Reason Morning Links: From Cambodia to Las Vegas


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    1. the beer should be treated with care when drinking.

      Can’t be too careful about rabies!

    2. Wasn’t that in morning links recently?

      1. I tried to link “The Golden Girls: How One TV Show Turned A Generation Of American Boys Into Homosexuals” again in reply to John/Suki, and it got marked spam. As punishment for your faulty spam filter:

        David Weigel

        1. Who are you voting for in November? I’ve got the luxury of a guilt-free, zero-impact vote in the District of Columbia, which I would cast for Bob Barr if he was on the ballot. Since he’s not, I’m voting for Barack Obama, the only remaining candidate whom I trust not to run the country (further) into the ground with stupid and erratic decisions,…

        1. Let those who haven’t cast a vote for a winning presidential candidate in the last 120 years cast the first stone…

          1. I qualify for that one.

    1. They are not car companies anymore. They are just laundering mechanisms to transfer wealth from the tax payer to Democratic constituencies. First the UAW got their cut, now the trial lawyers and race hustlers are going to get theirs.

      1. You need to RTFA.

        1. Fair enough. They totally fucked white dealers. Even I didn’t think Obama was that stupid. I guess the Democrats figure they don’t need to votes of white people anymore.

          1. They fucked dealers who owned viable businesses. The irony of an arm of government using race and gender to determine which ones would be forced to close, is just another example of Democrat Party bullshit.

  1. “When states start legalizing marijuana we are put in a bit of a unique position because as a federal agency, we are beholden to federal law,” said Dr. Robert Jesse, the principal deputy under secretary for health in the veterans department.

    Damn straight.

    1. So… states can try to legalize pot and gay marriage, but Missouri can’t pass a proposition banning Obamacare.

      Typical liberal two-facedness.

      1. States can repeal their own drug laws and change their own marriage laws, but can’t nullify a federal law.

        I don’t see what’s two-faced about that.

  2. WikiLeaks releases thousands of secret files on the Afghan war.

    Everywhere throughout the documents the phrase “Soviet Union” is crossed out and replaced with “United States”.

    1. It’s different this time. We have freedom, Bush, and now Obama on our side. The Soviet Union had none of those.

  3. My main question about the leaked documents is why were most of them classified to begin with? From what I’ve read and heard, most of the documents are battle reports that tell of higher civilian casualties than the official story and revelations that the ISI is funding the Taliban and other terrorist groups to attack India, which anyone who studies that area of the world already knows. There’s nothing in there about battle plans or troop movements or base defenses or something that is going to get US soldiers killed. I don’t see what the big deal is about releasing these documents or why they needed to be classified in the first place. There’s really nothing in them that wasn’t widely suspected anyway.

    1. Because the documents seem to indicate that releasing that information was too politically sensitive for the countries that have troops in Afghanistan.

    2. Yeah we all know that the Pakistanis fund the Taliban and terrorism against India. But that is different than the US government saying so. We ought not to call out the Pakistanis publicly unless we plan to do something about it, which is why you don’t release the intelligence documents telling you as much.

    3. Because an intelligence specialist can extract a lot of information from finding patterns in a group of documents that individually are innocuous. HQ documents are highly sought after by intelligence units in war. Even seemingly innocent items like pay list can be a treasure trove of intelligence when put in context with other documents. In WWII, Allied intelligence could extrapolate the German’s entire order of battle just from the ordinary paperwork generated by running a military unit.

      Even finding odd combinations of public documents can reveal critical information. A collection of public information about a specific subject could reveal something important about the interest of the collector. There might be thousands of innocent public images of a celebrity if you find a bunch of those images clipped out and tacked to the wall of someone’s bedroom, you know you’re looking at a stalker’s shrine. Likewise, if you found an Al-Queda laptop with a bunch of bookmarks of public webpages about a specific sports stadium, you could reasonably conclude it was possible target.

      People watch spy movies and think intelligence is all about finding that one critical super secret document. It’s not. It has more in common with forensic accounting. They piece together huge amounts of trivial information from many sources to create a coherent picture.

      1. Very true. But you have to understand that in some people’s world we don’t have any enemies beyond the Jews who run the media.

