Hope to have lava lounge going at some stage. Probably run it with some other people.
Evolution & Politics
...democracy matters less in Iraq today than does liberty—that is, minority rights. Many despotic governments have come to power through elections, including Hitler’s Third Reich. Although the Shi’ite politicians are paying lip service to the notion that they will avoid an Iranian-style “Islamic republic,” that is their preference. If minority rights are not honored, civil war is very likely to occur.We've had bush is Hitler now the Shi'ites are Hitler.
After the United States crushed Afghanistan's Taliban regime and tore up Al Qaeda's infrastructure in the winter of 2001-02, would-be holy warriors started eying Iraq as a place where they could make a new stand. One of them was Zarqawi. Working with a group of Kurdish Islamic radicals known as Ansar Al-Islam, he established an underground railroad, bringing zealots to northern Iraq through Europe, Turkey and Syria. Other would-be holy warriors started finding their own way to Baghdad.So Al Qaeda was setting up shop in Iraq prior to the invasion. Maybe the pre-invasion status quo was not much to have wanted to continue.
If the Iraqis are lucky, they may eventually arrive at the corrupt fig-leaf sort of democracy that flourishes in other Arab states such as Egypt. The sort of democracy where elections change nothing and their results are always a foregone conclusion. On the other hand, they may not be so fortunate.Those Arabs are just incapable of democracy.
Peace Action Wellington will today (Monday) use street theatre to highlight the hypocrisy of Iraq being forced to have so-called democratic elections whilst many of its citizens continue to stare down the barrel of the US-led coalition's destructive arsenal of murder."Forced". I seem to call Sistani being very instant on elections. Another US "puppet" no doubt.
Clearly the sole intent of the election is to provide legitimacy for the US-led occupation, to marginalise the resistance and anti-war movements and to create an illusion of progress, which we all know is far from the case."Marginalise the "resistance". God forbid that we would want to marginalise the murderers of unionists.
This Election is simply, in my estimation, an exercise in pretty pictures.I don't think anyone is interested much in whatever his "estimation" may or may not be.
Some unsolicited advice for the United Iraqi Alliance
Many Iraqis will vote for anyone promising to end violence and social misery. But just as many nationalists and Islamists, excluded from the election process, are voting their own way -- with bullets and bombs. Washington calls them "terrorists," but the UN Charter enshrines people's right to resist foreign occupation.It's remarkable how much this sounds like Pilger. The extremes of the political spectrum have so much in common.
Now that this farce of an "election" in Iraq is done...For some, anything less than a Socialist Utopia is to be opposed with more enthusiasm than fascist dictatorships.
I'm just appalled by the cheerleading tone of US news coverage of the so-called elections in Iraq on Sunday.Stop celebrating everybody, people risking their lives to vote for a government is not actually an election.
...the resistance, being the flesh and blood of the Iraqi people, does not want to hurt any innocent Iraqi father, mother or child, which is exactly why the resistance has been warning all Iraqis not to participate in any way in the illegal sham elections. Trying to destroy the US election farce, which has the purpose of legitimizing the occupation by “electing” a new religiously and ethnically based US puppet regime and of driving Iraq further towards civil war, is an inherent part of the strategy of the resistance, just as it has been the objective of the resistance to smash the whole US-imposed “political process” in order to hinder the establishment of a stabile pro-US regime in Iraq, a goal that has been reached up until now”.
Iraqi Elections About To Make NZ Local Govt Elections Look Like A Spectacular Successto
Iraqi Elections Make NZ Local Govt Elections Look Like A Spectacular FailureParticularly rancid elements on the Left (and Right) were rubbing their hands with glee hoping the elections would be derailed by violence.
Arguments about the war can wait. It is in the interests of all - Iraqis, the Arabs, the US and Britain - that something workable be salvaged from the wreckage as Iraq stands poised between imperfect democracy and worsening strife. This will be a landmark election, and it will be, in a way, a grand moment. But it is also likely to be a bloody one.
