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A House of Horrors for Autistic Children but Cash for Democratic Pols

Monday, June 4th, 2012

This may rank among the most bizarre and appalling education stories I have ever heard in twenty years as a professional educator. And I have heard quite a bit.

You may have caught a blip about the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights calling in to question practices at some institution in America and read no further. I didn’t. Unfortunately, it turns out, the UN is right. There’s a taxpayer supported independent school in Massachusetts run by a radical B.F. Skinnerian cult called the Judge Rotenberg Center that makes a practice of giving frequent and intense electric shocks to severely autistic children in order to moderate their disruptive or self-isolating behaviors.

To be clear even under “enhanced interrogation” methods approved by the Bush administration, this could not be done to al Qaida captives.  We would never do it to the most hardened convicts in the Federal prison system. Yet taxpayers are footing the bill to do it to disabled students. Sometimes for hours on end.

Having worked with such students in my classroom, words fail me.

Steve Hynd, the progressive blogger at The Agonist and Newshoggers.com did some digging and discovered The Judge Rotenberg Center has deep and exclusive financial ties to a powerful coterie of Massachusetts Democrats:

Electro-Shock Torture School Donates Exclusively To Mass. Dems 

….I noted at the time that there must be some heavy political juice behind the Judge Rotenberg Center, which declared earnings of over $52 million in 2010, 99% of which came from “Fees and contracts from government agencies”. Now, The Agonist has seen information which shows a pattern of donations by directors and officials to Massachusett state Democrats – and exclusively to Democrats.

To date, the Center has spent over $16 million on legal services according to Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-MA), spending which has been very successful in keeping the school open and operating. Earlier this year the man at the head of the Center, psychologist Matthew Israel, “agreed to step down rather than face trial for his alleged role in destroying tapes showing a night in 2007 when two teenagers wrongfully received electrical shocks based on a prank phone call.” Meanwhile, Mass. Governor Deval Patrick’s administration passed new legislation that stopped the Center practising its voodoo psychology on new admissions – but didn’t stop “aversive therapy” treatments for as many as two thirds of the existing students.

The cash-rich Center certainly hires the best when it comes to protecting its ability to torture autistic children. It’s PR firm is Boston heavyweight Regan Communications Group, where it’s file is handled by Crisis Communications head and former spox for the Boston P.D. Mariellen Burns. Regan Communications was started by George K. Regan, former spokesman to Democratic Boston mayor Kevin White. Their legal firm is Bracewell & Giuliani (yes, that Giuliani) of New York. Their lobbyists are the firm of Malkin & Ross, a company headed by Donald K. Ross, the chair of the board of Directors of Greenpeace USA. In 2010, they were Malkin & Ross’ fifth largest client, paying $112,200 to, among other things, lobby the U.S. Congress to stop a bill that would have outlawed their treatment methods.

It also donates to the local Democratic Party. The Agonist has seen an email alleged to be from the Center to it’s legal and lobbyist firms, dumped on pastebin by the Anonymous collective in March of this year. The email seems to comprise information sent to those firms as part of an exercize in damage control. If it’s the real deal, then the Center’s directors have made personal donations totalling $13,305 to Massacusetts Dem heavy-hitters since 2008. The recipient list is a who’s-who of powerful local Democratic players, and there is not a single Republican on the list.

The alleged list of recipients:

Deval Patrick, currentGovernor of Massachusetts, who served as an Assistant United States Attorney General under President Bill Clinton.

Timothy Murray, Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts.

Salvatore F. “Sal” DiMasi, former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives indicted and found guilty 2011 on 7 of 9 Federal charges, including conspiracy to defraud the federal government, extortion, mail fraud and wire fraud.

Patricia A. Haddad, current Speaker pro Tempore of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Robert A. DeLeo, Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

James Vallee, Majority Leader of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Harriette L. Chandler, current Majority Whip of the Senate and the Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health.

Joan M. Menard, Senate Majority Whip 2003-2011, now vice president for work force development, lifelong learning, grant development and external affairs at Bristol Community College.

Steven Tolman, Dem member of Mass. State Senate to 2011, now president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.

Michael Morrissey, Dem member of the Massachusetts State Senate until 2011, now Chair of Massachusetts AFL.

Steven Panagiotakos, State Senator 1997 to 2011, was chair of Ways and Means Committee. Now Vice Chair, Massachusetts AFL.