        1. Like Oliver Stone?

          1. Oliver Stone is Jewish? Oy gevalt…….

            His poor mother told him to be a doctor, but no, he had to become a meshugeneh director…..

      2. The problem with this line of argument is that, drawn to its logical conclusion, ALL data about the war has to be classified.

        We’ve already gotten pretty damn close to that point, anyway.

        Government rests on the consent of the governed. That requires that the actions taken by the government be known in as close to their entirety as possible, in order for the governed to render their verdict.

        At the current level of secrecy practiced by our national security state, the US no longer possesses a legitimate government.

        1. We do to possess a legitimate government. Just because I don’t like the people in charge doesn’t mean they are not legitimate. They were elected fair and square and the classification is done through a rule of law.

          That said we classify too much. But there still are things that we should classify. The stuff about Pakistan is a good example. Okay, lets declassify it all. All the warts of the Pakistani government. Now, what are we going to do about it when they go ape shit over us accusing them of funding terror? Maybe we don’t want to make that accusation in public even if it is true?

          1. “They were elected fair and square”


          2. Just because I don’t like the people in charge doesn’t mean they are not legitimate.

            John is absolutely right here.

            But I don’t think it’s a matter of personalities, but a simple matter of being able to judge performance.

            How are we supposed to judge the performance of our government officials if the basic facts and metrics of entire areas of governance are deliberately concealed?

            But there still are things that we should classify. The stuff about Pakistan is a good example. Okay, lets declassify it all. All the warts of the Pakistani government. Now, what are we going to do about it when they go ape shit over us accusing them of funding terror? Maybe we don’t want to make that accusation in public even if it is true?

            It’s the policy of our government to treat Pakistan as an ally in the war on terror.

            If our supposed ally is actually funding one of our enemies, that speaks to our current government’s competence and acumen.

            The people cannot adequately judge the performance of the current crop of officeholders if they’re allowed to just hide facts if those facts will make a government they chose to ally with look bad.

            1. I think our supposed allies don’t have full control over their government. We couldn’t stop Ollie North from funding the contras. Maybe they can’t stop radical elements in their government from funding the Taliban. And maybe they are trying to stop it and can’t. And perhaps our calling them out on it is the worst thing we could do.

              I don’t know. And neither do you. The point is that you can’t just say that revealing everything publicly is always a good thing.

              1. “”Maybe they can’t stop radical elements in their government from funding the Taliban. “”

                I agree in general, just because the Taliban is getting some support, doesn’t necessarily mean the Pak government really supports them. But I must point out that Ollie had support from the highest level of our government.

                I do believe elements of Pak have an interest in supporting the Taliban, but not necessarily the Pak government it’s self.

        2. Government rests on the consent of the governed. That requires that the actions taken by the government be known in as close to their entirety as possible, in order for the governed to render their verdict.

          The governed have consented to allow the executive to classify information at his whim. If the governed wanted to know everything about the conduct of the war, they could demand that their representatives repeal the classification laws, and vote in new representatives if they refused.

        3. Fluffy,

          Wow. Took yourself out the debate right at the outset by tossing out a hysterical strawman. You seldom see that kind of kamikaze posting anymore.

          No nation in history and at no time in American history has military operations been conducted in public as much as they are now. More to the point, it was never an expectation that civilians, even civilian politicians would have a day-to-day detailed accounting of ongoing military operations. What do think George Washington hurriedly published everything about the Continental Army?

          The idea that the military should fight in fishbowl is purely an invention of the left during the 60s and seems more driven by their narcissistic need to be at the center of everything than a real desire to understand military operations.

          However, when the war is serious, such as WWII then, yes, virtually everything it classified. Remember, “Loose Lips Sink Ships?” That was aimed at civilians not discussing their completely unclassified construction work offsite. Nobody outside the upper levels of the government really understood what was going on in WWII until the 1970s. Turns out that when leftists are afraid of the enemy, secrecy is just great.

          Trouble is, the military is a specialized domain just like law, medicine or engineering. It has its own jargon and standards and takes years of education and experience to understand. Yet, people think, “Hey, I’ve seen some war movies so I know how to read military reports.”

          All this makes it nearly impossible for the general populous to understand the real meaning of detailed military reports.

