Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How an Apologist Ended My Christianity

I'm in many ways indebted to my friend and apologetics mentor for my atheism. A guy named Jim. It's a fact. Without his sharp and logical mind I really don't know if I'd have changed my view. He may not want to know that, but it's true.

We often debated theological points, especially controversial ones, and I used that to develop my critical thinking skills. One time I confronted him with an apparent problem in the Bible. At Mt 23:35 Jesus is claimed to have said that Zechariah son of Barachiah was murdered at the temple. But if we look it up we find that the Zechariah killed at the temple wasn't the son of Barachiah. That was a different Zechariah. The one killed at the temple was the son of Jehoiada.

I combed the net to find a plausible answer and discovered JP Holding. I admitted that Holding's answer was possible. But is it plausible? A reasonable person could conclude it was wrong anyway. And I really think it looks wrong. Can the Bible be wrong? I was genuinely on the verge here. Bible contradictions were killing me.

Jim tried to make Holding's answer seem more plausible, but it was tough. Then a light bulb went off in his head. It's gotta be right. Here's why. Jesus rose from the dead, right? So if he did then whatever he would say would have to be right, right? There's no question Jesus believed at least the OT was perfect and without error. So any difficulties I have with that must be dismissed. Likewise for the NT. Jesus promised further revelation, and if this NT isn't that revelation, what is? It's gotta be. And so it must be right.

But if the NT authors mistakenly recorded Jesus words at Mt 23:35 maybe they mistakenly recorded his words when he treated the OT as if it was perfect. That's what I suggested. Well, that's a dead end. Jesus' treatment of the OT as perfect is pretty consistent throughout the gospels. If these authors can't even get that right, then they can't get even basic stuff right. Might as well just throw the NT out and not even be a Christian. We know nothing about Jesus anyway. The NT is completely unreliable.

I was convinced. However implausible an explanation may sound with regards to an OT contradiction, that explanation must be accepted. Otherwise Jesus is wrong. And Jesus can't be wrong. He's raised from the dead.

That argument literally retained me in the Christian fold for another year. Without it I might have stayed, but I would have rejected inerrancy. But the logic was sound. The OT had to be right because Jesus was raised. And if we know anything about his teachings we know he regarded the OT as the word of God and true.

I hated that the Bible looked contradictory and mistaken sometimes and so I sort of avoided studying it after that discussion. But after about a year I realized that I couldn't allow myself to be afraid of it. Since Jesus is raised the Bible must be true. So I need to get in there and read it and just figure out how it must be true.

And so I did. And you can guess what I realized. It was definitely not true. Now, I'd have loved to continue to believe that Jesus was raised and simultaneously believe that the Bible wasn't always right. But thanks to Jim I knew right away I couldn't do that. Everything that Jesus said must be true because he was raised. Given that some of the things he said weren't true, what does that mean? Either he wasn't raised or the NT is not a reliable record of what he said and did. Either option ends my Christianity.

So here I am with this realization. I can't reject inerrancy and accept the resurrection. So I put this to Jim. You know what he said? Suddenly it was possible to reject inerrancy and accept the resurrection.

How is this possible. I said "Jim, this is your argument, not mine. You are the one that convinced me that I cannot reject inerrancy and accept the resurrection. How can you say this?"

Nope. You don't need to believe inerrancy and accept the resurrection.

I was totally blown away. And I pressured him with his own logic. But he wouldn't budge. It was surprising. And unusual for him. Usually when we disagreed with each other we would discuss it and reach agreement. He valued the logical process as I did. We both knew that the conclusions follow from the logic. So if the logic is there the conclusions must follow. It was the first time that I really believed he would no longer subscribe to that. The conclusions would come first. The logic now follows.

I felt a strong need to fix these sorts of things back in the day. I pressured him constantly. It bothered me that people believed the wrong things.

But these days I don't think that. I think that mindset was a product of my religious upbringing. Jesus is Truth, so believing Truth was important. Looking back though I know that religious belief is very important for Jim's level of happiness. At least his present happiness. Rejecting it disrupts his entire familial situation. Why bother?

I'm afraid that Jim perceived me as a threat to both his own happiness and that of his wife. So to some degree a wall went up at that point. I believe Jim has abandoned apologetic study. We used to also enjoy debating various issues, but that's out the window also. I think he feels like I used to feel. Looking into this stuff is dangerous. It risks your entire marriage.