Barry Finegold, Massachusetts Senate.

Garrett Bradley, Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Kathi-Anne Reinstein, Massachusetts House of Representative

Would this “school” stay open without this kind of impressive political clout behind them? How do these guys sleep at night? What is happening at The Judge Rotenberg Center seeminglyviolates Federal Law and international law. Where is the FBI?

Steve, who has always put his principles above partisanship, has a FOXnews video about the Judge Rotenberg Center’s “aversive therapy” via electro-shock [warning graphic].  The Center attempted to keep this material under seal but failed.

Massachusetts has the reputation of being the most liberal of liberal Democratic states but her pols are protecting a school whose philosophy makes Benito Mussolini look like a libertarian.

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We Need Pitchforks and Torches

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Top Billing! The Daily CallerTheDC OP-ED: One nation, under fraud

Tomorrow, a bank-not your bank, but any bank-could evict you from your home. Even if you didn’t know the bank was foreclosing. Even if your mortgage is paid off. Even if you never had a mortgage to begin with. Even if the bank doesn’t hold a single piece of paper that you signed. And major banks not only know this fact, but have spent millions of dollars to defend it in court. Why? The answer starts with a Jacksonville homeowner named Patrick Jeffs.

In 2007, Deutsche Bank sued Jeffs for his home, which is a necessary step in the process of foreclosing on a homeowner in the state of Florida. Curiously, despite the fact that he immediately hired a law firm to defend his property when he found out about the foreclosure, neither Jeffs nor his attorneys were at the trial. That’s because it had already happened. Deutsche won by default because Jeffs wasn’t able to travel backwards in time to attend, even though the trial featured a signed affidavit indicating that he had been served his court summons.

The only problem with the summons Jeffs supposedly received was that it had been conjured out of thin air.

In June of this year, a Florida court ruled that the document was fraudulent, as the person who was supposed to make sure Jeffs was served had mysteriously received a copy of the summons before the lawsuit had even been filed, and Jeffs never even saw the copy. The text of that ruling was posted on various financial news websites in September. The lawyers that Jeffs hired to defend his case say that fraud such as this is not uncommon. It’s a widespread problem, and it has cost countless families their homes.

“I think it’s safe to say that 95% of the foreclosure cases in Florida involve some form of fraud on the part of the bank,” David Goldman of Apple Law Firm, PLLC told The Daily Caller in a phone interview. “It’s probably closer to 99%. And the court system is helping them get away with it.”

Banksters should not only be going to prison for intentionally destroying the lives of people who are not only NOT in default on their mortgages, but have never transacted a mortgage with the institutions attempting to illegally seize their property, these guys should be made to face an angry mob composed of the people they have defrauded.

This is the Oligarchy in action. They intend to hollow this country out and move their loot offshore just like in Russia during the 1990’s

Hat tip to Ron Beasley at Newshoggers.com who also found this gem:

COUNTERPOINT ADDENDUM:

Blogfriend Fabius Maximus, who often blogs on economics, would like to offer a counterpoint and i have agreed to let him put up his perspective here and some excerpts:

  A briefing about the foreclosure fraud crisis: its origin and impacts.
 

….The real estate title system in the US is complex, with safeguards protecting debtor and creditor (for details see this by Barry Ritholz).  It’s also local (rules and data are not national).  This system worked well for generations, but collapsed during the housing boom.

  • Loan volume accelerated, overloading key parts of the system.  Appraisals were often corrupted, as loan originators routed business to compliant appraisers.
  • Massive securitization of mortgages ignored these constraints, and erected a pseudosystem on top of it that cheaply processed the high volume of both mortgage origination and securitization (e.g., the Mortgage Electronic Registration System – a faux version of security clearing corporations; see this explanation).  Securitization also broke the link between the originator and end owner, with many ill consequences.  Among other things, this put great pressures on the servicing firms to lower costs.
  • During the RE boom years recoveries on foreclosed mortgages were zero or positive, which meant a low rate of foreclosures (homes could be sold by the owner rather than default on the mortgage).  So the institutional apparatus for foreclosures atrophied.

The the default bust hit.  Massive flow, overwhelming the system – which was never configured for such an event.  Remember, experts believed home prices never decline for more than a calendar year.  The worst scenario considered by the most experts was flat prices for 3 years.

