Sunday, June 29, 2008

George Lucas Is A Prophet

By any standard George Lucas of Star Wars fame is a prophet. Not only have others noticed the erie resemblance between a certain Sith lord and Joe Lieberman, George Lucas knew what was going to happen, dystopically, before that.

I have evidence, which I place before the galactic blogosphere - behold:

There's this little movie, THX 1138 from 1971 with Robert Duvall and Donald Pleasance in it for starters. Yep, Lucas directed it.

"The human race has been relocated to a underground city located beneath the Earth's surface. In the underground city, the population are entertained by holographic TV which broadcasts sex and violence and robotic police force enforces the law. In the underground city, society controls all life, all citizens are drugged to control their emotions and their behavior and sex is a crime. Factory worker THX-1138 stops taking the drugs and he breaks the law when he finds himself falling in love with his room-mate LUH 3417 and is imprisoned when LUH 3417 is pregnant."

Have a little look at this fabulous turn of events, where you get to buy "consumables" which are always being standardized for efficiency, and there's a VERY efficient working relationship between the State and Religion; Confession, all taped and digitized for easy retrieval. De-sensitization to violence is paramount in this culture of Lucas'. And I forgot, the Corporation IS the State. Just look for yourself.

I find the State flogging the Citizen at about 5:50 into the above video most disturbing. Replace that with Tasing, and VOILA! We have today. Clubs tomorrow?

Robert Duvall plays the part of THX-1138. (Have you put it together yet that the THX Surround Sound System is Lucas' homage to that little film yet? Anyways..) Duvall/THX get's incarcerated in the loony bin of that future state. Donald Pleasance is in the same bin. They Want OUT of their situation, really badly. Duvall/THX understands that he's looking at a dreamworld. He decides to defy the conventional and loony wisdom and walk to the boundaries of their crazy world. Donald Pleasance makes a bunch of noise and follows.

Watch the clip below, and look at about who gives them guidance at about 5:38?

And what does this guy do? Take some of their food, and when they ask him, "Do you know the way out?" he tells them, "Hey, go back the way you came. Look, that's the way out. You see?"

And they turn on their heels and follow him.

Long story short, he's a hologram, a puppet run by the same CorporoState that Brought You Consumables!

At 7:46 - "How shall a new environment be programmed? It all happens so slowly that most men fail to realize that anything had happened at all..."

This is my long winded and weird to get to the flap between Glenn Greenwald and Keith Olberman. The thing is, is that Digby is right. Fuck this centrist bullshit. What they're not saying is that POLITICS SHOULD BE AS PARTISAN AS CONCIEVABLE OR POSSIBLE RIGHT NOW! Cheese and Rice, there is no time like NOW to repudiate the politics of the Republicans with 8 out of 10 people saying the country is going down the tubes.

Obama Ain't Gotta Play On FISA. It's as simple as that. So he should suck it up and LEAD THE FILIBUSTER!

Now Olbermann announced that he'll have a Special Comment on his Monday program about this little grange war. Fine. I hope he shoots the shit out of the target and makes Obama squirm. If Keith goes to the alleged "center " on this thing, well fuck, he turns into the next generation of the Very Wise And Serious Villagers, at which point I will vomit, as if anybody cares.

Anybody that keeps saying to me "march to the center, it's pragmatic" I feel like punching in the face. I'm no sheep. I may be a Democrat and I want to win as much as anybody eolse but I don't want to wake up in 4, 5, 10 more years and be even farther down the road to THX 1138.

What the hell would be my name? UNC - 4291?

I'll vote for this Obama person, but it's only because of the alternative. Like I said during the primaries "If the country is a car hurtling off the cliff, the Repugs are stepping on the gas, the Dems are thinking about putting on the breaks. It's up to us to stop the fucking car."

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Friday, June 27, 2008

UC Presents -

Human Being With A Tail

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Art In the Service of Evil

[I originally wrote this last summer, August, actually, and I am editing it for today's currency.]

I do not apologize for the difficulty of this post, just as neither Adams or Beethoven would not. The complexity of this piece and my concept require that the reader must pay attention. Must.

It's my intention that, if you would be so kind as to observe the word and order of the video performances in this post, dear reader, you shall come to a gratifying end.

Imagine the time. 1824 and John Quincy Adams, a Founder of our United States and a rebel by the way, is President of the United States.

One of the finest pieces of human art creation I know of is Beethoven's 9th Symphony, known as "The Chorale" symphony and it debuts in said 1824. Imagine that you composed, but you never physically heard it. That would make you Beethoven. There's a little bit of it that makes you, well, you.

Be embraced, you millions! This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, beyond the stars, a loving Father dwells
You bow down, you millions? Do you sense the Creator, world?
Seek Him beyond the stars! Beyond the stars must He dwell.
Be embraced, ye millions! This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, beyond the stars must a loving Father dwell. Be embraced,
This kiss for the whole world! Joy, beautiful spark of the gods,
Daughter of Elysium, Joy, beautiful spark of the gods
These are the wildly crazy words of Schiller, that Beethoven put to music. Now, watch.

This first part, to measure against, is from 1942, April 20th; Hitlers birthday , Kurt Furtwangler conducting. Notice the people's faces in both the orchestra and the audience.

Observe - the conductor, Furtwangler, is a MANIAC in this performance, and the orchestra result is all "Eh. I've had better." He was a world reknown conductor beforehand and his co-option by the Nazis.