And I know this sounds arrogant, but it takes a certain level of delusion and certain willingness to accept sophistry to retain an inerrantist worldview and to Jim's credit I think he lacks that. There are some people that could study these issues and genuinely feel comfortable with J.P. Holding's answers. Jim may not be able to do that if he looked at these things in more depth.

To fill that intellectual void it looks to me like he's turned to sports. He knows all about the college football recruiting situation, which head coach is ideal, etc. I think humans have a need to keep their mind active. Sports is a ready means of retaining mental activity without thinking on something that would rock the boat. Which is why I pay almost no attention to sports any more.

Friday, May 27, 2011

What If Our Government Prefers High Unemployment?

I've argued that a component of neoliberal economic policies is high unemployment. Overall it means less economic output. Unemployed people are like a wasted resource. But for a powerful corporation it produces low labor rates and hence high profits.

Some are puzzled by the economic policies of the US government in the wake of the financial crisis. Paul Krugman wonders if the unemployed have been forgotten. The latest jobless report reveals a surprising spike in jobless claims. Is it because, as they suggest at Talk Left, that Obama is "foolishly" listening to Tim Geithner?

That depends on whether one would think it's foolish for the President to serve the interests of wealth. What if unemployment is desired by them? As in Mexico and Haiti (with unemployment between 50 and 75%) this is a direct consequence of policies that are imposed, as if these conditions are the goal. And we know that they are desirable for some powerful and wealthy segments of society.

A recent article sheds further light. Why The Rich Love High Unemployment. It's not all that puzzling that Obama is doing little to nothing. It's what his corporate backers want.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Single Payer In Vermont Starts Today

Color me surprised, but Vermont has done it. Single payer is now available. As Amy Goodman points out in the article this is how it began in Canada. Single payer first came to Saskatchewan and was so successful it would be adopted by the entire country. Let's hope our country follows the same pattern.

Update: Is it really single payer? Maybe not. Crap.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Why Alan Greenspan is Shocked

A pretty amazing exchange between Ayn Rand toting Alan Greenspan and Congressman Henry Waxman in the wake of the financial crisis. It seems he's learned at least a little from his mistakes.

Of course he wasn't the only one consumed with the free market ideology that played such an important role in the collapse. Frontline did a pretty interesting piece on the reaction to early warnings from Brooksley Born that's at Netflix and Youtube.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The 1967 Borders

I have to give Obama some credit. In a recent speech regarding Israel he suggested that the 1967 borders between Israel and Palestine should be the starting point for negotiations on a two state settlement.

It's not that this is new or extremist. It's been the basis for a peaceful settlement in the eyes of the world for many years. In 2009 the UN voted on a peaceful settlement once again with the 1967 borders as the basis. It was supported 164 nations to 7. Pretty uncontroversial stuff. But the US is among the few that always side with Israel. I don't expect that this is about to change. Obama has already voted with the minority in the past. But that he would express support for the opinions of the majority is a good thing I suppose. Actions would be nice, but words will have to do.

For the Lobby this is a crisis, and they are freaking out. Romney, Gingrich, Bachmann, and an endless list of other Israel first types are condemning Obama. The 1967 borders? That's outrageous.

So I want to here document a few historical facts related to those borders so that readers can understand the legitimacy of using them as a basis for a peaceful settlement.

On the morning of June 5, 1967
Israel launched a large scale surprise attack against Egypt, completely obliterating their air force within hours. Even this basic truism is sometimes denied by hard line Israel firsters. Yesterday I heard Bob Dutko say that it was Israel that was attacked by the Arabs.

Why would they do that? There's what I regard as the real reason and what I regard as the reason offered for public consumption. Let's start with the real reason.

The basic problem for Israel is this. They want to live in a land that is primarily Jewish, but it happens that the indigenous people are non-Jew. There's no way to resolve that problem without driving out the indigenous people. So this is what they do, and they offer various pretexts and rationalizations to justify what is clearly the core aim: expansion and a land dominated by Jews.

For this reason Israeli historian Benny Morris writes that "fear of territorial displacement and dispossession was to be the chief motor of Arab antagonism to Zionism." We're told that they love death, have a religious based hostility to Jews, generally are irrational and violent, etc. All of this I think distracts from the obvious truth that Morris understands.

