Saturday, April 30, 2005
Conspiracy Theories on C-SPANSome of the parts of his story may have some truth to it. But some parts I researched myself, and found to be false. There were many stories about puts (stock market options that make money when a stock price falls) on the two airlines, and on Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. I downloaded a lot of data and graphed it. If you look at two months worth of data, it _does_ look amazing. Then look at two years.
Friday, April 29, 2005
Sham, Sham, Sham, ShamTo the tune of Spam by Monty Python. Anywho, James Wolcott poses the all-too-fair question "[Is it] really an appropriate use of the Commander in Chief's time and the taxpayers' money to be jetting all around the country fielding softball questions from cherry-picked audiences?" while the Carpetbagger (from where? to where?) points to the upcoming episode of 60 Minutes where we learn "The U.S. military staged the interrogations of terrorism suspects for members of Congress and other officials visiting the military prison in Guantanamo Bay."(emph. mine, all mine, muah ha ha). Meanwhile the guy who let 60 Clinton nominees miss the Senate floor, some on the basis of the recommendations of just two senators, is talking like a madman, asserting "That would be serious, and constitutionally suspect, if a Senate majority did it. It is even more serious when, as we see today, a minority of Senators tries to capture the process." (as if a majority would ever need to stop cloture to get its way, exempli gratia, things simply wouldn't get voted out of committee). And in the biggest sham of all (and no, I'm not saying whether I mean the Iraq war in general, or this particular part of it) Ahmed Chalabi has become OIL minister for Iraq, on a temporary basis, at least, for now. Anyone want to lay odds he signs deals before he is replaced, ones favorable to US interests? Link thanks to the industrious DailyWarNews.
SHAM UPDATE: This just in, Rumsfeld spends time with important figures, to discuss with all seriousness, recruitment (I guess, I only have the picture). Thanks to WIIIAI.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Turns out lots of Title 18, the Crimes section of the United States Code, applies to things happening interstate _only_ if it is against the law in one of the two states in question. Examples include the Mann Act, prohibiting the transportation of people for sex, and the prohibition of transportion of dentures made by unlicensed peoples. Having given it some thought, I don't like this kind of law.
I was looking at the text of the bill, especially the part where it says State X must enforce the laws of State Y
That stupid anti-abortion law, Another Look
(1) GENERALLY- Except as provided in subsection (b), whoever knowingly transports a minor across a State line, with the intent that such minor obtain an abortion, and thereby in fact abridges the right of a parent under a law requiring parental involvement in a minor's abortion decision, in force in the State where the minor resides, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.Leaving aside all other issues for now, I racked my brain. What other law is like this? What law forces people in one State to enforce the laws of another? Then it hit me.
THE FUGITIVE SLAVE ACTThose who don't see the irony haven't been paying attention. Look, I'm no expert on all federal laws. Please tell me I'm wrong. These christo-fascist dipshits, these political inheritors of the Slavers, who sicken me so constantly, shouldn't be seen quite this badly if there is _ANY_ case which shows it isn't so.
Reality Interjection, 2005-04-28My laptop computer had fallen off the table with its lid open. The screen wrenched and the monitor cable broke. To replace the monitor cable, I had to take out every major subsystem in the machine. A picture of it is here. The website whose instructions I followed is here.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
New Neo-Con StupidityThanks to the incomprable Bartholomew's Notes on Religion (here and here), I find a new neo-con anti-European, pro-Religion tome by George Weigel. Unsurprisingly, the establishment press has run pro-Weigel reviews by George Will in the WaPo, Carney in the Wall St. Journal and Dreher at the Dallas Morning News. Getting to a point I noticed this passage in Bartholomew's coverage
What is the deeper source of European antipathy to religion? For Mr. Weigel, the problem goes all the way back to the 14th century, when scholastics like William of Ockham argued for "nominalism." According to their philosophy, universals--concepts such as "justice" or "freedom" and qualities such as "white" or "good"--do not exist in the abstract but are merely words that denote instances of what they describe. A current of thought was set into motion, Mr. Weigel believes, that pulled European man away from transcendent truths. One casualty was a fixed idea of human nature.