The servicers (sometimes the bank originating the mortgage, often not) reacted by cutting corners (seethis Reuters story).  Finding the original loan documents was too expensive, so they used lost document procedures designed for extraordinary circumstances (e.g., fire, flood, or misfiling – see this at Calculated Risk and here at Reuters).  Some servicers hired law firms set up as foreclosure mills (e.g., FL), processing incredible numbers of foreclosures.  It’s not clear how, but clearly proper procedures were not followed.

As a result there have been many claims that foreclosure notices were never served (an easy way to make serving a high-margin profit center).  Employees have admitted under oath in depositions to fraudulently signing thousands of notarized affidavits.

This took place in the 23 states with judicial foreclosures only with the cooperation of Judges.  A few Judges protested when shown that their banks and their agents were committing perjury.  But the process ran smoothly for the past few years.  Now the wheels are coming off.  This might be difficult for the financial sector to conceal or mitigate, despite their de facto control over the government’s regulatory machinery.

A situation report about two headine issues – and a more serious problem

….Despite the oft-hysterical analysis, there is as yet insufficient public information about the scale of the problem.  Quite likely even key players (e.g., banks, their law firms, government regulators) lack the necessary information.  Deliberately, as all prefered to “see no evil.”  But now that the problem has erupted into the daylight, this leaves them ill-prepared to respond.  Especially as any adequate response will reveal their incompetence and malfeasance in creating the situation.  (Here are Wells Fargo’s procedures regarding creditors’ complaints; nothing available for their procedures to debtors’ complains).

Political factors, not legal or economic, probably will control the evolution of this crisis.  Hence the likelihood of modest impact to the national economy.  More than the small impact expected by Wall Street; less than expected by the increasingly rabid doomsters.   Over a longer horizon, a year or more, the economy will affect the political dynamics.  For a good analysis of the current political situation see “Congress Taking Cautious Approach with Foreclosure Mess“, American Banker, 14 October 2010.  The Republicans, as usual, eagerly support the banks – despite any violations of the law, despite the interests of the American people.

The economic impact looks to be minimal and probably less than the political effects.  New home sales are unaffected by this crisis.  The title problems are solvable.  New home finance is unaffected, and in any case are now 90% government financed or guaranteed.  Interruptions in sales of existing homes will have severe effects for those affected, but little for the overall economy (despite the massive attention to the volume of existing home sales, they have minimal economic effect).

What could change this forecast? A second dip would radically change the situation, as more links in US and global economy “unexpectedly” break.   As would a long foreclosure moratorium, although this is unlikely under the current political regime.  It could happen as part of system change, of such magnitude that the moratorium would be one of the lesser results.

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Rogue State Pakistan

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Interesting news, if “Dog Bites Man” stories can be considered interesting. Not on their surface, of course, but the implications which they contain. A dog biting man story begs the question “Who owns the dog?”. Our story though is not about something as mundane as a dog but of a putative ally, Pakistan.

Report: Pakistani spy agency supports Taliban

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s main spy agency continues to arm and train the Taliban and is even represented on the group’s leadership council despite U.S. pressure to sever ties and billions in aid to combat the militants, said a research report released Sunday.

….But the report issued Sunday by the London School of Economics offered one of the strongest cases that assistance to the group is official ISI policy, and even extends to the highest levels of the Pakistani government.

“Pakistan’s apparent involvement in a double-game of this scale could have major geopolitical implications and could even provoke U.S. countermeasures,” said the report, which was based on interviews with Taliban commanders, former Taliban officials, Western diplomats and many others.

Here is a text of the actual report (PDF):

The Sun in The Sky: The Relationship Between The ISI and Afghan Insurgents

I wager the case therein is understated when measured against the actual reality. 

Of course, I am not surprised. a while back, I asked why Pakistan was considered an ally rather than an enemy of the United States:

The horns of our dilemma is that our long time “ally” whom we have hitched ourselves to in a grand war effort against revolutionary Islamist terrorism is not our ally at all, but a co-belligerent with our enemy. By every policy measure that matters that causes the United States – justifiably in my view – to take a tough stance against North Korea and Iran, applies in spades to Islamabad. Yet none dare call Pakistan a rogue state.

It is the elephant in our strategy room – if the elephant was a rabid and schizophrenic trained mastodon, still willing to perform simple tricks for a neverending stream of treats, even as it eyes its trainer and audience with a murderous kind of hatred. That Pakistan’s deeply corrupt elite can be “rented” to defer their ambitions, or to work at cross-purposes with Pakistan’s perceived  “interests”, is not a game-changing event. Instead, it sustains and ramps up the dysfunctional dynamic we find ourselves swimming against.

