Two vegans who fed their 11-month-old daughter only mother's milk went on trial in northern France on Tuesday charged with neglect after their baby died suffering from vitamin deficiency.
Animal rights activists never mention these cases.
Two vegans who fed their 11-month-old daughter only mother's milk went on trial in northern France on Tuesday charged with neglect after their baby died suffering from vitamin deficiency.
For many years, scientists have thought that the first Americans came here from Asia 13,000 years ago, during the last ice age, probably by way of the Bering Strait. They were known as the Clovis people, after the town in New Mexico where their finely wrought spear points were first discovered in 1929.
But in more recent years, archaeologists have found more and more traces of even earlier people with a less refined technology inhabiting North America and spreading as far south as Chile.
And now clinching evidence in the mystery of the early peopling of America — Clovis or pre-Clovis? — for nearly all scientists appears to have turned up at a creek valley in the hill country of what is today Central Texas, 40 miles northwest of Austin.
The new findings establish that the last major human migration, into the Americas, began earlier than once thought. And the discovery could change thinking about how people got here (by coastal migrations along shores and in boats) and how they adapted to the new environment in part by making improvements in toolmaking that led eventually to the technology associated with the Clovis culture.The Times prints a story like this nearly every year. Jared Diamond explained the phenomenon in his 1997 masterpiece Guns, Germs, and Steel (p.47):
As always happens whenever anyone claims the first anything, claims of discoveries of pre-Clovis human sites in the Americas are constantly being advanced. Every year, a few of those new claims really do appear convincing and exciting when initially announced. Then the inevitable problems of interpretation arise. Were the reported tools at the site really tools made by humans, or just natural rock shapes?Diamond goes on to list other problems with archaeological dating, but I stopped here because the Times article lists the archaeological evidence at the "new" pre-Clovis site as follows:
Archaeologists and other scientists report in Friday’s issue of the journal Science that excavations show hunter-gatherers were living at the Buttermilk Creek site and making projectile points, blades, choppers and other tools from local chert for a long time, possibly as early as 15,500 years ago. More than 50 well-formed artifacts as well as hundreds of flakes and fragments of chipping debris were embedded in thick clay sediments immediately beneath typical Clovis material.These stone tools are much more primitive than Clovis tools. On p. 48-9, Diamond lists the problems that primitive tools caused for a similar pre-Clovis claim:
But none of those rocks at the base of the cliff is an obviously human-made tool, as are Clovis points and Cro-Magnon tools. If hundreds of thousands of rocks fall from a high cliff over the course of tens of thousands of years, many of them will become chipped and broken when they hit the rocks below, and some will come to resemble crude tools chipped and broken by humans.Diamond than makes the following (devastating) point about pre-Clovis claims:
If there really were pre-Clovis people in the Americas, why is it still so hard to prove that they existed? Archaeologists have excavated hundreds of American sites unequivocally dating to between 2,000 and 11,000 B.C, including dozens of Clovis sites in the North American West, rock shelters in the Appalachians, and sites in coastal California. ...The Times tries to address Diamond's questions late in the article:
The weakness of pre-Clovis evidence in Americas contrast with the strength of the evidence in Europe, where hundreds of sites attest to the presence of modern humans long before Clovis hunters appeared in the Americas around 11,000 B.C. Even more striking is the evidence from Australia/New Guinea, where there are barely one-tenth as many archaeologists as in the United States alone, but where those few archaeologists have nevertheless discovered over a hundred unequivocal pre-Clovis sites scattered over the whole continent.
Until recently, Dr. Waters said, archaeologists had probably overlooked earlier artifacts because the Clovis points are so distinctive and, in contrast, the pre-Clovis material has no hallmark style calling attention to itself.Archaeologists don't really "overlook" things. What Waters is saying is that they mistook the pre-Clovis tools to be regular rocks. But archaeologists can find unequivocal pre-Clovis sites on other continents. Why is there a hemisphere-wide inability to find pre-Clovis sites here when the Times article states that the Texas archaeologists believe the pre-Clovis population was in the Americas for millennia?
