Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Weak, Weak

I got back to the hotel from the client in time to turn on CNN and watch the SOTU. I changed the channel after Bsuh started, went back a couple of times...once to see the Dems moon him over his Social Security statement. Turned it back off I am not strong enough to deal with this. I'll wait for Jane or John or Kos to update me on the high points.

A lonely hotel room a couple of thousand miles from home is no place to get this disgusted and depressed.

Oh crap now Nancy Grace the ghoul of murder is now on CNN HN. I guess it is time to turn on Emeril.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Critical Mass

Even though the vote didn't go the way we wanted today I can't help feel that this demonstration of netroots power marks a turning point. It was an extremely high bar to hurdle. I sense, however, that we are reaching some level of critical mass.

You can pile quite a large pile of radioactive material on the table and the only thing you might be able to do with it is roast a marshmallow or two, maybe a wiener. Get enough together, however, and suddenly you are are capable of changing worlds with the power generated. You have reached "critical mass".

The loose organization of progressive bloggers and related web sites are very close to reaching that point. Everyday they are reaching more people and everyday more people are realizing that if you want to know the scoop and get intelligent opinion from a diverse cross-section of people your only reliable resource is the web. Daily, people from all strata of our society are realizing that the corporate media are not unbiased and not dependable sources for information.

By the way, it's kind of ironic that the man who first proposed the basics of hypertext was named Bush. Vannevar Bush introduced the concept in 1945. The idea was expanded and developed by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN, who introduced the World Wide Web, HTML, HTTP and URL's in 1990.

Vannevar was born before the turn of the century and the ideas he introduced in his 50's did not become reality until 16 years ago and now, in a very short time, they potentially connect every one of the billions of people on earth with each other in real time and without the requirement for a high level of technical know how. It is virtually beyond the capability of the human mind to grasp the possiblities of such interconnectedness.

We now have millions of blogs all heterodyning and producing unpredictable synergies. Critical mass has either already been reached or will be in the very near future. The evolution of our species is at the next threshold and we will make a difference.

So now what? We keep on doing what we are doing and doing better everyday. We connect. We communicate. We evolve the discourse. We feed off each other's ideas. We produce a synergy of thought that is a force for change that the world has not seen before.

Deny us at your peril.

Fight the Fight that Needs Fighting

Ok. I have now had some sleep and a chance to think a little more about the effectiveness or value of spending so many silver bullets against the confirmation of Alito. I think the politics are important and the field could have been better prepared. You know, the television ads and print editorials and making it clear from the get go that a fight was due.
I think, however, that the overriding issue is to make a stand no matter how doomed to failure it is. We may take some heat for it with the ostructionist label etc. but I think the value from a filibuster is that it gets people aware that it this is not going to be a slam dunk for the forces of darkness that Bush and company want it to be.
All that said I think the biggest win for us would be if we could delay, just until after the SOTU, and wipe some of that smirk off GW's face during the speech.

Several people have floated the idea that Harry Reid gather his troops and get every democrat to filibuster for just long enough to delay cloture long enough to push the confirmation vote to Wednesday.
Think about all the talking heads discussing the fact that the Dems have banded together to make sure the American people know how bad we feel Alito is for the future of the regular guy.
This is going to be an interesting week.

On the Fence

Back in Sunnyvale and trying to catch up on the stuff going on around the blogosphere.

John at Americablog has some excellent points with repsect to why this last minute filibuster will likely prove to be damaging to the Dems. I tend to agree with him and others that insist the left/dems/progressives have not done the background work necessary to make the politics of a filibuster work to the dems advantage. We'll just have to wait and see.

The arguments that you can win through losing are at face persuasive but fundamentally shallow if you haven't prepared the ground to accept the arguments you are losing with. The nuances of this argument seem to be too difficult for a lot of people to understand and that is one of the reasons we need to very careful before we put our necks on the line.

That being said I am still inclined to charge forward and try and mitigate the damage a little later.

I am actually too tired to be trying to reason through all of the arguments right now but my instinct is telling me that we still need to make our best effort to try and stop the Alito confirmation.

Maybe after a reasonable nights sleep I will be able to articulate this better.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Boom My Ass

For those of you that need some convincing that the "Bush Boom" is merely a fig-newton of the collective GOP addled brain here are some details from Max. You can email these to your Bush supporting friends if you have any or can find one for that matter.

A number of observers seem to suggest that the economy is doing very well and that people mistakenly believe that the economy is on the wrong track. The facts are that trends in almost every indicator of the aggregate ‘macro’ economy –- GDP growth, investment, payroll employment, personal income—have been inferior in this business cycle and recovery when measured against earlier comparable periods.

Moreover, the wages of workers (inflation-adjusted) fell in 2005 from 2004 levels and have been falling for several years. For instance, the wage (inflation-adjusted) of the median worker fell 1.3% in 2005. Given declining wages it is not surprising that the typical (median) household income fell for five years in a row through 2004 (2005 income data are not yet available), poverty has risen, and families have gone deeper into debt. Furthermore, health care costs are taking a bigger bite out of family incomes. The bottom line is that people do not feel good about trends in the economy because the things that matter most to them – wages, jobs, family income—have not been making them better off.

The administration claims that its tax cuts have led to jobs and growth. Yet, as we have shown, GDP, investment and other trends do not support this claim. A simpler way of showing the failure of the tax cuts to deliver jobs is to note that private sector jobs, excluding those generated by military or other government spending, have not increased since early 2001. If private sector jobs have not been created in significant numbers, how can one say that the tax cuts have worked?

Thanks Susie

NYT Just Got Back

You have to wonder where they have been since 2000. It's like they have been on some other planet. Well, maybe this is a good sign that at least someone besides us crazy blogger, liberal leftwing, hippy-yippy, pinko Osamaloving tree huggers are beginning to realize how totally screwed we all have been. Welcome back boys.

Quick Catchup

Here I am again crunched for time. Still have to go to the cleaners and pick up last minute stuff and finish packing and make sure the banking is caught up and all the bills scheduled.
I just want to take a moment and remind everyone how important it is to call you Senators and let them know you believe that Alito is not the best choice for America. This thing is difficult but doable. Just do it.
On another note Mustang Bobby has a good reminder up that we have a great opportunity as progressives to change the direction this nation is heading. We cannot, however, do it while sitting on our hands waiting for our saviour to appear. It is going to take activism and involvement and insuring that the electorate knows that the progressive answer is the right answer.
I should have some time when I get to some more catching up this evening when I get to Sunnyvale.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Sleepy bye

Ihave several things I need to talk about here but it is 11 pm and I keep falling asleep at the wheel. I will just have to wait until tomorrow morning.

