A response to Ron Suarez’ A New Ann Arbor City Council Resolution to End the War in Iraq?
Note: the antiwar resolution mentioned on Ron’s site was passed by the Ann Arbor City Council in March, 2007.
I received this request from Michigan Peaceworks to support a new Ann Arbor City Council resolution that would hopefully push Congress to bring an end to the war in Iraq…
Here is their [Michigan Peaceworks] Proposed wording for a City Council Resolution:
We urge Congress to move in a bi-partisan way to address war policies in the Middle East. The United States now spends more on military defense than all other nations combined, but the world is less safe than when we embarked on our present policies. It is time for Congress to provide leadership by:
* re-establishing its on-going, joint authority with the President over war powers and war expenditures
* using Congressional appropriations authority to protect our troops by establishing conditions for their mobilization and deployment, conditions and time-lines for their return home, and needed assistance to veterans of our recent wars
* providing international humanitarian leadership
* developing a humanitarian budget to meet non-military needs of the worlds’ people, including our own
* using Congressional oversight to help strengthen international cooperation in peace-building
…But, I could use help identifying other government officials who could use a nudge in the correct direction.
John Dingell. He often wears red.
His recent antiwar resolution, HR 3938 sounds good at first in that it reportedly withdraws the use of force authorization. The full text was not yet on Thomas when I wrote this. But the 2009 timeframe is too long. And this is a political cover for Dingell in that it distracts from what matters, which is his votes for the appropriations for the wars. Dingell’s resolution won’t pass both houses, and if it did it would be vetoed. He knows that.
If a majority of the House would refuse any more defense authorizations the war would end. Soon. Maybe some mainline Democrats want the war to continue. It is good for the business of the people who give them money. One hopes Dingell would not be in this category.
We need to focus in the short term on amending or defeating war appropriations. Resolutions like the proposed council resolution and HR 3938 give political cover to mainline Democrats who feel pressure from an increasingly frustrated public. But they don’t end the war. They give it political cover to continue.
What does Peaceworks mean that Congress should “move in a bi-partisan way?” Isn’t that kind of like a three-legged sack race? Seriously are the Democrats supposed to wait to defund the war until the Republicans turn into a pro-peace, anti-war party? This is a poor idea at best.
The Peaceworks resolution’s reference to “joint authority” between the president and Congress over “war spending and war powers” is inaccurate. The Constitution reserves these powers to Congress alone.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; ….
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; …
The president is an executive of the People, who acting through their Legislature, make the laws and raise taxes. We rely on the President to obey and fairly enforce the laws, not to ignore, make, or break them. The president is not a sovereign. Bush is not “King (or warlord) of America”.
HR 2638: Making appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes, in committee.
HR 2642: Making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes, in committee.
And we need to oppose any more continuing resolutions like Democratic sponsored H.J.RES.52: Making continuing appropriations for the fiscal year 2008, and for other purposes, which Bush signed September 29, 2007.
Bush and the House and Senate Democrats like Dingell and Stabenow are pretending to disagree over the war to appeal to their base constituencies, while they are collaborating in continuing to fund it. I don’t have the same issue with Carl Levin, he and John Rockefeller have been fighting very hard behind closed doors on the war, concentration camps, and surveillance issues for a long time now.
What’s the cost to the citizen? Tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead; Thousands of American casualties; Military suicides and fragging incidents on the rise; America’s democracy and reputation in ruins; and $8,000 per person in the US through the next ten years. Or, if you want to look at it another way, $80,000 per person in Iraq. We could have bought all of Iraq intact for less than what it is costing to destroy it.
Feel-good resolutions without the force of law are a distraction and an impediment to holding our legislators accountable for real effective actions to end this garrison state of permanent war and neoconservative-neofascist oppression.
Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy
The following is written in response to: Comcast: We’re Delaying, Not Blocking, BitTorrent Traffic on the Bits blog at nytimes.com.
The allegation made against Comcast by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and reported by the Associated Press is that Comcast have allegedly been inserting forged reset (RST) packets into the datastream. This is not analogous to delaying a call. It is more analogous to the company disconnecting a call in mid-sentence because they have been listening in and classifying the type of conversation and don’t like what is being discussed or think it is likely a waste of time.
This is unethical if it is being done and also goes against the Internet technical documents, the RFC’s. Further there are several potential legal issues including potential violations of the:
* State statutes such as Michigan statue Fraudulent Access to Computers, Computer Systems, and Computer Networks, MCL 795.791.
Whatever Comcast routing and Quality of Service provisions are in effect should be fully spelled out and transparent to regulators, internet technical experts and the general public so that citizens can make an informed choice about whether they want their internet unsurveilled, uncensored and uninterrupted… or whether they want Internet which is “Comcastic”.
Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy
Prof. Stanley Fish has been discussing on his nytimes blog whether or how freely political opinions should be expressed by a teacher in the college or university classroom.
Fish’s first post was a long response to Evan Coyne Maloney’s Indoctrinate U.
The basic thrust of Fish’s post seems to be that,
Academics often bridle at the picture of their activities presented by Maloney and other conservative critics, and accuse them of grossly caricaturing and exaggerating what goes on in the classroom. Maybe so, but so long as there are those who confuse advocacy with teaching, and so long as faculty colleagues and university administrators look the other way, the academy invites the criticism it receives in this documentary. In 1915, the American Association of University Professors warned that if we didn’t clean up our own shop, external constituencies, with motives more political than educational, would step in and do it for us. Now they’re doing it in the movies and it’s our own fault.