Among other implications of the discoveries, the Texas archaeologists said, a pre-Clovis occupation of North America provided more time for people to settle in North America, colonize South America by more than 14,000 years ago, “develop the Clovis tool kit and create a base population through which Clovis technology could spread.”Translation: Don't worry Times readers - the new weapon technology spread among the existing population - there was no violence involved or replacement of original populations.
There is no perfect formula for military intervention. It must be used sparingly — not in Bahrain or Yemen, even though we condemn the violence against protesters in both countries. Libya is a specific case: Muammar el-Qaddafi is erratic, widely reviled, armed with mustard gas and has a history of supporting terrorism. If he is allowed to crush the opposition, it would chill pro-democracy movements across the Arab world.That argument could be applied to the Iraq War, couldn't it?
American and European militaries intensified their barrage of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces by air and sea on Sunday, as the mission moved beyond taking away his ability to use Libyan airspace, to obliterating his hold on the ground as well, allied officials said.It's hard to see how Qaddafi is going to survive this.
Rebel forces, battered and routed by loyalist fighters just the day before, began to regroup in the east as allied warplanes destroyed dozens of government armored vehicles near the rebel capital, Benghazi, leaving a field of burned wreckage along the coastal road to the city. By nightfall, the rebels had pressed almost 40 miles back west toward the strategic crossroads city of Ajdabiya, witnesses and rebel forces said. And they seemed to consolidate control of Benghazi despite heavy fighting there against loyalist forces on Saturday.
There was evidence, too, that the allies were striking more targets in and around Tripoli, the capital.
A coalition of the willing attacks an Arab country; French warplanes strike armored vehicles; American cruise missiles take down air defenses. It all sounds to some too much like Iraq redux. But it's not. The proper analogy is Srebrenica. This is the international community acting under international law to prevent mass murder.NATO's military actions following Srebrenica were not approved by the UN Security Council. Six sentences in, and Serwer is already making a false analogy. If Serwer thinks the 1995 Bosnian action was justified, and is a proper analogy to Libya, then UN approval is irrelevant. Therefore, a lack of UN approval can not be used to delegitimize the Iraq War. The most he can say is that UN approval is preferable, but not a necessity - otherwise, Clinton's wars also become unjust.
The current military action against Libya is clearly approved by the UN Security Council.
For far too long President Bush’s disastrous war of choice in Iraq has leached resources and top-level attention from the war of necessity in Afghanistan.That is The New York Times editorial page in 2008. I can count numerous other examples of this type of rhetoric coming from The Times and other publications in recent years (The Economist, for example). The thinking is that when a war is a "necessity", you can tolerate unexpected casualties, but when a war is a "choice," any unforeseen events will lead to a denouncement of the effort. Therefore, the Union incompetence in the necessary Civil War doesn't delegitimize it, but the supposed-mishandlings in Iraq do (even if Iraq had a humanitarian justification at the start, and far fewer casualties overall than the Civil War). The "wars of choice" in Bosnia, Kosovo and Libya are all OK, because they were air campaigns - with minimal American casualties (i.e., if you are going to pursue a war of choice, don't get too many Americans killed in the process).
The United Nations Security Council voted Thursday to authorize military action, including airstrikes against Libyan tanks and heavy artillery and a no-fly zone, a risky foreign intervention aimed at averting a bloody rout of rebels by forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.The risk here is that the military intervention (which will probably be led by the U.S.) will prevent the final destruction of the rebels, but will leave Qaddafi in charge of most of Libya. The result will be a never-ending military obligation to patrol Libyan air space to prevent Qaddafi from moving in on rebel pockets.
The Iraq war hawks urging intervention in Libya are confident that there’s no way Libya could ever be another Iraq.