And the audience are zombies. Including the wounded. Are these "millions" embraced? No. And does this sort of staged shit look familiar, like, say, the State of the Union, pick one, since 2003?

'Bout these here performers. Are they free? No.

Are they kissed? Probably not. And there's definiteley no lube, if you know what I mean.

Lets move to the reconstruction period in Europe. Previously, SadButTrue urged homework re: the difference between "Manifest Destiny" and "Lebensraum."

Well, here's a 1949 offering from those who lived through "lebensraum" and are pretty well into the Marshall Plan.

There's a very sobering difference when one observes it. The Prague ("Praha" in my family) folks during the Marshall Plan years have an entirely different performance. It's workman-like, and understandably so, since they are re-building. Notice how the simpler approach yields an entirely different performance.

A sober, simple and methodical approach is entirely appropriate, free from the yolk of Nazi oppression, AND IT BECOMES UPLIFTING! Instead of stilted as before. Observe the faces between the 2 videos so far. Video 1, the Nazis suck. Look at all the crossed arms in #1 and the serious faces. There is no Joy in #1. But - people are so serious about their "Freude" ("Joy") in #2 in Marshall Plan Prague. The tone is lighter, but is that all? Nope - the Czechs are STILL SINGING THE GERMAN WORDS! You see, the shit Nazi German has left, but the German Art remains.

This fucking brilliant next-door-neighbor, Beethoven, over 100 fucking years ago, made this shit, it's brilliant, it's in German and these folks just don't care that the Germans have totally fucked them in the ass, they CARE ABOUT THE ART! And they should. Beauty was bereft for so long, discrimination had no place along side it. And that makes those particular Czechs so pure of heart, for their time and place, I can't tell you how much it makes me tear up in hope for the future.

The simple fact of their breathing and volume and enthusiasm in the piece are worlds apart from video #1. They have SURVIVED THE MUTHERFUCKERS and are now PROSPERING, albeit barely and by scratch. They blame the Nazis and their fascism, and do not confuse it with Beethoven. Heavenly people, really.

And now, to my ultimate point:

Again- look at the peoples faces, in both the orchestra and the audience. It's so simple for Bernstein and his audience. The smiles alone tell the jubilation of the performance.

Here's the way I look at this. You can only have one opportunity to bastardize a great work of humans for a political agenda. To my mind, what happens is, you get one shot at the bastardization. TIME will prove as the Great Corrector.

The FISA bill is exactly the kind of thing that is the subject of Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio. Is that going to pass? Odds say yes.

If so, it could very well be that we could never ever have again such a performance as the Bernstein 9th Symphony in our lifetimes. In fact, Fidelio could ultimately be the victim of a soft ban. You know, dying by "well, it could never happen here." It is totally fucking dark here, right now, God, if you're listening.

So note to Obama: You ain't Furtwangler. You have a choice to be Eric Kleiber or Leonard Bernstein. I say, be Bernstein. That's what will guarantee you two terms instead of one, buddy. You told us on August 01, 2007

[...] This Administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we
cherish and the security we demand. I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom.

That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. And it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists. The FISA court works. The separation of powers works. Our Constitution works. We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary.

This Administration acts like violating civil liberties is the way to enhance our security. It is not. There are no short-cuts to protecting America, and that is why the fifth part of my strategy is doing the hard and patient work to secure a more resilient homeland.

Too often this Administration's approach to homeland security has been to scatter money around and avoid hard choices, or to scare Americans without telling them what to be scared of, or what to do. A Department set up to make Americans feel safer didn't even show up when bodies drifted through the streets in New Orleans.
That's not acceptable. [emphasis mine]

That's an entirely clear promise. Keep it. And by the way, You, Constitutional Professor, Know Better. Shame on you.

Shame. [shaking head]


The Nazi types may never again appropriate Beethoven's 9th Symphony. They will have to have US give it to them to do so again. Let us keep this particular torch unto ourselves, and never surrender it lightly. But are we surrendering?

I am dreading the day that I have to write the whole "Abschuelicher" thing again.

[Fidelio-Leonore ( woman who dresses as a man to get the job
done - UC)
appears on the scene: "Abscheulicher, wo eilst du hin,
was hast du vor?" (despicable one, where are you hurrying off to, what is your

In trembling agitation, the orchestra accompanies the fearful lamentations of the plagued woman's heart. Then Leonore regains her posture; in a wondrous passage (introduced and accompanied by the strings, woodwinds and soft playing of the horns), "Komm, Hoffnung, laß den letzten Stern der Müden nicht rbleichen" (come, hope, do not let the last star of the weary one fade away).

And then Leonore rejoices, "Ich folg dem innern Triebe, ich wanke nicht" (
will follow my inner notions, I will not falter
). She sings herself into a delirious state. --At the request of Fidelio, Rocco orders that the prison cells be opened.

With a chorus that can hardly still be described "earthly", the prisoners welcome fresh air and light. Here, the outer course of events stand completely still. Yet, the expression of the inner meaning of the events is so strong that one would not consider this chorus as an interruption but rather as a first breath of air of the freedom to come
(emphasis mine) ]
Surrender your art NOT to the service of evil. And I know you folks won't. I am just challenging every frikking Dem in the Senate and the house, and not just on FISA.

But, fuck. [*] Beethoven would roll in his grave if he knew that the previous folks had ever used his Art to an ill-purposed, fascist or otherwise anti-human situation.

