October 11, 2005

Podcast? Other Stuff.

I've been busier than a one legged man in an ass-kicking contest lately, so sorry for the on again, off again updates.

I've thinking of putting together a podcast or two. There is a list of things I'd like to get off my chest, and typing them our seems an awfully weak way of putting it out. With that in mind, I think I'm going to expound a bit on some recent topics. I haven't decided yet what they're all going to be, but I've decided to call my Podcast (iPodcast? Whatever.) "The Left Hook". I'm going to take 5 or 10 items (no more than 10, less if time doesn't allow) and expound at length on them. They'll be paired with a blog entry, so if you'd like, you can come back to a particular podcast you like and read the Cliff's Notes.

Here's my current list:

1) Me: Ernie
2) Harriet Miers
3) DNC failure to capture the White House
4) Plame-gate etc
5) Where the hell is the followup on the Downing Street Memos?
6) Diebold et al. (aka, The Ohio Debacle)
7) Slanted media response to ANYTHING
8) The Terror Alert system
9) Hurricanes (the storm, not the drink)
10) The War on Terror

If you have any suggestions as to what I should talk about instead, drop me a line. I'd love to hear it. Granted, it might get shitcanned but then again it might not. Send it in anyway. If what you send is amusing enough, I might, just might, read it on the 'cast. We'll see.

Side note: I saw a bumper sticker the other day which cracked me up, and I decided to make it a t-shirt... Here's what it looks like:

Of course, click it, it pops to the site where you can buy one. Because I'm a money-grubbing whore, that's why!

October 03, 2005

Why, that's a good question: A quick lesson about The Constitution.

Somebody on Fark.com (actually, TotalFark.com (the best $5/mth I spend)) asked the following question: "So, what WOULD it take to impeach the President?"

Why, that's a darn good question! I wonder: How many people have actually read The Constitution of the United States of America? At all? Okay, now if you're older than 25, other than in High School? That's what I thought. Let's revisit a couple of parts, shall we? Here are the relevant sections:

Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5 reads:
"Clause 5: The House of Representatives shall chuse(sic) their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment."

Article 1, Section 3, Clause 6 reads:
"Clause 6: The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present."

Clause 7, same Section and Article continues:
"Clause 7: Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law."

Lastly, Article 2, Section 4 states IN IT'S ENTIRETY:
"The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors"

This leads us to ask "Okay, what EXACTLY are 'High Crimes and Misdemeanors'?"

According to this writeup (Slate, pops), anything the Congrass says.

This also implies "And nothing else." For the lay person, that means that as long as the Legislative Branch is held by the same party as the Executive branch, nothing will happen.

This is the exact reason why the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches of our government were DESIGNED to be held by different groups.

I bet you're wishing you had bothered to go an vote now, aren't you?

I am urging, nay pleading to you, the reader: The next time you have an Election, be it local, state or Federal, get off your ASS and vote. If you're not registered for vote, do it now. I don't care which way you vote. Just vote. Only 1 out of every 5 registered voters voted in the last election. And only 30% of those who are ELIGIBLE to vote are registered. Note: If you're one of the 3 dozen people who live in New Hampshire, Wyoming or North Dakota, you can't use that website.

September 15, 2005

"Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance

Okay, this is long and drawn out, but I think it's worth it to touch on some of the major parts of this whole issue.

During The McCarthy Era (it was an "Era"? Whodathunkit?) the President glomed onto the whole "under God" thing at the same time as McCarthy (mostly coincidental, BTW) in response to a percieved threat from the Russians after WWII that the US was not capable of responding to militarily. Specifically, I'm talking about the beginning of the Cold War. It was a way to differentiate Americans from Communists in the minds of the American public. It was pretty effective, too.

The issue here is, to make someone a "threat" in people's minds, you need to paint them first as "different" before you can make them "Enemy". After all, 99% of Russian Communists were/are caucasian, so there is no obvious difference between Russians and Americans, no easy way to paint a "Us" and "Them" picture, except that they speak a different language, but that doesn't apply because Spain, France and a whole bunch of other of our Friends (caps intentional) don't speak English. Worse, the Russians had been our Allies in WWI (an alliance of convenience, granted, but the average American didn't understand this), and took horrible losses supporting the cause every man, woman and child in America sacrificed so must to achieve, so in the minds of most Americans, they were our friends. Remember, most people at this time were not familiar with the phrase "the enemy of my enemy is my friend", they were just friends. Period.

Keep in mind, to most people different=strange=alien and from alien, it's a really small leap to enemy, and "they're godless, we're not" was a very quick, cheap and easy way to make this transition. The fast-food approach, if you will.

At the same time, the Soviets (during The Khrushchev Era) were quickly becoming a threat with the detonation of their first nuclear weapon in 1953. The Knights Of Columbus quickly responded to this new (and real) threat by beginning a campaign to add the words "Under God" to the Pledge. After all, it was illegal under the Communist Regime to practice any faith at all. They were godless. We, on the other hand, could practice any religion we wanted (as long as it recognized "God", in the singular apparently. I guess worshiping Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite and Apollo wouldn't have gone over well.).

So, when did "Under God" finally get added? 1954, one year after the USSR detonated it's first nuclear weapon. Not a coincidence. The USA had a new enemy, and the Cold War had begun.

Adding "Under God" to the Pledge was part of the mechanism which made accepting our former "friends" as "enemies", because "They" were godless, "We" were not, even though a good percentage of the US didn't subscribe to any organized faith. Keep in mind, it wasn't until Kennedy that we had a Catholic President, and we still haven't had a Jewish President. Even then, it was a big deal (no, huge) to have a Catholic as President. Not because Catholicism (per se) was so alien or unacceptable to the average American, but because the Roman Catholic faith was the publicly acknowledged impetus for some of the most horrific events in human history (Think: The Inquisitions, The Crusades, The Holocaust (yes, the Vatican endorsed it), Burning of "witches" and other heretics, do I really need to go on?), and the threat of that kind of thing scared many Americans. This was, after all, one of the major reasons we came over the pond in the first place, right? To get away from non-representative, Church driven government.

Of course, the USSR dissolved in 1991 under Gorbachev and the Cold War ended. With it, Russians were once again allowed to follow their faith, and faith as a whole was no longer verboten. Indeed, most Russians today practice a faith of some kind.

To summarize, we added "under God" to the pledge in order to assist our Government in painting the Russians as our enemy. I think it was a VERY Christian thing to do, personally. Make your own judgement about whether that's a good thing or not.

So, what is my opinion about "under God" in the Pledge? I think it should go. It served it's purpose, and no longer has a function. A select portion of our population will die trying to keep it there, or if it gets dropped, reinstated. The cynical side of me (se previous post) says that this is in essence brainwashing. The organized brainwashing of our children, mandated by the government. It implies that if you don't believe in a God, then you're un-American, when nothing could be farther from the truth. It's exclusionary (see the references to polytheism above), and it is just Anti-American. I'm against it being there officially. If you want to add it on your own, go right ahead. Just like when you take an oath in court, you have the option of NOT swearing on a bible. That option is there because if you swear to God, and you don't believe in God, without an alternative option, you can't be held accountable.

IF you want to read more about this history I've talked about here, and I recommend you do if you're interested, follow the links below:

Short history of the USSR (pops)
History of the Pledge of Allegiance (pops)
Persecution of the Jews, Support of the Holocaust by the Vatican
Burning of witches and heretics
The 4 (yes, FOUR) Inquisitions
The 7 major Crusades

August 08, 2005

I might just be WAY too cynical, but you decide:

I was thinking last night about the current state of affairs here in the wonderful United States of America. I was thinking this: "What ever happened to the up-in-arms over the Downing Street Memos?

I mean, the Bush administration never responded to the inquiries in any solid fashion, as best as I can discern. Did everyone just give up? Is everyone just fine with the fact that Bush and Co. (the "Bush Crime Family", as Air America likes to call them) doctored information to justify us going into Iraq on very specious terms? I'm not, and I'm a bit pissed that it has fallen completely off the radar.

So I was trying to figure out what that is. Here's what I came up with; it appears that Karl "Turd Blossom" Rove leaved the identity of a CIA operative in order to get back at a journalist who basically debunked the whole idea of WMD in Iraq. Sure, that's pretty obvious, isn't it? Instant news item. Gets all the attention, right?