          Frankly, I’m at a loss to think of a single incident in which leaked classified documents helped a situation. The Pentagon Papers are probably the most famous example of leaked papers and all they did was confuse the naive. They were published in 1971 but covered only 64-67 so that by the time they became public, everything about the war had changed. Interpreted by military novices, virtually every one of the contemporary analysis of the papers had fatal errors. All the leak really accomplished was ensure another 20 years of warfare, the triumph of tyranny and the greatest proportional democide in recorded history.

          Not exactly a strong argument for “hurray leaks!”

      3. I wouldn’t be surprised if they classify a bunch of fake documents for that very reason — to throw off someone who’s trying to put together the puzzle.

        That said, you can’t deny that the classification regime offers the executive a very convenient way to cover up evidence of crimes and other embarrassing information. The national security concerns are valid but they are not absolute — they have to be balanced against the risk of enabling executive corruption.

    4. The simple reason? Someone with more stars than you and a flock of intelligence eagles decided they needed to be classified.

      I’d say Love is pretty much right. There’s a lot of information as a whole and even individually that may look innocuous to most people.

      Get yourself a Johns Hopkins Econ degree and go crunch numbers and scenarios for the CIA. At least I’ve been told they farm intel agents out of JH econ and math departments from two people who went that route.

      1. I was at JH. And yes they do.

    5. Marginally tangential:

      I was at the Holly Land Deli yesterday getting Kalamata Olives and some Egyptian double cream feta. Anyway, I was being served by a Kurdish man who had moved to the US to escape al Quada. He had spent five years in Iraq lending assistance to the US army.

      I have been going to the deli for about twenty-five years and they alway have some sort of middle-eastern music playing. Well yesterday, it was exceptionally soothing, so I mentioned that to the Kurdish man. He asked, “That sounds like music to you?” And I said yes. He said, “That the Quran.” I said really? and he said yes.

      I found it odd that to me, it sounded like a man singing, which it was, but to him it was just the Quran.


      1. The Quran is sung, or chanted, however you want to look at it. Similar to the prayers in all kinds of religions

        Even my mildly retarded redneck ass knows that!


        1. But why wouldn’t the Kurdish man notice it was musical?

  4. Because the purpose of secrecy isn’t operational security, but political security.

    1. Bigger leak: Obama: Traitor in Chief, sides with Socialists, terrorists and big oil interests all at the same time. Urged Scotland to free Lockerbie terrorist rather than keep him jailed.

    2. Again, this is an illegal in-kind political contribution and these people should be in jail.

      1. Considering they weren’t working with the Obama campaign and the Obama campaign has no control over their message, it’s not an illegal in-kind political contribution. Otherwise, the National Review and Fox News would be shut down for “illegal in-kind political contributions”.

        1. 1. They were working with the Obama Campaign. People on the journolist were in government and the campaign.

          2. NRO and Fox News has never referred to themselves as “the unofficial campaign.”

          3. This goes beyond just normal opinion journalism. It is a large group of people from a hugely diverse set of publications specifically coordinating their message and setting out to influence their employers coverage to help Obama. That is way beyond anything I have ever seen.

          Is it an “in kind contribution”? Probably not but only because nothing in the media ever could be. Basically the e-mails show that there was nothing that could be called “journalism” in the traditional meaning of the word being done in 2008 with regard to the Obama campaign.

          1. John is absolutely right here.

            When people are talking about coordinating with a campaign, we should be allowed to presume that they mean coordinating with a campaign.

            That being said, I don’t think the state has the power to actually ban or regulate such coordination. Yes, they were probably breaking a law – but not a law I think has any moral force, so it’s hard for me to be pissed at them about it.

            I’m a little pissed because I know it’s a law these a-holes favored, and would happily use against me. But not that pissed.

          2. What do you call political organizations that campaign on behalf of a candidate, but aren’t officially part of the campaine? You know, the folks who run ads that say, “Tell congressman X that America needs healthcare for all.”

            I forget what they are called, but that’s what these people did in effect. And they sure as hell weren’t regustered as such. In that context, this was illegal.

          3. Jailbird 1

            In 2002, syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher repeatedly defended President Bush’s push for a $300 million initiative encouraging marriage as a way of strengthening families.

