Notes Feb 14 2008

February 14, 2008 § Leave a comment

Love is still a miracle, not that it violates physics, but that it uses it well. the way chess pieces use wood.


Ben S. Bernanke said that he expects the economy to regain speed after a few months of “sluggish” growth. how can that e? Only with deflated dollars methinks. if we all paddle our canoe, it can go well, but if the ones with money use the opportunity to snap up depreciated assets and gain more control: trouble ahead.

Iraq is peaceful because so few are  left.


‘They have no honor’
Americans have great difficulty framing foreign policy outside the scope of values and morals. Many believe the “war on terror” is necessary because the enemy’s methods, not agendas, are a serious infraction against American cultural values. Neither the US’s attitudes nor tactics have caught up to the realities of this frighteningly limitless battle, and without a balance between the two, the “war on terror” will continue to fail. – David Young

and from Juan Cole on the Iraqi Parliament “vote”.

Al-Zaman (The Times of Baghdad) reports in Arabic that there was not actually a vote, but rather the laws were passed as a package by consensus. The consensus reflected a political deal among the major parties rather than a recorded vote of a majority of the MPs. Al-Zaman calls the method of the vote “unconstitutional.” (They are protesting the lack of a recorded individual voice vote; it may be they also object to the bundling of the three separate laws together, which made MPs vote up and down, yes or no). Many MPs had interests in some of the laws but opposed a third, and therefore had to choose between betraying their interests or accepting legislation they really opposed. Al-Zaman quotes MP Salih Mutlak (a secular, ex-Baathist Sunni who is in the opposition) and MPs of the Sadr Movement as expressing fierce opposition to amnesty for prisoners, one of the three measures adopted.
This undemocratic and unconstitutional way of passing through legislation that the Americans insist be approved, in the teeth of opposition from a majority of MPs, was ironically employed in passing the constitution itself. Some version of it was passed without an individual voice vote in late August of 2005 (after the deadline set by the Transitional Administrative Law) and then the US embassy went on tinkering with the text right up until the October 15 referendum! It is ironic that when the Americans make their influence felt most strongly in the Iraqi government, that government acts least democratically.

and, from a friend

my default position is to assume that anyone running for
the Presidency is a hack politician. That is not an insult, but rather a recognition that a liberal republic with a two party system tends to produce many more hacks than statesman. Since I am loyal to this liberal republic, I hope (occasionally trust) that there are other precautions (Madison) to check the lack of virtue in the executive. That hope is often dashed by the growth of the imperial presidency that began with the Presidency & grew with the various wars that followed (Especially WWI, WWII, & the Cold War) along with the creation of the welfare state. Since the Presidency has become a potential juggernaut, … the Obama campaign could presage something much more dangerous than partisanship as usual, but rather a radical transformation of the republic rooted in Gnostic fantasies.

and, slowly getting our voice back.

By Dan Froomkin

Special to
Thursday, February 14, 2008; 1:36 PM

Who are we as a nation? Are we who we used to be? Did one terrorist attack really change all that? Can it be changed back?

Those, at heart, are the questions raised by the Senate’s passage yesterday of a bill that would ban harsh interrogation tactics used by the CIA — a bill already passed by the House, and a bill President Bush has vowed to veto.

The debate is not just about waterboarding. It’s about whether other tactics — such as prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures, forced nudity, sexual humiliation, mock executions, the use of attack dogs, the withholding of food, water and medical care and the application of electric shocks — should be part of our official interrogation toolkit.

Whether you call them torture or not, they are undeniably cruel. They are undeniable assaults on human dignity.

They are all prohibited by the Army Field Manual, which covers all military interrogations. They are all off limits to the FBI. Now Congress wants the CIA to adhere to the same restrictions.

But Bush says no.

The propagation of our values has long been a hallmark of American foreign policy. Chief among those values has been respect for human dignity. But the message we’ve been sending lately is altogether different. How can we tell other countries to respect human dignity when we have made it optional for our own government? When our official policy is that the ends justify the means?

On McCain, gossipy but then.. Economist Brad DeLong’.

John McCain as he gave his Virginia victory speech was the dog-eating Jew-counter himself, Fred Malek–the man who accepted from Richard Nixon the mission of trying to identify and fire the nest of Jews working in the Bureau of Labor Statistics whom Nixon was sure were plotting to undermine him.

That’s the modern Republican Party: paranoia, bigotry, and a craven eagerness to do everything possible to assist the criminal enterprises of your highers-up–it’s not a disqualification, it’s a lifestyle.

Shut down the Republican Party as quickly as possible. America needs an honorable opposition party to face off against the Democrats.


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