Sign of the Times: Total Confidence

It's better to laugh than to cry.


Disorient Express

I wish I had more to add than the above and below videos, but they both speak to the pungent sense of outrage and dread, following the release of the latest OLC torture memos.


Our Allies

Warning: this ABC exclusive is pretty tough stuff. While the incident ABC is reporting on is unrelated to our practice of extraordinary rendition--the man being tortured was accused of overcharging his assailant for grain--it's hard not to think of what went on once we transferred prisoners for whom we were responsible over to our allies.

(Hat tip: Ken Silverstein)

"Reliable Intelligence"

"It makes little sense to deprive ourselves of an important, and legal, means to detect and prevent terrorist attacks while we are still in the middle of a fight to the death with al Qaeda. " --John Yoo, deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel under George H. W. Bush

"Imagine if, shortly after 9/11, someone had told you that the US government would adopt an interrogation policy based on Chinese Communist techniques designed to elicit false confessions. You’d have thought that person was pretty cynical. But he'd turn out to be exactly right." --Gene Healy, Vice President of the Cato Institute
"There was constant pressure on the intelligence agencies and the interrogators to do whatever it took to get that information out of the detainees, especially the few high-value ones we had, and when people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney's and Rumsfeld's people to push harder... Cheney's and Rumsfeld's people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn't any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam, and that no such ties were likely because the two were fundamentally enemies, not allies." --An anonymous senior U.S. intelligence official, quoted in an article by Jonathan S. Landay


Socialism! Socialism! Socialism!

Ezra Klein directs our attention to some startling polling data: For those under 30, capitalism is preferred by only 37% polled, with 33% opting for socialism. How is this possible, one would ask, if socialism has never truly been attempted in these United States? The last socialist candidate for president to win over 5% of the vote was Eugene Debs in 1912. In the Washington Post, Harold Meyerson attributes this to the attacks on the right against President Obama:
According to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and their ilk, Obama is taking America down the Socialist Road. As Benjamin Sarlin has noted on the Web site the Daily Beast, the talkmeisters of the right have linked a doctrine that never commanded much support in America to a president whose approval rating hovers around 60 percent and much higher than that among the young.

Rush and his boys are doing what Gene Debs and his comrades never really could. In tandem with Wall Street, they are building socialism in America.

So, the "whatever Rush, Beck, and Hannity hates, I'm a part of" mentality has, at long last, been socialism's saving grace in a country deeply skeptical of government as a general rule. One hopes, however, that those who either identify as socialists or are considering our system to be ill-equipped to handle environmental, educational, and societal woes understand what it takes to transition to such a system.


Franken Wins

...again. And not yet.
A Minnesota court confirmed Monday that Democrat Al Franken won the most votes in his 2008 Senate race against Republican Norm Coleman, who had already announced plans to appeal the decision.


In addition to the appeal, Coleman can also initiate a new action on a federal level. Either side can appeal an eventual state Supreme Court decision to the U.S. Supreme Court or throw the disputed election before the U.S. Senate, which can judge the qualifications of its members.
On a superficial side note, isn't the headline--"Minn. Court Declares Franken Leading Vote-Getter"--a curious turn of phrase? In a democracy, don't we usually refer to the "leading vote-getter" as the winner?


By a Landslide

In Vermont, the state Senate and House voted 23-5 and 100-49 respectively to end marriage discrimination.