Eclectic Floridian

Monday, August 14, 2006

Once again

This says it all, from Cox and Forkum

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hezbollah: This cartoon says it all

This Cox and Forkum cartoon says it all about Hezbollah (and terrorists in general).

I have to hand it to these guys, they're masters of media manipulation. When you store your missiles in bunkers beneath schools, mosques and apartment buildings, then fire them next to the same kind of buildings, you have the perfect setup to highlight civilian casualties.

My question is, why do the civilians put up with acting as targets for Hezbollah? Are they forced to, at gun-point, or just so stupid they don't realize Hezbollah doesn't give a damn about their safety?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Wiretaps - Judicial Review - Smell a rat?

Let me see if I've got this straight ...

The President is going to agree to a review of Warrantless Wiretaps.

The review will be conducted by the FISA Court of Review.

The judges of that court will be appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, a recent Bush appointee.

The (puppet) Court of Review will review the legality of Warrantless Wiretaps, and, if illegal, no one will be held responsible. That's the way I read the agreement, correct me if I'm wrong.

New legislation will be passed to give the president the OPTION of FISA review and extend after-the-fact warrants from 3 to 7 days.

To summarize, the Prez will get:

1) a review to see if he's broken a law
2) if he has he won't be punished
3) his new appointee will appoint the judges doing the review
3) this review covers actions the Prez says are his perogative
4) the review is to be done by a group the Prez says have no authority over him
5) FISA rules, which the Prez doesn't acknowledge, will be modified so he can use them if he wants, or not if he doesn't.
6) we get a law that _allows_ the Prez to use FISA, which he could have done anytime without breaking the law
7) even if he doesn't like the new law, he can nullify it with a signing statement.

Gee, I think something may be wrong here. Whaddya think?

Friday, June 30, 2006

An Alternative to Bush's "War on Terror"

I've been having an email conversation with "Kagro X" over at dKos that keeps coming back to my mind. My previous post on this subject did not seem to drive home my strong feeling that there is a better way handle the "War on Terror". Remember that that "war" was declared by our Decider-In-Chief, not by our Legislature.

Kerry, in 2004, tried to recast terrorism as “simply” a criminal enterprise and that attempt failed. That is not that same as proposing a solution to the problem.

I am not just asserting that terrorism is "only" criminal, I’m proposing a solution.

Yes, the solution requires the acceptance of terrorism as criminal rather than an act of war. But, that is “all” it is, criminal behavior. Terrorism is not about one nation violating another’s territory. It is about the tactics of those who hold certain beliefs.

In scope, terrorism is different, but, in tactics, it is no different than the Mafia.

Just like the Mafia, Terrorism is:

  • ruled by a diverse group of families (leaders)
  • acts across national boundaries
  • violates the laws of most nations
  • instills fear in those confronted by it
  • has an international network of interacting leaders
  • has a support group that finances it

Consider Interpol, an international police network. Imagine if the responsibility for the “War on Terror” were transferred to Interpol, or an organization like it (but devoted to terrorism). Possibly, such an organization could take a form more like an truly international NATO.

If that were to happen:

  • the SWIFT problem would not exist
  • Western Europe (and Russia?) would no longer resist the U.S. because they would be partners in a fight that makes sense to them
  • Other nations would feel comfortable signing on to a truly international effort, thus increasing cooperation on intelligence and enforcement to include [local?] military options)
  • The wind would be removed from the sails of our Decider-In-Chief, that is, "War" powers would no longer be an option for him to rewrite our Constitution
  • The Democratic party (if it adopted this as part of its platform) would be providing a solution to a major source of hatred toward the U.S., that is, providing a solution instead of unilaterally stirring up international trouble
  • Nations would be willing to join an international group that is for their mutual protection from terrorism so long is the U.S. was only another signatory, rather than a unilateral bully.
Am I nuts? Tell me why, or why not. It sure seems logical to me.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

War (?) on Terror - A Viable Alternative?

I've had problems with the "War" on terror since it was declared. I've had this vague "tickle" in the back of my brain since this war was declared by Bush. Many blogs and articles have tickled it. You'll recognize some of them.

At Putin Wants Hostages' Killers Hunted Down, Russia's Putin seems to have a good idea. He did not declare a War, he simply ordered hunting down and punishing international criminals. If Putin is willing to participate in that effort, why not Germany and France? Why not many other nations?

Websters Online defines war as:

1 a (1) : a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations ...

2 a : a state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism
Why do we as a nation have to accept Bush's definition (definition 2)?

He's the only one who has declared war, Congress hasn't.

[For political strategists] Why not just elect a congress that will repudiate the president's war powers, since the conflict is not "between states or nations" (definition 1)?

  • Did the L.B.J invoke presidential war powers during the "War on Poverty"?
  • Have presidential war powers been invoked during the wars on drugs or crime?
  • Is the "War on Terror" really a war? After all, no nations are involved.
  • Are war powers really required by the President?
  • Can you wage war on a tactic (terrorism)?
  • Isn't terrorism really just a crime-wave that requires special handling?
  • Has the Cheney/Rumsfeld career-long fixation on a "Unitary Presidency" found the perfect patsy in George W. Bush?
  • Has the Cheney/Rumsfeld career-long fixation on a "Unitary Presidency" used the [non-]War on terror as a means to that end?
  • Wouldn't worldwide cooperation be more likely if a Terror Interpol were to be formed authorizing military enforcement where necessary?
Please understand, I agree terrorism must be defeated and vigorous measures are necessary.

But, our U.S. freedoms are being squandered each time the Bush Administration invokes it's "War Powers".

We can diffuse that power and gain a coalition of many nations by accepting terror as a massive crime-wave. An International Treaty (like Interpol) can be created to combat the unprecedented crime-wave.

