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Total number of comments: 8 (since 2013-11-28 16:37:19)

Matt Kuhns

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  • The Horrors of Peace for the US Elite: Bashing 'Isolationism,' Blaming it for War (Bacevich)
    • I would add to this list The Economist, which relative to its generally enlightened perspective was positively appalling during the near-miss assault on Syria. The absolute desperation, for another Anglophone mission to go "sort out" some "wogs" using guns and bombs, was stunning to me. Absolutely nothing learned from cheerleading the invasion of Iraq, despite a formal acknowledgement that it was a mistake.

      I am so thankful to those MPs who stood up and called a halt to Britain's role in this serial belligerence. The war lobby has not and may never go silent, but in retrospect it seems as though parliament's refusal was a major blow to the sense of each new invasion being "unavoidable." On both their and our side of the Atlantic.

      Hug a refusenik MP today.

  • Obama's Reassurances about Domestic Surveillance are not Reassuring
    • Well said, as usual. Though I've always had some trouble with this "honor the soldier, oppose the war" concept, which seems here to find a parallel in "honor the security analyst, oppose the surveillance state."

      I grant that it seems just possible, in theory, to separate the grunt from the mission but it's a fine and complicated line, and in practice "honor the troops" has always seemed to smudge into boosting the military-industrial complex and its preferred narrative. (e.g. "these brave men and women are keeping us safe"--from whom?)

      I have to wonder if this, or at any rate its general embrace among the left, is partly a reaction to Vietnam-era rancor that is now looked back on with some measure of remorse. I could certainly understand that, but there's no active draft today, and if spitting on veterans and shouting "child murderer" at them is still inappropriate, it seems like regularly waving the flag and professing admiration for them as a special class approaches an opposite extreme.

      Soldiers (and, I presume, spooks) apply for and accept a job for which they are compensated, in some ways rather more generously than many Americans (and at our collective expense). They also, at this point, perform that job knowing that it is ultimately supporting goals of ongoing unjustified armed aggression, and/or replacing civil liberties with an international hyper-Stasi.

      It is, I'm sure, nonetheless in many cases really more of a "guilt by association" that most of us share to some extent; I know well that it's difficult to take part in the modern economy without some measure of technically voluntary involvement with corporate villains, certainly. But, no one's honoring me as a hero.

      Frankly, for all that I disagree with Obama and in particular his persecution of Snowden, I think he may at least have a valid point that if one genuinely honors those ex-colleagues who continue to keep their heads down and loyally toil away for the surveillance state, it certainly appears contradictory to honor the man who denounced that work and dedicated himself to its unraveling.

  • Wall Street has a Cow as Town uses Eminent Domain to Help Homeowners avoid Foreclosure (Lazare)
    • Sorry, but I'm skeptical of the wisdom of further government insulation of people from the downsides of leveraged speculation in risky investments. Yes, Wall Street has benefited from just that; two wrongs do not make a right.

  • Critics: Obama's Climate Plan a Day Late and a Penny Short (Lazare)
    • "he will stop providing federal dollars to build foreign coal-powered plants, unless they are 'clean' coal plants"

      All else aside, this point seems commendable and worth hitting harder. The coal industry and its congressional puppets are already screaming bloody murder over Obama's announcements… and yet this is the same coal industry that has been bombarding us with advertising that promises "clean coal" for years. Obviously that promise is meaningless nonsense, but they've made it so often it's really long overdue that someone calls them on it.

      "Hey, calm down West Virginia, we have no objections to coal. Just pollution. You keep talking about 'clean coal' so much that this shouldn't be a problem for you, right?"

  • Its the Corporations, Stupid: Why we are 2nd Amendment Fundamentalists but the 4th Amendment doesn't Count
    • And, of course, all this just (further) points out the absurdity of the popular argument for private arsenals, i.e. that it forestalls tyranny. It didn't forestall the establishment of an unaccountable secret police or their intrusion into every aspect of our lives--and is hardly likely to forestall further abuses given that government has much, much more powerful weapons.

      A democracy doesn't forestall tyranny with rifles, it forestalls tyranny by active political opposition to things like this, and to those who would permit it. You can't claim that you're safeguarding your country against the possibility of tyranny and yet nod mutely as the USA PATRIOT Act is added to the books.

  • Hawking joins Academic Boycott of Israel
  • The Conservative Logic of Ferguson's Smears of Gays, Muslims, Obama and Krugman
    • Wow. At what point is Ferguson completely discredited, already? Is there anything he can say or do that will get journalists to stop treating him like a reasonable, thoughtful academic?

      Frankly, this suggests he may be wondering the same thing, and actively trying to find out…

  • Fracking ourselves to Death: Hydrocarbons are bad for Children and other Living Things (Cantarow)
    • I'm skeptical about the tradeoffs of fracking, and firmly opposed to the many exemptions it receives from environmental standards.

      That said, this article is not entirely the kind of levelheaded critique that should be our standard. For example, "The industry that uses this technology calls its product 'natural gas,' but there’s nothing natural about…"

      1) I call it natural gas, too, and have since long before I heard of fracking; I don't think we can pin this term on "the industry,"

      2) There's nothing natural about most of human civilization; I'm okay with low infant mortality, clothes, telecommunications, etc.

      More significantly, while I certainly wouldn't dismiss the health risks here, I believe reports ought to be approached a bit more cautiously. Mainly because, if we immediately assume that outbreaks of a mysterious syndrome represent "an alarming and growing public health emergency," then we need to shut down and dismantle the wind energy industry also.

      There are good arguments to reign in the fracking bonanza, and some are even in this article; I don't think cluttering them up with flimsy appeals to emotion helps.

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