mm439: Let’s choose ALL of our wars more wisely

July 14, 2008
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© Mark Rasmussen | Dreamstime.com

MUDGE’S Musings

Today’s a day when I very well might wish I were a user of “recreational chemicals.”

Monday.

Reported to the office at 6:45am.

At the end of the day, saw a new doctor for yet another new indication.

Came home to old and new family and economic stresses.

Ugh.

Might be fun to escape, for even a little while.

But.

I’ve always tried to be a law abiding citizen. Regardless of the usefulness or the sensibleness of the law.

When the kids of my Boomer generation embraced the dope-smoking, LSD-tripping, free-love ’60s and early ’70s, burning flags and bras, I remained a pretty straight arrow.

Married my high school sweetheart. Never smoked anything stronger than tobacco, ever. And I couldn’t ever get used to inhaling.

Once in a while I drank too much; not often, though, the outcome was embarrassing.

But you don’t have to be a drug (ab)user (or perchance, the parent of one) to know a pointless war when you see it.

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mm438: Post Bush administration destination – jail?

July 13, 2008
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© Enruta | Dreamstime.com

MUDGE’S Musings

Those looking for the smoking guns on torture and the mishandled war on terrorism within the Bush administration seem to have found them.

Frank Rich has a must read column in today’s NYTimes, reviewing “The Dark Side” by Jane Mayer, to be published July 15.

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Seems like the book is going to be a must read, also.

nytimes

The Real-Life ‘24’ of Summer 2008

Op-Ed Columnist | By FRANK RICH | Published: July 13, 2008

WE know what a criminal White House looks like from “The Final Days,” Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s classic account of Richard Nixon’s unraveling. The cauldron of lies, paranoia and illegal surveillance boiled over, until it was finally every man for himself as desperate courtiers scrambled to save their reputations and, in a few patriotic instances, their country.

“The Final Days” was published in 1976, two years after Nixon abdicated in disgrace. With the Bush presidency, no journalist (or turncoat White House memoirist) is waiting for the corpse to be carted away. The latest and perhaps most chilling example arrives this week from Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, long a relentless journalist on the war-on-terror torture beat. Her book “The Dark Side” connects the dots of her own past reporting and that of her top-tier colleagues (including James Risen and Scott Shane of The New York Times) to portray a White House that, like its prototype, savaged its enemies within almost as ferociously as it did the Constitution….

In the name of defending against terrorism, the Bush administration has systematically violated the law, and the evidence is finally exposed to the light of day.

Nixon parallels take us only so far, however. “The Dark Side” is scarier than “The Final Days” because these final days aren’t over yet and because the stakes are much higher. Watergate was all about a paranoid president’s narcissistic determination to cling to power at any cost. In Ms. Mayer’s portrayal of the Bush White House, the president is a secondary, even passive, figure, and the motives invoked by Mr. Cheney to restore Nixon-style executive powers are theoretically selfless. Possessed by the ticking-bomb scenarios of television’s “24,” all they want to do is protect America from further terrorist strikes.

So what if they cut corners, the administration’s last defenders argue. While prissy lawyers insist on habeas corpus and court-issued wiretap warrants, the rest of us are being kept safe by the Cheney posse.

But are we safe? As Al Qaeda and the Taliban surge this summer, that single question is even more urgent than the moral and legal issues attending torture.

Thus the illustration at the top of this post. In fact, some top administration officials, past or present, have been warned publicly not to travel outside the U.S., due to international war crimes court exposure!

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mm381: Crime’s up. Economy’s down. Next question?

May 16, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Driving earlier this evening to pick up take out for dinner, found myself listening to radio news. Never do that, if I can help it. But this story sprang out at me.

It’s a crime story. Not usually a staple of this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©. And it’s our next installment in a ever-lengthening series.