"If there is no such thing as human nature," Mr. Weigel argues, "then there are no universal moral principles that can be read from human nature." If there are no universal moral truths, then religion, positing them, is merely a form of oppression or myth, one from which Europe's elites see themselves as liberated.You see, William of Ockham had ideas which could not cross the Atlantic in the last 500 years. The true spirit of American Christianity's shores never allowed William of Ockham tyrannum secularum to land. God Bless the American Imperium!
I CARE about Ob/GynsEver notice how the most anti-abortion people commonly claim to be concerned about Ob/Gyns when the insurance matter comes up? Anyway, today on the house floor the Republicans are bringing HR 748 to a vote. IF a minor living in a parental notification state crosses the border to a non-parental notification state THEN neither she nor the person who transports her will be prosecuted BUT the doctor will be. Could someone explain how this conspiracy could happen? Perhaps the doctor should CONSTANTLY be aware of which states are parental notification states?
Media Matters for AmericaThis is a chance to publicly thank them for the great work they have been doing. It is the exact right thing to be doing, and probably even the best way to do it. I'd do it differently, but that's probably a military mentality speaking. Anyway, I brought it up because of a particularly good LIE they found in the pages of the Wall St. Journal. Here is the MM discussion. Basically, the income tax has gotten more regressive, as the income stream itself has moved increasingly into the hands of the rich, but the WSJ says that since they are paying more of the total share of income taxes now, obviously the income tax has become more progressive. By lying, they hope to keep their fat cat backers happy. The Wall St Journal regularly publishes such mean-spirited lies for the richest in the world, even as some of their business reporting is accurate. Kurt Eichenwald, a great investigative journalist, after all, was working at the journal regularly before his book career took off.
Monday, April 25, 2005
Nice ReadsI find it hard to ignore the large role corporations have had on the progress of America. From the concept of "corporate personhood" to the fact that it is Title I, Section I, Subsection 1 of the United States Code that gives corporations the legal equality to people. The site for Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy has a very select group of articles, and I found this one, "The Impact of the Corporation on the Commons" to be a good read. I'm going now to read some of the other articles.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
New Pope Not Pro-WarAlthough he's planning to update Catholic "Just War" Theory, often attributed to Thomas Aquinas. Ratzinger has also said that one could vote for a pro-abortion or pro-euthenasia candidate as long as it was the least evil, all things considered. He's still Opus Dei, and this peice from the National Catholic Reporter is by the author of Cardinal Ratzinger: The Vatican's Enforcer of the Faith. The NY Times Review of Books has it here, and that includes the tidbit that Raztinger was "forced" to join Hitler Youth. Another review is here. This one includes this quote "His critics accuse Ratzinger of repressive censorship." So, at least he'll feel at home with the Bush administration. But, on Iraq, BXVI had this to say, "it was right to resist the war and its threats of destruction." BXVI is definitely the first Pope to have had his own fan web site.
Monday, April 18, 2005
World News, Can We Blame Springtime?
- North Korea shut down its nuclear reactor at Yongbon, and the Americans are insisting this is a very threatening development. It is claimed that this could mean they were planning to do more reprocessing. The US State Department's spokesperson, R Boucher, repeated the US mantra "go back to talks." Serious head-in-sand'ism.
- S Berlusconi, Italy's Prime Minister, didn't step down, defying expectations. Only remaining group favorable towards SB is the secessionist "Northern League.
- Israel is looking to delay removing settlers from the Gaza Strip. Reason? Anniversary of the destruction of the temple three-week-holiday took them by surprise, only had 1975 years to prepare for it.
- L Gutierrez, President of Ecuador, didn't like the Supreme Court, so he sacked 27 of 31. Says there is no chance he'll resign. Declared martial law ("state of emergency") to deal with protestors, Army didn't do much, so the martial law was ended and the protests, admittedly modest, continue. He's a Chavez supporter who won office in November.
- Iran has cut off al-Jazeera from local coverage. Supposedly they were inciting riots among an Arab minority in the southwest of the country. London based rabble-rousers pretend to be innocent and claimed that they were behind it "to mark 80 years of Iranian occupation." Does anyone really think the UK-based group wants a return of the Ottoman Empire for the area?