What's offered for public consumption is that Israel is in danger. Israel did initially claim that Egypt had struck them, but that claim was quickly dismissed. Even Israel would later admit that they struck first. But the claim is that it was pre-emptive. This is the more standard claim by Lobby elements, but it can't be sustained by the facts.

Prior to the war Israel had been attacking Syria. This is more land grab activities. Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan would later explain that Israel would provoke hostilities by pushing into Syrian territory. They'd go far enough to get a reaction and they would then shell them. Syria, suffering under Israeli violence, would complain to Nasser, President of Egypt. Nasser supposedly was the leading figure in the Arab world. Is he just going to sit around and do nothing?

But he didn't want to do anything because he knew that he couldn't match Israel's military might. He doesn't want to tangle with the tiger. But to save face he did a few symbolic things. He closed the Straits of Tiran to Israel. This represented a mere 10 percent of Israel's shipping and even that closure was symbolic. It was enforced only for a couple of days. He amassed troops at the border. And he asked the UN peace keepers residing at the border to leave, which makes it appear that he's interested in initiating a war. Israel was asked to receive those peace keepers within their own territory, but they refused.

These moves were parlayed into a scare campaign by Israel. But privately Israel made clear that they did not believe Nasser was a threat. Likewise, while Nasser wanted to make it appear he was poised to strike publicly, probably to save face, privately he desperately wanted to avoid a conflict. Much of this is now known thanks to the declassification of documents related to LBJ. In the declassified record we learn that US intelligence was certain that Nasser wouldn't strike. If he did Israel would destroy them in 7-10 days. Further they believed that even if all the Arab armies struck Israel would destroy them. This was not only the belief of US intelligence. It was also the belief of Israeli intelligence.

Despite all that of course Israel did launch a war. They took control of the West Bank and Gaza. They captured the Golan Heights in Syria. And they captures the Egyptian Sinai (which was returned to Egypt because of Egypt's performance in the 1973 War.) The reason the 1967 borders are an internationally agreed upon basis for a peace settlement is because Israel's capture of these lands is both illegal and absurd.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Economic Experts

Generally speaking trusting experts is a wise move. I do it often. But when it comes to economics I think the evidence is that many so called experts are in prominent positions not because their theories accurately describe the world, but because they espouse views that serve the interests of power and privilege.

We recently learned that the billionaire liberterian and activist Koch brothers have granted Florida State monies on the condition that they have a say in the hiring of faculty in the economics department. What do you expect the impact will be on the ideology of the economics faculty? Don't these ideologues have a vested interest in the policies that this economics faculty would advocate? Are our experts being corrupted?

Or for that matter are they already corrupted? How many of these experts saw the financial crisis coming? What kind of policies did they advocate in the lead up to the crash? Would it matter if the very people that advocated for the destructive policies in fact were on the payroll of the corporations that profited so immensely from these same destructive policies?

Glenn Hubbard is dean of the Colombia Business School. In November of 2004 he co-authored a paper, along with Goldman Sachs Chief Economist William C Dudley, entitled How Capital Markets Enhance Economic Performance and Facilitate Growth. The Executive Summary is worth reading. Capital markets have improved the allocation of risk, stabilized banking, produced more jobs and higher wages for the average American, reduced unemployment and volatility in the economy, and made recessions more mild and less frequent.

The general consensus is that this is precisely wrong. The exact opposite is the truth.

Here's a basic understanding of what caused the financial crisis of 2008 as described in the movie Inside Job. A financial tool, known as Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO's) was developed in the late 80's. Prior to these when a bank offered a loan on a mortgage they were very interested in knowing if the borrower was capable of repaying the loan. What CDO's did was they allowed lenders to sell loans to a third party. They were variously grouped and sold to investors. Ratings agencies evaluated their risk. AAA is the highest ratings grade, equivalent to US Treasury Bonds. Ratings agencies had a financial incentive to rate CDO's high and had no penalties if the ratings proved to be wrong.

This is a rather perverse system. Effective capitalism relies on good information. Yet the information is coming from those that have an incentive to lie in the case when the product is junk. This would appear to be risky.

In addition another product was developed. Credit Default Swaps. These are effectively an insurance policy on an investment. That's not such a bad thing in itself. There's nothing wrong with covering your risk by buying an insurance policy.