Of course, they never thought Iraq would be Iraq, either.
All President Obama needs to do, Paul Wolfowitz asserts, is man up, arm the Libyan rebels, support setting up a no-fly zone and wait for instant democracy.
It’s a cakewalk.
Didn’t we arm the rebels in Afghanistan in the ’80s? And didn’t many become Taliban and end up turning our own weapons on us? And didn’t one mujahadeen from Saudi Arabia, Osama bin Laden, go on to lead Al Qaeda?
So that worked out well.Do you follow the argument? We intervened in Iraq, and Dowd believes that wasn't worth it. She points to another intervention that had dubious results. Ergo, we shouldn't intervene in Libya. The flaw, of course, is that the United States have made dozens of interventions over the past 30 years, many of which have had very good outcomes (Panama, Grenada, Kosovo, etc.). Similarly, some of our non-interventions have had horrible outcomes (Rwanda). Just as the lessons of Munich can not be applied to all cases, Dowd's reliance on what she perceives as the failures of Iraq don't apply to all arguments for intervention. But her argument has little other substance to it. For example:
“It is both morally right and in America’s strategic interest to enable the Libyans to fight for themselves,” Wolfowitz wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece.Clearly, this is not a rational rebuttal to intervention. It's name-calling. She tries a different avenue in the next paragraph:
You would think that a major architect of the disastrous wars and interminable occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq would have the good manners to shut up and take up horticulture. But the neo-con naif has no shame.
After all, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates told West Point cadets last month, “In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it.”No one is suggesting we send a big land army into Libya. She's quoting Gates to rebut a nonexistent argument. This is about putting in a no-fly zone, about which, Dowd does say this:
Wolfowitz was driven to invade Iraq and proselytize for the Libyan rebels partly because of his guilt over how the Bush I administration coldly deserted the Shiites and Kurds who were urged to rise up against Saddam at the end of the 1991 gulf war. Saddam sent out helicopters to slaughter thousands. (A NATO no-fly zone did not stop that.)Get it? Dowd can dismiss the argument for a Libyan no-fly zone because the Iraqi one didn't work. However, her argument is factually flawed. The First Gulf War ended in early 1991, but the southern no-fly zone was not implemented until the summer of 1992. It was put in place as a result of Saddam's post-war slaughter of the Shia. It didn't stop the killing - it was a response to it. Once in place, there were no more major air attacks on the Shia. Dowd's version of what happened is perverse. One wonders where she got her argument from? Maybe it was from the Secretary of State, who said this to Congress on Thursday:
I want to remind people that we had a no-fly zone over Iraq. It did not prevent Saddam Hussein from slaughtering people on the ground and it did not get him out of office.If the Iraq no-fly zone had been in effect during the Shia uprising, maybe they would have succeeded in removing Saddam? Furthermore, once implemented, it prevented subsequent slaughters, which is why Mrs. Clinton's husband kept it in place for his entire presidency. A no-fly zone can have a humanitarian benefit without removing the dictator. It is disturbing that the former-First Lady would question her husband's policy a decade later in such a ham-handed fashion.
It’s hard to know how to proceed, but in his rush, Wolfowitz never even seems to have a good understanding of the tribal thickets he wants America to wade into.Earlier, when Dowd told Wolfowitz to "shut up," it didn't mean he was wrong - she just didn't want to hear from him.
This sounds like dithering to me. Or, is it normal for an administration to take weeks to figure out what they want to see happen? Once that is figured out, should we give them another three weeks to determine if the U.S. has leverage? At that point, because we can only expect it to happen then, how long will it take them to decide what's the best course of action? A month? Kaplan acknowledges that there probably is "a good way to help the rebels militarily," we just shouldn't expect a decision until Memorial Day. But, make no mistake about it - that's not dithering!Yesterday, the Arab League asked the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. The League knows that any no-fly zone would be led by the United States, weakening the argument that an American intervention will trigger Arab fears of Yankee imperialism. Dowd, Clinton, and Kaplan are not alone in providing cover for Obama's non-interventionism, but their arguments are evaporating.
