Saturday, April 29, 2006
This will level the playing field. No more "accidents." No more unilateral decision-making by the woman whether to have the baby. No more back-breaking child support to a woman you never married and don't even enjoy a continuing domestic partnership with. All without having to use groady, desensitizing condoms for the purpose. This will be a great boon.
Male contraception is not a feminist thing. It's a masculinist thing. It's an equal rights thing.
These BBC News articles will bring you up to speed on the approaches being tried, the clinical trials, and the latest results: Male 'pill' within four years; 'Side effect free' male pill; Male contraceptive '100% effective'; and Male contraceptive 'reversible'.
If you don't like these approaches, let the scientists keep working. The need of our half of the human race is great; and it will be met.
In the meantime, men, wrap that rascal. Don't let your testosterone levels, ten times higher than women's, make you a fool.
UPDATE: WebMD via FoxNews gives us this information for women: Today's Birth Control: The Five Newest Ways to Prevent Pregnancy.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Personal attacks have long been a staple of American election campaigns; but the relatively benign pranks played by Democrat Dick Tuck may have influenced his most famous victim, Republican Richard Nixon, to hire Donald Segretti, who ended up going to prison in 1974 for distributing illegal campaign literature, including a fake letter containing false allegations on Democratic presidential candidate Edmund Muskie's letterhead.
Next in the pantheon of Republican dirty tricksters came Lee Atwater, who in 1980 began to use fake telephone surveys ("push polling") to disseminate derogatory information to voters, last-minute attack letters, and a fake reporter in a news conference to reveal a candidate's childhood psychiatric history. Atwater also helped devise and implement the GOP's new Southern Strategy to capture white voters during the era of civil rights backlash. By 1984 he was running a dirty tricks operation against vice-presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro; and in the 1988 presidential campaign for the elder George Bush, Atwater approved the Willie Horton attack ad project against Michael Dukakis. During that time, the younger George Bush became "great friends" with Atwater. A fine 1989 profile of Lee Atwater can be read here.
Karl Rove also became a friend and a student of Atwater's techniques. An excellent 2003 New Yorker Magazine personal and political profile on Rove can be read here.
Subsequent PR coups like the Swift Boat Veterans campaign against John Kerry and the fake National Guard memo (supposedly) against Bush are thought to resemble Atwater's tactics, also distinguished by the lack of paper trails to their instigators, although modern commentators are more likely to speculate about the "Mark of Karl Rove."
Back to the real objective of this post. Lee Atwater died of an inoperable brain tumor in 1991; but before he died, "he converted to Catholicism and, in an act of repentance, issued a number of public and written apologies to individuals whom he had attacked during his political career." I'm going to post a picture of Lee as might appear on one of those modern tombstones; and below that I'm going to post a quote from his Life Magazine article a month before he died, as his epitaph:
"My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what was missing in me: a little heart, a lot of brotherhood. The '80s were about acquiring -- acquiring wealth, power, prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth, power, and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty. What power wouldn't I trade for a little more time with my family? What price wouldn't I pay for an evening with friends? It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye with that truth, but it is a truth that the country, caught up in its ruthless ambitions and moral decay, can learn on my dime. I don't know who will lead us through the '90s, but they must be made to speak to this spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, this tumor of the soul."
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
[S]cientists are now beginning to understand that the perceived feel-good effects of sexual intercourse are merely the tip of the iceberg. Sex, they are discovering, can offer protection from depression, colds, heart disease and even cancer.I would quote some more explicit details from this article, but then this post wouldn't be safe for work (heh heh). Oh, what the heck, I have to use this:
[S]tudies show "penile-vaginal intercourse is the only sexual behaviour consistently associated with better psychological and physiological health".So leave those triple-action mechanical rabbits in the bedstand and give a real lover a chance. The life you save may be your own!
Now, for you lovers beyond the flush of youth whose testosterone (the lust hormone) levels have fallen to where you just don't seem to hook up anymore, help is on the way.
Horn of rhinoceros. Penis of tiger. Root of sea holly. Husk of the emerald-green blister beetle known as the Spanish fly. So colourful and exotic is the list of substances that have been claimed to heighten sexual appetite that it is hard not to feel a twinge of disappointment on first beholding the latest entry - a small, white plastic nasal inhaler containing an odourless, colourless synthetic chemical called PT-141. Plain as it is, however, there is one thing that distinguishes PT-141 from the 4,000 years' worth of recorded medicinal aphrodisiacs that precede it: this one actually works.Woo Hoo!