My response follows:
I would not entirely agree with the thesis that politics has no place in the Academy.
As teachers, can we not state that, for instance, “Torture is antithetical to every basic principle of the American democratic system”? Or contrariwise, “Corporal punishment has been a feature of the American system of justice since its inception, and even killing a prisoner who has been condemned to death after due process is held to be judicially and legally acceptable under federal and most state jurisdictions today”?
Can we not say, “The evidence for global warming is regarded as conclusive by an overwhelming international consensus of scientists” as well as, “Solar incident radiation is the principle contributing factor to global warming in accordance with Boltzmann’s Law and the primary factor mediating this is the albedo of the earth, and any radiative forcing from CO2 in the atmosphere is negligible by comparison”?
Is it not precisely so that such opinions can be voiced without fear of retribution that we have tenured positions in the academic structure? If one prevailing political, scientific, or social view is defined culturally as “objective” and no other views are permitted to be advanced or advocated by a teacher in a classroom setting, then where is the great “marketplace of ideas” of which the classroom is a preeminent exemplar? As the Supreme Court held in Keyishian v. Board of Regents, (385 U.S. 589, 605-606 , supreme.justia.com/us/385/589/case.html ):
‘Our Nation is deeply committed to safeguarding academic freedom, which is of transcendent value to all of us and not merely to the teachers concerned. That freedom is therefore a special concern of the First Amendment, which does not tolerate laws that cast a pall of orthodoxy over the classroom. “The vigilant protection of constitutional freedoms is nowhere more vital than in the community of American schools.” Shelton v. Tucker, supra, at 487. The classroom is peculiarly the “marketplace of ideas.” The Nation’s future depends upon leaders trained through wide exposure to that robust exchange of ideas which discovers truth “out of a multitude of tongues, [rather] than through any kind of authoritative selection.”‘
Thank you for your interesting post and enjoyable and weighty blog, Prof. Fish.
See also: The Universities Under Attack …
I would further note that after 1915 the political “cleaning up” of leftist radicals such as Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman took the unpleasant form of the Palmer Raids in 1919, indeed an interesting and fraught comparison to draw with our present political situation.
Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy
Gore ‘Inconvenient Truth’ Film Contains Nine Factual Errors, UK court decision finds
Newly-minted Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth contains nine significant errors of fact which absent guidance and an opposing point of view, would be sufficient to ban the film from being shown in UK schools.
The case was brought by school governor Stewart Dimmock.
The BBC has more:
Mr Justice Burton told London’s High Court that distributing the film without the guidance to counter its “one-sided” views would breach education laws.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families was not under a duty to forbid the film, provided it was accompanied by the guidance, he said.
“I conclude that the claimant substantially won this case by virtue of my finding that, but for the new guidance note, the film would have been distributed in breach of sections 406 and 407 of the 1996 Education Act”, he said.
The nine errors alleged by the judge included:
- Mr Gore’s assertion that a sea-level rise of up to 20 feet would be caused by melting of ice in either West Antarctica or Greenland “in the near future”. The judge said this was “distinctly alarmist” and it was common ground that if Greenland’s ice melted it would release this amount of water – “but only after, and over, millennia”.
- Mr Gore’s assertion that the disappearance of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro in East Africa was expressly attributable to global warming – the court heard the scientific consensus was that it cannot be established the snow recession is mainly attributable to human-induced climate change.
- Mr Gore’s reference to a new scientific study showing that, for the first time, polar bears had actually drowned “swimming long distances – up to 60 miles – to find the ice”. The judge said: “The only scientific study that either side before me can find is one which indicates that four polar bears have recently been found drowned because of a storm.”
If anyone in blogurbia has a link to the complete decision, please post it in comments below.
Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy
Crossposting with one clarification per the comments below, my posting to the nytimes chess blog, Gambit:
Regarding this blog item and the article, Chess Group Officials Accused of Using Internet to Hurt Rivals, in Oct 8 2007’s New York Times:
Usenet is not sponsored by Google! This is an inaccurate statement which should not have appeared in the Times. Usenet started in 1979! Google was founded around 1996 as a project by a 23 and 24 year old graduate student. The founders of Google were only about 7 years old when Usenet started. Very precocious of them to have sponsored Usenet! :)
The quote attributed to “David Ulevitch, founder and chief executive of OpenDNS” is misleading as it refers to internet NAMES, which are resolved to numbers through Domain Name Service (DNS). Not the same thing at all as internet NUMBERS which are at issue here. Those are controlled locally through policies on routers and globally through BGP broadcasts.
Contrary to what is stated above, it is NOT trivial to forge numeric ip addresses… one would have to have control of an intermediate router between sender and receiver and pretty specific technical knowledge to accomplish this sort of man-in-the-middle attack. There are probably much easier and more convincing-to-the-layman methods of framing someone. Easier, for instance, would be to fake the logs, but again, to what purpose?
If the log excerpts are genuine, there is an ethical question as to whether the “volunteer system administrator” acted rightly in posting selected information from the logs back onto Usenet. He is doing the right thing now in trying to get permission from the Federation to release them. I would have probably advocated going to the Board, or their legal counsel with this. But I don’t know the entire history.
I don’t know the individuals involved in this dispute as far as I know and have no more than a passing interest in the affair. I just wanted to give some perspective on the technical arguments being raised.
HENRY EDWARD HARDY
Ann Arbor, MI
Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy