Daily Archives: September 5, 2013


Congress Moves Closer To Approving Strike Against Syria

The Real News Network has the article and video Congress Moves Closer To Approving Strike Against Syria.


At 1 minute and 45 seconds into the video Democratic Congressman Juan Vargas of California is asked if he has seen any evidence that makes it certain that Assad is guilty.

Everything that I have read gives me certainty that the information is credible if it wasn’t manufactured. … I want them to promise us that the information that we have seen is not manufactured, that it is correct.


A promise is just a promise unless there are consequences for breaking the promise. I want to see President Obama promise that if it turns out that the intelligence was manufactured he and John Kerry will resign from office. Then maybe we will see how much confidence the two of them have in this intelligence.


Benghazi report details security flaws at US diplomatic posts

Aljazeera America has the story and video Benghazi report details security flaws at US diplomatic posts.

The U.S. Department of State has known for decades that inadequate security at embassies and consulates worldwide could lead to tragedy, but senior officials ignored the warnings and left some of America’s most dangerous diplomatic posts vulnerable to attack, according to an internal government report obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit.
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Following the 1983 Beirut bombings, for example, the State Department implemented building safety standards for missions in high-risk areas, which became known as Inman standards, developed by a review panel headed by Bobby R. Inman, the former director of the National Security Agency.

“Thirty years later, neither the U.S. Embassy chancery in Beirut nor a significant number of other U.S. diplomatic facilities in areas designated as ‘high threat’ meet Inman standards,” Sullivan’s panel wrote.

Security problems at diplomatic posts aren’t isolated, the panel said, pointing out that safety concerns can be found at U.S. facilities worldwide. For decades, the State Department has failed to address these vulnerabilities, the panel said, suggesting that Benghazi was a tragedy that might have been avoided.

I thought this story might be interesting to the more right-wing readers of this blog, if there are any. I didn’t realize that there could be a connection to the current Syria issue when I started reading and viewing the video.

The connection is through the lack of security in our embassy in Beirut.  Before Secretary of State Kerry assures us that any blowback from an attack on Syria can be handled, maybe he ought to think about our embassy in Beirut.


Top 10 Unproven Claims for War Against Syria

Reader Supported News had the article by Dennis Kucinich Top 10 Unproven Claims for War Against Syria.  I don’t want you to think I have suddenly gone soft on my problems with bombing Syria.  You’ll have to read the article to see what Kucinich says about these claims.

Claim #1. The administration claims a chemical weapon was used.

Claim #2: The administration claims the opposition has not used chemical weapons.

Claim #3: The administration claims chemical weapons were used because the regime’s conventional weapons were insufficient

Claim #4: The administration claims to have intelligence relating to the mixing of chemical weapons by regime elements

Claim #5: The administration claims intelligence that Assad’s brother ordered the attack

Claim #6: The administration claims poison gas was released in a rocket attack

Claim #7: The administration claims 1,429 people died in the attack

Claim #8: The administration has made repeated references to videos and photos of the attack as a basis for military action against Syria

Claim #9: The administration claims a key intercept proves the Assad regime’s complicity in the chemical weapons attack

Claim #10: The administration claims that sustained shelling occurred after the chemical weapons attack in order to cover up the traces of the attack

 


Science Confirms: Politics Wrecks Your Ability to Do Math

Mother Jones has the article Science Confirms: Politics Wrecks Your Ability to Do Math.

Kahan’s data suggest the opposite—that political biases skew our reasoning abilities, and this problem seems to be worse for people with advanced capacities like scientific literacy and numeracy.

When reading my blog, keep in mind that I think I have advanced capacities like scientific literacy and numeracy.

So, if you want unbiased reporting, only read blogs by liberal arts majors.


Now that I think about it, there are instances where I pick apart a faulty argument that is in support of my political beliefs. I don’t find it helpful to make easily refuted arguments for what I believe. I don’t want other people to make those arguments for what I believe either.

However, I don’t think what I have just said  negates what the above study says.  It is probably true that I am more likely to pick apart a study that disagrees with my point of view than I am to do it to a study that agrees with me.


Intercepted call bolsters Syrian chemical-weapons charge, Germans say

McClatchy news has the story Intercepted call bolsters Syrian chemical-weapons charge, Germans say.

According to Der Spiegel, one of the parties in the intercepted phone call was a “high-ranking member of Hezbollah,” the militant Lebanese movement that’s sent fighters to support the Assad government. That Hezbollah member told the Iranian that “Assad had lost his temper and committed a huge mistake by giving the order for the poison gas use,” according to the magazine’s account.

Apparently this is a different phone call from the one intercepted by Israeli intelligence and passed on to the U.S.A.  Perhaps the evidence will show that the Obama administration is correct in its assessment of who perpetrated the gas attack.  There are other details in the article to add to your store of possible (mis)information about what happened.