Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Iraq War and The Fine Art of Republican Revisionism

by Nomad

Anti-War MemeNo matter how intense the barrage of propaganda and how constant the lies, Americans owe it to the 4,486 U.S. soldiers that died in Iraq to remember. Remembering the lessons of the war might just prevent the nation from making the same disastrous mistakes.

Margaret Meiers, in an op-ed piece for the Pittsburgh Post-gazette, asks how Americans can possible be so forgetful of recent events. 
Responding to an earlier newspaper opinion post, she states:
While Fox News and Bush administration officials try to rewrite history, it is known that faulty intelligence was drummed up and cherry-picked to be used to convince the people of the United States, Congress and the United Nations into supporting war.
Intelligence and Something Else
In case,  you need some reminders, Meiers provides us with a short list.
Remember Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame? Judith Miller’s reporting in The New York Times about aluminum tubes? Colin Powell’s address to the United Nations based on lies? The Downing Street memo? Remember “mushroom clouds,” duct tape and Curveball? And let’s not forget the Project for a New American Century, which openly pushed for war against Iraq before 9/​11 (the architects of whom are now Jeb Bush’s election campaign committee to keep him informed on foreign policy). Great.
Ignorance of events that happened, say in your grandfather's time may be forgiven but these things happened in 2003. We have a duty to those who died not to allow lies to mask the truth. We owe them that much at least.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Unitary Executive Theory: How the GOP in Congress is Destroying Cheney's Life Work

 by Nomad

Former vice president Cheney must be watching in dismay as the Republicans in Congress are tearing apart a doctrine that he has spent his whole life promoting.

The now-infamous letter of the 47 Senators  may not be treasonous although some on the Left may think so. The  unsolicited advice to the Iranians may not be a violation of the Logan Act and some lawyers might disagreed.
Nevertheless, in one aspect, there is something distinctly peculiar about what Congress did and has been doing since President Obama took office.

This new activism is a reversal of policy that has been the long standing hallmark of conservative principles. That principle is known as the Unitary Executive Theory and one of its chief promoters has always been former Vice president Dick Cheney.

According to this doctrine, all executive authority must be in the President’s hands, "without exception." The President and other members of the executive branch have special rights and privileges that come with the office. And the legislative branch, according to the proponents, has no authority to question presidential power. The president as the head of state and  that preeminence required Congress to recognize its lesser position.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Monstrous Ideas: How Ayn Rand's Pernicious Philosophy Allowed Conservatives to Destroy the US

by Nomad

No philosopher stirs the conservative heart like Ayn Rand. Yet, her warped philosophy of selfishness and the glorification of greed is today a major cause of the American malaise.

Back in 1979, Phil Donahue interviewed Ayn Rand, a person who was later to become "a major inspiration for the Tea Party movement."
If, for that reason alone, the oft-quoted Rand deserves a little of our attention. The interview came at a key moment in American political history, It was when the American voter rejected Carter and instead chose the conservative Ronald Reagan to lead us on a new path. 
In 1966, Ronald Reagan was, in fact, a fan and had written in a personal letter, "Am an admirer of Ayn Rand."

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 2, 1905, Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum was a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and a philosopher beloved by the free-market conservatives. Her brand of philosopher was called Objectivism. Among its other tenets. this philosophic system supports the idea that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness (rational self-interest).  Thinking of others is something that should be avoided. It is, she said, a dangerous thing to do.
No wonder it became a founding principle of the conservative movement. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Why Being an Atheist in Egypt Can be Dangerous for your Health

 by Nomad

Egypt provides us with an example of why blasphemy laws make a mockery of the war on terrorism and extremist ideologies. 

The right to question authority, in the Western-styled liberal democracies,to challenge the established view or to reject religious dogma is just something we all take for granted.
It comes with living in a free society. It's a fundamental liberty for all human beings that, when it comes for example to religious beliefs we are free to obey the dictates of our own consciences.
In Egypt, however, those who dare to openly express doubts about their faith risk  the threat of state-approved violence and legal prosecution.

The Gaber Case
If the reports are true, then the October 2013 arrest of Sherif Gaber, a student at Suez Canal University in the northeastern city of Ismailiya, was utterly surreal. 
It involved armored cars surrounding his home in the middle of the night. Was he, you might ask, some kind of religious extremist plotting an attack? Was he a jihadist ready to blow himself up for a distort interpretation of his faith?
His crime was only that he was a non-believer, an atheist. For expressing his skepticism, he was charged "for insulting Islam and promoting atheism."