And it could reach the market in as little as three years. The full range of possible risks and side effects has yet to be determined, but already this much is known: a dose of PT-141 results, in most cases, in a stirring in the loins in as little as 15 minutes. Women, according to one set of results, feel 'genital warmth, tingling and throbbing', not to mention 'a strong desire to have sex'.
Among men who have been tested with the drug more extensively, the data set is richer: 'With PT-141, you feel good,' reported anonymous patient 007: 'not only sexually aroused, you feel younger and more energetic.' According to another patient, 'It helped the libido. So you have the urge and the desire...' Tales of pharmaceutically induced sexual prowess among 58-year-olds are common enough in the age of the Little Blue Pill, but they don't typically involve quite so urgent a repertoire. Or, as patient 128 put it: 'My wife knows. She can tell the difference between Viagra and PT-141.'I'm Wintermute, and I approve this message.
UPDATE: Palatin Technologies (PT) has given 141 a chemical name: Bremolanotide (breem-oh-LAN'-oh-tyd).
UPDATE: UVa. Tests Viagra-Like Drug for Women
UPDATE: Bad news! The US FDA scares Paladin out of PT-141 aphrodisiac research based on elevated blood pressure worries, but Paladin is continuing research into PT-141 for hemorrhagic shock, which still allows PT-141 to enter the market and be precribed for off-label use. Meanwhile, Paladin is pursuing another chemical of similar nature but hoped-for lower blood pressure effects.
UPDATE: Failed anti-depressant drug could be 'women's Viagra'
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Robert Altemeyer later refined and fleshed out this early work into a construct known as "right wing authoritarianism," finding that:
[T]hree facets of this authoritarian personality were statistically significant and cross-correlated: conventionalism, authoritarian aggression and authoritarian submission. Conventionalism is the tendency to accept and obey social conventions and the rules of authority figures. Authoritarian aggression is characterised by an aggressive attitude towards individuals or groups disliked by authorities, and authoritarian submission is submission to authorities and authority figures.
The list of the correlations he found is interesting. Furthermore:
High scorers on the RWA scale tend to have a rigid, often fundamentally religious view of morality tending towards as homophobic and patriarchal beliefs. High RWA scorers tend to support authority figures, such as the government, taking action to censor certain social groups (often those who are viewed as physically or morally threatening).
Not surprisingly, conservatives have attacked this construct as unfair, given that examples of left wing authoritarianism can be found in history and into the present day.
By 2001, a less politically laden construct, "social dominance orientation," "a measure of an individual's preference for hierarchy within any given social system," "was first proposed by Jim Sidanius and Felicia Pratto as part of their Social Dominance Theory (SDT), which proposes that societies can reduce group conflict using legitimizing myths, which allow intergroup prejudice and inequality."
SDO correlates with Right Wing Authoritarian and together they predict to varying degrees many forms of prejudicial attitudes, such as sexist, racist and anti-homosexual attitudes. There is very little evidence that either scale predicts much in the way of behavior, however.
Both scales are catalogues of broadly aggressive social attitudes which are likely to find support today among extreme conservatives. That the the two scales correlate is to be expected from their similar content.
The SDO scale has been generally very well received by psychologists and is widely used in attitude research.
As I said in beginning, when I hear certain people talk or I read their writings, I think about these social psychological concepts. It is very difficult and time-consuming even to attempt to raise an adult human being over again to overcome the childhood environment that caused the excessive expression of authoritarian human traits. And "self-transcendence" in the sense of "going beyond a prior form or state of oneself" requires some combination of education, true two-way communication, and reflection. Sometimes, if the stakes are high enough, you just have to defeat these authoritarian people on the battlefield, real or ideational.
UPDATE: 'The Authoritarian Personality' Revisited
UPDATE: John Dean writes "Triumph of the authoritarians."
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Wheat beer is a beer that is brewed with both malted barley and malted wheat, rather than only barley. The addition of wheat lends wheat beers a lighter flavor and paler color than most all-barley ales. Wheat beer is customarily top fermented, that is, fermented with ale yeast.
