Don't worry, you can trust me. I'm not like the others.

Banned In China

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Wikileaks Again

Ooopsie. Note to self before one opens one's mouth to pontificate on facts (as opposed to pontificating on one's own opinions, I guess) Google for a few minutes to make sure of those facts. Point in case: number of foreign troops in Afghanistan. It took me five minutes this morning to find out the answer. I think I should have done it before I went and commented at Lawyers, Guns and Money last night on one of a series of posts by one of the people there concerning Wikileaks 90,000+ document dump. She was opposed and busy attacking him because he (according to her and her unnamed sources and other people and their unnamed sources) put people in Afghanistan in mortal danger because with only some work the Taliban could find out who ratted them out and then exact retribution against them and their family. So the question she raised was should Assange be prosecuted. Of course, she thought he should be.

There then began a very heated thread which included the argument that he isn't a United States citizen, so we really had no legal grounds (as though that has stopped us in the past). The response was that other countries including Australia have troops there so they could prosecute him, since he is an Australian citizen. I then said they only have a few hundred. Which it turns out is obviously wrong (see above). Now the point was that in relation to the USofA they have few, and that is true (see above again), but my entire point is seriously weakened because I didn't bother to do the little research necessary to give the correct figures. Further, that they are there because we want them there and they are doing this mainly to give us cover and so in the end they don't really care, the governments I mean.

Which gets me to my main point. There seem to be five lines of attack on Wikileaks and this specific leak: First, it's old news nothing new here so move along, and besides that everybody already knows their major points; Second, it's unimportant (which may just be a corollary of the first); Third, it endangers our Afghan allies (since the documents stop at around the end of 2009 they can't really argue that it endangers our troops, although there seemed to be some attempt to do that early on, but that appears to have petered out); Fourth, that it isn't doing any good anyway; Fifth, Assange is a media hog and not very nice and ugly, too (I would have thought that was not a particularly compelling argument, but it does seem to be repeated quite a bit).

The third point seems to be the one that the poster is flogging at L,G & M. Perhaps I have been reading too many novels that have flash back sections to the Second World War, but Quisling was executed wasn't he? Not to confuse the Taliban with the freedom fighters of WWII, but when a person's country is invaded It is natural for him (in this case not her) to resist the invader and to consider those who support that invader a traitor deserving of the kind of punishment a traitor should receive. At any rate to reveal the truth which may lead to people getting killed because the truth was revealed, is in this line of argument something one must not do.

The fact that people are getting killed in a war that it appears that we can't win so we've got to stay there forever, does not seem to be something that people who make that kind of argument consider. So who is going to get killed: our minions or the various people we are killing right now (along with fewer of our minions). In passing I'd suggest that the only government that has provided a good deal of freedom to women in Afghanistan was the one the Soviet Union put in place and we helped to destroy with our allies who turned into (or in all probability were always) the Taliban.

In the end her position seems to come down to the belief my government is just right and there are certain things that I as a citizen should not know and therefore my government will prevent me from getting that information. Any one who reveals any of those government secrets can be accused of doing injury to out country or our allies or someone or thing and should be punished to teach us all that this must not be done. In a freedom loving way of course. This does not seem to be a particularly viable political theory for a real functioning democracy or representative republic. That may explain its use here and now.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More Nihilism

Crooks and Liars has a post up about NetRootsNation in Vegas and about the divide there between those who see Obama as mostly a sellout and those who apparently applaud him for his "realistic pragmatic" approach to governing. I started to read the comments and then realized that I had a ten year old DVD of Midsomer Murders to watch.

I went back this morning, and saw that there were nearly 200 comments and since I generally don't bother with threads that are over about 75, I'm probably not going to bother to read all the comments.

The post is a "one the one hand there are some people who think, but on the other hand there are other people who think differently" kind of thing. I guess it is interesting to see someone admitting that there is that kind of divide, but all I have to do is to go to Balloon-Juice and then to Firedoglake to see that kind of fight going on between one kind of liberal and another kind. Particularly, if one reads the comments sections.

One of the irritants of that post, is that if one goes to B-J and reads those comments there are a great deal of gratuitous swipes at FDL, but not so many the other way around. Although to be fair (and why should I do that?) I haven't done any real statistical stuff, it is more anecdotal, so I guess I could be wrong, but I doubt it. So I'm saying that it is a false equivalency and more or less like the MSM: He said, She said.

Essentially, I think that what is going on is that those who have put their trust in Obama and the Democrats have to believe, no matter what they do, that their trust has not been misplaced. The longer they refuse to admit what is going on the less likely they are to look at Obama's policies in a rational and critical light and therefore they continue to insist that we must support him, no matter what. That is what happened with Clinton after all. After NAFTA after GATT after gutting welfare leftists still went all out to back him in the 1996 election. I suspect that 2012 will be a version of "second verse same as the first" if one considers the first verse to be Bill Clinton. Whether the re-election of the president will be the outcome is another question.

