I have to give massive props to CNN’s Rick Sanchez for his withering smackdown of Samuel Joe the Undeserving Fraud Plumber:

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I bet a lot of neoconservatives wish that any statement made by them more than a couple years ago was automatically purged out of existence.

Here’s Paul Wolfowitz back in 2000 (h/t Daily Dish):

“No U.S. president can justify a policy that fails to achieve its intended results by pointing to the purity and rectitude of his intentions,” – Statesmanship in the New Century, in Kagan, R. and Kristol, W, eds. Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign and Defense Policy, San Francisco, 2000, p. 335.

Now reflect on Bush’s recent farewell remarks:

Like all who have held this office before me, I have experienced setbacks. There are things I would do differently if given the chance. Yet I have always acted with the best interests of our country in mind. I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right. You may not agree with some tough decisions I have made. But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions.

I wonder what Wolfowitz would have to say now?

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I hate bad logic — especially when it appears in otherwise reputable sources. It hurts my brain to read it. So when I came across a new article in the Wall Street Journal that made that claim that Bush’s illegal wiretapping activities were somehow vindicated by the recently published decision from the FISA court, I got a huge headache.

I wanted to write a point-by-point explanation of why the article was so incorrect but I don’t have much time and Anonymous Liberal already did it for me:

1) From 1978-2006, there was a law in place that said “don’t do X; if you do X, it’s a felony.”

2) The Bush administration secretly did X.

3) When it was caught doing X (a felony under existing law), it argued that it had the “inherent authority” to do X regardless of what the law says, a claim that has no support in constitutional case law.

4) This “inherent authority” argument was emphatically rejected by the Supreme Court in the Hamdan case in 2006 in a virtually identical context, causing widespread wailing and gnashing of teeth among right wing true believers (see McCarthy, Andrew).

5) The Bush administration, after a series of adverse court rulings, was finally forced to go to Congress in 2006, and Congress amended the law to expressly allow the Bush administration to do X.

6) Now the FISA Court of Review has ruled that Congress was within its authority to pass that law and so the Bush administration is free to do X.

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For anyone who bought into Rick Warren’s “kinder, gentler” brand of know-nothing fundamentalism, I recommend you reflect on some truly disturbing comments he made in a recent sermon. In essence, Warren longingly describes the passionate fanaticism that such esteemed historical figures as Adolf Hitler, Lenin and Mao inspired in their followers:

“In 1939, in a stadium much like this, in Munich Germany, they packed it out with young men and women in brown shirts, for a fanatical man standing behind a podium named Adolf Hitler, the personification of evil.

And in that stadium, those in brown shirts formed with their bodies a sign that said, in the whole stadium, “Hitler, we are yours.”

And they nearly took the world.

Lenin once said, “give me 100 committed, totally committed men and I’ll change the world.” And, he nearly did.

A few years ago, they took the sayings of Chairman Mao, in China, put them in a little red book, and a group of young people committed them to memory and put it in their minds and they took that nation, the largest nation in the world by storm because they committed to memory the sayings of the Chairman Mao.

When I hear those kinds of stories, I think ‘what would happen if American Christians, if world Christians, if just the Christians in this stadium, followers of Christ, would say ‘Jesus, we are yours’ ?

What kind of spiritual awakening would we have ?

As David Neiwart opines:

It probably didn’t cross Warren’s mind, but the examples he cites are two of the world’s most classic cases of totalitarianism. The products of their regimes — beyond millions of people dead — included the forced regimentation of thought and no press or free-speech protections whatsoever.

If that’s the kind of fervent “radicalism” he admires, then we badly need to ought to take a long look at just what his agenda really is. And so ought Barack Obama.

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Intrepid libertarian Radley Balko wrote a new must-read piece on Culture 11 on the catastrophically misguided “War on Drugs”.

This has always been a pet issue of mine, even though I know the Puritanical Insanity that ever-grips this country will probably never brook anything even remotely close to full decriminalization or legalization.

Simply put, my two main points on the topic are: (1) waging a “war” on drugs causes far more suffering than it is designed to combat; and (2) the struggle is futile and wastes billions of dollars and countless human lives.

I highly recommend reading the article. Money quote:

Even if the drug war were working—even if all the horrible things the federal government says are caused by illicit drugs were accurate (and some of them admittedly are), and even if the war on drugs were proving successful in eradicating or even significantly diminishing our access to those drugs—you’d have a difficult time arguing that the benefits would be worth the costs.

But the kicker is, of course, that it isn’t working. Much of the federal government claims about the evils associated with illicit drugs are either exaggerated or misapplied effects not of the drugs, but of the government’s prohibition of them.