Wheat beers have become very popular in recent years, and are especially popular in warm weather.
The first picture is a draft wheat beer in its traditional German glass. Your server should present it to you with a lemon wedge on the rim. Enjoy the unique banana nose and flavor and then squeeze the lemon in for another dimension.
The second pic is my favorite German imported wheat beer, König Ludwig Weissbier. When you pour one of these, leave a little beer in the bottle to swoosh around and suspend the yeast sediment on the bottom. Taste the beer first and then add the yeast for even more flavor. Here's a five-star review that agrees with me on this beer.
American microbreweries have gotten in on the wheat beer act with some respectable entries. Below are pics of three I will drink when I can't find the König: Pyramid Hefe Weizen (hefe means with yeast sediment; weizen or weiss is wheat); Harpoon's UFO Hefeweizen; and Sierra Nevada Wheat Beer. Enjoy!
UPDATE: I cannot get König Ludwig this year but am now ready to say that Paulaner Hefe-Weizen from Germany has a delicious banana nose. Try it. I also sampled two more American efforts: Anchor Summer Beer, which is a filtered wheat beer, and Flying Dog's In-Heat Wheat, which is a nice hefe.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
The subsequent claims of the executive branch -- that classified information was instantly declassified before leaking or releasing it officially -- made me go back again to study the history of the whole process. I'm sharing the results with you here.
Wikipedia's article, "Classified information in the United States," will give you a nice overview of the way the system is supposed to work.
If you want to jump to a decent legal analysis of the declassification controversy as it existed in mid-February, read georgia10's post on Daily Kos, "Cheney & Classification." Georgia10 was arguing that, despite Bush's grant of co-extensive classification authority to the Vice President, Cheney was obliged to send a request for declassification to the originating agency for review of "whether the public interest in disclosure outweighs the damage to the national security that might reasonably be expected from disclosure." Arguments like hers and subsequent revelations in court filings seem to have resulted in the ultimate White House position that Bush himself authorized the declassification and disclosure.
Given the White House's outing of a covert CIA agent and disclosing cherry-picked intelligence for political purposes, we the people might wish that even the President himself would follow the procedure prescribed for "any other entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information." However, this White House has repeatedly cited a 1988 Supreme Court decision as authority for its claims that the President can control access to classified national security information however he likes, even in derogation of oversight statutes passed by Congress.
A little history is in order, and we will consider the version offered by the Supreme Court in that 1988 opinion, Department of Navy v. Egan, wherein the Court decided that the Merit Systems Protection Board did not have authority to review the Navy's decision to deny a security clearance to a shipyard employee. From Part III of the opinion:
The President, after all, is the "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States." U.S. Const., Art. II, 2. His authority to classify and control access to information bearing on national security and to determine whether an individual is sufficiently trustworthy to occupy a position in the Executive Branch that will give that person access to such information flows primarily from this constitutional investment of power in the President and exists quite apart from any explicit congressional grant....
Since World War I, the Executive Branch has engaged in efforts to protect national security information by means of a classification system graded according to sensitivity.... After World War II, certain civilian agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the Atomic Energy Commission, were entrusted with gathering, protecting, or creating information bearing on national security. Presidents, in a series of Executive Orders, have sought to protect sensitive information and to ensure its proper classification throughout the Executive Branch by delegating this responsibility to the heads of agencies. See Exec. Order No. 10290 [Truman, 1951], 3 CFR 789 (1949-1953 Comp.); Exec. Order No. 10501 [Eisenhower, 1953], 3 CFR 979 (1949-1953 Comp.); Exec. Order No. 11652 [Nixon, 1972], 3 CFR 678 (1971-1975 Comp.); Exec. Order No. 12065 [Carter, 1978], 3 CFR 190 (1979); Exec. Order No. 12356 [Reagan, 1982], 4.1(a), 3 CFR 174 (1983).
Later executive orders on classification are: Clinton's No. 12958 of April 17, 1995; his October 17, 1995, designation in the Federal Register of the Vice President and five others in the Executive Office of the President as Top Secret classification authorities; and Bush's No. 13292 of March 25, 2003, adding the Vice President "in the performance of executive duties" as an original classification authority within the executive order itself. (This copy shows Bush's changes to Clinton's 1995 order; and this document discusses those changes.)