So now I ask: "What if the apparent treasonous actions of the President's (much hated) chief politcal advisor is a ruse? What then?" Stay with me here. What if Rove decided to create the illusion that he leaked this information just to drag the media firmly away from the Downing Street Memos? I personally don't put it above Rove to hold onto some specific, undenyable, rock-solid evidence of his innocence long enough for the American public to conveniently forget about the Downing Street memos and everything they imply. In fact, if I were Rove, this is something I might come up with.

"Okay boss, looky here: everyone hates me, we know that. This Downing Street thing is eating our lunch, and the media just won't let go of it. Remember that whole thing a couple of years ago about that CIA operative's identity being leaked to the press? Here's what we do. We make it look like I did it. Just make it look like it. Of course we know that I had nothing to do with it and that someone else in the CIA leaked it, but we'll make it look like I did it. The media will go nuts. They'll smell blood in the water. Air America hosts will do nothing but talk about it from now until I decide to end it. No more Downing Street Memo shite. When Downing Street is good and gone, and a couple of months before the '06 elections, I'll 'leak' my evidence that not only did I not leak the identity, but I was trying my best to contain the damage. The DOJ and their fancy-schmancy special procecutor can find that I had nothing to do with it Instant win for you, for the entire party and me. Whaddayathink?"

July 13, 2005

More Swag

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July 11, 2005

Well looky here!

Scott McClellan got lambasted this morning...

I've got to admit, I love it when this kind of stuff goes on. Here is a long dialogue where Scott McClellan backs off from his previous stance that Karl Rove had nothing to do with the Plame leak. Alright, he didn't "back off", he retreated. Okay, let's be honest, it was more along the lines of "fleeing" than it was retreating.

Okay, so to wrap it up: The White House (all caps, because we're talking about the office) will not make comments while the investigation is ongoing. Actually let's clear it up a little bit more: The White House will not make comments while they're looking bad. To be absolutely clear here: George W. Bush and his lackeys will not acknowlege that things are gong badly.

Of course, we already know this. The Insurgency in Iraq has been in it's "last throes" for well over a year now. The must have a bunch of "last throes". Hundreds, maybe even thousands..

Okay, so Scott, answer this; Just how many "Throes" does the insurgency have? Or will you refuse to comment on that?

I've got $50 right here that says that if Karl Rove is implicated in a criminal act, he have goes up on charges, certainly isn't convicted, and I've got another $100 that says that even if convicted, Martha Stewart's sentence is going to look like hard time at Fort Leavenworth prison compared to what Rove gets.

Just guess.. Mission Accomplished indeed.

The BRAFFY Awards.


Who is "Ernie"?

Your Career Type: Enterprising

You are engertic, ambitious, and sociable.
Your talents lie in politics, leading people, and selling things or ideas.

You would make an excellent:

Auctioneer - Bank President - Camp Director
City Manager - Judge - Lawyer
Recreation Leader - Real Estate Agent - Sales Person
School Principal - Travel Agent - TV Newscaster

The worst career options for your are investigative careers, like mathematician or architect.

You Are a Frappacino

At your best, you are: fun loving, sweet, and modern

At your worst, you are: childish and over indulgent

You drink coffee when: you're craving something sweet

Your caffeine addiction level: low

You Are 45% American
America: You don't love it or want to leave it.
But you wouldn't mind giving it an extreme make over.
On the 4th of July, you'll fly a freak flag instead...
And give Uncle Sam a sucker punch!

You Are Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
You are kind, popular, and generous.
You tend to be successful at anything you try.
A social butterfly, you are great at entertaining a crowd.
You are most compatible with strawberry ice cream.

A quick non-political post. Imagine that!

Nothing witty to say here, but a shout out to my readers in Florida today. I'm watching the news and seeing the devastation Hurricane Dennis has wrought on Florida during its visit and I just wanted to say that I sincerely, hope everyone in Florida is okay or will be okay in the near future. My thoughts are with you today as you struggle to rebuild your lives.

July 01, 2005

Recent SCOTUS decisions:

Recently, the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) make a couple of rulings (in the form of "opinions") that will affect your life.

1) MGM vs. Grokster Inc. (pops) - No real surprise here. They ruled (5-4) that MGM is in the right, and Grokster et al. are in the wrong. Apparently the crux of their opinion is that Grokster or anyone else who writes software that's primary use (legal or not) can be used for nefarious means is wrong. As far as I can tell, that means that if the terrorists who made 9/11 happen used Microsoft Word(tm) to jot down notes for their plan, then Microsoft is liable for what they did with it. That makes Microsoft party (through aiding and abetting) to their crime. Let's sue Microsoft and see what happens..

2) 10 Commandments on Government Property (pops) - This is just weird. In one instance, it's okay, in the other it isn't. I think the driver here is actually the American Public. I think that the SCOTUS wanted to avoid the huge number of protests that would come up when they tried to remove the monument from the TX state capitol grounds. That's all it is. Either way, I don't give a flying flip one way or the other. Neither is really a mandate from the government for any particular religion. It's a matter of opinion, and they liked the way they looked, and they had meaning for them. Still, I'm tempted to start my own religion and make flowers holy. Then I'll petition the government to remove all flowers from all govt property. Certainly, the money used to maintain them could find a better use elsewhere, hmmm?

and lastly:

3) Eminent domain use by local government and it's justification (pops) - All right, this one is truly imporant. It almost made me blog a post titled "Hell has Officially Frozen Over" because of it. The SCOTUS ruled that your city, county or state CAN take your property against your will for the right reasons. The reasons? Yep, you guessed it, Money. Plain and simple. If the new facility/property to replace what is there currently will bring greater tax revenue to the municipality then that's just fine. It's covered as "public good" under the 5th Amendment to the Constitution. It doesn't matter what you've paid, or that you own it full-on, square according to the land commissioner. If they want to build a gas station right on top of your den, have at it. Granted, they have to give you "just compensation" for the property, but "just compensation" is up for debate. For example, in the State of Texas, if the State wants to take your land, just compensation, what they are required to give you, is figured on the average single acre value across the WHOLE FREAKING STATE! How much is that, you ask? Well, in 1998, it was $1.06/acre.

So, why has "Hell Officially Frozen Over" in my opinion, you ask? Really, it's only for one reason. I actually agreed with the disenting opinion on this. Not unusual, really, except that the disenters were: Thomas, Rehnquist, O'Connor and Scalia. I thought for a second that I might have become a hard line Republican, but no. Still, I felt like I needed a shower.

Now, turn about is fair play, I understand. Read about the Lost Liberty Hotel with it's Just Desserts Cafe (you know the drill) that some developer wants to build in Keane, NH. This is just freaking genius. I want to set up a website to start taking reservations here. I know that if I'm back up near my hometown, I will make it a point to stay there if this thing gets built.

Also worth noting: Today, Sandra Day O'Connor tendered her resignation as an Associate Justice of the SCOTUS to the POTUS (Idiot in Chief). According to NBC, CNN and others, the front runners to be nominated are John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales. CNN thinks that if Bush were to nominate Gonzales, is might help the Republicans in the next election. Fat freaking chance. Gonzales. Gonzales is the tie-wearing thug who rubber-stamped the torture methods used in Abu Ghriab and Guantanamo, ferchristsakes! Never mind the fact that he advised the President on how and where to house the "detainees" so that the SCOTUS couldn't touch them, and that it would be irrelevant as to whether or not their "enemy combatant" designation was held up.

Of course, Rehnquist is about to shuffle off this mortal coil any time now, and his replacement will be a doozy.

The only way out of this that I can see is if the Dems stop the nomination of her replacement (a la John Bolton) until the next Senate election, at which point we, (you and I, progressives) ACTUALLY get out and VOTE in the next election and give the Congress back to the intelligent people while taking it away from the monster theocratic idealogues currently running the show over there!

I'm so mad I could just spit. Not that you could tell or anything.

P.S. Oh yeah, new item on GeekWear: Just $17.99!

June 22, 2005

A note from Scott Ritter, former US weapons inspector in Iraq.

[Ed. note: This is just sickening to me. The Onion had a satire article titled "Bush lays out exit strategy: 'We're going through Iran!'". Just like the headline after GWB's assention to the throne.. I have made no changes to this article.]

