Archive for October, 2009

McKiller (Updated)

October 6, 2009

Update – And he’s gone.

The Christian Science Monitor posted this article discussing whether or not currently serving military officers should or should not speak publicly about current operations if they might contradict the President. Well, I have always felt that your right to free speech doesn’t end when you don a uniform. In fact I think it’s quite the opposite; when it’s your butt that’s going to get shot at you have every right to speak up.

Wars are generally fought by the young for the benefit of the moneyed. Most young people I met in the army didn’t know a damn thing about the world beyond the farm they grew up on, or the inner city/suburb they grew up in. However, we are not talking about just anyone here. No, we are talking about General Stanley McChrystal.

General McChrystal is in charge of our forces in Afghanistan. Back in Iraq, you know, the war that is apparently over, he ran torture prisons and death squads. Now he wants to ramp up the Afghanistan occupation.

Just what we need. Because the Afghan people haven’t suffered enough. No, it would seem they need to be murdered and tortured much, much more. Ignoring that we shouldn’t be in Afghanistan at all, General McChystal is the wrong person to head anything other than a third world murder mill. He will escalate the occupation, further alienate the Afghan people, no doubt piss off Pakistan and Iran (he does love illegal cross border raids) and generally make a fucked situation worse.

We now have the moral equivalent of a serial killer in charge. Many on the right and in the media like to say General Betrayus’ “surge” worked. No, he just used McChrystal to assassinate everyone and anyone until there was was no one left to speak out.

To me it’s not a matter of whether or not General McChrystal should have spoken up, it’s that he is a fucking psycho who shouldn’t be listened to.

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Some Texas news

October 3, 2009

Who would have guessed that the State of Texas would put an innocent man to death? Sadly I’m not surprised. I used to support the death penalty until I actually took the time to read about all the cases where people have proven they were wrongly convicted. You would think more effort would be put into a case where someone’s life is on the line. But that just wouldn’t make good headlines. No, we have to look tough on crime.

From the article:

In what some opponents say looks like a political move and Gov. Rick Perry says was “business as usual,” the governor replaced the head of the Texas Forensic Science Commission and two other members on Wednesday, just 48 hours before the commission was to hear testimony from an arson expert who believes that Mr. Willingham was convicted on faulty testimony, a conclusion that has been supported by other experts in the field.

Mr. Perry’s decision to shake up the commission and put one of his political allies in charge has, at the least, delayed the inquiry into the Willingham case. While Mr. Perry says he has no political motive for the move, his opponents have called for the commission to finish its inquiry.

Playing politics with someone’s life; how very Texas Republican of Perry. I guess he’s trying to follow in Bush’s footsteps. After all, Bush played politics with millions of people’s lives around the world, and we all know how that worked out. Everyone sure loves the US right now.

But what really stands out is that bad science is to blame. Well of course we use bad science in Texas, just look at our school board. The right hates science. Hell, I’m more surprised they did any investigation at all. Would have been easier to just tie a rope around the guy’s neck with a rock on the other end and then throw him in a river. If he floated, burn the witch. If he drowned then innocence proved. See how easy this is. All that money wasted on investigations when the Dark Ages provided us with the simplest tests for finding out people’s true nature. I hear thumb screws save a lot of litigation time.

Hank Gilbert calls out Perry’s bullshit:

“Governor Perry’s decision to remove and replace three very competent members of the Texas Forensic Science Commission with three partisan ideologues should surprise absolutely no one.

This was a political decision by a Governor who wanted avoid criticism of the horrendous record Texas has regarding the execution of the innocent. The Governor’s decision should make it crystal clear to every Texan that justice in this state is controlled by the whims of an out-of-control Governor desperate to retain his grip on power.

Governor Perry’s actions were wholly unacceptable. Texas deserves better.”

I would say that humanity deserves better.

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In other news, a Dallas judge has ruled that same sex married couples should be allowed to divorce in Texas. Oh the horror. What is so bad about this? Well, we don’t like them gays in Texas, even though the only things that come from Texas are steers and queers (at least that’s what my drill instructor said in basic training, how original).

Although the case is far from settled, and the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage is a long way from being thrown out, Dallas state District Judge Tena Callahan’s ruling says the state prohibition of same-sex marriage violates the federal constitutional right to equal protection.

No shit. But we wouldn’t want something as silly as constitutional rights to get in the way of religious justice. We should burn the witches! Seriously, the whole same sex marriage ban is based on far right religious fear mongering; the lies that churches will be forced to perform gay marriages and that traditional marriage will suffer because we will all have to marry a gay person.

Two things; one, marriage is not controlled by religion. The state marries people all the time. Two, allowing states to vote against people’s basic rights is insane. We all know there’s a couple of states in the southern part of our country that would vote back in slavery if given the chance. The whole state’s right argument is crap; the Constitution trumps any state’s decisions. I know Governor Good Hair hates to hear that. Might explain his desire to start his own little fiefdom.

A study has been released showing that “there is no significant difference in emotional problems experienced by children adopted by heterosexual and gay or lesbian parents.” But this won’t stop the right from screaming that gays are a threat to families!

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On a good note, Texas just become home to the largest wind farm in the world.