Last Day Panic

Sorry for the absence but there was a last day of urgent touristing to get done today before I have to head back to Sunnyvale for the week. This time it was the North Georgia hills and all of the folk potters we know. My wife and I have been collectors for years of folk pottery mostly from north Georgia but also from Alabama, North and South Carolina. Over the years we have sought out the hidden valleys where the traditional potters still throw their ware in the old ways and fire it in wood fueled kilns. So we did north Georgia today and just got back home at 945 in the evening. I am bushed and have to get all my ducks in a row for getting back to the west coast tomorrow.

There is some good news however. I didn't buy any more pottery today though our English friends succumbed to a few pieces. Not that I wasn't tempted mind you.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Lots o' Water

All through with tourist duties for now. Nice trip to see the home of our 39th President. The National Park Service has done a nice job of restoring the boyhood farm and the old Plains High School. The POW Museum is worth a visit if you are in the area as well.
Well, promised a picture from the Georgia Aquarium and a review and this is the first chance I have had to do it.
The aquarium is all it is cracked up to be. It was crowded but everything moved along well and I didn't feel the visit was marred by the crowds. Some of the smaller exihibits required a short wait until you could get next to the glass but all of the larger exhibits have plenty of room and are large enough to see even if you are a good distance away. The arctic exhibit with the whales, penguins and sea lions was my favorite as I have a thing for whales but for sheer impressiveness the giant tank of the ocean voyager exhibit is hard to resist. Every exhibit has something to offer. There are several places where you can touch creatures such as rays, dogfish, shrimp and urchins which is great for the kids.
If you are planning a trip to Atlanta the Georgia Aquarium is a must do.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

More Touristing

The decision has been made by out guests that they want to see the Jimmy Carter National Historic site in Plains today so that is where we are going. Should take a couple of hours to get there from here north of Atlanta. I think I will try and find time to swing by Andersonville and see the Prisoner of War museum as well. I have been there once and it is worth the stop.
Been to Plains a couple of times but that was before it was a proper National Park so I am looking forward to it. Jimmy is the only President of the U.S. that I have ever met and shaken hands with, on several occasions no less, and I have just finished his latest book. The timing is right and I have always felt that his presidency was underrated and now, when you compare it to the disaster we are experiencing now, it was positively brilliant.

So anyhow, no posting today while I entertain but I haven't been drafted for anything tomorrow so we'lll try and catch up with all the goings on then.

Great Aquarium Visit

The Georgia Aquarium was worth the trip and it didn't disappoint. All of the different themed exhibits were well done and interesting. Tropical, Cold water, etc. The cold water exhibit was where the five beluga whales are and I could have spend hours watching them alone. I have pictures to post when I have a moment.
By far the best exhibit is the "Ocean Voyager" where they have the giant tank and the tunnel that allows you to actually walk among the fish. The "piece de resistance" is the 60 by 28 foot square window into the large tank where the two whale sharks live with some 100,000 other fish, sharks, etc. Amazing and someplace you could spend all day.
Overall a great attraction. Pictures to come as soon as I can get to it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tourist Time

Taking our English visitors to the new Georgia Aquarium today. This will be the first visit for us as well. I'm really looking forward to it as I dearly love aquariums and have made the two and a half hour trip to Chattanooga several times to see the very nice one there. I will give a full report later but from everything I have read it is fabulous.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Say No to Alito

John Kerry has an open later to Senators opposing Sam 'the Sham" Alito that you can sign if you don't think America should become a fascist state.

Dear Senators,

I am writing to ask that you vote against Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court and work hard to convince other Senators to join you.

Judge Alito does not represent my values. He does not represent mainstream American values. I think it’s time that the United States Senate confirms once and for all that extreme ideology has no place on the highest court in the land.

This is a critical fight for the future of our country. It’s no time to sit on the sidelines. That’s why I’ve taken the time to sign this letter and pass it along to my friends and neighbors. And I hope that’s why you’ll step up to the plate and do the right thing for America: defeat Samuel Alito.

I am honored to join John Kerry by putting my name in the Congressional Record against Judge Alito. I call on you to do the same with your vote.

I am not keen on seeing Kerry run for the Presidency again. I supported him last time and he let me down. I think he has a better chance of helping America if he stays where he is. We need a stronger leader. It wouldn't hurt for you to sign the letter though and it will be added to the Congressional Record. You don't have to give Kerry any money.

Next Excuse a Lie As Well

Looks like each lie the Administration has come up with to try and justify breaking the law with respect to spying on Americans without due process has been caught out.

Go read Glenn Greenwald's latest post, which summarily shoots down the latest lie about "probable cause". Glenn points out that in 2002 Senator DeWine proposed legislation which would've amended the FISA law to lower the burden of proof from probable cause to reasonable suspicion (one caveat, for non-US persons only), precisely what the constitution-challenged former NSA head was claiming was why they "had to" break the law. He also claimed they sought such changes but Congress wouldn't give it to them.

Guess What? The one and only James Baker speaking for the Bush Justice Department opposed the law on constitutional concerns.

Here is a Maxwell Smart review of the administration lies.

Would you believe the program was a super secret technology thing? No?

Then would you believe the program was necessary because the FISA court doesn't allow them to act fast enough. No?

How about the program was necessary because Congress wouldn't let us lower the necessary burden of proof. Oh! I forgot we oppposed that ourselves.

Well...how about

We wanted to spy on whoever we wanted to without any oversight or accountability.

Yeah that's the ticket.

He Thinks It's a Done Deal

This from Reuters

WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush on Monday told opponents of abortion their views would eventually prevail and urged them to work to convince more Americans of "the rightness of our cause." On the 33rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that established federal abortion rights, Bush addressed activists by telephone from Manhattan, Kansas, and called their goals noble.

I guess Roberts and Alito were not being quite upfront with the Senators over Roe.

Look out ladies. It looks like your reproductive decisions are about to be severely constrained unless we can derail the appointment of Sam "the Sham. Call your representative today... the numbers are in this post.

Look Out! Awakening

If you haven't read Mark Morford's latest you need to. It's another one of his little insightful gems. It deals with the psychic confluence of "Brokeback Mountain" and Sam "the sham" Alito. Here are some teasers.

There is this theory, more of a truism really, tossed about like a fuzzy beach ball by the gurus and the masters and the mystics since Jesus was but a lint ball of possibility in the Great Belly Button of Time.

It goes like this: When human consciousness expands, for whatever reason and with whatever stimulation and even if you can only measure it in hairsbreadth, when our nasty habit of harsh judgment falls away and people begin to get a little bit, you know, lighter, there is always, as sure as there's someone who hates the sunrise, a clampdown, a recoil, a desperate need by the terrified and ever-paranoid conservative sect to, you know, put a quick stop to this so-called awakening crapola ASA-damn-P.


