574 Articles


8 years Ago

Republicans, Abortion and Cognitive Dissonance

Published by marco on

Samantha Bee of the Daily Show recently logged an excellent two-minute segment on abortion, a woman’s right to choose and the Republican convention. The whole segment’s quite good but you can start at 01:15 if you’re in a hurry, where Jon Stewart introduces the “human life amendment” plank of the Republican platform that would essentially outlaw abortion as murder by applying the 14th Amendment to the unborn. Romney doesn’t agree with this…and Republicans are fine with it. Why? Because they... [More]

America’s obsession with Iran (and war in general)

Published by marco on

The article Israel: No Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program; Barak: Any decision to Strike Iran “Far off.” by Juan Cole (Informed Comment) published a good summary of the current situation vis á vis Iran’s nuclear program. In an effort to provide a public service announcement for right-wing wackos whose lust for war can never be satiated, it is reproduced below.

“Israeli intelligence agencies have worked up an intelligence assessment that Iran has not yet decided whether to begin a military program to construct a nuclear warhead.... [More]”

Elizabeth Warren’s Achilles’s Heel

Published by marco on

I’ve discussed Ron Paul’s platform before. In his case, the situation is reversed: foreign policy is the only plank in his platform that sticks out from an otherwise run-of-the-mill Libertarian platform. Elizabeth Warren, on the other hand, seems to be so level-headed about so many things. She’s so down-to-earth and seems to understand the causes—rather than symptoms—of America’s problems.

And then you read the National Security / Foreign Policy Issues by Elizabeth Warren page on her web site and you’re... [More]

The Republican Debates

Published by marco on

I haven’t watched any of the debates in anything approaching their entirety but as a frequent viewer of both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, I have seen clips from many of them. Though the words falling from the candidates’ mouths are often reprehensible, pandering and self-serving, even they aren’t the primary cause of the feeling of horror these debates engender. No, that feeling is primarily caused by the hooting, hollering and booing that comes from the audience and not the noises... [More]

SOTU 2012

Published by marco on

These are some thoughts I had as a read through the State of the Union 2012 – Transcript by Barack Obama (C-Span) (PDF).

The Synopsis[1]

  1. The U.S. military is the awesome.
  2. Soldiers are better than civilians.
  3. American businesses have been wayward, but should be forgiven and paid to come home.
  4. Americans are wicked smart and more enterprising than anyone else on the planet, but they have been chronically undereducated and under-trained
  5. College costs too much; college tuition loans will kill us all
  6. We need more fossil... [More]

“Minimally acceptable”

Published by marco on

The article Obama signs defense bill, pledges to maintain legal rights of U.S. citizens by David Nakamura (Washington Post) tells of how the NDAA was signed into law by what appeared to be a reluctant President Obama,

“Obama initially had threatened to veto the legislation. In a signing statement released by the White House on Saturday, Obama said he still does not agree with everything contained in the legislation. But with military funding due to expire Monday, Obama said he signed the bill after Congress made last-minute... [More]”

A (very) partial defense of Ron Paul

Published by marco on

The Republican field has to be very thin—and very unbalanced—indeed for Ron Paul to rear out of the crowd of candidates as the voice of sanity. The man is possessed of a strong Libertarian bent that he uses like the proverbial hammer: all he sees are nails. Gay marriage? Let the states decide; let people have the freedom to be as bigoted as they want to be. Can’t afford insurance? Die in the street and try again in the next life (if you happen to be Hindu and believe that sort of thing,... [More]

9 years Ago

Fevered Policy Dreams (Newt Gingrich edition)

Published by marco on

 When asked about new, proposed sanctions on Iran that would likely stop their export of 4 million barrels of oil per day—primarily to Europe—Newt Gingrich delivered an answer from his fantasy world (found in Gingrich Urges War with Iran and Skyrocketing Oil Prices by Juan Cole (Informed Comment):

“[…] the fact is we ought to have a massive all-sources energy program in the United States designed to, once again, create a surplus of energy here, so we could say to the Europeans pretty cheerfully, that all the various... [More]”

Why do they occupy Wall Street?

Published by marco on

Attn: language prudes.

There is a lot of swearing for emphasis and for style. Especially what I will only in this warning refer to as the F-word.[1] Read no further if you’re too sensitive to stand it without writing me an email about what a shame it is that even otherwise eloquent people can no longer communicate without cursing. I submit that this implies a lack on your part in understanding that cursing is an essential part of eloquence and that anyone attempting to write while explicitly... [More]

Palestinian Statehood

Published by marco on

 The article, Abbas to Seek Palestinian Statehood at the U.N. Next Week (Truthdig) describes the (relatively) momentous decision approaching the U.N. in the next week.