Remember that the republicans are crazy and corrupt where the democrats are only corrupt. I think that those who continue to back Obama and the democrats think that is a good thing.

So all I can say is: Nihilists of the world unite.

UPDATE: So as soon as I write about the BS along comes Balloon-Juice.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More Economic

So I'm watching this economics thing, that is I mean our economic continuing melt down in a kind of goulish sort or way. Kind of like a slow and cheaply made slasher movie. Those who are in the know, or rather those who are in positions of power and who belive in the all powerful elites (you know those who got us into this situation: 9% uncmployment and the housing bubble and stock market crash) insist that we must not spend on the unemployed and limit our spending on well gee just about everything, except wars. Also we gotta maintain the tax cuts for the wealthiest 10% because if we don't well then they will all go Galt, don'tcha know.

The first chart being the actual deficit and what causes it, although of course it really isn't important in any real way at this point, because the inflation rate is so low and the unemployment rate is so high. So our government can spend a lot of money and print a lot of money and there will be little or no effect on the rate of inflation, or at least the effect will be so small that it would not matter in the scheme of things, but that isn't what our betters are telling us. The other aspect of that is to look at the above chart and see where the deficit is coming from. The wars and the tax cuts for the wealthy. It doesn't seem to be an area to discuss for anyone who matters. Hell even Noble Prize winners are ignored.

Of course the real problem here as far as I'm concerned, is that I'm one of those teenagers who has just had sex and smoked a joint (metaphorically, of course), so I'm next in line for a visit from the slasher.

Oh: more good news from the ST. Louis Fed:

A point being that we are getting ourselves into a position where those of my age and only slightly younger are simply not going to be able to get jobs, ever.

Monday, July 26, 2010


OK, not much here, but I think I would be remiss if I didn't link to Wikileaks document dump today. Comment

Whatthehell, whatthehell

Drifting back into the living here. Finished with a lot of stuff and am starting to look at the Shirley Sherrod thing.

It is all over the net, but it does look like the MSM has decided that in reality the real victims here were Brietbart and Fox, not really Ms. Sherrod at all, I guess. The other interesting part of this is that the right and left blogs haved staked out their positions: Right wingers, it is the disgusting Obama administration and the NAACP that really screwed over Ms. Sherrod and not Brietbart; left wingers it is Brietbart and Fox and the rest of the noise machine of the right, not the Obama people or the NAACP.

As I've said elsewhere I, personally, have enough contempt for all of them, and in fact the only person who seems to have come out of this whole is Ms. Sherrod. Conservatives are fond of the parable or fable of the Frog and Scorpion. "You knew my nature." While liberals prefer the more modern version: Animal House: "You screwed up, you trusted us."

How the NAACP and Obama could have jumped in accused both Sherrod and in the NAACP's case their own members of racism is nearly beyond me. Especially, since this guy is the same guy that did the ACORN video, which was later proven to be nearly totally lies. But buy into it they did. There does seem to be a cowardliness that simply overlays the progressive community in a way that didn't exist when I was younger. I do not know what it is, but there you have it. These scum on the right have a sort of power over the minds of the "responsible" left. To cow or frighten them into groveling supplication when in fact, nothing untoward was ever done.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Trying To Get Heads Out Of Asses

So this is a nice place to review a lot of the arguments concerning the reason that the Keynesian's are right and those who drove our economy (and by our I mean the entire world's) into the shitter are wrong (again?, still? continuously?). It appears as though Japan is the waive of the future even though they screwed up their economy for a decade by following just these policies. Of course it also shows (looking back at the Japanese) just how stupid the electorate in a liberal and highly educated democracy really can be.

The businesses will spend millions/trillions what exactely? Defeat this president and this congress, neither of whom has done much, but enrich these very business and the voters will lap it up. The three quotes that come to mind are: Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public, Mencken; There's a sucker born every minute, not apparently P.T. Barnum, and Never give a sucker an even break, W.C. Fields.

Those three saying taken together could and probably are engraved in gold somewhere in every corporate boardroom in the country. Certainly, the major political parties must have them some where engraved on their souls (if they have any). Although, given that I started by pointing to the Japanese perhaps I am being a little too parochial here and just not giving enough credit to the world influence of these ideals.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th I Think

I think that this is a great song, like Bruce says. I would have posted the version with him and Pete Seeger at the inaugural, but that was a little too painful remembering the hope in the air and seeing what has become of it.

I have never seen a man given as great a power and expected to do real good with it come down as Obama has on the wrong side of almost every issue presented him. And before anyone says it, no I don't think that every thing he has done is 100% wrong, but there is nothing that he has done that is even close to being even three quarters right.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

My Favorite Marine General

It is time I think to repost some excerpts from General Smedley Darlinton Butler's explanation of just what his job was when he was an active Marine and what he did to get those two Medal's of Honor.

War Is A Racket

By General Smedley Butler, USMC
(Speech originally-delivered in 1933)

War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns six percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes, and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem off for me, a military man, to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

(Speech originally-delivered in 1933)

The booklet is in PDF here.