Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Quick Bytes

I'm working and it's been a tough week already. I thought for sure I'd get some sleep last night, hitting the sack early but was awakened in the middle of the night by furious scratching under my floor. Thus I spent a couple of hours tossing and turning and banging a broom on the floor in an attempt to make whatever is trying to nest under there feel less welcome. Heck for a while I felt like a guard at Gitmo, doing my routine disruption procedures. In any event, no time for anything this morning but a quick link post on what I'm reading.

I have a post up at Detroit News on the latest in so called "hovering civil war" in Iraq. When are these people going to learn to call anarchy -- anarchy?

Glenn Greewald looks beyond satire and discovers the rightwingnuts, with Malkin leading the charge, are supporting terrorists this week.

Oprah doesn't want to be president, really. So don't try to make her do it.

I wish I had followed this race more closely. Deval Patrick handily wins the nomination for the gubernatorial race as the Democratic Party's candidate. He's the first black man to do gain the slot in the history of the Party. What surprises me is he overcame his close ties to the corporatocracy. In any event, he appears to have won as much on the anti-incumbent mood in the electorate I predicted months ago.

Anybody know about his politics? I'd like to know more about his stance on crime. It was mentioned briefly in the article but not detailed.

This was easily the most horrible item I read yesterday. It's terrifying just how easy it is to be wrong in this alleged "war on terror" on account of political pressure to perform. I don't mean it's easy to make a mistake, which it is but how easy it is to get away with it without retribution. You've all heard about the poor Canadian citizen who was rendered by the CIA and then not allowed to sue in US courts because the White House evoked the state's secrets defense. But what kind of country are we that would allow this sort of thing to occur without demanding accountability from the perpetrators who cause such unjust suffering.
The inquiry, which focused on the Canadian intelligence services, found that agents who were under pressure to find terrorists after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, falsely labeled an Ottawa computer consultant, Maher Arar, as a dangerous radical. They asked U.S. authorities to put him and his wife, a university economist, on the al-Qaeda "watchlist," without justification, the report said.

Arar was also listed as "an Islamic extremist individual" who was in the Washington area on Sept. 11. The report concluded that he had no involvement in Islamic extremism and was on business in San Diego that day, said the head of the inquiry commission, Ontario Justice Dennis O'Connor.

...Arar, now 36, was detained by U.S. authorities as he changed planes in New York on Sept. 26, 2002. He was held for questioning for 12 days, then flown by jet to Jordan and driven to Syria. He was beaten, forced to confess to having trained in Afghanistan -- where he never has been -- and then kept in a coffin-size dungeon for 10 months before he was released, the Canadian inquiry commission found.

WTF? A coffin sized dungeon? It makes me embarrassed to admit I'm an American.
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Anonymous lester said...

I live in Boston. we haven't had a democratic governor in a long time. but honestly, the republicans have never been that great of a fit. bill weld, paul cellucci, jane swift and mitt romney had varying degrees of succes, but there hearts never were really in it in my book. basically our legistalture is heavily democrat and our taxes are high, so the gov is usually a republican to keep things in check.

I supported chris gabrielli, one of patricks oppnents who is also super wealthy. there are a bunch of these guys out there: ned lamont, mark warner, patrick. super rich dem guys. well, as it turns out the voters respect that quite a bit. Patrick is simply too "positive" for my taste. his messsage of hope makes me sick. I thought gabrielli was more inspired and reilly better on taxes. that is, he wanted to implement the TAX CUT WE VOTED FOR ALREADY.

I'm a libertarian, but I never really got the republican governor thing we've had. I'm glad it's over. my guess is patrick wil win easily.

5:58:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Thanks for the analysis Lester. I was only interested in the governor's counsel. I knew the candidates in that race. Otherwise I haven't followed the primaries at all but I expect I'll keep a eye on the big race.

I have to check out Patrick's website. It's going to be a funny contest in any event. A white woman against a black man. I doubt that's ever happened in the history of the Commonwealth.

8:20:00 PM  
Anonymous lester said...

keep your eye on the rich dems

1:38:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Merkin said...

Somebody on a political yak show on New England Cable News mentioned that old theory that it's good to elect superrich people to high office, because they're incorruptible -- they don't need the money.

I've been running that one around in my head since the days of John F. and Robert Kennedy, and I guess it's in play when I re-vote for Teddy every six years.

I don't mean I buy it. But there's a persuasive logic to it.

Conversely, as we'd say in Logic Class, people of medium or low wealth can't be trusted in high elective office. They're too vulnerable to being bribed.

So we spend 200 years ballyhooing American Democracy as the system where any kid, regardless of his economic circumstances, can grow up to be President. Log Cabin Lincoln.

And then reach Modern Times, where our experience with politicians who aren't multimillionaires cautions us only to vote for multimillionaires, just to be on the safe side.

Corporate successes running for office like to ballyhoo themselves by saying, "I actually ran a huge enterprise and made a profit; I know how to run a huge enterprise successfully."

Except that government isn't a private for-profit endeavor. Sometimes the most necessary and valuable thing government has to do is throw money into the infrastructure -- public education doesn't make a profit, hospitals that care for the uninsured don't make a profit, subsidized public transit isn't supposed to make a profit. The idea that a guy who got rich running a corporation has the perfect mindset to run a state government -- it doesn't follow.

Libby, I confess I was Googling myself this a.m., looking for blogs about the Canadian Maher Arar. And Lo! Hi Libby! Thanks for mentioning him. Strange that one little imaginary dotted line can make so much difference about what our media cares about; his is the hottest story in Canada right now. But I don't think most Americans have a clue who he is. Which is to say, sadly, that most Americans don't have a clue what their own government did to him. Eek.

My post on Arar is, of course, on the New, Improved (blogspot skrood up the Old) VleeptronZ.

Miss ya!

6:35:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I've been wondering where you've been Bob. It took a while to figure you changed Vleeptron's address. Then I keep losing it before I get around to updating the blogroll. So I've haven't been around because I can't find you. Could you do me a favor and email me the new URL? I'll have time to fix the link this weekend. Thanks for the insightful analysis.

My current theory Lester, is you can't trust a rich man because they're all rich and doing each other favors. Time to get some poor people in office who remember what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck. But I agree they're likely to be the ones elected. They're the only ones who can afford to run.

8:20:00 AM  
Blogger Bob Merkin said...

sorry libby i took a mad dash from N to Detroit and then home again via Toronto and Ottawa -- where I finally met Tim M! He crashed me on his couch!

take the Old Vleeptron and just stick a big Z on the end:

and that's New Vleeptron!

8:24:00 PM  

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