But here's where it became a problem. In normal insurance you can only take out one policy on a product. So for instance I own my home and I purchase insurance for it in case of a fire. Only one person can do that. I can't have 6 of my neighbors likewise buying insurance protection against my home in case of a fire. The reason is obvious. If lots of people have an incentive to see my house burn, that's a perverted incentive structure.

Brooksley Born was appointed to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and she realized that this was perverted and regulation was required. So she started to take steps to bring in oversight. She was immediately resisted by free market ideologues. They argued that regulations stifle innovation.

Fine. Maybe they do. And maybe that's good. What if the innovations being developed in fact make some people really rich while risking the entire financial system? That's exactly what we were dealing with. But the free market ideologues won the day. The result was the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. These prevented any regulation on these products.

So companies like Goldman Sachs not only sold products they knew were junk. They then went out and bought multiple insurance policies on that junk. They stood to make enormous gains if borrowers started defaulting. Holding the bag was large banks and insurance companies, like AIG.

Normally GS wouldn't collect all of their gains because their insurers would go out of business. But these insurance companies and banks are so large that their failure meant a total credit freeze. So those of us not involved in these transactions just going to work 9-5 find ourselves in trouble. The credit crunch means our employers can't pay us, we can't pay for services, and everything grinds to a halt. Government is required to bail out the mess created by the free market.

But a lot of the experts didn't see it that way leading up to the crisis. Here's Frederic Mishkin. Deregulation came to Iceland and it likewise caused a bubble that made certain people very rich. Mishkin, like Hubbard, thought this was really a great turn of events.

What he doesn't mention is that he was paid $140K by the Icelandic Chamber of Commerce to write this report extolling the virtues of unregulated financial markets. Then the whole thing collapses, requiring a state bail out.

You've got Martin Feldstein at Harvard. He's a professor of economics. He was a Reagan adviser and architect of his deregulation. He served on the board of AIG from 1988 to 2009. Larry Summers, a member of Clinton's financial team, was a major architect of the legislation that blocked regulation on derivatives and CDO's. He's now president of Harvard. Ruth Simmons is president of Brown University and makes $300K/yr on the board of directors at Goldman Sachs. Personally I don't think these are evil people. They probably honestly believe what they say. But they don't recognize how much incentives shape what it is that they find persuasive.

I think we should consider what the views are of the people that we can look back on and see understood the issues at the time. Charles Morris wrote a book, written in 2007 but published in early 2008, that very accurately described the financial conditions that we underwent and today are dealing with. In the movie "Inside Job" he shares his belief that the economics departments at the various universities are part of the problem. In my view Morris has earned some credibility. He may be quite right once again.

Most of this info is via Charles Ferguson's movie "Inside Job" BTW.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Free Markets in a Petri Dish: Saipan

Tom Delay was a small business owner. He did pest control. When the government required he stop using DDT he was outraged, and went to Congress on an anti-regulation crusade. Damn these government beurocrats stifling innovation and inhibiting economic growth. Here he is cutting that damn red tape off Lady Liberty.

He and others that think likewise got to try that theory on the small Pacific Island of Saipan, also known as the Commonswealth of Northerm Mariana Islands. Delay says that prior to instituting pro market policies the island was totally dependent on the government. An awful society with high alcoholism, high drug use, high divorce rates. He would tell the Washington Post that the low wage, non-union conditions were a "perfect petri dish of capitalism."

The garment industry set up shop. They imported laborers. There were rumors of 18 hour days and 7 day work weeks. Workers fleeing because of abuse and beatings. Pregnant women being informed that their jobs would be at risk if they didn't have abortions. You know, the kinds of things you might expect in an unregulated, free market environment where the balance of power is heavily skewed towards the owners.

Congressman George Miller proposed legislation that would bring Saipan under the umbrella of US labor laws. Garment store owners didn't like that idea. And they knew that Tom Delay supported free markets when it came to election contributions. He had said “If you support the free market in everything else, why wouldn’t you, above all, support the free market principles in election campaigns?” So they funneled money to Delay to block the measures. Jack Abrahmoff collected about $200K/month.

Part of the campaign included bringing conservatives out to tour the island. These included John Doolittle (R-CA), Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA), Ralph Hall (D-TX), Tom Feeney (R-FL), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Robert Underwood (D-Guam), Phil English (R-PA), John Sweeney (R-NY), John Duncan (R-TN), Brian Bilbray (R-CA), Bob Schaffer (R-CO), of course Tom Delay (R-TX), and also others. The charges were all lies of course coming from liberals and "big union."