Considering the terrorist attacks on many nations, many now have a stake in defeating terrorism. Enlisting them is this effort would likely succeed.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Bush - The Safest Man On Earth

Our Illustrious Leader is the safest man on earth.
  • No matter how angry his citizens are about his disregard for our Constitution, the Secret Service protects him,
  • No matter how outrageous his violations of our laws, the Congress backs him up,
  • No matter that he is ignorant and incompetent, his stooges (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove and Gonzales) supply new ways to attack good government,
  • He could walk into a meeting with Bin Laden with complete immunity. After all, who could better represent the effort to tear down Western Civilization than Bush,
  • Regardless, of unconstitutional actions, the Judiciary will not prosecute for fear that The Decider's secrets may be exposed to the citizenry,
  • No one would dare assassinate his butt, his Constitutional successors are no better.

Good News from Iraq - Believe it!

I ran across this excellent post, you should read the whole thing. It's long, but extremely well written and cogent.

I should also say that a precipitous departure from Iraq is in no one's best interest. Anti-war sentiment can easily lead one to condemn the Iraq action. But, let's face it, regardless of the reasons, we started it. We put the Iraqi people in this situation. We have an obligation to help see them through the aftermath.

The author of this article is Amir Taheri, formerly the executive editor of Kayhan, Irans largest daily newspaper. He is the author of ten books and a frequent contributor to numerous publications in the Middle East and Europe. His work appears regularly in the New York Post. I will excerpt a number of his salient points:

Spending time in the United States after a tour of Iraq can be a disorienting experience these days. ... It is created in several overlapping ways: through television footage showing the charred remains of vehicles used in suicide attacks, surrounded by wailing women in black and grim-looking men carrying coffins; by armchair strategists and political gurus predicting further doom...

Sounds like his view of MSM coverage is a bit jaded. With his qualifications, he has a right.

It would be hard indeed for the average interested citizen to find out on his own just how grossly this image distorts the realities of present-day Iraq.

... the half-truths and outright misinformation that now function as conventional wisdom have gravely disserved the American people.

For someone like myself who has spent considerable time in Iraq a country I first visited in 1968 current reality there is, nevertheless, very different from this conventional wisdom, and so are the prospects for Iraqs future. It helps to know where to look, what sources to trust, and how to evaluate the present moment against the background of Iraqi and Middle Eastern history.

Since my first encounter with Iraq almost 40 years ago, I have relied on several broad measures of social and economic health to assess the country's condition. Through good times and bad, these signs have proved remarkably accurate as accurate, that is, as is possible in human affairs.
The first sign is refugees. When things have been truly desperate in Iraq in 1959, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1980, 1988, and 1990 long queues of Iraqis have formed at the Turkish and Iranian frontiers, hoping to escape.In 1973 ... some 1.2 million Iraqis left their homes in the space of just six weeks .... it was a scene regularly repeated under Saddam Hussein.

Since the toppling of Saddam in 2003, this is one highly damaging image we have not seen on our television sets and we can be sure that we would be seeing it if it were there to be shown. To the contrary, Iraqis, far from fleeing, have been returning home. By the end of 2005, in the most conservative estimate, the number of returnees topped the 1.2-million mark. Many of the camps set up for fleeing Iraqis in Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia since 1959 have now closed down.

A second dependable sign likewise concerns human movement, but of a different kind. This is the flow of religious pilgrims to the Shiite shrines in Karbala and Najaf. Whenever things start to go badly in Iraq, this stream is reduced to a trickle and then it dries up completely. From 1991 (when Saddam Hussein massacred Shiites involved in a revolt against him) to 2003, there were scarcely any pilgrims to these cities. Since Saddams fall, they have been flooded with visitors. In 2005, the holy sites received an estimated 12 million pilgrims, making them the most visited spots in the entire Muslim world, ahead of both Mecca and Medina.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank ... The countrys gross domestic product rose to almost $90 billion in 2004 (the latest year for which figures are available), more than double the output for 2003, and its real growth rate, as estimated by the IMF, was 52.3 per cent. In that same period, exports increased by more than $3 billion, while the inflation rate fell to 25.4 percent, down from 70 percent in 2002. The unemployment rate was halved, from 60 percent to 30 percent.

Related to this is the level of agricultural activity ... In the past two years, by contrast, Iraqi agriculture has undergone an equally unprecedented revival. Iraq now exports foodstuffs to neighboring countries, something that has not happened since the 1950s.

Finally, one of the surest indices of the health of Iraqi society has always been its readiness to talk to the outside world. Iraqis are a verbalizing people; ... There have been times, indeed, when one could find scarcely a single Iraqi, whether in Iraq or abroad, prepared to express an opinion on anything remotely political ... Today, again by way of dramatic contrast, Iraqis are voluble to a fault. Talk radio, television talk-shows, and Internet blogs are all the rage, while heated debate is the order of the day in shops, tea-houses, bazaars, mosques, offices, and private homes. A catharsis ... 100 privately-owned newspapers and magazines and more than two dozen radio and television stations. To anyone familiar with the state of the media in the Arab world, it is a truism that Iraq today is the place where freedom of expression is most effectively exercised.

He disagrees that Democracy cannot be "imposed" on Iraq because it has no tradition of Democracy.

The country came into being through a popular referendum held in 1921. A constitutional monarchy modeled on the United Kingdom, it had a bicameral parliament, several political parties (including the Baath and the Communists), and periodic elections that led to changes of policy and government. At the time, Iraq also enjoyed the freest press in the Arab world, plus the widest space for debate and dissent in the Muslim Middle East.

