Posts tagged New York Times

A feature, not a bug

So border-psychotic Jan Brewer, proponent of ethnic cleansing and arbitrary Governor over the state of Arizona, is unhappy with the U.S. federal government. The Feds recently got part of her racist Papers-Please police-state bill struck down in court; so she has decided to sue them back:

Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona said Thursday that she will raise private funds to countersue the federal government for failing to enforce immigration laws…. At a news conference, Ms. Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne said the Obama administration had failed to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing the border in huge numbers and stuck the state with the cost of dealing with its failed policies…. In their legal challenge, the state intends to argue that it is being “invaded” by illegal immigrants from Mexico.

— Arizona: State Countersues Over Immigration Law, New York Times Briefs (11 February 2011)

This is of course a desperate stab at protecting a vicious and idiotic policy — in which a tiny minority of power-mongering Arizonans are trying to use a suit in federal court to get the U.S.’s paramilitary Border Patrol and Immigration Enforcement squads to pour into their state, in order to assault, imprison, and exile the large number of perfectly peaceful travelers and longtime residents of Arizona, who happen to be there without papers from the federal government; but in a typical statist inversion, it is the peaceful travelers and the longtime residents, not the militarized, due-process-free federal occupation forces that are described as invaders. Ho, ho.

However, while I can’t say I have any sympathy for Jan Brewer or her fellow power-mongers, I can say that I’m actually glad to hear about this lawsuit. Why? Because, as A Spokesman For The Department of Homeland Security puts it:

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, Matt Chander said in a statement in response, A meritless claim such as this does nothing to secure the border.

— Arizona: State Countersues Over Immigration Law, New York Times Briefs (11 February 2011)

Precisely; that’s why, despicable as I think Brewer’s cause is, I’m happy to see the claim being pressed. Every day and every dollar that the state government spends fighting a futile court battle with the federal government is another day and another dollar that won’t go towards securing government control over borders, or to designing and passing more idiotic power-trip police-state laws like SB 1070. The more bickering they do and the less security they’re able to inflict, the better it’ll be for all peaceful people making an honest living.

I hope this stupid lawsuit lasts forever.

Change You Can Believe In (Cont’d)

From Mark Landler and Steven Erlanger (2011-02-05), Obama Backs Suleiman-Led Transition, at truthout:

Munich — The Obama administration on Saturday formally threw its weight behind a gradual transition in Egypt, backing attempts by the country’s vice president, Gen. Omar Sulei­man, to broker a compromise with opposition groups and prepare for new elections in September.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking to a conference here, said it was important to support Mr. Sulei­man as he seeks to defuse street protests and promises to reach out to opposition groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood. Administration officials said earlier that Mr. Sulei­man and other military-backed leaders in Egypt are also considering ways to provide President Hosni Mubarak with a graceful exit from power.

That takes some time, Mrs. Clinton said. There are certain things that have to be done in order to prepare.

— Mark Landler and Steven Erlanger (2011-02-05), Obama Backs Suleiman-Led Transition, at truthout

Indeed! For example:

Nor has Mr. Suleiman, a former general, former intelligence chief and Mr. Mubarak’s longtime confidant, yet reached out to the leaders designated by the protesters to negotiate with the government, opposition groups said.

Instead of loosening its grip, the existing government appeared to be consolidating its power: The prime minister said police forces were returning to the streets, and an army general urged protesters to scale back their occupation of Tahrir Square.

. . .

In Tahrir Square, meanwhile, the military tightened its cordon around the protesters by reinforcing security checks at all the entrances.

— Kareem Fahim, Mark Landler and Anthony Shadid (2011-02-05), West [sic] Backs Gradual Egyptian Transition, New York Times

At home and abroad, the more things Change….

Elsewhere in the Times story, there’s this:

Protesters interpreted the simultaneous moves by the Western leaders and Mr. Suleiman as a rebuff to their demands for an end to the dictatorship led for almost three decades by Mr. Mubarak, a pivotal American ally[1] and pillar of the existing order in the Middle East.

Just days after President Obama demanded publicly that change in Egypt must begin right away, many in the streets accused the Obama administration of sacrificing concrete steps toward genuine change in favor of a familiar stability.

America doesn’t understand, said Ibrahim Mustafa, 42, who was waiting to enter Tahrir Square. The people know it is supporting an illegitimate regime.

— Kareem Fahim, Mark Landler and Anthony Shadid (2011-02-05), West [sic] Backs Gradual Egyptian Transition, New York Times

Of course Mr. Mustafa is right that that is what America — meaning the United States government — is doing. But I’m afraid I can’t agree with him if he blames it on the cluelessness or naïveté of Mr. Obama and his government. It’s not that they don’t understand what the people in Tahrir Square want and expect; it’s that they don’t care. The primary allies of governments are always other governments — because the first and most important commitment of any government is to government, just as such, and maintained at any cost.

See also:

  1. [1] Sic. Is Hosni Mubarak one of your pivotal allies?

Friday Lazy Linking

Contra-Sequitur Watch: the New York Times Op-Ed page wins again

In logic, a non sequitur is the fallacy of asserting a conclusion which simply does not follow from the given premises. The world being what it is, I noted a while back that that isn’t a strong enough criticism for some popular arguments; we need a new category, the contrarium sequitur (or contra-sequitur for short), which is the fallacy of asserting a conclusion which is exactly the opposite of the conclusion that you should draw from the given premises.

The New York Times Op-Ed page has always a particularly fertile field for picking ripe contra-sequiturs. That’s no doubt partly a function of the sort of people they employ. But I don’t think it’s just those particular guys; it’s really a feature of the house style, and perhaps an inevitable product of the intellectual environment when Very Serious People set themselves to issuing important opinions about matters of public concern.

Any political hack can churn out something that tries to shoehorn unruly facts into a predetermined party line, but it takes a special kind of environment to go beyond mere hackery day after day, to maintain such consistency in coming up with conclusions so exquisitely opposed to what the facts obviously suggest. For example, consider the recent online battle over Wikileaks, and the ongoing government efforts — led by the Obama administration and by Senators like Joe Lieberman — to pressure corporations like Amazon, Dyn Inc. (EveryDNS), et al. into cutting off the Internet services that Wikileaks needs to keep its website running, and to pressure payment processors like PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, and Bank of America to cut off their access to funding, in the interests of national security and the alleged public interest. Many people see this and offer opinions which are better or worse informed, better thought out or worse thought out.

But only the New York Times Op-Ed page could take this government-driven campaign of intimidation to shut down Wikileaks and take it as proof of a crying need for more extensive government regulatory controls, which would allow the United States federal government to take a more active role in directing the business decisions of banks and payment processors. So that they can protect irksome bloggers, risky organizations, and unpopular opinions from being shut down by risk-averse banks, you see. This decision should not be left solely up to business-as-usual among the banks — so, instead, they’ll leave it up to someone you can always count on to stand up for open debate and a free press for organizations like Wikileaks — the United States federal government.

All in the public interest, of course.

Wednesday Lazy Linking