Congressman George Miller though did something the others didn't do. He talked to the workers. One weeping worker begged him to buy his kindeys so he could pay off his debts and return to China.

Grover Norquist and his think tank "Americans for Tax Reform" were enlisted to demonize big labor and liberalism in exchange for sweat shop money. The efforts to releive the suffering continued to be stymied.

Ultimately though the reality could not be suppressed by the rhetoric of freedom and lobbying efforts in this case. The allegations, all denied by Congressmen that were wined and dined at Saipan, in fact were true. New rules were instituted and most of the garment industry fled looking for a new source of exploitable labor. In the wake is an island reeling from envioronmental destruction, prostitution, and crime. Delay saw it as a test case for a world without onerous government regulations and for free markets. On that he was right.

I learned of this via a documentary about Jack Abrahmoff. It's worth watching.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Historicity of Acts

I regard the Jesus Seminar as far too credulous when it comes to the claims they attribute to the historical Jesus. Despite the fact that they are to the right of me, it appears that even they must conclude that the book of Acts is a second century document and has virtually no historical value. See here.

H/T AIG Busted.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hitchens vs Chomsky Again

Since we're talking so much about Chomsky lately some may be interested to see his comments on the execution of OBL and Hitchens reaction to those comments.

Hitchens tried to generate a spat with Chomsky before and I think Chomsky's reaction was right. He offered a minimalist reply and then just dropped it. Because what you are dealing with in Hitchens is a guy that doesn't want to deal with Chomsky's arguments as stated. It's straw man and outrage. That's a waste of time. If your critic won't read what you write and respond to your position as stated why would he read your attempt to correct the misread?

Hitchens first tries to associate Chomsky with 9-11 conspiracy theorists, which is something Chomsky expressly rejects. Hitchens pretends Chomsky thinks it's no more likely that bin Laden is responsible for 9-11 than it is that Chomsky won the Boston Marathon. That's just not what Chomsky is saying. He's using the claim about the Boston Marathon to illustrate that we must be cautious about people taking credit in some cases because of the desire to boast. He makes the same point in this contentions and fun interview (point regarding boasting starts at 1:38). I think I've heard Chomsky say that he does believe bin Laden was responsible. In other words that would be a good guess. But we should do better than a good guess. It really is possible he is not responsible, like he claimed in the immediate aftermath of the event.

Chomsky claims there's little evidence of bin Laden's guilt. Hitchens says there is and offers sources. I'm unaware of any substantial evidence. Maybe it's buried in one of the book Hitchens refers to.


Chomsky elaborates

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Update on Conditions for PFC Manning

Manning's lawyer has the details here. Pre-trial punishment appears to have been brought to an end. It's encouraging to see the positive effects grass roots activism can have.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thoughts On OBL

I'm not going to deny it. My response to the death of Osama bin Laden is not elation. Had he been captured I would have been very pleased. That's because I care about answers. I care about understanding things. His death means we won't get answers.

And we need them. Let's recall a few historical facts. In the immediate wake of 9-11 bin Laden denied involvement. A war in Afghanistan was launched, despite the Taliban's repeated efforts to turn bin Laden over (reported in The Independent and also buried within the text of a Washington Post article). In November a video tape was discovered in Afghanistan which claims to show bin Laden talking about advanced knowledge of the attacks, though he appears to be talking after the events themselves (transcript here). In June 2002 Robert Mueller, then FBI director in testimony before the Senate, a full 8 months after the bombs had begun falling and after one of the most intensive investigations ever undertaken in the history of humanity, tells us that he does "believe" that the idea for 9-11 came from Al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan though the actual plotting was done in Germany and the financing came from the United Arab Emirates from sources in Afghanistan. In 2004 another video surfaces in which Osama bin Laden takes responsibility (transcript here).

He may have been responsible. That's probably a best guess. On the other hand he may be boasting. He may want to take credit even though he didn't do it. What would be nice is to capture him and use him to fill out the missing pieces of the puzzle. I'd like to understand what happened as well as possible. That gives us the best chance of actually identifying the culprits.