... by any reasonable standard, Iraqis have made extraordinary strides. In a series of municipal polls and two general elections in the past three years, up to 70 percent of eligible Iraqis have voted. This new orientation is supported by more than 60 political parties and organizations, the first genuinely free-trade unions in the Arab world, a growing number of professional associations acting independently of the state, and more than 400 nongovernmental organizations representing diverse segments of civil society. A new constitution, written by Iraqis representing the full spectrum of political, ethnic, and religious sensibilities was overwhelmingly approved by the electorate in a referendum last October.

There is so much more in the article that you must read it! He discusses how the insurgents have failed at every turn, how the quality of life has improved and how determined the Iraqi people are to make a go of this opportunity.

The Bush administration seems to have done much more good in Iraq than they have in the U.S.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Close Guantanamo? That's not the Issue. UPDATED

Whether or not to close Guantanamo is not the issue.

Closing the site of the travesty is not an answer. Germany's closing of Bergen-Belsen would only have produced political eye-wash. No change would have been effected. And, yes, I intended the implied connection between Hitler's and U.S. policies.

Closing Guantanamo will not change the fact that prisoners are being held in violation of our Constitutional and Geneva Convention guarantees of the right to confront our accusers. Our government can play word games about whether or not the prisoners are or are not to be afforded rights under the Geneva Conventions. Word games do not change the innate right to human decency.

Even those wrongly detained (after four years of confinement) receive no justice since U.S. courts will not allow a suit that would reveal state secrets.

Our government must act to reclaim any semblance of moral authority. The Guantanamo prisoners must be released or Charged, Tried and found guilty or innocent. The secrets revealed in trials over a human being's freedom are secondary. Additionally, courts have ways of handling state secrets if they are truly pursuing justice.

Hiding behind secrecy concerns is abhorrent.

The only secrecy of concern is the secret that this administration will negate any law to pursue it's predetermined plan.

Just to be clear. The U.S. government has stated that water-boarding is used as an interrogation technique. Is it torture? Well, I won't suggest you try this at home, so let's just pose a hypothetical situation.

You have your husband/wife/friend tie you to a board. Then have them tilt you so your head is lower than your lungs (that is very important). After they blindfold you, they stretch a cloth above your face. Then they begin pouring water through the cloth over your nose and mouth. Drowning is unlikely, since your lungs are higher than your nose and mouth. But ... the sensation of drowning is so real that broken bones often result from the thrashing of the restrained victim.

Now ... have you had time to fully imagine this? Would you call this torture?

Back in the Day of Y2K

The post at Outside the Beltway got my brain working, always a dangerous proposition. But, abandoning wisdom, I'll continue anyway.

Ineke, my Dutch-born life-partner, and I went to The Netherlands for the celebration of the millenium. By the way, flying on Christmas day is wonderful ... 60 passengers on a 767 is very comfortable.

During the course of a three week visit, I had a conversation with Ineke's brother. The European Union was not yet sure to be ratified. Jaap (pronounced Yap), Ineke's brother, asked of my feelings about it. My reply was that I hoped the E.U. would succeed and become a major world power.

Jaap was surprised, saying, "I wouldn't expect an American to feel that way."

My reply simply fell off my tongue before my brain had time to process it, "If the E.U. becomes a world power, then the rest of the world has another group to hate besides the U.S." Since then, I've had time to process that thought and find more meaning than I meant at the time.

The additional meaning became evident a few minutes later. Jap made the (I think justified) comment that he wished the U.S was less arrogant about it's place in the world. I agreed that I wished that too.

But, only minutes later, Jaap began telling me of what the U.S. should do about the situation in Israel/Palestine, the Middle-East and other parts of the world. I could only respond,

"Just a minute. You just stated that we (the U.S.) should be less arrogant. Now you assert that we (the U.S.) should arrange the world is thus and such a way. How can We not appear arrogant, when you (Europe) expect us to manipulate the entire world?"
This is the dilema the U.S. faces. We're damned if we do and damned if we don't, no matter the international issue.

This said, I must also say I am personally ashamed of our showing under Mr. Bush's administration.
  • Suspension of Habeus Corpus (uncharged prisoners at Guantanamo)
  • Warrantless Wiretaps
  • Torture
  • Subversion of judicial process using state security as a straw man
  • Questionable facts surrounding 911
  • Unilateral commitment to a "war" using questionable intelligence
  • Gross dereliction of duty surrounding Katrina (and probable catastrophies yet to come)
  • Economic havoc in the form of huge deficits, unprecedented, undocumented unemployment
  • Surpression of authoritative scientific warnings about global warming
  • Vice Presidential misconduct in awarding Iraq re-construction projects
  • Congressional failure to exercise it's Constitutional responsibility to oversee the actions of the Executive branch
  • Allowing the President to exempt himself from over 750 new laws through the use of "Signing Statements"
In short, I'm so mad at our government I could spit. The government as it is currently run should be aware that there is a Fourth check and balance.

That is the right of the citizens to bear arms. Does our government really want to make us mad enough to exercise that Constitutional right?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Southern Whites and Blacks - Modern History

I read the yK Rebel Ass diary by grapes. It talks about the South as a political entity. It engendered thoughts that are really off topic, so I thought I'd diarize (new word?) it myself. Some light may be thrown on the South as a political entity, but that isn't the intent.

I was raised in pre-Disney Orlando, then, a sleepy southern town. My grandparents, as was normal for reasonably affluent southerners then, had a black woman, Rosa, to help in the house, and a black gardener, Rosa's husband. This was in the early 1950's and I was about six years old.