To bolster its "unitary executive" theory, the Bush administration has included language adapted from the Egan case -- "flows from the Constitution and does not depend upon a legislative grant of authority" -- in its signing statements on defense appropriations laws of 2002 and 2005 (requiring advance notice to Congress before covert actions are commenced), to the effect that the President reserves the "right" not to so inform Congress.
Georgia10 at Kos described statements in this part of the Egan opinion as "dicta." Perhaps she was advancing the possibility they might be mere obiter dicta -- that is, peripheral statements in a case, not part of the holding and thus not precedential; but they seem an important part of the Court's reasoning in reaching its result in Egan and appear to be ratio decidendi of some precedential value.
However, the President never recites this sentence from later in Part III of the Egan opinion:
[U]nless Congress specifically has provided otherwise, courts traditionally have been reluctant to intrude upon the authority of the Executive in military and national security affairs. (emphasis added)
Four years before President Harry Truman issued the first executive order on classified information, he signed into law the National Security Act of 1947, which "realigned and reorganized the United States' armed forces, foreign policy, and intelligence community apparatus in the aftermath of World War II." This act remains in force today, as amended, and provides for general Congressional oversight of current and planned intelligence activities, § 413, and a presidential duty to keep [the entire membership of] congressional intelligence committees fully and currently informed of all covert actions, § 413b. Subsection (c)(2) of 413b is where we find the President, "to meet extraordinary circumstances affecting vital interests of the United States," can limit access to the required written intelligence "findings" to the "Gang of Eight." (Sections 421, 422, and 426 of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 codified nearby are the provisions providing criminal penalties for disclosing the identity of a covert agent.)
Requirements of the 1947 Act were referenced in the Truman and Eisenhower executive orders on classified information linked above; and the Clinton and Bush orders both contain identical language in (now) Section 6.2, General Provisions:
(a) Nothing in this order shall supersede any requirement made by or under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, or the National Security Act of 1947, as amended.
And yet, on October 5, 2001, Bush issued this order to the Secretaries of State, Treasury, and Defense, the Attorney General, and the Directors of the CIA and the FBI:
The only Members of Congress whom you or your expressly designated officers may brief regarding classified or sensitive law enforcement information are the Speaker of the House, the House Minority Leader, the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, and the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Intelligence Committees in the House and Senate.
The strategy ever since 9/11 seems to be to use § 413b(c)(2) to limit the entire Congressional intelligence oversight process to the Gang of Eight, under a purportedly continuous state of "extraordinary circumstances affecting vital interests of the United States." And the Congress we have now is rolling over for it.
UPDATE: The New York Times editorial, "A Bad Leak."
UPDATE: Outed CIA agent was working on Iran
UPDATE: Specter On Domestic Spying:
Yesterday, Bush said this in his weekly radio address:
"The intelligence activities I have authorized are lawful and have been briefed to appropriate members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat."
Senate Judiciary Committee Arlen Specter (R-PA) disagreed with that assessment this morning. On Face the Nation, Specter said that Bush and others in the administration “still haven’t complied with the act to inform the full intelligence committees as required by law.”
UPDATE: Bush agrees to review of spy program:
The White House, in an abrupt reversal, has agreed to let the full Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees review President George W. Bush's domestic spying program, lawmakers said on Tuesday.
The Republican chairmen of the Senate and House panels disclosed the shift two days before a Senate confirmation hearing for Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden as the new CIA director, which is expected to be dominated by concern over the program.
. . . .
The White House has sought to avoid full committee oversight by limiting briefings to subcommittees from each panel. Initially, the administration shared program details only with the chairmen and vice chairmen of the committees and party leaders in the House and Senate.
"It became apparent that in order to have a fully informed confirmation hearing, all members of my committee needed to know the full width and breadth of the president's program," Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, who heads the 15-member Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement.
UPDATE: Murray Waas take 2, "Bush Directed Cheney To Counter War Critic":
President Bush told the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case that he directed Vice President Dick Cheney to personally lead an effort to counter allegations made by former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV that his administration had misrepresented intelligence information to make the case to go to war with Iraq, according to people familiar with the president's interview.
