Friday, August 12, 2005
Why America continues its fight in Iraq
I found this post while reading the comments of a different blog. This guy gets it, why the American Elite cannot retreat from Iraq.
The saddest thing is that there is no 'withdrawal option'. There wasn't in 2004 when Kerry agreed we had to stay the course in Iraq, there won't be in 2006 when the option will be 'withdraw to Kurdish and Kuwaiti bases' and not 'withdraw from Iraq', and it won't be in 2008 when right now the likliest option looks like a "moderate" Republican to be elected.
The reason why is what all the elites know whether or not they think of it in such explicit terms. The day the United States withdraws from Iraq it ceases to be a superpower. Oh no not right away, not the very next day. But not long after. Unlike Vietnam, Iraq matters ... for oil, for reasons of middle-east dominance, for reasons of containing Iran, for reasons of Saudi and Kuwaiti ahnd Turkish stability.
As John McCain the current poll frontrunner to become the next POTUS put it on the record to the press in an interview:
I'm not worried about whether or not we are going to succeed in Iraq, because I know what all the other Senators know: that we have no choice (but to succeed).
That's me paraphrasing McCain. The exact wording doesn't vary in meaning however. Saying this however is like telling kids there is no Santa. There is no withdrawal from Iraq. Everything Americans love about being American as far as being powerful and materially rich will be lost if we lose Iraq.
There are varied reasons for this ... the loss of reputation of such a quick guerilla defeat would undermine our power, the sudden spike of oil prices that will make $65 per barrel seem like cheap nostalgia (right now Iraq's production of 2m barrels per day is the entire margin of light easily refinable crude for the entire world), the explosion of success for Islamic militantism, the sure end of any hope of containing or even slowing down Iranian nuclear WMD acquisition or proliferation, the high price of oil ending the current era of globalization overnight and triggering trade wars...
You can make any number of arguments. But the one thing stays the same, if we leave Iraq now and it goes bad then America is no longer a superpower. It will still have nukes and advanced military hardware no doubt, it won't be a toothless tiger ... but the gravy days will be gone. Debts will start getting called due, there will be a shift away from America economically, America will see a generation whose prospects for the children are far worse than what their parents were, middle-class families will go homeless reminiscent of the Grapes of wrath from a huge real estate implosion ...
whatever. The details hardly matter.
And that's why we aren't withdrawing from Iraq. Because once we do, the knives start coming out for us. America has made a LOT of enemies since 9/11. And while the public as ever remains clueless ... the people in power know. So they will lie to the American public if they have to, but they will cling to Iraq no matter what. (Link)
There is only one problem with this comment, that is America may not be a superpower anymore, in which case it will fail in Iraq, no matter how hard it tries to win. In essence it has already lost because it has not won. If it was the superpower it claims to be then there would be a peaceful client state in Iraq now. There isn't, ergo America is a great power and not a superpower.
Fedex is being stupid. Avila is adding value to their service by finding a use for one of their waste products and he is spreading their name for free. They should hire him not sue him. Some people are just too stupid to be in business.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
They have descovered our plan
Quick send the Anne Murray attack squad.
Ninety percent of population is massed within 100 miles of northern American border.
Seems not to mind that one of its provinces has turned almost entirely French.
Excessive politeness only makes sense as cover for something truly sinister. But what?
Citizens seem strangely impervious to cold.
Decriminalization of marijuana and acceptance of gay marriage without corresponding collapse of social institutions indicate Canada may, in fact, be indestructible.
Has infiltrated entertainment industry with singers, actors, and comedians practically indistinguishable from their American counterparts.
Consistently stays just below cultural radar yet never quite disappears.
Parliamentary government and common-law judiciary appear to function acceptably yet remain completely inscrutable.
Never had a "disco phase."
Seemingly endless supply of timber, donuts, and Scotch-plaid hats with earflaps.
Keeps insisting it "has no designs on America" and "only wants peace." (Link)
Monday, August 08, 2005
Intelligent design isn't
President Bush invigorated proponents of teaching alternatives to evolution in public schools with remarks saying that schoolchildren should be taught about "intelligent design," a view of creation that challenges established scientific thinking and promotes the idea that an unseen force is behind the development of humanity.(Via the Washington Post)
Although he said that curriculum decisions should be made by school districts rather than the federal government, Bush told Texas newspaper reporters in a group interview at the White House on Monday that he believes that intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution as competing theories.
"Both sides ought to be properly taught . . . so people can understand what the debate is about," he said, according to an official transcript of the session. Bush added: "Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. . . . You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."
Seriously. Here you are, Tsui or Sanjay, looking at a new cenury. A century in which the exponential curve of technology's rise becomes a sheer cliff. In which only the most intellectually nimble countries, best able to master new information technologies and couple them with manufacturing bases with high levels of technical training, will survive.