Rosa grew bitter about the plight of blacks in the south and moved to Chicago, where she had relatives. Only a year passed, when she returned. My mother asked her why:

My mother told us of Rosa's answer and I've remembered it for the last 55 years. Note, I remember Rosa as a loving care-giver, not as a servant. When my family came for dinner she always managed to have one of my favorite dishes, she'd give me a big, sweet hug and a kiss on the cheek and tell me she had missed me.

When Mom asked Rosa why she came back to the south, Rosa replied:

"Miss Virginia," she said, "the Powell family (my Mom's family) has always been good to us. When my husband got drunk and arrested, your daddy went down and bailed him out of jail. You've always paid us well and treated us with respect. You've treated us as good friends, not as servants or slaves.

I have friends that work for other white families and they are treated the same way. But, most white folks in town don't treat us that way.

Even though you treat us well, I came to feel that you controlled our lives, not us. I wanted to try living on my own, without the control of a white family.

Up north, in Chicago, I learned something. I learned the difference between North and South attitudes toward blacks.

Up North, whites say they accept blacks as equals, but dislike them as individuals. Down South, whites say the don't like blacks as a race, but accept them as equals individually."

My attitude on race relations has been colored by that last paragraph for all my years. After all, how do we judge anyone, regardless of race, if not by their actions, if not as individuals? Judgements formed any other way are, at best statistical approximations, at worst, simple bigotry.

A heartfelt, Thank You Rosa ... and a big hug!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Flag Burning Amendment? Poppycock.

My main irritations with the Flag Burning Amendment are two-fold:
1) It's a stupid election-year waste of time,
2) It is an attempt to legislate the intentions of the citizenry.

Point #2 is the major factor when contained in a Constitutional amendment. If memory serves me correctly, burning is the recommended method of disposing of dirty, torn, frayed or otherwise unserviceable flags.

With that thought in mind, which of these flag burning scenarios would be illegal?

1) A VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) post collects unserviceable flags. Then, once a year they are burned according to accepted practice with appropriate salutes.

2) A homeowner has displayed the flag in his yard. It has become unserviceable. He has raised and lowered it according to tradition. Out of respect, to decommision the flag he builds a fire in the barbeque and, with appropriate salutes, burns it.

3) The homeowner from #2 above is a young person with a shaved head and numerous body piercings. His treatement of the flag is the same as in #2 above.

4) Homeowner #2, in the same situation described, takes the same actions, except out of disgust for Bush's disregard for the Constitution, spits on the flag as it burns.

5) Homeowner #3 takes the same actions described in in #4 above.

6) A 14 year-old boy, disgusted by his school suspension for bringing a realistic looking water pistol to school (we've all read these stories) burns the flag publicly screaming of the gestapo tactics.

I could go on, but you get the idea? Which of these people are guilty of a crime under the proposed amendment?

No Way Bush is an Incompetent Liar

There is simply no way George W. is an incompetent liar ... he's had too much practice for that.

(Adapted from Silent Running's Quote of the Day)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Iranians Aren't Stupid

I should preface these remarks with the statement that Iran's Amadinejad's remarks about Israel and the holocaust are ridiculous on their face.

But, I suspect, that he and his government are playing a very well-thought-out strategy.

That strategy, in short is: Make best use of your oil resources while they last. Meanwhile, position yourself to be ahead of the "no-more-oil curve."

Most of us know the Iranians are very intelligent, well-educated, proud people, as are we. As you read this, keep that in mind.

At The Moderate Voice I had a bit of an exchange in the comments section about the "Olive Branch" extended to Iran by Ms. Rice. This discussion seems to illustrate the arguments over the Iran Nuclear program fairly well.

My original comment was:
Let me get this straight:
Iran asserts it's right to use it's resources for generation of nuclear power, thus positioning itself for the day their oil reserves are gone.

Iran raises the suspicions of the US/EU/Russians/Chinese by refusing IAEA verification of peaceful intent.

The US/EU/Russians/Chinese offer a plan to stop sanctions if Iran will stop it's nuclear program before negotiations about that very issue even begin.

Iran refuses to cede it's negotiating leverage before negotiations begin.

The US/EU/Russians/Chinese conclude Iran's intentions are bad and begins sanctions (at least).
Wouldn't a "diplomatic" proposition, at least, offer a semblence of negotiable points instead of a bullying requirement.

For example, an honest diplomatic approach, might offer Iran the acceptance of it's right to exploit it's own resources (uranium) if it accepted IAEA verification of peaceful use.

Even if Iran's intentions are malignant, and it gets the bomb in 10 years, the US alone would still be in possession of 11,000 times that many (deliverable) warheads.
Another commenter (who's only link is an email address I don't feel I should post) took my points one by one (headed in bold) after which I reply:

Says Iran conducts "a secret enrichement [sic] program."

Wrong! There's nothing secret about the Iranian enrichment program. They have been open about it since breaking the IAEA seals. It's what's required for peaceful, nuclear-generated electricity. They've stated that it's their right to do it for peaceful means.

Says Iran has engaged in "3 years of defiance, stonewalling, and deception during negotiations with the EU3."

Wrong! For 3 years Russia/China have been saying that Iran should stop enriching their own resources and pay Russia/China to do it instead. Meanwhile, for 3 years the US/EU have been screaming for them to stop finding the best use of their own resources.

Says Iran must "SUSPEND their ENRICHMENT program. They dont have to suspend their nuclear program, which isnt the same thing."

Wrong! If you can't enrich uranium, even your own, you HAVE no nuclear program, peaceful or otherwise.
The responder then goes on to say:
"Iran refuses to cede it's negotiating leverage before negotiations begin. "

By suspending actions at the UNSC to move toward sanctions, we suspend OUR negotiating leverage. In turn, they must suspend theres [sic]. Otherwise they can drag negotiations out, deferring sanctions, while moving closer to a bomb.