Bush also told federal prosecutors during his June 24, 2004, interview in the Oval Office that he had directed Cheney, as part of that broader effort, to disclose highly classified intelligence information that would not only defend his administration but also discredit Wilson, the sources said.
But Bush told investigators that he was unaware that Cheney had directed I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice president's chief of staff, to covertly leak the classified information to the media instead of releasing it to the public after undergoing the formal governmental declassification processes.
Bush also said during his interview with prosecutors that he had never directed anyone to disclose the identity of then-covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, Wilson's wife. Bush said he had no information that Cheney had disclosed Plame's identity or directed anyone else to do so.
Libby has said that neither the president nor the vice president directed him or other administration officials to disclose Plame's CIA employment to the press. Cheney has also denied having any role in the disclosure.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
A good place to start is an article in your online free encyclopedia, Wikipedia, "Separation of church and state" in world history. Then move on to "Separation of church and state in the United States" (and sources linked to in the following text).
It is ironic that one of several religious groups who fled Europe for the American colonies to escape persecution, the Puritans, then established their Congregational church as the official religion and began their own persecutions. Anglicans imported their version of the established Church of England into the New World.
When the colonies drafted and ratified the Constitution of the United States and its Bill of Rights, however, jealousy and fear between the several Christian denominations resulted in the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses in the First Amendment, so that the federal government could not make one denomination the official one or prevent any denomination from holding its services.
It is true that several states retained their particular established religion after ratification of the Constitution, along with related measures such as taxing all citizens to pay the salaries of preachers of the established denomination. However, evangelical Baptists persecuted by the established churches adopted the century-earlier call of Rhode Island founder Roger Williams for a "wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world" as the principle to bring about the disestablishment of these state religions. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison became champions of this principle; and disestablishment was largely accomplished in all the states by the early 1800's. For a fascinating description of this alliance, see "The Framers and the Faithful."
It was not disputed in those days that the First Amendment itself was not binding on the states, but only on the federal government. In fact, when then-President Thomas Jefferson wrote that the Establishment Clause erected "a wall of separation between church and state," it was in a letter to the Danbury Baptists, who sought his help in getting the Connecticut legislature to repeal the tax supporting its established Congregational church. Jefferson continued to maintain that "separation" was an adequate description of the intended effect of the First Amendment, as did Madison ("total separation of the church from the state"), primary author of the Bill of Rights.
The first Supreme Court decision to mention "separation of church and state" was a Free Exercise case in 1878 (Reynolds v. U.S.), in which the Court found a Mormon man in the Utah Territory guilty of polygamy, notwithstanding his belief that his religion required the practice. Searching for the meaning of the First Amendment's religion clauses, the Court recited Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists and concluded (in part 5.):
Coming as this does from an acknowledged leader of the advocates of the measure, it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment thus secured.
Some twenty years later in an early Establishment Clause case (Bradfield v. Roberts, 1899), the Court held that federal financial assistance to a Roman Catholic-run hospital was permissible because the funding was to an organization sufficiently secular in its charter, purpose, and operation.
After the post-Civil War Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, including the clause "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States," the United States Supreme Court ultimately began a gradual process of "incorporation" of portions of the Bill of Rights to apply to state governments through the Due Process Clause.
Most of the early cases "incorporating" the religion clauses were, ironically, Free Exercise cases, brought mainly by Jehovah's Witnesses over local and state government attempts to suppress or regulate their activities: pamphleteering (Lovell v. City of Griffin, GA., 1938), soliciting (Cantwell v. Connecticut, 1940), and refusing to salute the American flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance in school (West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 1943). The Barnette opinion reversed a previous opinion of the Court which had held that governmental strength should prevail over individual liberties and that complainants' remedy was at the polls. Rather, Justice Jackson wrote:
The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.
Having "incorporated" the Free Exercise Clause against the states, the Court then went on to do the same for the Establishment Clause in 1947 in Everson v. Board of Education, a 5-4 decision upholding state funding for busing parochial school students, even while reciting with approval Jefferson's "separation of church and state" wording.
Another state funding case, Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) struck down direct aid to Catholic schools for teachers' salaries, textbooks and instructional materials, and formulated the three-pronged Lemon test:
1. The government's action must have a legitimate secular purpose;
2. The government's action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion; and
3. The government's action must not result in an "excessive entanglement" of the government and religion.
Lemon has been eroded by subsequent cases upholding more indirect aid schemes and finally by a direct aid case, Zelman v. Simmons-Harris in 2002, where a 5-4 majority upheld a school voucher plan, despite the fact that 96% of voucher students used them at religious schools.
