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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
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No, Bush was not right about Iraq: How conservatives misread new Times bombshell

the Times report, far from vindicating George W. Bush, is actually just further proof of the gross political manipulation that lay at the heart of the disastrous conflict he started:

WEDNESDAY, OCT 15, 2014 10:15 AM PDT
No, Bush was not right about Iraq: How conservatives misread new Times bombshell
The right says a new NY Times report on chemical weapons in Iraq vindicates Bush. Even Team Bush disagrees!


.....No, George W. Bush was not right about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Now, I know what you’re going say. “But look! The Times says they found WMDs in Iraq! The liberal media was wrong! Bush was right!” No, Bush was still very wrong. Very, very wrong.

Before we get into the actual reasons for why this doesn’t vindicate Bush, let’s think about this logically for moment. If the presence of these weapons proved Bush correct, then it stands to reason that the Bush administration would have come out at some point and said “hey, look at these weapons, we got it right.” But they never did that. They knew the weapons were there, and they had many years to wave them around as proof positive that they didn’t get many thousands of people killed based on false information, so why didn’t they do it?

The reason is very simple, and the Times report conservatives are claiming vindicates Bush actually explains very clearly why it does no such thing: “The United States had gone to war declaring it must destroy an active weapons of mass destruction program. Instead, American troops gradually found and ultimately suffered from the remnants of long-abandoned programs, built in close collaboration with the West.” Many of the weapons, according to the Times, “appeared to have been designed in the United States, manufactured in Europe and filled in chemical agent production lines built in Iraq by Western companies.”

The discovery of old, degraded chemical munitions in Iraq is not news. The Bush administration went to war expecting to find older weapons, along with a thriving new chemical weapons program (that didn’t exist). Ten years ago, the final report of the weapons inspectors sent to find Saddam Hussein’s WMDs (commonly known as the Duelfer Report) was released, and it noted that “a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered” in the country, but that Iraq had not produced any new weapons.


SC governor defends Confederate flag at Statehouse: Not ‘a single CEO’ has complained


During a South Carolina gubernatorial debate, Democratic candidate Sen. Vincent Sheheen called on the flag to be retired to a museum.

“I think the people of South Carolina are tired of having an image across America that’s not truly who we are,” Sheheen explained, adding that everyone should “rally together under a flag that unites us all, the American flag, that looks toward the future, and not the past.”

Haley responded that the Confederate flag was a “sensitive issue.”

“What I can tell you is over the last three and a half years, I spent a lot of my days on the phones with CEOs and recruiting jobs to this state,” the governor noted. “I can honestly say I have not had one conversation with a single CEO about the Confederate flag.”


These Natives are so nice, we’d be crazy not to enslave them!

2. These Natives are so nice, we’d be crazy not to enslave them! This excerpt from Columbus’ diary describes the Arawak people who greeted him and his men:

They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… . They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

4 more quotes from Christopher Columbus


To create even more enemies out of ignorance and bigotry is scary. No, it's insane.

Reza Aslan

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

QOTD: Reza Aslan

by digby

This interview with Jesse Singal is excellent:

... someone like Sam Harris or Bill Maher sees religion as defining people of faith,
their values, their motivations, and I see people as defining their religion.

I agree with Aslan. And I would guess most other atheists do as well. We know too many religious people of different faiths for whom religion is just one part of who they are and who are completely balanced, tolerant, open and often evolving in their interpretation of their faith not to. I also know atheists who take a fundamentalist point of view and are totally intolerant of any challenge to their worldview. To me, this is so glaringly obvious that I wouldn't think it had to be discussed. I could not comfortably live in this world as an atheist if I believed that all people of faith were all defined by their religion.

I guess what surprises me the most is that some atheists of all people have taken on a medieval worldview that organizes the world by religion and sees it as some kind of apocalyptic battle to the end. It's not the 14th century guys. We know more stuff now. There is more to human behavior than religions belief. A lot more. (And, by the way, I don't say that purely from an American centric point of view where we're all allegedly so pluralistic and tolerant. I've lived all over the world and traveled extensively. I've found this to be true everywhere I've gone. People's people.)

The whole interview is essential reading. To assume that the religion itself is the reason rather than the excuse for this violent extremism is to miss the point entirely. There are reasons and we'd damned well better figure out what they are and do our best to deal with this thing in a way that makes sense. Fighting the "religion" is completely daft. What are we going to do, follow Bill Maher's pal Ann Coulter's advice to "invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity?" That's what it will take. (By the way the second half of Coulter's comment is often forgotten: "We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war." Is it?)

I find this whole discussion truly disturbing. It's not only offensive, it's as dangerous as the terrorism itself. We are a very powerful country and can do terrible damage if we decide to wage a holy war like this. But we are not invulnerable. To create even more enemies out of ignorance and bigotry is scary. No, it's insane.


Credit Suisse 64 Page Report: Key Inequality Measure The Highest Since The Great Depression

You know inequality is getting bad when it's making a Swiss bank uncomfortable.

The ratio of wealth to household income in the U.S., a measure of inequality, is the highest it has been since just before the Great Depression, Credit Suisse noted in a 64-page report on global wealth released on Monday. The bank also warned that this was not good news for the health of the economy:

"This is a worrying signal given that abnormally high wealth income ratios have always signaled recession in the past," the bank wrote.


Here's a chart from the Credit Suisse report, of wealth-to-income ratios going back to 1900:

Meanwhile, the richest 1 percent in the world own 48 percent of all the world's wealth,
according to Credit Suisse -- a worrying signal for the global economy.


much more:

The only thing more scary than an unarmed black person, is an unarmed black person in a voting booth

The new University of Delaware study found that 67 percent of white Americans supported voter ID laws after the question was posed to them with text only or accompanied by a photo of white people voting. But that number increased to 73 percent when the same question is asked with an accompanying photo of African-Americans voting.

"Our findings suggest that public opinion about voter ID laws can be racialized by simply showing images of African American people," David C. Wilson, who helped supervise the study, said. "The resulting increase in support for the laws happens independently of —even after controlling for— political ideology and negative attitudes about African Americans."

The spike, from 67 percent to 73 percent, may not be huge but it's still statistically significant, The Washington Post noted. While there was an increase among white Americans who were asked about their support for voter ID laws, an accompanying picture of black people voting did not cause African Americans or Hispanic voters to show stronger support for voter ID laws.

Here's a graph of the study's findings:


Noncompete Clauses for Fast Food Workers?

Noncompete Clauses for Fast Food Workers?
October 14, 2014 | Erik Loomis
Even by the standards of the fast food industry, this is a gratuitous way to treat workers:

If you’re considering working at a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop, you may want to read the fine print on your job application.

A Jimmy John’s employment agreement provided to The Huffington Post includes a “non-competition” clause that’s surprising in its breadth. Noncompete agreements are typically reserved for managers or employees who could clearly exploit a business’s inside information by jumping to a competitor. But at Jimmy John’s, the agreement apparently applies to low-wage sandwich makers and delivery drivers, too.

By signing the covenant, the worker agrees not to work at one of the sandwich chain’s competitors for a period of two years following employment at Jimmy John’s. But the company’s definition of a “competitor” goes far beyond the Subways and Potbellys of the world. It encompasses any business that’s near a Jimmy John’s location and that derives a mere 10 percent of its revenue from sandwiches.

Since there are obviously no trade secrets at stake here, this is clearly just punching employees. Let’s take the one thing we have trained this low-skill, low-wage workers at and make sure she can’t use it if she leaves it at one of our equally low-skill, low-wage competitors!


Cartoon: America of the future

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