The US war with Iran has already begun

Scott Ritter, Aljazeera.net

Sunday 19 June 2005 - Americans, along with the rest of the world, are starting to wake up to the uncomfortable fact that President George Bush not only lied to them about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (the ostensible excuse for the March 2003 invasion and occupation of that country by US forces), but also about the very process that led to war.

On 16 October 2002, President Bush told the American people that "I have not ordered the use of force. I hope that the use of force will not become necessary."

We know now that this statement was itself a lie, that the president, by late August 2002, had, in fact, signed off on the 'execute' orders authorising the US military to begin active military operations inside Iraq, and that these orders were being implemented as early as September 2002, when the US Air Force, assisted by the British Royal Air Force, began expanding its bombardment of targets inside and outside the so-called no-fly zone in Iraq.

These operations were designed to degrade Iraqi air defence and command and control capabilities. They also paved the way for the insertion of US Special Operations units, who were conducting strategic reconnaissance, and later direct action, operations against specific targets inside Iraq, prior to the 19 March 2003 commencement of hostilities.

President Bush had signed a covert finding in late spring 2002, which authorised the CIA and US Special Operations forces to dispatch clandestine units into Iraq for the purpose of removing Saddam Hussein from power.

The fact is that the Iraq war had begun by the beginning of summer 2002, if not earlier.

This timeline of events has ramifications that go beyond historical trivia or political investigation into the events of the past.

It represents a record of precedent on the part of the Bush administration which must be acknowledged when considering the ongoing events regarding US-Iran relations. As was the case with Iraq pre-March 2003, the Bush administration today speaks of "diplomacy" and a desire for a "peaceful" resolution to the Iranian question.

But the facts speak of another agenda, that of war and the forceful removal of the theocratic regime, currently wielding the reigns of power in Tehran.

As with Iraq, the president has paved the way for the conditioning of the American public and an all-too-compliant media to accept at face value the merits of a regime change policy regarding Iran, linking the regime of the Mullah's to an "axis of evil" (together with the newly "liberated" Iraq and North Korea), and speaking of the absolute requirement for the spread of "democracy" to the Iranian people.

"Liberation" and the spread of "democracy" have become none-too-subtle code words within the neo-conservative cabal that formulates and executes American foreign policy today for militarism and war.

By the intensity of the "liberation/democracy" rhetoric alone, Americans should be put on notice that Iran is well-fixed in the cross-hairs as the next target for the illegal policy of regime change being implemented by the Bush administration.

But Americans, and indeed much of the rest of the world, continue to be lulled into a false sense of complacency by the fact that overt conventional military operations have not yet commenced between the United States and Iran.

As such, many hold out the false hope that an extension of the current insanity in Iraq can be postponed or prevented in the case of Iran. But this is a fool's dream.

The reality is that the US war with Iran has already begun. As we speak, American over flights of Iranian soil are taking place, using pilotless drones and other, more sophisticated, capabilities.

The violation of a sovereign nation's airspace is an act of war in and of itself. But the war with Iran has gone far beyond the intelligence-gathering phase.

President Bush has taken advantage of the sweeping powers granted to him in the aftermath of 11 September 2001, to wage a global war against terror and to initiate several covert offensive operations inside Iran.

The most visible of these is the CIA-backed actions recently undertaken by the Mujahadeen el-Khalq, or MEK, an Iranian opposition group, once run by Saddam Hussein's dreaded intelligence services, but now working exclusively for the CIA's Directorate of Operations.

It is bitter irony that the CIA is using a group still labelled as a terrorist organisation, a group trained in the art of explosive assassination by the same intelligence units of the former regime of Saddam Hussein, who are slaughtering American soldiers in Iraq today, to carry out remote bombings in Iran of the sort that the Bush administration condemns on a daily basis inside Iraq.

Perhaps the adage of "one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist" has finally been embraced by the White House, exposing as utter hypocrisy the entire underlying notions governing the ongoing global war on terror.

But the CIA-backed campaign of MEK terror bombings in Iran are not the only action ongoing against Iran.

To the north, in neighbouring Azerbaijan, the US military is preparing a base of operations for a massive military presence that will foretell a major land-based campaign designed to capture Tehran.

Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld's interest in Azerbaijan may have escaped the blinkered Western media, but Russia and the Caucasus nations understand only too well that the die has been cast regarding Azerbaijan's role in the upcoming war with Iran.

The ethnic links between the Azeri of northern Iran and Azerbaijan were long exploited by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and this vehicle for internal manipulation has been seized upon by CIA paramilitary operatives and US Special Operations units who are training with Azerbaijan forces to form special units capable of operating inside Iran for the purpose of intelligence gathering, direct action, and mobilising indigenous opposition to the Mullahs in Tehran.

But this is only one use the US has planned for Azerbaijan. American military aircraft, operating from forward bases in Azerbaijan, will have a much shorter distance to fly when striking targets in and around Tehran.

In fact, US air power should be able to maintain a nearly 24-hour a day presence over Tehran airspace once military hostilities commence.

No longer will the United States need to consider employment of Cold War-dated plans which called for moving on Tehran from the Persian Gulf cities of Chah Bahar and Bandar Abbas. US Marine Corps units will be able to secure these towns in order to protect the vital Straits of Hormuz, but the need to advance inland has been eliminated.

A much shorter route to Tehran now exists - the coastal highway running along the Caspian Sea from Azerbaijan to Tehran.

US military planners have already begun war games calling for the deployment of multi-divisional forces into Azerbaijan.

Logistical planning is well advanced concerning the basing of US air and ground power in Azerbaijan.

Given the fact that the bulk of the logistical support and command and control capability required to wage a war with Iran is already forward deployed in the region thanks to the massive US presence in Iraq, the build-up time for a war with Iran will be significantly reduced compared to even the accelerated time tables witnessed with Iraq in 2002-2003.

America and the Western nations continue to be fixated on the ongoing tragedy and debacle that is Iraq. Much needed debate on the reasoning behind the war with Iraq and the failed post-war occupation of Iraq is finally starting to spring up in the United States and elsewhere.

Normally, this would represent a good turn of events. But with everyone's heads rooted in the events of the past, many are missing out on the crime that is about to be repeated by the Bush administration in Iran - an illegal war of aggression, based on false premise, carried out with little regard to either the people of Iran or the United States.

Most Americans, together with the mainstream American media, are blind to the tell-tale signs of war, waiting, instead, for some formal declaration of hostility, a made-for-TV moment such as was witnessed on 19 March 2003.

We now know that the war had started much earlier. Likewise, history will show that the US-led war with Iran will not have begun once a similar formal statement is offered by the Bush administration, but, rather, had already been under way since June 2005, when the CIA began its programme of MEK-executed terror bombings in Iran.

Scott Ritter is a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, 1991-1998, and author of Iraq Confidential: The Untold Story of America's Intelligence Conspiracy, to be published by I B Tauris in October 2005.

The opinions expressed here are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position or have the endorsement of Aljazeera.

:: Article nr. 12776 sent on 20-jun-2005 01:46 ECT
:: The address of this page is : www.uruknet.info?p=12776

June 07, 2005

The Downing Street Memo

[Editor's note: I have not changed, highlighted, added or deleted anything from this. It should be noted that the British govt did authenticate this memo, and an anonymous source in the U.S. described the contents as "absolutetly accurate".]

Text of the Downing Street Memo - a document containing meeting minutes transcribed during the British Prime Minister's meeting on July 23, 2002

• As originally reported in the The Times of London, May 1, 2005

(to print in large text reliably, increase the text size view in your browser, the text will then print larger as well)


From: Matthew Rycroft
Date: 23 July 2002
S 195 /02

cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell


Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.

John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August.

The two broad US options were:

(a) Generated Start. A slow build-up of 250,000 US troops, a short (72 hour) air campaign, then a move up to Baghdad from the south. Lead time of 90 days (30 days preparation plus 60 days deployment to Kuwait).

(b) Running Start. Use forces already in theatre (3 x 6,000), continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli. Total lead time of 60 days with the air campaign beginning even earlier. A hazardous option.

The US saw the UK (and Kuwait) as essential, with basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus critical for either option. Turkey and other Gulf states were also important, but less vital. The three main options for UK involvement were:

(i) Basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus, plus three SF squadrons.

(ii) As above, with maritime and air assets in addition.

(iii) As above, plus a land contribution of up to 40,000, perhaps with a discrete role in Northern Iraq entering from Turkey, tying down two Iraqi divisions.