            “The Bush marriage initiative would emphasize the importance of marriage to poor couples” and “educate teens on the value of delaying childbearing until marriage,” she wrote in National Review Online, for example, adding that this could “carry big payoffs down the road for taxpayers and children.”

            But Gallagher failed to mention that she had a $21,500 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to help promote the president’s proposal.

            Jailbirds 2 & 3

            An Agriculture Department agency paid a freelance writer at least $7,500 to write articles touting federal conservation programs and place them in outdoors magazines, according to agency records and interviews.

            The Natural Resources Conservation Service hired freelancer Dave Smith in September 2003 to “research and write articles for hunting and fishing magazines describing the benefits of NRCS Farm Bill programs to wildlife habitat and the environment,” according to agency procurement documents obtained by The Washington Post through a Freedom of Information Act request.

            Smith, contracted to craft five stories for $1,875 each, also was to “contact and work magazine editors to place the articles in targeted publications,” the records show.


            President Bush said the government should no longer put journalists on the payroll after disclosures earlier this year that commentator Armstrong Williams was paid $241,000 by the Education Department to promote Bush’s education policy and columnist Maggie Gallagher received $21,500 from the Department of Health and Human Services to work on the president’s marriage initiative.

            1. Perhaps you missed the part about “ecause nothing in the media ever could be” an in kind contribution. And the major media had a huge case of the vapors about the cases you list.

              Now that the same thing has been revealed to be going on on a much larger scale on their side, there is nothing to see here.

  5. Liberals press Obama for more action on key issues
    Of course no single mention in the article of Iraq, Afghanistan or Guantanamo Bay.

    1. “There are times I get on your nerves,” [Harry Reid] said with a smile. “I’m here to tell you you get on my nerves.”

      There will be plenty of nervous laughter in November.

    2. That is because they never cared. Iraq and Afghanistan are both being fought for the most Wilsonian of reasons. Liberals only objected to them because they didn’t start them. Only people of truly lower levels of intelligence like Brink Lindsey ever thought that they were sincere or that peacenik Libertarians could ever work with them on the issue.

      1. “”Liberals only objected to them because they didn’t start them. “”

        Maybe, how many liberals voted for the wars? But hey, everyone likes a winner, and when the going gets tough, it becomes convient for the other team to claim they object(ed).

  6. Surprised the VA eased up a bit on their mmj restrictions.
    And the wikileaks afghan war diary is interesting. Look at the counter narcotic ops, they’ve been detaining people over poppy seeds and then stealing the seeds, which of course AREN’T ILLEGAL.

    1. If we legalized heroin our problems in Afghanistan would end very quickly.

      1. Amen to that! Your preachin to the choir here John.

        1. Your You’re preachin to the choir here John.

          1. Wanted to clarify that what I meant by “aren’t illegal” is that the possession, sale, and distribution of poppy seeds is not illegal in the US. However I just looked around for info on Afghan drug laws and it appears that, according to a 2005 Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Counter Narcotics Drug Law pdf I found (http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4c1f343b2.html) Poppy seeds are listed as a Prohibited Drug of Abuse With No Medical Use. Now I don’t know if there is some sort of exemption for food use. But the point remains that its insanity for our military and DEA to be going overseas to confiscate what is a totally legal product under US law. The war on terror is just an excuse/opportunity for them to increase and expand the drug war.

              1. No, the schmear is the tool of Zionist oppression, with lox it’s even worse.

            1. Though I wonder if it is only illegal if the seeds are intended to be taken as a drug or for opium cultivation. It doesn’t really go into details. Not like the government whose law this is has much authority nationwide. What a waste of time, money, effort, and lives sending our troops over there to enforce Afghan drug law. Stop the nation-building and the use of our troops as Afghanistan drug law enforcement officers. End the war now, but until the war ends, get our troops out of drug enforcement, and get the DEA out altogether!

              1. Interestingly, it appears the troops haven’t been used to enforce alcohol prohibition. Alcohol is illegal for citizens of Afghanistan, but not for foreigners.

