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Wednesday
Oct282009

On bipartisanship: Cross the tracks, not the aisle!

Sunday
Oct252009

HEARTS AND MINDS

Modern counter-insurgency theory is proud of not just killing them but of wanting their consent first. Anything from distributing chewing gum to buiding roads to cash payments, is intended to make them grateful enough to come over to "our" side. [The use of the first person plural is wrong, I do not identify with their war in any way].

 This doctrine is unacceptible. By raising the winning of "hearts and minds" as a problem, it acknowledges that the hearts and minds are at present against the occupation. But if that is so, "we" have no business being there at all.

It is also incredibly condescending. Suppose that Iranian troops occupied our country and set out to win "hearts and minds". They would distribute pistacchios, offer free health care, strengthen our bridges, open the universities for free enrollment, shoot a few people, organize Little League Soccer, and offer us many delights they do not have at home, shoot a few more people. Even organize honest elections.

Would we buy it? Would we perhaps accept their largess and then meet at night to organize resistance and put their bribes into a common pool for guerrilla warfare? The Vietnamese called it "living integrated with the enemy." Villagers at the outskirts of Saigon slipped into the city to deman their rights, medicines,whatever goodies were distributed that week, and then go home.

Of course the myth has to be mainained that the people want us there and only fight back because they are terrorized into doing so. In Taliban country it may even be partly true.

I hear the objection, "But doesn't the other side do the same thing? Didn't Raoul Castro organize land reform while still in the mountains? Didn't the Vietnamese organize schools and clinics during the war?"

The difference is that they were carrying out their social and development program even before victory. Their "hearts and minds" program was not PR but a preview.

So do not think that the new counterinsurgency is more humane, more decent conquest. In this context the Peace Corps equivalents are simply unarmed Green Berets.

 

 

 

Saturday
Oct242009

When the money mines turn mouldy And the funding futures bleak,

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Saturday
Oct242009

Todiben

An  Isador Nabi advanced pre-publication, pre-review, pre-approval and post marketing advisory on

 

                       The Multicenter Orthogenetic Replicate Trials (MORT) of Todiben™ in the treatment of Diffuse Amorphous Malaise (DAM)

Fritz Tenureman, Jason Reising, Allan Orda, Helen Wiels, Bill Pendin and Arthur Blatant

 

          Diffuse Amorphous Malaise (DAM) is the fastest-growing complaint among Americans above the age of six.  It is defined in the national catalog of vague disorders as an undescribable malaise in three or more body parts for more than three consecutive days in any one month, with “malaise” being any score above six on the Blaine-Fischman scale, or 15 on the Fischman-Dober scale or anything at all on the Dober-Krane scale.

          MORT studied 8112 pairs of pink identical twin nurses, or 16,225 subjects.(The odd number is due to rounding error). The participants were assigned at random to be treated with 20 mg of Todiben™ three times a day or a placebo of biochemically inert material (in this case, ground glass).  In order to avoid carryover effects from prior experience, data from the first month of the trial was discarded by means of the Polisanto Data Discarder. During this period 120 subjects in the placebo group and 96 in the treatment group dropped out of the study for a variety of reasons, the most frequently cited being death and panic.  In all such cases the remaining twin was humanely excluded from the study.  Subjects received as nominal compensation a free dinner at the Hunan-in-Boston Restaurant and Take-out.

          The study was conducted at 13 clinical centers of the Business University Research Partnership (BURP) spread out over the continental United States and some undisclosed locations in former socialist countries.  Here we report on the aggregate results of centers 3 and 8 during month 2.  In order to preserve confidentiality and proprietary information, names and numbers have been altered. The data from the other centers were destroyed by the means described above.

          Results

Two subjects in the placebo group (2.1%) and one subject in the treatment group(0.9%) reported or were diagnosed with DAM. Thus Todiben™ reduced the risk of DAM by 43%. The absence of statistical significance is most likely due to the small sample size of this subset and the overly cautious dosing.

          Conclusions

          it is recommended that Todiben™ be used for the treatment and prevention of DAM at 60 mg per day with smaller doses for children, babies, cardiac patients more than 70 years old, and pets.

 

Saturday
Oct242009

A Left Critic of Organic Agriculture

The series of four articles by Steve Clark (The Militant, August 13, 20,27 and September 10, 2002) discusses a number of questions about capitalism, imperialism and agriculture on which we can all agree easily. But the focus of his polemic is against organic agriculture and his rejection of the suggestion that its adoption in Cuba may be something more than an emergency measure. It was in part motivated by a letter from Karl Butts who was worried that the ending of a previous article in the Militant seems to be giving "a certain political weight to the concept of organic production being preferable to that where chemicals are used "and that readers "may also come away thinking Cuba generally chooses not to use chemicals in agricultural production." I think he got it all wrong practically, in terms of the actual technical advantages of ecological agriculture, and theoretically.

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