Sanity Check!

Do the twists, turns, thoughts, deeds, spins and lies of media and politicians ever make you begin to feel like you’re going… insane?!

You’re not alone, and we’re here to help:  you’re not crazy – they are!

1/3/13:  The White House Wins — Drone killings of Americans remain secret.

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense.”  Perhaps this quote by the Mad Hatter, memorable character in Lewis Carroll’s most famous celebration of the nonsensical, is what Judge Colleen McMahon had in mind when she issued her “Alice-in-Wonderland” finding on the power of the Executive branch to keep drone killings secret:

“The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me … I find myself stuck in a paradoxical situation …  a veritable Catch-22,” McMahon wrote.

In ruling only on whether or not the White House must comply with Freedom of Information Act requests made by the ACLU and The New York Times with respect to drone assassinations of American citizens abroad (aside from legal, ethical, or other concerns regarding the killings themselves), McMahon found that the White House need not comply if it doesn’t want to.

“I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reason for their conclusion a secret.”

Thus, the U.S. government is not required by federal law to justify — to U.S. citizens — the killing of U.S. citizens, if it deems the concealment of this information to be in the interest of national security (that is, in the interest of the U.S. citizenry).

Judge McMahon’s literary connections are quite astute, and the contradictions of this ruling are clear even to she who authored the decision.  It makes me wonder if Lewis Carroll had any idea that while he was creating the literary genre of nonsense that would delight children for decades to come, he was also writing legal defense for the cleverest, baddest, maddest hatter of them all — Uncle Sam.

Sources here, here.
Comments?  Questions?  Email info@peaceactionwi.org.

12/19/12:  Sheriff Clarke loves guns and hates liberals.

This “Sanity Check” is written in response to Sheriff David Clarke’s recent statement, as it appeared in the Tea Party Perspectives blog (read it– you’ll be glad you did!) and then was reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Sheriff Clarke’s full statement regarding “firearms and freedom,” as posted on the Tea Party Perspectives blog, was incredibly inflammatory and uninformed.

Clarke’s remarks of “liberals are shameful” and “gun control is just another way of furthering their socialist agenda” are uncalled for, juvenile, and ignorant.  Clarke accuses “liberals” of exploiting the Newtown massacre, and then exploits this so-called exploitation to find an excuse for name-calling and condemnation of those who are honestly trying to seek an end to school shootings.

Sheriff Clarke, the people who believe that banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are first steps to stopping mass shootings are actually concerned parents, of all political persuasions, in all communities across the nation.  Their concern and desire for action rises from the love of their children, not a socialist agenda.

Further, Sheriff Clarke’s assertion that more guns in more places make us safer is statistically false.  The Harvard Injury Control Research Center found that more guns correlate to more murders; a fact proven in different states and in different nations.

Sheriff Clarke:  leave the insults aside and spare Milwaukee the pain of shootings to come.  Sensible gun policy is in the interest of every family, every officer, and every community.

Comments?  Questions?  Email info@peaceactionwi.org.

12/18/12:  Iran will Destroy the American middle class… wait — what?!

This “Sanity Check” is written in response to the following article, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal on 12/17/12:  “The Economic Cost of a Nuclear Iran”, Sanctions and U.S. military force carry risks, but Tehran with a bomb would wreak havoc on global markets.

The authors of this article claim that if the United States fails to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear technology, America could face a spike in joblessness and be plummeted into another recession.

They also calculate the risk of nuclear exchanges between “nuclear Iran” and Saudi Arabia or “nuclear Iran” and (unofficially, presently nuclear) Israel.  They put the Iran/Saudi probability at “zero today, when neither country has nuclear weapons…to 5% within a year.  This could lead to the disruption of 13% of the world’s oil supply.”

Nuclear warfare scenarios aside, the existence of a nuclear Iran could mean a rise in oil prices from 10%-25%, and 1.5 million jobless Americans in two years.  All this, even if there isn’t a disruption in the oil supply – if there was, the “result could be much worse…U.S. GDP plummeting 8% in one year, and five million Americans losing their jobs.”

Yowsers.  So, there is a direct connection between a “nuclear Iran” and horrendous U.S. economic recession, joblessness, and an increased likelihood of nuclear war.  To completely understand this, we need to dig deeper, and understand the process of calculation that the authors used to present these startling revelations, which are of pertinent value today more than ever, with the “fiscal cliff” looming and middle-class economic security at stake at home while violent conflict continues to destabilize the Middle East at large.

However, we’re out of luck, as this analysis doesn’t offer sources or citation.  It does, however, offer an explanation for the absence of such documentation:

“To be sure, this type of analysis, no matter how carefully done, involves as much art as it does science.  Its value is in illustrating the range of impacts that could occur, not in predicting any precise outcome.”

Wait – what?  By “not in predicting any precise outcome,” are they referring to their very precise predicted outcomes that were listed throughout the first 12 paragraphs?  Now, in paragraph 13, the authors tell us that, even though this information is not accompanied by citations – or even the provision of enough information so one could understand how others, like the authors of this article, could possibly speculate to the aforementioned outcomes in the first place (precision or imprecision aside) – they can provide numbers on the direct linkage of a nuclear Iran to the number of Americans who will be unemployed in 2 years?  Or provide a percentage of the likelihood of nuclear warfare between two nations that don’t possess nuclear weapons?  Or decide that the likelihood of nuclear warfare between two nations would be greater if both nations were to possess nuclear weapons (as opposed to the widely held and historically sound theory of “mutually assured destruction”)?

Apparently, neither the reader nor the author will ever really have a clue as to the likelihood of these scenarios.  However, as the authors stated, that’s beside the point.

The value of this creative science is to illustrate the “range of impacts” regarding Iran’s future.  Coincidentally, the entire range of impacts provided all have one thing in common – they convince us of the need to destroy Iran before Iran inevitably destroys us, the American middle class.

Comments?  Questions?  Email info@peaceactionwi.org.

 

12/14/12:  Enough.

At least 27 dead, and counting…

This time, it’s a Connecticut elementary school.  Children and teachers are dead.

The rational fear to be held is not the fear of the government “taking our guns,” as the NRA and right-wing fear-mongers would have us believe — rather, it’s the fear of sending our kids to school, going to the mall, or attending a movie, when there are 90 guns per 100 people in the United States.

More guns do not make us safer.  Will the NRA repeat its favorite  justification for flooding our communities with weapons after this?  Can they possibly claim that this travesty would not have occurred if guns were readily accessible, placed conveniently on a rack above our principals’ desks?

Enough is enough.  We call on Obama to stand up to this insanity and demand a sensible, sane gun policy — now.

Call the White House today — (202) 456-1111.

Sources herehere.

Comments?  Questions?  Email info@peaceactionwi.org.

11/13/12:  Israeli participates in Syrian violence.

In light of a few, seemingly stray mortar shells landing in Israeli territory without killing or damaging anybody or anything, Israel has found an excuse to join the fray of Syrian violence.  After all, “The world needs to understand that Israel will not sit idly by in the face of attempts to attack us,” Mr. Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday morning.

Thus, Israel fired back.  So, what’s insane about that, you ask?

“Military sources would not say if the mortar bomb was fired by Syrian army forces or by the rebels they are battling…”  So, although we have no idea who shot what or why, Israel scored “direct hits” by firing back “at the source” — without knowing what the source was.  Not surprisingly, these hits were scored against Syrian military targets.

You don’t have to be the most sane person around to realize that adding more international violence to this situation will result in prolonging the death and destruction in Syria.

But, you have to be insane to think that’s OK.

Sources:  Herehere.

Comments?  Questions?  Email info@peaceactionwi.org.