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Friday, Jul 25th

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Alex Baer: Sticking to the Facts Would Be a Miracle

scientific methodI've been wondering about People again, so that already means I'm in way over my head.

A number of areas keep getting jumbled all together for me, which puts me in pretty good stead with my fellow beings, I guess.

It's likely -- I hope -- that comments and posts on various website pages are not accurate reflections of the intelligence level of my countrymen and countrywomen and countrybeings, and all the counterpartbeings in cities.

There are always a number of uneasy, queasy word-wars in progress on any Comments page. Like opinions, as you've no doubt heard from colloquial references to bodily apertures and orifices, we all have at least one.

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Robert Scheer: Up Close and Personal With George W. Bush’s Horrifying Legacy

George W. BushThe Iraq disaster remains George W. Bush’s enduring folly, and the Republican attempt to shift the blame to the Obama presidency is obscene nonsense. This was, and will always be, viewed properly as Bush’s quagmire, a murderous killing field based on blatant lies.

This showcase of American deceit, obvious to the entire world, began with the invented weapons of mass destruction threat that Bush, were he even semi-cognizant of the intelligence data, must have known represented an egregious fraud. So was his nonsensical claim that Saddam Hussein had something to do with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, when in fact he was Osama bin Laden’s most effective Arab opponent.

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Stop treating war-crazy buffoons as experts! They got it wrong, remember?

NeoconIf you were asked to identify a single moment that best captures the failure of elite media outlets to act as agents of accountability, you could do worse than David Gregory asking Paul Wolfowitz on “Meet the Press” this weekend what we should do, “as a policy matter,” to deal with the deteriorating situation in Iraq.

Wolfowitz, as deputy secretary of defense from 2001 to 2005, was one of the chief visionaries and supporters of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. And he got just about everything wrong, from the cost of the war to the presence of WMD. And he doesn’t particularly care. In an interview with the Sunday Times last March, Wolfowitz made the argument that even though they got it wrong on WMD in 2003, everything they said was happening (but wasn’t) would likely have happened later. “We would very likely either have had to go through this whole scenario all over but probably with higher costs for having delayed, or we’d be in a situation today where not only Iran was edging towards nuclear weapons but so was Iraq and also Libya.”

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Alex Baer: Another Day on Planet X

planet xHere I am again:  I woke up again this morning.  And, once again, I ran through all my available choices.  Once more, I found no basic improvement in the human condition -- nothing astonishing had happened while I slept, no new options had evolved or hatched or arrived in flying saucers, or tunneled up from the deeps.  No thoroughly new way of existing had been birthed, fizzing and crackling into existence from a wormhole's termination point on the surface of the planet nearest my thoroughly beat-up and timeworn footwear.

No, here I was able to again discover life at its simplest:  There was the staying-in-the-rack option, or there was the up-and-at-'em angle.  While there were no new lifeform alternatives presented overnight -- none that I could detect, at any rate -- at least both of the standard choices were still available.  I wake up slow and groggy these days, but I glommed onto that much, sure enough.

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Alex Baer: We Could End Up Miles from Here

highway to nowhereThe days unfold strangely for anyone puttering around gamely, if lamely, in life.  As an amateur human being a long way from pro status, it's possible to stroll among the headlines and footnotes, around the millstones and milestones, taking informal readings on this and that.

Even on a good day, with a stiff, sane breeze blowing across the news websites of the land, it's impossible to gauge the gradations of cultural degradation, to get accurate readings of any kind.  It's a gut-feeling sort of enterprise. There are no calibrated anything-ometers to slap into play.  There are no national and regional numbers pouring in to Tracking Central.  There are no land mine or shock wave or blast zone maps.

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Alex Baer: Texas Tea, Coin Flips, and What's Missing

fracking fireHere is a story about the present and the future.  It is a story about energy.  Now, it is a story about fracking.  And, not to repeat myself, it is a tale about unbridled madness.  Later, the story could be about something else.

For now, there are plenty of deep and scarring errors in this saga, but no redemption -- maybe in time, but not right now.  Right now, there is only an equally deep, dank, and abiding feeling the world is no longer under any obligation to make sense, that some elemental bargain has been voided, that some vital bank of dead man's switches has been locked out and they no longer work.

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Dear GOP: The US has negotiated with Terrorists and Amnestied Them all through History

Juan Cole editorialThe GOP talking points in response to the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in a trade for five former officials of the 1990s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban) focused on a few basic premises. !. You don’t negotiate with terrorists; 2. such a swap would encourage terrorists to capture Americans; 3. these officials are the worst the worst.

Tagging movements as “terrorist” and then refusing to deal with them is frankly stupid. The Taliban in Afghanistan are not a small terrorist group like, say, the Italian Red Brigades of the 1970s and 1980s. They are guerrillas belonging to a movement that at one point had captured the state and run it. The Taliban are now a guerrilla group, holding territory.

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