I just can’t.
I’m sorry but I need this on my blog.
Not even a full day had passed before newly reelected President Obama ordered another drone strike in Yemen. Huffington Post:
On Wednesday morning, as many Americans sifted through the voter data and exit poll numbers of President Barack Obama’s reelection the night before, the Twitter feeds of close watchers of Yemen lit up with reports of another sort of presidential event: an apparent U.S. drone strike had killed several individuals in that country.
There was no way of being certain if the strike was indeed American, or for that matter if it was a drone strike at all, although it had all the markings of one.
“All signs (after dark, suspicions of locals, target) point to Sanhan strike being a US drone,” Yemen-based freelance journalist Adam Baron wrote on Twitter.
Several other analysts concurred.
A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. If it were a American strike, of course, it would have to have been authorized by Obama.
The drone war violates both domestic and international law, and the Obama administration’s vehement disdain for transparency in government is the only thing keeping it from public and legal scrutiny. Beyond the law, it’s terrorism.
Just a preemptive strike because, y’know, you’re annoying and in my way and I can kill people who are both of those things
The (il)legitimacy of the drone war: The administration is in direct violation of several domestic and international laws in its drone war. They have invented a definition of “imminence,” a required element for justifying the use of force for self-defense in international law. They’re ignoring a Reagan-era statute that bans extra-judicial assassinations. And they appear to be violating the decision of the Supreme Court in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, which said due process must be “accorded to a US citizen deprived of liberty in connection with hostilities (this was ignored, for example, when the administration targeted and killed three US citizens without due process, including a 16-year old boy).
For these and other reasons – like the fact that the drone war in Pakistan and Yemenkills and terrorizes civilians – at least two UN investigators have called the legality of Obama’s drone wars into question. Christof Heyns, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions called on the Obama administration to explain under what legal framework its drone war is justified and suggested that “war crimes” may have already been committed. The UN human rights chief Navi Pillay also called for a UN investigation into US drone strikes in Pakistan, noting their questionable legality and that they indiscriminately kill innocent civilians.
The failure and cruelty of the Iran sanctions: While Iran will certainly be talked about, the issue of sanctions will only range from harsh to harsher. What will not be discussed is the fact that sanctions have historically failed to change the policies of the targeted regime, and indeed appear to be failing to change the Iranian regime’s policies as well. Especially ignored will be the horrible humanitarian consequences that have already begun to manifest in Iran: The Charity Foundation for Special Diseases, a non-governmental medical organization supporting six million patients in Iran, has warned publicly that the sanctions are putting millions of lives at risk by causing deep shortages of medicines for diseases like hemophilia, multiple sclerosis and cancer.
“The sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran have had significant effects on the general population,” UN Secretary General warned in a statement earlier this month, “including an escalation in inflation, a rise in commodities and energy costs, an increase in the rate of unemployment and a shortage of necessary items, including medicine.”
“The sanctions also appear to be affecting humanitarian operations in the country,” he wrote. “Even companies that have obtained the requisite licence to import food and medicine are facing difficulties in finding third-country banks to process the transactions.”
This, all while the consensus view in the entire US and intelligence community is that Iran has no nuclear weapons and has not made the decision to begin to develop nuclear weapons, which they are years away from technologically anyways.
I have the right to objectively define pregnancy from rape as rare. I have the right to determine separate legitimate rape from all those instances when you were in need of encouragement, wearing a red dress or otherwise asking for it. I have the right to manufacture scientific theories about your body — theories which reinforce my power. If the body doesn’t ‘shut that whole thing down’ then clearly you weren’t raped, and there’s no need to talk about an abortion. And even if I am wrong on every count, I still have the right to dictate the terms of your body and the remaining days of your life.
All of my rationales range from the totally subjective to the outright mythical. But I am the sovereign of the female body. On my word rumor becomes science, and the destruction of your life is repackaged as the defense of someone else’s."
In which Rep. Todd Akin, in a grand display of ignorance, asserts, “If it’s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
What, exactly, are you saying? That women have evolved physiological protection mechanisms, a la female ducks?
Ducks also engage in what is politely termed “forced copulation”, where the male ducks attempt non-consensual sex with the female, and explosively extend their penises with a technique that takes less than half a second.
This forceful mating is something the females try to avoid. Luckily, evolution is on their side. Female ducks have evolved vaginas that spiral clockwise, and contain sharp turns, which scientists believe were used to prevent insemination by unwanted suitors. This theory has finally been tested by enterprising researchers at Yale, with too much time and glassware on their hands. With sets of cylindrical glass tubes shaped into clockwise or anti-clockwise spirals, they tested how easily the penis advanced through various vaginal configurations. The clockwise vaginas managed to stop the intruding organ, protecting the female duck form unwanted advances.
Or maybe that the basis of this movie is a little more than folklore?