"The US/EU/Russians/Chinese conclude Iran's intentions are bad and begins sanctions (at least). "

If they wont SUSPEND enrichment, thats a pretty logical conclusion.
My reply was:
Have you considered the possibility that Iran refused IAEA inspections as a negotiating "strawman?"

Isn't it possible that they are willing to accept IAEA inspections in return for the right to best use of their own resources?

We, the west, have no right to deny them best use of their own resources ... and they resent that. Thus, they throw out the "strawman" knowing they'll give it up ... What Iranian would think the international community was too stupid to see the opening for negotiation.

I am convinced the Iranians will accept IAEA verification in return for freedom to use their national resources for peaceful purposes ... if only the diplomats would act like diplomats rather than Texans.
In light of the approach of US/EU/Russia/China, here's an idea to use the same approach in your everyday life!
Carrot-and-Stick your employer (heh-heh, a pun) when raise time comes around:

Tell him to give you a 20% raise or you won't be willing to talk about your raise.

Yeah! That'll work ... er ... won't it?
UPDATE: FYI, per Wikipedia,
naturally occurring uranium is composed of three major isotopes, 238U, 235U, and 234U, with 238U being the most abundant (99.3% natural abundance) ... To be considered "enriched" the 235U fraction has to be increased ... (typically to levels from 3% to 7%).

The point here is, 238U is not fissible, it must be enriched to get a larger percentage of 235U. Therefore, without enrichment of percentage of 235U, no one can have nuclear power, peaceful or otherwise.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

George, Don't You Get It?

No matter how many time you tell us to trust you, it doesn't change a thing. We don't trust you. Don't you get it?

Telling us Warrantless Wiretaps are legal, requires us to trust you. Whether you tell us or have your stooge at the Department of (Bush) Justice tell us. We don't trust you! Get it yet?

After all the deceit we've seen, George Bush telling us to trust him is the equivalent of Iran's Ahmedinejad telling the world to trust that they aren't going after nukes.

In both cases, we're being told there is no sinister intent while being denied verification. The two are incompatible.

The Bush excuse that these matters are too sensitive to reveal is patently ridiculous. Please don't pretend the whole world doesn't already know that the NSA:
  • can tap into any communication that goes through the air or over a wire,
  • must look at domestic calls in order to track extended links beyond domestic/international calls,
  • must scan every international call in order to determine which are sinister, that is unless they begin by knowing one party is a "bad guy", in which case a legal warrant would be obtainable, even 3 days after the fact.
Mr. Decider, it's time for you to decide that you have thumbed your arrogant nose at the people, the Congress and the Constitution too many times. The people and Congress are not as stupid as you believe them to be.

I have adult memories of every president since JFK and you, Mr. Bush, are the most arrogant with the least reason to be. No president in my memory has made me angrier nor more ashamed. Simply impeaching you, Mr. Bush, would not begin to solve the problems you've created. The situation could only begin to be solved if you and your entire administration stepped down now and presidential elections were held this November.

... er ... sorry ... I just lost for a little while, but it feels good getting it off my chest.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A Complaint to the Office of Inspector General

Here is my letter of complaint to the Office of Inspector General (

HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, at a forum sponsored by the Real Estate Executive Council of the Dallas Housing Authority, repeated a conversation he had with a prospective advertising contractor.

"He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years," Jackson said of the prospective contractor. "He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something … he said, 'I have a problem with your president.'

"I said, 'What do you mean?' He said, 'I don't like President Bush.' I thought to myself, 'Brother, you have a disconnect — the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn't be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don't tell the secretary.'"

Federal law clearly shows these actions to be illegal due to discrimination based on political bias. In addition, there is a public admission of guilt. Federal Acquisition Regulations, 48 CFR 3.101-1 says:

Government business shall be conducted in a manner above reproach and, except as authorized by statute or regulation, with complete impartiality and with preferential treatment for none. Transactions relating to the expenditure of public funds require the highest degree of public trust and an impeccable standard of conduct.

Please take legal action against Mr. Jackson, if only to show U.S. citizens that we really are not in a Bush administered dictatorship. Your office’s failure to act in this matter will prove its tacit complicity in political bias in the award of Federal contracts.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

U.S. Oil resources Three-times All Mid-East Countries

The U.S. government-owned Green River Formation contains three-times the oil in all Middle Eastern countries combined. The formation contains 1.2 to 1.8 trillion barrels of oil. Compare this with Saudi Arabia's 261 billion gallons (Update: make that barrels). The U.S. federalized the land, which straddles Utah, Wyoming and Colorado, in 1930. It conservatively, contains one-half the world supply of shale oil.

What's the catch? It's shale oil, that is, oil contained within a layer of rock. Until now, it has been too expensive and environmentally destructive to recover economically. Well, times are different now and the technology is better.

  • According to the Dept. of Energy, the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, Rand Corporation and Shell Oil (links below), the recoverable amount is between 500 billion and 1.1 trillion barrels. Think conservatively, 800 million barrels ... 400 years worth at current consumption.
  • Using In-Situ Retorting, according to the experts linked below, oil can be removed from the rock without mining the rock, then processing it. Instead, In-Situ Retorting:
    1. Freezes the perimeter of an area of rock, using wells to inject coolant to keep out groundwater and contain the oil,
    2. Heats the rock in the interior area to cause oil to seep from the rock so it can be pumped to the surface.
  • Shell has been working on In-Situ Retorting for 20 years. They expect the extraction cost to be $25 per barrel, though some estimates are $20. Shell currently has a test well in the Green River Formation.
Maybe it's time to provide ourselves with our own oil supply until we can develop better energy sources ... ya think?