- Batasuna, banned from politics in Spain, told its supporters to vote for an obscure Communist Party in the Basque regional elections, and they did. Reuters seems to suggest that the result of the election proves the autonomy plan of local leader Ibarretxe has failed, but since, between his party and the Communists, they have a clear majority, I'm not so sure.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Pope RaceI noticed a few articles on the Pope's right-wingery, anti-Communism, and general support for anti-Marxist bloodthirsty dictators of Latin America. I didn't see much like this...
The Pope later named another Opus Dei member, Angelo Sodano, as Secretary of State of the Vatican. Sodano had been the Vatican's ambassador in Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship, becoming a close friend and advisor to the dictator. He was responsible for the Pope's visit to the Pinochet dictatorship in 1987. During this visit, the Pope never called publicly for liberty or democracy in Chile.The Kansas City Star, a government mouthpeice paper, writes here that "German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had an early lead" and then "That reinvigorated Ratzinger, a noted conservative" and then "Ratzinger was seen as a favorite early, partly because of his moving homily at John Paul's funeral" and then "By Wednesday, Ratzinger was back in the lead, the Italian press reported, perhaps with as many as 50 votes already in hand (77 are needed for election), though perhaps in a close race with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, another Italian." Ratzinger and Soldano are Opus Dei fascists.
Go, Go GodzillaWhat, we may ask, is the usefulness of the repetition "Everything has changed since 9/11?" We can say fairly that a lie, repeated often enough, becomes true. What is the advantage to the powerful to tell us that everything has changed? In truth, bomb-plots and terrorism have existed for centuries (see, Gunpowder Plot). In addition, there will be no more skyjack-missile-attacks in any future I can see. This reemphasizes the need to ask, why the repitition? All along history, governments which become authoritarian have followed similar patterns. These patterns have more than a passing familiarity to what is occuring in America today (see, Thom Hartmann). When one claims that "everything has changed" one has declared that history has no relevancy, that no lessons can be learned from the past. A government moving towards authoritarianism has every reason to claim that what it is doing should not be compared to earlier Republican falls.
Friday, April 15, 2005
Bush Unaware of Bush PoliciesRemember the recent stories that one would need a passport to cross the border from Mexico? Currently, one can use a state driver's license. Speaking in front of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Bush impressed them by saying
When I first read that in the newspaper about the need to have passports, particularly today's crossings that take place, about a million for instance in the state of Texas, I said, `What's going on here?'Tip to the AP.
Patterns of Global Terrorism Report, US State DepartmentCancelled due to bad results? This is an annual report. The 2004 report (on 2003), it should be remembered, got into the press this way
WASHINGTON — The State Department is scrambling to revise its annual report on global terrorism to acknowledge that it understated the number of deadly attacks in 2003, amid charges that the document is inaccurate and was politically manipulated by the Bush administration.It turned out it was the highest level, and 2004 report showed "more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered." The report has now been cancelled. I'm deciding whether or not they did it because terrorism is "turning a corner" (and hence will be over in a moment) or because they simply no longer consider it a problem. The idea that it was cancelled because it was bad news is strictly the position of crackpots and criminals.
… On Tuesday, State Department officials said they underreported the number of terrorist attacks in the tally for 2003, and added that they expected to release an updated version soon.
Several U.S. officials and terrorism experts familiar with that revision effort said the new report will show that the number of significant terrorist incidents increased last year, perhaps to its highest level in 20 years.
Expressions of American PowerThe next Pope will be an Iraq War supporter. 115 or so Cardinals, and yet I can read their minds. As the last Pope was such an ardent anti-Communist that he degraded honest liberation when it wasn't part of the US plan (see, where the Catholic Church helped support every US dictatorship in South America, even as Churchmembers were instrumental in overthrowing the dictator of Chile, and then Pope John Paul II even supported mass-murderer Pinochet long after the overthrow of his reign), so to the next Pope shall be an ardent supporter of the Bush plan for bombing the poor and helpless into democracy. In his later years, the Pope came out against the war in Iraq. The next Pope, and I will bet anyone $10.00US on this, and possible more than one person, the next Pope will be a supporter of the Iraq War.