Be embraced ye millions - this kiss, Freedom, is for the whole world.

* This post was curse-word enhanced more than regular posting I do. Just because I wanted to.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

FISA Bill: Forget Immunity, There's Not One Good Thing In It

Last Friday while I was watching the whole FISA fiasco go down in the House, I was mostly focused on two pieces of the bill; Retroactive Immunity and the ridiculous "Presidential Permission Slip Tango" that requires the Judge to throw out the case and not say why.

I was mostly pissed about the secret part, because it's just plain stupid and very scary. Our system is generally built on transparency and sunshine, and secrecy is a very dark place. But something kept nagging at me which I didn't put my finger on until I read this piece by Looseheadprop over at Firedoglake.

It's stare decisis: "to stand by things decided." You know, precedents. The screcy piece of the "Permission Slip Tango" effectively abolishes stare decisis because you can't know the precedents of why cases were dismissed.

But wait! It get's worse! From David Kris at Balkanization:

"...more importantly, the pending legislation focuses only on the target’s location (or the government’s reasonable belief about his location) not his status or conduct as a terrorist or agent of a foreign power. In other words, there is no requirement that anyone – the FISA Court or the NSA – find probable cause that the target is a terrorist or a spy before (or after) commencing surveillance. " [emphasis mine]

This is flatly, out and out, can't say it enough, unconstitutional.

The Fourth Amendment:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. " [emphasis mine]

Get that? "Particularly describing" is totally out the window on this one. It's dragnet searching, specifically forbidden by the Constitution.

There is not one good godamned thing in this bill. Not one at all. And it is just wrong to say I suport this bill EXCEPT retroactive immunity.

From Glenzilla:

"Making matters worse still, what Obama did yesterday is in clear tension with an emphatic promise that he made just months ago. As the extremely pro-Obama notes today, Obama's spokesman, Bill Burton, back in September, vowed that Obama would "support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies." MoveOn believes Obama should be held to his word and is thus conducting a campaign urging Obama to do what he promised -- support a filibuster to stop the enactment of telecom amnesty. You can email Burton here to demand that Obama comply with his commitment not just to vote against, but to filibuster, telecom amnesty:

Incidentally, Chris Dodd made an identical promise when he was running for President, prompting the support of hundreds of thousands of new contributors,
and he ought to be held to his promise as well. "

You can contact Dodd here or phone his office at (202) 224-2823.

Email Burton at the adress above. Demand that Obama reverse his position stated last Friday, that he supports the bill but without Telco Amnesty. This bill flouts the Constitution and Professor Obama knows it.

UPDATE: from mcjoan - Feingold's message to Dems on FISA:

Let's reiterate this: "Anybody who claims this is an okay bill, I really
question if they’ve even read it."

From his position on both the Intelligence and the Judiciary committees in
the Senate, I think Russ Feingold has some credibility in making that statement.

Feingold himself:

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

In Which I Confront Mark Udall re: His FISA Vote

Since it's an election year, there are predictable amount of politicians at Denver Pride. (Strangely Congressional Rep. Diana DeGette CO-01 was not there this year, and I have seen her there consistently over the years. Anyway, that's not important. She voted the right way on FISA.)

But a CO Congressional rep who voted the WRONG way on FISA was there; Mark Udall. And he's campaining for Wayne Allard's seat in the Senate.

It was approximately 10:00 in the morning, today, that I snagged this film. I saw Udall's campaign crowd moving along, but had lost track of Mark himself, who was working the side of the street shaking hands. I finally saw where he was because this woman had buttonholed him about FISA, and the little group around started to press closer to hear what he was saying. The woman did interrupt him, because he at one point said, "The important thing is that we stood up to the President." And she said "NO, you DIDN'T!" and he said "Let me finish!"

Let me continue some from where the video stops when I was yellling about Judicial Review.

I was waving my hands trying to get his attention. I was welcomed by "A Look" and then a swift turn of the heel. I continued, "Judicial Review is STILL IMMUNITY! Do you think we're stupid?" The crowd around me was muttering, and starting to be interactive with me. There was a smattering of "They do think we're stupid" and "We're in Democrat Central right here right now. They know we have no where else to go." You get the idea.

Udall just kept moving, smiling and waving. Perfectly professional.

So I started talking more with that little group around. I asked where they knew about the whole FISA fiasco. Astoundingly, to me anyway, only one was a blog reader, and it was the lady who asked Udall the question in the first place. She caught the vote and then the roll call from Huffington Post. Had never heard of Firedoglake or Glenzilla. The others had heard it from emails from friends or Olbermann from the Thursday night show with Turley. But somehow, these people were relatively informed, cared, and didn't like Udall's response.

None of them wanted to be recorded in any way, voice or video. And I really can't blame them. That made making the video a little harsh, but I promised them I wouldn't. So.....

I told them that Obama had released a statement in support of the FISA bill. The blog lady knew the lingo; she said, "I'm going to have to hold my nose on this one" and the others grinned and laughed to whatever degree.

The Obama campaign actually was after Udall; I just portrayed in reverse in the film for story telling continutity's sake. The O campaign folk were handing out printouts of Obama's LGBT stance. They tried to hand me one and I told the woman, nope, don't need one, and by the way, you guys on the inside of the campaign need to pressure Obama about his FISA stance.

