Friday, August 31, 2012

About That Propaganda Film

The conservative government watchdog Judicial Watch released more documents about the Obama administration’s cooperation with director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, the Oscar-winning team behind “The Hurt Locker” who are currently working on a project, “Zero Dark Thirty,” about the successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden. You can read the documents here.

“These new documents provide more backing to the serious charge that the Obama administration played fast and loose with national security information to help Hollywood filmmakers,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “No wonder we’ve had to fight one year of stonewalling from the administration.  These new documents show there is no doubt that Obama White House was intensely interested in this film that was set to portray President Obama as ‘gutsy.’”


One June 2011 email from Harf to another CIA colleague, talking about various entertainment projects dealing with Osama bin Laden, stated: “I know we don’t pick favorites but it makes sense to get behind a winning horse…Mark and Kathryn’s movie is going to be the first and the biggest. It’s got the most money behind it, and two Oscar winners on board…”


One email, from Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Benjamin Rhodes to then-Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Doug Wilson, then-CIA Director of Public Affairs George Little, and Deputy White House Press Secretary Jaime Smith seems to suggest the White House was learning about the CIA’s and Pentagon’s cooperation with the filmmakers late in the game and wanted to supervise:
“…we are trying to have visibility into the UBL projects and this is likely the most high profile one. Would like to have whatever group is going around in here at the WH to get a sense of what they’re doing / what cooperation they’re seeking. Jamie will be POC” — point of contact."

Uh-oh. Right at the GOP convention. Ammunition for the GOP. What does the White House have to say about this?
“Nothing in this press release is a surprise,” said White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor. “Having a conversation with a journalist, author or filmmaker about what he or she is working on is possibly the most basic, mundane function of a press office, and millions of Americans, including many in government, are understandably proud of our nation’s effort to kill bin Laden.”

There's an App for That

The maker of an application that would alert iPhone users to US military drone strikes said Thursday that Apple has repeatedly shot down his efforts to get it into the App Store.

“I just wanted to make a simple app that would send a push notification every time there is a drone strike,” Begley told AFP.

“I was thinking about how hidden the drone war is and about ways to play with what happens in the pockets of smartphone users,” the New York University graduate student continued.


Begley said that Drones+ was rejected twice by Apple on technical grounds since he first submitted it to the Cupertino, California-based maker of iPhones, iPads, iPods and Macintosh computers in July.

A third rejection came this week, according to Begley, with Apple informing him that Drones+ would not be allowed in the App Store because many people were likely to find the content objectionable.
  Raw Story

Nice. They jacked him around a while first. (Or maybe...just maybe...Apple is a terrorist organization that pushed him to develop a superior application by getting all the technical kinks out.)

Try the Android market.

That was a joke. I wouldn't plan on ANY American market to pick up an app like that.  It might sell well overseas, and on the black market here.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

We'll Wait for the: "What I Meant to Say..."

Once in a while a little honesty slips out of the GOP lie machine. Or maybe they just don't care; after all, we all know what their strategy is anyway.
From the convention stage here, the Republican Party has tried to highlight its diversity, giving prime speaking slots to Latinos and blacks who have emphasized their party’s economic appeal to all Americans.

But they have delivered those speeches to a convention hall filled overwhelmingly with white faces, an awkward contrast that has been made more uncomfortable this week by a series of racial headaches that have intruded on the party’s efforts to project a new level of inclusiveness.


“The demographics race we’re losing badly,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.). “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”
  Washington Post
The strategy: generate angry white guys.

Techno Break

Update on Apple's attempts to sink Samsung. A Japanese court just ruled in favor of Samsung.

The Audacity of GOP

But really, the proper response to a speech like this isn’t to carefully analyze the logic, or to find instances of hypocracy; it’s to call the speaker out for telling flat-out lies to the American people. Paul Ryan has had what I’ve long thought was an undeserved good reputation among many in the press and in Washington. It shouldn’t survive tonight’s speech. 


It was, by any reasonable standards, a staggering, staggering lie. Here’s Paul Ryan about Barack Obama: He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report.  He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing. “They.” “Them.” “Them.” Those words are lies. Because Paul Ryan was on that commission. “Came back with an urgent report.” That is a lie. The commission never made any recommendations for Barack Obama to support or oppose. Why not? Because the commission voted down its own recommendations. Why? Because Paul Ryan, a member of the commission, voted it down and successfully convinced the other House Republicans on the commission to vote it down.

That wasn’t the only bit of mendacity – lazy mendacity, incredibly lazy mendacity – in Ryan’s speech. Twitter lit up as soon as he started telling the story of the Janesville auto plant that Barack Obama didn’t save – a plant that, it turns out, closed before Obama was president. And of course there’s the infamous cuts to Medicare that Ryan lambasted Obama for without happening to mention that those very same cuts were in Paul Ryan’s own budget.
  Dick Sargeant

What was it Charlie Pierce said?
The Republicans simply don't care.


The Republicans will just tell the lie again. And again. And once more, until people get tired of telling the truth in response.
  Charlie Pierce
He's right, of course.  But I don't see any need for them to lie.  With their following, all they need to do is stand there and say, "9/11, Abortion, 9/11, Abortion, 9/11, Abortion."

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Not Exactly What They Were Hoping For

A report in the New York Post suggests that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie […] is not confident of the nominee's chances. According to unnamed sources, Romney's campaign would have insisted that Christie resign as governor in order to run for vice president, but that Christie refused because he didn't think they could win.


It isn't so unusual to hear these anonymous excuses for why someone didn't make a presidential ticket, but the timing is certainly interesting, given that Christie [was chosen to] headline his party's convention […]. Why either side would seek to undercut the team spirit just before the man [was scheduled] on TV to sing Mitt's praises is anybody's guess.

The Atlantic Wire

And now that he has given his speech, I think we have the answer.
Though it took [Christie] 17 minutes to mention the newly minted nominee by name, he said Mitt Romney would tell Americans "the hard truths" about fixing the economy and creating jobs.


[He] talked about his own biography and touted his record of busting unions and balancing the budget in New Jersey. He used the word "I" 32 times, but mentioned Mitt Romney by name only seven times.

Chris Christie wasn’t planning on singing the praises of Mitt Romney at the Convention – he was planning on running for president in 2016.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

GOP BS in a Nutshell

What you didn't see in primetime, from Arthur Davis to Ted Cruz, and from one 2016 contender to another, was the GOP embarking upon the task of seeing exactly how much nonsense it could produce at top volume before democracy screams and gives up, like Noriega in Panama when they played the metal music at him.

It was something to see, I'll tell you. An entire evening based on a demonstrable lie. The theme was We Did Build It.


There was Jack Gilchrist from New Hampshire, the metal-shop owner, who was briefly an important Romney surrogate until it was revealed that his company took a few cool millions in small-business loans. There was Sher Valenzuela, running for lieutenant governor of Delaware, who talked about how she and her husband Did Build their business. She also talked about her husband, who was a soldier, and her father, the former drill sergeant and "a blue-collar union guy." She did not talk about her sideline, which is giving PowerPoint presentations to people — probably, I am sure, not in convention centers built with tax dollars — on how to suck up government contracts. There was a similar thing going on with Bob McDonnell, the slippery, up-and-coming transvaginalist of Virginia, who proved that his family Did Build It, by having his father join the army, his children doing the same, and himself, finding the "same job" in government once held by Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry. After listening to this laughable bafflegab for a spell, you begin to wonder whether or not the U.S. military is a rather large venture-capital concern with anti-tank weapons.