The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change.

The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work.

On the first, CDS said that we did not know yet if the US battleplan was workable. The military were continuing to ask lots of questions.

For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.

The Foreign Secretary thought the US would not go ahead with a military plan unless convinced that it was a winning strategy. On this, US and UK interests converged. But on the political strategy, there could be US/UK differences. Despite US resistance, we should explore discreetly the ultimatum. Saddam would continue to play hard-ball with the UN.

John Scarlett assessed that Saddam would allow the inspectors back in only when he thought the threat of military action was real.

The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route. It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush.


(a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action. But we needed a fuller picture of US planning before we could take any firm decisions. CDS should tell the US military that we were considering a range of options.

(b) The Prime Minister would revert on the question of whether funds could be spent in preparation for this operation.

(c) CDS would send the Prime Minister full details of the proposed military campaign and possible UK contributions by the end of the week.

(d) The Foreign Secretary would send the Prime Minister the background on the UN inspectors, and discreetly work up the ultimatum to Saddam.

He would also send the Prime Minister advice on the positions of countries in the region especially Turkey, and of the key EU member states.

(e) John Scarlett would send the Prime Minister a full intelligence update.

(f) We must not ignore the legal issues: the Attorney-General would consider legal advice with FCO/MOD legal advisers.

(I have written separately to commission this follow-up work.)


(Rycroft was a Downing Street foreign policy aide)


Cast of Charaters–who are the people mentioned here?

Below is a breakdown of the various individuals mentioned in the memo - all of whom were present during the meeting with the Prime Minister.

- Foreign Policy Advisor - David Manning
- Matthew Rycroft - aide to Manning, wrote up the minutes of the meeting.
- Defence Secretary - Geoff Hoon
- Foreign Secretary - Jack Straw
- Attorney-General - Lord Goldsmith,
- Cabinet Secretary - Sir Richard Wilson
- Chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee - John Scarlett,
- Director of GCHQ - Francis Richards, head of the UK's "signals intelligence establishment", an intelligence agency, which reports to the Foreign Secretary.
- Director of SIS (aka MI6) - Sir Richard Dearlove, identified as 'C' in the meeting minutes, heads the UK's foreign intelligence service
- Chief of the Defence Staff - Admiral Sir Michael Boyce
- Chief of Staff - Jonathan Powell
- Head of Strategy - Alastair Campbell
- Director of Political & Govt Relations - Sally Morgan

We will be posting a revised version of this list with descriptions of the various roles and their US equivalents soon.

Though it is sometimes difficult to equate a given official to his or her US counterpart, it's clear that this was a meeting at the highest level within the UK government.

Attendees included three members of the Cabinet (Prime Minister Blair, the Defence Secretary and the Foreign Secretary), the nation's most senior bureaucrat (the Cabinet Secretary), three out of the four top people from the UK intelligence community (the JIC Chair and the heads of MI6 and GCHQ), the head of the armed forces and four of the innermost circle of the PM's political advisors.

The relatively junior level of the author bears no relevance to the contents, which describe the thinking and opinions of the principals.

June 06, 2005

Dear Red States:

Dear Red States,

We're ticked off at the way you've treated California, and we've decided we're leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we're taking the other Blue States with us. In case you aren't aware, that includes Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and all the Northeast.

We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get Elliot Spitzer. You get Ken Lay. We get the Statue of Liberty. You get OpryLand. We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom. We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss. We get 85 percent of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get
Alabama. We get two-thirds of the tax revenue, you get to make the red states pay their fair share. Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms. Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they're apparently willing to sen d to their deaths for no purpose, and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home. We do wish you success in Iraq, and hope that the WMDs turn up, but we're not willing to spend our resources in Bush's Quagmire.

With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80 percent of the country's fresh water, more than 90 percent of the pineapple and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation's fresh fruit, 95 percent of America's quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90 percent of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal,
all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools, plus Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88 percent of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92 percent of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100 percent of the tornadoes, 90 percen t of the hurricanes, 99 percent of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100 percent of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia. We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.

Additionally, 38 percent of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62 percent believe life is sacred unless we're discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44 percent say that evolution is only a theory, 53 percent that Saddam was involved in 9/11
and 61 percent of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals then we lefties.

By the way, we're taking the good pot, too. You can have that dirt weed they grow in Mexico.


Author Unknown in New California.

Sent via email..

I need to get out more...

This doesn't include Canada, where I've been to Quebec, Toronto, Montreal, Nova Scotia and a couple of others...

create your own personalized map of the USA
or check out ourCalifornia travel guide

May 25, 2005

Life: The Zero-Sum Game

Oh, but what a game it is, eh?

IMO, life must be a zero sum game. You're born at the beginning and dead at the end. As far as I can tell, that makes it a zero-sum game. What is the point of life then? Simple: Make the world a better place when you die than it was when you were born.

For me, that means raising a kid who'll grow up to be a decent human being, and possibly change the world in a positive way. Extending a hand when it's needed to my fellow man. Make a positive mark in the world beyond a headstone.

It would be nice to win the lottery (I think). It would be nice to run a multi-million dollar company (I think). It would be nice to live in a palatial mansion on 70 acres in La Jolla, California (I think). None of it is necessary.

It IS nice to have a loving wife, a brilliant kid, a stable home (rented), food on the table when I need it, a decent job and a positive outlook on life. That is all I really want or need.

Last night, while driving to pick up dinner, I witnessed an accident right in front of me. It was pretty brutal, a Ford Expedition vs. Honda Accord. The Accord was struck just behind the passenger-side door, and spun around a couple of times before coming to rest against a curb. So I stopped to help. I have first-aid gear in my car.

When I approached the Ford (another bystander was attending to the Accord, which was closer to them), it was obvious that the driver (a 30-something woman) was concious, aware and not crtically injured, so I went to the back, where I could see two children. I opened the door and said "Hi! Is everyone okay? My name is Ernie, and I'll help you if I can." The two kids were a 6-yr old boy and a 9-yr old girl. Luckily, nobody was seriously hurt, and everyone was wearing their seatbelts. Police arrived, EMS arrived, statements were taken etc, and I went on my way. Why am I telling you all of this? It's because of what happened in the middle of it all.

The mother of these two children, while I was inspecting them, calming them down and generally making sure of their well-being, stopped and said "Thank you so much for stopping to help." She was under the impression that I might have driven away, not knowing if they were okay, not knowing if I could have helped. That just stopped me dead. I can't imagine living my life that way. Do you?

These are the things that make me happy. I got nothing out of stopping and helping except the feeling that I might have made a difference to this Mom and her two very scared children. I like doing that, and I'll continue to do that because that's what makes life worth living.

But I'll still play the lottery.

May 04, 2005

27 ways to be a good Republican...

In response to this (22 ways to be a good Democrat)

  1. You have to be against a woman’s right to choose, but support the murder of thousands by air strike.
  2. You have to believe that a shopping mall is better than a backyard, as long as it’s not YOUR backyard.
  3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of drug dealers and gang-bangers are less of a threat than countries that have never fired a weapon at Americans here in America.
  4. You have to believe that there were no airlines before Federal funding, tax breaks and kickbacks.
  5. You have to believe that global temperatures are more permanently affected by natural changes in the earth's climate than billions of tons of waste gasses pumped into the atmosphere by coal and natural gas power plants.
  6. You have to believe that the sex of someone else’s spouse is actually your business, but your adultery isn’t anyone else’s business.
  7. You have to believe that the AIDS epidemic cannot be slowed with the assistance of the Federal government.
  8. You have to believe that the teacher who can't teach 4th-graders how to read is doing a great job.
  9. You have to believe that hunters care about nature because the 10-point rack on the wall shows their commitment to it.
  10. You have to believe that things magically happen even if you have no self-esteem.
  11. You have to believe that Mel Gibson made The Passion Of The Christ because Christ died for our sins and not to gain notoriety.
  12. You have to believe the ACLU is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, but the NRA is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.
  13. You have to believe that taxes are too high and the deficit, trade gap and unemployment levels are too low.
  14. You have to believe that Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy, and Thomas Edison.
  15. You have to believe that standardized tests are not racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are.
  16. You have to believe that George W. Bush is normal and is a smart, well-spoken person with no hidden agendas.
  17. You have to believe that a representative democratic republic will work for everyone, regardless of belief, history or ideology and that it’s okay to kill a considerable percentage of them to bring it to them.
  18. You have to believe that a President having consensual sex with another adult is far worse than a President who’s eager to send our children off to get killed in a war that isn’t a war to find weapons that didn’t exist.
  19. You have to believe that Christmas and Easter were originally Christian holidays and not co-opted seasonal festivals of Pagans.
  20. You have to believe that changing the rules of the Senate and the Ethics Committee to protect Republican Senators is somehow in the best interest to the United States.
  21. You have to believe that we actually went to war in Iraq to find WMDs because they were a clear and present threat to the United States.
  22. You have to believe that Republican backed special interest groups didn't finance The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, they got the idea and money on their own.
  23. You have to believe Bill Clinton getting a blowjob in the Oval Office is appalling, but Newt Gingrich serving his wife with divorce papers on her deathbed is A-OK.
  24. You have to believe in defending the sanctity of marriage except when it’s a husband trying to fulfill his wife’s wish in ending her life.
  25. You have to feel that marriage is sacrosanct and inviolate while ignoring the fact that 61% of Catholics get divorced and another 7% get their marriages annulled.
  26. You have to believe that what John Kerry did 30 years ago is important, but what George W. Bush didn't do 30 years ago isn't.
  27. You have to believe that this message was authored by a left-wing pinko socialist bleeding heart liberal.

