liberal ["liberalis" L - suitable for a freeman, generous; "eleutheros" Gk - free] (adj) generous, open-minded, not subjugated to authoritarian domination; (n) one who believes in liberty, universal suffrage and the free exchange of ideas. elite ["eslire" Fr -- to choose fr.L "eligere" -- choose] (n) the choice part; best of a class; the socially superior part of society.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


History was one of my dad's big interests, and now it's one of mine, too.

George Washington University has this great National Security Archive

Monday, June 26, 2006

Let Richard Perle Eat His Own Rhetoric

Richard Perle has an opinion piece in the Washington Post. Guess what he has to say?
The failure of successive U.S. administrations, including this one, to give moral and political support to the [Iranian] regime's opponents is a tragedy.
You can email him:

Richard Perle may still have a lot of influence with some neocons in or near the White House and the Pentagon, but American elected officials would be wise to avoid endorsing his policy statements. He continues to bellow the transparently incorrect line that intimidation by killing people and establishing a permanent war footing for the United States economy is good policy. Mr. Perle would have us believe that this is how we will be safe from our enemies and how we should promote freedom and democracy in the world.

Mr. Perle is incorrect. By associating himself with US government officials, Mr. Perle is casting the foreign policy of the United States in a dangerously bellicose tone and announcing unreasonably distorted goals.

It is the denial of his own fear--his own personal petrified terror--that belies all Mr. Perle's misstatements about imperial democracy.

Democracy means justice for all. One country hijacked by military industrialists and corporations is not justified in dictating every other country's actions.

First of all, the United States, though possessing military hardware, is rending and wearing away the social fabric woven of whatever freedom and democracy that was ever established on our shores since the founding of Jamestown. In other words, our policy is unsustainable and the rest of the world regards it as the threadbare garment of hypocrites.

Second of all, by pressuring everyone else to do what we want we are displaying an inequitable injustice that is explicitly undemocratic in character.

Thirdly, the tone of Mr. Perle's statements, and the policies he advocates, sound surprisingly like the fear-stricken utterances of one who has not honestly embraced the principles of justice and democracy, with the confident knowledge that history is moving toward the liberation of all people and the endowment of those rights enshrined in the Constitution of the United States and the American Revolution.

Some would have us believe that Perle is secretly advocating for a U.S. foreign policy that primarily serves the interests of Israel. There have been persuasive and highly-regarded (though bitterly contested) academic theories of this nature advanced recently.

However, I propose Mr. Perle be granted justice, instead of the tyranny he advocates. Let him stand trial for treason for his role in leading the United States to war in Iraq (and for any other related crimes that may surface upon investigation.) Give him a fair trial.

Let him put his rhetoric of freedom and democracy to the test--if he dare walk the walk. If he is innocent, he will be acquitted of treason in a court of law--if there is justice in American courts. In any case, let us hear how his argument stands up to opponents in an open and fair debate, for once.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thanks for the Info

Max Obuszewski wrote a post to After Downing Street about a trial beginning tomorrow in Alexandria. Protesters will be tried for interrupting Agency business at the Pentagon when they breached a barricade blocking their approach to the building where they sought a meeting with the Secretary of Defense, don Rumsfeld.

It is leadership like yours that casts a light on the encouraging power of our Constitutional rights and the flawed special interest that so easily corrupts established power structures.

That imperfect exercise of power you will be attacking lawfully, in the Alexandria court, is a glaring example of the "best military in the world" malfunctioning and trampling on the very rights of the people it is ostensibly created to protect!

Clearly, the Pentagon itself is becoming the protector of forces threatening to our rights as Americans, instead of protecting our rights--its sole purpose.

Today I heard Dennis Hastert talking about how we went to war in Iraq after the September 11th attacks threatened our freedom and our way of life.

That kind of no-think, unreasonable hypocrisy is too prevalent among our government leaders and military personnel. The attacks did not threaten our freedom and our way of life. On the contrary, they provided us with a perfect opportunity to draw a clear contrast between a peaceful, strong, free society and an aggressive, destructive, wasteful band of terrorists.

The rest of the world stood with us then, believing our nature to be peace-loving and progressive in the cause of expanding individual liberty in the name of world-wide freedom and peace.

But we are failing the test. Our leaders have ducked for cover--in terror--behind their bombs, planes, tanks, guns and Congressional podiums. The barricade you breached at the Pentagon is the barricade of fear erected by our military and political leaders to protect them from the reality of responsibility for upholding liberty and the requisite courage to allow others the freedom to express it.

Peace be with you.