She blinked. "What's that one?" she asked. I replied the whole telecom spying thing. She said, Oh, he's against that. I said "read the campaigns statement from Friday; he's supporting it."

She blinked again and said "No he's not."

I laughed out loud. The others around me from the Udall encounter were all shaking their heads at the campaign lady. I said, "Yes he is. Go look for yourself." Her last response was "No he's not. He's just not that way."

They marched cheerfully on, cheering and chanting.

I looked at the older guy next to me, and went "Baaaaaa."

He grinned, and looked at the ground, his sandals I suppose, since he kicked at a little piece of grass. Looked back up and said:

"It is what it is, I guess."


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Friday, June 20, 2008

Obama Supports Bad FISA Bill

Bad move.

Full text of the statement here. But here's a piece:

“Under this compromise legislation, [*] an important tool in the fight against
terrorism will continue, but the President's illegal program of warrantless
surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap
statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance [1] – making it clear that
the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the
American people. [2] It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all
domestic surveillance in the future. [3] It does, however, grant retroactive
immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can
seek full accountability for past offenses. [4] But this compromise guarantees a
thorough review by the Inspectors General of our national security agencies to
determine what took place in the past, and ensures that there will be
accountability going forward. [5] By demanding oversight and accountability, a
grassroots movement of Americans has helped yield a bill that is far better than
the Protect America Act. " [annotations mine to be further considered]

Let's begin - [*] This is not a compromise. It's a capitulation. SO says Russ Feingold.

[1] The 1978 FISA law IS the exclusive law of the land. The PAA muddied the waters until it sunsetted.

[2] The law was in place and the President circumvented it anyway. That's why this whole thing is illegal, and they NEED immunity.

[3] This is the "Presidential Permission Slip." This is not judicial oversight when you hand a case to a judge and say here you go judge. And the judge is compelled to approve the order.

[4] So what? Removing the immunity clause will not remove immunity. That's what's so insidious about this. All they need is the "Presidential Permission Slip" from the AG's office and the reviewing judge is COMPELLED to dismiss the case, not say why, and keep it secret. See above [3] and Guess what? They already have the documentation waiting to dismiss the 40 pending suits.

[5] Inspector Generals replacing the now gutted 4th Amedment. Nice. I'll trust them.

Turley tells us all about it from last night's Countdown

Atrios gave Obama "Wanker of the Day." dday says This endorsement of a X'ing out the Fourth Amendment is waaaay out of bounds and emptywheel says "Obama Replied to my letter to him. He told me to fuck off. "

I'm pretty much in agreement with them.

So here's the thing I'm doing. I'm telling the Obama Campaign to take me off their email list. I'm telling them never ask me for money again. I won't campaign for him.

I'll hold my nose and vote, and know that it's suffering the evil of two lessers. But Obama gained a firece pack of critics today by abandoning the very netroots who helped get him where he is today.

That's change I can't believe in.

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C-SPAN Let's Me Become Furious At The House

I'm watching all the actors on the stage regarding FISA and at this very minute; 9:58 Mountain time, Speaker Pelosi is at the well, speaking.

More correctly she is LYING. I am watching her lie to me! I have a copy of the bill open too, and she is outright lying about what is and is not in it.

I could vomit.
Watching Steny Hoyer made me grind my teeth.

10:27 Mountain - the Bill has gone to the Vote on Passage, and I'm watching the "Yeas" rack up.

In my opinion, every Yea voter is abandoning the Constitution, and they know it. Fer crying out loud, the old FISA set the bar LOW already, and was controversial enough in itself!

Crooks and Liars has the video of constitutional expert Jonathan Turley on last night's Olbermann. And he calls it exactly right.

And still NO WORD from Constitutional-Lawyer-Democratic-Candidate-for-President Obama. He could really have helped stopped this fiasco.

10:48 Mountain Time
C-SPAN's screen tally indicates passage of HR 6304: Yea - 293, Nay - 129, Not Voting - 13.

1 Republican voted Nay. 107 Democrats voted Yea. I'll have to wait till the roll call is up to see who are the Constitution haters.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Action Alert! 4th Amendment About To Be Shredded!

The House of Representatives is fully participating in shredding the 4th Amendment, and maybe even as soon as tomorrow.

Glenzilla reports:

CQ reports (sub. req.) that "a final deal has been reached" on
FISA and telecom amnesty and "the House is likely to take up the legislation Friday." I've now just read a copy of the final "compromise" bill. It's even
worse than expected. When you read it, it's actually hard to believe that the Congress is about to make this into our law. Then again, this is the same
Congress that abolished habeas corpus with the Military Commissions Act, and
legalized George Bush's warrantless eavesdropping program with the "Protect
America Act," so it shouldn't be hard to believe at all. Seeing the
words in print, though, adds a new dimension to appreciating just how corrupt and repugnant this is:

The provision granting amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms, Title VIII, has the exact Orwellian title it should have: "Protection of Persons Assisting the Government." Section 802(a) provides:

[A] civil action may not lie or be maintained in a Federal or State court against any person for providing assistance to an element of the intelligence community, and shall be properly dismissed, if the Attorney General certifies to the district court of the United States in which such action is pending that . . . (4) the assistance alleged to have been provided . . . was --

(A) in connection with intelligence activity involving communications that was (i) authorized by the President during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, and ending on January 17, 2007 and (ii) designed to prevent or detect a terrorist attack, or activities in preparation of a terrorist attack, against the United States" and

(B) the subject of a written request or directive . . . indicating that the activity was (i) authorized by the President; and (ii) determined to be lawful.

