No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post
Abbreviated “blogger fail” edition. For some reason the scratch file I use for accumulating links throughout the week got blanked out late Thursday. Here’s what I was able to recover from memory.
Our image in the Muslim world would probably improve if we stopped killing so many Muslims.
As John Cole beautifully put it a while back, the secret war in Laos wasn’t a secret to Laotians. Similarly, it may be news to us that the US is targeting civilians in Afghanistan, but to the actual civilian communities being bombed it isn’t:
A human rights group says civilian casualties have spiked since operations started in Kandahar province in early September.Hearts and minds.
The Afghan Rights Monitor (ARM) says the US-led campaign in Kandahar has destroyed or damaged hundreds of houses.
It says US-led NATO forces have used aerial bombings, hidden booby traps and mines in private homes.
From my neck of the woods: “The 256th Combat Support Hospital from Twinsburg held a farewell ceremony for over 200 soldiers set to deploy to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn.” If I’m seeing more units with the word “Combat” in their name headed for Iraq it seems safe to assume that’s happening elsewhere too.
Memo to Washington: That whole charade about combat operations ending a few months ago was a lie and has not fooled anyone outside of the DC bubble. We know we are still actively engaged in two wars, we hate that as much as we ever have, we loathe you for being contemptuous of public sentiment, and we will continue these whipsaw elections until we fucking get someone in there who actually represents us.
I suppose it’s progress that our leaders and high officials have become comfortable openly acknowledging our descent into savagery and lawlessness since it helps lessen the degree of hypocrisy, but it also more firmly documents just how uncivilized we’ve become.
In three short paragraphs Adam Serwer illustrates why the actual US legal system is more than sufficient for the WAR ON TERROR!!!
I link to Athenae’s posts quite a bit, so while I’m glad this one has gotten a lot of attention I don’t think it’s any more excellent than most of the rest of what she writes. But hey, as a blogger myself I know not to question it when a particular bit of what you consider a largely undifferentiated mass seems to strike a chord with lots of folks. I’d just like to point out she’s razor sharp in the comments too: “Relentless cheerleading on my part would not have changed anything on a national scale, and the way I know that is that John Kerry is not halfway through his second term as president right now.”
Speaking of comments, here are some more great ones from the week. Comment sections get a bad rap. Sure there’s a fair amount of vitriol at times, but there’s also some great stuff by folks who don’t have time for a blog post or simply don’t have a blog to sound off on.
I believe this might be one of the best templates for an apology that I’ve ever seen.
Repeat after me:The perennial question of whether supporting a Democratic president who fails to deliver what liberals consider big policy wins is taken up by Tyro:
I was just joking around and trying to be funny. However, in retrospect, I realize that my words were offensive. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone and I’m sorry.
Now was that so friggin’ hard?
you can vote for Democrats because you want to repeal DADT, but you don’t know that it’s going to happen or not. But you might also like tax cuts, and you KNOW that you’re going to get them if you elect Republicans. So you get a guarantee that the Republicans are going to deliver on their promises, but only a chance that the Democrats will deliver on their own.I cross post at Kos, and here’s some wonderful feedback from Liberal Thinking (emph. in orig.):
I keep saying this over and over again: voting isn’t an expression of your personal virtue. You’re doing it to get stuff. It’s not unreasonable to make the calculation that you would rather have tax cuts and no DADT repeal rather than no tax cuts and no DADT repeal.
First of all, they conflate the federal budget with the nation’s budget. Second, they are locked into “supply-side economics”, which posits that if you cut taxes for the rich then the rich will trickle on you and you’ll have more. Third, they don’t understand the relationship of federal spending to the number of jobs in the economy. I’ve actually heard some of them say that the government doesn’t create jobs, as if the money government spends vanishes into thin air.
Since the vast majority of people have never learned anything about economics it’s hard to get voters to understand how stupid this thinking truly is. But, to the extent that the federal budget is like the home budget, you are entirely right. Taking in less money means a bigger deficit.
We need to change the thinking. Taxes are not too high. Incomes are too low. If you are having problems paying your taxes then you need a raise, not a tax cut. Democrats need to practice this response to anyone talking about tax cuts. The sooner Republicans realize that talking about tax cuts leads people to want and think they deserve a raise, the sooner they will stop talking about them and we can have some sanity in our economic discussions.
A little vignette on the new majority leader. The only way the economy improves in the next two years is if someone figures out a way to monetize ignorance and nihilism.
If Atrios is correct and our legal system is becoming a joke then the telecoms are the headlining standup comics of our age: “Telecommunications provider AT&T is pursuing an argument in front of the nation’s highest court that would permit companies which require service or employment contracts to explicitly forbid signatories from joining class action lawsuits.”
A ten second demonstration of everything you need to know about the modern right.
Nate Silver: Here is a statistical analysis of the extreme pro-Republican bias in Rasmussen polling. Conservatives: Silver is a hack. And all polling is worthless anyway.
Marcy is still awesome even though I haven’t been linking to her as much lately.
Bonus Yves, from Playboy (don’t want to trip anyone’s content filter!):
Look at what they have accomplished: the greatest looting of the public purse in history, with no one held to account, no one in authority putting in place measures to prevent it from happening again. The success of this heist, if anything, confirms Wall Street’s exaggerated sense of self-worth. It was such a profitable exercise that the industry has every reason to repeat it.Every reason. Given the generally soft coverage of institutional power players by traditional media, there’s more of need than ever for outlets with both resources and skepticism. Rolling Stone has been showing how it’s done, with substantive reporting and trenchant commentary.
If Playboy is looking to jump in along these lines, so much the better. If otherwise-missioned periodicals are willing to carve out a space for that, terrific - though I’d humbly suggest Playboy consider a text only/print preview version of such articles for those who prefer their hard-hitting investigative journalism to not be adorned with bikini babes in the margins. (Obligatory Vonnegut reference here.)
ECONNED EXCERPT: I had a short clip from pp. 125-6 on Thursday. Here’s the full thing.
Previously, as noted above, economic thinking had been limited to antitrust, which inherently involves economic concepts (various ways to measure the power of large companies in a market). So extending economic concepts further was at least novel, and novel could be tantamount to “off the wall” in some circles. But with hindsight, equally strong words like “radical,” “activist,” and “revolutionary” would apply.
Why? The law and economics promoters sought to colonize legal minds. And, to a large extent they succeeded. For centuries (literally), jurisprudence had been a multifaceted subject aimed at ordering human affairs. The law and economics advocates wanted none of that. They wanted their narrow construct to play as prominent a role a possible.
For instance, a notion that predates legal practice is equity, that is, fairness. The law in its various forms including legislative, constitutional, private (i.e., contract), judicial, and administrative, is supposed to operate within broad, inherited concepts of equity. Another fundamental premise is the importance of “due process,” meaning adherence to procedures set by the state. By contrast, “free markets” ideology focuses on efficiency and seeks to aggressively minimize the role of government. The two sets of assumptions are diametrically opposed.