Saturday, December 09, 2006

Attack of the Clones -- For Real!!


And why is the man smiling?

A Symbolic Image of Our Leader and the Iraq Policy He Pushes

There's something about the cop being carried by Popeye, battered nigh-senseless, that's kinda sorta representative of Our Beloved Leader.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Our Leaders Make Us Safe and Secure

Military readiness lowest since Vietnam War

Great Leadership from Our Beloved Leader: The Last to Know....

Thank God George W. Bush is president!
George W. Bush, speaking today on the Iraq Study Group report: "The truth is a lot of reports in Washington aren't read by anybody. To show you how important this report is, I read it."

Asked whether he's still in "denial" about Iraq, Bush shot back: "It's bad in Iraq. That help?"

Does it help? Well not as much as getting rid of this administration and all of its enablers would help....

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Oh, This Doesn't Look So Bad, Does It, Not Like Getting Your Nuts Fried....

First hint: It's bad enough.


Our Leaders' House Wit Tells Us What They Really Think of Us

"Politicians are interested in people. Not that this is always a virtue. Fleas are interested in dogs." -- P. J. O'Rourke

Monday, December 04, 2006

Olbermann on Future-President Newt's Support for Freedom in America

And look close and you'll that Newt is supremely (albeit not uniquely) qualified to lead us.
“This is a serious long-term war,” the man at the podium cried, “and it will inevitably lead us to want to know what is said in every suspect place in the country.”

Some in the audience must have thought they were hearing an arsonist give the keynote address at a convention of firefighters.

This was the annual Loeb First Amendment Dinner in Manchester, N.H. — a public cherishing of freedom of speech — in the state with the two-fisted motto “Live Free Or Die.”

And the arsonist at the microphone, the former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, was insisting that we must attach an “on-off button” to free speech.

He offered the time-tested excuse trotted out by our demagogues since even before the Republic was founded: widespread death, of Americans, in America, possibly at the hands of Americans.

But updated, now, to include terrorists using the Internet for recruitment. End result — “losing a city.”

The colonial English defended their repression with words like these.

And so did the slave states.

And so did the policemen who shot strikers.

And so did Lindbergh’s America First crowd.

And so did those who interned Japanese-Americans.

And so did those behind the Red Scare.

And so did Nixon’s plumbers.

The genuine proportion of the threat is always irrelevant.

The fear the threat is exploited to create becomes the only reality.

“We will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find,” Mr. Gingrich continued about terrorists, formerly communists, formerly hippies, formerly Fifth Columnists, formerly anarchists, formerly Redcoats, “to break up their capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech.”

Mr. Gingrich, the British “broke up our capacity to use free speech” in the 1770s.

The pro-slavery leaders “broke up our capacity to use free speech” in the 1850s.

The FBI and CIA “broke up our capacity to use free speech” in the 1960s.

It is in those groups where you would have found your kindred spirits, Mr. Gingrich.

Those who had no faith in freedom, no faith in this country, and, ultimately, no faith even in the strength of their own ideas, to stand up on their own legs without having the playing field tilted entirely to their benefit.

“It will lead us to learn,” Gingrich continued, “how to close down every Web site that is dangerous, and it will lead us to a very severe approach to people who advocate the killing of Americans and advocate the use of nuclear and biological weapons.”

That we have always had “a very severe approach” to these people is insufficient for Mr. Gingrich’s ends.

He wants to somehow ban the idea.

Even though everyone who has ever protested a movie or a piece of music or a book has learned the same lesson:

Try to suppress it, and you only validate it.

Make it illegal, and you make it the subject of curiosity.

Say it cannot be said, and it will instead be screamed.

And on top of the thundering danger in his eagerness to sell out freedom of speech, there is a sadder sound, still — the tinny crash of a garbage can lid on a sidewalk.

Whatever dreams of Internet censorship float like a miasma in Mr. Gingrich’s personal swamp, whatever hopes he has of an Iron Firewall, the simple fact is, technically they won’t work.

As of tomorrow they will have been defeated by a free computer download.

Mere hours after Gingrich’s speech in New Hampshire, the University of Toronto announced it had come up with a program called Psiphon to liberate those in countries in which the Internet is regulated.

Places like China and Iran, where political ideas are so barren, and political leaders so desperate that they put up computer firewalls to keep thought and freedom out.