So all the Attorney General has to do is recite those magic words -- the President requested this eavesdropping and did it in order to save us from the Terrorists -- and the minute he utters those words, the courts are required to dismiss the lawsuits against the telecoms, no matter how illegal their behavior was. [emphasis original]
Call and email your reps!

UPDATE: Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher reports there is chatter that this FISA bill is going to be tied to the Iraq Funding as a supplemental. Disgusting and craven if true.

She also has this statement from Russ Feingold:

The proposed FISA deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation. The House
and Senate should not be taking up this bill, which effectively guarantees
immunity for telecom companies alleged to have participated in the President's
illegal program, and which fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans
at home. Allowing courts to review the question of immunity is meaningless when
the same legislation essentially requires the court to grant immunity. And under
this bill, the government can still sweep up and keep the international
communications of innocent Americans in the U.S. with no connection to suspected
terrorists, with very few safeguards to protect against abuse of this power.
Instead of cutting bad deals on both FISA and funding for the war in Iraq,
Democrats should be standing up to the flawed and dangerous policies of this

Also, Digby weighs in and tells us about

And since Obama is the de facto head of the Democratic Party, I call on him (I'm not the only one) to make a public statement before this legislation hits the floor AND to not only vote against it when it comes to the joint conference part of the process, but to LEAD the fight against it. He can redeem himself from not voting against it last February. Plus he knows better. He is a Contitutional Lawyer fer crtin' out loud!

The call to his campaign is toll free: (866) 675-2008 [Dial 6, then 0, on the menu]

Via mcjoan:
Call Steny Hoyer and tell him this is a bad deal: Phone (202) 225-4131 , Fax (202) 225-4300
Call Nancy Pelosi and urge her to pull the bill from the House schedule: Phone (202) 225-4965, Fax (202) 225-8259

Dammit; I don't want to have to write another "And Liberty Cried" post again....

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Tyrannical Attitudes Hurt National Security

This is a bit dated, but last week John McCain referred to the Supreme Court's decision to allow detainees a right to request a hearing one of the worst decisions in history.

Paleo-Conservative George Will asks, really?

Does it rank with Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), which concocted a constitutional right, unmentioned in the document, to own slaves and held that black people have no rights that white people are bound to respect? With Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which affirmed the constitutionality of legally enforced racial segregation? With Korematsu v. United States (1944), which affirmed the wartime right to sweep American citizens of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps?

Dissenting Justice Antonin Scalia says that we might lose a city because of this ruling. I read his ludicrous dissent in full. It didn't mention that investigative journalism conducted by McClatchy Newspapers uncovered that individuals that were wrongly detained in the Bush administration's post-9/11 panic to look like they were securing our nation once released actually became militants.

Using Scalia's logic, one could say that our unjust process that led to the creation of new militants could one day cost us a city. Why is this activist Supreme Court Justice working against national security?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Warren G. Harding Was A Negro

Colbert's "Threatdown." You have to watch the whole 5 minutes, because "Secret Negro Presidents" is Threat #1!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Chopin Prelude in G Minor, Opus 28 No. 22

"Molto Agitato"

Yep, it is "Very Agitated" indeed! And brutal. It's not your nice-aunties-tea-and-crumpets sort of Chopin. It's in your face. Harsh even. Which is why I think it is so seldom played or written about.

I like to think of it as the "No More War, You Muthas!" "Don't try busting this Union, sucker!" "Don't EVEN mess with me!" Prelude.

I need to work on my "bravura" technique. Those left hand octaves are killing me.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

There Is Something Wrong With This...

blog readability test


This site is certified 37% EVIL by the Gematriculator

No way is this blog "genius" level, and I happen to know it's 50% evil.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I'm Voting Republican



Truth in humor and satire! This video appears to be going viral. I've seen it at Crooks and Liars, Down With Tyranny and other sites today. The originator site is I'm Voting Republican

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

SCOTUS Appears To Show Signs Of Functioning

One branch of the Government appears to be functioning correctly, at least in this instance.

From today:

The justices, in a 5-4 ruling Thursday, handed the Bush
administration its third setback at the high court since 2004 over its treatment of prisoners who are being held indefinitely and without charges at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.

It was not immediately clear whether this ruling, unlike the first two, would lead to prompt hearings for the detainees, some of whom have been
held more than 6 years. Roughly 270 men remain at the island prison, classified as enemy combatants and held on suspicion of terrorism or links to al-Qaida and the Taliban.


SCOTUSBlog calls the ruling "a stunning blow to the Bush Administration in its war-on-terrorism policies" because it found that "Congress had not validly taken away habeas rights. If Congress wishes to suspend habeas, it must do so only as the Constitution allows — when the country faces rebellion or invasion."

Wow! Score 1 for The Constitution!

UPDATE: The full case and decision are available online (pdf) here at SCOTUSBlog

Glenzilla weighs in, emphasis his:

In its decision, the Court emphasized (and revived) some of the
most vital principles of our system of Government which have been trampled upon
and degraded over the last seven years (emphasis added):

The Framers' inherent distrust of government power was the driving force behind the constitutional plan that allocated powers among three independent branches. This design serves not only to make Government accountable but also to secure individual liberty. . . .