It was about halfway through the speech given by Mary Fallin, by the grace of a pitiless god the governor of Oklahoma, where I finally came close to losing it. She rolled herself into this remarkable passage:
[...Oklahoma] was built and settled by pioneers moving west to seek better lives. During the Great Land Run of 1889, thousands of families rushed to put a stake down on empty plots of land. They built tent cities overnight. They farmed the land and they worked hard. And, in 1897, eight years after the land run, a handful of adventurous pioneers risked their own money — not the federal government's money — to drill Oklahoma's first oil well, the Nellie Johnstone. By doing so, these early-day pioneers changed the future and Oklahoma forever and today Oklahoma is one of the nation's key energy producers and job creators. President Obama wants us to believe that Oklahomans owe that success to the federal government — to the Department Of Energy,to the EPA, to the IRS, or maybe even to him. Mr. President, we know better. As we say in Oklahoma, that dog won't hunt.
[...] My god, Oklahomans wouldn't even have Oklahoma without the federal government, without the Homestead Act of 1889 or the Railroad Act — both, by the way, achievements of Republican presidents named Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Harrison. And the land wasn't exactly "empty," Governor. It got emptied by a big-government program called the United States Army. You know what your state would be without the federal government, Governor, without the votes for the legislation from congressmen from the east and north, without the soldiers from New England and the Great Lakes? You know what Oklahoma would be?

Sand, with a whole lot of pissed-off Native Americans.

Charlie Pierce

Good call, Charlie. Except I think maybe that’s what it IS, even without those things.
It was an entire evening based on demonstrable lies told in service to the overriding demonstrable lie. And there was only one real story for actual journalists to tell at the end of it.

The Republicans simply don't care.


The Republicans will just tell the lie again. And again. And once more, until people get tired of telling the truth in response.


[New Jersey Governor Chris] Christie rang the theme of the evening's overriding demonstrable lie, too. He talked about how his family Built It, his Irish father and his Sicilian mother.
They both lived hard lives. Dad grew up in poverty. After returning from Army service, he worked at the Breyer's ice-cream plant in the 1950's. With that job, and the GI Bill, he put himself through Rutgers University at night to become the first in his family to earn a college degree.
Chris, old man, you didn't even build yourself yourself. The tax dollars — the federal tax dollars — of, among other people, my parents paid your father's Army salary, and they paid for the G.I. Bill. The tax dollars of thousands of other people paid for his education at Rutgers, which is, as it proclaims, The State University Of New Jersey. All of them were proud to do it, because they knew that they were part of a political commonwealth that has as its proudest expression a national government in which all citizens have purchase.

And, Chris, and Bob, and Sher, and Jack, and all of you, you're welcome.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

GOP Convention: Fear of Ron Paul

Though narrowly defeated by Romney in the Maine primary, [Ron] Paul supporters were able to claim into 21 of the 24 delegate spots to the national convention. But RNC muscle stripped Paul of half his delegates and all of his alternates. New party rules were adopted, giving the RNC the power to change party rules between conventions. [Maine Republican National committeewoman and delegate Ashley Ryan], who won’t assume her committee seat until after the close of this convention, attempted to submit a minority report challenging the change, but session chair John Boehner refused to recognize calls from the floor for the report's consideration.

Charlie Pierce
[On Tuesday afternoon there] was what passes for an uprising […] The immediate casus belli was something called Rule 12, which was passed by a voice vote that, to these ears, was a lot closer than the chair indicated.


[The] people supporting [Ron Paul] got pretty well screwed this time around. They got screwed at the local level and at the state level and, on Tuesday, they got rogered good and proper by their national party.


There was a compromise on one rule that allows the Republican National Committee now to revoke the credentials of delegates who fail to follow the binding rules set down by their state committees. (This brings the authority of the national party into a function heretofore exercised by the state committees.) And there was the passage of Rule 12, the one that got John Sununu hollered at from the floor, which allows two-thirds of the RNC leadership, rather than the convention as whole, to change any party rule. "I really don't believe that most of the people who voted here today realize exactly how much of their own freedom they voted away," said Rob Bybee of Nevada, who was fielding the questions that went past Lake. "The committee can change anything midstream.”


This was all bound to happen. This is what always happens to people who live in a world of strict construction, whether that is a strict construction of something as important as the Constitution, or a strict construction of something as seemingly trivial as local party rules. They are always blindsided by compromise, struck dumb by the simple human impulse to power and how effective it can be when it is wielded by people who are not overly afflicted by conscience.

Charlie Pierce
This is a two-party game, and they mean to keep it that way. When someone outside those two parties begins to garner a large enough following that it threatens the possibility of an upset, they'll do whatever it takes to stop him. Just ask Ralph Nader, who wasn't even allowed to be in the audience of a debate, much less participate.

Trust Me

If you knew what I know, you'd understand. I just can't tell you. But, believe me.
Newly available CIA records obtained by Judicial Watch, the conservative watchdog group, reveal that New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti forwarded an advance copy of a Maureen Dowd column to a CIA spokesperson — a practice that is widely frowned upon within the industry.

Mazzetti's correspondence with CIA spokeswoman Marie Harf, on Aug. 5, 2011, pertained to the Kathryn Bigelow-Mark Boal film "Zero Dark Thirty," about the killing of Osama bin Laden, and a Times op-ed column by Dowd set to be published two days later that criticized the White House for having "outsourced the job of manning up the president’s image to Hollywood."

According to Judicial Watch, Mazzetti sent Harf an advance copy of Dowd's column, and wrote: “this didn’t come from me… and please delete after you read.  See, nothing to worry about!”


New York Times Managing Editor Dean Baquet called POLITICO to explain the situation, but provided little clarity, saying he could not go into detail on the issue because it was an intelligence matter.

”I know the circumstances, and if you knew everything that's going on, you'd know it's much ado about nothing," Baquet said. "I can't go into in detail. But I'm confident after talking to Mark that it's much ado about nothing."

"The optics aren't what they look like," he went on.

Friend of the Working Man

A group of coal miners in Ohio feel they would have been fired if they did not attend an Aug. 14 event with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and contribute to his campaign — and to make matters worse, they lost of day of pay for their trouble.
  Raw Story

Anatomy Lesson

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Occupy the RNC Meets Westboro Baptists

[The] marchers were confronted by a small groups of Westboro Baptist Church protestors with a loud speaker and some definite opinions on liberals’ supposed lack of patriotism, same sex marriage and women’s suffrage.


After the camera cut off, one protestor encouraged his comrades to leave the Westboro people alone “with their imaginary sky being,” and the Westboro speaker told one woman, “If you’re looking to get a man like me, you need to dress a lot differently.”
  Raw Story
I'm sure that's why she was there. Looking for a man like him.