What is interesting is how broad a consensus view of Pakistani perfidy this is coming to be across the American political spectrum. Let us take two blogfriends of starkly different political coloration as examples, Pundita and Steve Hynd of Newshoggers.com. First Pundita:

Miss Pundita is an inside the Beltway blogger with expertise and interest in the financial-economic and diplomatic nuances of American national security and foreign policy. She is quite conservative, tending, IMHO, to a mix of hard-nosed realism on economic realities and neoconservatism on potential security threats. Here is what she posted on Pakistan:

British report exposes Pakistani regime’s support for Taliban terrorism (UPDATED 2 X)

However, after I finally got to read Waldman’s paper I noticed that his conclusion repeats the canard that if only the Indian Kashmir problem could be solved, this would go a long way to tamping down the Pakistan regime’s murderous rampages. In other words, he’s saying that India bears a big responsibility for the Pakistani regime’s murder and mayhem against NATO troops in Afghanistan.Readers may recall the New York Times (or maybe it was the LA Times; I’d have to check my archives) reporting last year that the CIA station chief in Kabul accused his counterpart in Islamabad of Going Native; i.e., sympathizing far too much with the Pakistani regime’s view of things.

Even Hamid Karzai’s brother noted recently that the CIA had a strange habit of trusting no one but America’s enemies; he was speaking of Pakistan.

So — and pardon my thinking aloud — I’m wondering whether Waldman’s stressing of the Kashmir issue indicates that certain factions in the CIA and/or at State are still hell bent on placating Pakistan’s military/ISI.

As a pertinent aside, it is CIA management that is most unhappy with the DoD and CENTCOM contracting out intel assignments to privately run networks to find the Taliban-AQ targets in Pakistan’s tribal belt who mysteriously always elude Pakistan’s otherwise completely ruthless intelligence apparatus when we have the CIA ask for such tactical intel.  Now for Steve:

Steve Hynd is a founding member of Newshoggers.com and one of its guiding voices. Steve is a Scotsman with a family political background in both the Scottish National Party and Scotland’s Labour Party, which puts Steve comfortably to the Left of Ralph Nader. Here’s what Steve had to say:

Report: Pakistani Intelligence (Still) Supporting Taliban

….Shocking! But only if you hadn’t read about a Spanish report in October 2008, the WaPo’s report on what US officials knew in April of this year, just about everything Afghan and Indian intelligence have ever said about the Taliban, NATO reports back in 2006 and, in fact, every bit of evidence since well before Richard Armitage threatened to bomb Pakistan back to the stone age if it didn’t play ball with Bush’s adventure in Afghanistan.

….America has painted itself into a corner. Unless it is willing to admit that its Afghanistan attempts are failed, failing and will fail then it needs Pakistan at any price to keep the occupation there going. And the domestic political costs of admitting failure are likely too great. Obama and Democrats have used Afghanistan as a shield against Republican accusations of being “soft on terror” and many within the White House and the Democratic establishment don’t want to remove that shield – no matter how much sense it may make strategically and financially – in the run-up to 2012. Republican support for Pakistan’s military has been loud and long and goes back even further. They’d be just as embarassed by an about-face.

The only folks unable to recognize Pakistan’s enmity are those drawing a paycheck from Uncle Sam. Ok, unfair. Many career officials in the military, foreign service and intelligence community, perhaps most, recognize it but this reality is not something their elected officials wish to expend any political capital to address when going along grudgingly with the status quo will not cause any damage to their careers ( Obama administration officials can’t bring themselves to breath the word “Islamist” in public, which is a worrisome sign of ideological overdrive). This is why the US has difficult constructing strategy – leadership requires assumption of risk and unpopular telling of truths before things get better.

What would I recommend? It’s actually pretty simple. Not easy, just simple.

1. Accept that Pakistan, for all intents and purposes, is an enemy of the United States for internal reasons related to domestic politics and regional ambitions and will be for some time. Begin to disengage from Islamabad’s embrace by dialing down the Afghan campaign to a level that can be supported only by air, even if it means dropping COIN for FID advisors, sponsorship of loyalist paramilitaries and selective use of air power.