This is the ever-present push-pull of the culture. This is how we stumble toward the light, gasping and bleeding and with painful rope burns on our wrists. After all, there is no progress forward -- intellectual, spiritual, sexual or otherwise -- without a concomitant blood-curdling scream from the power brokers and the religiously terrified to hold it all back. Change brings fear. Sexuality brings confusion. For every person who has his rigid homophobic ideology shattered by "Brokeback"'s emotional hammer, there is a confused neocon who redoubles his efforts to replant it.

But it doesn't matter. No matter the heat and bile of the resistance, no matter how brutish or sanctimonious the stranglehold of our leadership, no matter how many complaints about nipples or wailings about intelligent design or accusations of a "gay agenda," no matter how many uptight neocon judges they appoint, progress still manages to find the cracks, to slip through the holes, to seek the sun. Consciousness expands anyway. The river flows on. The awakening continues. It is always the way.

And the Bushes and the Cheneys and the Rumsfelds, the Gonzalezes and the James Dobsons and the Sam Alitos of the world, they can only stand at the base of that mountain of new awareness and pass their laws and beat their chests and scream their resistance as the mystics and the masters just smile that ageless, knowing smile and walk away.

Like I said it's a gem.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Lies and Damned Lies

Well, Georgia10 over at Kos has an excellent wrap-up of the Moron-in-Chief's successes on the war on terrerists. It is a very disheartening picture when you consider how many lives have been lost waging this "war". I won't even mention the estimated TRILLIONS of our hard earned taxes will have been burned in this clusterfuck.

When I think of how much could be done here and in other countries to diminish suffering and bring some hope and promise to millions of people I can do nothing but cry.

Digby really hits the nail on the head with this post. They are Killing Us Softly

They are going to the 9/11 well again. They say that Democrats are sending talking points to Osama and giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Rove says we don't believe that the government should monitor al Qaeda's telephone calls. The next several months will be spent fending off accusations that if we don't let the president do anything he damned well pleases we are all going to die.

I don't know if it will work again. But I also don't know if I can take this campaign one more time. Five years of hearing the same thing over and over again and watching American sheeple fall for it over and over again is just too depressing. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to January 20, 2009 (and I'm of an age where rushing the future is no longer wise.) The day I no longer have to listen to one more word from this immoral, dishonest, incompetent, delusional prick will be the best day of my life.

Alito Needs a Filibuster

Codepink has asked some of us to help get the word out that momentum is building toward a filibuster, that the right's "done deal" sound bite is nothing but spin, and that people need to call their senators?

Here are the toll-free numbers to the Senate.

Here they are:
(888 818-6641 or (888 355-3588 or (800) 426-8073

And here's a lot more info and links:

All we have fought so hard to achieve could be for naught if Alito were to sit on our Supreme Court.

The good news is that momentum is building for the efforts to stop this abomination of a nomination! The right wing spin that “Alito is a done deal” is being exposed as the propaganda it really is. Now is the time for those who believe in the constitution to push hard to see that the next door Alito walks through has an “exit” sign above it!

One of the things we have working on our side is a lot of internet real estate -- together we can have a major impact.

1-(800) 426-8073 ask for your Senator(s)

Alito is NOT a “done deal.”

The momentum is building among Democratic Senators. The numbers are growing.

More and more of them are seriously considering an Alito FILIBUSTER.

It is the perfect time to add your voice; they need to know the country is behind them.

It’s time to call your Senators and tell them they will represent YOU by filibustering Alito.

1. Call your Democratic Senators. There are 3 toll-free numbers to the DC switchboard. Ask for your Senator(s) and tell the aide that answers that you urge the Senator to FILIBUSTER Alito. You don’t need to speak paragraphs; all you need to say is that you urge him/her to filibuster Alito.
(888 818-6641 or (888 355-3588 or (800) 426-8073

2. Call your favorite progressive talk show. Say that Alito is not a “done deal” as the Republicans want us to believe and that everyone should call their Senators and urge a filibuster. The filibuster was meant for just such a situation as this. Give out the toll-free numbers over the air. A list of progressive talk shows and their phone numbers is available at http://www.nocrony.com.

3. Call Senators other than your own. For suggestions, see: http://www.codepinkboston.org/filibusterAlito/

More resources:

Want to talk directly with the staff person of your senator who handles judiciary issues? Or, find fax numbers or contact info for your senator's district offices? Find them at: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home

Here are some of the groups that have opposed Alito’s nomination thus far:
http://www.nominationwatch.org/ 2...momentum_agains

WHAT IF ALITO IS DEFEATED? WON'T THERE JUST BE A WORSE NOMINEE? History shows that when the first two nominees to the Supreme Court are rejected, the third is more moderate. See:
"The Case Against Alito," The Nation, editorial | posted January 5, 2006, http://www.thenation.com/doc/200...0060123/ editors

What is a filibuster?
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filibuster

...And, if you want the animated cartoon version of what’s at stake, go to:
http://www.markfiore.com/animati...on/ greater.html

Together we can and must stop the far right’s takeover of the Supreme Court!

Go Molly Go

Molly is kicking ass and taking names. She speaks my mind completely. I've got a pledge invoice from Hillary's campaign on my desk right now which I am sending back with a polite note that will basically say what Molly's post does.

I must have been Gore's speech that crystalized my conviction about the need for leadership on our side of the river. I want mean, and I want "take no prisoners" and I definitely don't want Rethug light.

Now I just have to convince Gore and Edwards to run again.

Tragedy in the Works

Here's the money graph from the New York Times editorial objecting to the confirmation of Alito. There is no question that confirming Judge Alito to the Supreme Court will be a tragedy for America.

The real risk for senators lies not in opposing Judge Alito, but in voting for him. If the far right takes over the Supreme Court, American law and life could change dramatically. If that happens, many senators who voted for Judge Alito will no doubt come to regret that they did not insist that Justice O'Connor's seat be filled with someone who shared her cautious, centrist approach to the law.

We know clearly why he was selected by Rove and Cheney. He will overturn Roe vs Wade and he will support the expanding of the power of the executive branch. We are looking at possibly 25 years of a far right court that will embrace the most extreme interpretations of the Constitution. This is a court that will destroy the America so many of us have fought and died to preserve for over 200 years.

The 23rd Post Meme

Mustang Bobby tapped me for the 23rd post meme and here is my entry.
From July 6, 2004

"Since Edwards is not a foreign policy wonk or a war hero like Clark, Kerry sees the situation in Iraq as deteriorating to the point where anyone, regardless of the foreign policy experience will be able to challenge the results."

I, unfortunately am tasked with tapping 5 other bloggers. so you that are tapped(below) must:

1. Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.

My Tapees are:
Grace at Scriptoids
Stephen at Yellow Doggerel Democrat
Neil at Neil Shakespeare
Susie at Suburban Guerrilla
The Disgruntled Chemist

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Help for a Dreary Day

Three Texas surgeons were playing golf together and discussing
surgeries they had performed. One of them said, "I'm the best
surgeon in Texas. A concert pianist lost 7 fingers in an
accident. I reattached them, and 8 months later he perfomed a
private concert for the Queen of England." One of the others
said, "That's nothing. A young man lost both arms and legs in an
accident. I reattached them, and 2 years later he won a gold
medal in field events at the olympics."

