Links, 9/7/11

A chain of Mormon boarding schools has been accused of torturing hundreds of the teenagers who attended the schools. That’s horrible on its face. But remember, too, that key architects of the country’s torture program–Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell, Jay Bybee, and Tim Flanigan–are also Mormon.That’s not to damn the entire faith. But c’mon, folks, that’s a lot of embrace of torture.

Most of the 9/11 reviews are just fluff. But Will Bunch has a list of 10 unanswered questions about 9/11 that’s worth your time. (h/t Susie)

First the guy who tried to cut USGS and emergency communication funding gets hit with an earthquake, and now Governor Perry, who cut funding to support volunteer firefighters, has had his state get hit by horrible fires.

This guest post at Tom Ricks’ place notes that the push to cut military retirement benefits is being led by a bunch of officers who have forgotten the class differences between them and the average retiree.

When I first heard about Obama’s capitulation to pollluters on ozone standards, I was reminded that when Bush did something similar, lefties got outraged. This piece, titled “Obama pulls a Bush on clean air,” details that earlier incident, then explains just how shitty Obama’s capitulation here is. Meanwhile, Al Gore weighs in: “Instead of relying on science, President Obama appears to have bowed to pressure from polluters who did not want to bear the cost of implementing new restrictions on their harmful pollution…”

You know those documents conveniently found in Libya showing US and British collaboration with Libya on renditions? One of the guys involved in the rendition of a rebel leader moved from MI6 to BP not long after the rendition.

Peter Daou looks at how GOP ideology has led to a decline in American exceptionalism.

Two authors who have added up the $1T+ dumped into homeland security wonder why we don’t use a cost-benefit analysis before we waste this money.

Pew looks at the factors that make it more likely for someone to be downwardly mobile. The secret to maintaining the same level of affluence as your parents? Marriage and higher education (not surprisingly).

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans does the math to show a 9% unemployment rate is as bad as 5% inflation–and the Fed ought to respond accordingly.

“Every step taken by the US has benefited Al Shabab,” a Somali warlord interviewed by Jeremy Scahill for this important piece told him. “What brought about the [Islamic Courts Union, a group of Islamic organizations that unified to push out the CIA]? It was the US-backed warlords. If Ethiopia did not invade and the US did not carry out airstrikes, Al Shabab would not have survived so long, because they were outnumbered by those who had positive agendas.” The piece concludes, “the Shabab’s meteoric rise in Somalia, and the legacy of terror it has wrought, is blowback sparked by a decade of disastrous US policy that ultimately strengthened the very threat it was officially intended to crush. In the end, the greatest beneficiaries of US policy are the warlords, including those who once counted the Shabab among their allies and friends.”

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

26 replies
  1. rosalind says:

    it’s one of the hottest days of the year in Los Angeles, and a journalist covering the Republican Debate in Simi Valley tweets that their press tent doesn’t have A/C.

    Republican Planning in Action.

  2. nomolos says:

    A chain of Mormon boarding schools has been accused of torturing hundreds of the teenagers who attended the schools.
    They must have learned a thing or two from the catholics…or maybe they are not into buggery

  3. rosalind says:

    @emptywheel: you should read Pilar’s rolling tweets, pretty hilarious. she writes for La Opinion in L.A. but got put in the foreign press section, “predictably”.

  4. Mary says:

    Will NPR report the school scandal as accusations of torture, or accusations relating to techniques that some call torture and other call enhanced education techniques?

  5. portsider says:

    I think the 5% unemployment should be 5% inflation in the statement below.

    Chicago Fed President Charles Evans does the math to show a 9% unemployment rate is as bad as 5% unemployment–and the Fed ought to respond accordingly.

  6. rugger9 says:

    @nomolos:

    Now, I know more than a few first rate Mormons I’d trust with anything. However, we are talking about the church administration [the comparison to the Vatican is especially apt in that respect] that has absolutely no qualms about imposing their views on everyone else. After all, they teamed with the local Vatican reps in CA to finance Prop 8 in violation of the law, no less. So in a patriarchal, prophet-driven organization where dissent is crushed. Of course they abused their charge, just like the Vatican has in the buggery scandal.

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  7. prostratedragon says:

    From Dave Dayen, a fresh idea to help save the Postal Service: adding small depositor banking services (among other possible services) to its list of offerings.

    Precedents exist not only in other countries, but in the history of our own Postal Service, as I for one vaguely recall.

    It would be an opportunity to develop simple programs to encourage saving and better money-managing skills among the poorest by making it cheap and easy even to do the little one can (Do savings bonds still exist? If not, why not?). One and the same program would benefit under-banked areas of both inner cities and rural areas, or maybe with small differences in emphasis like favoring more banking by mail and postal savings stamp sales in the country. There could be a lot to like about this idea, which unfortunately does not make it a shoo-in. But worth some thought.

  8. P J Evans says:

    @prostratedragon:
    Once upon a time you could buy postal savings stamps and use them toward a savings bond. (I had some, from when I was much younger. I think I had something like $5 in stamps toward a $50 bond.)

    They could also try raising bulk rate postage to something closer to actual costs. Maybe it would discourage some users, but since it seems to be the main use for the mail, they ought to pay more.

  9. prostratedragon says:

    @P J Evans: So right about the postage. And frankly, some bulk users should be discouraged, though I guess there are free speech issues to argue against raising the rates prohibitively.

    I can remember something like 4 or 5 cents first class postage (and I’m still too young for socsec), and it always seemed to me that once the stamp passed a quarter, they might as well raise it a nickel at a time, if perhaps less often, and get ahead of their finances. Now I wonder whether this pension requirement, which I’d never known of before, hadn’t been one reason for the slow ratchet of rates in the past.

  10. prostratedragon says:

    For your “[notable] rare exceptions” files, folks:

    Deep-sea fish in deep trouble

    In a comprehensive analysis published online this week in the journal Marine Policy, marine ecologists, fisheries biologists, economists, mathematicians and international policy experts show that, with rare exceptions, deep-sea fisheries are unsustainable.

    Link courtesy MThoma.

  11. klynn says:

    I guess if you are not “chosen” then it is okay to torture.

    Why are these schools even allowed to remain open during this case? They should be closed down as a means of protection of the children.

  12. Mary says:

    @Francine Fein: It’s hard to keep going if you don’t tack a jab at the lunacy now and then. This is epu’d, but if you see it, I hope your today is better than your yesterday.

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