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Showing posts from October 8, 2006

hands off ed rosenthal

I recognize that all of the truly addictive/dangerous drugs that are in common use--like alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, barbiturates, amphetamines, and opiates-- can and do cause large amounts of personal and family suffering and social harm. However, experience teaches us that criminalizing the adult use of such drugs generally does nothing but make the situation worse. For example, we already tried prohibition with alcohol, and that "Noble Experiment" caused our grandparents and great-grandparents many of the same sorts of problems that our current "drug war" is causing for us. Most experts agree that our society needs to move toward a treatment/medical/education model to deal with addictive/dangerous drug use-- and to move away from the criminal justice model. I know that many people in law enforcement are very discouraged and troubled because society is asking them to fight a war that is not really winnable in the criminal justice system, and that is causing a huge

goodbye to my boogie liberalism

LI started out as a standard issue lefty, but somewhere along the way we realized that we were really a postwar, bourgeois liberal. Unfortunately, there is no father of postwar bourgeois liberalism, and this has made it easier, in these dark times of white magic, to forget what it was about in the first place. So today, if someone presents a liberal vs. conservative dialogue, or a liberal vs. libertarian one, they are apt to base it on something like: government vs. the private sphere. This is so sad. The versus is so bogus. The b. liberal insight was, is, to dispute the compartmentalization of public/private in this way in the first place. In other words, the theoretical distinction between private enterprise, which works within the free market, and government simply is not the two oppose each other, or that we need fundamentally different models to talk about the two. There's a hoary old fable, retold with chuckles by your Republican uncle, about how if somehow, sonny, ever

pamuk and me

My faithful commentator Mr. NYP rightfully called me upon my too too sarcastic description of Jacob Weisberg. The hanging judge style of making someone out to be an absolute felon is a vice I am all too liable to - it is also a vice that is common in the b-b-blogosphere. But on the whole, I would say that Slate’s political side combines the arrogance of the TNR set with the arrogance of the Washington Post pundits set to create a whole new element in the periodic table of attitudes, a superheated, superconcentrated arrogance - a rare form of Ultrasnarkium. This, in spite of the fact of the terrible, terrible record of Slate’s political side, available to any reader – the penchant for predictions that go wrong, support for policies that blow up in Uncle Sam’s face, etc. On the other hand, let me say something good about Slate: they have a pretty excellent cultural side. And they know how to use the web – having a store of articles, when something comes up which is relevant, they recycl

a non-contrarian, going with the crowd on moral relativsm, kind of post

LI had a nice little poem/screed about these here states that we penned yesterday, but looking at it this morning, we thought: so much typing! So perhaps for later. For the moment, we’d like to consider the notion of interest in American foreign policy. Oh, don’t worry – this won’t be a long and dull post – I’m saving that for when I feel like doin’ more typing. Specifically, we would like to know: what advantage does the U.S. accrue in remaining hostile to Iran? The assumption that Iran should be our enemy is laid on so thickly by the D.C. pundit class that it has helped blur the question that should guide any country in chosing, or having forced upon it, its adversaries. Let me use a Slate writer for an example – Slate being the dead level of conventional wisdom. I don’t think you can write for Slate unless you can come up with twelve contrarian reasons to defend the status quo just as it is – which, lo and behold, is the same status quo that has so richly benefited those who wr

north korea and mars

Fred Kaplan’s response to North Korea’s announcement of it’s a bomb test is pretty standard: “It doesn't take more than a handful of nukes to become a "made man" in this club. If Saddam Hussein had possessed some nukes in 1990, before he invaded Kuwait, it is doubtful that the U.S.-led coalition (and that really was a coalition) would have mobilized armed forces to push his troops back. If Mao Zedong had not possessed an atomic arsenal in 1969, during intense border clashes with the Soviet Union, it is likely that Leonid Brezhnev would have mounted an invasion. More to the point, without the nukes, Mao wouldn't have had the nerve to trigger the border clashes to begin with.” LI totally agrees with this. Which is the reason I suggest we sue the Pentagon for, oh, 5 to 10 trillion dollars. As Kaplan shows, practical invulnerability is cheap. Spend, say 50 billion dollars over a decade, build 20 to 100 H bombs, and that is it. Instead, the U.S. built something like ove

new american liberalism - don't be fooled.

Mr. Scruggs been up to his old tricks again. I notice, through MaxSpeaks, that he has created this amazing parody Of course, I saw through this right away. A new liberalism group heralded by the New York Sun? With Marty Peretz and Michael Ledeen playing the aging but virile sons of old rancher Harry Truman? That’s the Harry that potters around and mutters about the a-bombs. “Warnt nuthin to me, Marty, a-droppin them firecrackers. Why, I had me a good old nap that day! Fucked Bess. I’m spry for my hundert thousand years of age. Like my pappy Lucifer!” However, Mr. Scruggs has put a lot of work into this obvious sham. For instance, notice the care he has taken in compiling a faux editorial board composed of the kind of academic deadwood that is routinely hustled out to defend the latest atrocities perpetrated by the American Wehrmacht. I have to say, picking Russell Berman and Jeffrey Herf betrays the fine hand of the practiced satirist. Russell Berman, you’ll remember, is the man who

Note on the dirty war

LI’s readers and other spectators of this long movie should note the coordination of two events happening in America’s dirty war in Iraq. The last couple of weeks have seen the reintroduction of a push to ‘federalize’ Iraq – which is a long way to say, SCIRI wants to break off Southern Iraq and use its Badr brigade militia to create a state as autonomous as the Kurdish state, under SCIRI rule. Really, that means under the rule of Mohamad Baqir Al Hakim. This, it might seem at first glance, is counter to the Bush junta’s interests. After all, Hakim is notoriously close to Iran. But in the dirty war, nothing is what it seems. From the start of the war, the idea of breaking off Southern Iraq and creating a neo-liberal slave state has been floated around as a project. The NYT’s group of reporter/propagandists were particularly dreamy about that prospect in 2003 and 2004, writing thumbsucker pieces about a Chalabi-headed Iraq ‘Singapore.’ To have a notorious thief in charge of territory ri