Posted by: quiscus | May 19, 2010

May 19, 2010

1.  No, we shouldn’t defend every country in the world:

“Defending Everything Is Defending Nothing”

2.  “Pakistani Site: Drones Only Killed One Terrorist in 2010 (If You Don’t Count Taliban)”

3.  “From Safe Republic to Unsafe Empire

But Congress has now been reduced to a political cipher. It appropriates whatever money the president seeks for war or for economic “stimulus.” It holds no serious oversight hearings on the conduct of war by the president; interrogation abuses; criminal violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; or the distribution of enormous bailout sums to financially reckless or irresponsible banks or other businesses, or the efficacy of it.

The Republic understood that the informing function of Congress was its most important. Freedom and ignorance are incompatible. Voters must be informed of what the government is doing to inform their political loyalties and activities. As the historian Henry Steele Commager put it in 1972, “The generation that made the nation thought secrecy in government one of the instruments of Old World tyranny and committed itself to the principle that a democracy cannot function unless the people are permitted to know what their government is up to.”

There is only one thing that will restore the safe Republic from the unsafe clutches of the American Empire: an unequivocal repudiation by the American people of a risk-free existence and a quest to dominate foreign lands not through example but by military force or threats.”

4.  “What Will Senator Rand Paul Be Like?

It’s clear from Paul’s victory speech, that he no longer sees a difference between the revolution that began with his father’s presidential run and the Tea Party of today (though he has acknowledged publicly that he believes the vast majority in the Tea Party movement voted for John McCain, not Ron Paul in 2008). “I have a message — a message from the Tea Party. A message that is loud and clear and does not mince words. We’ve come to take our government back,” he said during his victory speech last night. I guess we can expect a lot more rhetoric criticizing President Obama for “apologizing” to socialist dictators “for America’s greatness” and for our glorious capitalist system (like he did last night) and a lot less talk about the gushing open wound that is our U.S foreign policy abroad and the erosion of our civil liberties at home (like he used to). Though he talked about the “mountain of debt devouring this country,” there was zero mention of the trillion dollar war in last night’s speech.”

5.  “Apartheid Israel, Bunker Israel: Elvis Costello and Noam Chomsky

The arts community is often pioneers in symbolically protesting human rights violations that others find it inconvenient to mention. Artists are independent-minded and often financially independent, and so cannot easily be pressured.

Thus, singer Elvis Costello’s decision to join Carlos Santana, Sting, Gil Scott Heron, and Bono in boycotting Israel is likely a harbinger of things to come rather than being just an individual decision of conscience.

The stories of Elvis Costello and Noam Chomsky illuminate two over-arching processes. Israel’s growing reputation as an Apartheid state will not result in major economic boycotts in the near term. But the step Costello took may become more and more common if the Palestinians continue to be deprived by Israel of their basic human rights. Chomsky’s story is one of self-imposed isolation on the part of Israeli officials, mired in the proto-fascist political philosophy of Vladimir Jabotinsky– the intellectual background of the Likud Party and of Netanyahu. ”

6.  Good:

“Haitian Farmers to Burn Donated Monsanto Seeds

7.  “What explains the anti-establishment sentiment?

It makes perfect sense that the country loathes the political establishment.  Just look at its rancid fruits over the past decade:  a devastating war justified by weapons that did not exist; a financial crisis that our Nation’s Genuises failed to detect and which its elites caused with lawless and piggish greed; elections that seem increasingly irrelevant in terms of how the Government functions; grotesquely lavish rewards for the worst culprits juxtaposed with miserable unemployment and serious risks of having basic entitlements (Social Security) cut for ordinary Americans; and a Congress that continues to be owned, right out in the open, by the very interests that have caused so much damage.  The political establishment is rotten to its core, and the only thing that’s surprising is that the citizenry’s contempt isn’t even more intense than it is.  But precisely because that dynamic so clearly transcends Left/Right or Democratic/GOP dichotomies, little effort is expended to understand or explain it.

“I’m not particularly optimistic about this possibility.  The reality is that the American Right is still the movement of Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and Sarah Palin, really no different — despite its “tea party” re-branding — than what spawned the Bush/Cheney extremism of the last decade.  And even Rand Paul, who some are trying to depict as a crusading civil libertarian and anti-war advocate, ran on a platform (as Scott Brown did) of opposing the closing of Guantanamo, the use of civilian trials for accused Terrorists, and the granting of visas to people from numerous Muslim countries.  Many of the key ignorant and primitive orthodoxies of modern conservatism are as strong as ever.  Other than some (extremely hypocritical and opportunistic) war questioning and some anger over the growing corporate-Government overlap, I have a very hard time looking at the American Right and finding much cause for optimism about any of what’s taking place over there.”


  1. […] Pingback: May 19, 2010 « Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? […]

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