Bad News for Samsung

And do not even think about taking my Galaxy phone.
South Korea’s Samsung Electronics vowed on Tuesday to take “all necessary measures” to keep its products on US store shelves, in response to Apple’s request for a ban on sales of some smartphones.


After winning a $1.05 billion US court judgement in a patent suit last week, Apple on Monday filed a court request to ban eight Samsung mobile devices including versions of its Galaxy and Droid smartphones.


Rival Apple says that it reserves the right to seek permanent injunctions banning the sale of all 28 Samsung devices which a jury on Friday found infringed its patents.

But it presented a shorter list of Samsung products “to address a portion of the immediate, ongoing irreparable harm that Apple is suffering”.

The phones that Apple included on its list for a sales ban are old models but still available through wireless carriers and online retailers. Samsung’s newest flagship products — Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note — were not included.

The jury in San Jose, California decided Friday that Samsung “wilfully” infringed six Apple patents for smartphones or tablet PCs.

Samsung has vowed to contest the verdict, saying courts in other countries had previously ruled it had not copied Apple’s designs.
  Raw Story
Yeah, that was in OTHER countries, not ones that matter. We do business a little differently here, don't we?

It's hard to believe Apple is losing revenue ("irreparable harm") because of Samsung. Samsung has a great smartphone, and if people are dropping Apple's iPhone in favor of it (which they are), then what that says is the iPhone is overpriced.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

UPDATE:  Japan has ruled in favor of Samsung.


I guess when your guy and their guy agree on all the important stuff, you are reduced to arguing lying about the ridiculous.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Maybe Now That We've Forgotten About Her...

An Israeli court has ruled in a civil case that the Israel army was not at fault in the bulldozer death of American pro-Palestinian activist Rachel Corrie nearly 10 years ago.

Corrie was 23 years old when she went to the town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip as part of a group of activists from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).

They were acting as human shields to try to stop the Israeli army demolishing Palestinian homes and clearing land around Rafah.

"I reached the conclusion that there was no negligence on the part of the bulldozer driver," Judge Oded Gershon said, reading out his verdict on Tuesday at the Haifa District Court in northern Israel.


"I reject the suit. There is no justification to demand the state pay any damages."

No, he wasn't negligent. It was intentional.

You remember Rachel Corrie.

Minutes after that photo was taken, she was bulldozed under.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Heard on the Radio

Bobby Jindal announced that he would not be going to Tampa because he needed to stay in Louisiana to handle the oncoming storm.   "Certainly party conventions are interesting but there is no time for politics here in Louisiana along our coast.”

I'd say THAT is politics.  Otherwise, I'd imagine him just saying, "Well, of COURSE I'm not going to Tampa."  Did somebody really ask him whether he was going?  Or did he just hold a press conference and volunteer that information?  When a politician tells you he is rising above politics, you can bet he's politicking.

NPR's Michel Martin got Romney adviser (and black woman) Tara Wall (who IS in Tampa) on the ropes, tasted blood, and went for the knock-out. Got her punch drunk and stumbling. Somebody ought to put Michel Martin (also a black woman) on debate duty.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Ron and Rand at the Republican Convention

Ron and Rand Paul continued their quixotic, doomed attempt to bring real diversity to Republican thought at the RNC's off-Broadway opener here at the University of South Florida on Sunday night. Rand started out with his peculiar obsession with the TSA, describing the posture you take for a pat-down with Paulian poetry. “Is this," he asked, "the pose of a free man?” But a moment later, he was making Republican heads explode with an attack on the military: “Republicans have to realize that not every dollar spent on the military is well-spent.”

And my personal favorite. "It doesn't say in Beatitudes, ‘Blessed are the warmakers.'" Wow. Even a Democrat from Massachusetts wouldn't have the nerve to say that.

Ron Paul himself was a little more cheery and plaintive. "Don't you think if we have a party that says we are a big tent," he suggested to some 10,000 supporters here, "they'd be begging and pleading the young people to get in the tent?" But he pivoted to a powerful dig with a mention of George Orwell's 1984. "I think a bunch of people read the book and saw it as a business plan to run for Congress!" It did not seem that he was talking about Democrats.

The elder Paul also attacked the Project for the New American Century, which involved folks like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumseld.


He even acknowledged the growing gap in wealth: "Some people ask, Well, haven't we had an accumulation of wealth in the last several decades? Some people have gotten wealthier, the average person hasn't, the middle class is smaller — it's especially smaller in these last five years."

If he could have just brought himself to say four years, they might have let him in the tent.


Paul went on to defend, as he often does, the WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning, comparing him to "Daniel Ellsberg, who told us the truth about Vietnam." He suggested, again, that Julian Assange is being railroaded on false charges.


Wrong crowd.
  Charlie Pierce

For the Republican Convention...Republican Values

Kid Rock, who will play at the GOP convention in Tampa and is the artist behind Mitt Romney's campaign song "Born Free," made an appearance at Paul Ryan's fundraiser here in Michigan Friday.

Kid Rock:

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Who Says U.S. Manufacturing Is Dead?

Overseas weapons sales by the United States totaled $66.3 billion last year, or more than three-quarters of the global arms market, valued at $85.3 billion in 2011. Russia was a distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals.

The American weapons sales total was an “extraordinary increase” over the $21.4 billion in deals for 2010, the study found, and was the largest single-year sales total in the history of United States arms exports. The previous high was in fiscal year 2009, when American weapons sales overseas totaled nearly $31 billion.

We're number one!  Way, way, WAY number one.

You May Not Be Able to Vote for Mitt Romney....

....but you sure can't vote for Barack Obama.
In May, following a March hearing, Judge Katherine Forrest issued an injunction against [the National Defense Authorization Act]; this week, in a final hearing in New York City, US government lawyers essentially asserted even more extreme powers - the power to entirely disregard the judge and the law. Indeed, on Monday, August 6, Obama's lawyers filed an appeal to the injunction - a profoundly important development that as of this writing has been scarcely reported.

In the March hearing, the US lawyers had confirmed that yes, the NDAA does give the president the power to lock up people like journalist Chris Hedges and peaceful activists like myself and other plaintiffs. Government attorneys have stated on record that even war correspondents could be locked up indefinitely under the NDAA. Judge Katherine Forrest had ruled for a temporary injunction against an unconstitutional provision in this law - after government attorneys refused to provide assurances to the court that plaintiffs and others would not be indefinitely detained for engaging in first amendment activities. Twice the government has refused to define what it means to be an "associated force", and it claimed the right to refrain from offering any clear definition of this term, or clear boundaries of power under this law. This past week's hearing was even more terrifying: incredibly, in this hearing, Obama's attorneys refused to assure the court, when questioned, that the NDAA's provision - one that permits reporters and others who have not committed crimes to be detained without trial - has not been applied by the US government anywhere in the world - after Judge Forrest's injunction. In other words, they were saying to a US judge that they could not or would not state whether Obama's government had complied with the legal injunction that she had lain down before them.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Vote Republican

Roy Zimmerman is traveling through all 50 states singing his song "Vote Republican 50.0"

Here are a few.  The rest are at Roy's YouTube site.  (An amusing little side note:  YouTube's robots can't hear lyrics, so they take their advertising cue from the title of the video - expect pro-GOP pop-up messages.)