I could go on and on and on. That's why I go to a help group: On And On Anon. Funny thing is, I'm not really a Democrat.

April 18, 2005

President Bush wants exemption from the FOIA


From the article: " President Bush said Thursday that the public should know as much as possible about government decision-making, but national security and personal privacy - including his - need to be protected."

Yeah, me too. I'm pretty clear on this. The President is accountable to the American People, Congress, and the Judiciary. When it comes to things that fall within the scope of his duties, it's open book time as far as I'm concerned. Otherwise, we have no business rooting through his things.

For example, last week President Bush's tax returns were published. Why? That's none of our business at all. They're HIS finances, and they have no impact at all on his job performance. I have no desire to see details of interactions between him and his wife. That's his business.

Private meetings about energy policies? Oh yeah, I want to know. I have a right to know. Trouble is, no matter what I find, I need the okay of another 52 million voters to fire him, and I can't do that until 2008.

All I ask is that the same consideration be extended to me.

Oh yeah, I also wanted to add this: If the communication under consideration is of mixed content, then the whole thing must be released. So, if you send an email to someone saying "Let's bomb Oklahoma!" and then end it with "Jenna wants fake boobies.", no dice, it's fair game. The message here is simple: Keep it professional and we'll all get through this just fine.

March 31, 2005

"Godspeed Terri, and goodbye to the media circus."

In case you hadn't heard, Terri Schiavo passed away today, 13 days after her feeding tube was removed. This is sad. Not unexpected, but sad none the less. I grieve for her family, including her husband. As someone near me said


I believe that her husband was the person in the best position to make this decision. Like it or not, he was privy to her most private thoughts. He was her partner, her friend, her lover and her husband. He stuck to his promise. I salute Michael Schiavo for making the most difficult decision I think any spouse can make, and when faced with opposition, held the line because of what he believed. Principles only matter if you stand on them when it's painful to do. Bravo. We could use more principled people.

Speaking of principles, let's talk principles. Marriage is sacred. It is a sacred institution, and cannot be weakened or polluted. Certainly not by GAY marriage! Heavens no! We can't allow that! What? Oh, this woman's HUSBAND wants to do what he believes is right and let her die? Let's intervene! Huh? Oh, when I was talking about sanctity of marriage, I wasn't talk about this! I was just talking about homos!

Let's not have a double standard, okay? One standard will do just fine.

Okay, now let's talk about the law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush. The 10th Amendment to The Constitution, on a little piece of paper called "The Bill of Rights" says:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Hmm. I'm not a lawyer, but the way that reads to me, in modern speak is: "If we didn't mention it here, it's to be decided by the states, or by the people." Okay, so order of operations is: Constitution, States and/or people, Federal Govt.

So what the hell was Congress doing, meddling in this at all anyway? Is the new standard "State's rights are paramount, unless we don't agree, in which case it's Game On!"? Republicans, who are supposedly "State's Rights Advocates" seem to have trampled all over State's Rights, and OUR rights a whole lot lately and it's beginning to piss me off!

Second bit about the aforementioned law: It doesn't lend equal protection under the law. What I mean by this is, if Terri's parents had won in Federal Court, Michael had no recourse. He was NOT entitled to have the case heard at his behest in federal court. The law specifically mention's the Schindlers by name. As I understand it, this law is unconstitutional. And it tramples all over state's rights. And it STAYS. Uncontested. I am now kind of pissed that the Supreme Court didn't agree to hear the case.

Moving off the the 10th Amendment bit, and the law passed and signed, let's talk about another issue: the way she died.

The reason that Terri Schiavo had to be starved to death is that our FDA won't allow the prescription of narcotics in doses which MIGHT create an addiction to that drug. Not that it matters, if the person is going to die. That's irrelevant. Hint folks: If someone is "terminal", it means that they're not going to recover. Who cares if in the last three weeks of someone's life they're completely hooked on morphine? If I'm going to die painfully, I'm going to spend the last six months of my life completely doped up, legal or not.

Another alternative that's not allowed is assisted suicide, in which case a concoction of drugs are administered to someone who wants to die. (Never mind the fact that's it's perfectly fine to do that to someone who doesn't want to die. i.e. criminals) It's illegal. If it's not the state or federal government doing it, it's called murder. Even if that's what you wanted. If it's the Govt. doing it, it's called "Justice."

If I am ever in a persistent vegetative state, I have asked my wife, and through her my children to make the best judgement they can. Period. I have an Advance Directive, I have a living will, I've given my wife Power of Attorney for medical issues, and I have a VIDEO TAPE of ME expressing MY wishes. Basically, what I'm saying is: If you're not my wife, you have no say. If my wife isn't available, my children have the say. If my children aren't available, I have the last say. Nobody else. Not lawmakers. Not my parents. Not my in-laws. And most of all, not the lawyers, legislature or the court system.

So what have we learned from this? A series of things.

1) Our Republican controled government thinks that YOUR rights are irrelevant if the execution of those rights doesn't agree with what THEY want.
2) The "smaller government" cry of the Republican party is mostly B.S.
3) The "state's rights" cry of the Republican party is mostly B.S.
4) We should be thankful for "activist judges" because they actually look at THE LAW and YOUR RIGHTS as things worth upholding, even if they don't agree.
5) If you don't already have one, you need a will, a living will, an advance directive, medical power of attorney and a video tape of your own mug saying what you want.

Biggest lesson of all? Your "Representative" doesn't represent YOU, s/he represents themselves and nobody else. By and large, they couldn't give a damn about you unless it in some way advances their position. They make me sick.

God, how I wish we were back in the days of the Lewinsky "scandal", where the biggest thing we had to "worry" about was trying to decide if we'd hit it or not.


More later. I'm tired.

March 29, 2005

Open letter to Dr. Frist

Okay, I said a while ago that I would write about the Terri Schiavo issue when it's all said and done. It appears that it's done. Now we're on a death watch. A sick, twisted death watch. Only problem is that she died 15 years ago. I'll write quite a bit about it in the future, but I wanted to share this open letter that someone sent me about the case:

From: "M. Aram Azadpour"

To: ;




Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2005 9:49 PM

Subject: Dr., Dr., give me the news; I got a bad case of...

Date: 24MAR05

RE: Dr., Dr., give me the news; I got a bad case of...

Dear Sen. Frist,

With your permission, I would like to send you a picture of my left toe which I had a surgery on and there are couple of titanium screws in place to hold things together. I am having some pain. Would you be kind and to look at those Polaroid pictures and give me your prognosis, or, would you rather to have a video tape (should it be in VHS, Beta-max, or DVD format)? BTW, do you practice in male urinary track fields, too; or just in brain related matters?