The third surgeon said, "You guys are amateurs. Several years
ago, a cowboy, who was high on cocaine and alcohol, rode a horse
head-on into a train traveling 80 miles an hour. All I had left
to work with was the horse's ass and a cowboy hat. Now, he's
President of the United States."

Saturday Morning Catch-up

Back from California and trying to catch up with everything. Having some internet problems that come and go. Might be my router which I have bypassed for the time being. I will hook it back up and test it again after I get everything caught up. It evidently started acting up about the time I left for the airport last Sunday so the flood of email has just now finished. Always have to catch up on the online banking and other stuff as well when I hit town.
Should not have to travel until the week after when I have to be back in Sunnyvale again so I might get ahead over the next week. Still have our friends from the UK visiting so that is going to keep things hopping.
Still a day behind in news and blogosphere but will try and find some time to sneak in some surfing and posting. Everyone have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Silly Thoughts

As you know I spend a lot of time in hotels and something has been bothering me for a long time. I know it is not worth stewing about but I think about it every time I check into another hotel and find myself looking at another pointed toilet roll.

How much time worldwide is wasted by people folding the toilet paper into a little point? Who thought this was a necessary function for the wonderful people who pick up after us day after day and make our beds? All I can think of is it is some kind of subliminal signal to guests that says...yes, I have once again cleaned up after your filthy self and this is to let you know I have.

We're talking thousands and thousands of hotels and maybe millions of rooms and some rooms have two toilet rolls! I think we're looking at some meaningful manhours here.

I said it was silly and yet you read the whole thing while you could have been pointing the toilet paper.

Coincidence is Amazing

I guess the last 5 years have turned me into a complete cynic when it comes to these convenient messages from Osama. The continuous stream of lies, misdirections and obfuscation coming out of this administration makes me distrust everything.

How many times since 9/11, when things were not cheery for the Whitehouse, has been bin Laden popped up threatening us with more strikes in the "homeland". Is it too hard to imagine that there is some studio somewhere in the bowels of Ft. Meade or somewhere that has enough canned video footage of Osama coupled with some kick ass computers and image/sound software that they can't generate whatever they want to play to the rubes? I am not saying this tape is manufactured but with their track record I just can't in all honesty put it past them.

Granted this is probably completely whacko but I can't help feeling like we are being manipulated and what we do discover about the manipulation is merely meant to distract us from the real truth.

Dwell a moment on about what you have seen as special effects in the movies over the last few years, which is produced on civilian hardware and tell me that the U.S. Intelligence community with its virtually unlimited budget can't produce something that would blow your socks off.

Just sayin'

UPDATE: 2040 PST - Looks like Barbara over at Mahablog is on the same wavelength as yours truly and she is smarter than I.
If it weren’t for the fact it was released on al Jazeera, I’d wonder if the new bin Laden tape hadn’t been fabricated in the White House basement. The last time we heard from him, I believe, was on the eve of the 2004 elections. And here he is again, just when Georgie needs a diversion from this little Fourth Amendment problem.

Fishin' for You and Me

Now what do you really think Bush and company are fishing for? I can't imagine that they are really, really so interested in this for porn's sake.

The Bush administration on Wednesday asked a federal judge to order Google to turn over a broad range of material from its closely guarded databases.

The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors. The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches.

In court papers filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Justice Department lawyers revealed that Google has refused to comply with a subpoena issued last year for the records, which include a request for 1 million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period.

The Mountain View-based search and advertising giant opposes releasing the information on a variety of grounds, saying it would violate the privacy rights of its users and reveal company trade secrets, according to court documents.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Very Important Development

This is pretty important as these are major players in the conservative movement. It will very interesting to see what the misadministration does. Do they stick with their "swiss cheese" excuses and try to let this blow over like so many of the other outrages they have managed to bury or do they admit that they screwed up and allow the process of investigation proceed as it should. Bush is losing key supporters at a rapid rate and it will be interesting to see this develop. The wingnut right will probably continue to bluster and fume and parrot the lame and patently false justifications that Rove feeds them but the hard core conservatives are getting worked up. The obvious upside here is that this insures that no one can seriously point to this issue as a strictly "liberal" trumped up issue.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances (PRCB) today called upon Congress to hold open, substantive oversight hearings examining the President's authorization of the National Security Agency (NSA) to violate domestic surveillance requirements outlined in the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, chairman of PRCB, was joined by fellow conservatives Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR); David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union; Paul Weyrich, chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation and Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, in urging lawmakers to use NSA hearings to establish a solid foundation for restoring much needed constitutional checks and balances to intelligence law.

"When the Patriot Act was passed shortly after 9-11, the federal government was granted expanded access to Americans' private information," said Barr. "However, federal law still clearly states that intelligence agents must have a court order to conduct electronic surveillance of Americans on these shores. Yet the federal government overstepped the protections of the Constitution and the plain language of FISA to eavesdrop on Americans' private communication without any judicial checks and without proof that they are involved in terrorism."

Here is the link
Thanks to Atrios and Kos

Fool Me Once

Via Americablog

I am so disappointed but it seems the lobby "reform" bill being proposed by the House GOP is not quite "bulletproof" according to the Washington Post:
According to lobbyists and ethics experts, even if Hastert's proposal is enacted, members of Congress and their staffs could still travel the world on an interest group's expense and eat steak on a lobbyist's account at the priciest restaurants in Washington.

The only requirement would be that whenever a lobbyist pays the bill, he or she must also hand the lawmaker a campaign contribution. Then the transaction would be perfectly okay.

"That's a big hole if they don't address campaign finance," said Joel Jankowsky, the lobbying chief of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, one of the capital's largest lobbying outfits.
I was a little suspicious about these hogs backing away from the trough and going cold turkey. It's going to require a little more sleight of hand but the hassle factor is not too great. They'll just have to filter the babes, booze, fancy meals and first class airfare to St. Andrews for a little golf through the campaign accounts. It might require a little creative accounting but what the hey.

Does the pattern seem familiar? Keep your eye on the right hand but ignore the left. They're going to talk a reform game with one side of their mouth while the continue to suck the lobbyist teat with the other. Can we say "Clear Skies Initiative" or "No Child Left Behind" or "Homeland Security" or "Medicaid Reform" or any other of the "bait and switch" games that we have seen over the last few years?
If the Dems in the House don't raise a stink over this then they are no better. Oh, and don't expect to hear any cries of foul from the corporate media.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Sea Change?