Where a person is detained by executive order rather than, say, after being tried and convicted in a court, the need for collateral review
is most pressing. . . .
The habeas court must have sufficient authority
to conduct a meaningful review of both the cause of detention and the
Executive's power to detain. . . .

Security depends upon a sophisticated intelligence apparatus and the ability of our Armed Forces to act and interdict. There are further
considerations, however. Security subsists, too, in fidelity to
freedom's first principles.
Chief among these are freedom from
arbitrary and unlawful restraint and the personal liberty that is secured by adherence to separation of powers. . . .

The laws and Constitution are designed to survive,
and remain in force, in extraordinary times. Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system, they are reconciled within the framework of law.
The Framers decided that habeas corpus, a right of first importance, must be a part of that framework, part of that law.

In ruling that the CSRTs woefully fail to provide the constitutionally guaranteed safeguards, the Court quoted Alexander Hamilton's Federalist No. 84: "The practice of arbitrary imprisonments, in all ages, is the favorite and most formidable instruments of tyranny." It is that deeply tyrannical practice -- implemented by the Bush administration and authorized by a bipartisan act of Congress -- which the U.S. Supreme Court, today, struck down.

The Military Commissions Act of 2006 was -- and remains -- one of the great stains on our national political character. It was passed by a substantial majority in the Senate (65-34) with the support of every single Senate Republican (except Chafee) and 12 Senate Democrats. No filibuster was even attempted. It passed by a similar margin in the House, where 34 Democrats joined 219 Republicans to enact it. One of the most extraordinary quotes of the post-9/11 era came from GOP Sen. Arlen Specter, who said at the time that that the Military Commissions Act -- because it explicitly barred federal courts from hearing habeas corpus petitions brought by Guantanamo detainees -- "sets back basic rights by some 900 years" and was "patently unconstitutional on its face" -- and Specter then proceeded to vote for it.

Now I have zero expectation that the Executive Branch will perform properly, but erm, maybe the Senate and the House could?

That would be music to my ears:

Chopin Etude, Opus 25 No. 1 A Flat Major

I have been working on consolidating all the videos I have made between different Youtube and Photobucket accounts. (In other words, I have forgotten all the crap I've made, and didn't want to repeat an effort, as I really want to add to the music repertoire.

Come to find out, I actually have something on the Intertubz with over 1,000 views! I was quite startled to learn that actually. It's this recording of the Chopin Etude, Opus 25 No. 1 A Flat Major.

Wiki says:
As a technical work, this piece requires an extremely flexible hand, wide spans between fingers, accuracy in large leaps, and exceptionally fine tone control governed by a strong musical instinct. The repeated figures of the arpeggiated inner voices can easily result in an apparent excess, unless phrased artistically. Another difficulty this étude presents is the voicing of the inner counter-melodies. Schumann once commented on Chopin's subtle emphasis on certain melodies throughout this piece.

I say: Duh. Big Giant Arpeggios sort of have that flexible thing as a given. Particularly if you're trying to get a melodic line out of said Big Giant Arpeggios. Oh, and the fuckers are quasi-syncopated as sextuplets. That means six notes against one beat. Enough musico-technobabble.

(Thanks to Mr. B filmed that for me. And a couple other vids too. He has very wisely now left me to me own devices for this video fetish, and I can't say as I blame him, although if I come up with something in the future that I really asked nicely for, he'll help me out I'm sure.)

I'm glad I moved the synth out to the parlor too, so now I have all the music devices in one networked spot. But on the downside, it's one more beast out of the barn. I'll have to finish up that goddamned Ballade and the "Rhapsody in Blue." But I think my next Chopin will be a funky Prelude, rarely played.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Meet Jason Furman, Economic Policy Advisor to Obama

This is Jason Furman -------------------------------------------->

According to his bio at the Brookings Institution:

Jason Furman has conducted research and policy work on issues that include taxes, health care and Social Security. He is the former director of The Hamilton Project, an initiative that develops policy proposals to achieve shared economic growth. Dr. Furman is currently on a leave of absence from Brookings.

The Right will shriek that the Brookings Institution is leftist, when in my opinion it has moved from Left to Center, and in some cases even Right. For instance the odious and ever wrong war hawk Michael O'Hanlon is a Brookings scholar.

Here it comes: Furman is a defender of Wal-Mart! From the New York Sun:

Just days after clinching the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator
is naming as his economic policy director an economist who has clashed
with critics of Wal-Mart by defending the company as a boon to poor Americans.

The appointment of Jason Furman, 37, a former Clinton administration official who is a visiting scholar at New York University, immediately met with skepticism from some who have faulted Wal-Mart for being stingy toward its workforce.

"It's surprising because this guy seems to feel that Wal-Mart's low-wage,
low-benefit business model is good for America. That's just flat-out wrong," the
executive director of Wal-Mart Watch, David Nassar, said. "This guy helped to
lend credibility to the Wal-Mart business model. That was disappointing then and
it's disappointing now given this position," said Mr. Nassar, whose group is
backed by a board that includes the president of the Service Employees
International Union, Andrew Stern. Mr. Nassar quickly added that he was "not
critiquing the Obama campaign."

Hang on a second here - why not criticize the Obama campaign? He challenged Hillary Clinton for being on the Board of Wal-Mart and has criticized the company before saying they should pay a living wage. So what's his real position? It is my opinion that since Obama is now the de-facto head of the Democratic Party, he needs to be reminded to hold close to Democratic ideals and principles.