And here's his original "Vote Republican" song live on stage.

It's Sunday

Funny and sad at the same time.

 People. Jesus. (shakes head) (and then laughs again)

UPDATE: Still laughing. That "Last Supper" mock-up went by pretty fast in the video. Here it is:

Further UPDATE: Still laughing. Grandma's rendition is leaning more toward "The Scream" as I look at it. The mouth is becoming extremely distorted, and I think it may be because of something he's just seen off to his left where he's looking. Perhaps this is Jesus in the Garden when he's surprised by the appearance of the soldiers who've come for him.  The original is obviously looking up to heaven (probably thinking the same thing of God's bungling of the human design that we are thinking of Grandma's "restoration" of the painting).

Further UPDATE: Not laughing. The written report of this says the church had actually just collected a donation to have the painting restored professionally. Grandma says the priest gave her permission (or asked her to do it - the reports differ a bit), so I'm wondering if maybe Grandma and the priest decided there was a better use for the money. Okay, laughing again. The plot to save the money for some other use (or pocket) - there's a silly 1930s comedy movie in that.

It's Sunday

@TheTweetofGod on Facebook

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Pain Chart

You will have to go here for the better one with all the numbers. It will be worth it. I promise.

 ...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Oh, No. Not Another Online Petition

Yes, another online petition.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

State's Rights

Always sounds good till you think about it for a minute.
The other day, Willard Romney proposed his energy plan for the United States. I was driving through other mountains, these in Pennsylvania, when he did, so I missed the news as it happened. I have been catching up, little by little, but the one part that has stuck with me is Romney's proposal to hand federal lands over the states to do with what they will in their common illusion that everything in this country is limitless. There are practical political reasons not to do this. I know it's an article of faith among conservatives that government is best the "closer" it gets to the people, because it is allegedly more accountable to them. Therefore, state governments are better than the federal government. Following that logic, we inevitably find ourselves in the sovereign-citizens movement, where all power resides in the county sheriff.

Sometimes, I wonder if the people propounding this axiom ever actually lived in any of the states themselves. The abiding characteristics of state governments is that they tend to be more prone to ignorance and much more cheaply bought. (This is why The Blog has a regular weekly feature entitled, "This Week in the Laboratories of Democracy." Because it will never run out of material. It is also why, apropos of nothing, there is a new push to go back to having U.S. senators selected by the state legislatures, where the process can be corrupted more easily and more inexpensively.)

Charlie Pierce
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Blow Up Your TV

Glenn Greenwald talks about MSNBC's bid to become the leftwing Fox News.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.


Jean sends word that in Boone County, Missouri - Todd Akin's state - the GOP voted on whether to ask him to stand down, and the nays won. She reports that one woman gave her reason as: if abortion is allowed in cases of rape, then women wanting abortions will just claim that they've been raped.

Presumably because all women are as utterly ridiculous as she and unable to follow through a thought process about the consequences of making such a claim.

Abandon hope.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

For the Love of Pete

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has a new reason for keeping his financial details secret from the American people: his Mormon faith.

Speaking to Parade Magazine, Ann Romney said their tithing to the Mormon Church is so meaningful and personal, she cries every time they sign over a check. “So do I,” Mitt added, “but for a different reason.”

“Our church doesn’t publish how much people have given,” he’s quoted saying. “This is done entirely privately. One of the downsides of releasing one’s financial information is that this is now all public, but we had never intended our contributions to be known. It’s a very personal thing between ourselves and our commitment to our God and to our church.”
  Raw Story

She cries when they turn over money to the church. (Sure.) And Mitt jokes about why he cries about it – the “different reason” presumably because he's parting with so much money. A regular comedian, that Mitt.

And, why was it okay to release the last couple of years' tax returns since he's been campaigning, but not the earlier ones, if he doesn't want to let people know what he's giving to the church? It's supposed to be a tithe – 10% - so you could easily figure out how much he gives to the church if you saw his tax returns. As someone else suggested, the issue might not be so much that you'd know how little taxes he pays, but that he hasn't been paying his 10%, and he doesn't want the Mormon church to find out how much he's stiffed them for.
In the January 22, 2012 episode of “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace asked Romney whether he believed his support for the Mormon Church would pose a problem for his outreach to Christians.

“The Bible speaks about providing tithes and offerings,” he replied. “I made a commitment to my church a long, long time ago that I would give 10 percent of my income to the church, and I followed through on that commitment.”

But even that claim was problematic for Romney, who was dinged by conservatives after the two years of tax returns he released showed he only donated 7 percent to the church in 2010.
Uh-huh. He's short-changing his church. Now THAT's the Mitt Romney we've come to know.

And speaking of comedian Romney....

Mitt Romney can’t seem to stop telling people in Michigan how much he feels at home there, but perhaps he should have stuck to praising the height of the trees. A comment he made on Friday morning — that in Michigan “no one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised” — is now drawing fire from all sides.


Later in the day, Romney attempted to do damage control, telling CBS News that his remarks were “not a swipe” at president Obama. “This was fun about us, and coming home,” he insisted. “And humor, you know — we’ve got to have a little humor in a campaign.”
Yeah, that was a real laugh. Now, are there ANY documents of yours that people are asking to see?

George W Bush. Mitt Romney. Don't the Republicans have anybody to present for office who isn't a silver-spoon-fed Marie Antoinette poster child? Or is this their ideal type?

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Back to the Target Range, Men

According to the New York Times, a man who lost his job shot a co-worker outside the Empire State Building.  Two cops arrived, the man took one shot at them, and they returned fire, killing him.  It also says that nine other people were wounded, and that, according to the number of shots fired and bullets left, the gunman could have only been responsible for one of those injuries.  It also says the cops shot at him from eight feet away, firing 16 shots total.  And wounded at least eight innocent bystanders?  Somehow I doubt that those people were running between the cops and the gunman after he'd already fired five shots at his co-worker.   What?

More Mitt Dilemma

Mr. Romney will be elevated as the party’s standard bearer on Monday – not Wednesday as previously expected – to keep the official business of the roll call delegate vote from competing with broader themes of introducing Mr. Romney.


The campaign had hoped that the television networks would cover the convention on Monday because Ann Romney is delivering her marquee speech that night, but so far the networks have declined.


Several Republican officials said scheduling the roll call on Monday allowed Mr. Romney to avoid drawing attention to two potential problems: from [Ron] Paul’s supporters and the winds and rain of [Tropical Storm] Isaac. By the time Mr. Romney arrives here in Tampa, aides hope both challenges will have blown over.



[A]propos of the recently released "Energy" "Plan" of "Mitt Romney": th' fuck is so important about "energy independence" when you assure us that everything else in the Magical Economics Realm has just simply got to be globalized? Why don't we shoot for Job Independence? Or Manufacturing Independence? How 'bout we set as a goal complete shipping independence by 2020? Every ship that docks in the United States has to be registered here, and the crew has to be 85% American. Why shouldn't we become Rubber Independent, or Manganese Indepenent? Why shouldn't we produce our own fucking cellphones?

Doghouse Riley
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

What's Wrong With Obama Having Extrajudicial, Extralegal Executive Powers?

