Saturday, November 27, 2004

 

Which One Is Unlike The Other?

Situation 1: In 2000, a US presidential candidate loses the popular vote but ascends to office amid allegations of vote fraud, and a controversial appointment by a supreme court stacked with political and personal allies.

Situation 2: In 2004, A US presidential candidate wins re-election amid allegations of vote fraud and irregularities that continue to be documented across the nation, and the opposition party is told to, "quite whining" and get over it.

Situation 3: A Ukrainian presidential race goes to a likely re-vote amid allegations of vote fraud. This move is enthusiastically supported by the above US President, who does not believe the Ukrainian vote is valid or should be accepted.

 
New Ohio voter transcripts feed floodtide of doubt about Republican election manipulation


Wednesday, November 24, 2004

 

How to Dismantle an Economic Bomb

The warning signs have been abundant, but now they're becoming even more widespread. The latest in the potential economic meltdown front is this, frankly, shocking article from the Boston Herald: Economic Armageddon Predicted.

According to the Herald, Stephen Roach, the chief economist at Morgan Stanley, predicts that we only have a 10% chance of averting economic armageddon. Not good.

This would be comforting if Mr. Roach was a lone nut in a sea of dewy-eyed economists, but no.
We also have warnings from The Guardian, US Risks a Downhill Dollar Disaster; Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, The Coming Currency Shock; and even the American Conservative, Goodbye, Dollar--And Empire. All this amidst ever-rising debt, the collapse of housing markets, price pressures, and rising oil costs.

It's tough to puzzle this out. I've seen my share of economic fearmongering that went nowhere. At best though, I can guess that we'll experience around the board price hikes in consumer goods and fuel. But....I'm not an economist either. I'll be really glad when Paul Krugman gets back from his vacation.

 
Chez Panisse's Ginger Snaps

Feeding Dexygus Seconds (a food blog with irresistable entries) has posted not only Chez Panisse's recipe for ginger snaps, but also the ingenious but simple way in which she acquired it. I haven't tried the recipe yet, but...it is Chez Panisse, so it has to be good.



Tuesday, November 23, 2004

 

Fables of the Reconstruction

Children Pay Cost of Iraq's Chaos
I wasn't aware that we were liberating children of their health, weren't we supposed to just liberate them from Saddam? Apparently, malnutrition is over double the amount it was before the invasion, clean water is available in only 20% of urban areas, and electricity is still an overlooked necessity. In Baghdad--booming metropolis of the nation--electricity is typically only available for six to eight hours a day, and often not at all. (see Electricity in Iraq Remains Below Pre-War Levels)

It seems clear that whatever the reason for our invasion(WMD's out, spreading Democracy in), kindly benevolence was little more than window dressing. At the least, we seem to have pissed away even the hopeful idealism of Iraqi citizens who believed we would be a catalyst for good:

"Believe me, we thought a magic thing would happen" with the fall of Hussein and the start of the U.S.-led occupation, said an administrator at Baghdad's Central Teaching Hospital for Pediatrics. "So we're surprised that nothing has been done. And people talk now about how the days of Saddam were very nice," the official said.

This isn't to say that problems like these are not a consequence of war, but why are stories like these being buried? Why doesn't Bush or Rumsfeld acknowledge the humanitarian crisis that they've directly caused, and pretend isn't happening? It's instructive to remember, when pondering questions like these, that the US Military's official policy is to not keep track of any civilian deaths, that when the invasion began--when rioting and destruction and looting were endemic--US guarded locations were not power grids, or cultural areas, or hospitals, but....the Ministry of Oil. This guard duty wasn't lightweight either. There were 50 tanks, and sharp shooters throughout the building, every hour of every day. It was pretty much the only building left untouched by some kind of chaos. (source here)

In light of these problems, in light of the clear lack of planning that went into their developement, or of the radioactive depleted uranium strewn across the landscape (more on that another time), it should be obvious that our intentions couldn't possibly have been the feel-good "liberation" from a cruel despot, or what was that?... right, weapons of mass destruction. But then, it's hard to get the American people behind some of those other reasons isn't it? Would it be easy to explain to a soldier's family that their son died because we needed to show the Middle East who had the bigger balls? To show the world that unilateral US hegemony was, BACK, baby! Or that, damn...Iraq has a LOT of oil!

It's important to draw attention to this because we may be on route for another trip down this path. All this talk about Iranian nuclear weapons programs (based on shoddy to non-existant evidence by the way) gives me strong deja-vu of the build-up to the Iraqi invasion. Check out Won't Get Fooled Again? for more on this topic. Choice quote:

"The International Atomic Energy Agency conducts regular inspections in Iran. The IAEA recently issued a report stating that it has found no evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran. "

Keep that quote in mind the next time you hear anyone from the White House talk about Iran.

 
Food Without Fear
This is a New York Times article about what should be one of the most basic nutrition commandments of all: eat food that's been grown properly. Dan Barber outlines the benefits of organic produce and pasture-raised livestock vs. the detriments of conventional products. {link via kottke.org}

Sunday, November 21, 2004

 
Why Bush's America Feels Like Orwell's 1984
The closest thing to an admission of a "perception management" strategy came from a recent New York Times Magazine article, in which a senior advisor of the Bush Administration scoffed at Americans who exist in 'the reality based community," who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernable reality. That's not the way the world works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality."

I never expected anyone to use 1984 as a textbook rather than a cautionary tale; Our current administration seems like the embryonic version of Big Brother.

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