Since DriveDemocracy.org was not able to locate your Email, Dr. Frist, they suggested we use other's Email-addresses and ask them to kindly forward the Emails for your attention (hopefully, they will be forwarding all the pictures and videos, too, so you can make an accurate diagnosis). As such, I would like to thank your Health Policy Director, Mr. Dean Rosen , your Legislative Director, Ms. Andrea Becker , your Communications Director, Mr. Nick Smith , your Legislative Counsel, Mr. Jim Hippe , and your other Legislative Counsel Mr. Andy Olson for forwarding Emails to your attention, or, would you rather we mail you those photos/videos to 509 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC, 20510, how about a fax to 202-228-1264? Perhaps I should call your office and ask for some guidance. At any rate, I think these other folks are still part of the government and considered a public servant and their contact information is open for usage by the public, no!

It seems you were able to diagnose the health of this patient, Ms. Terri Schiavo, by looking at TV videos and render your opinion (as you stated it on the floor of the US Senate during an open debate) . No doubt, that must had been influenced by your impeccable medical experience . Does the State of Tennessee have a Medical Ethics Board? Incidentally, were the videos you saw of Ms. Schiavo from Fox (so called) News? I hear they have an ability to bring "news" in ways that no other broadcaster can; so perhaps, their video-cameras show brain waves and MRI views to their viewers, whereas, poor other broadcasters can only show an "undated" video of a dazed female. Is this want they call a high-definition TV? Technology, it is amazing, don't you agree!

OK then, I'll be copying this Email to a few other friends and acquaintances I know who may be suffering from pain and such to have them send you photos or videos of their health matters so that you can diagnose them, too. We-all thank you for taking time off of your busy schedule of your oath to uphold the US Constitution to render medical diagnoses. Incidentally, do you suppose the Iraq war is Constitutional? Did the US Congress ever pass a declaration of war! I must had missed it, or may be it was behind closed doors, at any way, we-all still thank you for upholding the US Constitution.

Oh, one more cordial request. Would you get the US Congress to pass a law to nullify this Texas State law called: "Texas Futile Care Law." Mr. Bush (a.k.a. W) enacted it, as the Governor of Texas, in 1999. Under this law, on March 15th (or may be it was the 16th; can not remember, so much noise in the news now-a-days) a hospital decided that it is OK to pull a 6-month old baby off of the life support system and have him, (humm, what is that word being used in the case of Ms. Schaivo, oh yes: execution), executed even-though his mother was against it. She was in-witness when her 6-month old son was executed and said that the little baby was gasping for air (I assume he was feeling pain, I do not know; perhaps you can watch its video and let us know, Dr. Frist)!

Values, hum, pro-life any body!

Darnet, I keep forgetting, forgive me; might I ask for one more cordial request! You know this tort reform (or is it deform, any how) that Mr. Bush (a.k.a. W) is seeking would set a cap to medical malpractice or such injuries (I think he is proposing a cap of $250,000.00, is that right). Do you suppose Ms. Schiavo would have been able to be kept in a hospital for some 15 years with only that much money? Was she not awarded a malpractice reward that paid her hospitalization for the 1st 7~10 years. I am impressed at Gov. Jeb Bush's ability to keep the hospital costs so low in Florida, such that someone can be cared for some 10 years and only cost $250,000.00, amazing! What was the request I was going to ask, hum, can't remember (memory it is something most Americans have too little of). At any way, I thank you for your time while reviewing this Email and upon further guidance from your office, I will send the photos/videos

for your review.

Regards, M. Aram Azadpour

Grapevine, TX

That is all for today. More another time.

March 11, 2005

Apple vs. Bloggers: Round 1

Alright, so the bloggers lost in the first round. They're up on the ropes because they don't have the $$ to continue to fight it.

So Apple wins in the first court go-around, eh? Asinine. Just plain stupid.

Uh, last time I checked, it was the responsibility of a company to protect trade secrets, not the legislature. In my opinion, Apple should not have the right to acquire the BLOGGER'S Trade Secrets (sources) in order to punish someone for their lack of ability to keep THEIR trade secrets.

This would be like saying if someone stole my stereo and you knew who did it (even though YOU'RE not the one who stole it), I can steal your stereo just so I can punish those who stole my stereo.

Trade Secrets are property, the courts have backed that time and time again. By forcing the bloggers to reveal their sources, they're stealing the blogger's property, because they won't be able to use that source again.

And I'm not even getting into the whole 1st Amendment Rights thing yet. In case you're a little fuzzy on this:

Amendment I

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

hmm. As far as I can tell, we take two whacks on the 1st Amendment here. The internet is a medium. A publishing medium. It's intent is to make information available to be read. That sounds like the press to me. Okay, so for the sake of argument, let's just assume that "bloggers" aren't journalists. They're just people like you and me.

So, freedom of speech. Yes, I know. Freedom of speech only applies as long as I am not infringing on the rights of someone else. Inciting a riot is an example. I'm not free to rouse a rabble for the purposes of killing someone. (Dang, no Posse for me!) Other than that, I'm free to say whatever I want, or NOT say whatever I want. It is legal for me to say (by the way, this is not true. Nobody told me this, and I'm making it up to prove a point. She could be, but I have no reason to believe it...) "I don't know if it's true, but someone told me that Susie Rottencrotch down the road is actually a lesbian." It is also legal for me to say "No, I won't tell you who told me that!"

That's legal. In no way am I infringing on anyone's rights. That's been proven. It's not libel. It's not slander. It is reporting of fact. Someone told me. That is the only fact claimed in that statement.

Apparently though, YOUR $$ is more important than my freedom of speech and MY $$, because you have more $$.

Just freaking idiotic. We live in a Democratic Republic. Do you know WHY it's a Democratic Republic and NOT a Democracy? Because Ben Franklin and friends wanted to make sure that nobody can take away your rights. In a Democracy, if 50.00001% of the population decided that you could be put into slavery again, they would win. Mob rules. In a Democratic Republic, you have RIGHTS, which NOBODY can take away. The first one of those rights, enumerated in the Bill of Rights, (cool how that all knits together, isn't it? It's not a coincidence) says that I can speak my mind, as long as it doesn't infringe on anyone elses rights. And it doesn't matter is 99.999999999999% of the population disagrees with what I have to say. It is my RIGHT to do that.

Just my two cents. What do you think? Write a comment below.

March 10, 2005

Steak and a BJ day...

Okay, so V-day has come and gone... Now it's time for payback. March 14th is "Steak and a BJ" day. It's simple. No cards, no gifts. Just a steak, and a little head. That's all it takes, girls, to keep your man happy. Start preparing now.

Oh, and by the way: Leave comments right down at the bottom of my posts.

March 08, 2005

National Women's Day.

I guess I'm going to be politically incorrect here and say "Why?" If you're striving for equality, why would you insist upon being treated differently? Does this make any sense to you? If you want to be treated the same, then don't go out of your way to BE different. Otherwise, just shut up and go on with your life. And why would you want to be treated the same anyway?

I'm sorry, but George Carlin said it best: "Is this the best [women] can come up with? Pointless careerism? Putting on a man-tailored suit and imitating all the worst habits of men?"

How about making a mark in the world that doesn't require you to say "Hey! Look at me! Look over HERE!!!" If you DO big things, people recognize them without any fanfare. Marie Curie, who DISCOVERED radiation, and then the X-Ray, didn't get special adulation because she didn't need to. Nobody said "Hey, look what she discovered! And she's even a woman!" Why is this important to mention? Because SHE had equality. She was recognized as THE expert in her field.

Frankly, women have ALWAYS been tougher than men. THEY have the babies. They have ALWAYS been in charge.

Let me ask you: Who's more powerful? George W. Bush, Carl Rove or Laura Bush? If you said GWB, you're an idiot. If you said Carl Rove, there's definately an argument to be made for that, but I stand on my original thought that Laura Bush is the most powerful.

Look at it this way: GWB asks Carl what to do. Carl says "Do A." Laura Bush says "No, do B." Guess what GWB is going to do? My point exactly.

There is no reason why we cannot celebrate the contributions women make in society, and frankly I happen to think that they should be more publicly visible, but please don't tell me that women are the downtrodden. Everything revolves around everything female. Marketing. Sales. Design. Architecture. Music. Art. EVERYTHING.

Who was the woman into space? Who was the first man into space? I bet you had to think harder about the second one than the first one.

When was the last time you saw 10 Native Americans together in the same place? THEY are the downtrodden.

February 23, 2005

Cool new swag.

