TODAY’S LINKS—MAY 16, 2012

My readers should know by now my opposition to the drone strikes carried out under the orders of President Obama by which a number of alleged terrorists have been killed, including American citizens. Eric Holder, his Attorney General, has issued a statement that a legal justification for these preemptive murders has been developed.

This, plus our continued presence in Afghanistan are the main reasons for any opposition I maintain towards Obama.

Noam Chomsky has summarized the differences between Bush and Obama thusly:

If the Bush administration didn’t like somebody, they’d kidnap them and send them to torture chambers.

If the Obama administration decides they don’t like somebody, they murder them.

http://www.salon.com/2012/05/14/chomsky_on_obama/

Glenn Greenwald of Salon cynically remarks that Chonsky’s view is oversimplification but continues on to note that Bush drew harsh criticism for his actions and Obama has received little.

My own notion is that Obama merely discarded torture but expanded the ways in which terrorists are abused. Romney, if elected, is not apt to overturn these policies and my bet is that any Obama successor will adopt a perverted rationale to go even further.

Also from Salon Michael Lind explores the theory, and pretty much proves it, that conservatives, while talking a good game about protecting us from the big bad federal government, in fact oppose most individual liberties being protected.

http://www.salon.com/2012/05/15/why_do_conservatives_hate_freedom/

Lind accuses conservatives of hating freedom. The history is persuasive.

Conservatives opposed civil rights laws prohibiting racial discrimination.

Conservatives opposed protecting married couples’ right to privacy in the bedroom and use of contraceptives.

Conservatives (though surprisingly I read more and more often how many exceptions there are) oppose gay rights including marriage.

There is one right of individuals that conservatives will forever fight to uphold. That is the freedom to make as much money as possible no matter the consequences for other individuals or the nation as a whole.

From HuffPo,  Though numerous media have been reporting the story, comes the tale of one Carlos De Luna, executed for murder by Texas (who else?) in 1989.

A research team from Columbia University, after a thorough examination of available records and evidence, concludes that De Luna was innocent of the murder.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/15/carlos-de-luna-execution-_n_1507003.html?ref=mostpopular

This pre-dates the Cameron Todd Willingham case by nearly two decades. Willingham, of course, was the man executed for the arson murder of his children without being given the opportunity to submit expert evidence that the fire was not arson at all, but simply an enormous tragedy.

Ending the death penalty is another pet cause of mine, and my opposition does not depend on the guilt or innocence of the victim.

On Tuesday Mitt Romney gave a speech in which he scathingly decried the size of the national debt and laid almost all the blame for it at the feet of President Obama.

Nice rhetoric, but largely divorced from reality.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/15/mitt-romney-debt-speech-inferno_n_1519253.html

This piece is a combination fact check/what’s your plan on the Mittster’s allegations and the scarcity of cogent ideas to address the debt, both consistently characteristic of Romney’s campaign to date.

He conveniently ignores the Bush era tax cuts that greatly contributed to the situation, and which he would like to see continued if not slashing rates for the rich even more.

In the meantime, his vague proposals for spending cuts in no way would make a dent in the debt.

It’s a damned shame millions of people will buy into his delusion.

I found this on The National Review that is worthy of consideration. It seems one Naomi Riley was a paid blogger for the Chronicle Of Higher Education, the trade paper for faculty and administrators in universities. Riley penned five hundred word opinions on the topic du jour.

In response to a Chroincle article lauding the proposed dissertations of five PhD candidates addressing black studies curricula, Riley

 looked at the subject areas of the five proposed dissertations and concluded that they were “obscure at best . . . a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap at worst.”

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/299765/censoring-naomi-riley-john-fund

After much negative reaction and calls for her dismissal, Riley was fired.

I don’t have sufficient information to comment more specifically on Riley’s situation, but the piece makes the point that much opinion has been getting stifled under similar circumstances.

Without naming names, nor taking sides, I, too, decry the tendency to silence critics of the status quo no matter where they lie in the political spectrum.

Whether Riley is the best example to advance this lamentation I don’t know. But geez, folks, can’t we confine ourselves to criticizing the message rather than attempting to destroy the messenger?

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Comments

  • little_minx  On May 16, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    Along similar lines, “Lying About Language”:
    http://chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2012/05/15/lying-about-language/?sid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en In relevant part:

    “The domain of language already provides plentiful evidence of barefaced nonhumorous lying that in other domains might get you ridiculed or jailed. Language Log has documented some staggering examples. The most striking is probably George Will’s repeated assertion that President Obama’s egotism is revealed in the extraordinarily high frequency of the first-person singular pronoun in his speeches. Mark Liberman has published about 17 Language Log posts on this topic since early June 2009 (this post includes a list up to 31 March 2012…).

    “Counting occurrences of I, me, my, and myself in presidential speeches and news conferences, Liberman rapidly discovered that President Obama uses these pronouns far less than his predecessors. George W. Bush’s speeches used the first-person singular pronouns 60 to 70 percent more than Obama does; Bill Clinton used them about 50 percent more.

    “Yet pundit after pundit has repeated George Will’s lie. Professor Stanley Fish jumped on the wagon, building literary analysis on lies (…).

    “…George Will and the pronoun pundits have an agenda: spreading the allegation that our first black president “is probably a clinical narcissist” (the words of Martin Peretz in The New Republic). Their point would not necessarily be supported even if their claims were true (see the work of James Pennebaker), but there is a definite purpose to their lying.”

    Re George Will: Anyone who’s a lifelong Cubs fan has already demonstrated that they’re certifiable.

  • little_minx  On May 19, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    “Mitt Romney’s Character Assassination Game — Republicans specialize in accusing opponents of the dirty tricks they themselves are doing—or planning to do. Exhibit A: Romney accusing Obama of ‘character assassination’”:
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/05/19/michael-tomasky-on-mitt-romney-s-character-assassination-game.html

  • little_minx  On May 20, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Did you see this in the P-G today?

    “E-books open doors to self-publishing authors”:
    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/ae/books/e-books-open-doors-to-self-publishing-authors-636732

    This could be the way for you to go, collecting old blog posts and polishing them into essays. See esp. the comments re being one’s own marketer and advertising rep, though.

    • umoc193  On May 25, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      The WordPress people have suggested the same for its bloggers,, though publishing books in general, not just e-books. I’ll give the article a glance. Thanks.

    • umoc193  On May 25, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      I just finished reading the article then reviewing the publisher’s web site. I’m somewhat reticent about committing scarce resources to such a venture. Even $400 is a substantial sum to me. But I’m going to review my own work to see if there is potential for various blog entries to be combined into a cohesive whole, with proper editing of course.

      This is also an option for my autobigraphy which slowly, but painfully, moves towards completion.

Please give me your thoughts.

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