Former President Bill Clinton said the United States should enforce a no-fly zone over Libya to allow a fair fight between insurgents and troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.Indeed.
Is President Obama dithering over Libya?The next paragraph answers in the negative:
In the past week or so, a diverse array of commentators—Republican hawks, the usual neocons, and some normally gun-shy Democrats, including Sen. John Kerry—has called on Obama to take action now. Some have charged Obama with queasiness or lack of principles for not charging the ramparts from the get-go. But one can imagine several very good reasons for the president's … let's call it caution.Kaplan goes on to list many reasons for caution, none of which are specific to the current situation in Libya - they would apply to any military engagement. He notes that many questions would have to be answered before the U.S. military were to get involved (I counted 26 question marks in the article). All the questions are legitimate, but generic ("What are the rules of engagement?" "What is the desired goal of this action?"). This is why we have a President, a Defense Department and a State Department - to answer such questions. Getting hung up on unknowns is exactly how caution can turn into dithering.
There may be—there probably is—a good way to help the rebels militarily. The United States does not have vital interests in Libya; that's usually a solid argument for staying out of trouble. But we might well have an interest in demonstrating that we can, and will, help brutalized people in that part of the world. Other countries, such as Britain and Italy, have more tangible interests still. It may be that the Obama administration has spent some time these past two weeks persuading them to do something, too.Kaplan is so uncertain about what to do, he's hoping Obama has secretly convinced another country to do something!
But if they're smart, Obama and his aides have spent most of the time figuring out, first, what they want to see happen, and only then, whether the United States has any leverage to help that come about, and only then, what's the best—or the most feasible—course of action.This sounds like dithering to me. Or, is it normal for an administration to take weeks to figure out what they want to see happen? Once that is figured out, should we give them another three weeks to determine if the U.S. has leverage? At that point, because we can only expect it to happen then, how long will it take them to decide what's the best course of action? A month? Kaplan acknowledges that there probably is "a good way to help the rebels militarily," we just shouldn't expect a decision until Memorial Day. But, make no mistake about it - that's not dithering!
A few weeks ago I was at the Denver airport when I overheard a conversation between two men sitting near me. They were eating some form of grab-and-go airport lunch when one man, between bites, suddenly raised his voice and called Michelle Obama something that can't be printed in a family newspaper.
"She wants to control what we eat!" he continued. "She wants the government to be in charge of what's in our fridge!"
These were respectable-looking businessmen: mid-40s, Dockers, wedding bands, cellphones on belts. I wouldn't have expected either one of them to burst forth with an obscenity, especially not in the United terminal, surrounded by innocent children and people trying to enjoy their Cinnabons.
Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann accused Obama of trying to implement a "nanny state." Sarah Palin gave her a ribbing on her reality show when, while searching for s'mores ingredients for a camping trip, she said, "This is in honor of Michelle Obama, who the other day said we shouldn't have dessert."
Oh, and then there's that paragon of physical fitness, Rush Limbaugh, who suggested last week that the first lady "does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue."
What's going on here (besides the last gasps of an increasingly irrelevant radio blowhard) obviously has nothing to do with keeping kids from being obese. Surely even the most obtuse tea partyers know deep down that Michelle Obama is not planning to force-feed you vegetables and hijack your desserts any more than Laura Bush, who advocated for reading, was interested in foisting books on people and carting away their televisions. Instead, Republicans are turning a patently apolitical issue into an opportunity to bash the president ...
Maybe if the rhetoric surrounding Michelle Obama's efforts was confined to budget issues, it would be defensible, but as it stands, it's astonishingly ugly. Attacks on the president come with the job. With the exception of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who effectively waived her rights to be treated like a traditional first lady, Michelle Obama is taking an unprecedented beating.For those keeping score, the unprecedented beating Daum cites are accusations that the First Lady is trying to implement a nanny state, take away dessert, and doesn't look like a swimsuit model (plus the comments of two strangers in an airport terminal). However, the columnist felt perfectly comfortable mocking Limbaugh's size and calling him a blowhard.