And this is controversial advisor #2 - the first one I was appalled by was John Brennan, Obama's Foreign Policy and Intelligence advisor who agrees with the Bush administration that Telcos should have immunity for illegal warrantless wiretapping. (BTW, both Clinton and Obama left the Senate floor just before the crucial FISA vote in December, for which I am still pissed at them both.) Brennan's firm, The Analysis Corp, is responsible for the passport breach scandal as well.

I think I understand what's going on here. Having secured the left-based candidacy, the well known tactic of swinging to the center-right in order to win more votes is the campaign's strategy. I think he can win without going that far, I really do. People are sick of the status quo, and to invite some of that status quo right into your campaign is, I think, a big mistake.

Call the campaign gurus, and tell them:

David Axelrod ( Advisor – Media & Ads, )
David Plouffe ( Campaign Manager, )
Email : ( David Axelrod ) , ( David Plouffe )
Tel : 202-224-2854 ( Washington – Obama’s office )
312-664-7500 ( Chicago )
212-529-5775 ( New York )
Addr : 730 N. Franklin Suite 404 Chicago, IL 60610
928 Broadway, Suite 505 New York, NY 10010

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Drink up, Bitches

Yes. I stole that from fairlane. I don't give a shit. What I got to offer should make you drink up, bitches. I got Barbies. I got Pink Floyd. I AM QUALIFIED.

Sit down, shut up and LISTEN:

You got something? You a hottie black chick singer in Denver? Call me. I obviously can only comp a couple measures in solo mode. I need you if you can sing. Like you can't tell.

Love ya! Gimme some singer love!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Just Call Me "Aunt Bea"


Summer is here, and it's time to play outside in the garden, and then do stuff with the produce.
Mind you, I don't have any vegetables yet but I have mint, tarragon, sage, lettuce and spinach to beat the band. But what I really wanted was PICKLES. We're out of last years crop.
So we went and found jalapenos on sale and bought what I figured would be enough for 10 pints.

Spent yesterday "putting them up" bread-and-butter style. Mmmmmm.

Fit in a blueberry pie too while we where at it, and I had my whole Mayberry gig going on.

We had Mac & Cheese for dinner too. Unconventional Bumpkin I suppose, but I don't care. I like all this stuff.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Clarke Suggest Shunning Iraq Invasion Liars

Former Clinton and Bush administration counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann that we need "some sort of truth and reconciliation commission" and that the eventual remedy for the Bush administration’s pre-war Iraq lies might be to ostracize them.

Clarke said, "I just don’t think we can let these people back into polite society and give them jobs on university boards and corporate boards and just let them pretend that nothing ever happened when there are 4,000 Americans dead and 25,000 Americans grieviously wounded, and they’ll carry those wounds and suffer all the rest of their lives."

Think Progress has the video.

Friday, June 6, 2008

National Conference for Media Reform

The National Conference for Media Reform is this weekend. Hurray for them!

I especially like the fact that Bill O'Lielly is pissed off about it.

From Timothy Karr at

What O'Reilly is afraid to admit is that the media reform movement encompasses everyone who thinks our mainstream media -- that means you, Bill -- could do a lot better.


Murdoch's News Corp has spent tens of millions of dollars on well-heeled lobbyists who roam the halls of Washington to peddle policies that allow Murdoch to gobble up local media outlets without any respect for journalism or accountability to the public -- you know, people like you and me, whose interests O'Reilly claims to be looking
out for in the "No Spin Zone."

O'Reilly's real aim is to discredit those of us who have caused his boss so much heartache -- who by our outspoken activism have shown that Murdoch's idea of media consolidation is bad for journalism, bad for democracy and just plain bad for America

Our movement now numbers in the millions, and, as evidenced by last month's tremendous victory in the Senate, we've started chalking up victories against the
lumbering media conglomerates that still control the news agenda for millions of

O'Reilly has every right to be scared because we're coming after him and the broken and dishonest media system he epresents.

Here's Billo being himself:

He just hates it that normal people don't want media consolidation, and people DO want Net Neutrality. Neener neener, Bill.

I expect that there will be some great vids of the speakers this weekend, and great stuff to post from it next week.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


[Cross posted at Les]

Pitchfork? Check.

Torch? Check.

Unruly attitude? Check.

OK let's go:

In all the noise and fury of the last primary run, and Scott McClellan's book last week, there's a unruly gem in them thar hills:

"David Sirota is a clear-headed and principled hell-raiser for economic justice. More like him and we'll have a real uprising on our hands. "
—Naomi Klein, author of "No Logo" and "The Shock Doctrine"

Do I have your attention, Mob? Good, I thought so.

I saw this on Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now!" show last night. I am a latecomer to David Sirota. He has been blogging on which is a major Colorado progressive blog, (credentialed to the DNC by the way) and I always thought he was interesting, but I had never dug fiercely into him before. Last night's show had me absolutely riveted.

You can watch the whole show here, but I have excerpted a couple of points:

His observations about Obama, the political process this cycle being the "starting point, not the end point" and further observations about "direct action" making Wall Street and K Street "scared" are just music to my ears. Literally.

Just listen to what he says about the Iraq War. We've been saying it for the longest time!

AMY GOODMAN: David Sirota, you talk about conflicts of interest within the antiwar movement: the antiwar movement, which enjoys widespread support, and the politicians who ally themselves with pro-war consultants.