Monday, June 12, 2006

busy signal

I spent the weekend running around Manhattan gathering signatures for a nominating petition for "dark horse" U.S. Senate candidate Jonathan Tasini. It was hard work, but fun. The frustrating part is that there are fifteen signatures on a page and you know that a couple of them are going to be challenged and probably thrown out.

Meanwhile, a Reuters article today, entitled, Global Military Spending Hits 1.12 trillion, related the key findings by The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)in their 2006 yearbook. The news was bad. There was an overall increase of about 3.5 percent in global military spending over last year.
The USA is responsible for 48 percent of the world total, distantly followed by the UK, France, Japan and China with 4 to 5 percent each," the Swedish government-funded institute added.

It said U.S. spending was behind about 80 percent of the gain in 2005.

It so happens that the AP just published an article with the benign title, Clinton, Pataki attend ceremony in N.Y. What the title doesn't say is that
Democrat Clinton and Republican Pataki, two White House hopefuls, were among the dignitaries for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Lockheed Martin's $37.4 million presidential helicopter facility in Owego, N.Y. The facility, just north of the New York-Pennsylvania border, will be the main outpost for building the new "Marine One" helicopter.

So, I've been trying all afternoon to call Senator Clinton's office to demand that she vote against the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 S.2766. She should support John Kerry's amendment for the withdrawal of all combat troops by the end of the year, but she must vote against the bill because the provision prohibiting expenditures on permanent bases has been stricken.

I can't get through. Her line is too busy.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Of Love and Fear

Bill Frist, resigning from the Senate in order to run for President, ostensibly, explains how love and fear can be mixed in American marriage today:
Activist courts are usurping the power to define this social institution. And if marriage is redefined for anyone, it is redefined for everyone. The threat is real.

Just when you thought the greatest danger was terror, Bill Frist has to come along and muddy up the waters again.

The American people have a right to settle the question of what marriage will be in the United States.

Marriage is an issue that rightly belongs in the hands of the people.
What really scares me, though, is, if marriage is an issue that belongs in the hands of the people, what issue does he say doesn't belong in the hands of the people?

Furthermore, which people get to define marriage for everybody else? The people who get to marry whomever they want, or the people who don't get to because they are being discriminated against in marriage legal restrictions?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Violating Humane Treatment Some More

Why? Anybody who's ever played the role of conman manipulator, like me, understands that you can't change people's ideas about right and wrong overnight.

First you have to get them used to the idea that there are changing standards for right and wrong, relative to "security" circumstances or other "dynamic" circumstances.

In spite of the outcry against it, like we practice now when Guantanamo and other prisons violate Geneva Conventions, the perpetrators continue--openly--in their violations. They continue to insist that circumstances require it. Some people are convinced and go along with it, others get tired of hearing, thinking and arguing about it, and still others just want to do what they think everybody else wants them to do.

In this way, the Bush Administration is going to bring the US, and possibly, the world, around to where inhumane treatment of detainees is acceptable, or at least tolerated.
But top Bush administration officials argue that after the Sept. 11 attacks, old customs do not apply, especially to a fight against terrorists or insurgents who never play by the rules.

"The overall thinking," said the participant familiar with the defense debate, "is that they need the flexibility to apply cruel techniques if military necessity requires it."

So, the Sun's article, U.S. To Drop Geneva Rule, Officials Say, is being run deliberately by Bush Administration officials. It's part of the propaganda campaign of insisting--in the public discourse media--on the necessity for human rights violations of detainees.

They're getting the idea "out there."

Eventually, whatever people say in protest, the Administration will be able to move beyond the announcement/explanation phase and enter into the established practice phase.

Julian Barnes writes that the codification of legal inhumane prisoner treatment
culminates a lengthy debate within the Defense Department but will not become final until the Pentagon makes new guidelines public, a step that has been delayed.

Another tactic the Administration is employing through the Sun article is to strengthen the misconception that the only real, meaningful obstacle to implementing inhumane treatment standards is in the objection by the rest of the world. So they shift it away from being a human rights issue to becoming a diplomatic issue.
... the State Department opposes the military's decision to exclude Geneva Conventions protections and has been pushing for the Pentagon and White House to reconsider, the defense officials acknowledged.

... "The rest of the world is completely convinced that we are busy torturing people," said Oona A. Hathaway, an expert in international law at Yale Law School and a former law clerk to then-Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. "Whether that is true or not, the fact we keep refusing to provide these protections in our formal directives puts a lot of fuel on the fire. It makes people think we are violating these provisions left and right."

This is how the Pentagon is getting us to promote their immoral policies. We unwittingly normalize their discourse and viewpoint by publicising it without equal publicity of the efforts to curb inhumane treatment.