The indefinite detention section of the National Defense Authorization Act, passed by Congress in 2011, says that the U.S. can hold a suspect "without trial, until the end of the hostilities." It was met with a mighty signing statement by President Obama where he pledged to never use his superpower for evil and that no Americans would be treated like filthy foreigners (except, you know, for the whole blowing them up with missiles overseas).


You can't ignore this shit. You just look like a fool if you do. Again, this is not just an extension of the very things we took to the streets to protest George W. Bush for, it's an expansion. And it's fucking scary shit. Because instead of reducing the power of the imperial president, an idea he criticized while running, Obama has embraced it. And, no matter how much you trust him, Obama ain't gonna be there some day and all these powers and laws will be.

Rude Pundit

You don't hear too much from Conseratives complaining about having extra powers awarded the executive branch, not even the one where the President can kill anyone he wants, whenever he wants, wherever he wants, do you? That's not something they're against. That's not one of their complaints about Barack Obama.

You do, however, hear Liberals who are frightened at what Obama has done in his four short years in the office trying to convince other liberals that, Houston, we have a problem here, using the argument that, while Mr. Good Guy may not use those powers for evil, a future (read: Republican) president might. And we sure don't want the bad guys to have that kind of power.

Now, here's why I think that is a shabby argument and shouldn't be used: 1) We already know that Mr. Good Guy has used those powers; 2) What makes us think that, given another four years, Mr. Good Guy might not take his awesome unprecedented executive powers and, increasing them a little more, fix himself permanently at the head of the government? "I mean, you don't want some future bad guy up here with these powers, do you?" he could ask. And, 3) Well, 1) and 2). So please drop the "what-about-a-future-Republican-president?" argument, because if that's the only reasoning your liberal friends can muster, we're doomed.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Where We're Going

William Binney talks about Stellar Wind.

Click the picture for the video at

A little bit tangential:  Anyone considering or currently working in a government/military agency, who is the type of person who would have a problem with the government using the fruits of your labor against your fellow citizens (or you, for that matter), would probably be well advised to seek other employment.

Binney tells the audience that he created this program for the US military/government to collect data that would help us against our enemies, and "they took those programs and they turned them on you."  He says he's sorry.  He didn't intend that. 

I believe him.  And now he's paying a pretty high price in an unexpected turn of events for him.  With any amount of forethought, however, it could have been - should have been - expected.  Ask any number of people who've tried to keep wild animals as "pets".   There's always that possible day in the future where it turns on you.  It's the nature of the beast.  It's not your friend.   

While I give the man kudos for coming out and reporting what's going on, I will never quite be able to excuse people who work for the government developing tools that can be used to suppress and annihilate because, wake up, that's what a government that requires those tools does with them.  And there is no reason to believe that it won't eventually use those tools against its own citizens (as if it's not bad enough it uses them against people in other countries).  In fact, there's every reason to believe that it will.  It's one thing to be a scientist or inventor working on some theoretical or even practical problem or idea and have the government take your work and twist it to military or tyrannical purposes, and yet another to work for an agency that already has those purposes.

It's not that I don't understand American citizens' desire to protect and further their own country's interests (above other countries'); it's that I don't understand how after centuries and centuries of war and devastation and oppression, they don't one day look up from their handywork and say, "Oh.  I see.  I'm just perpetuating evil."

 ...but hey, do what you will anyway.

To those who understand state surveillance as an abstraction, I will try to describe a little about how it has affected me. The United States apparently placed me on a “watch-list” in 2006 after I completed a film about the Iraq war. I have been detained at the border more than 40 times. Once, in 2011, when I was stopped at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and asserted my First Amendment right not to answer questions about my work, the border agent replied, “If you don’t answer our questions, we’ll find our answers on your electronics.”’ As a filmmaker and journalist entrusted to protect the people who share information with me, it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to work in the United States. Although I take every effort to secure my material, I know the N.S.A. has technical abilities that are nearly impossible to defend against if you are targeted.

The 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which oversees the N.S.A. activities, are up for renewal in December. Two members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado, both Democrats, are trying to revise the amendments to insure greater privacy protections. They have been warning about “secret interpretations” of laws and backdoor “loopholes” that allow the government to collect our private communications. Thirteen senators have signed a letter expressing concern about a “loophole” in the law that permits the collection of United States data. The A.C.L.U. and other groups have also challenged the constitutionality of the law, and the Supreme Court will hear arguments in that case on Oct. 29.

Laura Poitras
If you're not doing anything wrong, you've got nothing to hide. Right? This is another disconnect I see with right wing politics. People claiming to be Conservatives say they want smaller government - they want government out of their personal affairs. But they want government in your reproductive affairs. And they're okay with having government collect all your personal information and search you every time you board a plane, because if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide. I understand how they can rationalize having government involved in your reproductive affairs - because that's YOU, not them. But the other constitutes government infringement on THEIR privacy as well. And both constitute government empowerment over citizens' rights, which they claim not to want. I have no other response to them than, "Huh? Are you dishonest or just deluded?"

God Hates Haiti, Doesn't He?

Between nature, imperialism, and home-grown thugs, Haitians never seem to catch a break.
Haiti hunkered down Friday as forecasters warned that Tropical Storm Isaac could dump large amounts of rain on the impoverished country still recovering from a killer earthquake.


The fierce weather could spell misery for the roughly 400,000 residents of the western hemisphere’s poorest country who live in makeshift squatter camps two years after the earthquake that killed an estimated 250,000 people.


“Without a stable sanitation system or permanent housing, heavy rain and wind can create much larger problems like disease from water contamination,” he added.
  Raw Story
The wonder is that there are still people living in Haiti. Does anything good ever happen to them?

Self Deportation Station

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Speaking of Local Politics

Our theme for this week's episode is Loose Talk From People Who Goddamn Well Should Know Better, and we begin down in the great state of Texas, where, against all conceivable odds, our subject is not Governor Rick Perry. Rather, we turn our attention to Lubbock, birthplace of Buddy Holly, where local judge Tom Head got on the electric teevee machine and untethered himself from planet Earth: [video embedded]


Head would have listeners believe that they must agree to increase Lubbock's property tax rate by 1.7 cents in the next fiscal year, or risk being forced to submit to a foreign occupying force invited into the nation by the president of the United States.

Charlie Pierce
It just might work.

Charlie continues that post with some other totally asinine happenings around the country (generally in the southern half of it) which make me glad to have my school years, and those of my children, way behind me. Jeez. An untethering from planet earth might not be such a terrible thing.

Cuban Missile Crisis & the Underground Silos

I'm currently reading a book that mentions the early 60s showdown between Russia and the US, which comments on the ubiquitous drills that school children went through during that scary time.   I grew up in rural Missouri, and I recall the little one-lane bridge over the Blackwater River having to be replaced by a two-lane affair that permitted the big transport trucks to cross over with the equipment to build an underground missile silo less than a mile from our farm house.  But we never had drills in school, and in fact, I never heard anyone talking about any near-nuclear-annihilation.  How is that possible?

