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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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