Amnesty for Criminals OfferedDear Leader, El Presidente, has offered amnesty, if he has "anything to do with it," to anyone who would dare offer alternatives to the infallible plan of Dear Leader, which never has actually seen the light of day, concerning Social Security. Bloomberg reports the amnesty plan. I would like to step forward to congratulate El Presidente, for all True Patriots©® have long known that Bush's plans are perfect, and to offer alternatives is the height of arrogance and, by itself, indicative of a criminal mindset and character.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Iran Warmongering, Part 726, Executive SummaryQuestion from Fox News' J Griffin for Israeli PM A Sharon.
"If Israel is left with a choice of protecting Jews and preventing another Holocaust, will you let Iran get the bomb or will you act militarily?" This is exactly the same sort of shit the Yellow Journalists (esp. Creelman?) were pulling in Cuba before the Spanish-American War. Try to imagine Les Kinsolving as s diplomatic correspondent...
Iran Warmongering, Part 726Who is worse here, Prime Minister A Sharon of Israel, or J Griffin, interviewer at fox "news?" The real zinger comes as a _question_ from J Griffin, warmonger. She none-so-subtly compares the mere possession of an Iranian nuclear bomb with the holocaust. Here is a warm-ups, parts in  are my synposis of missing parts. Lines beginning with green bullet are my commentary.
Question 1 • Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. How bad would it be for Iran to get a nuclear bomb?
Answer 1a • [Very bad] [US should take lead put pressure on Iran] "No doubt that their main thought is to possess nuclear weapons. And Iran is a very big country, and you can hide everything there."
Commentary 1a • Sharon here is expressing Israel's long-held, but secret, support for the idea of the world's countries being divided up until they are the size of Lichtenstein or Monaco.
Answer 1b • But we know, and I believe the United States knows that they're working. They're working secretly, but they're working. (INAUDIBLE) is a result of more monitoring (INAUDIBLE), it will take a bit longer time, but they work.
Commentary 1a • These sound like quite industrious people, and very devout in their faith. They are likely members of the Republican Party.
Answer 1c • [Maybe greatest threat in the world.]
Question 13 • But Israel has never relied on Europe for its own defense. And if you're talking about sanctions, Iran has dealt with sanctions in the past, and yet, sanctions will not stop it from achieving a nuclear weapon.
If Israel is left with a choice of protecting Jews and preventing another Holocaust, will you let Iran get the bomb or will you act militarily?
Answer 13 • I've said we believe that that is a great danger, and we can only repeat and say that Israel is not leading the struggle. We are a country and a nation that face I'd say maybe the greatest danger here, but we believe that for the interests of the free world, should be lead by the United States. I would say an international activity, international coalition should be formed, and steps should be taken. And I think that free world should prepare itself to bring the issue to the Security Council, once, of course, if the Iranians will continue and do not take those warnings seriously. Of course it shall be not an easy thing to do, all those countries, there are so many interests, economic interests, other interests. But I believe that it might not be official pressure on Iran, and that also might bring the changes, because I know that people are expecting there will be internal changes in Iran. I think that can happen only if we (UNINTELLIGIBLE) pressure.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
They Hate Our FreedomDo you think Bush means the freedom we feel, and exercise, in controlling their governments through covert means? The freedom to destroy them in our press if we don't like the cause they support? The freedom we have to bribe foreign nations to join with us against them? E Golinger, a lawyer with roots in America and Venezuela, has published a book (in Spanish only, so far), detailing the efforts of the Bush administration to end yet another leftist democracy (did I mention that Venezuela was America's 4th most important supply of oil?) through anti-democratic means. Want to see Bush more and more like Hitler? Here is a peice from Thomas Hartman. Lefti has some on Golinger, and a whole bunch more really good posts recently. I've been sidetracked by counter-insurgency efforts. Check it out.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
The Tension of the Bush PresidencyEven as this can not be seen but as the most open, the most free-wheeling, the craziest time in the history of information flow ever, the Bush administration plays the game like they can keep secrets. Do you think they _planned_ to have the Office of Special Plans publicized? Abu Ghraib? They are flying into the headwinds of technology, and yet, they adopt/pay/co-opt that same technology, where the misguided morons who blog get funding (300,000,000.00/year is spent by rightist concerns annually, according to a Markos of DailyKos, and that must include blog-episodes like Jeff Gannon). Hitler used radio, the Rwandans used radio, the effect on the people is clear. We might not be terribly bright as a species, but we listen real good.