Refer to:
Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement
U.S. Dept. of Energy
The Oil and Gas Journal
The Rand Corp.
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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

If you hit me, I'll punch your friend!

I knew the Iran government was nuts, but even they can't be this stupid. When they threaten to hit Israel if the US uses force, they're telling us, "If you hit me, I'll punch your friend."

Maybe they need to recall the last time a hostile Arab country (Iraq) pushed the envelope on nuclear power (double meaning intended). Then, the friend (Israel) punched them first. They are positioning themselves to be hit by someone. My bet is on Israel, not the US, see here.

They have exposed themselves as:
  • Fearful of US military action,
  • Fearful of and paranoid about Israel,
  • Duplicitous, by insisting they are peacefully pursuing nuclear power, while refusing inspections by the IAEA,
  • Agressive, by threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz and "wipe Israel off the face of the earth."
Do these guys really expect the world to view them as a nation peacefully going about the business of governing?

How did U.S. get low on oil?

"Nobody bothered to check the oil. The reason for that is purely geographical. Our OIL is located in Alaska, California ,Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Our DIPSTICKS are located in Washington DC." (Thanks Rich Kuchinsky)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

No Need To Trust Bush In Iran

The Moderate Voice has a good article on potential strategies for the Iran nuclear enrichment program. It ends with the question, "Why on earth should we trust George W. Bush in Iran?"

I don't think we will need to trust George W. Bush (thank heavens). The Israeli Prime Minister has made it clear how the problem will be resolved if diplomacy fails. When asked, "How far will you go to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power?", his answer was, "About 2500 kilometers." That pretty much says it all. The Israelis have already dealt with this situation once ... with a straightforward bombing raid. I see no reason for them to hold back this time, should diplomacy fail.

In fact, the Bush administration must realize that another pre-emptive strike by them would make the ridicule universal. Instead, if Bush can overcome his I'm-the-Decider mania, he would realize that passing a few rewards (read military hardware) to Israel in return for a bombing raid, would solve the problem without additional blemish to his already dirty-grey administration.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Ingenious Engine

"Why didn't I think of that?!" That's what you'll be saying when you read about this engine.

Four cycle engines run hot and require heavy radiators and fans to cool them. Well then, why not add an extra power stroke that cools the engine. Voila, the six stroke engine!

Yes, a six stroke engine! At PESWiki they tell the story of Bruce Crower's great idea:

The first four strokes are the same as an internal combustion engine.

In Crower's design, after the exhaust cycles out of the chamber, rather than squirting more fuel and air into the chamber, his design injects ordinary water. Inside the extremely hot chamber, the water immediately turns to steam, expanding to 1600 times its volume, which forces the piston down for a second power stroke. Another exhaust cycle pushes the steam out of the chamber, and then the six-stroke cycle begins again.

No Cooling System Required

"Besides providing power, this water injection cycle cools the engine from within, making an engine's heavy radiator, coolant, and fans obsolete. Despite its lack of a conventional liquid cooling system, his bench engine is only warm to the touch while it is running."

Potential Efficiency

Crower estimates that eventually his six-stroke engine could improve a typical engine’s fuel consumption by as much as forty percent.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Our Universe, created by committee

I found the Pootle and Frick Study. This tongue-in-cheek study proves our universe was created by committee(s).

The thrust of the argument is that our universe could not have been created by a single omniscient entity.

This is clear because, being omniscient, there would be no need to create multiple creatures with many ways of dealing with the same natural situations, take frogs and salamanders, for instance. This entity would know (being omniscient) the one correct way to deal with nature's quirks.

In addition, an omniscient creator would not need to hang around as the maintenance engineer. All the little "tweaks" that change creatures over time would not be necessary. After all, a single omniscient creator would have done it right the first time.

Given this finding, the only logical way to explain the diversity of nature and the duplication of solutions to identical situations, is (aha!) a committee, probably many committees. The study goes on to deduce that the number of committee members (creation entities) must be at least five times the number of species on earth times the number of life-containing planets in the universe.

With an explanation this simple, who could possibly believe that mutation of genetic material combined with natural selection could produce the life we see around us?

See? Intelligent Design believers still have it wrong! After all, we know that intelligence is not an attribute of a committee!

You may also want to review my Nov '05 post on Darwinism vs. Intelligent Design, Pastafarianism and Goatism

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Bush Administration Legacy

(Adam Kotsko has asserted the moral right to be identified as the author of this post.)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Humor: FBIs New Internet Tracking Technology

See here for a safe demonstration of this technology

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Leaking Illegal Government Action: Illegal?

I'm no lawyer, so could someone who's qualified, enlighten me? When Bush's Attorney General starts going after the officials and reporters who leaked Warrantless Wiretaps, aren't they shooting themselves in the foot?

Assume for a moment the Justice Dept. actually charges someone for leaking the Warrantless Wiretap program (I refuse to call it "Terrorist Surveillance Program"). If I were the defense attorney, my first questions would have to be:
Is it illegal to release information regarding government actions of questionable legality?

Isn't it an official duty to expose illegal government activity? After all, it is a soldier's duty to refuse an illegal order. That was proven by the Nuremburg Trials after World War II.
The Administration, by charging someone with this "leak", is asking for a court test of the legality of their own actions. In my mind, given our current laws, Warrantless Wiretaps on US citizens are patently illegal. The Administration may jam a law through Congress making it legal, but, that would not "grandfather" in earlier, illegal actions. Thus, "leaks" on this subject are simply the actions of conscientious "whistle-blowers."

If Mr. Bush and his shill, the Attorney General, want to shoot themselves in the foot, wouldn't it be simpler to go hunting with Cheney?

