Barack Obama's decision to join the attack on Libya is very much of a piece with his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. There are various grounds on which a reasonable person could object to the Libya strikes (diplomatic reasons, military reasons, pragmatic reasons, reasons of consistency, even Constitutional reasons). But the decision absolutely fits within a coherent and very traditional moral philosophy. Obama walked through most of the key points of that position in his Nobel Prize speech, with one important omission.
While my wife and I were gallivanting in Barcelona, which is a heck of a town, some pundits here at home and even some world powers, began beating the war drum once again. To be fair, nobody is calling for an outright invasion of Libya (right?) but they do want the U.S. to impose a no fly zone, to bomb Gadhafi's air defenses and to basically use its might to tip the balance of power in favor of Libya's rebels.
In this half hour interview, Dmitry Orlov once again compares the collapse of the Soviet Empire with what he sees happening to the American Empire. His proposal that we are near collapse may seem outrageous, but the reasons he gives are not easy to dismiss.
The U.N. Security Council is poised to vote on a resolution that would condemn Israeli settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territory, calling the construction "illegal" and "a major obstacle to the achievement of peace."
The White House is trying to block the resolution, but Obama has not indicated whether the U.S. would veto it. Predictably, American politicians and pundits from across the political spectrum are furious that Obama would "sell out" Israel.
I thought oil was supposed to be fungible, so I was curious as to why a barrel of Brent could be selling in the low $100s while WTI was around $85/barrel. That sixteen dollar spread is some sort of record.
The protest movement in Egypt has suddenly alerted many Westerners to the existence of the Muslim Brotherhood, a newish group who did not emerge in Egypt until almost the end of the Coolidge Administration. Furthermore, this fast-breaking development has alerted Western pundits, bloggers, and politicians to the urgent need to say something about the Muslim Brotherhood.
There's an old chestnut that says that two democracies have never gone to war. It's not quite true, or only true if you aggressively redefine "democracy" until you've fallen into the "no-true-Scotsman" fallacy. ("No true democracy ever goes to war with another ...." ) But it is an instructive half-truth: functional democracies very rarely go to war with one another.
Having watched events unfold in Egypt this past week, I must say I am impressed by the bravery and strength of will shown by the Egyptian people. They are standing tall against a dictatorial regime, and that is to be applauded.
My wife and I noticed several months ago that the food we chose to buy was getting much more expensive. I was probably more inspired by Michael Pollan and she by Mehmet Oz, but years ago we agreed that we would cut out the hydrogenated stuff and the high fructose stuff and the high sodium stuff.
Doomer James Kunstler is telling us, Gird Your Loins for Lower Living Standards. He says something like that every year right about now, so it must be time to put the Xmas tree back in the box. Still, he is entertaining.
I agree that hearing Julian Assange's lawyers outrage that leaked information pertaining to the rape charges against him should have never been made public is funny. I also agree with David Seaton that politics is politics and that anything that makes Assange look like a hypocrite is bad news for him. In the game he's playing image is important. You can't be for the release of all secrets except for your own. All absolutists find their petards hoisted sooner
One of my fondest memories was showing Fahrenheit 451 to my stepson. After Guy Montag finds the community of living books at the end (of the film), my stepson proclaimed them heroes with the sort of ardor most kids reserve for famous athletes. He's a librarian now.
The Post Carbon Institute posts this series of videos of a talk by Richard Douthwaite, co-founder of Feasta, an Irish think tank concerned with sustainable economics. He was speaking by phone and video to a group in Michigan, about a month before last year's Copenhagen Summit climate talks, so it is like watching Max Headroom do a slide show. The first four videos are about the problem, the last two are Feasta's proposal for a cap and share system and debt-free currency to keep the poorer folk going.
Bernie's 'Our Revolution' is supposed to be a 504c organization to help elect progressives, but key staff quit as they are mad at Bernie, don't like the Director, are afraid of getting money from billionaires, Bernie is doing it all wrong..etc etc. "The group’s entire organizing department quit this week, along with people working in digital and data positions." The Revolution sputtering out before the current election? What about the midterms? Hello?
“Terrorism is a real threat,” Biden said, “but it’s not an existential threat to the existence of the democratic country of the United States of America. Terrorism can cause real problems. It can undermine confidence. It can kill relatively large numbers of people. But terrorism is not an existential threat.” If Biden were running for the presidency, this piece of the Biden Doctrine—what he calls “proportionality”—would no doubt be red meat for many who place terrorism at the heart of America’s challenges today.