This episode reveals, in particular, that many scholars and students are committed to an egalitarian doctrine that is, in its way, as dogmatic and immune to contradictory evidence as the biblical literalism of fundamentalists.Fundamentalist Christians have no monopoly on disregard for science, in particular evolution.
What is needed is a humane approach that recognises the reality of people lives and, on their own terms, either recognises the value of what they’re already doing or, if they choose, helps them retrain and / or find a meaningful and fulfilling occupation.
A strong case can be made for an all-female crew, aged under 30 years, to Mars.Especially if they wear skimpy space suits. Could be "Big Brother in Space".
On spaceflight, there is a far greater risk of endothelial injuries, with an accelerated aging process, complicating oxidative stress, and a Mg ion deficit with a self-sustaining inflammatory process.Definitely a case for women first.
The results indicate that adolescent males who expect the chance of being required to pay child support is high if one becomes a non-resident father or who has a family member who paid child support before are more likely to have the same female sexual partner and less likely to have had two or more female partners. Additionally, expectations of being required to pay child support and history of a family member paying child support are positively associated with contraceptive use, especially for Black adolescents.Or, more succinctly - if adolescent males think they will have to pay child support they are less likely to sleep around and more likely to use contraceptives. The latter consequence is positive at least.
Sex differences are consistently observed in gambling research. Men and women differ in their motivation for gambling, their interest in gambling, and how and in what form gambling takes place. A substantial body of evidence exists that differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals mimic comparable sexually dimorphic somatic, cognitive, and behavioral differences between men and women. Thus, given the presence of sex differences in gambling, we predict significant sexual orientation differences in gambling. That is, male homosexuals will resemble female heterosexuals in their gambling activity, and female homosexuals will resemble male heterosexuals in their gambling activity.There's a joke there somewhere but I'm a bit slow this morning.
Thus, given that the sexual orientation findings for gambling resemble the findings for alcohol and tobacco use, perhaps gambling should be seen within a broader context of sexually dimorphic addictive/externalizing behaviors. As such, these behaviors may reflect in part a common origin - the relative masculinization of the brain by prenatal hormones.So the solution is to stop the masculinization brains. Won't happen. I'd bet on it.
Groups of youth distributed election campaign papers for the People's Union list in the Al Mukarama, Al Askari, and the Al Orouba quarters, the northern quarters of the An Najaf governorate. These papers contain the name of the list president, Hamid Majid Moussa. It is worthwhile to mention that the list is comprised of 275 candidates, including the Communists along with independent democratic figures from every ethnic and religious group in the governorates, as mentioned in the distributed papers.
The US military is planning to keep 120,000 troops in Iraq for the next two years...which he considers to be a bad thing to be saying at present but doesn't take any notice of his own very next sentence -
...the number could fluctuate depending on the circumstances.The US are not planning to keep 120,000 troops in Iraq for 2 years, they are planning for that possibility. There's a difference of intention.
Zarqawi is the bogeyman that the United States Government blames for almost everything that has gone wrong in Iraq, but he does speak essentially the same language as President Bush.The same language, right. Zarqawi kills people who are in favour of democracy, Bush supports democracy.
One of the left's glories has been its tradition of heroic internationalism, still alive in the anti-globalization movement's insistence on workers' rights around the world... But when it comes to foreign policy these days, the left appears lost. I get depressed hearing friends sound like paleocon isolationists or watching them reflexively assume that there's something inherently tyrannical about the use of American power... Just as the left lacked a coherent position on what to do with murderous despots such as Milosevic and Saddam - it won't do to say, "They're bad, but..." The left now needs a position on how best to battle a Muslim ideology that, at bottom, despises all the freedoms we should be defending. America should be actively promoting the freedom of everyone on the planet, and the key question is, how would the left do it differently from the Bush administration?How, indeed. I still vividly recall the left here in New Zealand calling Clinton's defence of Muslims in Bosnia "imperialism". They were saying the same things about Bosnia that they now say about Afghanistan and Iraq.