Monday, March 06, 2006

A Starr Performance

Well, Ken Starr's true colors finally show. He is now accused of presenting fabricated documents to California Governor Schwarzenegger as part of a clemency proceeding. See this Washington Post article.

Now that sounds like the Ken Starr I remember from the "get-Clinton" investigation he ran for years at taxpayer expense. At the time, Clinton wasn't my favorite person, but Starr's year-in/year-out investigation infuriated me. Jailing people, planting moles, spending millions and generally subverting the legal system, still didn't produce any substantive dirt.

Oh yeah ... a blow job. I forgot about that one. It must be because our current president has re-written the Constitution with impugnity.

It looks to me like Starr enjoyed spending the taxpayer dollar so much that he wanted room and board too. Well, I suggest we give it to him ... in San Quentin ... in the general population ... after he is disbarred.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Shamed American

More and more these days, I read what the rest of the world thinks of our Bush dominated United States. Originally, I supported Mr. Bush, generally, except for his christian-fanatic take on some subjects. Now, I'm simply ashamed for us.

The rest of the world sees us as a nation too weak or stupid to stop an international and domestic bully. For example, here's an excerpt from The Hindu about Bush's upcoming visit to India:
" ... on the 2nd of March, Bush will be taken to visit Gandhi's memorial in Rajghat. He's by no means the only war criminal who has been invited by the Indian Government to lay flowers at Rajghat. (Only recently we had the Burmese dictator General Than Shwe - no shrinking violet himself.) But when George Bush places flowers on that famous slab of highly polished stone, millions of Indians will wince. It will be as though he has poured a pint of blood on the memory of Gandhi.

We really would prefer that he didn't.

It's not in our power to stop Bush's visit. It is in our power to protest it, and we will. The Government, the Police and the Corporate Press will do everything they can to minimize the extent of our outrage. Nothing the Happynews Papers say can change the fact that all over India from the biggest cities to the smallest villages, in public places and private homes - George W. Bush, incumbent President of the United States of America, world nightmare incarnate, is just not welcome."

Condoleezza Rice had to be informed of the reasonable and logical approach to the Hamas government in Palestine. You'd think she would have been able to figure this out for herself, but, she, smart as she is, has been around Mr. Bush so long that she has bought into the strategy: "Prejudge, then stick to your guns."

From Le Monde, here is a condensation of what the arabs had to explain to our Secretary of State:

Allow for an initial grace period and refrain from making Palestinians pay for a political agenda yet-to-be outlined by the fledgling Hamas government. This essentially is the message that was addressed to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, during her tour of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
It seems like an obvious, logical approach doesn't it? That is, let's, at least, wait for Hamas to form a government and establish policies before we condemn them. I still think Hamas is in a no win situation, but what harm does it do to see if they can extricate themselves?

When a French newspaper commented on how Mr. Bush "struts" around, Bush's comment was "in Texas we call that walking." I'd suggest that some lessons in "walking softly" are in order.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Is George Bush a clone of King George III?

This post began with me thinking that George Bush could be seen as leading a "Taxation without Representation" movement. The thinking was that, coopting the powers of our Congressional representatives (who pass taxes and spending) is actually "Taxation without Representation."

Okay, I admit that's a stretch, but a tantalizing thought. The point is, that thought led me to look up the record of King George III. Remember he's the guy the colonies revolted against because of "Taxation without Representation."

The similarities between King George III and King George Bush are absolutely wild. Bush could be a clone! The King George III quotes are from here.
King George III: "George was not very intelligent and could not read until he was eleven. However, his tutors praised him for the amount of effort he was willing to put into solving his academic problems." (See here)
King George Bush:
Though his intelligence seems about the same, we only heard King Bush praised for the effort he put into cheerleading in college (a practice he continues to this day).

King George III:
"In 1760 George succeeded his grandfather, George II, as king." (See here)
King George Bush: George followed in his fathers footsteps (I can't bring myself to say "succeeded") instead of his grandfather.

King George III: "A year after becoming king, George III arranged for the Earl of Bute to become prime minister. This decision upset a large number of MPs who considered Bute to be incompetent." (See here)
King George Bush: While the timing and posts filled are different the tendency to appoint incompetents is the same.

King George III: "In the newspaper that he established, The New Briton, Wilkes accused the king and his ministers of lying. Wilkes became a symbol of free speech and the king was blamed when he was imprisoned for 22 months for libel." (See here)
King George Bush: Well, in King Bushs' court, no one has been tossed in jail for free speech yet. But it's clear that neither George was fond of free speech.

King George III: "In 1770, George appointed Lord North as prime minster. Lord North stayed in office for ten years." (See here)
King George Bush: Read "Cheney/Rove" in place of "North."

King George III: "George III supported Lord North's policies that resulted in the American War of Independence (1776-1783). Some MPs, led by Charles Fox and William Pitt criticised the conflict as an "unjust war" and urged Lord North's government to bring it to an end. Fox and Pitt were also critical of the way that George III tried to influence and manipulate those in Parliament. They argued that parliamentary reform was necessary for the preservation of liberty." (See here)
King George Bush: Does the term "unjust war" ring a bell? ... King Bush try to influence and manipulate those in the legislative branch ... of course not!

King George III: "When the House of Commons passed the India Bill, the king warned members of the House of Lords that he would regard any one who voted for the bill as his enemy. Unwilling to upset the king, the Lords rejected the bill by 95 votes to 76." (See here)
King George Bush: Doesn't this sound eerily similar to Karl Rove twisting Congressional arm in an election year to prevent full investigation of Illegal Wiretapping?

