Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I am happy to accept.
He did have some conditions though, as he requires more information on my platform suggestions, since I should also become Happy Hour Czar and Minister of Appetizers. (I thought both those departments should go together for efficiency's sake.)
Without further ado, I make the following affirmations so the Zaius/Gregarious '08 campaign can vet me properly.
- First, there shall be a national Happy Hour. It will begin at 3:00 pm local time and end at 9:00 pm local time. Yes, you might have noticed that this is SIX hours. That's for the heavy drinkers. For everyone else, just be happy at least one hour during that time.
- Next, this shall be the Official Swizzle Stick:
- The official cocktail will be the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster
- However, this appetizer below passes too, and appears to be one I want to make immediately disappear off of my plate, despite how much I really admire that bologna critter above:
Friday, July 25, 2008
Monsieur Randal Graves has put out one of those
irritating enjoyable blog memes. In a nutshell, you're supposed to list your favorite album produced during each year of your life.
I'm not doing that. But here's the thing; Randal claims he was hatched in 1973. Instant bell rang in my head, because that's the year that Pink Floyd produced Dark Side Of The Moon. '73 was a very good year evidently, since it produced Randal, DSOM and Led Zep's Houses of the Holy.
I'm not a metalhead; I was more of a glam rock kid back in those years, so one of my fav tunes from Houses is No Quarter. Lemme tell you, it's not easy to cover Zep tunes on solo piano, and for sure, this attempt is marginal too. Nonetheless this one's for Monsieur L'Ennui. Consider your meme met, bub.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Watch this 6:00 clip for the answer.
Take a very good look around at your polling place this November. Bring a camera if you can. A video cam would be even better. Just sayin....
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill.
The eyes of all people are upon us.
-- John Winthrop, Governor of Massachusetts, 1630 --
A TERRIFIC POST from Bill W. (who is also a contributor at Crooks and Liars, who've also posted it) really lays on the line just how much harm the criminal Bush administration has done to international law, peace, and just incidentally, America's reputation. And it comes with a great video clip! (uploaded to YouTube by Bill W. - man, this guy does it all and gives you your correct change to boot.)
Ah yes, American Exceptionalism - the bastard child of Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine. The not-quite-so-evil twin of Might Makes Right. Nurtured and fed on a falsehood that is older than the country itself - the idea that the US is so morally superior to everyone else that it can be described as The City on the Hill, The Beacon of Democracy, the Font of Everything That is Good in The World.
And the reason that the world doesn't have to be concerned about the actions of America or its leaders? - because they're just so darned peachy-keen, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed gee whiz golly gosh dripping with good intentions. And if those good intentions turn out to make some US businesses a tidy profit? Well all the better! We'll throw in a slice of hot apple pie, and teach your folks how to play baseball.
And if those good intentions lead to us backing a coup against your democratically elected leader and installing a business-friendly tinpot dictator who starts murdering the opposition? Well shucks, dang, and whoa there Bessie. That never happens! Except for a few times in Guatemala, Iran, Chile, Nicaragua, Panama, and enough places that it's hard to remember them all. But you can rest assured it will never happen again anyway. Trust us.
And not to seem too critical of our well-armed neighbour to the south, I'd like to add that this principle of Exceptionalism is running afoul of another principle that originated in the US, in fact the very principle that the ICC is based on. Yes, that's right, it's called the Nuremberg principle. The idea is that entire countries are not responsible for wars, their LEADERS are. Especially when the leaders in question have been caught in so many lies that no-one can even keep track anymore. And let's not forget that indispensable adjunct to the Nuremberg principle, that the leaders must be held accountable for their actions. Please let's not forget that.
If Bush and his gang of criminals are not held accountable, and significantly if that accounting is not spearheaded by America herself, any credibility you have internationally will be lost forever. Because in Bush's eye's it's not the country as a whole that benefits from this status of City on A Hill, it's himself personally. And that's just not right. As important as it is for the world that Bush be brought to justice it is equally important to America that they take an active role. Else you'll be painted with the brush of complicity in his crimes.
To wind it up, I've got some more video for you that's to the point:
Oh, and there's one other thing. Did I mention that this is all going on against the backdrop of a British Parliament report that US assurances that it does not torture can no longer be taken at face value? Well, I meant to. It seems relevant.
The eyes of all people are upon you.