Maybe be it is all beginning to sink in? Could the country be waking up? Has enough shit piled up to raise the stink level to a point where it cannot be ignored? Via Susie

ABC News: Gore Says Bush Wiretapping Could Be Impeachable Offense

New York Times: Gore Is Sharply Critical of Bush Policy on Surveillance

CNN: Gore: Resist Bush’s ‘excessive power grab’

Financial Times: Gore Says Bush Broke Law in Wiretapping

Washington Post: Gore Assails Domestic Wiretapping Program

Reuters: Gore calls for special counsel on eavesdropping

USA Today: Gore assails domestic wiretapping program

Encouraged, Discouraged

Watching CNN this morning while getting ready and I am encouraged that at least they are playing the part of Gore's speech where he accuses Bush of breaking the law. It is not much, but it is better than nothing.
The next bit is a segment with Abu Gonzales on Larry King where Larry lets him spin all the meaningless talking points about domesting surveillence. Larry does not follow-up with any meaningful questions about the legality or challenge the "need for speed" argument with the facts that FISA allows for a delay in obtaining a warrant. He asks about the Gore's call for a special prosecutor and then lets Abu spin about Justice Department review of the program. Does Larry not realize that the Justice Department are Bush boys and it is no better than letting the fox guard your chickens.
Jeebus where is our press?

Lost Walt

via Ntodd
who asks the question again...Who is this war's Cronkite?

Former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite, whose 1968 conclusion that the Vietnam War was unwinnable keenly influenced public opinion then, said Sunday he'd say the same thing today about Iraq.

"It's my belief that we should get out now," Cronkite said in a meeting with reporters.

Now 89, the television journalist once known as "the most trusted man in America" has been off the "CBS Evening News" for nearly a quarter-century. He's still a CBS News employee, although he does little for them.

Cronkite said one of his proudest moments came at the end of a 1968 documentary he made following a visit to Vietnam during the Tet offensive. Urged by his boss to briefly set aside his objectivity to give his view of the situation, Cronkite said the war was unwinnable and that the U.S. should exit.

Then-President Lyndon Johnson reportedly told a White House aide after that, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America."

The best time to have made a similar statement about Iraq came after Hurricane Katrina, he said.

"We had an opportunity to say to the world and Iraqis after the hurricane disaster that Mother Nature has not treated us well and we find ourselves missing the amount of money it takes to help these poor people out of their homeless situation and rebuild some of our most important cities in the United States," he said. "Therefore, we are going to have to bring our troops home."

Iraqis should have been told that "our hearts are with you" and that the United States would do all it could to rebuild their country, he said.

"I think we could have been able to retire with honor," he said. "In fact, I think we can retire with honor anyway."

While Walter Cronkite is no longer a daily presence on TV a large percentage of America know who he is. His influence has waned but I would imagine it is still significant. If you trust the polls it is pretty apparent that Bush has "lost middle America" but there is still not enough dialogue echoing impeachment. We may not need another Cronkite but it would be nice. Still, it is interesting that this statement is being covered in the corporate media.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Some of my recent bad luck must have departed because I somehow managed to get back to my hotel tonight and turn on the TV and on came CSPAN and Al Gore's speech. I caught most of it and then went over and read the whole thing at HuffPo.
While the whole thing was wonderful and I was totally entranced watching him I couldn't help but ask myself; Where was this guy in 2000? If this Al Gore had been campaigning in 2000 the election would not have been close enough to steal. This is the man who should have been President for the last 5 years.
One thing that really resonated with me was when Gore spoke about fear, which is something I've been thinking about a lot. When the Founders pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor they were deadly serious. They could and would have been hanged for expressing their opinions against the king. Everything they had was on the line. Their lives were at risk when they attempted to incite the people to overthrow the king. You really have to ask yourself what we are putting on the line today. Why are the majority of America cowering in fear? As a child crouched under my desk in grade school I was in far more danger than I am today. The Bush people have figured out that as long as we are kept fearful we are malleable and weak. Fear kills reason.

I can't say how positive this speech was for me. I was becoming depressed over the lack of outrage in the American public over the latest revelations on domestic spying added on the apathy over all the other outrages against the principles we have cherished and died for for so many years.

I still feel that Gore should consider running again for the Presidency and I think he would be sure thing. Strong environmentalist, experienced and respected.

Let's just make sure Donna Brazile is not in charge of anything.

Whacky Al

I'm here in a rather cool Sunnyvale but really swamped. From what little I have seen on the nets today that whacky ol' Al Gore ripped Bush and company a new one today. I will try and read it tonight but ReddHedd at Firedoglake says it is a good one and so does John at Americablog. I gather he reminds us that we are a country of laws and not of men. It seems that Bush has forgotten this minor point.

I should have some time tonight to more fully post.

This working for a living is sure cutting into the blogging.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Go West Old Man

Off again to the West side of our great nation. I do know the way to San Jose. This should be the last trip this client in Sunnyvale should require for awhile and we can go somewhere else and get into trouble. Not much currently on the radar except Minneapoliz the second week in February which I am not looking forward to. Great client to work with but they always seem to request my services in the dead of winter. I've lived too long in the south I guess since these visits to Minnesota in winter always shatter me. What a wuss!
Anyhow, off to the train and airport in a bit and I will check in from the hotel in Sunnyvale. Enjoy your Sunday. I am upgraded so don't feel too bad about me having to lose half my weekend. I do feel bad about leaving the boss alone to entertain our English guests but they are off to the Caymans tomorrow for a week so that the burden won't be too great.

NYT Awakens

It looks like the New York Times is finally beginning to realize exactly what is going on in our lovely country. There is a surprisingly blunt and accurate editorial today that doesn't mince too many words.
Mr. Bush, however, seems to see no limit to his imperial presidency. First, he issued a constitutionally ludicrous "signing statement" on the McCain bill. The message: Whatever Congress intended the law to say, he intended to ignore it on the pretext the commander in chief is above the law. That twisted reasoning is what led to the legalized torture policies, not to mention the domestic spying program.

Then Mr. Bush went after the judiciary, scrapping the Levin-Graham bargain. [...]

Both of the offensive theories at work here - that a president's intent in signing a bill trumps the intent of Congress in writing it, and that a president can claim power without restriction or supervision by the courts or Congress - are pet theories of Judge Samuel Alito, the man Mr. Bush chose to tilt the Supreme Court to the right.

The administration's behavior shows how high and immediate the stakes are in the Alito nomination, and how urgent it is for Congress to curtail Mr. Bush's expansion of power. Nothing in the national consensus to combat terrorism after 9/11 envisioned the unilateral rewriting of more than 200 years of tradition and law by one president embarked on an ideological crusade.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Got Smashed

Looks like Friday the 13th sort of leaked over into Friday the 14th. Being the gracious host I was taking my houseguests across town so that he could replace his Birkenstock sandals at Abbadabba's. Sitting at a light minding my own business when a LandRover decided to rearrange the back half of my car. Seems he was busy dialing his cell and didn't see that traffic had stopped. My 2003 Hyundai XG350L that was absolutely spotless and that only has 32,000 miles is now seriously bashed and while still driveable, is just barely so.
Luckily, none of us were hurt except for some stiffness in the neck and shoulders.

