Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Choe Sang-Hun, in the New York Times, reports today that N. Korea is warning that it will deliver a “powerful military strike” on its neighbor to the south if any of its ships are intercepted by US naval forces, adding that Pyongyang “no longer feel[s] bound by the armistice” that ended the hellish Korean War over a half-century ago. It is clear that Kim Jong-il is a man of his word, and the situation appears quite dire, though not yet immediate; in range are American forces in the Pacific and on the peninsula and, of course, Seoul and other population centers in S. Korea itself. The “homeland” will not likely be in the cross-hairs, for the near future. Still very grim. More as it develops.
Iran has restored access to Facebook. Phew. Now it just needs to restore parliamentary democracy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Former SWAT officer Kirk Black is an American hero. Featured in today’s New York Times (Richard A. Oppel, Jr., “U.S. Captain Hears Pleas for Afghan Detainee,” A1), this man—in defiance of draconian command procedure that nearly cost him his livelihood—made sure that an Afghan captive could contest his detention after Black had realized that there was no evidence to justify the imprisonment of that civilian, Gul Khan, at the fearsome Bagram AFB.

People like this in our military make our country great, in my opinion, because, according to the report (which is backed up by extensive corroboration), Capt. Black recognized something that should be obvious to much more people who pepper our media commentary with their nonsense: indefinite detention, on questionable grounds and in murky circumstances, can create more headaches. Black was quoted as saying, “Lock a guy down for 22 hours a day”—and it must be understood that this our standard operating practice—“and you are creating a criminal.”
Iran has blocked off access to Facebook, a not so subtle attempt to rig the wheels ever more favorably for Ahmadinejad and his chances at the upcoming polls. North Korea, the remaining evil cadet in the axis, has detonated an atomic weapon (again). Pakistani refugees continue to flood from Swat and the Lower Din as their army battles an entrenched Taliban. General Colin Powell, to the certain dismay of some, is remaining loyal to the Republican banner; the party has left him, not the other way round.

More random news roll-ups as they happen. Time for a little shut-eye.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A good tip for liberals still clinging to hope: Instead of waiting from On High for social change, go ahead and make him do it. He is a servant of the people, not its savior.

If this sounds negative and not audacious enough, perhaps it would be wise to face up to the very real institutional boundaries any center-left figure must confront; or the difficulties, and absurdities, that stare down reasonable demands like, say, shuttering a torture camp or ending the occupation of a foreign country.

The worst of it is when supposed allies make their own excuses and seem to have shit for brains, only concerned about their precious seat and their next poll. This spans both parties. Putting Obama into office was just the first step, not the last. He cannot do it alone, nor should he; such opens the door to overreach and abuse. What we need is a broad-based coalition of citizen action groups that are principled, not reactionary and progressive, not regressive. It will take time, which is always in short supply.

Normally what I like to do here is put up clippings from the news reporting belt or do media analysis of my own, but I think it made more sense at this time to set out what seems to be shaping up and how we can still control things, and not merely let the System take care of it, in our names.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Above: typical blue-blood New Englanders enjoying the Long Island Sound. Further comment would be superfluous.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Are you kidding me, Eric Holder? It is going to take a generation to undo all of this damage.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Saturday, May 02, 2009

A grain of salt due Internet polling notwithstanding, this seems like a good sign that the American people are still awake.

Friday, May 01, 2009

The law-breakers in the predecessor’s administration ought to be prosecuted. It is incredible to me why a call for enforcing the law of the land is considered solely the stand of the political left. It is also maddening that pseudo-progressive Obama is not willing to do this, or even “investigate.” But there is no need for a commission. All of the evidence proving that crimes were committed is on the public record. It’s in open sight, and the fact that “law and order” pseudo-conservatives are wailing and screaming about vengeful leftists seeking to contribute to our nation’s security by paring down the torture-surveillance-unitary executive policies is very sad. These authoritarians have no principle but power and the privileges of dominating the discourse that that power had bestowed to them. God forbid we get attacked again; that would be the end of whatever self-respecting Republic we have left. For now, I’m holding onto a residual of hopeful feeling that someday justice will be done to the people who injured my country, and that the man I elected as an ostensible agent of change will not only see our high ideals and our security as a false choice — but will also recognize that the choice between leaving the unforgivable and indefensible recent past behind us and prosecuting the bastards is a total no-brainer.