Archive for the ‘Corrections’ Category

Hillary Clinton and her war hawks

June 23, 2016

Correction: I mischaracterized Michele Flournoy’s position, based on reporting by Michael Tucker of Defense One, which was quoted by Glenn Greenwald.  For Michele Flournoy’s rebuttal, read her letter below the fold.

Hillary Clinton’s two likely choices for Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense are Victoria Nuland and Michéle Flournoy, both war hawks.

Nuland would intensify confrontation with Russia.  Flournoy would send more U.S. troops step up military activity in the Middle East.

The U.S. is already dangerously close to war with Russia, and U.S. interventions in the Middle East have only made things worse.

A Hillary Clinton administration would not back off from these dangerous and counterproductive war policies.  It would double down on them.

LINKS

Hillary Clinton’s Likely Pentagon Chief Already Advocating for More Bombing and Intervention by Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept.  (Hat tip to Bill Harvey)

Hillary Clinton’s Likely Defense Secretary Wants More US Troops Fighting ISIS and Assad by Patrick Tucker for Defense One.  [added later]

Clinton’s Hawk-in-Waiting by Philip Giraldi for The American Conservative.

Neocon War Hawks Want Hillary Clinton Over Donald Trump: No Surprise—They’ve Always Backed Her by Branco Marcetic for In These Times.

Potential Hillary Clinton Pentagon chief calls for increased action against Isis by David Smith for The Guardian.

The Mess that Nuland Made by Robert Parry for Consortium News.

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A note on the TPP and fast track

April 23, 2015

I’ve been writing about the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership agreement as if it were a done deal, and the only significance of the Trade Promotion Authority bill, aka “fast track,” in regard to the TPP is to push it through with a minimum of debate.  This is not so.

I do in fact think that is the significance of “fast track,” but I should emphasize that the TPP is not a done deal.  The Japanese government is balking at some of the proposals and, without Japan, the TPP would be meaningless.

So a “fast track” plan that allowed Congress to give meaningful input into the negotiations would be important.  Whether or not the Wyden-Hatch-Ryan bill does this is an important question.

Google and cost obsessions in 50 state capitals

March 14, 2015
what-states-want

Click to enlarge.

Hat tip to kottke.org.

This seems to be completely bogus.  I apologize for posting it.  When I did the Google autocomplete for Albany, NY, I got as a first result “taxi,” as a second result “artificial insemination” and for a third result “web site.”  Not “pound of weed.”  So either the results are random, or they’re based on some bogus algorithm which is different for each person.

Americans in most states seem to be more concerned about the cost of sex, drugs, personal appearance and government services than the cost of anything else.

The map shows what Google autocomplete tells you when you do a Google search for “how much does * cost” in the capitals of each of the 50 states.

Of course the capitals may not be indicative of the states as a whole.  The top autocomplete for Albany, NY, was “pound of weed”.   When I tried it for my home city of Rochester, NY, I got “taxi” for my first autocomplete choice, “Tesla” for my second and some roofing companies at the top of my Google search.

I find these results interesting and amusing, although not proof of anything.

LINK

What Cost Is Each State Obsessed With on Fixr.   The original post, with a larger map, background details and a link to a chart.

Correction

October 10, 2014

My post entitled Going to war for oil doesn’t make any sense conflated the oil embargo of 1973 with the oil crisis of 1979.

Going to war for oil doesn’t make any sense

October 9, 2014

infographic.ime.oil.gas

One of the justifications for going to war in the Middle East is to make sure we Americans have access to oil.

During the run-up to the 1991 Gulf War, Secretary of State James Baker said the issue was “jobs, jobs, jobs.”  He didn’t explain, but what I and other Americans took him to mean that if Saddam Hussein cut us off from the oil of Kuwait, our industrial machine would falter.

But there was no danger of that happening.  Saddam Hussein was perfectly happy to sell Iraq’s oil, and would have been perfectly happy to sell Kuwait’s oil.

oilcorridorThe oil-producing nations have just as much need to sell their oil as the oil-consuming nations have to buy it.

U.S. interventions in the Middle East have reduced American access to oil, not secured it.  The sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s, the continuing sanctions against Iran and the new sanctions against Russia have been intended to prevent these nations from selling their oil and natural gas.  The invasion of Iraq destroyed much of that nation’s oil-producing capability, which is only now recovering.

All this made oil and gas prices higher, not lower.

The only time U.S. access to Middle East oil was cut off was during the OPEC oil embargo of 1973.  But the embargo was broken without military action.  It was broken by the international oil companies who sold the oil to whoever wanted to buy it.  [1]

Since then there has never been another threat to U.S. oil imports.  The most strongly anti-American leaders, Libya’s Qaddafi and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, never refused to do business with the United States.  Politics was one thing; business, another.

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Correction: No official regrets on Obama’s Nobel

September 12, 2014

My previous post, linking to a report that the Nobel Committee had expressed regrets about Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, was wrong.

I fell for an Internet hoax.  I apologize for the error.  I feel embarrassed at my gullibility and failure to check.

I thank William Hungerford for asking verification.

Obama and peace: Links & comments 9/12/14

September 12, 2014

NO, NO, NO – THIS DIDN’T HAPPEN – I WAS TAKEN IN BY AN INTERNET HOAX.

See What was fake on the Internet this week! .

Nobel Committee Regrets Obama Peace Prize: official statement.

Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 before he had an opportunity as President to do much of anything either for or against world peace.