I do feel sorry for the lady driving the Volkswagon "Bug" in front of me at the light though. While I just barely tapped her and didn't leave a mark she was on her way home from after she had just rear-ended someone else just 20 minutes before. She was not having a good day. On top of everything else the police gave her a breath test and she clocked .7 only .1 below the limit. This is at eleven o'clock in the morning and here she is driving around town with here little boy in the back seat. The police made her call a freind to take custody of the kid and then we left the scene so I don't know her final fate.

So it is train to the airport tomorrow which is a pain but not a disaster.

And you'll be glad to know we did go on and get the Birkenstocks, so it wasn't a total waste.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Back on the East Side

Back in Atlanta but between house guests and entertaining and getting ready to head out for the west coast again Sunday don't know how much time I will find to spend here or on the net. Will do what I can to stay in touch.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Be Afraid, Very Afraid

Mustang Bobby points us toward and article in the New York Times that highlights some of the areas of concern with Jude Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court. The net of the concerns are that if you are a woman or man who cares about the rights of women in deciding what to do with their bodies you should be very afraid.

If you are not white, not wealthy, not christian, not straight you should be very afraid.

If you are not a corporation you should be very afraid.

If you like living in a democracy where there is a balance of power and the President is not a king you should be very afraid.

If you think a Supreme Court judge should be honest be very afraid.

If you think the country is going in the wrong direction be very afraid.

This is a bad man and not one who should be sitting on the highest court in the land for the next 20 - 30 years.

If you are afraid then you should call your representatives in the governement and let them know. If you want your world to take a harder turn to the right and you are willing to give up the rights we have cherished for 200 plus years then don't do anything.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I'm Annoyed

Via Pseudony Mouse at Yellow Doggerel Democrat comes ths "annoying" post.
Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess.

This ridiculous prohibition, which would likely imperil much of Usenet, is buried in the so-called Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act. Criminal penalties include stiff fines and two years in prison.

"The use of the word 'annoy' is particularly problematic," says Marv Johnson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "What's annoying to one person may not be annoying to someone else."

Evidently Mr. Bush has managed to define the completely subjective "annoy" in completely objective terms and that is really a good thing because I am annoyed by a lot of stuff these days.
Since I post using a pseudonym I am going to be really busy defending myself because I intend to try and annoy everyone I can. If you would let me know what really annoys you I will be sure to write about it. It will save me guessing and possibly missing the opportunity.

Guilty for Sure

Read this and know that you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent with respect to your taxes and the IRS.
This has actually been the reality for years and years and few people realize that once the IRS singles you out for an audit it is up to you to prove your innocence and not their responsibility to prove your committed fraud.
Apparently, this is even more true if you are a low income taxpayer and are so impudent as to file file for an earned income credit.
Here are some details provided by the taxpayer advocate Nina Olsen from the article...
"It is a central tenet of American law that the government must notify an accused person of the offense it suspects he committed and must give the accused person an opportunity to present exculpatory evidence to show his innocence," Olson said in her report.

That study showed no evidence of fraud in 66 percent of the cases, and taxpayers were given a full refund. In another 14 percent of the cases, taxpayers were given a partial refund. Taxpayers got some or all of their claimed refund in 80 percent of the cases.

Nearly 75 percent of the total pool studied were low-income families claiming the earned income tax credit, designed to reduce poverty among the working poor.

"At a minimum, this procedure constitutes an extraordinary violation of fundamental taxpayer rights and fairness," she said. "In our view, it may also constitute a violation of due process of law."
Note also that statistics show that in the majority of cases the IRS is wrong. Welcome to the New and Improved Soviet Union.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Reporting in

Safe and sound in Denver. Cooler than Atlanta but not too bad. Since there are a few of us on this trip I had to rent a big car and wound up with an Expedition. While I had one for a short while I had forgotten just how big they are. Managed to navigate to the hotel and get it parked but we'll see how well I manage in the traffic this morning.
Not much time this morning to cruise around and see what is happening and doubt I'll have access during the all day meetings this week. I will just have to trust all of you to keep it going.
Play nice and see if anyone can get a picture of the oil stains on Alito's trousers.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Quiet Time Over

The annual Christmas thru New Year hiatus is now officially over. Clients are back to work and expecting us to appear on their doorsteps and help them dispose of all that filthy cash they have been accumulating. We consultants, that is not my "official" job title but that is in effect what I do, are now poised to spring back into action. I, personally, fly to Denver tomorrow for a week but the Atlanta airport will be full of us tomorrow flying to every nook and cranny of this great nation. Our companies will be paid large amounts of money for our expertise though we see only a fraction of it. I won't say what my billing rate is because it will just make you mad.
If there is any consolation I work, for the most part, in high tech so it only hits your pocket book third or fourth hand and by that time so many others have piled on their cut that my fee becomes almost an after thought. When you buy that new PC or go to have a MRI you can think of me.
Weather in Denver for the next few days promises to be survivable with only some snow showers forecast for tomorrow. I will post and comment as I can over the week. Everybody have a good time.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Stocking Up Time

This is not a good sign. I would consider it a major bad sign even. The Dept. of Health and Human Services is advising us to prepare for extended stays at home by stocking up on groceries, OTC drugs and all that stuff. I try and keep at least a months worth of stuff on hand all the time anyway and especially stuff that I can use for multiple purposes like whole wheat flour, rice, canned beans and tomatoes, boxes of broth, pasta and all that. It is just prudent in an area where we get hurricanes and in the winter ice storms that can take days to recover from. BTW if you stock up on stuff make sure you have a way to cook it. Don't forget also that dehydration can kill you in days while it takes weeks to starve to death.

From the Post

Experts say the best way to wait out a pandemic, which could last months, is to stay away from other people and keep close to home.

"During a pandemic, if you cannot get to a store, or if stores are out of supplies, it will be important for you to have extra supplies on hand. This can be useful in other types of emergencies, such as power outages and disasters," the HHS guide says.

HHS's Pandemic Flu Planning Checklist for Individuals and Families, available on the agency's Web site, PandemicFlu.gov, advises:

Teaching children to wash hands frequently and appropriately, covering coughs and sneezes with tissues, and modeling the correct behavior.

Having ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables, soups, bottled water and cleaning supplies on-hand for an extended stay at home.

Having any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.

Talking with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in another home.

EIGHT out of TEN!

