Miscellaneous musings from the perspective of a lefty (both senses) atheist with a warped sense of humor.

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Location: Madison, WI, United States

I am a geek, but I do have some redeeming social skills. I love other people's dogs, cats, and kids. Snow sucks, but I'm willing to put up with it just to live in Madison.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Molly's Most Important Message

I was a great fan of Molly Ivins, the political essayist from Texas whose favorite sport was puncturing self-important balloons with her lacerating, acerbic humor. She was well informed, insightful, articulate, really funny, and relentlessly, devotedly humanitarian.

She wrote 11 books and countless newspaper columns. Her total output easily ran into the millions of words, ranging from the outrageously witty to the trenchant to the heart-breaking. None were more important than those that appeared in her 1999 column in which she announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She figuratively stared her readers straight in the eye and wrote

Get. The. Damn. Mammogram. NOW!

Molly Ivins (1944-2007), RIP

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Afghanistan: The Mossad Model

Dear Ed Schultz:

Anyone who can casually toss off the name Zeke Bratkowski is (like me) old enuf to remember Adolf Eichmann.

He was the "transportation coordinator" for the Nazi extermination camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor, Chelmno, and Majdanek. He commenced his work in mid-1942 and was largely done with it by early 1945. During that 1000-day period, it is estimated that he authorized and facilitated the deaths of 2,700,000 people, mainly Jews. To put that in perspective, Eichmann was responsible for the deaths of 2,700 people PER DAY for A THOUSAND DAYS. Compare that to 3,000 people dead on one day ONLY (9/11) due to Osama bin Laden.

After WW2, Eichmann fled Germany under an alias and settled in Argentina. Israel was founded in 1948 and created an intelligence service known as the Mossad. Using standard spy techniques, their undercover operatives tracked Eichmann down, kidnapped him, and smuggled him out of the country in 1960 — 15 years after the war was over. They put him on trial in Israel, produced witnesses against him, gave him counsel and a chance to defend himself, found him guilty, and hanged him in 1962.

Despite Eichmann arguably being 1000 times worse than bin Laden, Israel used narrowly targeted espionage tactics and the judicial system. It did not feel compelled to use a military "solution" to bring him to justice by bombing Argentina, spending a trillion dollars, making a million people homeless, sacrificing thousands of its own citizens and tens of thousands of innocent bystanders — and, not so incidentally, creating a whole new generation of outraged, vindictive Eichmann wannabes.

No, that level of obscenely violent over-reaction is something we'd only expect of, say, Osama bin Laden or Adolf Eichmann.

Some role models, huh, Ed?

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Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

-- George Santayana (1863–1953), American philosopher