Was I just particularly obtuse or oblivious?  I was certainly old enough to be aware (I was 12 years old when John Kennedy was assassinated - or nearly so - one week away from it).  I certainly remember that.  I remember the principal coming into our classroom to announce it.

I also remember something about the planning for the missile site locations, because the locals made cracks about how our little community would be wiped off the face of the earth in a flash if the Russians ever decided to take out missile silos.  That was because we were located halfway between Kansas City and St. Louis and thereby allocated an overlapping of the two 100-mile radius circles which were supposed to be ringing all major US cities with missile silos.  Hahaha.  Ya dumb yokels. Surely the planners didn't waste money on overlapping sites.  Surely.

I know I didn't just forget that we used to practice ducking under our desks.   We didn't do it.  I have a feeling nobody back there deep in the heart of the "Show Me" state really believed anything they heard or read in the national news - other than if we elected Kennedy, we'd all be forced to become Catholics.  Or maybe they figured they had farming to do whether Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Kruschev were getting along or not.  Or maybe they really did figure we'd be ground zero anyway, and until then, they had farming to do.

Or maybe they were level-headed enough to at least realize desks wouldn't save us.

Anyway, the Reds didn't get 'em.

Many years later, the University of Missouri fortified the area around its nuclear reactor - to keep it safe from the radical Islamists. I had a really good laugh about that. A fence on one side and some waist-high concrete slabs on another. No self-respecting farmer's kid would see that as anything but a waste of taxpayer money.

I have a feeling the Islamists won't get those Missouri farmers, either. But the drought, now...

I'm Sorry, We Just Can't All Be This Rational

I know I'm not the only person to point this out, and heaven knows I'll never be the first, but the real semantic questions here are a) what, exactly, is Mitt Romney, and the rest of the Republican establishment, objecting to, beyond being saddled with their own positions, suitably in a nutshell? and b) how is it we do not recognize, and pummel, public figures such as Akin who so obviously are not conversant with the issues they spew about, or even the "principles" they suppose us to imagine they hold? Akin's hardly the first religious maroon to get hisself elected to Congress. The question is how we've gone forty years without the Right to Lifers being questioned, philosophically, theologically, or scientifically? Akin could only be that unclear on the concept if he'd never been required to answer an essay question. He didn't erroneously substitute a word, except that he fumbled his lines. He substituted patent nonsense for thought. And neither is original with him.

And it just happens, then, that he slid all the way down the slope. If there's no exception for rape, according to the Republican party, no exception for incest, none for viability, genetic disaster, or the life of the mother--until it's the mother of Rick Santorum's children--then say so. If there is, then on what basis? If there is, then the termination of a pregnancy is not murder.
  Doghouse Riley

The Case Against Julian Assange

In 2008 – two years before the release of the "collateral murder" video, the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, and the diplomatic cables – the Pentagon prepared a secret report which proclaimed WikiLeaks to be an enemy of the state and plotted ways to destroy its credibility and reputation. But in a stroke of amazing luck, Pentagon operatives never needed to do any of that, because the establishment media in the US and Britain harbor at least as much intense personal loathing for the group's founder as the US government does, and eagerly took the lead in targeting him.


Is it not remarkable that one of the very few individuals over the past decade to risk his welfare, liberty and even life to meaningfully challenge the secrecy regime on which the American national security state (and those of its obedient allies) depends just so happens to have become – long before he sought asylum from Ecuador – the most intensely and personally despised figure among the American and British media class and the British "liberal" intelligentsia?
  Glen Greenwald

Why, yes. Yes it is. What's going on?
Whatever else is true, establishment media outlets show unlimited personal animus toward the person who, as a panel of judges put it when they awarded him the the 2011 Martha Gellhorn prize for journalism, "has given the public more scoops than most journalists can imagine." Similarly, when the Australian version of the Pulitzers – the Walkley Foundation – awarded its highest distinction (for "Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism") to WikiLeaks in 2011, it cited the group's "courageous and controversial commitment to the finest traditions of journalism: justice through transparency," and observed: "So many eagerly took advantage of the secret cables to create more scoops in a year than most journalists could imagine in a lifetime."

I listened to an NPR segment this weekend on the Assange/Ecuador assylum topic, and they had two guests who both repudiated Julian Assange, one of them quite vehemently. The host read one short comment from an email supporting Assange, and one from Assange's mother which they brushed over rather quickly, one guest being somewhat respectful toward her, and the other blasting right through her.  Other than that, it was a full-on assault on the man. Three times throughout the segment, the host announced that they actually had a guest who supported Assange lined up for the program, and they were “still trying” to make contact with that person, but, alas, for some unspecified technical reasons, they never managed it. As you may have guessed, the host's comments were also negative.

There are several obvious reasons why Assange provokes such unhinged media contempt. The most obvious among them is competition: the resentment generated by watching someone outside their profession generate more critical scoops in a year than all other media outlets combined.


Other causes are more subtle though substantive. Many journalists (and liberals) like to wear the costume of outsider-insurgent, but are, at their core, devoted institutionalists, faithful believers in the goodness of their society's power centers, and thus resent those (like Assange) who actually and deliberately place themselves outside of it. By putting his own liberty and security at risk to oppose the world's most powerful factions, Assange has clearly demonstrated what happens to real adversarial dissidents and insurgents – they're persecuted, demonized, and threatened, not befriended by and invited to parties within the halls of imperial power – and he thus causes many journalists to stand revealed as posers, servants to power, and courtiers.
By the way, I read in an article early on regarding the assylum offered by Ecuador that both Assange and the government of Ecuador offered to deliver Assange to Sweden if Sweden gave a promise that it would not extradite him to the US, an offer which Sweden turned down. Greenwald seems to confirm that here:
Not only Assange defenders, but also his own lawyers and the Ecuadorean government, have worked relentlessly to ensure that he faces those allegations in Sweden. They have merely sought to do so in a way that protects him from extradition to the US to face espionage charges for his journalism – a threat that could send him to prison for life (likely in a torturous super-max facility), and a threat only the wilfuly blind could deny is serious and real.

In their New York Times op-ed this week, Michael Moore and Oliver Stone correctly argue that it is "the British and Swedish governments that stand in the way of [the sex assault] investigation, not Mr Assange." That's because, they note, Assange has repeatedly offered to be questioned by Swedish authorities in London, or to travel today to Sweden to face those allegations if he could be assured that his doing so would not result in his extradition to the US to face espionage charges.
Assange at this point is wanted for questioning in [the Swedish] case [against him], and has not been charged. Once he's questioned, he might be charged, or the case might be dropped. That is what has made the Swedes' steadfast refusal to question him in England so mystifying, of such concern to Assange, and is the real reason that the investigation has thus far been obstructed. Indeed, Swedish legal expert Ove Bring has made clear, in the context of discussing Assange, that "under Swedish law it is possible to interrogate people abroad," but that Sweden is refusing to do so simply for reasons of "prestige" (he added: "If he goes to Sweden, is interrogated, then I expect the case would be dropped, as the evidence is not enough to charge him with a crime").


[The] Swedish judiciary has the right to block an extradition request on legal grounds, but it lacks the power to compel extradition; if the courts approve of the legal basis, the Swedish government still retains the authority to decide if extradition should take place.