The farm contains 627 wind turbines on almost 100,000 acres of land near Roscoe, Texas.

Wind energy is big business here in Texas, generating more energy with wind than any other state. The Texas grid is the 10th largest in the world, and 12 percent of our electricity currently comes from the wind. We are set to double that in the next 5 years.

To harness all that wind Texas created the CREZ program, committing to build 2000 miles of transmission lines to bring the energy to market. This is creating a lot of jobs right now which are sorely needed. And the towers being built are made from recycled steel.

We should place a wind mill in front of Governor Perry every time he opens his mouth.

That place named Iran

October 2, 2009

Juan Cole, who continues to amaze me through his consistently, well, amazing analysis, has a great post up titled “Top Things you Think You Know about Iran that are not True“. Well worth the read. A couple of highlights:

Belief: But didn’t President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threaten to ‘wipe Israel off the map?’

Reality: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did quote Ayatollah Khomeini to the effect that “this Occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time” (in rezhim-e eshghalgar-i Qods bayad as safheh-e ruzgar mahv shavad). This was not a pledge to roll tanks and invade or to launch missiles, however. It is the expression of a hope that the regime will collapse, just as the Soviet Union did. It is not a threat to kill anyone at all.

Belief: The international community would not have put sanctions on Iran, and would not be so worried, if it were not a gathering nuclear threat.

Actuality: The centrifuge technology that Iran is using to enrich uranium is open-ended. In the old days, you could tell which countries might want a nuclear bomb by whether they were building light water reactors (unsuitable for bomb-making) or heavy-water reactors (could be used to make a bomb). But with centrifuges, once you can enrich to 5% to fuel a civilian reactor, you could theoretically feed the material back through many times and enrich to 90% for a bomb. However, as long as centrifuge plants are being actively inspected, they cannot be used to make a bomb. The two danger signals would be if Iran threw out the inspectors or if it found a way to create a secret facility. The latter task would be extremely difficult, however, as demonstrated by the CIA’s discovery of the Qom facility construction in 2006 from satellite photos. Nuclear installations, especially centrifuge ones, consume a great deal of water, construction materiel, and so forth, so that constructing one in secret is a tall order. In any case, you can’t attack and destroy a country because you have an intuition that they might be doing something illegal. You need some kind of proof. Moreover, Israel, Pakistan and India are all much worse citizens of the globe than Iran, since they refused to sign the NPT and then went for broke to get a bomb; and nothing at all has been done to any of them by the UNSC.

Speaking of that Green Revolution

October 1, 2009

In my last post I mentioned that imposing further sanctions on Iran would mean “more clamping down on democratic protesters”. I am not the only one who feels this way.

Former presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, Iran’s main political opposition leader, called Ahmadinejad’s foreign policy “wrong and adventurist” this week but came out against new sanctions, saying he worried that “deprived people” would pay the highest price.

“Sanctions would not affect the government but would impose many hardships upon the people, who suffer enough as a result of the calamity of their insane rulers,” Mousavi said in a statement.

Government critics and dissidents, dozens of whom are on trial on charges of fomenting unrest after Ahmadinejad’s disputed June 12 reelection, probably would come under more pressure if tougher sanctions were imposed, according to politicians and analysts on both sides.

“The government will say that critics of their policies are doing the foreigners’ bidding” and will use sanctions as a pretext to silence opponents, said Ali Shakouri-Rad, a leading member of the opposition Islamic Iran Participation Front.

So even the people risking their lives to run against Ahmadinejad can see that sanctions will only give the government an excuse to crack down on anyone who opposes the current regime. And only the average Iranian will suffer from sanctions as it becomes harder and harder to make a living and feed their families.

Kind of like what we did to Iraq for years. Saddam Hussein sure suffered in his many giant homes while we imposed sanctions on his country. Of course all those American companies buying oil through their European subsidiaries helped him live large, as they broke federal law in the process.

The article goes on to mention the possibility that sanctions will fuel unrest against Ahmadinejad’s rule. I disagree. It’s one thing to hate your dictator, it’s another thing entirely to have an outside entity, that has a history already of fucking up your country, try to force it’s will upon you. Something about him being an asshole but at least he’s our asshole.

Given how the US has helped overthrow a dictator in Iraq only to help impose a new one in the making, backed one in Pakistan in opposition to the will of the people until they finally threw him out themselves, our total support of countless dictators across the Middle East, and our help in installing one in Afghanistan; with all that, how could anyone think that any action against Iran will drive it’s people apart? We are to be feared by dictators (not friendly to our business interests) and democratic activists alike.

And as long as we openly and unequivocally support Israel’s constant aggression towards its neighbors and the Palestinians the Iranians would be insane to think we have their interests at heart. We blew that when George Bush called Iran part of the “Axis of Evil”. That little remark is what propelled Ahmadinejad into the presidency; before him Iran had a moderate president, one that was actively working with the US to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan.

We are repeating the Iraq war build up with a whole one letter change. Iraq, minus a q, add an n, Iran. Wow, that was too easy.

I’ll leave it to the ever amazing Glenn Greenwald to define American imperialism. Read more of his site for further analysis of the Iran war build up hype.