Osama bin Laden is a murderer and deserves punishment, but the legal process is important, even for the most heinous crimes. Actually I'd say especially for the most heinous crimes. What if you wrongly identify the culprit? What if some of the plotters escape? This is more likely at this point because instead of getting interrogation we got bullets to the head. Was that necessary? We are talking here about the world's most elite fighting force. They can put a bullet anywhere they want. They can go with left eye, right eye. They can take out a leg or an arm. I don't know what happened. I don't know if they had no choice based on the resistance they encountered. But capture would have been nice.


We now learn that bin Laden was unarmed when killed, yet resisted, and had a weapon? Makes little sense. Also the earlier rumors that he had a woman as a shield look to be false. He was with a woman that ran towards the soldiers and she was shot in the leg.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Why CEO's Make Astronomical Salaries

I recently stumbled upon a commentary from Thom Hartmann that speculated about why CEO's make so much money. Is it free market forces? Ron Paul doesn't think so. I think largely that they do it because they can. CEO's have a lot of control of who board members are these days and are in some ways less regulated than they used to be. So they do what it takes to increase their own salaries to absurd levels. It's tough to resist the temptation.

Hartmann offers another theory which may play a role in some cases. Perhaps CEO's have a feature that you lack. Namely, they are sociopaths. The corporate world is going to select for that which maximizes profits. Not all industries would see profits maximized via destruction. But some do.

Take Coca-Cola. It happens that those that attempt to unionize in Colombian Coca-Cola bottling plants tend to get shot and killed. Maybe the CEO is unaware. Maybe he just applies pressure to keep labor rates low to a bottling subsidiary and doesn't know how that is achieved. Paramilitaries working in conjunction with industry do what is necessary.

But on the other hand maybe the CEO is aware. And you can see how being a sociopath would be beneficial in terms of profits. Not caring about destroying the lives of others means you can prevent unionization, keep labor rates down, and maximize profits and stock prices.

I thought that was an interesting theory, though speculative. But I recently listened to a lecture on morality from Dr Andy Thomson. In that lecture he explains how moral tensions arise when a portion of our brains that evolved earlier comes in conflict with the portion of our brain that developed later. It's a pretty interesting lecture. Near the end a questioner asked if these days in our world we are selecting for what we might regard as psychopathy. Those that succeed in the corporate world are often uncaring towards others. They benefit monetarily from that behavior and hence are able to reproduce more successfully since potential mates prefer wealth.

Thomson's answer reinforced Harthmann's theory. Apparently a world leader on psychopathy is a guy named Robert Hare, and he has developed a test, known as the PCL-R test which, according to Thomson, is quite effective at identifying psychopaths. Thomson further claims that in one of Hare's book there are details about this test being applied to CEO's of Fortune 500 companies. Apparently the test questions were obscured within a larger questionnaire so the takers were unaware they were being tested for psychopathy. Thomson claims that in fact these CEO's scored higher on the psychopathy spectrum than the remainder of the population.

Whether that's all true or not I really don't know, but I thought it was interesting.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Audio for Chomsky, Greenwald, Goodman, and Moore at FAIR Event

All four talks were excellent. It was a packed house, and the crowd was very enthusiastic about each of the four speakers. Chomsky uniquely got a raucous and sustained standing ovation.

There's a bit of laughter during Chomsky's lecture that you won't understand without video. What happens is as Chomsky is speaking a man conspicuously walks in front of him holding something like a sheet of paper. Chomsky says something like "Yeah, all right." So it was apparently someone holding a sheet indicating the time. We'd have thought FAIR was trying to hurry him along, but then Chomsky says "I authorized that." He then said something like "When my kids were young and would ask me a question they'd say 'Just a 5 minute one.'" They understand that he gets going and it's off to the races. So he apparently asked someone to warn him so he didn't go too long. It's funny because here's Chomsky at 82 and he just goes and goes. He looked great. On the right they wish he'd pass on, but it's not going to happen any time soon thankfully.

These are an apple format, so i-pods or Quicktime work. I can convert them, but there would be a bit of loss. Watch out for the applause because it's loud as contrasted to the speaking. Otherwise the sound quality is pretty good.

1-Glenn Greenwald
2-Amy Goodman
3-Noam Chomsky
4-Michael Moore


It looks like Glenn has linked to my audio files here, so the above links are updated to accommodate the additional bandwidth. Also commenter mubak has edited the files to improve the audio disparity during the applause and loaded all 4 talks as a single zip file which can be downloaded here.