrative” against a tactic.
Any fair trial should determine that Major Hasan is mentally fit and guilty beyond any shadow of a doubt of multiple counts of first degree murder. He should then be held accountable for his heinous crime. But he’s not the only murderer who should be receiving a well deserved verdict. Perhaps its time we chose our nation’s most powerful narrative… the global rule of law…instead of the lawlessness of world war.


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Healthcare is Loss of Freedom???

You are witnessing the return of the right-wing wing-nut framing talents. Conservative ideologue are claiming that the current health care bill is the "greatest threat" to our freedoms...that they have seen in their lives.
They are covering the media with this virulant soundbite as a relatively mild H1N1 pandemic is testing the limits of our already understaffed and underfunded 'health care system'. Let's overlook the fact that it is realy and 'ill care' management failure.
Last December the bipartisan Commission on the prevention of WMD,terrorism and proliferation stated there is a 50/50 chance we will see a WMD attack somewhere in the world in the next 5 years, and that their current report (historically the only commission ever reauthorized by Congress)said the most likely target is the US...and that the best we can do is prepare for it. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that our so called 'health care system' is our first line of defense and that it is entirely incapable of handling a mild virus. The economic situation has resulted in cuts to our health care system with an approximate loss of 15,000 health care workers job.
Weaponized small pox will rock out world, not to mention the our list of freedoms.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

One US Soldier costs 20 Afganistan schools.

On October 29, 2009 NYTimes Op-Ed Columnist NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF wrote:
"More Schools, Not Troops"

"Dispatching more troops to Afghanistan would be a monumental bet and probably a bad one, most likely a waste of lives and resources that might simply empower the Taliban. In particular, one of the most compelling arguments against more troops rests on this stunning trade-off: For the cost of a single additional soldier stationed in Afghanistan for one year, we could build roughly 20 schools there.
It’s hard to do the calculation precisely, but for the cost of 40,000 troops over a few years — well, we could just about turn every Afghan into a Ph.D."

Congressman Charlie Wilson could have used these numbers. Then there would have been no 9-11 then conspiracy theorists would still be working on the JFK assassination and moon landing.

Friday, November 06, 2009

9 reasons Humanity will go extinct. The list grows.

9 Genetic & Cerebral flaws of the human species: Cause for Extinction?

1. Humans can and will believe anything: 70 percent of Americans believed Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9-11. 70 percent of Muslims believed Jews had something to do with 9-11. Jamestown koolaid party. David Koresh & Branch Dividian Waco fireworks. Heavens Gate space odyssey….
(Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.) (“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” Albert Einstein.)

2. People believe what they want in spite of the evidence: Most people maintain their belief system even when presented with evidence their belief is wrong. Creationist will never believe in Evolution. Bush fans will never believe invading Iraq was a mistake. Some liberals will always believe gun contol will bring peace. (Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege. Artificial Intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.)

3. We don’t do what we know we should do: Eat right. Exercise regularly. Don’t smoke or abuse drugs or alcohol. Plan for the future. Be prepared for emergencies.
(Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.)

4. Rule of 7 (+ or – 2). People believe the consequence of their action/inaction is limited. This should probably be the rule of 2, plus or minus 3. Some people don’t even know their actions or inaction effects themselves.
(God must love stupid people; He made so many of us.) (The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity. Harlan Ellison [1934 - ])
(Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity. Hanlon's Razor )
5. People are easily distracted and fail to plan for the obvious and inevitable. With H1N1’s return, bioterrorists inevitable strike, Afghanistan in chaos, Iraq in limbo, and economy in free fall…most conservatives are fearful of socialized medicine and most liberals are insisting on nuclear disarmament.
(The gene pool could use a little chlorine.)

6. We have short or selective memories. Troop surge? US Vietnam and Soviet Afghanistan…hello!!!! (Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory. Albert Schweitzer) (Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory. John Kenneth Galbraith) (Fools rush in where fools have been before.)
7. Women fail to accept their role as leaders… (It’s funnier to watch men screw things up)

8. People don’t work well together.… (Liberals only do it if it feels good – conservatives if its profitable.)

9. Most people don’t give a rats ass about these 9 reasons or the consequences on their lives or the lives of their own children…

Basic education can defeat Al Qaeda.

In the war against radical extremists even right wing newspaper columnists now see the value of providing basic education in Pakistan as the only effective means of defeating Osama Bin Ladin and Al Qaeda.

Read the whole story "Warlords R Us" by Arnaud de Borchgrave, who is editor at large of The Washington Times.

"Warlords R Us"
The Washington Times, Friday, November 6, 2009

Arnaud de Borchgrave

If we are successful beyond President Obama's wildest dreams - e.g., Taliban is wiped out and a tough new Afghan government does not allow al Qaeda or other terrorists to conspire against us on their territory - would that make us safer from radical Islam?