2. Engage India and China in a strategic entente to contain Pakistan’s penchant for exporting various kinds reckless lunacy, from nuclear weapons technology to Islamist terrorists. Be willing to negotiate with Islamabad but inform them that bad actions – like training terrorists and sending them to the US or India – will be met with a stiff and severe military response against cherished institutions and individuals in the Pakistani state apparatus. 

3. Keep the door open to better elements in Pakistan’s society and be willing to meet positive changes by Pakistan with reciprocal gestures.  Eschew rhetorical demonization of Pakistan, pious public lecturing or empty promises (Pakistanis remember far too many of these) and concentrate on sincere actions, be they carrot or stick.

4. Expect this policy will take a long time to bear fruit and will initially spark much “rent-a-riot” rage in Pakistani streets and “testing” by Pakistan’s shadowy ISI string-pullers. Expect to have our bluff called and be ready to instantly demonstrate the utter seriousness of our change in policy with a response Pakistani leaders will rue. Things will get worse before they get any better.

Strategy involves making choices and giving up fantasies of having one’s cake and eating it too. That Pakistan is our ally in any normal sense of the word is one of those fantasies that is past the time for letting go. Pakistan’s ISI is biting us every day with each flag draped coffin that comes home from Bagram. Opposing every US goal in Afghanistan, taking our bribes does not make Pakistani leaders our friend, much less a reliable ally.

It is time to bite back.

ADDENDUM:

Dr. James Joyner gives a well-considered rebuttal to my sour analysis at The Atlantic Council:

Pakistan: Friend or Foe?

….I share their frustrations but do think it’s more complicated than whether Pakistan is our friend or enemy or the military is fighting the Taliban or helping them.  In both case, it’s a mixed bag.

First, no country is any other country’s friend.  Pakistan is on our side when it serves their interest.  Which, oddly enough, is how we’ve long dealt with Pakistan.

But Safranski is right:  I do think the report calls into question, yet again, who’s running the show in Pakistan.  The answer, generally, has been “The army, of course” but the ISI is theoretically a part of the army, which seems genuinely to be treating the Taliban as a threat.  Pakistani soldiers are killing Taliban forces in great number and dying in the process.

How do we square this circle?

Discover Dr. Joyner’s answer here.

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Pushtunistan Rising?

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009


Steve Hynd at Newshoggers made the intriguing suggestion of an independent Pushtun state as a solution to the strategic problems of the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The Pushtuns, like the Kurds are one of the world’s largest ethnic groups without a state:

The Punjabi and Sindh populations have always regarded the Pashtun as mountain wild men, bandits and reivers. The Pashtun have always regarded their neighbours as prey for their raids. It’s been that way since before the British arrived and shows no sign of abating anytime soon. The Pashtun were only forced at gunpoint into accepting the splitting of their traditional tribal ranges by the Durand Line in 1893. The situation is entirely analogous to the old border reiver clans of the English/Scottish border – another bunch of inter-related hill country wildmen who raided their neighbours irrespective of nationality for over 300 years before finally calming down and accepting imposed nationality. That territorial stramash was only solved by exiling the worst offenders to the American colonies.

….More, with the Pashtun in their own homeland free from outside overlords their reason for supporting the Taliban politically would disappear and the incompatibility between the Taliban’s extreme form of Islam and the Pashtun’s own traditional religious forms would put the two at odds more often than not.

Rather than insisting on fighting the Pashtun, the amswer in Af/Pak may lie in giving them back the independence they once had.

Read the rest here

Sort of like Ralph Peters famous re-drawing of the Mideast map a few years ago, Steve’s suggestion is provocative.The Kurds took decades to get beyond the Talabani-Barzani rivalry and seize the de facto independence that the U.S. invasion of Iraq made possible and “frontier agents”, whether British or from the ISI , have always succeeded in playing off one Pushtun group against another with only the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 creating even semi-unity among Pushtuns – and then temporarily. This is the stuff of Pakistani nightmares but a latent sense of Pushtun nationalism lurks in the shadows, with Afghanistan being thought of as a “Greater Pushtunistan”.