Cross-posted from Les Enragés.org
TAGS: War Crimes, ICC, International Criminal Court, American Exceptionalism
Monday, July 21, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The release of Jane Mayer's The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals. (See the book review in Salon) has really unleashed a flurry of activity in Greater Left Blogsylvania, due to the revelations it contains with respect to Bush Administration culpability over the detainee torture program. In particular, and I mentioned this in my last post, the fact that in a secret report last year the Red Cross found evidence of the CIA using torture on prisoners that would make the Bush administration guilty of war crimes has caused quite a stir. Understandably.
This is a brilliant piece of radio from KCRW in Santa Monica, with KCRW's Warren Olney discussing the book with Mayer. Harper’s legal affairs writer Scott Horton offers comments, together with Cliff May and Noel Francisco. . You can download a podcast here or just play it right here. Thanks to Harper's magazine for the embed code.
(The actual discussion starts about 7:00 in)
The whole thing is deserving of comment, and particular attention should be paid to the pathetic wriggling of Noel Francisco in the role of Bush apologist. All he can really do is pull out the same old tired arguments that have already been debunked and anyway rely on factoids that can easily proven false. Sad really.
I've made up a transcript of the part of the show that struck me the most, from which I derived the 'head in the sand' title. Mayer describes a Pentagon meeting where the faction advocating a reckless disregard of the Geneva conventions propose that simply ignoring them would somehow be equivalent to making them go away altogether. Doug Feith has a reputation as one of the stupidest men on the planet, and I would say this just about proves it. The transcript begins about 33 minutes into the podcast, after some breathtakingly inane arguments from Noel Francisco.
Warren Olney:This ostrich-like idea that if you simply pretend that a law doesn't exist you can break it with impunity shows a disregard for reality that is astonishing even for the Bush administration. Let us all hope that they pay dearly for this latest confluence of utter gormlessness in the service of unremitting evil.
"Who were the people that you say were warning about war crimes and urging against this course of action [torture program], and what happened to them?
It was so explicit that they were warning about war crimes that there was actually a meeting that took place in the Pentagon. ... It would have been in the summer of 2005 - in which the general counsel of the Navy, Alberto Mora took out the statutes and the law books and read it out loud in a meeting at which Stephen Cambone and Doug Feith were attending. Doug Feith's the number three in the Pentagon at this point.
There was this kind of game playing going on about the law, and now I'm not a lawyer, so maybe this is just how lawyers work, but basically in that particular meeting the question was, 'Should America hew to the Geneva Conventions as a matter of policy if not law? Should we try to live up to at least treating people along the standards that are spelled out in the Geneva conventions, which require humane treatment? And in that meeting the people who opposed doing so said, "If we adopt this law, if we admit this law rules, then we're going to be accused of breaking it, so it would be better if we would just say, 'it doesn't have any applicability' ." At which point Alberto Mora, who was the top lawyer for the Navy said, "You don't have any choice folks. This law exists whether you want to admit it exists or not, and you're going to be breaking it if you're breaking it." So, there are many examples, but that's the one that comes to mind.
Gentlemen, the Hague awaits.
TAGS: Jane Mayer, Bush War Crimes, Torture Program
The Great and Glorious War on Turr
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
The Sunday Times reports Stephen Payne, a Bush pioneer and a political appointee to the Homeland Security Advisory Council, was caught on tape offering access to key members of the Bush administration inner circle in exchange for “six-figure donations to the private library being set up to commemorate Bush’s presidency.”
In an undercover video, Payne is seen promising to arrange a meeting for an exiled leader of Krygystan with Dick Cheney or Condoleezza Rice. (Not President Bush because “he doesn’t meet with a lot of former Presidents these days,” Payne says. “I don’t think he meets with hardly anyone.”) All it will take for him to arrange this high-level meeting, says Payne, is “a couple hundred thousand dollars, or something like that”:
PAYNE: The exact budget I will come up with. But it will be somewhere
between $600,000 and $750,000, with about a third of it going directly to the
Bush library. […] 200, 250, something like that. That’s gonna be a show of
“we’re interested, we’re your friends, we’re still friends.”
Watch the startling video here.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
McClatchy reports that the libertarian approach to economics is getting a bit tenuous, even for the die hard supply-siders of the Bush Administration.
After at least a quarter-century of pressing for deregulation of financial markets, economists and members of Congress are pushing for renewed regulation in hopes of heading off a collapse of the global banking system.If you thought the value of the dollar was in the tank, check out what's going on with the Zimbabwean currency. $500 million does not buy what it used to.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday became the latest official to call for additional government powers, saying that the Fed should be given more authority to determine how much cash investment banks are required to keep in reserve and to monitor how they manage the risk involved in their investments.
