OK Cupid’s Assessment

okcupidchart

I find this amusing.

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William Casey and the GID

Casey won the GID’s [General Intelligence Department of Saudi Arabia] personal loyalty to the extent that Saudi intelligence, with permission from King Fahd, agreed to secretly fund Casey’s riskiest anticommunist adventures in Central America.

— Steve Coll, Ghost Wars, (New York: Penguin, 2004), 93.

“Anticommunist adventures.” Boy, that takes me back some thirty years. As it happens I was thinking of Casey’s anticommunist adventures just a couple months ago when consulting a doctor about mild arthritis in my knee. The visit took me back to the 1980s and another doctor’s office, where I’d explained that my knee was so swollen because the SFPD had cracked it with a nightstick. I’d tried to explain to the officers that I had a First Amendment right to be on the sidewalk protesting the solicitation of money for the contras who Americas Watch charged with programmatic rape, torture, and murder of civilians, that the International Court of Justice in The Hague had ruled against Ronald Reagan and the US, making Reagan an international war criminal, and that under the Nuremberg Principles I had not simply a right but a duty to resist my government’s sponsorship of the contras, but the boys in blue had been unimpressed and continued their clubbing. I remember the pain had been so intense I’d have fallen if a colleague hadn’t supported me.

So now I find myself reading about Casey’s collusion with, among other noble anti-communists, Osama bin Laden, and Coll throws off an aside about anticommunist adventures in Central America, while Barack Obama vows to destroy Isis’s “brand of evil”. Bill Casey where are you now?

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The More Things Change …

Started Coll’s Ghost Wars, on the rise of the Taliban and US activities in Afghanistan between the Soviet invasion and 9/11/2001. This morning came across this Guardian editorial on Obama’s rationale for arming ISIS:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/20/obama-war-legal-rationale-isis

20140920_WWD000

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Social Media and the ‘Spiral of Silence’

I went to forward someone my Facebook link to the SF Gate article on this study this morning and found the SF Gate link is broken. Jesus, the Chronicle is an embarrassing outfit… Anyway, wanted to get the link down for my own records: http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/08/26/social-media-and-the-spiral-of-silence/.

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McChrystal on LinkedIn

Just finished reading Michael Hastings’s The Operators last night. This morning LinkedIn has an article by McChrystal, The Hunt for al Zarqawi and the Power of “We”, purporting to offer leadership lessons applicable to business. I remember the mid-1970s and people like Rumsfeld, Cheney, Kissinger, going from serving a criminal Nixon into the Ford administration. The International Court of Justice found the contra war in violation of international law and Reagan’s got a Washington airport. Bush Jr.’s in the news for having a bucket not of Iraqi blood but of ice water dumped on him. McChrystal’s on LinkedIn.

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The Runaway General

Finishing Michael Hastings’ The Operators. Here’s the Rolling Stone article on McChrystal:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-runaway-general-20100622

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Anbar Province

We find a way to buy off the enemies we’d created by invading — the strategy is akin to digging a hole in the desert, then filling the hole with cash and dead bodies and calling it a victory.

—Michael Hastings, The Operators, (New York: Blue Rider Press, 2012), 207.

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9/11/2014

Dad gave me The Execution of Charles Horman for Christmas in 1978, I think. It was a good gift – Mom and Dad always gave well-chosen books – but I remember Dad also talking about his personal motivation in giving me a cautionary tale quite relevant to my political activities. He said he didn’t want to one day be searching morgues like Ed Horman. I first saw The Battle of Chile in 1978 or 1979. Remember reading Assassination on Embassy Row in 1984 I think.

We flew out of SFO on 9/15/2001, the first day it was reopened. It was a Saturday. Wolfie bounced around London in his backpack. There were candlelight vigils, statements of solidarity in London and Hamburg. After some discussion the white-haired docent at a concentration camp in southern Denmark chose his words carefully: Given US actions in the world we could understand al-Qaeda’s bringing down the towers. Many Americans couldn’t.

Recently finished Ben Anderson’s No Worse Enemy. Yesterday started Michael Hastings’ The Operators. Really liked taz’s headline this morning: Alte Fehler, neue Fehler; In seiner mit Spannung erwarteten Rede zur US-Strategie gegen IS gibt Obama den Bush: Die Radikalisierung in der Region wird so weitergehen. Had a discussion about the address with someone seriously asking why Obama doesn’t drop thermonuclear weapons on Iraqi cities to combat IS.

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“One small step” into history, 45 years later

Flying 69 miles above the far side of the moon, out of contact with Earth and a world-wide audience holding its collective breath, Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin fired their lunar module’s main engine for 30 seconds to begin the first piloted descent to the moon’s surface.

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Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek to Control the Internet

The secretive British spy agency GCHQ has developed covert tools to seed the internet with false information, including the ability to manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate pageview counts on web sites, “amplif[y]” sanctioned messages on YouTube, and censor video content judged to be “extremist.”

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