Main cases in the public school prayer area have been: Engel v. Vitale (1962) (required recitation of official school prayer unconstitutional); Abington School District v. Schempp (1963) (school-sponsored Bible reading unconstitutional); Wallace v. Jaffree (1985) ("moment of silence" unconstitutional because legislated with religious purpose); and Lee v. Weisman (1992) (graduation prayer unconstitutionally coercive). A related case is Edwards v. Aguillard (1987), holding a Louisiana law -- requiring creationism to be taught in its public schools if evolution is taught -- lacked a true secular purpose and impermissibly endorsed religion by advancing the religious belief that a supernatural being created humankind. Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow (2004), the "under God" Pledge of Allegiance case dismissed by the Supreme Court on standing grounds, may soon reappear on the Court's docket with the standing problem cured.
The religious display cases have been close calls and seem to turn on whether the display has a secular purpose. Lynch v. Donnelly (1984) upheld the display of a creche in a park because any benefit to religion was "indirect, remote, and incidental;" whereas County of Allegheny v. ACLU (1989) struck down the display of a creche in the county courthouse, because the "principal or primary effect" of the display was to advance religion. The Supreme Court in 2003 allowed a lower court decision to stand requiring Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state supreme court building; but in 2005 by two 5-4 decisions the Court allowed a Ten Commandments display at the Texas state capitol to stay due to the monument's "secular purpose" but rejected displays of the Ten Commandments in several Kentucky county courthouses because they were not clearly integrated with a secular display.
To close this ambitious but long post, here's a link to a very informative webpage, "History of the Separation of Church and State in America," that has many beautiful graphics of early American currency and gives the surprisingly recent history of the substitution of "In God We Trust" in place of our original motto, "E Pluribus Unum," and the addition of "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance.
The latest iteration of our Supreme Court may indeed be more friendly to "entanglement" of government and religion; but I've tried to show where we are today and how we got there.
The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor. We maintain our strength in order to deter and defend against aggression -- to preserve freedom and peace.
The New Yorker magazine has just posted a scary piece by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh describing the Bush administration's war planning and covert activity against Iran.
The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups.
. . . .
There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community, that President Bush’s ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change.
And this with Iraq still in turmoil.
A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”
I thought saving Iraq was going to be his legacy. And our government is planning numerous first-strike attacks on Iran with nuclear weapons. According to a former high-level Defense Department official:
The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ... and some officers have talked about resigning. Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran—without success....
I think I see how our new "Messiah" plans to spend his last three years in office. Expect a new war to start before the November elections, unless the Bush administration decides to suspend our elections, as it discussed doing in 2004. Updating another famous political quotation, George Bush, you're no Ronald Reagan. Go read the rest of Hersh's report.
UPDATE: Charley Reese column: "Another War For Israel?"
UPDATE: Pat Buchanan: "Of imperial presidents and congressional cowards":
It is time for Congress to tell President Bush directly that he has no authority to go to war on Iran and to launch such a war would be an impeachable offense.
UPDATE: "US military, intelligence officials raise concern about possible preparations for Iran strike."
UPDATE: Seymour Hersh take 2, "LAST STAND: The military’s problem with the President’s Iran policy."
UPDATE: Rolling Stone: "Iran: The Next War" by the great James Bamford.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
[T]he U.S. government—pre-PATRIOT Act, pre-NSA wiretaps and all—had and missed clear opportunities to stop 9/11. The FBI uniquely and repeatedly punted carefully gathered evidence of an attack in favor of adherence to bureaucratic hierarchies and power trips.
The testimony of FBI agent Harry Samit forever buries the quaint notion that 9/11 was unforeseen and unpreventable. Beginning with Moussaoui's August 16, 2001 arrest Samit mounted a global and indefatigable investigation of the man and concluded that an attack involving hijacked airplanes was imminent.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Government's declaring drugs illegal doesn't mean people can't get them. It just creates a black market, where even nastier things happen. That's why I have come to think that although drug addiction is bad, the drug war is worse.