More to the point, none of this is working even taking drug war advocates’ positions at face value. It is as easy to achieve an illegal high today as it was in 1981, as it was in 1971, as it was in 1915. The vast majority of you reading this either know where to get a bag of marijuana, or know someone who knows where to get one. Specific drugs come in and out of vogue, but the desire to alter one’s consciousness, to escape life’s drab monotonies, or just to call in a different mindset is as strong and pervasive as it’s ever been, going back to the stone age. It’s also just as easy to fulfill.

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Intrepid libertarian Radley Balko wrote a new must-read piece on Culture 11 on the catastrophically misguided “War on Drugs”.

This has always been a pet issue of mine, even though I know the Puritanical Insanity that ever-grips this country will probably never brook anything even remotely close to full decriminalization or legalization.

Simply put, my two main points on the topic are: (1) waging a “war” on drugs causes far more suffering than it is designed to combat; and (2) the struggle is futile and wastes billions of dollars and countless human lives.

I highly recommend reading the article. Money quote:

Even if the drug war were working—even if all the horrible things the federal government says are caused by illicit drugs were accurate (and some of them admittedly are), and even if the war on drugs were proving successful in eradicating or even significantly diminishing our access to those drugs—you’d have a difficult time arguing that the benefits would be worth the costs.

But the kicker is, of course, that it isn’t working. Much of the federal government claims about the evils associated with illicit drugs are either exaggerated or misapplied effects not of the drugs, but of the government’s prohibition of them.

More to the point, none of this is working even taking drug war advocates’ positions at face value. It is as easy to achieve an illegal high today as it was in 1981, as it was in 1971, as it was in 1915. The vast majority of you reading this either know where to get a bag of marijuana, or know someone who knows where to get one. Specific drugs come in and out of vogue, but the desire to alter one’s consciousness, to escape life’s drab monotonies, or just to call in a different mindset is as strong and pervasive as it’s ever been, going back to the stone age. It’s also just as easy to fulfill.

Share

Intrepid libertarian Radley Balko wrote a new must-read piece on Culture 11 on the catastrophically misguided “War on Drugs”.

This has always been a pet issue of mine, even though I know the Puritanical Insanity that ever-grips this country will probably never brook anything even remotely close to full decriminalization or legalization.

Simply put, my two main points on the topic are: (1) waging a “war” on drugs causes far more suffering than it is designed to combat; and (2) the struggle is futile and wastes billions of dollars and countless human lives.

I highly recommend reading the article. Money quote:

Even if the drug war were working—even if all the horrible things the federal government says are caused by illicit drugs were accurate (and some of them admittedly are), and even if the war on drugs were proving successful in eradicating or even significantly diminishing our access to those drugs—you’d have a difficult time arguing that the benefits would be worth the costs.

But the kicker is, of course, that it isn’t working. Much of the federal government claims about the evils associated with illicit drugs are either exaggerated or misapplied effects not of the drugs, but of the government’s prohibition of them.

More to the point, none of this is working even taking drug war advocates’ positions at face value. It is as easy to achieve an illegal high today as it was in 1981, as it was in 1971, as it was in 1915. The vast majority of you reading this either know where to get a bag of marijuana, or know someone who knows where to get one. Specific drugs come in and out of vogue, but the desire to alter one’s consciousness, to escape life’s drab monotonies, or just to call in a different mindset is as strong and pervasive as it’s ever been, going back to the stone age. It’s also just as easy to fulfill.

Share

Intrepid libertarian Radley Balko wrote a new must-read piece on Culture 11 on the catastrophically misguided “War on Drugs”.

This has always been a pet issue of mine, even though I know the Puritanical Insanity that ever-grips this country will probably never brook anything even remotely close to full decriminalization or legalization.

Simply put, my two main points on the topic are: (1) waging a “war” on drugs causes far more suffering than it is designed to combat; and (2) the struggle is futile and wastes billions of dollars and countless human lives.

I highly recommend reading the article. Money quote:

Even if the drug war were working—even if all the horrible things the federal government says are caused by illicit drugs were accurate (and some of them admittedly are), and even if the war on drugs were proving successful in eradicating or even significantly diminishing our access to those drugs—you’d have a difficult time arguing that the benefits would be worth the costs.

But the kicker is, of course, that it isn’t working. Much of the federal government claims about the evils associated with illicit drugs are either exaggerated or misapplied effects not of the drugs, but of the government’s prohibition of them.

More to the point, none of this is working even taking drug war advocates’ positions at face value. It is as easy to achieve an illegal high today as it was in 1981, as it was in 1971, as it was in 1915. The vast majority of you reading this either know where to get a bag of marijuana, or know someone who knows where to get one. Specific drugs come in and out of vogue, but the desire to alter one’s consciousness, to escape life’s drab monotonies, or just to call in a different mindset is as strong and pervasive as it’s ever been, going back to the stone age. It’s also just as easy to fulfill.

Share