I don't get it.

U.S. Constitution, Article III, Section. 2.

Clause 1: The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;

Washington Post:

"Included in the bill, passed by Republican majorities in the Senate yesterday and the House on Wednesday, are unique rules that bar terrorism suspects from challenging their detention or treatment through traditional habeas corpus petitions."

Bill of Rights, Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Washington Post:

"The bill rejects the right to a speedy trial and limits the traditional right to self-representation by requiring that defendants accept military defense attorneys."

"By writing into law for the first time the definition of an "unlawful enemy combatant," the bill empowers the executive branch to detain indefinitely anyone it determines to have "purposefully and materially" supported anti-U.S. hostilities."

And to top it all off, from Wikiquote

"No President has ever done more for human rights than I have."

I guess we have to destroy the Constitution in order to save it.

Filthy Communists.

Oh Darby.

Levels of Analysis

In my intro to Security Studies course, SEST-500, we're currently looking at levels of analysis - system level, state level, and sub-state level. Basically, systemic theories, like liberalism, say that states act in their own interest regardless of internal characteristics. State level theories, like the theory of democratic peace (democracies don't fight other democracies) put more weight on the internal characteristics of states. Sub-state level theories focus on either bureaucratic politics or the influence of individuals.

In light of Congress getting ready to cede yet more authority to the Bush administration for the cause of avoiding "soft-on-terror" ads during elections, it's interesting for me to look at this scenario in the view of both bureaucratic politics and individual influence.

Bureaucratic politics theory says that basically bureaucracies are imperialistic. In an article we had to read for class, Graham Allison looks at the Cuban Missile Crisis and shows how you could see the CIA, Air Force and Navy all fighting for the power/privilege of responding to the Cuban missiles, even at the expense of a coherent and effective national response. Under this model, you would expect Congress to avoid AT ALL COSTS ceding important powers to the Executive, including:
  • Rendering habeus corpus irrelevant
  • Rendering trial-by-jury irrelevant
  • Allowing the President and his appointees to decide who is an enemy combatant (and thus defining who benefits from Constitutional rights and who doesn't)
  • Removing actions of the Executive from the supervision of the Judiciary
An explanation for Congress' ceding of authority that would be consistent with bureaucratic politics would be that Congress believes that it is powerless to stop the Bush administration, and wishes to maintain the appearance of power by formally ceding these powers. I think that's bullshit - given Bush's low approval ratings (highest I've seen in the last year or so is 40%), as well as the reality of the Constitution (unitary executive theory is bullshit) Congress COULD stop Bush from grabbing this power for the Executive, but doesn't. Why?

An answer on the individual level of analysis would point to the individuals who fill Congress. Congressional leaders are sycophantic, corrupt and powerhungry, unwilling to criticize a fellow Republican, fearful of losing the far-Right Evangelical support (the only demographic left that supports Bush) and are brown-nosing the Bush Administration (oops, I mean "bandwagoning") in order to bask in Bush's Christ-annointed power.

An interesting question would be "which level of analysis is more pessimistic and cynical - systemic, which believes war is inevitable, or sub-state, which believes that wars arise out of individual choice?"

"Reality has a well-known liberal bias"

Parts of the latest National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq has been leaked to the press. The general gist of the leak is that the American occupation of Iraq has made America less safe, because it creates more terrorists than we are able to kill.

Naturally, supporters of the Bush administration (examples: WSJ and Robert Kagan) cry that the leak was politically motivated by that den of liberals, the CIA. Apparently, since bin Ladin hated America before the Iraq invasion, that means that the entire Muslim world also hated us before the Iraq invasion, thus proving that the Iraq invasion keeps America safe, because we haven't been attacked since the Iraq invasion (other than 2700 dead American soldiers and 20,000 limbless ones).

Of course, the Bush administration doesn't want to consider the possibility that the CIA doesn't take its orders from Howard Dean. That would imply that both the CIA and Howard Dean base their opinions on some sort of objective "reality."