      2. If we legalized heroin our problems in Afghanistan would end very quickly.

        This is actually quite true. Leaving aside that it’s an Afghan law that would need to be changed, it’s absolutely INSANE that our troops are being used to destroy poppy crops that are the only source of income to many poor farmers over there. We destroy the crops, the farmers either get bitter or need some other racket for a livelihood, and the Taliban is kept alive.

        Yeah yeah yeah, war on drugs and all, but I read somewhere that the value of those poppies is an order of magnitude less than the cost of the war. Why couldn’t we just buy up the poppies and destroy them ourselves and keep the farmers whole? Instead, we waste money destroying the crops, giving “aid” to the farmers, and fighting the bad guys.

        Seems like a simple solution to me, but the United States government doesn’t really care about simplicity at this point.

        1. Why can’t we just legalize heroin and give the Afghans an exclusive license to sell legal poppies on the condition that they don’t allow the Taliban ever to come back? I think if we did that, the typical Taliban would have about a one to two minute life expectancy in Afghanistan.

        2. We can’t buy the poppies because the black market will always be willing to pay more, and if not, they will just get their opium from a different area. You can’t stop the heroin trade, so just legalize it already.

      3. If we legalized heroin our problems in Afghanistan would end very quickly.

        I’m not quite that rosy — the Taliban are not completely dependent on the drug trade — but I don’t even think it’s necessary to legalize heroin…just let the Afghan farmers grow their poppies for export to places where it is already legal.

        1. Allow them to sell to drug companies that produce morphine.

          1. They can’t compete with Turkey, India, and Australia, the only countries legally allowed to export opium for medicinal use. Plus the farmers would be getting ripped off, they get much more money for it selling to the black market.

    2. Our government, CIA, Afghan poppy. What is this the 1980s?

  7. Due to centuries of mis-identification by victims, there may be more Steve Smiths than we’ve ever imagined.

  8. Ohmigod! What if we have it all wrong; what if Suki is real and its JOHN that’s the sock puppet!?!? Did I just blow your minds?

    1. First, there is John, then there is no John and then there just is.

      1. First, there is John, then there is no John and then there just is.

        From the Book of John, 1:1-6, TIV (Teh Intartubes Version):

        1In the beginning was the John, and the John was with Republicans, and the John was Republican. 2He was with Republicans in the beginning …
        6There came a man who was sent from Republicans; his name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.”

    2. Of course I am a sock puppet. I am Glenn Greenwald’s evil ex boyfriend.

      1. JLT’s weirdness went off the charts. Feeding him could be funny.

        1. JLT does better morning links that Reason. Seriously. He is the only reason I click on the morning links thread. They should hire that guy.

          1. I was talking about his most recent deranged spew near the top of the comments.

            1. And this sub-thread too.

    3. not to blow your mind again, but what if we are all sockpuppets and only suki is real?

    4. Take on me….take me on…

  9. Birds force Kings of Leon from St. Louis stage:

    Followill, who describes himself as a “germophobe,” said there was already poop on his pedal and carpet when he walked out on stage.

    The aerial attack began during the opening song — “Closer” — when he was bombed in the face. His bass tech wiped most of it off with a sanitary wipe, he said.

    Excrement struck each of his arms over the next two numbers, he said.

    “I was hit by pigeons on each of the first three songs,” he said. “We had 20 songs on the set list. By the end of the show, I would have been covered from head to toe.”

    Followill said he couldn’t see the pigeons above him and he had no idea how many there were.

    “The last thing I was going to do was look up … but if that was only a couple, we must have caught them right after a big Thanksgiving dinner,” he quipped.

    The group was determined to play for St. Louis fans even though they had fair warning earlier about the pigeon problem.

    Opening bands The Postelles and The Stills came offstage complaining of getting riddled with large amounts of excrement, their publicist said.

    “The Kings of Leon decided to carry on regardless,” they said in a statement released Saturday. “The band felt it would be unfair to the fans to cancel the show at that late moment.”

    “We couldn’t believe what The Postelles and The Stills looked like after their sets,” Followill said. “We didn’t want to cancel the show, so we went for it. We tried to play. It was ridiculous.”


    1. But did the shit hit the fans?

    2. Well the birds know shit when they see it.

    1. Ollie Ollie Oxen Free!

    2. Does anyone have the text of the original interview? The Times piece is behind a paywall.

      1. (Does anyone have a link to the text, I mean. Please don’t cut & paste a big block of text here.)