Edit: So apparently, the GOP wants to talk “secretions” —
The odds that a woman who is raped will get pregnant are “one in millions and millions and millions,” said state Rep. Stephen Freind, R-Delaware County, the Legislature’s leading abortion foe. The reason, Freind said, is that the traumatic experience of rape causes a woman to “secrete a certain secretion” that tends to kill sperm.
When this Atlantic article
discusses attacks the idea of maximum income, author Derek Thompson brings up a consequence of redistribution that I’d not considered before, and provides a utilitarian argument, among my already-established normative oppositions, against state-sanctioned, forcible redistribution:
The third possible problem is inflation. In a healthy economy (not this one, but you know, eventually), you’d ideally like a balance of spending and investment to avoid inflation. Rich people save a lot of money because, after all, how do you spend $5 million every year? If that money were taxed at 100% and redistributed down the income ladder, the outcome would not as simple as “formerly poor people get rich, buy great apartments and condos, there are Whole Foods everywhere.” Instead, prices would rise with wages, and formerly cash-needy families who are used to spending all of their earned income contribute to a explosion in the money supply that might send inflation soaring. At least, that’s one scenario macro-economists have raised.
Apparently, Goldman Sachs is the first to dip their iBanking toes into this new method of financing government services. See NYT’s “Goldman to Invest in City Jail Program, Profiting if Recidivism Falls Sharply.”
This was the first I’d heard about the concept of a social impact bond, so this report was helpful in explaining the underlying financing mechanism. I was wondering how exactly these banks would have any influence on the implementation and outcomes of the public projects the fund — apparently, the banks issue bonds, funded by private investors, and use this capital themselves to contract with service providers of their choosing (which, presumbaly, would be chosen in accordance with the profit-motive, not the cronyism-motive). The government is only involved at the assessment phase, repaying the bank for its investment if the predetermined benchmarks (e.g. reducing recidivism rates) are met.
My instinct was deep skepticism about private institutions placing bets on the successes or failures of government programs, but barring deviations from the requirement that these banks are paid only if success metrics are met (so… no bailouts/ government repayments of unsuccessful social impact bonds nonetheless), might this new model be a step towards privatizing public services? But of course, there’s always the question of ‘the unseen,’ which may go beyond opening doors for more corporatism. We’ll see how these Goldman bonds play out soon, then.
wait, i don’t get it….the government intentionally put americans’ health/lives at stake for a ‘simulation’?
Not exactly sure how the simulation was executed, and the event is probably classified info, the details of which we can’t access. But this was reported about a different cyber attack simulation in New York in March; sounds like actual damage was done by the government for the sake of the simulation (source):
The scenario itself was classified, so barring a Wikileaks-style release, we’ll likely never know just how bad the damage was. Of course, given the fact that we know the circumstances under which the attack was launched, we have some idea. And given that Jay Rockefeller, the senator from West Virginia, declared the simulation “convincing”, we have a pretty good idea of just what happened.
The simulation itself called for a full cyber attack to be launched against New York City’s power grid in the hottest part of summer. Given those conditions, it’s not hard to see why Rockefeller went on to say that the simulation showed the dangers inherent in a lack of security in key systems can be.
After all, if you want to show the damage that a cyber attack can do, you don’t shut down the power in Grover’s Corners on a lovely spring day, ensuring that the town’s lone stoplight doesn’t work and all the milk in Effie’s Diner spoils. Oh no, you kill refrigerators and air conditioning and water supplies on the hottest day of the year in one of America’s biggest metropolitan areas. You kill the stock exchange, thousands of businesses, large chunks of media, and that’s before the implications of the wider regional power grid come into play.
“The politics of obstructionism, driven by special interest groups seeking to avoid accountability, prevented Congress from passing legislation to better protect our nation from potentially catastrophic cyberattacks,” the statement said. [NYT]
Oh, Senate. Now that the special interests are the ones thwarting your bill you’re gonna call ‘em out, right?
Also of note, Barack Obama’s WSJ op-ed:
Last month I convened an emergency meeting of my cabinet and top homeland security, intelligence and defense officials. Across the country trains had derailed, including one carrying industrial chemicals that exploded into a toxic cloud. Water treatment plants in several states had shut down, contaminating drinking water and causing Americans to fall ill.
Our nation, it appeared, was under cyber attack. Unknown hackers, perhaps a world away, had inserted malicious software into the computer networks of private-sector companies that operate most of our transportation, water and other critical infrastructure systems.
Fortunately, last month’s scenario was just a simulation—an exercise to test how well federal, state and local governments and the private sector can work together in a crisis.
Sounds like the greatest threat to our “federal, state and local governments and the private sector” appears to be… our own government, exploding self-induced toxic clouds, simulation or not. And way to open up your piece of planted PR with some good ole’ fashioned fear-mongering, B.O. I really respect that.