Thursday, October 29, 2009

book notes

The Family: power, politics and fundamentalism's shadow elite By Jeff Sharlet

Despite militarism and heavy religion making the American character a good candidate for fascist takeover, any great leader always has to play second fiddle to Jesus.

Section on unseen cultural impact of elite fundamentalism

Many people who fled LA or New York for Colorado Spings site crime and pollution but the burglary rate in and around CS is actually

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

book notes

Where Men Win Glory

Brzezinski is said to have claimed that the CIA armed the mujahadeem intentionally to precipitate a Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (and to have started doing so 6 months before the invasion)

Najibullahprediction that if the U.S. doesn't stop funding mujahadeem, Afghanistan will become a center for narcotics and terrorism.

Monday, October 19, 2009

book notes

Republican Gomorrah by Max Blumenthal

Lubbock, TX, mandated abstinence-only education and the level of STD's has risen to double the national rate. White evangelical women lose their virginity at 16, younger than any group other than black Protestants. "The exploding rate of sexually related disasters have sustained the Christian right, enabling its activists to exploit personal crises for fundraising and recruitment drives."

Great synthesis of all the weird GOP scandals -- Haggard, Foley, Craig, etc.

Bush was so popular with evangelicals because they could relate to his beating alcoholism by find Jesus

"Some people snort cocaine. Other people snort religion"

book notes

Before the Dawn

Murder by humans and chimpanzees may simply be a function of intelligence. All other animals may not understand that simply injuring an opponent means he can come back another day.

Dogs -- Dogs acting as night sentinels probably tipped the scale in getting humans to become sedentary.

Language -- Dialects were used to tell if someone was a friend or foe, as well as contributing to group solidarity.

Race -- The Comoto tribe is about 2% of Kenya's population but is half its (and the world's) champions in intermediate running. West Africans dominate sprints.

According to DNA analysis, African Americans are, on average, 17 percent Caucasian

.05% of all the men in the world carry the Y chromosome of Ganges Khan.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Op-Ed Columnist - Two Wrongs Make Another Fiasco -

Op-Ed Columnist - Two Wrongs Make Another Fiasco - "Gen. David Petraeus stipulates that real counterinsurgency requires 20 to 25 troops for each thousand residents. That comes out, conservatively, to 640,000 troops for Afghanistan (population, 32 million). Some 535,000 American troops couldn’t achieve a successful counterinsurgency in South Vietnam, which had half Afghanistan’s population and just over a quarter of its land area."

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Why Hollywood fears Nikki Finke : The New Yorker: "“People in this town are much more concerned about being called names than about losing money. You’re never fired for cause—it’s always for some political fuckup. So Nikki saying Jeff Robinov is a sexist has more impact on Jeff than the New York Times doing a big piece on the business decisions Warner Bros. has made.”"

Obama and gays in the military

Op-Ed Contributor - Beijing’s Afghan Gamble -

Op-Ed Contributor - Beijing’s Afghan Gamble - "Everyone keeps saying that America is not an empire, but our military finds itself in the sort of situation that was mighty familiar to empires like that of ancient Rome and 19th-century Britain: struggling in a far-off corner of the world to exact revenge, to put down the fires of rebellion, and to restore civilized order. Meanwhile, other rising and resurgent powers wait patiently in the wings, free-riding on the public good we offer. This is exactly how an empire declines, by allowing others to take advantage of its own exertions."

Monday, October 05, 2009

book notes

Inside the Third Reich by Albert Spears

Hitler regreted that the Arabs were turned bacjk in France in xxx at the Battle of xxxx because, had the Arabs been victorius, the Germans would have been Islamized and, in Hilter's view, would have supplanted the Arabs as the head of the Islamic empire. As a more aggressive, violent religion, Islam would have been better than Christianity for Hitler's concept of the German people.

Hilter accelerated his schedule for world conquest because of worries that his poor health would result in early death.

Bifurcated command in anti-insurgency

Eight questions for Thomas Ricks | Democracy in America | "I think the US military essentially shirked the grandiose mission they were given in Iraq, which was to transform Iraq into a beacon of democracy that would change the whole Middle East—"drain the swamp", as the Bushies used to say. The generals looked at that mission and said, consciously or not, "That's crazy! We don't do revolutionary operations!" What do you do when the mission is insane? I think you should quietly retire, as indeed a couple of generals did—Gregory Newbold and John Batiste. But those were exceptions. Most of the senior commanders involved instead re-defined the mission as "stability operations", because they were comfortable with that. But while they were trying to bring stability to Iraq, Ambassador Paul Bremer was trying to bring revolutionary change, by dissolving the Iraqi army, banning Baathists from public life and trying to establish a free market. So from the very beginning, the American civilian effort in Iraq was undercut by the military’s approach. This sort of friction, resulting from a bifurcated command structure, with no one in charge of the overall effort, still surfaces from time to time."