“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced that he would seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations Security Council next week, a move that intensifies already considerable tensions in one of the Middle East’s most intractable conflicts. By approaching the U.N. directly, Abbas will circumvent... [More]”

Bloodthirsty Ignoramuses (Stop the Culture of Killing)

Published by marco on

It has to be assumed that even the most bloodthirsty Americans were shocked at themselves—if only for a giddy second or two—for having voiced their most atavistic opinions in public at two of the recent Republican debates. At the most recent one, there was applause and hooted calls to “Let him die!” during the discussion of a hypothetical young and uninsured coma patient. At another, Rick Perry’s record of over 200 state executions was cheered to the rafters as a badge of honor.

It’s... [More]

Occupy Wall Street

Published by marco on

 Support Occupy Wall Street: considering the recent announcement that over 15% of Americans live at poverty level or below, defined as $22,350 for a family of four (according to Wikipedia), it’s a disgrace that Obama’s spending his time fundraising from people who can afford to pay almost twice that for one dinner (prices start at $500 and go up to $38,500 according to Gloria Steinem To Headline Obama Fundraiser In New York City (Huffington Post)).

Troubling Developments over at “Informed Comment”

Published by marco on

Juan Cole’s blog has, for years, been a useful source of information about world affairs, in particular those concerning the Middle East. Since The NATO intervention in Libya, though, the blog has become more militaristic and cheerleading, with near-constant reports of how the rebels are winning the war on Qaddafi.

The problem I have with Cole’s coverage is not that he’s clearly siding with the rebels but that he rarely, if ever, considers the problems that may come. As long as Qaddafi is... [More]

On Congressional Resignation

Published by marco on

Michelle Bachmann is a member of the U.S. Congress. She has said:

“Literally, if we took away the minimum wage—if conceivably it was gone—we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.”

She seems to be all for a race to the bottom, selling out every American in an ideological adherence to what she would no doubt call free-market principles. Turning her opinions into policy would be suicidal for the nation and would hurt... [More]

What We Do Without Dean Baker?

Published by marco on

The man is a steadfast news-reading and -debunking machine. You can read his reviews of articles from the mass media at Beat the Press by Dean Baker (CEPR). He is a national treasure and that he’s not as household a name as Anderson Cooper is a sign of the average American’s decline and inability to pay attention to that which could make his or her life so much better.

In response to the recent article, The Budget Debate, Revealed by Richard W. Stevenson (NY Times), Baker wrote The Battle Is About Giving More Money to Rich People, Not About the... [More]

Barbarians (Osama bin Laden is dead, take 1)

Published by marco on

It’s so hard to separate all of the threads in the warp and weft of history. A Saudi prince is reared in the lap of luxury. At first, he is fiercely nationalistic but also proud of his people and his religion and his culture. This pride is easily manipulated to draw him into battle in a foreign country to battle the communist foe in the employ of the capitalist one.

Years later, he will take up arms against his former employer for the crime of building bases in his homeland. He was purported... [More]

Which Part Makes Us the Good Guys?

Published by marco on

Warning: semi-inchoate and stream-of-consciousness rant lies ahead. YMMV.

It’s time to reëxamine our myth, to reëvaluate the stories with which we allow ourselves to be lulled into a complacency about who we really are. Or rather and more precisely, what it is that America really is when the scales have fallen from our eyes, when the rose-colored glasses are put away, when we stop turning a blind eye to the horror that our lifestyles engender the world over just so we can continue living... [More]

The State of the Media

Published by marco on

As usual, Stephen Colbert manages to encapsulate the problem with American media in a rant delivered to/in support of Mika Brzezinski on his show from the 18th (transcript below).

Mika Brzezinski Experiences Palin Fatigue by Stephen Colbert (Colbert Nation)

“Mika, you need to buck up. I know you think this story has no purpose other than to keep Sarah Palin’s name in the headlines for another news cycle. I know you think she has nothing to offer the national dialogue and that her speeches are just coded talking points mixed in with words picked at random from a... [More]”

Attention America: How to Pronounce a Certain German Propagandist’s Name

Published by marco on

Dear American Media, Political Talking Heads and Wonks of all Stripes,

If you’re going to insist on calling each other Nazis all the damned time, fine. I don’t even care that the shoe almost never fits.

But, if you’re going to invoke the dreaded Herr Göbbels (Wikpedia), at least pronounce his name correctly.

Take a close look, morons: that’s an umlaut, not an ‘r’.

While it’s inspiring that you actually manage the umlaut correctly, it’s a complete mystery why you all insist on adding an ‘r’ after it.... [More]

Wikileaks 2010

Published by marco on

 The article What WikiLeaks revealed to the world in 2010 by Glenn Greenwald (Salon)offers a terse and eye-opening list of leaks in 2010.

The leaks range from revealing that U.S. forces are operating in Pakistan and Yemen—contrary to official statements by high-level U.S. officials—to revealing that the Obama administration folded on prosecuting Bush-era human rights transgressions (as well as avidly continuing them) to the Pope refusing to aid investigators in sex abuse investigations to dozens of other instances... [More]

The Stories the Rich Tell Themselves (And that We Believe)

Published by marco on

You would think that this article, Down and Out on $250,000 a Year by Karen Hube (Fiscal Times), is an example of Swiftian satire. You would be wrong.

“The bottom line: It’s not exactly easy street for our $250,000-a-year family, especially when it lives in high-tax areas on either coast. Even with an additional $3,000 in investment income, they end up in the red — after taxes, saving for retirement and their children’s education, and a middle-of-the-road cost of living — in seven out of the eight communities in the... [More]”

An Argument In Favor of Wikileaks

Published by marco on

The article Leak Soup by Morgan Meis (The Smart Set) discusses Ambassador Ischinger’s[1] response to Wikileaks actions, published in the New York Times, in which he wrote: “[t]his is more serious: It is about war and peace, and it can be about life or death.”.

“And that is where Ambassador Ischinger lost me for good. That is where I went over to the other side, where I became a Julian man. There is only so much bullshit that any man can ingest, and I’ve been topped off. Mr. Ischinger is in the same lineage as all the noble men... [More]”

10 years Ago

When $700 billion is considered restrictive

Published by marco on

Here’s the cover of a recent issue of the Weekly Standard. Though it’s possible that they were being highly ironic, it’s highly unlikely.

The Weekly Standard is not alone in promulgating this propaganda. It is the standard story that the U.S. military is on the point of collapse not because it is too large or used too often, but because the “liberals” are trying to strangle it in its crib. The poor, benighted thing barely stands a chance at survival if the American people don’t rise up and... [More]

A Discussion on Undocumented Workers

Published by marco on

Portions of this discussion are taken from a discussion I had on Facebook.

Joe Legal vs. José Illegal

This comparison of Joe Legal vs. José Illegal ( reaches its conclusion by employing both straw-man reasoning (knocking down an exaggerated, drastically simplified or superficial version of a premise and then claiming to have refuted the original) and a pretty cavalier attitude toward fact (e.g. undocumented workers are not eligible for welfare; their American children, on the other hand,... [More]

Israel on the High Seas

Published by marco on

The reason that so many people believe unquestioningly that the Israeli attack on the cargo flotilla was completely justified is that these people really and truly believe that there were terrorists on board. It’s hard for those who know that the boats were mostly filled with humanitarians, activists, foodstuffs and cement to imagine how people could really and truly believe that their main mission was to deliver missiles and suicide bombers. It’s faith, pure and simple; those that don’t doubt... [More]

Bizarro World

Published by marco on

Two recent events have elicited reactions from participants

Pat Buchanan on the Flotilla Attack

The recent Israeli attack on the the Hamas military resupply flotilla (as it must surely be called in U.S. media) forced Patrick Buchanan (Wikipedia)—perhaps most famous for having such stridently and racist nationalistic views that the fact that so many Florida Jews voted for him was cited as proof that something was rotten in Florida in the 2000 presidential election—to write the article, Lift the Siege... [More] (

When is it OK to kill someone?

Published by marco on

Unfortunately, this isn’t the easiest question to answer. There are those out there who would naively declare that it’s never OK to kill someone are just showing the gross inexperience in thinking in an ethically constructive way. These people are also most likely anti-Semites. The article, This Says It All by Justin Raimondo (, gets us started.

“Vice President Joe “Loose Cannon” Biden, […] when asked about the attack on the flotilla, said: “So what’s the big deal here?” […] At the time he said it, the odds... [More]”

Why Iran?

Published by marco on

Why Iran? Why, why, why are we hammering on Iran again? Which countries have they attacked? Which countries have they threatened? And don’t say Israel, because that little tidbit is a mistranslation bordering on a lie. The NIE has, for the second time in a decade, come out and conclusively said that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons. This despite the fact that doing this is pretty much career suicide for all involved in the report. Iran just sealed a deal to deposit about half of its already... [More]

Cruel & Unusual

Published by marco on

The article, My Brother Faces a Lifetime of Solitary Confinement on a Spurious Terror Conviction by Mariam Abu-Ali (AlterNet), tells of a young student’s life in an American super-max prison in Colorado. He spent two years in a Saudi Prison, a stay during which a confession was extracted using torture. His stay in the U.S. is hardly better, where he’s

“[…] under 23-hour lockdown, in a 7x12 cell. He has one recreational hour in which he must get strip-searched if he wishes to leave his cell. He gets one unscheduled... [More]”

Your Papers, Please

Published by marco on

I got this question recently in a mail:

“From my quick understanding I don’t see why it’s a big deal to ask the immigration status of someone that has potentially broken the law?”

The main reason that it would be a big deal[1] is that it violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. (Wikipedia)

Here’s the text of amendment:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no... [More]”