Saturday, April 09, 2005
International NewsWho is López Obrador? He's the leading candidate, polling 20 points ahead of all rivals, for Presidency of the Republic of Mexico. A parcel of land used for
UPDATE: I seem to have guessed half wrong. The NY Times does a fair job of calling this move fraudulent, even as it attempts to tar Obrador by linking him to programs and policies without ever discussing their effectiveness. The WaPo, however, puts his efforts to help aging sex-workers in the headlines, not something that will endear himself to Americans (although the article does spend some effort interviewing old prostitues, and describing their lives). The interests of
Friday, April 08, 2005
Tip to DailyWarNewsOne link is to this Boston.com peice which includes these quotes
"It's all about perception, to convince the American public that everything is going as planned and we're right on schedule to be out of here," said one adviser, Army Staff Sergeant Craig E. Patrick, 40, a reservist from Rock Island, Ill. "I mean, they can [mislead] the American people, but they can't [mislead] us. These guys are not ready."and
[Marine Staff Sergeant Lafayette] Waters, who has lived with the 23d Iraqi Battalion's First Company since Jan. 15, said that the Iraqi soldiers "have a lot of heart and are making progress" but that "we need to slow it down and do it right. The worst thing that could happen is to have to come back in and fix the problem."
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Stalin and Hitler Would Be ProudThis forced applause at every major pause for Bush and Cabinet appointees would be instantly recognizable to the Dictators I've mentioned. Meaningless pap or vague phrases are treated with the same, unflinching and instant applause as serious policy statements.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Insurgency End DateI'm sorry to report a new revelation today. The insurgency has no end date. There will be no point after which the insurgents will find it impossible to continue. That puts me in the oddball position of advocating 1) ignoring insurgents (identify,disarm,release), 2) targetting leaders for capture (hand receipts to peers?) 3)insurgent leader education (not interrogation) and 4) release into government. One, although it might be obvious that there is nothing that has to make the insurgency stop, I didn't see it till I was rereading President SG Cleveland's last State of the Union, which is mostly a discussion of the Cuban insurgency against Spanish authority. The speech is called American Interests in the Cuban Revolution, and it should be noted that Cleveland was keeping America out of a war. As for re-integration of insurgent leaders, giving them government jobs, this follows the American experience with Shays rebellion. Western farmers rose up, fought, and then found themselves elected. Identify, disarm and release is sneaky, and the military will hate it. It risks our lives to try to gain trust and stability. No second chances need be proffered. The most severe of punishments can contemplated for repeat offenders. In Arabic "Surrender. You may hurt one of us, you may even kill one of us, but there are hundreds of thousands of us, and, if this battle goes on, we will kill you. [Even now, we surround you.] Come out, we will identify you, take your guns, and let you go." Although the risks after the event exist from this same insurgent, his death won't inspire his relatives to take up arms. His death won't add fuel to the fire. And, possibly, the humane treatment, the forgiving nature, will both resemble the religion the occupiers claim, but also shake the heads of the insurgents, who really could care less for Beheading TV or propaganda that does not impact the ground situation.
Friday, April 01, 2005
Wall St Journal, Head Firmly In *ss
As for Curveball’s own motives, the panel merely brands him a “fabricator.” That he was also the brother of a senior aide to Ahmed Chalabi, the leader of the exile Iraqi National Congress (INC), goes unmentioned. The report does acknowledge that the sole corroboration of his claims came from another source within the INC. But it then states, incredibly, that not only was “Curveball’s reporting not influenced by, controlled by, or connected to the INC,” but that “INC sources had a minimal impact on pre-war assessments.”Ignoring this, the Wall St Journal calls everyone else shrill. Undoubtedly, they will never apologize.
UPDATE: Be wary. The original story I read said Curveball was a brother of a senior Chalabi aide. That story was in the Guardian in 2004. Now we are reading it is the cousin of such an aide. As difficult as it might be to not know your own brother (although I must admit, I didn't know mine until I was 22), it is much easier not to know a cousin. They don't even explicitly say 1st cousin. I imagine that certain Arab tribes have tribespeople who all claims to be cousins to each other.