      2. I got the original link from Glenn Reynolds, it was via Newsbusters.Org, if you know anybody over there.

  10. The Khemer Rouge guy got 19 years. Less for killing tens of thousands of people than you can get for selling a large amount of drugs. Sad.

    1. John, you’re failing to account for the millions of lives hypothetically destroyed by drug use!

    2. C’mon now, the Khmer Rouge weren’t evil, they were misunderstood. Don’t just take my word for it, though– ask Noam Chomsky.

  11. I’d like to lodge my protest of these omissions from morning links.

    1) No morning link for Eric Hoffer’s birthday, especially given the tea party, NAACP, and Progressive movements as of late. Or the removal of risk by Obama’s administration from business and the market. Pick one or both, they are both relevant to today.

    2) No morning link for the BSA anniversary.

  12. http://www.nypost.com/p/news/l…..1qcna0sn8O

    Man who killed his wife and then destroyed his liver in suicide attempt got a liver transplant over 2000 people ahead of him on the list.

    1. As outrageously outrageous this is, I’m not sure the Doctor really had a choice.

    2. I thought suicidal tendencies was at the top of the list of disqualifying factors for getting on the transplant list.

      1. Were.

  13. In other news Tom Friedman is still stupid.


    1. John is absolutely right here.

      I don’t think Tom Friedman will ever NOT be stupid.

      1. He is an amazing combination of stupidity and shamelessness.

      2. I don’t think Tom Friedman will ever NOT be stupid.

        “The Friedman Constant” or “The Propagation of Idiocy in a Moral Vacuum”?

    2. at lakes and rivers around Moscow, groups of revelers can be seen knocking back vodka and then plunging into the water. The result is predictable ? 233 people have drowned in the last week alone.

      Happy, now, climate deniers? The vodka-thinned blood of drowned Russians is on your hands.

    1. You just can’t countenance any attack on your beloved IKEA, can you?

      1. “Enjoy your affordable Swedish crap.”

        1. I love IKEA. It’s like a glimpse of Libertopia on Earth. Everything except the employees has a pricetag on it.

          1. Plus, its corporate structure is incredibly byzantine in order to evade taxes.

            1. I know. [swoon]

              His Nazi past is a bit unsavory, though. But if The Pope can be a Nazi, why can’t the founder of IKEA?

          2. Everything except the employees has a pricetag on it.

            What about IKEA Mogadishu?

        2. Scandinavian Wal-Mart. Full of the tragically hip instead of the tragically large.

          1. You haven’t been to the one in Houston. Fatness abounds.

            1. Actually, I have, but not in 6-8 years. I am not surprised. But is it truly Walmartian? I wouldn’t think IKEA would be sturdy enough.

  14. Oh, this is a good one, I mean a really, really good one:

    Britain plans to decentralize health care!

    From the article:

    “Even as the new coalition government said it would make enormous cuts in the public sector, it initially promised to leave health care alone. But in one of its most surprising moves so far, it has done the opposite, proposing what would be the most radical reorganization of the National Health Service, as the system is called, since its inception in 1948.

    Practical details of the plan are still sketchy. But its aim is clear: to shift control of England’s $160 billion annual health budget from a centralized bureaucracy to doctors at the local level. Under the plan, $100 billion to $125 billion a year would be meted out to general practitioners, who would use the money to buy services from hospitals and other health care providers.”

    1. They are just passing the “no” buck to providers so the gov can say it wasn’t them.

  15. Tim Geithner makes me laugh:

    In appearances on two television programs, Mr. Geithner said that letting tax cuts expire for those who make $250,000 a year or more would affect 2 percent to 3 percent of all Americans. He dismissed concerns that the move could push a teetering economy back into recession and argued that it would demonstrate America’s commitment to addressing its trillion-dollar budget deficit.

    Totally committed to deficit reduction.


  16. In other completely unsurprising news, Frank Rich is (still) crazy as a shithouse rat.

  17. Nothing says “Love Parade!” like a good ‘ole fashioned trampling. I’d trade an E induced hug for a fearful boot to the face any day.

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