We may not be in the same sinking boat with Zimbabwe, but we won't be the world's largest economy for much longer if we don't pump some life back into the dollar. That may not be a bad thing, since under the rigged rules of globalization having such a massive economy affords our leaders the opportunity to hold the proverbial debt gun to the heads of smaller nations.
Economists are projecting that China's economy will overtake the U. S. economy by 2035. Frankly, they can have it. If we don't know enough to let demand and sensible regulations dictate the most amazing economic entity in world history--wasn't that the point of westward genocide, er, expansion?--then the Chinese should probably have the mantle of the world's strongest economy. Will they use it to foolishly and overreach for the dream of global empire as we have? Probably. Better them than us.
UC-San Diego professor Chalmers Johnson has written some of the best work on the subject of U.S. Empire. He makes the point that internal democracies with external empires cannot last. The forces of Empire eventually kill off the democracy, or the democracy re-asserts itself and breaks up the Empire. Either we dump the 700-plus military bases we have around the world or our politicians will resort to killing democracy in order to defend them.
Johnson recently discussed his book Sorrows of Empire on C-SPAN (MP3 here).
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Here's the list of the wankers who voted to let the 4th amendment go away today. Democrat wankers below:
Baucus (D-MT) Bayh (D-IN) Carper (D-DE) Casey (D-PA) Conrad (D-ND) Feinstein (D-CA)
Inouye (D-HI) Johnson (D-SD) Kohl (D-WI) Landrieu (D-LA) Lincoln (D-AR) McCaskill (D-MO) Mikulski (D-MD) Nelson (D-FL) Nelson (D-NE) Obama (D-IL) Pryor (D-AR) Rockefeller (D-WV) Salazar (D-CO) Webb (D-VA) Whitehouse (D-RI)
And as per usual, Glenzilla is pretty much right on the money.
With their vote today, the Democratic-led Congress has covered-up years of
deliberate surveillance crimes by the Bush administration and the telecom
industry, and has dramatically advanced a full-scale attack on the rule of law
in this country. As I noted earlier today, Law Professor and Fourth Amendment
expert Jonathan Turley was on MSNBC's Countdown with Rachel Maddow last night
and gave as succinct an explanation for what Democrats -- not the Bush
administration, but Democrats -- have done today. Anyone with any lingering
doubts about what is taking place today in our country should watch this (video below):
Maddow's introduction to Jonathan Turley's segment on Countdown last night, including the phrase "...one finger salute to the rule of law.." would be hilarious if it weren't true. Watch:
30 Felony counts, for which Bush is now, at least temporarily, absolved.
As I've expressed before, the Bill of Rights, the first Ten Amendments to the Constittion are inextricably woven together, regardless of how they're numbered. When you take one of those away, the others become weaker.
Expect the next attacks to be on the First Amendment.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Via Howie Klein, at Down With Tyranny:
And if you have any doubt about which way the Insiders-- whether Bush, McCain,
the Republican sheep in Congress, or the Republican wing of the Democratic
Party-- are taking this country, watch this short video taken yesterday in
Denver as a 61 year old librarian, peacefully exercising her express
constitutional rights, was harassed and threatened by the police for saying what
everyone in America already knows: McCain = Bush
Welcome to McCain world - agree with him or we'll adios with your ass to jail, prole.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Yes, you read that title correctly.
Viacom filed suit against Google in March 2007, seeking more than $1 billion in damages for allowing users to upload clips of Viacom's copyright material. Google argues that the law provides a safe harbor for online services so long as they comply with copyright takedown requests.
Although Google argued that turning over the data would invade its users' privacy, the judge's ruling (.pdf) described that argument as "speculative" and ordered Google to turn over the logs on a set of four tera-byte hard drives.
The judge also turned Google's own defense of its data retention policies -- that IP
addresses of computers aren't personally revealing in and of themselves, against it to justify the log dump.
From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
The Logging database contains:So you see, it's only speculative what they will do with your user data if you've ever watched a youtube.'...for each instance a video is watched, the unique “login ID” of the user who watched it, the time when the user started to watch the video, the internet protocol address other devices connected to the internet use to identify the user’s computer (“IP address”), and the identifier for the video.'Google correctly argued that “the data should not be disclosed because of the users’ privacy concerns,” citing the VPPA, 18 U.S.C. § 2710. However, the Court dismissed this argument with no analysis, stating “defendants cite no authority barring them from disclosing such information in civil discovery proceedings, and their privacy concerns are speculative.”