I was feeling pretty OK this morning until I read this over at Americablog and Firedoglake
A secret Pentagon study has found that at least 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to their upper body could have survived if they had extra body armor. That armor has been available since 2003 but until recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops despite calls from the field for additional protection, according to military officials.
I want to say something pithy but I am quite frankly too mad to think straight about it. Evidently the excuse is that someone was afraid the additional armor would be too heavy and restrict movement too much. WTF! What happened to provide the optimum armor and let the troops that are risking their lives and dying whether it is too fucking heavy or clumsy. Jesus Christ on a tricycle!
Can we do something about this? Maybe we can have the tax forms changed to add a box like the one for Presidential Campaigns where we can check and say put a dollar toward giving my friends some armor?
EIGHT out of TEN! EIGHT out of TEN! EIGHT out of TEN! EIGHT out of TEN!

The shit better hit the fan over this.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Golden Arches Fall

With all the bad news going around I thought this might cheer you up. I know it did me. I am always distressed and embarrassed when I see so many McDonald's everywhere I go in the world. I am also embarrassed to admit that I have, out of laziness, eaten in many of them when I could have walked another few yards and had something local, tasty and more nutritious. I always promise myself I won't but somehow I find myself eating a double cheeseburger and fries and then feeling guilty and a traitor to myself and my obsession with proper food.

AFTER a five-year battle, the fast-food giant McDonald’s has retreated from a southern Italian town, defeated by the sheer wholesomeness of a local baker’s bread.

The closure of McDonald’s in Altamura, Apulia, was hailed yesterday as a victory for European cuisine against globalised fast food.

Luigi Digesù, the baker, said that he had not set out to force McDonald’s to close down in any “bellicose spirit”. He had merely offered the 65,000 residents tasty filled panini — bread rolls — which they overwhelmingly preferred to hamburgers and chicken nuggets. “It is a question of free choice,” Signor Digesù said.

His speciality fillings include mortadella, mozzarella and eggs or scamorza cheese, eggs, basil and tomato, as well as fèdda, a local version of bruschetta — toasted bread drizzled with olive oil and salt and covered in chopped tomatoes.

McDonald’s opened in a piazza in the centre of Altamura, 45km (30 miles) south of Bari, in 2001, infuriating devotees of traditional Apulia gastronomy such as Peppino Colamonico, a doctor, and Onofrio Pepe, a journalist. They campaigned against McDonald’s as the Friends of Cardoncello, named after a southern Italian mushroom.

Altamura, founded in the 5th century BC and rebuilt in the Middle Ages by Frederick II, is famed for its fragrant, golden bread — and for Signor Digesù’s victorious panini.

Just a Symptom

I know I use the phrase "must read" often here and I probably over use it but I am going to use it again and point you toward a post by Glenn Greenwald, subbing for a traveling DIGBY. Glenn correctly points out that the latest lawlessness by the President is only the a symptom of the brazen abandonment of the Constitution by this administration. I urge you to read and reread this post and then spread the word about it. If we are not in the middle of a Constitutional crisis in this country then we are only days away from one. Here is a snip but read the whole thing.
The NSA law-breaking scandal cannot be seen as some isolated act. It is merely the most flagrant symptom (thus far) of the fact that we have a President -- with three full years left in office -- who has claimed for himself the right to ignore Congressional law and who believes that virtually all decisions of any real significance in our country are his "alone to make." FISA. The National Security Act of 1947. The McCain Amendment. These are all federal laws -- laws -- which the Administration is openly claiming it has the right to violate.

Shouldn’t we be having much more of a discussion than we have had about the fact that we have a President who believes he has the power to ignore laws? We have had all sorts of vigorous and sweeping debates lately about things like torture, habeas corpus, surveillance powers under the Patriot Act. But those debates are all just gestures. Like George Bush’s signing a "law" which he simultaneously claims he has no obligation to obey, the oh-so-heated debates we’ve been having are all just some sort of illusory role-playing, where we pretend that we have a representative Congress which makes laws. But what we actually have is a President who says he can violate those laws at will because such decisions are "his alone to make."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Just Ministerin', Right!

Tell me the truth now. Does the following surprise you? Deep down, really, are you surprised?
OKLAHOMA CITY —A leader of the Southern Baptist Convention has been arrested in Oklahoma City on a lewdness complaint for allegedly propositioning a plainclothes policeman.

Police say the Reverend Lonnie Latham was arrested Tuesday night in a motel parking lot after soliciting an officer who was posing as a male prostitute.

Latham is pastor of South Tulsa Baptist Church and is on the executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention. He has spoken out in the past against homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

After posting bond, Latham told K-F-O-R T-V in Oklahoma City that he was set up, and was in the area ministering to people.

Thanks to Susie

Whistling by the Cemetery

While Digby is away Glenn Greenwald and Julia are subbing. Glenn has done yeoman's work and distills the legal mumbo jumbo around Bush's criminal spying on Americans.

What puts the icing on the cake as it were is Glenn has found a brief by Ted Olsen from a couple of years back that completely refutes the current argument of the Whitehouse on why it was OK to break the law. I would say this is pretty much a slam dunk from my non-legal point of view.

The clarity of this law is why the Administration is reduced to peddling legal theories which, no matter how they are sliced, amount to a claim that George Bush has the right to break the law. And to argue that he has that right, they are employing on George Bush's behalf the very legal theories which advocates of "judicial restraint" have spent the last two decades ridiculing and attacking.
Amen brother.

You Have Been Recorded

Via Americablog

From NBC News:
New York Times reporter James Risen first broke the story two weeks ago that the National Security Agency began spying on domestic communications soon after 9/11. In a new book out Tuesday, "State of War," he says it was a lot bigger than that. Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell sat down with Risen to talk about the NSA, and the run-up to the war in Iraq....

Mitchell: Do you have any information about reporters being swept up in this net?

Risen: No, I don't. It's not clear to me. That's one of the questions we'll have to look into the future. Were there abuses of this program or not? I don't know the answer to that

Mitchell: You don't have any information, for instance, that a very prominent journalist, Christiane Amanpour, might have been eavesdropped upon?

Risen: No, no I hadn't heard that.
Looks like Andrea has some inside dope but I could have guessed that someone like Christiane would be a target in the NSA domestic spying. She probably makes a boatload of international calls and no doubt many of those are to the middle east. If you are an NSA target then every bit of external communication you have is going to be monitored, home phone, work phone, cell phone and email. If they are as thorough as we were 30 years ago then the communications of close associates are necessary targets as well especially husbands (Hello Mr. Rubin), close co-workers and probably anyone that she called from her cell or that called her cell.

Many people aren't familiar with the methodologies involved in electronic intelligence so it might be of value to review.

Electronic communications are typically unpredictable, instantaneous and transient. This means that if you are going to capture the good stuff you have to capture all the stuff all the time and then sift through it later. If someone like Christiane was targeted then she can be reasonably sure that everything was captured and that the whole thing was turned over to the analysts at Fort Meade to sort through.