I got some cool new swag from http://www.jinx.net(pops) yesterday. I like it so much that I thought I might join their network of supporters. This is why those of you who come here often (both of us) notice that thatta way (---->) there is an ad, which I added yesterday. I don't get any cash for the ad, but I support those people and companies that I like. So there you go. If you haven't checked them out before, go ahead. It won't hurt, I promise.

So what did I get, I hear you ask? I got some t-shirts, which I need more of, and a bumper sticker, seeing as my political bumper sticker on my car is so last administration. Here is what I got:

1 Black X-Large Human Barcode T-Shirt @ $14.95 each
1 Black X-Large Social Engineering T-Shirt @ $14.95 each
1 Black X-Large MajorGeeks T-Shirt @ $14.95 each
1 Black 8" x 2" Closet Geek Sticker @ $1.99 each

I'm thinking I might get one of the Human Barcode stickers as my "reward" for joining Jinx's network, but frankly I don't think I'll bother to cash in on that one. Like I said, I put it up because I like them, not for $$, although a little $$ never hurts. No, I don't get any commission for you to click on the banner, or buy anything. If you feel you MUST send me money, go and buy something from my store at http://www.cafepress.com/geekwear.

Side note: No, I don't actually NEED XL t-shirts, I just like them baggy.

February 14, 2005

Bush's flowchart for foriegn policy..

Found this while looking at another website. I'm not sure I completely agree, but it's funny none the less:

February 04, 2005

Backpedalling and backfilling

Officials Back Away from Early Estimates of Iraqi Voter Turnout

Looks like the leader in the Iraqi elections isn't the best possible option for the U.S.

Wow! Okay, Okay. I'll add some chum to the waters.

Here's something to think about: If the Iraqi people, of their own volition, elect into office the next Saddam Hussein, or worse, will it (still) have been worth going to war to accomplish?

Let's just for argument's sake say that the next leader of Iraq, after he/she takes office, says "That's it. That's the last vote we'll ever have. The people have spoken and said that they don't want democracy, because they elected me, and I have a MANDATE from the people!" Will the 1500 dead Americans, tens of thousands of injured Americans, hundreds of thousands of dead and injured Iraqis, have been worth it?

If you blindly say "Hell Yeah!" then good for you. Go back to chewing your cud.

This is a possibility that we certainly should have thought about when we began prosecuting this war in Iraq. There is something happening in Iraq that our policy makers here haven't begun to think about. There is a significant percentage of people who actually LIKED Saddam Hussein. There is an even greater percentage of the Iraqi population that are now institutionalized. They have a prisoners mentality. When let free, a certain percentage of paroled prisoners WANT to go back to prison, where 'things make sense'. There is NOTHING that the US can do about them from here. Not with what we have.

Let's face it, we exacted a war in Iraq without the resources necessary to complete the tasks we set out to do. What we have done over there is take a starving dog and give him 1500 lbs of prime rib wrapped in Saran Wrap. He is still hungry because he doesn't know what to do with what has been given to him. He can't unwrap it. He's still starving. The huge thing just scares the hell out of him. Worse, when he gets through the Saran Wrap, he'll eat enough to kill himself.

January 24, 2005

Okay, so I'm an open-source turncoat.

I've switched from Opera to FireFox. Sue me. Why would I change browsers now when I've been an Opera user for so long? No real reason except that Opera doesn't seem to be keeping up with the bugs. That and the fact that most of the plug-ins don't recognize Opera as an option. So I've installed FireFox and have been using it for a little while now. The extensions are useful. I have the weather extension, the Gmail extension, the Homeland Security extension (currently on "Scared") and I'm looking for others. That's not enough though. The fact that some plug-ins don't work with Opera is pretty maddening, if you like to build web pages and view pages heavily laden with rich media. Screw Active X! Who needs it?

January 22, 2005

How about a fountain of smart?

I saw a bumper sticker the other day which made me laugh and say "Right on!". It said "We have enough youth, how about a fountain of smart?"

There's this guy in Texas who just killed someone while driving drunk. Everyone is asking "What should we do about drunk drivers?" Why all the attention on this one death? The guy was convicted of drunk driving about 20 odd times in his life. I think the solution to this is easy. Make drunk driving a felony, that way if you get convicted, you have a felony on your record, making it harder to get/keep a job, and if you kill someone while driving drunk, it's murder. Simple. Kill someone while driving drunk, go to jail for life, or in Texas, get the needle. Really simple. No problem anymore.

Which brings me to another subject near and dear to my heart. The death penalty. Here is an area where my views are not typical of most Liberals. I'm completely in favor of the death penalty. There are a couple of problems with the system right now which need to be fixed;

Problem 1: The appeals process. The appears process needs to be a lot smoother and quicker. We should enpanel two juries at the same time. One for the first case, the second for the required appeal. When the first trial ends, the second one starts, if convicted. Okay, maybe a week in between. A month TOPS. After the end of the first trail, a judge rules on an appeal within the week. If granted, the trial starts IMMEDIATELY. If denied, the convited gets the needle THAT NIGHT. Better yet, he gets a bullet in the brain right there in the court room.

Problem 2: "Corrections" versus "Penal": The prisons are called a correctional institutions. This implies that someone sentenced to prison is expected to get better sometime in the future. When someone comes up for parole, particularly a murderer or rapist, there's a huge hue and cry about him getting out early. Every time.

Look, if he's not there for correction, then he's there for penalty. If that's the case, then he's in there for the ENTIRE sentence. No parole. No "furlough". Punishment. Period. If there's no expectation that he'll get better, than admit it and put a bullet though his brain. I'm not interested in paying for a serial rapist's Ph.D. I'm not even interested in paying for his MEALS for the next 6 decades. Kill him and roll his corpse into a shallow ditch. Done with it.

Problem 3: It's not used on enough crimes. Here's the list of crimes that I think you should be put to death over:

Negligent homocide
Child abuse
Child molestation
Maybe a couple of others, but of course, IANAL.

More later.

January 19, 2005

Grubbing for money..

My boyz over at CafePress.com have very neatly allowed me to create some things that I have always wanted to see but can't find at Think Geek. So, with great fanfare, I present Geekwear!. Here are mugs, t-shirts, mousepads etc that you just can't find anywhere else, like this wonderful NSFW T-shirt in lip-smacking Soylent Green:
NSFW in fun Soylent Green

So help a brotha out! This is your chance to create some real peer pressure for once in your life. Be the first in your cube to own a beer stein with it's own bottle opener! Get yourself (or your RealDoll) some panties to help clarify things (hey, I don't judge, you sicko!). Or if you're a l33t haxor girl, you can pick up my t-shirt that answers the question you most need answered for you.

I'll be putting up more stuff on Geekwear soon, as inspiration strikes me, so check back often, or suggest something you'd like to see in the comments section down below.


January 18, 2005

The function of futile actions

From Winnie-The-Pooh:

"Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you suddenly know everything there is to be known."

Truer words have rarely been said, in my opinion. Generally speaking, there is such a thing as too much knowledge. There are things that should never be seen, never be heard, or never be known. Trouble is, you can't un-know something. It never pays to look into dark corners unless you're willing to see what is to be seen there.

Or so the average American would believe. I happen to agree, but I'm ready to see what there is to be seen. I don't mind not being able to un-know something, which is why I question authority. Why I like to be idealistic. I will not throw up my hands and turn my back because it seems useless to try. If you don't try, you don't do, and NOTHING happens.

The opposite of change, contrary to common belief, isn't lack of change, it's change in a different direction. The status-quo is NOTHING. Period. It's a non-entity.

What I'm trying to say is: we (people, Americans, Texans, Men, Women, whatever) need to tilt at windmills, otherwise nothing happens. Don Quixote had it right. Envision the world you want, and then make it that way. Rail against the gods. Tilt at windmills that appear to you as giants. Do NOT listen to those who would tell you you're being foolish, because they know nothing. Worse, they are HAPPY knowing nothing.

It is us, the visionaries, who see how things COULD be, or OUGHT to be, and strive to make it be that make this world a better place today than it was yesterday.

That is all for now. Later, I will rail against the gods of customer no-service a bit. What are they thinking?

January 11, 2005

Roadblocks and spot checks..

I think I've mentioned before that I live in Austin, TX. Recently, two cops were killed (no, amend that. Killed themselves) when they decided to get on a motorcycle and drive away from a bar. The problem? The driver had a BAC of 0.27 and his wife has a BAC of 0.33. Stupid. Very stupid. What could be stupider? How about the bar they left had over 60 cops in it. Not one cops apparently stopped them from leaving. Is that stupid enough for you?