And reality has a well-known liberal bias.

"Chop Chop Square"

Read this editorial by Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower, about what we should do to bin Ladin if we capture him.

Of course since bin Ladin may be dead anyways, this is all academic. (But most people think he's still alive.)

Jimmy Conrad's a classless piece of crap

So on August 9th, Kansas City Wizards at the Revolution, Dempsey and KC defender Jimmy Conrad go up for a 50/50 header. Dempsey goes in with his arms up, as I was taught to go in for headers to protect your own head. Conrad failed to do so, they collided, and Dempsey broke Conrad's jaw. Dempsey has since publically stated that it was unintentional. Conrad was out for a month, and tonight was his first game back. Earlier in the week, on a KC radio show, he said that if he had a chance to go after Dempsey, he would take it (ie he would try to intentionally injure Dempsey) during tonight's game with KC, which turned out to be a 1-1 draw.

Edit: Here's the link to a recording of Conrad's comments.

Well, Conrad was subbed on with 5 minutes left in the game, and he tried to intentionally injure Dempsey twice, once with a hip-check as Dempsey was in mid-stride, and once with a sliding tackle. No card from the ball-less MLS ref.

After the game, Revs assistant coach Paul Mariner had to physically restrain Dempsey after Deuce and Conrad (and KC defender Nick Garcia, who previous to today I thought was the dirtiest player on KC) had some words. Hard to blame Dempsey - Charlton Athletic puts in a $1.5 million dollar bid for him, and now Jimmy Conrad endangers his career for an accidental incident that Dempsey publically apologized for.

Hence, Jimmy Conrad is a classless piece of crap.

My strategy professor, Alan Gropman, likes to say that commanders should not wear two hats - for instance, being both theatre commander and ground forces commander.

This contraception fiasco is an example of many people - nurses, doctors, pharmacists - wearing multiple hats: the one of their actual job, and the second of judge/jury/god. "When I asked about what 'criteria' there was that I had to meet, the reply was, 'Well, he's kind of old fashioned'." The problem is not that he's old-fashioned - the problem is that he's judgemental and abusing his power by imposing his moral beliefs on others.
Today at Clinton's Global Initiative, the Whitehouse promised money to Africa.

Before the plenary session, First Lady Laura Bush announced a $10 million commitment from the United States government toward a $60 million project to install 4,000 water pumps across Africa that would help bring clean water to up to 10 million people on the continent by 2010.
New York Times, Sept 20, 2006

B-2 bomber:

Pricetag, $2,100,000,000
(FAS website)

"We're a generous country that has always reached out to feed the hungry, and rescue captives, and care for the sick. We are guided by the conviction of our founding -- that the Author of Life has endowed every life with matchless value."

Oooooh, $60 million. That's ALMOST half of one percent of a B-2 bomber! We truly ARE generous nation.
Drogba scores the goal of the season against Liverpool. 1-0 to the Blues and it would stay that way.

One nil! One nil! One nil!

John Yoo is a nub

The changes of the 1970’s occurred largely because we had no serious national security threats to United States soil.
John Yoo - How the Presidency Regained its Balance (h/t Greenwald)


Yoo finishes with:
Congress now must act to guide our counterterror policy, but it should
not try to micromanage the executive branch, particularly in war, where
flexibility of action is paramount.

Let's get this straight. This Congress has ignored the demostrable falsity of the "WMD" and "al-Qaeda" claims used to invade Iraq. It has basically ignored the outing of a covert CIA officer working on stopping WMD proliferation. It has abrogated oversight on intel on Iran's nuclear program. It has allowed the President to set up secret prisons abroad. It has allowed the President to engage in warrantless domestic surveillance.


Edit: How the hell do I keep the quoted text from going grey and barely readable?