But get this, Viacom had attempted to compel the source code for Google's Search, Google/Youtube Video and the Google Advertising Schema!
Here's the rundown on the whole list Viacom wanted and what the judge granted and denied:
(1) The cross-motion for a protective orderbarring disclosure of the source code for the YouTube.com search function is granted, and the motion to compel production of that search code is denied;A couple of interesting relational tidbits to go with this madness. Judge Stanton is an 81 year old Reagan appointee. He has been overturned on copyright cases, as well as others, notably in a case about a biography of L. Ron Hubbard.
(2) The motion to compel production of the source code for the Video ID program is denied;
(3) The motion to compel production of all removed videos is granted;
(4) The motion to compel production of all data from the Logging database concerning each time a YouTube video has been viewed on the YouTube website or through embedding on a third-party website is granted;
(5) The rnotion to compel production of those data fields which defendants have agreed to produce for works-in-suit, for all videos that have been posted to the YouTube website is denied;
(6) The motion to compel production of the schema for the Google Advertising database is denied;
(7) The motion to compel production of schema for the Google Video Content database is granted; and
(8) The motion to compel production of the private videos and data realted to them is denied at this time except to the extent it seeks production of specified non-content data about such videos
Dated: July 1, 2008New York, New York
Louis L. Stanton
Philippe Dauman's (current CEO of Viacom and it's general counsel for quite a few years) attitude about the suit can be viewed and read here. He's wrong on DRM, fair use, technology, net neutrality, you name it.
And last, the ever present connection to government power: Viacom's chief lobbyist is Wayne Berman, who also lobbies for AT&T, Chevron and The Carlyle Group among others. He is also a "Bush Ranger" having raised at least $200,000 for Bush's campaign. Berman's wife, Lea, is the White House Social secretary.
Figures, doesn't it?
Sam Israel, you are no Ken Lay.
Israel faked his suicide last month on the day he was supposed to report to prison for fraud. He left his car on a bridge over the Hudson River. The words "suicide is painless" were scrawled on the hood.
Hilarious. The guy likes M.A.S.H. Nothing wrong with that. He also bilked investors out of $450 million, so maybe suicide is painless, but doing business with Sam Israel, that is painful indeed.
This one's for you Sam:
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
[This is a re-print from a year ago, updated somewhat - UC]
Have you ever been to a foodbank?
This is part one of a multi part series. It's just about the scope and scale of the problem.
I was recently fortunate enough to have an inside tour of the foodbank in Lincoln Nebraska. Jennifer Bauman is the Agency coordinator there and took me through how the whole operation works.
And did you catch that one piece of irony? Hunger is worse in the summer for kids, since they can't get at least one meal from school. In some of the richest farmland, in one of the richest countries on the planet, kids go hungry.
In reviewing some of the written materials I received on that visit, some further facts:
- It was 2.79 million pounds of food that the Lincoln Foodbank distributed through agencies in 2006
- They're gearing up for over 3 million in 2007
- There has not been a year that the demand for services has ever gone down
- When several Directors of the larger distributing agencies were asked, none of them felt the total Community need was being met. If funding and space were not issues, they could grow their distribution double digits percentage-wise every year.
There are over 200 programs that serve the Lincoln area. Keep in mind now that the Lincoln Foodbank is one of the smallest in the country. You can now start extrapolating the problem. It's in the multiple millions, and the Hunger in America Study 2006 really drills down into the picture.
[Why do I post this at this time? It's the Farm Bill. It's up for reauthorization this summer. It's the umbrella where we'll show resolve as a people for Hunger issues. Food Stamps are part of it, as well as a huge opportunity for Corporate Farming and Fast Food to try and put their hands in the trough. More on that in a further section of this series. ]
As it turns out, Mike Johanns quit as Ag. Secretary to run for Senate in Nebraska. The Bill, which had lousy stewardship throughout, had even lousier stewardship after that. Suffice it to say, it was a lousy bill that got passed. And kids are still worse off in the summer as far as hunger is concerned. This summer I'll bet even more than last summer given the economic detrioration, hardest felt in rural areas.
If you have a food bank in your area, they'll appreciate anything you can push their way.