And you're looking at that big bastard across the ocean, the US of A. First to build the Bomb. First to master the secrets of the atom. First to build the semiconductor. First and only tribe of humans who actually put men on the GODDAM MOON, to have stepped on another rock in space. Decoders of the human genome, the VERY BOOK OF LIFE !!! How will we ever stop --
Wow, they forfeit. Cool.
I'm not going to rehash the whole ridiculousness of Intelligent Design, or as it's more commonly known: "Creationism Trying to Look Serious By, Say, Squinting -- Like Denise Richards Playing the Nuclear Weapons Expert In That Bond Movie". My pal Orac has all the necessary links. If you don't understand that there's absolutely no contradiction between believing in God and evolution, then frankly I'm not going to waste the time trying to jam a rhetorical screwdriver into your pineal gland's butterfly valve and crank up the air flow. Nor will I trot out another version of I Miss Republicans, although I suspect that a fair number of people out there are pretty rattled, as it's become the number one entry page to this blog over the last day.
I just have to say to my conservative friends ... listen, I don't want to hear SHIT when this comes back to bite us in the ass. When you're watching your children rocket downward through the Brave New Working Classes from gamma through delta straight to the epsilons, not a word. When the leader of your party turns his back on science, the product of God's 2nd greatest gift to us, reason,* when he turns from the very process which brought so much progress and prosperity to this land and encourages those would so eagerly toss aside rational thought itself ... gah, never mind voting Democrat: if my choice were between these cowards who would turn back the Enlightenment and anal-probing yet intellectually honest Martians, I would grit my teeth, vote for the Martians and learn to visualize my Happy Place during my Probe-Center appointments.
Am I reading too much into this statement? Am I making too big a deal of this? In one word, fuckno. This is just a symptom of what is, to me, the most destructive thing to occur in America in twenty years.
Even if your kids aren't directly taught ID or aren't in one of the new Bible Class districts, the overarching cultural damage has already been done. Through this group of RadicalRighties' constant rhetoric, they consistently strip away the idea that there is indeed a rigorous scientific process through which certain non-negotiable physical truths can be ascertained. They have suffused the county with with an intellectual laziness and a terrifying narcissism. Opinion has been enshrined as superior to fact. No longer need a person take into account the way the world works when forming their worldview -- they can instead hunt down "facts" and "theories" which support their own comfort zone, and what's worse, we can NO LONGER CALL BULLSHIT. Because if our leaders -- pardon me, your leaders -- don't call bullshit, who will? They have undermined the very process by which we know WHEN to call bullshit!
For the alleged "realists" in the public arena, the guys running the Right are now the ultimate masters of relativism.
Look my conservative pals, we have our agreements and disagreements but on this one, you've got to just take the hit. Don't ever look me in the eye again and try to play the cynicism-dressed-as-realism card again. Seriously. There's no high ground left here whatsoever. The ultimate representative of your political party, standing on the limitless future's shrouded shores, has decided he needs no compass, no maps, no guides, no stars with which to plot his course. Just a shrug and a chuckle before he casts off, eyes closed, into the darkness.
You wouldn't trust your children to an airplane pilot who did that, or a Scoutmaster. If your doctor said "You know what, we're going to blow off all the currently available research and treat your child's cancer with a completely untested, never scientifically proven bit of guesswork which, however, reinforces my world-view. Because what does science really know?" you'd be pulling out of the parking lot before he finished the sentence. But when it's public policy, it's OKAY?
Sure, it's just my opinion. But this is bigger than budgets, or how to fight wars, or how to manage our environment or resources, because where we stand on facts, reason, science, that informs every other decision we make in all those fields and every other. This is what determines whether societies live or die.
Again, our motto at Kung Fu Monkey: "Everybody who wants to live in the 21st century over here. Everybody who wants to live in the 1800's over there. Good. Thanks. Good luck with that." (Link)
She would never have dreamed that one day she would have a street named after her. Yet today Rome has a Via Modesta Valenti. It is home to almost 700 people.
But try to get a taxi driver to take you there, and you will have difficulties. Look it up in a street guide and you will draw a blank.
For Via Modesta Valenti is one of at least a half a dozen "virtual streets" in Italy that bear witness to Italian inventiveness, soft-heartedness - and skill at dodging awkward laws. The streets' "existence" was brought to light yesterday in a report published by the weekly supplement of the daily Corriere della Sera.
They were invented by local authority bureaucrats as a way of providing help to the homeless. Under Italian law, you cannot get identity documents without a registered address - and without identity documents you cannot receive benefits, medical care or even, sometimes, charitable help.
It seems it was a caring bureaucrat in Bologna who hit upon the idea of creating a fictitious street for the homeless. He or she called it Via Senza Tetto, or Roofless Street.The biggest such community is in Florence where Via Lastrucci is "home" to more than 1,300 people. (Link)