Both Britain and Sweden have steadfastly refused even to discuss any agreement that could safeguard both the rights of the complainants and Assange's rights not to be imprisoned for basic journalism.


Rather than explore any of those possible grounds for agreement, both governments have simply refused to negotiate either with Assange's lawyers or the Ecuadorean government over any proposals to safeguard his rights. That refusal on the part of those governments – and not any desire to obstruct the investigation or evade facing those allegations – is what led the Ecuadoreans to conclude that asylum was necessary to protect Assange from political persecution.


If one wants to find a culprit for why these sex assault allegations are not being resolved the way they should be, the refusal of these two governments even to negotiate to secure Assange's clear rights against unjust extradition is the place to begin.

Things You Already Suspected

Sharia Law?

Even as Mitt Romney sought to quash the furor surrounding Todd Akin’s “legitimate” rape comments, the Republican platform committee here approved an abortion plank that includes no exemptions for rape, incest or even to save the life of the mother.


The full platform committee also voted to reinstate support for abstinence-only education, after a subcommittee had removed it Monday.
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

While You Were Sleeping

A Chesterfield man and Marine veteran is being held for evaluation in a local hospital after posting questionable messages to his Facebook wall.

26-year-old Brandon J. Raub was confronted at his home by FBI agents on Thursday. According to Richmond FBI spokeswoman Dee Rybiski, the agency did not arrest Raub, but took him to John Randolph Medical Center for evaluation.

Raub posted a series of controversial messages to his Facebook wall, including this one, dated August 5: "If you are unaware of the great amount of evil perpetrated by the American Government I suggest you take … your head out of the sand. The day of reckoning is almost at hand."


At a hearing Monday morning, Raub's defense attorneys argued that Raub's First Amendment rights had been violated when he was removed by his home by federal agents without being arrested. The judge determined that Raub will remain detained for up to 30 days, in conjunction with a mental evaluation.
Brandon J. Raub, a 26-year-old pro-liberty activist, former U.S. Marine, and Virginia resident, was arrested after authorities deemed his Facebook posts threatening. Citing an obscure statute allowing the involuntary detainment of a citizen for psychiatric evaluation, the FBI, Secret Service, and local authorities swarmed Raub’s property to question and then seize him. Without a warrant or recitation of his Miranda rights, Raub was handcuffed and taken into custody. After a quick hearing, government officials confirmed that Raub’s Facebook posts necessitated his detention, refusing to acknowledge legal objections that the words were wrongly interpreted. The former Marine will undergo 30 days of evaluation at Salem VA Medical Center.


So what did he post? A Facebook note titled “The Truth” lists grievances against the American ruling establishment. Raub expresses his belief that the American principles of limited government and personal liberty are expiring and that corporations and international bankers run the state, not the people. Raub has directly called for the arrest of bankers and politicians who consistently defy their oath to the United States Constitution.

According to his supporters, Raub also believes the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were sold to the American people under false pretenses to benefit the powerful at the expense of military families, American treasure, and domestic security. Raub served in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Marine Corps from 2005 to 2011.


Though his defenders claim he is a patriot meaning no harm, the former Marine directly encouraged a popular revolution against tyrannical and un-constitutional government, claiming he would “kickstart” resistance. No direct threats were posted, and posts of this darker nature were a mixture of statements authorities construed as incitements to violence and song lyrics from heavy rock music.

Undoubtedly, these expressions concerned federal authorities, but was detainment for “psychological evaluation” without respect for Raub’s rights to Due Process warranted? Raub has no history of mental illness and a reputation for organizing peaceful political demonstrations.


Officials insist the seizure was not an arrest because there are no criminal charges, but an ACLU investigator disagrees, “I have reviewed the video of Mr. Raub's arrest. According to federal statute, when the police restrained the subject with handcuffs and stopped him from moving about under his own free will, at that point the subject was, in fact, under arrest. The fact that he was not read his Miranda Rights is another violation."

A lawyer in Dallas is more concerned the incident is a harbinger of things to come after recent constitutional abuses by the federal government concerning due-process rights and domestic spying.


Unless the Obama administration abandons the NDAA, it is reasonable to assume that if Raub (or any other dissident) were deemed a “terrorist”, even before manifesting intent to act, federal authorities could skip the entire judicial process and imprison him at the pleasure of the President. Very few civilized nations allow unchecked power of this magnitude in the 21st century.


For John Whitehead, Director of the Rutherford Institute, a Virginia-based civil liberties organization defending Raub, the larger concern is whether government officials are monitoring citizens' private Facebook pages for dissent.

"For government officials to not only arrest Brandon Raub for doing nothing more than exercising his First Amendment rights but to actually force him to undergo psychological evaluations and detain him against his will goes against every constitutional principle this country was founded upon. This is a scary new chapter in this nation’s history.”


According to FBI Spokeswoman Dee Rybiski, federal agents did not monitor Raub’s Facebook page, but received “a few complaints about what were perceived as threatening posts”. Whitehead doubts the FBI’s honesty, stating the page in question was recently created and private.


Though the extent of snooping program remains classified, a Freedom of Information Act release revealed that General Dynamics was awarded the $11.3 million dollar tax-payer funded contract to stalk social media traffic. Keyword-generated status reports “capturing public reaction” and opinions that “reflect adversely” on the federal government were produced weekly for the Department of Homeland Security.

Senior officials insist the government can be trusted and that citizens are not tracked by their political views at this time, but Ginger McCall, director of the EPIC’s open government program points out, “The language in the documents makes it quite clear that they are looking for media reports that are critical of the agency and the U.S. government more broadly. This [monitoring] could have a substantial chilling effect on legitimate dissent and freedom of speech.”
  Washington Times

Helen Weighs In

[The] current platform held by the Republican Party calls for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. It also says the Republican Party supports a “human life amendment” to the Constitution. Akin was simply reading from the talking points.


What Akin actually said was, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”


He gives absolutely no thought to the woman – just the man and the “child”? And where does Akin get his opinion on the reproductive system of a woman, or as he calls it “that whole thing”. Clearly he’s a few credits shy of being a gynecologist, but he does have a degree in management engineering. I guess on the weekends, he manages to hang out with doctors and discuss how that whole female reproductive system thing has been engineered to protect itself against rape. Honestly, Margaret, where do they find these asshats? Is it just me, or is there a different Republican each week with his head up my whole thing? What exactly are they looking for up there – a tax refund?

Margaret & Helen

What an Intelligent Conversation About the Upcoming Election Sounds Like

Cusack: I would just love to know your take as an expert on these things. And then maybe we can speak to whatever you think his motivations would be, and not speak to them in the way that we want to armchair-quarterback like the pundits do about “the game inside the game,” but only do it because it would speak to the arguments that are being used by the left to excuse it. For example, maybe their argument that there are things you can’t know, and it’s a dangerous world out there, or why do you think a constitutional law professor would throw out due process?

Turley: Well, there’s a misconception about Barack Obama as a former constitutional law professor. First of all, there are plenty of professors who are “legal relativists.” They tend to view legal principles as relative to whatever they’re trying to achieve. I would certainly put President Obama in the relativist category. Ironically, he shares that distinction with George W. Bush. They both tended to view the law as a means to a particular end — as opposed to the end itself. That’s the fundamental distinction among law professors. Law professors like Obama tend to view the law as one means to an end, and others, like myself, tend to view it as the end itself.