“We’re broke! We’re broke!” Speaker John Boehner said on Sunday. “We’re broke in this state,” Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin said a few days ago. “New Jersey’s broke,” Gov. Chris Christie has said repeatedly. The United States faces a “looming bankruptcy,” Charles Koch, the billionaire industrialist, wrote in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
It’s all obfuscating nonsense, of course, a scare tactic employed for political ends. A country with a deficit is not necessarily any more “broke” than a family with a mortgage or a college loan. And states have to balance their budgets. Though it may disappoint many conservatives, there will be no federal or state bankruptcies.A mortgage or a loan is a debt, not a deficit. If a family doesn't have a deficit, it can pay off its debts, because its yearly income covers its expenses - including debt servicing. If a family has debts and an annual deficit (as the government does), it risks bankruptcy if it can't borrow additional funds to cover the gap. The Times analogy is terrible. Their assurance that there will be no bankruptcies is worthless. Their solutions to the crisis (raise taxes on the rich and wait for a recovery) would cover a fraction of the current fiscal problem. The Times is in deficit denial.
Today, with father and son preparing for a siege of Tripoli, the success of a joint American-British effort to eliminate Libya’s capability to make nuclear and chemical weapons has never, in retrospect, looked more important.
Senior administration officials and Pentagon planners, as they discuss sanctions and a possible no-fly zone to neutralize the Libyan air force, say that the 2003 deal removed Colonel Qaddafi’s biggest trump card: the threat of using a nuclear weapon, or even just selling nuclear material or technology, if he believed it was the only way to save his 42-year rule.How and why was a deal reached? The Times makes a hint in an earlier paragraph when it describes a 2009 dispute about its execution:
Meeting with the American ambassador, Gene A. Kretz, the younger Qaddafi complained that the United States had retained “an embargo on the purchase of lethal equipment” even though Libya had turned over more than $100 million in bomb-making technology in 2003. Libya was “fed up,” he told Mr. Kretz, at Washington’s slowness in doling out rewards for Libya’s cooperation, according to cables released by WikiLeaks.Was Libya only in it for the "rewards" from Washington? The Times reiterates that argument a few paragraphs later when explaining Qadaffi's regrets upon giving up his nuclear program:
But Colonel Qadaffi appeared to sense that loss of leverage over the last two years. The cables indicate a last-minute effort to hold on to the remnants of the program, less to assure his regime’s survival than to have some bargaining chips to get the weapons and aid that Colonel. Qaddafi and his son insisted they were promised.Again, was it still only about receiving aid from the U.S.? And, why did the deal happen in 2003? Why not five years earlier, or five years later? The Times takes another shot at explaining it:
In an interview with The New York Times and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for a documentary, “Nuclear Jihad,” Seif Qadaffi complained that the West never followed through on many of its promises.
By 2009, when the Qaddafis were refusing to turn over the remaining highly enriched uranium, he said the decision to give up the weapons had been “contingent on ‘compensation’ from the U.S. including the purchase of conventional weapons and nonconventional military equipment,” a cable in late 2009 reported to the Obama administration.Compensation? Was it only carrots (and not sticks) that got Libya to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons? Qadaffi gave up his weapons program 10 days after the capture of Saddam Hussein. Was that a factor? The Times won't say. Saddam is never mentioned in the piece, and the only appearance of the word "Iraq" is cryptic:
“Imagine the possible nightmare if we had failed to remove the Libyan nuclear weapons program and their longer range missile force,” said Robert Joseph, who played a central role in organizing the effort in 2003, in the months just after the invasion of Iraq.Were the two events connected? That is the most the Times will say about it.