The only maxim of a free ‘government’ ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty

What did Bush propose in his press conference that will change things on the ground in Iraq? He has not proposed any real change that will stop the sectarian violence. That being the case there are be no real progress in economic reconstruction because there is simply too much violence to do so. This is partly Rumsfeld’s fault, but as Bush himself has said, ultimately the responsibility rest with him. We all know by now that Bush’s grasp responsibility is passive at best. So don’t expect much in the way of atonement. Bush continues to spin while he claims he is being blunt and honest. From the WH website,

A military solution alone will not stop violence. In the end, the Iraqi people and their government will have to make the difficult decisions necessary to solve these problems. So, in addition to refining our military tactics to defeat the enemy, we’re also working to help the Iraqi government achieve a political solution that brings together Shia and Sunnis and Kurds and other ethnic and religious groups.

Yesterday, our Ambassador to Iraq, Zal Khalilzad laid out a three-step approach. First, we’re working with political and religious leaders across Iraq, urging them to take steps to restrain their followers and stop sectarian violence.

Second, we’re helping Iraqi leaders to complete work on a national compact to resolve the most difficult issues dividing their country.

We’ve had three years of conservative solutions, political and military. If time was the most crucial element at stake they have proved that they know how to take their time, but not what to do with it.

Iraqi Premier Denies U.S. Assertion He Agreed to Timelines

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki lashed out at the United States on Wednesday, saying his popularly elected government would not bend to U.S.-imposed benchmarks and timelines and criticizing a U.S.-Iraqi military operation in a Shiite slum in Baghdad that left at least five people dead and 20 wounded.

Maliki’s comments came a day after U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said the prime minister had agreed to timelines for accomplishing several critical goals, including developing plans to deal with militias, amend the constitution and equitably distribute Iraq’s oil revenue.

“I affirm that this government represents the will of the people, and no one has the right to impose a timetable on it,” Maliki said at a nationally televised news conference Wednesday. “The Americans have the right to review their policies, but we do not believe in a timetable.”

With less than two weeks to go before critical midterm elections in the United States, Maliki accused U.S. officials of election-year grandstanding, saying that deadlines were not logical and were “the result of elections taking place right now that do not involve us.”

In a conference call with reporters, two senior Democratic members of the Senate Armed Services Committee focused on Maliki’s statements on the Bush administration benchmarks.

Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), ranking member of the panel, said, “I think the page we are on differs and is rewritten day to day to try to get past the elections here.”

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), a West Point graduate who just returned from Iraq, said Maliki’s comment “deliberately repudiates what the president’s saying.” He called it “disheartening” but said it “might be a function of politics of Iraq as much as a function of politics of the United States. But it does not appear they’re even at the level of how to talk about the problem.”

If we’re staying the course, it is a course that has zigged and zagged the last few weeks. That wouldn’t have anything to do with the elections now would it? It as though they are trying out messages and whatever one gets Republicans a bump in the polls is the one they’ll stick with. U.S. generals call for Democratic takeover

Far from being a trend since there are hundreds of political negative Republican ads running across the country, but at least in Missouri and Tennessee they seem to be backfiring, Two blow-ups over TV ads in a couple of key races could cause a problematic backlash against Republicans.

The New York Times’ TV critic writes about the ads, which show him swaying back and forth uncontrollably: “Mr. Fox’s display of the toll Parkinson’s disease has taken on him turned into one of the most powerful and talked about political advertisements in years… The issue of embryonic stem cell research is divisive, but Mr. Fox is not.”

Even stem cell research itself is not controversial. Some conservatives BELIEVE that it is and have shouted so at every opportunity. Like many other issues facing America conservatives are engaging in this argument in a way that hurts America. It hurts us as a nation because the level of discourse cannot be rational when one side engages in 19 angels fit on the head of a pin type arguments. While this argument takes place there are far more important issues like health-care left to wilt from neglect. That is probably the role that the Limbaugh’s and Patricia Heatons play they are useful idiots that keep that national debate from getting anywhere.

Broken Mirrors: A Theory of Autism

Perhaps the most ingenious of the psychological theories is that of Uta Frith of University College London and Simon Baron-Cohen of the University of Cambridge, who posit that the main abnormality in autism is a deficit in the ability to construct a “theory of other minds.” Frith and Baron-Cohen argue that specialized neural circuitry in the brain allows us to create sophisticated hypotheses about the inner workings of other people’s minds. These hypotheses, in turn, enable us to make useful predictions about others’ behavior. Frith and Baron-Cohen are obviously on the right track, but their theory does not provide a complete explanation for the constellation of seemingly unrelated symptoms of autism. Indeed, saying that people with autism cannot interact socially because they lack a “theory of other minds” does not go very far beyond restating the symptoms. What researchers need to identify are the brain mechanisms whose known functions match those that are disrupted in autism.

“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing. Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the People, who have… a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean the characters and conduct of their rulers. There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free ‘government’ ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty. Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among people.” President John Adams