Currently I am doing a lot of reading, and obviously not a lot of writing. One of the books I am reading right now I borrowed from my dad. It's called Confessions Of An Economic Hitman. It documents the career of a man, John Perkins, who worked for an international energy company in the 1970's and 80's. His job was to go around the world and basically sucker developing nations into taking enormous loans which they stood no possible chance of repaying. The loans were used to build up the infrastructure of the country, which sounds noble enough. However the contracts to build the infrastructure were exclusively given to American firms, essentially insuring that the money loaned by the US government did not go into the economy of the developing countries, but instead right back into the pockets of some of America's largest and most powerful multinational corporations. Then, when the countries cannot repay, the US takes their natural resources as payment, as well as demanding their cooperation with international foreign policy matters. I won't go into too much detail. It's a good read, and I recommend it to anyone who has the stomach for it.
Excerpt from the first Chapter
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I don't have time to write much commentary on this one but please just read the articles listed below and ask yourself one question: Who is the real threat in this, as Borat so eloquently put it, "War of Terror"?
Flunky Islamist Jihadist Terrorists get convicted of an impossible crime
Myth Busting a Terrorist Plot
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
This is a quote from President Bush that has been repeated many times by himself and his staff, including former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The original and full quote came from a press conference in 2006 which is on the White House website, "I want to be absolutely clear with our people, and the world: The United States does not torture. It's against our laws, and it's against our values. I have not authorized it -- and I will not authorize it." That sounds like a pretty definitive statement, and it has been repeated several times over the years by the administration. Yet again though, we are hearing of more proof that he is lying through his teeth. This story broke late yesterday and underlines that these are not isolated incidents perpetrated by a few renegade M.P.'s at the prison. This is a systematic pattern that has served to inflame passions of anti-Americanism around the Muslim world.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Turns out that taking Statistics maybe wasn't such a waste of time after all. Scott, I am poaching this
link. Sorry man, but I do give you full credit.
"You don't get to understand the statistics of rare events by intuition. It's something that has to be learned, through formal and informal instruction. If there's one thing the government and our educational institutions could do to keep us safer, it's this: teach us how statistics works. They should drill it into us with the same vigor with which they approached convincing us that property values would rise forever, make it the subject of reality TV shows and infuse every corner of our news and politics with it. Without an adequate grasp of these concepts, no one can ever tell for sure if he or she is safe."
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Alright, so its been awhile since we have heard from the boogey man, but he finally made himself known. Thanks to BBC, who has the balls to publish his missives in full, instead of commentating on fragments of what he says. Anyway, most of his threats this time are directed at several European entities, including the EU, the Pope and Dutch newspapers, for publishing depictions of the Prophet Mohammed which is against Islamic law. Now I don't care to applaud anyone who intentionally inflames international tensions, but there is something inspiring about how the Dutch newspapers have responded to this threat. The author of these cartoons has had his life threatened and the response was to republish the cartoons, basically a big F.U. to terrorists around the world. The Dutch Government responded by saying that the threat of Bin Laden was not going to change anything about their security measures, saying "its nothing new". In general, it appears that Europe is not terribly concerned about this threat, giving America a dose of shame for crapping our pants every time someone tries to sneak a knife onto an airplane. Let's take a look at how to be brave, from those cowardly Europeans who resisted our invasion of Iraq in the first place.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Ok, I hate to keep bringing up the same topics over and over, but if Goebbels taught me anything, it's that repetition will pay off eventually. You may or may not remember that about 1 year ago, the FBI underwent an audit that revealed that they were abusing their powers to spy on law-abiding Americans without just cause. The most blatant abuses had to do with so-called National Security Letters. Basically, the FBI is abusing a power that they should not have in the first place, which is to deny American's to face their accusers in a court of law and every American's right to legal representation. These letters reek of Gestapo-esque activity. So we found out that in 2003-2005, the FBI was breaking the law by abusing the spirit of these subpoenas in order to spy on American's who had not been proved to actually have done anything wrong. What's most interesting to me is that this abuse did not take decades to develop; it happened soon after the FBI - an agency charged with enforcing and upholding the law - got these powers in the Patriot Act.
This is not some abstract theory about the proclivities of law enforcement to abuse power, these are concrete examples. And the treatment that FBI Director Robert Mueller received from Congress for his inability to bring this abuse by his agency under control betrays the true attitude of Congress, which is, "We don't care." Indeed Mueller's audacity is revealed in his recent testimony before Congress in which he tried to direct the focus of the hearing to pushing for Bush's demand for immunity for telecom companies who allowed the FBI to break the law by eavesdropping without a FISA warrant. How ironic is that? This guy should be fired if he won't resign. Only in the Government would such incompetence and flouting of the Law be tolerated.