The Psiphon device is a relay of sorts that can surreptitiously link a computer user in an imprisoned country to another in a free one.

The Chinese think the wall works, yet the ideas — good ideas, bad ideas, indifferent ideas — pass through anyway.

The same way the Soviet bloc was defeated by the images of Western material bounty.

If your hopes of thought control can be defeated, Mr. Gingrich, merely by one computer whiz staying up an extra half hour and devising a new “firewall hop,” what is all this apocalyptic hyperbole for?

“I further think,” you said in Manchester, “we should propose a Geneva convention for fighting terrorism, which makes very clear that those who would fight outside the rules of law, those who would use weapons of mass destruction, and those who would target civilians are in fact subject to a totally different set of rules, that allow us to protect civilization by defeating barbarism …”

Well, Mr. Gingrich, what is more “massively destructive” than trying to get us to give you our freedom?

And what is someone seeking to hamstring the First Amendment doing, if not “fighting outside the rules of law”?

And what is the suppression of knowledge and freedom, if not “barbarism”?

The explanation, of course, is in one last quote from Mr. Gingrich from New Hampshire and another from last week.

“I want to suggest to you,” he said about these Internet restrictions, “that we right now should be impaneling people to look seriously at a level of supervision that we would never dream of if it weren’t for the scale of the threat.”

And who should those “impaneled” people be?

Funny I should ask, isn’t it, Mr. Gingrich?

“I am not ‘running’ for president,” you told a reporter from Fortune Magazine. “I am seeking to create a movement to win the future by offering a series of solutions so compelling that if the American people say I have to be president, it will happen.”

Newt Gingrich sees in terrorism, not something to be exterminated, but something to be exploited.

It’s his golden opportunity, isn’t it?

“Rallying a nation,” you might say, “to hysteria, to sweep us up into the White House with powers that will make martial law seem like anarchy.”

That’s from the original version of the movie “The Manchurian Candidate” — the chilling words of Angela Lansbury’s character, as she first promises to sell her country to the Chinese and Russians, then reveals she’ll double-cross them and keep all the power herself, waving the flag every time she subjugates another freedom.

Within the frame of our experience as a free and freely argumentative people, it is almost impossible to conceive that there are those among us who might approach the kind of animal wildness of fiction like that — those who would willingly transform our beloved country into something false and terrible.

Who among us can look to our own histories, or those of our ancestors who struggled to get here, or who struggled to get freedom after they were forced here, and not tear up when we read Frederick Douglass’s words from a century and a half ago?: “Freedom must take the day.”

And who among us can look to our collective history and not see its turning points — like the Civil War, like Watergate, like the Revolution itself — in which the right idea defeated the wrong idea on the battlefield that is the marketplace of ideas?

But apparently there are some of us who cannot see that the only future for America is one that cherishes the freedoms won in the past, one in which we vanquish bad ideas with better ones, and in which we fight for liberty by having more liberty, not less.

“I am seeking to create a movement to win the future by offering a series of solutions so compelling that if the American people say I have to be president, it will happen.”

What a dark place your world must be, Mr. Gingrich, where the way to save America is to destroy America.

I will awaken every day of my life thankful I am not with you in that dark place.

And I will awaken every day of my life thankful that you are entitled to tell me about it.

And that you are entitled to show me what an evil idea it represents and what a cynical mind.

And that you are entitled to do all that, thanks to the very freedoms you seek to suffocate.
Link. (Emphasis added.)

It's true; the rightist leadership hates what America stands for other than being a big market for stuff.

Who Would Believe this: A Prescient Right-wing Frenchman!?!?

French President Jacques Chirac's warnings in 2003 that a U.S. invasion of Iraq would set the Mideast on fire, encourage terrorism, and produce a disaster have been tragically born out by events.

Faster...! Best Reason to Upgrade: Vista is Already Almost As Dangerous as Earlier Versions of Windows!


Of course, the snotty but wholly accurate solution: Get a Mac. With Parallels if you can't complete leave the Windows Malverse. But it's rude to point out the obvious like that....

Why Cartoons are Great: Profound Ideas Simply and Clearly Put


Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Design of this Page, Explained

Short version: done for Jerry Bails, who had a vision problem, making reading stuff online difficult. This design looked just about the easiest to read. So I changed it in the hope that he could and would read it because I thought he might enjoy and as a way to give a little something back for what he's done to the extent that it did anything for me. (He apparently still couldn't read it it, though.)