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Bloggers On Nuclear Weapons Policy

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Cheryl Rofer, one of the trio of bloggers at the respected diplo oriented blog Whirledview and a field expert on nuclear arms issues, has called for a “Blog-Tank” discussion of American nuclear policy, or more to the point, the current difficulty the Bush administration is having updating nuclear policy to match the strategic environment of 2007.  In fairness to the bureaucrats and semi-official wonks, at no time has nuclear policy seemed less clear except when the Truman administration initially wrestled with what to do with America’s brief atomic monopoly. Today we sit poised upon the brink of the other end of the proliferation spectrum and, as in 1945, crafting nuclear policy means identifying our assumptions about the world and making strategic choices against an uncertain future.

Rofer was kind enough to invite me to participate as well as Cernig, guiding spirit of the feisty and fast-paced Liberal-Left blog, The NewsHoggers. Everyone though, is welcome and I will be linking to those who participate in the discussion.

Like Cernig, I’ll let Cheryl lay out the ground rules and background material, many excellent links, by presenting her post in full:

 “The Bloggers Develop Nuclear Weapons Policy

by CKR

The other day, Cernig reminded me of something I’ve let drop. Back in August, Cernig, ZenPundit and I were having a conversation on nuclear policy and were agreeing on quite a few points. This seemed to me to be a hopeful sign, since we inhabit different points on the political spectrum.

It was also a hopeful sign because others seem to be having so much trouble with nuclear policy. United States nuclear policy is stuck in the Cold War. For the decade of the nineties, we wanted to be cautious that Russia wouldn’t fall back into a Soviet foreign policy. It hasn’t, so it’s time to think about a nuclear policy for a world in which the big nuclear problem is proliferation, not a single enormous nuclear arsenal on the other side of the world.

Among those having a hard time are the Departments of State, Defense and Energy. Back in July, after Congress told the administration that it wanted to see a nuclear policy before it would consider funding the Reliable Replacement Warhead, those three departments quickly got out a statement saying that they would indeed work up a nuclear policy. Jeffrey Lewis now reports a rumor that Secretary of Defense Gates is holding up the full white paper because it is so amateurishly done. Sorry, Jeffrey, I can’t confirm your rumor, but it tends to support my suspicion that such a thing will be very difficult indeed for those agencies.

The presidential candidates are mostly trying not to think about it. Some of the Republicans haven’t even bothered to address the issue, and the Democrats are not too far from continuing the sameold Cold War stuff.

And the Very Special People who do foreign policy for a living at the think tanks and universities haven’t said much. These are the folks who the blogosphere found, a few months back, aren’t necessarily any more insightful or intelligent than bloggers. Because they do foreign policy for a living, their views can be swayed by what sells their product. All too often, that is war. They also tend to get very specialized, and most have little science background, which they may think is necessary to discuss nuclear policy. It helps, but the issues are more political than technical. Occasionally the technical clamps limits on the possible.

So I’d like to pick up that thread again, because The BloggersTM seem to be willing to try to figure it out. I propose what we might call a blog-tank approach. Here’s how I suggest we do it:

Each blogger writes a post on what the US’s nuclear policy should be on her/his own blog. Then please notify me by e-mail or a comment on this post. I have e-mailed some folks I would like to have participate, but everyone is welcome to join. Invite your blogfriends. I would like to have participants who represent a range of political opinion.

Commenters are encouraged to contribute as well, both here and on other participating blogs.

On Friday, 12/28, I will summarize the arguments, emphasizing novel ideas and points of agreement and disagreement.

Bloggers will then write another round of posts, trying to move to consensus positions.

I will then summarize again on Friday, 1/4. At that point, I think we’re going to be close to agreement on most of the big points.

I’ve linked above to some of my posts and here, here, here, here, and here are several more.

A range of political opinion is represented by four gentlemen who wrote an op-ed on US nuclear weapons policy in the January 4 Wall Street Journal. The Foreign Secretary of the UK built on those ideas, and the UK is actually doing something about them. Recently, two Americans have responded to the gang of four’s op-ed, although they seem to agree as much as they disagree. And here’s my review of a report from another group of dissenters.

Recently, Joe Cirincione, William Langewiesche, Richard Rhodes and Jonathan Schell (excerpt) have published books on the subject that are useful background for policy. They are exceptions to the Very Special People rule.

The two big treaties:
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization

I apologize, sort of, for doing this over the holiday season. We’re starting just before the solstice and should finish up around Orthodox Christmas. I hope everyone will find some time to contribute. After all, this is the time of year to think about peace on earth”

Thank you Cheryl for being the prime mover on this important topic. I look forward to the discussion.

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