The Prairie Angel returns from her galactic wandering and finds mischief afoot!
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Found on the web
"Why is everyone afraid to say it? We lost TWELVE PERCENT of our planets under the Bush administration!"
What decade is this again?
Hell, what century are we in now?
See, this is what happens when you leave Republicans in charge too long - all the troglodytes crawl out from their caves and take public cynosure jobs.
Now this just pisses me off.
Pluto gets the boot
Pluto no longer a planet, say astronomers
Saturday, August 12, 2006
John-in-DC says whenever a Bushista tried to tell you the 'war on Terror' is working because 'we haven't been hit since 9/11', remind them of the Anthrax Mailer. "And Bush still hasn't caught the killer."
I've said it before, I'll say it again - they know exactly who the Anthrax Mailer is, but they can't run him in until the Bush/Cheney bumpersticker on his car weathers off.
Friday, August 11, 2006
THESE PEOPLE have no shame. Their contempt for democracy is so great they will stop at nothing to undermine it. Their adherence to fundamentalist beliefs that blinds them to reality is frightening. They must be stopped.How long are they going to get away with suggesting that voters, by exercising their right to vote, are hand-in-glove with terrorists?
And that's just the Republicans.
The latest terror scare is upsetting enough: It is bound to lead to havoc and chaos both domestically and internationally. It could damage the economy if fears on flying are sustained. It reopens the profound wounds of 9/11, a scab we should figure by now will never completely heal.
But the real terror is this: While our Vacationer- in-Chief and his vice president shut down dissent, and discourage questions about the way our government has directed our intelligence and military resources toward a single target in Iraq, we are no closer to understanding or dismantling the threat of al Qaeda.
Cheney's remarks underscore just how unsophisticated our understanding of terrorism is. We have no more understanding of the global forces at work that lead so many to want to bomb and destroy innocent lives than we did five years ago.
What he said
Following in the same vein as my post below: When are we Going to Learn that War is the Worst Possible Way to Fight Terrorism?
But the biggest problem with the president's statement is the invincible ignorance it displays. In reminding us that we are at war, he shows that he has still failed to learn the lesson fairly shouted by the latest news: war is anything BUT the answer to terrorism. War only breeds more terrorist attacks. What aborts them is patient surveillance.
Ever since 9/11, we have been literally waging war against terrorism....In return for all this blood and treasure, how many serious terrorist plots have we foiled? Not counting that feeble little fantasy conceived by half-wits in Florida, the answer is none. You can be quite sure that if this administration had actually managed to foil a serious plot, we would have heard about it. But we have as yet no evidence that the FBI or the CIA can do what the British did. Instead, the Bush administration reads the London conspiracy as one more argument for open-ended war in Iraq.
It is nothing of the kind. The crucial lesson here is that the British have just cleaned our clocks. They've shown us how to do what we should have done years ago, well before 9/11, to stop terrorist attacks before they happen rather than letting them happen and then waging endless wars to retaliate for them--and in the process killing thousands of innocent civilians. Since last December, when British agents started tracking the group of suspects and one undercover agent infiltrated them, the British patiently collected the intelligence they needed to judge the scope of the plot and calculate the best possible moment at which to arrest the plotters. They did it without killing or wounding anyone, and at the same time gathered the evidence they need to convict the plotters--not to hold them indefinitely in the absence of any evidence at all. The British have thus shown us how a civilized society fights terrorism.
A Point Worth Making
One of the more successful talking points the GOP ever deployed was that the Democrats were 'soft of terror' as evidenced by the fact that they thought terrorism should be treated as a 'law enforcement problem' rather than the 'clearly' military issue that the GOP wanted it to be.
I would be interested to hear anyone in the MSM point out that any and all successes we have had thus far against extranational terrorist organizations have been accomplished by law enforcement organizations such as Scotland Yard and the FBI.
Meanwhile, our military efforts not only can't find Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, they are succeeding in breeding a new generation of Hate-America al Qaida recruit-candidates in Pakistan, Iraq and Lebanon.
So why is no one pointing out that terrorism is, contrary to conventional wisdom, a law enforcement problem after all?
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Posted without comment
Plot foiled!!!! Before I panic, I think I'll wait and see - remember the Wag the Sears Tower terrorists in Miami? Could those guys find Chicago on a map?
Meanwhile, the best take on the situation comes from gossip blog Gawker:
As always, American authorities are using this opportunity to remind you to shit your pants; in a Homeland Security press conference, Alberto Gonzalez noted, "Every day is September 12." And doesn't Oliver Stone know it!The irony of having to go to the gossips to get a sense of perspective? Priceless.
Edited to Add: Gossip blog Jossip weighs in:
British authorities are rejoicing over their successful plan to foil am attempted terrorist attack on UK airlines. We guess we're happy that nobody was blown up, though, we don't really understand why everyone is so excited that a government, uh, did their job and protected their citizens from getting blown the fuck up. Though those planes were headed for New York JFK, and God knows our own government could never have stopped something like this ... so, thanks England.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
What do Al Qaida and the Red Hat Society Have in Common?
They're both equally unlikely to be crushed by the combined might of the US military machine.
Ha! Made you look... but there's really an underlying structural similarity that is instructive. Both organizations are loosely affiliated confederation of largely autonomous 'nodes' in a network. The organization may have a central philosophy, but no unbreechable 'chain of command'; that is, each local group can operate independently without getting orders from HQ. And as such, each organization is survivable in ways that more 'brittle' hierarchies are not. As long as the underlying philosophy can gain adherents, the organization will survive.
Back in the '90s, I was fortunate to meet John Arquilla, a guy from RAND (now, I believe, at the Naval Post-Graduate School); there was a relationship between his and my organizations and I attended one of the conferences he hosted at RAND etc. And at that time, he and a colleague were shopping around the concept of 'netwar'. The basic premise was that we, the US or Western Civilization and Thought writ large, were unsuccessful when competing against drug cartels and extra-national terrorists by the simple reason that we were pitting a hierarchy against just such networks as described above. The hierarchy architecture was 'brittle' and liable to disruption - break the supply chain or the chain of command and the hierarchy is crippled until the breaks are fixed. The network-node model has all the survivability features of the internet itself - redundancy and a massive ability to self-repair; a network can 'rout around' damaged portions of itself with no visible loss of capability. You have to take out over half the nodes to effect a network's ability to function. And of course, in an actual war, the very act of 'taking out nodes' creates more nodes. Sound familiar?
Arquilla and his colleague David Ronfeldt have a number publications that further elaborate on this theme here. And for the ultimate in sad reading, here's an article they wrote for the Dec '01 edition of Wired, in which they address specifically how to fight Al Qaida. It's sad because, if they'd actually been listened to by anyone in authority, we probably wouldn't be in the global situation we now find ourselves.
Of particular interest is their section on 'managing the memes'. We have so lost the meme war that I don't know how we'll ever recover the moral ground we've lost.
Another Arquilla article from '03: "9/11: Yesterday and tomorrow - How we could lose the war on terror" - has a brief mention of Israel/Hezbollah conflict at the time that seems strange in light of recent events. And of course, we continue to do everything he suggests we NOT do...
Friday, August 04, 2006
Thursday, August 03, 2006
An excerpt from They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45 by Milton Mayer
"What no one seemed to notice," said a colleague of mine, a philologist, "was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn’t make people close to their government to be told that this is a people’s government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to do with knowing one is governing.
"What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.
"This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.