Their thinking arose out of a relief that George W. Bush was no longer President, and a hope that the Peace Prize award would motivate him to be a peacemaker.

His response, when receiving the prize, was to lecture the Norwegian Nobel Institute on the evils of pacifism and the responsibility of the United States to use military force for good objectives.

The Nobel Committee stated that awarding the Peace Prize seemed at the time like a good way of advancing peace, but now this is no longer the case.

Does anybody know of any precedent for the Nobel Committee expressing regret at the awarding of any previous prize?  I can’t think of any.

Obama just announced he wants to help the guys who kidnaped Steven Sotloff by Joseph Cannon for Cannonfire (via Naked Capitalism).

President Obama’s policy is to help the Free Syrian Army as an alternative to both Bashar al-Assad’s government and the Islamic State (ISIS) forces in Syria.  But evident it was the FSA to kidnapped the American reporter, Steven Sotloff and sold him to ISIS so they could make a video of him being beheaded.

The various militias fighting the Assad government are more alike than they are different.  For one thing, they all want to wipe out Syria’s ancient Christian community.

Could Jim Webb Mount a Credible Challenge to Clinton? by Albert R. Hunt for BloombergView.

I admire Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts for her willingness to take on Wall Street financiers, but she is a down-the-line supporter of the Obama administration’s war policies.  Former Senator James Webb of Virginia is not only anti-Wall Street, but anti-interventionist and opposed to the drug laws that have resulted in mass incarceration of young black people.

Webb is a former Marine, a decorated combat veteran of Vietnam, a novelist and former Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration.  He broke with the Republican Party because he opposed the George W. Bush administration’s war policies and its captivity to Wall Street.   Unfortunately the Obama administration was no improvement, and Hillary Clinton would be even worse.

Webb is an opponent of gun control, has reservations about feminism (especially as applied to the military) and differs with many Democrats on social issues that are dear to their hearts.  I don’t think any of these things matter so much as peace, economic justice and fundamental civil liberties.

Surge in migrant children? Maybe not

August 15, 2014

chart_of_apprehended_minorsapprehension_unemployment_chart

Has there been a surge in the number of unaccompanied central American children trying to cross the border into the United States?  Are they fleeing gang violence?

Maybe not, according to Prof. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, of the UCLA Department of Chicano and Chicano Studies, in a report released Tuesday.  Gang violence is indeed a serious problem in central America, and unaccompanied children from Honduras and other Central American countries do deserve the hearings guaranteed by Wilberforce Trafficking Reauthorization Act of 2008, he said.

But the ups and downs in the number of unauthorized immigrants, including children, are related to the ups and downs of the U.S. economy and, in particular, the unemployment rate among Hispanic people in the USA, not to trends in crime in Central America.  The murder rate in Honduras peaked several years ago, he noted.

There has been an increase in the reported number of unaccompanied children, but Hinojosa-Ojeda thinks that is because Immigration and Customs Enforcement has had to do a more thorough job of reporting because of the Wilberforce act.

I don’t think my previous posts about child refugees from gang violence were contrary to fact.  I don’t think the people I quoted made up the stories they told about young boys and girls being forcibly inducted into gangs.  But this is not the whole story.

Click on The Economic Recovery, Not Gang Violence, Caused the Border Crisis for an interview with Hinojosa-Ojeda in The New Republic giving another angle on gang violence. (Hat tip to Mike the Mad Biologist)

[Update 8/20/14]  On second thought, maybe it doesn’t matter whether the unaccompanied migrant children represent a “surge” on not.

Five Children Murdered After They Were Deported Back to Honduras by Esther Yu-Hsi Lee for Think Progress.

Correction: Amazon not world’s largest retailer

August 11, 2013

Contrary to what I wrote in Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to buy Washington Post, Amazon is not the world’s largest retailer.   It is the largest on-line retailer, but is far behind Wal-Mart and other giants in total sales.

Click on 2013 Top 100 Retailers for information about its revenues and ranking.

Correction: Photo’s terrorist, not drone, killing

August 21, 2012

About a year ago, I put up a post about the killing of innocent people in Pakistan by U.S. flying killer drones.  I linked to photos by Noor Behram, an intrepid Pakistani photographer who traveled to the tribal areas of Pakistan and documented the deaths caused by the drones.  But the photograph with which I led the post was apparently not taken by Noor Behram and was not of drone victims, but was a news photo of innocent victims of a terrorist attack in the city of Peshawar.

Click on “Not a single collateral death” for the post with correction.

Wendell Castle’s 10 Adopted Rules of Thumb

March 14, 2010

1. If you’re in love with an idea, you are no judge of its beauty or value.

2. It is difficult to see the whole picture when you are inside the
frame.

3. After learning the tricks of the trade, don’t think you know the
trade.

4. We hear and apprehend what we already know.

5. The dog that stays on the porch will find no bones.

6. Never state a problem to yourself in the same terms it was brought to you.

7. If it’s offbeat or surprising, it’s probably useful.

8. If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it.

9. Don’t get too serious.

10. If you hit the bull’s eye every time, the target is too close.

Wendell Castle

Wendell Castle is an American furniture artist and a leading figure in American craft.  I copied his Rules of Thumb off a poster years ago.  He taught at Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Craftsmen, and has a studio in Scottsville, N.Y.

In an earlier version of this, I conflated Wendell Castle with the metal sculptor Albert Paley