...Pinker doesn't rely on peer-reviewed high level work by academic economists, but on right wing hack work.Atrios admits to not having actually read the book. If he had he would have found that Pinker bases his views on hard science.
I suppose it could be true or it could be false. I'm skeptical that actually knowing the answer, if it knowable, will really provide much benefit anyway. What effect would it have on social policy?Consider, for example, the fact that boys are currently doing badly compared to girls at High School. This is a consequence of biology. Knowing this gives us the opportunity to intervene to redress the situation.
...there was a time not so long ago when I would have balked at the whole enterprise: the idea there might be intrinsic cognitive differences between men and women was one I found insulting. But science is a great persuader. The jackdaws and spoon worms have forced me to change my mind. Now I'm keen to know what sets men and women apart - and no longer afraid of what we may find.
...shouldn't everything be within the pale of legitimate academic discourse, as long as it is presented with some degree of rigor? That's the difference between a university and a madrassa.I find the degree of hostility this has provoked unnerving. Summers was suggesting the possibility of genetic differences contributing to the under-representation of women in some subjects. He also said that a major factor is sexual discrimination. Which all of the above critics choose to ignore.
Dr. Georgi had e-mailed Dr. Summers earlier in the week, saying he thought that it had been a mistake for the Harvard president to speak as an intellectual provocateur during his remarks at the academic conference, forgetting that they would be interpreted as the beliefs of the university's leader.I thought the role of Universities academics was to rock the boat, not tow the party line. It's disturbing when fellow academics are advising others not to be provocative.
There is a frequent refrain from the anti-war camp that their voice was not heard, that there is a crushing of dissent or a muffled self-censorship and that if only their appeal to truth and reason could be heard, well how different the world might be. We hear it in the UK and those of us who did not oppose the overthrow of Saddam but read the Guardian, the Independent and listen to the Today Programme have a little laugh.
But in fairness it is not only the anti-war crowd who adopt this position. It does seem to be a fashionable stance to take in politics that you belong to an unfairly ignored minority viewpoint. Conservative American blogs frequently present the notion that the liberal media is deliberately blocking out any good news from Iraq and never takes Bush's position seriously. If only people heard the other side of the story....
We have to choose. If we take the negative cause of "giving the USA a bloody nose" as paramount, then we will see the militias to be the liberation movement, and the Iraqi trade unions to be outright "Quislings" or at best an unimportant group whose destruction, if regrettable, is a reasonable price to pay for the triumph of the liberation movement. If the positive causes of freedom and power for the Iraqi working class, and freedom and democracy for the peoples of Iraq, are paramount, then the Iraqi labour movement is the liberation movement, or the potential liberation movement, and we stand with it against the Islamists.
Ask Iraqi voters in a referendum six weeks after the national elections if they think foreign soldiers should withdraw immediately. Let the Iraqis debate what the absence of American forces will mean for their families and nation. Tell them we'll hold the referendum every nine months until they vote us out or we determine it's time to leave.
...it is not delusional to hope that a new Bush could yet surface - one more like the probing, thoughtful homme sérieux described to Newsweek. The crucial witness here is the woman who appeared before the senate yesterday, Condoleezza Rice. She is no Colin Powell, but by placing such a close confidante at the state department, Bush has upgraded the status of diplomacy itself. Perhaps just as important, Rice's deputy is to be Bob Zoellick, a veteran of Bush's father's administration - and an old-style Republican internationalist à la James Baker. That could augur well for a more engaged, alliance-conscious approach to US foreign policy.
The US media is disciplined by corporate America into promoting the Republican cause
You can obviously make an argument that 9/11 profoundly changed the way we wage war, and you can also make an argument that laws passed three decades ago ought to be revisited and updated. But this is a debate we should be having loudly and publicly, not in back rooms and closed door briefings.Points one and two I agree with and also that with point three "Hersh's sources for all this seem fairly thin".