“May you live in interesting times”

mm380: The return of cheap gasoline
mm370: How can you tell our president is lying?
mm347: It’s official, we’re depressed — er, recessed
mm344: Welcome to interesting times
mm337: Dare we trust the guys who got us into this mess?
mm335: Are you prepared for interesting times?
mm334: Rearranging deck chairs
mm333: “Great people shouldn’t have a resume”
mm331: Obama at Cooper Union: Lincoln?
mm328: Today’s economics lesson: Depression 101
mm309: The news Bush really hates you to hear
mm289: Recession: Paying the price for our power
mm285: Mayor Mike tells some hard truths
mm263: This man -so- wants to pull the trigger…
mm257: The R-Word – Not that racy television show
mm256: I don’t hate big corporations, either

“Hold on, Mudge,” I hear faithful reader protesting. “What the devil does crime have to do with our deepening recession.”

Just about everything.

chitrib

City crime statistics show increased violence

Violent crime is up 6% in first four months of the year compared with 2007, police say

By Angela Rozas | Tribune reporter |

4:52 PM CDT, May 16, 2008

Homicides in Chicago rose by almost 9 percent, while violent crime was up more than 6 percent in the first four months of 2008, compared with the same period last year, Police Supt. Jody Weis said Friday.

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mm365: Wright: "Dangerous nonsense"

April 30, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Is anyone listening, really listening hard, to what the eccentric Rev. Jeremiah Wright has been saying?

I admit to superficially following the headlines on this one. He’s made some outrageous claims from the pulpit, regarding the origins of AIDS and 9/11, and his one-time parishioner, Barack Obama, has been attempting to distance himself from the outrage for the past several months.

But Wright outdid himself Sunday speaking to the NAACP in Detroit, referencing an entire generation of soft-headed academic studies that purport to explain away African Americans’ failures to succeed educationally.

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Poisonous “Authenticity”

Jeremiah Wright draws on a long line of Afrocentric charlatans.

Heather Mac Donald | 29 April 2008

The list of Afrocentric “educators” whom Reverend Jeremiah Wright has invoked in his media escapades since this Sunday is a disturbing reminder that academia’s follies can enter the public world in harmful ways. Now the pressing question is whether they have entered presidential candidate Barack Obama’s worldview as well.

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mm314: Was Spitzer a crimeless victim?

March 13, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

If a left-leaning curmudgeon constantly finds good things to think about in the writings of Chicago Tribune editorial board member Steve Chapman, whose credentials are at risk?

As the smoke dissipates from the extinct shooting star that was the public career of disgraced governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, Mr. Chapman takes a look at the underlying story: why was hiring a prostitute illegal?

After we posted the night of the revelation about the true victim of this stupid tragedy, the martyred Mrs. (how much longer?) Spitzer, we saw many others pick up on that angle.

And the schadenfreude thing: all picked up on the irony of Mr. Attorney General Scourge of Prostitution Rings caught, by the FBI no less, as a wildly overpaying client of one of the most flagrant.

So, maybe it’s not just a victimless crime, this prostitution thing; maybe it isn’t a crime at all. Mr. Chapman?

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mm311: Victimless crime claims another victim

March 10, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

The ‘Sphere is awash with story after story about Gov. Eliot Spitzer, the Democratic governor of New York, who has implicated in a prostitution scandal.

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The ironies are so obvious, yr (justifiably) humble svt needn’t work too hard to lay them out: moralizing attorney general, who took ferocious pleasure in bringing down prostitution rings, has feet of clay. The Democrat’s version of moralizing, bathroom haunting Larry Craig.

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mm292: Voting technology: –Fragmented, fragile, in flux–

February 21, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

All of this fancy electronic equipment we’ve been blithely voting with… how accurate is it, really? And even those paper ballots and those infamous hanging chad laden punch cards… how careful, how bullet proof is the counting and authentication process?

This is a topic that during this marathon of an election season continues to trouble yr (justifiably) humble svt, so much so that we’ve tackled it a couple of times over the past few months (here and here most recently).

ars technica is a site that stirs guilty feelings, as one never gets there frequently enough. Tonight, as is typical, the long delayed visit was rewarded by a fresh look at the topic of ballot authentication.

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