Truth be known President Obama has never been particularly driven by principle. Right after his election, I wrote a column in a few days warning people that even though I voted for Obama, he was not what people were describing him to be. I saw him in the Senate. I saw him in Chicago.

Cusack: Yeah, so did I.

Turley: He was never motivated that much by principle. What he’s motivated by are programs. And to that extent, I like his programs more than Bush’s programs, but Bush and Obama are very much alike when it comes to principles. They simply do not fight for the abstract principles and view them as something quite relative to what they’re trying to accomplish. Thus privacy yields to immunity for telecommunications companies and due process yields to tribunals for terrorism suspects.


[B]elief in human rights law and civil liberties leads one to the uncomfortable conclusion that President Obama has violated his oath to uphold the Constitution. But that’s not the primary question for voters. It is less about him than it is them. They have an obligation to cast their vote in a principled fashion. It is, in my opinion, no excuse to vote for someone who has violated core constitutional rights and civil liberties simply because you believe the other side is no better. You cannot pretend that your vote does not constitute at least a tacit approval of the policies of the candidate.
  Shannyn Moore

I recommend you read this conversation between actor/director John Cusack and constitutional law professor Jon Turley in its entirety.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

UPDATE: I don’t know whether Jonathan Turley has actually thought this comparison out and decided to use it precisely because it should shame a black man (please, Obama calls himself black, and not half-black, so I suppose I will do it, too) for applying the same principal as the KKK, but in response to a question from John Cusack about Obama claiming that He and His death panel do in fact have a process with which we should be satisfied and by which they determine who should die, he says this:
”It’s the same type of argument when people used to say when they caught a criminal and hung him from a tree after a perfunctory five-minute trial. In those days, there was an attempt to pretend that they are really not a lynch mob; they were following a legal process of their making and their satisfaction. It’s just… it’s expedited. Well, in some ways, the administration is arguing the same thing. They’re saying, “Yes, we do believe that we can kill any U.S. citizen, but we’re going to talk amongst ourselves about this, and we’re not going to do it until we’re satisfied that this guy is guilty.”
And if they’re satisfied, then why aren’t we?

Here's How It Works

I would take more seriously all of this very inspirational, newfound worry about Ecuadorian press freedoms and Russian free speech rights [aiming accusations of hypocrisy at Julian Assange] on the part of Western media figures if they evinced any similar interest in infringements and abuses by their own governments and their allies.


[A]ttacks on protesters by US-supported regimes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are typically described by western media outlets with the innocuous-sounding, both-sides-are-to-blame term "clashes with rebels", while villain-of-the-moment regimes in Iran, Syria or Libya are said to be slaughtering their own citizens. [...A]rming Syrian rebels to enable them to defend against regime oppression is conventional wisdom, whereas arming Palestinian rebels to defend against Israeli violence is criminal.

The classic case of this dynamic is the outburst of indignation in 2003 over – all together now – Saddam's "gassing of his own people": something he had done 15 years earlier, in 1988, when the US was arming and funding him and had multiple interests in its relationship with Iraq, and thus evinced little care about any of that. It was only when it was time to demonize Saddam in order to justify the attack did western governments and their media outlets suddenly discover their retroactive rage over those crimes.


For seven years, the US imprisoned an al-Jazeera cameraman, Sami al-Haj, at Guantánamo with no charges and spent most of that time interrogating him not about al-Qaida, but about al-Jazeera. With very few exceptions, American media figures failed even to mention, let alone condemn, the due process-free imprisonment of this journalist by their own government. The same silence characterized their reaction to the imprisonment of other Muslim journalists over the last decade by the US government.

By very stark contrast, when Iran imprisoned the Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi on espionage charges before releasing her five months after her arrest, countless American journalists and self-styled human rights advocates in the media were so very proud of their bold denunciation of the distant Iranian regime, turning the Saberi case into a cause celebre. Exactly the same thing happened with the 2009 conviction and imprisonment by North Korea of American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling: American journalists so courageously condemned the tyranny of North Korea.

  Glenn Greenwald

Greenwald also points out the west's media outrage at the recent sentencing of the Russian band Pussy Riot for its protest against Putin while giving a pass to the US authority's violent treatment of the peaceful protesters of the Occupy movement here.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

So It Looks Like the Apple Folks Are Learning What It's Like for the Rest of Us

In addition to fighting my natural indolence (okay, so I don't fight very hard), Weltschmerz, saddle rash, and the public career of Ryan Lochte, I've been suffering from the worst bout of Jobs-Induced Apple Colitis in the last five years. Bring back System 7.5! The really interesting thing I've learned in the past three weeks of fighting an utterly recalcitrant and vaguely Fascist operating system is that the vaunted stability of OSX really makes you long, when things really turn to shit, for the days when the damn thing would just crash and get it over with, you'd kiss off a few files that'd be forgotten in a week's time, if that, and get on with things.

I haven't lost a bit of data in a month of trying, but there's a very real possibility at any moment that I'll lose some to a high-velocity collision between my back up drive and my iMac screen.

What I have done (among other things) is watch a dozen videos on the YouTubes explaining how to solve everything from a Firewire kernel panic to staring at my own stupid name in the corner of the menu bar. Yes, indeed, I upgraded to Mountain Lion a few days ago, something I never would have done without letting others volunteer to be beta testers for the next couple months except for the panic (its, not mine). The first major improvement I noticed from that, I believe the commonly-accepted term is "upgrade", was that now my trackball wheel ran backwards. Apparently so I could feel like a hipster, or a Mom, with an iPhone. And it's working, because nowadays I spend fourteen hours a day staring at a screen, and I mutter to myself in public.

I admit that I brought this on myself by recklessly plugging in a new drive for my iTunes collection. As a result--and, again, this list is far from exhaustive, believe me--I couldn't use Mail without entering my password every five seconds for the better part of an hour (and Mail, once a program with a few restful and reassuring quirks, now has full-blown Tourettes); couldn't flip through iTunes--fuck iTunes, in case I haven't said that recently--in Cover View, or Toxic Flow, or whatever they call it, without a guaranteed freeze; spent a sennight where the Finder would develop iAmnesia after five minutes; stood helpless as the freezing behavior took over every piece of Apple™ brand software (and little else) like a pandemic trend in eyewear or social mediaizing; and now, over the last 48 hours, watched as every reboot (six, for the average half-hour) launched three pieces of software, the same three I'd scrupulously closed each of the other five times. That seems to've stopped. I won't bother recounting the adventures of my new, larger, Time Machine disk, which has been subject to more blackouts, odd conduct, and mysterious disappearances than the entire Barrymore clan.

The most remarkable realization is that there is no abnormal behavior, no matter how idiosyncratic, trivial, labyrinthine, or random-seeming, nothing whatsoever that your Mac can start doing that you can't Google up and find fifty people asking about. Nothing.

I've said it before, but where the all-purpose Chinese insult is "May you live in interesting times", mine is "May something you like become wildly popular."
  Doghouse Riley