The answer, of course, is no because this is not about geography. Two veteran intelligence operatives, with much Middle Eastern and Afghan experience, speaking not for attribution, agreed that a stable, secure Afghanistan doesn't change the equation, at least not significantly.

The popular perception of al Qaeda in Afghanistan is the same propaganda news clip, shown a gazillion times during the last eight years, replete with terrorist "trainees" in shalwar kameez (knee-length shirts over baggy pantaloons) running through obstacle courses, and emerging from tunnels, presumably to kill us all in our beds.

Al Qaeda doesn't need commando-steeled volunteers to attack the United States and its allies. For the next Sept. 11, the chances are they have already selected highly motivated, brainwashed wack-jobs among the graduates of Pakistan's madrassas, who look forward to a one-button push to the land of plenty in the sky where 72 impatient maidens await their arrival.

Al Qaeda's "martyrs" don't need Afghan training camps for weapons-of-mass-destruction terrorism. In fact, to be inconspicuous, they should not have the physique of an avoid-at-all-cost, likely-to-arouse-suspicion type.

Al Qaeda does not need Afghanistan for its next terrorist objective. In fact, those who follow events in Afghanistan closely were taken aback when Mr. Obama said Afghanistan was a war of necessity because that's where al Qaeda is.

They haven't been there since Afghanistan was liberated in October 2001. They moved to Pakistan's tribal areas, where they attracted volunteers from the Middle East and Europe.

When a reconstituted Taliban insurgent force re-entered Afghanistan in large numbers in 2004, al Qaeda was not interested in its now-insecure old training camps. If Pakistan's current offensive against Taliban and al Qaeda in the tribal areas is successful, al Qaeda is not an entity that can be captured or destroyed. Its clandestine operatives are widely scattered in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North and South America.

As alternatives to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Yemen, in the vernacular of the intelligence community, will do/is doing it. Somalia will do/is doing it. West African states whose writ doesn't extend much beyond their capitals will do/are doing it. Grimy North African suburbs of major French cities will do/are doing it. British provincial towns with Pakistani enclaves will do/are doing it. And Internet's thousands of pro-al Qaeda Web sites will do/are doing it.

Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are believed to be comfortably installed in a tribal chief's compound somewhere near Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's constantly rebellious Baluchistan province, which has 48 percent of the country's land with only 10 million of its 175 million people. There is no al Qaeda central issuing orders to thousands of adherents the world over.

If there is no connection between Afghanistan and the core problem of "no more 9/11s," what are the United States and 41 friendly nations doing there? Even in the event of a Taliban victory in the years to come, Taliban would not be stupid enough to invite al Qaeda back.

Three months prior to Sept. 11, there was palpable tension between Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar and bin Laden. Mullah Omar complained that bin Laden was issuing "too many fatwas (religious edicts), which he has no business doing as he didn't complete his religious education."

Mullah Omar also prevented journalists from seeing bin Laden. The Taliban leader knows he lost power and his country because of what bin Laden and his terrorists did to the United States.

In today's Afghanistan, almost everything turns out to be corruption and mismanagement. The average citizen has seen little benefit from expenditures in the $250 billion range - on top of $1 trillion in Iraq. The U.S. effort has been plagued by fraud, laced with mismanagement and bereft of strategic focus.

One example among many others came in 2007 when the U.S. awarded a massive contract worth some $300 million to Aey Inc., a Florida-based company,to supply the Afghan army with 52 types of ammo, chiefly bullets for AK-47s.

All requirements for safety inspections, mandatory for all ammo delivered to U.S. forces, were removed. Thus, Aey was able to shop around in Eastern Europe for the cheapest ammo available. Millions of rounds of old Chinese ammo made in the 1960s turned out to be substandard and dangerous.

The State Department was aware of what was going on but did not object as speed was the only criterion. Aey and its officers were eventually indicted in Florida. But U.S. officials involved got off with a slap on the wrist. Wherever U.S. inspectors look, they find fraud and abuse.

There are even cases - reported by online GlobalPost reporter Jean Mackenzie - of American contractors paying bribes to Taliban to ensure aid projects are not disrupted. This is a recipe for a war without end. She also reports a disguised Taliban office in Kabul that reviews all aid projects and determines the amount to be paid to Taliban.

If true, the U.S. is paying the Afghan government to fight Taliban while also paying Taliban to fight the Afghan government.

The key lies in Pakistan. Almost all terrorist trails in Europe lead back to Pakistan - and its madrassas. These are the free Koranic schools that have stepped into the vacuum of no education system for the poor as the military take up 50 percent of government revenue.

A fraction of what the U.S. has spent in Iraq and Afghanistan would go a long way to turning Pakistan around. Instead, Congress, in its infinite wisdom, after authorizing $1.2 trillion in both wars, allocated $7.5 billion to Pakistan over five years - with umpteen caveats. In a country of 175 million, a drop in the proverbial bucket.

Arnaud de Borchgrave is editor at large of The Washington Times and of United Press International.

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