And this is segue to the longer version.

Amongst his lives, as it were, Dr. Bails was a progenitor of modern comic book fandom. (I should say by modern, I refer to the late 50s/early 60s.)

My unprovable contention is that quite possibly -- in that alternative history sort of way and secrets dying with people -- modern comics wouldn't be what they are: in sales, in existence, maybe as films.

So comics may be what they are due to him.

He joined an email list or two to which I'm a member, slipping in a jeremiad every now and then and, to show my appreciation, i referred him to this very blog. He complained of his inability to read it (a vision problem). I changed the design for him -- as I said, to no avail.

Dr. Bails passed away 23 November 2006.

Info is here and here and here.

Micro$oft Innovation

Of course, the lesson of Capitalism is that success in a broad market relies on marketing the crap out of something, not innovating. Think, well, Microsoft. Success in a niche is pretty much the reverse; innovation is generally critical and can result in a pretty profitable enterprise. Think BMW or Apple or, perhaps a better example of the necessary balance, Porsche.

But for those who believe Microsoft does innovate, here's a little (forgive for this) history.

M$ did of course raise thuggery and exploitation of a market (to put it politely) to a historical high, if that counts as innovation -- but not in the way we think.

Speaking of HAllucinations, Distortions, Lies and a Disrespect for History; Or: The Best Things in Life are Free

"1984", here, free for the legal downloading.

Not the Worst Presidnt Ever

Don't know my history well enough to go back to ever but I would say the worst since Lincoln.

And look, just the briefest precis of the case that Our Leader may well be the worst president ever -- 43 of 43 (actually 42 of 42 but that involves a history lesson).
Bush has taken this disdain for law even further. He has sought to strip people accused of crimes of rights that date as far back as the Magna Carta in Anglo-American jurisprudence: trial by impartial jury, access to lawyers and knowledge of evidence against them. In dozens of statements when signing legislation, he has asserted the right to ignore the parts of laws with which he disagrees. His administration has adopted policies regarding the treatment of prisoners of war that have disgraced the nation and alienated virtually the entire world. Usually, during wartime, the Supreme Court has refrained from passing judgment on presidential actions related to national defense. The court's unprecedented rebukes of Bush's policies on detainees indicate how far the administration has strayed from the rule of law.

One other president bears comparison to Bush: James K. Polk. Some historians admire him, in part because he made their job easier by keeping a detailed diary during his administration, which spanned the years of the Mexican-American War. But Polk should be remembered primarily for launching that unprovoked attack on Mexico and seizing one-third of its territory for the United States.

Lincoln, then a member of Congress from Illinois, condemned Polk for misleading Congress and the public about the cause of the war -- an alleged Mexican incursion into the United States. Accepting the president's right to attack another country "whenever he shall deem it necessary," Lincoln observed, would make it impossible to "fix any limit" to his power to make war. Today, one wishes that the country had heeded Lincoln's warning.

Historians are loath to predict the future. It is impossible to say with certainty how Bush will be ranked in, say, 2050. But somehow, in his first six years in office he has managed to combine the lapses of leadership, misguided policies and abuse of power of his failed predecessors. I think there is no alternative but to rank him as the worst president in U.S. history.

And of course the article is the least of it. There is so much more to the argument... and nothing factual to counter it....

Tripping Down Memory Lane

You'll have to Google or Wiki this for yourself, the background to this but stilll, you can take this on a reality-based faith....

Philip Agee, ex-CIA, deep in the 70s, wrote a vehemently anti-CIA book.

Sometime thereafter, the CIA station chief in Athens was killed.

The Establishment bagmen blamed Agee for identifying Welch, the station chief, in his book.

Except he hadn't.

Flash forward to a couple of days ago and let's see how patriots handle the issue of identifying covert operatives:
Today the Wall Street Journal offers conflicting accounts of whether Reyes was present at a now notorious Paris meeting between Weldon and Manucher Ghorbanifar, the Zelig of American foreign policy scandals:

"In an interview Friday, William Murray, who was the CIA's station chief in Paris at the time, said...."

The Wall Street Journal....

Of course, outing covert operatives is only wrong when the other side does. For one, we're still waiting for the WSJ and the rest of the patriots to complain about a risk to national security by the Plame outing.