At least Republicans aren't ACTUALLY Nazis

There have been a lot of Nazi metaphors thrown around lately. Rumsfeld says that those who don't support the President's foreign policy are morally and intellectually confused, and that the threat from al Qaeda is a "similar challenge" to that of Nazi Germany. Bush says that al Qaeda is the "successor" to Nazism. Keith Olbermann says that Rumsfeld is similar to Neville Chamberlain in his "certainty - and his own confusion." Recently, the Bush administration has also been insisting that Ahmadinejad/Iran are like Hitler/Germany. So confusing - how can there be so many Hitlers at once!? Iran, of course, called Bush Hitler right back. But as power-hungry, cynical, divisive and short-sighted as the Bush administration is, at least they aren't ACTUALLY Nazis, and at least American's don't elect real Nazis into Government. Germany, on the other hand...

In the next couple days, Germany is having regional parliament elections. In 2004, the National Democratic Party (NPD) won a seat in Saxony's parliament. Now NPD is poised to win seats again, in a different parliament, in Mecklenberg-Vorpommern. Both Länder (regions) are in the former DDR, which hasn't integrated well with West Germany. East Germany suffers from high unemployment and all its young people leave and move to West Germany. In Germany neo-Nazis are tied in to a lot of different social groups, including punk rock and soccer hooliganism. Neo-Nazi parties like the NPD consistently brought in around 1 or 2% of the vote the last couple decades, but this is an upward trend in their popularity in eastern Germany.

This is bad (duh). But I think it also might have ramifications for more of the former Communist Europe that is trying to integrate into the West and the EU. In Eastern Germany, Hungary, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and other eastern European nations, although the Red Army destroyed facism militarily, people's standard of living wasn't any higher under Communism than it was under facism (I'm talking about the survivors of both regimes). Thus, for certain people, facism as a political system might not have been totally discredited (it helps if you're rabidly anti-Semitic, as the NPD is - part of their platform is deportation of foreigners).

If it can happen in Germany, why not Hungary, which was also fascist during the 1930s and 40s? Or Slovakia? Well it is - Hungarians are being singled out in Slovakia, and Hungarian football fans chant "Give us southern Slovakia back"(1). A possible economic meltdown in Eastern Europe could further convince eastern Europeans that liberal democracy is a failure along with Communism. That would result in more real Nazis, not the fake ones that the Bush Administration sees everywhere.

Update: It happened.

(1) Simon Kuper's Football Against the Enemy.

Reality bites

These propositions are items in a political programme disguised as statements of fact; and the utopian inhabits a dreamworld of such 'facts', remote from the world of reality where quite contrary facts may be observed. The realist has no difficulty in perceiving that these utopian propositions are not facts bu t aspirations, and belong to the optative not to the indicative mood; and he goes on to show that, considered as aspirations, they are not a priori propositions, but are rooted in the world of reality in a way which the utopian altogether fails to understand.
E. H. Carr, The Twenty Year's Crisis
...is to:

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
Ron Suskin, New York Times, Without a Doubt, October 17, 2004.

It is time to say it unequivocally: We are winning in Iraq. If current trends continue, our counter-insurgent campaign in Iraq will be fit to be mentioned in the same breath as the British victory over a Communist insurgency in Malaysia in the 1950s, a textbook example of this form of war.
Rich Lowry, What Went Right, National Review, May 9th, 2005.
is to:

More than 200 Iraqis, most of them policemen or soldiers, have been killed in the last eight days in one of the most lethal stretches of violence since the invasion two years ago.
Richard A. Oppel Jr., Insurgents Kill 26 More Iraqis; Tentative Deal on Completing Cabinet Is Reported
. May 7th, 2005.


Unfortunately I haven't taken this class... yet.
If a nuclear-free Iraq graduates from President Bush's "axis of evil" list, could Georgetown University gain admission?

I am taking SEST-500, Theory and Practice of Security, which everyone has to take their first year. I am also taking SEST-541, The Evolution of Strategic Thought, and SEST-582, The Politics of European Security. I'll write more about these classes later.