The reason that I bring this up is that just yesterday, one of our state representatives introduced a bill into the state congress to allow for routine quasi-random road blocks to check for drunk drivers. I'm more than a little pissed about this, just like I'm pissed about car searches approaching the airport, which they do here too.

Here's why I'm pissed. This is a personal property issue more than anything else. I own my car, I drive my car. As long as I don't infringe on anyone else's rights, I can do whatever I want with my car. This idea is "Guilty until proven Innocent" mentality.

"But" you say, "When you go to the airport, they search all of your belongings, give you a pat down and otherwise invade your space, but you're okay with that?" Yes, I am, and here's why.

When I go to the airport, I get searched because I'm about to get on someone else's plane, with 150 other customers, and fly with them. Yes, I paid for the ticket, but I don't own the plane. They are protecting their property, both capital and intellectual. Their plane, their pilots, their good name. If I blew up their plane, they would lose, so they have the right to make sure I'm not going to do anything with their plane that they didn't agree to. Just like I have the right to search anyone who wants to ride in my car. I can always say "If you don't let me search you, you can't ride in my car." It's my property. I have rights.

"Okay" you agree "but what should we do about drunk drivers, then?" Thanks for asking. This is really simple. We live in a country that doesn't have a justice system, it's a system of jurisprudence. A body of law. Basically, what it means is that we would much rather let somebody who is guilty of a crime go free than lock somebody up who might be innocent. So, that said, here's the only thing we CAN do. Lock them up AFTER they've commited a crime. You drive drunk, the cop sees you driving drunk, he has probable cause, he pulls you over, you blow a solid .5 on the lush-o-meter and you go to jail. That's it. If you cause an accident because you're s-faced, you go to jail. That's it!

The Supreme Court has ruled that a cop cannot detain you or pull you over just because he feels like it. Without probable cause, he has no grounds. So, road blocks are the same way. In your car, you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. They can't search you or your car without probable cause or without asking for your permission. Bottom line, this is unconstitutional.

"But, but," you stammer "If you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide! Why is this such a big deal for you?" Guess what? I am not engaged in any illegal activity at all. I'm not even involved in objectionable behavior (as long as you don't count this blog...). I STILL have EVERYTHING to hide from the Government. Why? Because it's none of their business what I do unless I infringe on the rights of others, or give unusual evidence that I'm likely to. Driving my car is not unusual evidence. This is such a big deal because it is unconstitutional.

If I get caught in one of these roadblocks, it's a lawsuit. When the cop asks for my driver's license and proof of insurance, I'll give it to him. Then I will sue the city for every dime I can get.

January 10, 2005

All of my "Plan B"'s are moving...

What is a "Plan B"? Simple. I'm married. When my wife divorces me (which is somewhat likely, in the grand scheme of things), I'll move to one of my "Plan B's". The latest is Heidi Klum. She's going to get married to Seal. Bastard. So, she's off the list.

Who else is on my B list?

Drew Barrymore. Ever since she played "Sugar" in 1995's "Batman Forever", she's been on my list. Even though she took a hit when she married Tom Green, she's just gotten better and better. Ever After. Oh yeah. Charlie's Angels. You betcha! Who WOULDN'T want a chick that'll wear leather and then lick the steering wheel of a Bentley Arnage Convertible? Very hot. Fantasy time.

Sara Rue. For some reason, the character she plays in "Less Than Perfect" is my kind of woman. And check out the funbags on her! Besides, I bet she's a freak in bed.

Renee Russo. I just love her and her characters, never mind that she's just plain smoking hot!

(honorable mention) Jennifer Aniston. Okay, she's kind of hot. She's also suddenly availble. I don't know who dumped who, but you just KNEW this would never last. Unending supply of hot babes, and Brad Pitt is just going to come home for dinner? Every night? That, my friends, is the very definition of Denial.

Of course, given my choice of all of these, I'll take my wife. Any day of the week. Twice on Wednesdays. On the kitchen counter. With a jar of honey. And I say that knowing that my wife doesn't read my blog.

Quick joke for the Techies out there:

Simon Durst is a 60 years old software developer, and he makes a KILLING during the whole Y2K scare. Just bundles of money. As his life comes closer to the end, he decides he's going to put himself in suspended animation and put a little money on the side to live on when he comes back.

When he goes to set up the arrangements, he puts in a directive to be revived in the year 3000 because he wants to see what it's going to be like a thousand years hence. Three years later, he get hits by a bus. They come and take him away, drop him in the deep freeze and wait.

The next thing he knows, he's staring up at a white light, and a guy is standing over him.
"What happened?" he asks
"Well, that's kind of a long story," the man replies "You were struck by a vehicle and placed in suspended animation..."
"So, this is the year 3000?!?!"
"Well, first let me tell you that your investments have done very well while you weren't here, and laws were passed that guarantee your citizenship when you came back, which you've done. So you've got plenty of money and lots of opportunity to spend it. The thing is, someone lost your revival directive and we had no idea when you wanted to be awakened. I mean, sure you didn't want to be awakened before we could FIX the damage, so we didn't, but after that, we didn't know when to wake you up."
"So, this isn't the year 3000?
"I'm afraid not. The year is ninety nine ninety three." the man told him
"So if you didn't know when to wake me up, why did you wake me up now?"
"That's the other thing. We woke you for a specific reason."
"Which is?"
"We understand you know COBOL"


Until later....

January 07, 2005

"I have no mouth, and I must scream.."

We are disgusting people. Humans in general. I was in the Men's room earlier today, and while doing my business, I heard someone enter hurriedly, take a stall, drop his pants and let out the most god awful sound you've ever heard. Did you see Austin Powers, Internation Man of Mystery? Remember the scene in the casino restroom, with Austin Powers saying "Who does Number Two work for?!?!" Thought you might. Well, the noises I endured today from that stall make the noises from that scene sound like a lullaby. Then came the smell. I tell you, this guy had to be eating Toxic Bell burritos with a Fecal Latte. Whatever it was, it was some seriously bad ju-ju. If toilets could speak, this one would have screamed. Ugh.

Later, I visited the same restroom, and this poor guy (I don't know who it was) had apparently not made it. The walls and floor were sprayed with fecal matter, and the smell was just hideous.

Anyway, the reason for this update: Apparently my keywords have worked. Lots more people are finding the site because of the reference to an unclothed tennis player. I'll have to try that more often.

Rush Limbaugh is pissing me off again. On this morning's Rush Minute, he said basically that liberals were sending a message by grilling nominee Alberto Gonzales. The message, according to Rush Windbag, is "We're in favor of a hispanic Attorney General, as long as he's one of ours." What bullshit. If this doesn't show his racist tendencies, I don't know what will. What theocons (theological conservatives)like Limbaugh can't possibly freaking concieve of is the actual message "Everyone, regardless of color, is going to get evaluated on the issues which concern us." Theocons are a mixed bag. Publicly, they'll say "Look! We can nominate a colored person!" while internally saying "I can't believe the liberal riff-raff are forcing us to allow a wetback into this administration! And worse, we can't eviscerate him because those stinking liberals will cry foul!" Limbaugh seems to think that liberals should be happy just because the nominee is hispanic.

Wrong. We don't care about his skin color. It's completely irrelevant to us. We, unlike half of the theocons I know down here in Texas, can evaluate the man regardless of his ethnic background. Period. Judge him by the quality of the job he does.

Take Dr. Rice. I like her. Sure she's conservative. Sure she's Bush's puppet. I don't care. Why? She does a great job. She's smarter than the President, Vice President and Rush Limbaugh combined. I would actually vote for her as President. Before I would vote for Senator Clinton. And I like Senator Clinton.

Every time I hear Condi Rice mentioned on talk radio, the callers who reference her are so happy that she's black and in the position she's in. I'm happy that she's GOOD AT WHAT SHE DOES. I, unlike most of the Republican Party, don't give a flip that she's black. When it comes to people I look up to, I am color blind. I'm gender blind. You should try it.

Oh yeah: Britney Spears has some great tits but no talent. And Jessica Simpson just needs to shut up and get naked. What else can I put up here to generate traffic? Heidi Klum Sex Tape! - Click HERE!