DAVID SIROTA: Right. What happened, in the chapter that I reported on the antiwar movement, is back in 2007, what we found is that you just had an election where the Democrats were elected promising to end the war, and what ended up happening was that the same Democratic Congress refused to really do what it takes to actually end the war. And part of that was, I think, a strategic decision on behalf of the antiwar organizations in Washington about how they said we could end the war. You had consultants who were simultaneously being paid by the Democratic Party and Democratic Party politicians.


DAVID SIROTA: You had Hildebrand Tewes. You had consulting firms. They were the lead consulting firm. And I don’t mean to pick on them. It’s just that they were the consulting firm that was heading up the major coalition in Washington of antiwar groups. And so, the strategy that came out of those antiwar groups was we have to simply bash the Republicans to end the war, when in fact, of course, Congress was controlled entirely by Democrats. Last I checked, Democrats have forty-one senators in the US Senate, if they wanted to filibuster a bill to continue funding the war [sic-they could]. They haven’t done that. Yet the strategy kept saying, well, we have to only focus the ads, the media buys and the pressure on Republicans. It was sort of a dishonest strategy, and I think it had something to do with the fact that you have organizations in Washington that put partisan affinity over movement goals. [emphasis mine]

He is totally speaking our Unruly Language, I do believe. The part about sneaking into the Exxon Shareholder meeting is GREAT!

Watch the whole show, (Sirota's interview starts at 30 minutes into the stream) and buy the book. I have never EVER said buy something before on this blog, but I'm telling you I am buying it, and from what I saw of the interview, Sirota's insights into the whole political process and "direct action" really speak to what we as the Unruly Mob hold dear.

Pitchfork? Check.
Torch? Check.
Unruly attitude? Check.

OK let's go!

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Pie Fighing Is Over!

Thank goodness, it appears that with the exception of a few crusts and some whippedcream to be tossed about, the Pie Fighting Season is just about over. I couldn't be more happy. The blood letting and internecine warfare was really getting on my nerves, and I'm very much looking forward to all that winding down.

I'm sure Kos, HuffingtonPost and the like will stay shrill for a bit longer. Afterall, it's hard to sing a new song when you've become really, REALLY good at the one you've been singing.

An additional reason that there are a few crumbs left to be thrown is that Hillary Clinton has a very short window to remain credible and viable as a Senator. She'll be very busy negotiating behind the scenes I am sure. And the top tier blogs will cry "Foul!" "Get off stage!" "Your song is DONE!" And I suspect that in a week or so, there probably won't be anymore provocative statements out of the Clinton campaign, and we'll have All-Obama-All-The-Time coverage in the blogosphere and the traditional media. And watch the turn the media will take.

That's all fair grist for the mill I suppose. In a way, those top tier candidate blogs who run their blogs as a business will owe Hillary Clinton a small debt; they'll be able to keep their traffic up for a while longer. It's fairly well known that blog traffic declines a bit in the summer. The ones who have remained steady and growing have always been the issue blogs like Firedoglake, Digby, Glenn Greenwald, ThinkProgress etc.

I'm expecting and hoping that the temporarily-candidate-oriented blogs will return to the issues, as it's going to be very important that the traditional media has a countervoice in the blogosphere as large as possible. Especially during the Democratic Convention here in Denver this August. I fully expect and predict the traditional media to paint it as looney and "how could you possibly vote for these unorganized, messy and LIBRUL LIBRUL LIBRUL people who hate America?"

A Democratic victory in November is not a sure thing, and is going to be closer than most expect I would predict. I say 10% spread or less. The same bastards who brought you Swiftboating are doing just fine, thank you, and do you expect the Republican Party to play anything but dirty? I didn't think so.

So the most important thing is to vote. Just pull the Dem lever and call it done. I think most Clinton supporters will end up doing so.

Now that the pie fight is over, we can focus on having some actual nice pie, not the cheap kind one makes to throw. Here's a recipe we do at Chez Unconventional. I invite you to have a slice:

Monday, June 2, 2008

Monday Morning Smiting Coming Down

June 2nd, 2008

Dear Flying Spaghetti Monster:

You know I usually just telepathically send you these requests. However at this time, I feel the need to write them down, so I don't forget, as I am wont to do. So to begin this weeks Smiting Requests -

Please smite the Three Headed Hydra of my part of the Blogosphere - Google, Blooger and Haloscan. But please smite them in a nice way, so that they straighten out and work consistently. Maybe sneak up on them very quietly and then shout "BOO!" or something like that would cure their nasty "hiccups."

For the rest of the Smiting, please get all Pastafurious on their asses:

Please smite whoever is responsible for Sam Seder going off the air.
Please smite Jonah Goldberg for being such a tool.
Please smite Michelle Malkin for scoring a victory against donut loving Democrats.
Please smite the jerks at Gitmo who have been torturing a young man.
Please smite Rush Limbaugh for the usual I reasons I ask you every week.
Please smite Bill Kristol and Michael Goldfarb, and smite them mightily.

If you can't get all the miting requests done, please consider just smiting Goldfarb, for saying stuff like this:

The Times indicts the Bush administration for exposing terrorists captured
abroad to "head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures." Boo

Boo hoo? About Torture? And he's a fan of Dictators? SMITE HIM! Just like you eventually smote the Russians, after you did a good job of scaring them first.

Thanks as usual -

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