Think about the above paragraph for a moment. Someone like Ms. Amanpour is a "no brainer" target. How are you going to find other not so obvious targets? The NSA has turned its very capable ears onto Americans looking for "terrorist stuff". How are you going to find the "terrorist stuff"? That's right...you are going to have to capture everything and then let the analysts sort through it to find the "terrorist stuff".

Someone is going to say that the spying was targeted and that may be true but you have to ask how the targets are determined in the first place. Let's say you are only going to target phone numbers that placed or received international calls in the last few years. If you have called any of the vast number of companies that have outsourced call centers to India then you just got picked. Ask yourself how the NSA dealt with call forwarding. You know how you set up some phone numbers that automatically receive calls and after some security check will automatically call a predifined number either based on the security handshake or the callerid of the inbound call.
Here is a hint. You don't. You monitor and record everything and sort it out later. The bottom line here is that, yes, there are probably Americans on some hotlist that are completely screened. The other truth is that the NSA has the capability to collect and record everything all the time and then go back and see if they can find what they are looking for.

Granted I worked the NSA game 30 years ago and the world was a lot less complicated. We had land line phones, microwave phones, radio, television and assorted other things like TTY and just the beginning of the space based comms. We recorded it all and let the analysts sort it out. If you believe that methods have changed much with the additional technology then you are kidding yourself.

Your communications have been recorded and screened. You might not have used the "secret word" but then you might have.

Silenced for Civilization's Sake

Katheen Parker is sure loving the bloggers...

Bloggers are, along with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, the new enemies of decency, humanity and civility. We're powerful, angry, spoiled, undisciplined, narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive, creepy squatters. We're savage children who babble, buzz and blurt, and the mission of our bloodthirsty masses is to hunt and kill like murderous barbarians. We are an ego-gratifying rabble that abuses power by bringing down others with snark, sass and destruction to enhance ourselves. We must be silenced for civilization's sake.
I didn't realize I was in such good company. As Bill in Portland notes at least she didn't call us immature.
BTW that is her bolding!

Thanks to C&J at Kos

A Very Long List

The next time one of the defenders of the status quo say something about Jack Abramoff giving money to both sides of the aisle you can whip out the very long list of donations made. There was a lot of money dolled out to a lot of candidates and special interest groups, and Newsmeat (via AMERICAblog) has the FEC list of who got what, how much and when. Please note that the list leans a "little" more toward the Rethuglican side than the Dem side.
  • Amount to Republican candidates: $172,933
  • Amount to Special Interests: $88,985
  • Amount to Democrats: $0
  • Instead of "bipartisan" we should maybe say "monopartisan" if there is such a word. Remember also that this is just the money that went across the top of the table and was reported. It doesn't even come close to tallying up the golf trips, skyboxes and who knows what else. I imagine these might make an appearance in some courtrooms though.

    Heads Up - Virus from the FBI

    This is a heads up. My virus scanner just trapped and incoming email from "post at fbi.gov" that contained an attached W32.sober virus. The infected attached file was called "question_list.zip".

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Ventilator and Feces

    Looks like it is about to hit the fan for a bunch of Republicans. Mr. Jack is squealing big time trying to shave 20 years or so off the jail time.
    The right has settled on the only defense they can possibly sell and that is that Jack bought everyone not just Repugs. It doesn't matter, of course, that it is public knowledge that no Dems got contibutions from the man. You will hear the phrase "Abramoff or his clients" contributed to the Dems but this is just a distraction. The only peole that saw hard money from Jack were Republicans.
    The next few months should be very interesting.

    Monday, January 02, 2006


    I am getting real tired of hearing that Bush is Commander in Chief and as such has a responsibility to protect/spy on my subversive butt. CIC is for the military folks. It means he is the HMFIC of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. It has no meaning to the civilian population of the United States. Posse Comitatus insures this is so. Everytime we let him get away with using the CIC gig in reference to his duties and responsibilities under the Constitution we are granting him de facto dictator status.

    BTW, while I am at it, I am also tired of hearing Bush say he was elected to defend us. Hello... it says in the oath of office "protect and defend the Constitution" not Bob and Lucy.

    Devolution Marker

    I have been thinking for some time about markers or bench marks that track the devolution of our country and society. I am talking about small changes that caused some diminishing in the karmic force that was America 50 years ago or so. I picked 50 years since I was 6 years old then and I can actually remember some things about my environment from that period. These would be things that by their changing or elimination altered the gestalt of national identity to a point where the change was remarkable (noticeable).

    My initial proposal for a "devolution marker" is when you could no longer buy Campfire Marshmallows in the little boxes of a dozen wrapped with waxed paper and the two layers of marshmallows separated with the little white card. I distinctly believe that some of the majick went out of our lives at that moment. (Note the spelling of majick as we are talking about true majick not "stage magic".)

    If you have any devolutionary moments that you would like to share...this is the place. You should take the above mentioned marker as a guideline in defining your own.

    "Art of War" my Ass

    "The fact is that al Qaeda's playbook is not printed on Page One, and when America's is, it has serious ramifications," Duffy said, reading from prepared remarks. "You don't need to be Sun Tzu to understand that," he added, referring to the ancient Chinese general who wrote "The Art of War."
    Trent Duffy has a lot of brass to spout Sun Tzu with respect to the war in Iraq. I would dare say that the entire fiasco in Iraq is a lesson in how NOT to apply the principles of war as outlined by Sun Tzu.
    First of all the very first verse in the "Art of War" cautions that war is grave undertaking for the state and must be carefully studied. Additionally, he warns that all possible avenues to avoid armed conflict must be explored and exhausted before taking up arms. Finally, he admonishes that should armed confict be necessary it should be done as to have victory:
    1) in the shortest possible time;
    2) at the least possible cost in lives and effort;
    3) with infliction on the enemy of the fewest possible casualties.

    It is quite obvious that no one guiding the clusterfuck in Iraq has read and understood the principles of war as outlined by Sun Tzu. If they had we wouldn't be there in the first place.

    Sunday, January 01, 2006

    New Chance

    While technically just another day, today is the beginning of a New Year based on the calendar we are using. So most of us have agreed to mark this day as the first day of 2006.
    Therefore , let me wish all of the readers the best for the New Year.
    I really don't have any predictions for the New Year but rather some observations.

    1. On balance you will have to say that 2006 will be a shitty year for Bush and company. You can only pile so much crap in the wagon before the wheels start to come off. I think the coming year will be the one in which a majority of the American public wakes up to the fact that we have failed miserably in our selection of leadership and tries to make amends.

    2. We have been living on "economic borrowed time" for the last few years. The tax cuts, deficit spending, overblown housing market and the credit card binge Americans have been experiencing will come home to roost this year and after it is sorted we will have a very different looking world. It will be most unpleasant.

    So any way, I hope everyone enjoys the balance of the holiday and didn't drink too much last night. Today is the day we need to "gird our loins" for the coming year and try and make the best of what I fear will be a year of tribulation in many ways.

    May the force be with you!