Archive for March, 2008
The Administration Insists the US Government Does Not Torture

And yet it has blocked attempts to assert the illegality of torture—most recently, with president Bush’s veto of the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2008, on the grounds that it applied the prohibitions against torture in the Army Field Manuel to intelligence agencies. Then, of course, there are the infamous torture memos and the stories...
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Truncating the Antecedents: Addendum on 9/11 and the Present Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

If Franklin D. Roosevelt had been as artless as George W. Bush in his oratory, he might have dispensed with his speech about the “date which will live in infamy” and so forth and simply told the country on December 8, 1941, that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor “changed everything.” Of course, the...
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Another Hidden Cost of Ethanol

When it catches on fire, you can’t put it out. The firefighting foam used by most emergency responders won’t work on an ethanol blaze, which can only be extinguished with expensive ATC (alcohol type concentrate) foam. Most firefighting units can’t afford to carry more than a small amount of ATC foam. If an ethanol tanker, service...
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A Shia vs. Shia Civil War?

Well the years since the Iraq war began have been some roller coaster. And here’s the latest. Writes Patrick Cockburn: “A new civil war is threatening to explode in Iraq as American-backed Iraqi government forces fight Shia militiamen for control of Basra and parts of Baghdad. Heavy fighting engulfed Iraq’s two largest cities and...
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Abolishing Nuclear Weapons

Jonathan Schell has a good article addressing some of the arguments against total nuclear disarmament. Interestingly, he turns one potentially pro-nuclear argument around: Some proponents of nuclear weaponry say it is futile to rid of them, since people will always be able to create them, now that the technology is known. But Schell says...
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Proposed Housing-Market Rescues

All of the leading presidential aspirants are engaged in a bidding war for votes. Each of them promises to bail out the unfortunates who cannot meet their mortgage obligations and stand to “lose their homes” (which, properly speaking, were never theirs in the first place, since they put little or no money of their...
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Human Death Toll in Iraq

We have just passed a tragic benchmark—4,000 Americans killed in Iraq since the war began—including more than 3,500 since the capture of Saddam and more than 3,000 since the handover to Iraqis in mid-2004, which I, at the time, referred to as the “Iraqization Scam,” predicting more bloodshed and escalation to follow. Then there...
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California Stands Up (A Little) to Feds on Real ID

California and a few other states have been offered extensions by the federal Department of Homeland Security on their compliance to national standards so as to let Californians with state IDs access to airports and federal buildings at which they might have been barred pending compliance. Apparently, the DHS originally demanded a promise that...
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War with Iran—Still in the Cards?

There is some concern brewing that Vice President Dick Cheney’s recent tour of the Middle East is a prelude to war with Iran. The justification would likely be two-fold: Iran’s meddling in Iraq and other support for Islamist extremists, and its supposed nuclear weapons program. According to last November’s National Intelligence Estimate, Iran has...
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Understanding the Depression

As the economy continues to slide toward a downturn, it is crucial to understand what is going on. Inevitably, we will hear about how the government should pull out all the stops to turn the tide, and this prescription is rooted in certain premise, whether explicit or implicit, about the nature of the problem...
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