King George III: "[In] 1783, the king invited his former critic, William Pitt, to form a new government. George now used all the powers at his disposal to help Pitt maintain control of Parliament. This made the king unpopular with the Whigs, a group who favoured a reduction in the powers of the monarchy." (See here)
King George Bush: Hmmm ... misuse/overuse of the power of the Monarch ... er ... Presidency? Certainly, not in the USA!

King George III: "In 1793 war broke out with France. Soon afterwards William Pitt brought in a bill suspending Habeas Corpus. Although denounced by Charles Fox and his supporters, the bill was passed by the House of Commons in twenty-four hours. Those advocating parliamentary reform were arrested and charged with sedition. Tom Paine managed to escape but others such as Thomas Hardy, John Thellwall and Thomas Muir were imprisoned." (See here)
King George Bush: You have to hand it to old Will Pitt. At least he brought a bill before the representatives of the people before suspending their rights.

King George III: "To pay for the war Pitt was forced to increase taxation and had to raise a loan of £18 million. This problem was made worse by a series of bad harvests. When going to open parliament in October 1795, George III was greeted with cries of 'Bread', 'Peace' and 'no Pitt'. Missiles were also thrown and so Pitt immediately decided to pass a new Sedition Bill that redefined the law of treason." (See here)
King George Bush: Raise taxes to finance a war? Hmmm ... I hadn't thought of that. Redefine the law of treason? Hmmm ... is that the same thing as saying "If you don't support this measure, you're aiding our enemies." And, King Bush has already thrown his missiles. If he keeps screwing with our form of government, Congress and the people may well return the favor ... figuratively, of course (gotta be careful of the NSA you know).

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Cartoon Politics - Turkish PM

Once again, back on the subject of Cartoon Politics, the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called on the United Nations, NATO and the Organization of the Islamic Conference on Friday to act with wisdom and common sense, and display leadership, saying:
"No culture has a given right to insult the sensitivities of other cultures. The minimum prerequisite of harmonious coexistence is that different civilizations and traditions recognize and mutually respect each others' cultural differences ..."
I can certainly agree with that.

After all, why should we, as free societies, expect to be held to the standards of Muslim culture regarding what our newspapers do or don't publish. The "minimum prerequisite of harmonious coexistence" requires that a given culture must make a minimum effort to understand cultures that don't adhere to their beliefs.

Did the West burn embassies and threaten beheadings when Iran
  • Kidnapped American civilians,
  • Advocated wiping Israel off the map created by modern societies
  • Declared that the historically proven Holocaust never happened and Israelis should be moved back to Europe
  • Refused inspections by the IAEA while pursuing "peaceful" nuclear technology?
No, of course we didn't. The logic of fanatics is compelling, on the surface. But, when turned around, it is revealed as pure, emotional garbage. For example:

  • Maybe we, the West, should declare that the Crusades never happened. The Crusades are a Muslim plot to discredit Western social philosophy and that Muslims should return to the Middle East. The logic is the same, ridiculous, yes, but the same.
  • Maybe we, the West, should kidnap a few Imams living in our cities because they don't respect our beliefs about the role of religion, free speech and women.
  • Maybe we, the West, should advocate wiping Muslim countries off the map because they don't adhere to our beliefs of acceptable actions by modern society.
  • Maybe we, the West, should accept that a nation which has an avowed goal of wiping another nation off the map has a right to disallow UN inspections to prevent development of weapons to further their stated purpose.
And, while doing all these ridiculous things, we should burn the embassies of Muslim countries and threaten them all with destruction of their citizens.

The logic is the same. Yes, it's stupid, but the same. Moderate Muslims are history's most Silent Majority. When are they going to speak up ... I sure haven't heard them yet!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Bush: 2002 Plane attack on L.A. foiled ... bait?

Just a few minutes ago, President Bush announced that an Al Quaeda plane attack on L.A. was foiled in 2002. He said an Al Quaeda operative was arrested in a southeast Asian country and this led to foiling a 9-11 style attack.

Hmmm ... interesting timing. It seems a bit off the wall that this information should be divulged right now.

Do you suppose this is just the bait to get our attention? Then, a "leak" that the plot was foiled by information obtained through a warrantless wiretap would be the sinking of the hook, right?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Democrats: Please don't run this person for President

Given the level of discontent with Mr. Bushs administration, I think the Democrats have a good chance at the presidency ... if they pick the right candidate.

This REUTERS/Jason Reed picture is proof of why I simply don't trust Mrs. Clinton to be our president. Democrats please don't nominate this:

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hamas: "A fine mess we've gotten into."

If Hamas ever watched Laurel & Hardy, one of them is now saying, "A fine mess we've gotten into."

Hamas is now a majority leader of the Palestinian Parliament, elected by their own people. It appears Hamas achieved this because their people were fed up with the corruption of Arafat's regime. Now what are they going to do?

Hamas has few choices:

  • Govern for the good of the people or legislate terrorism.
    • They're ill equipped to govern, terrorists don't need to govern.
    • How do you legislate terrorism? What laws do you pass? How do you concentrate on terrorism and provide for the needs of the people who voted you in?

  • Accept Israel as a state or continue their terrorist war.
    • Accepting Israel as a state forces Hamas to back down from their stated purpose of wiping it off the map. Their loss of face would likely be fatal to them ... individually and as an organization.
    • If accepting Israel is not a choice, they don't have much choice but to declare war. After all, there isn't much room for compromise given Hamas' past rhetoric. But, then, they'd already declared war prior to the election. Though they've produced many barbaric killings, their war on Israel has been fatal to many of them individually, too.
It looks to me as if Hamas has only two choices now that they're the winner ... Be killed or, uh, be killed. Can you say, "planting the seeds of your own destruction?"

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Insurance Company Slime

A post at the Moderate Voice caused me to consider this. An insurance company is going to court to stop having to pay benefits because they are too expensive. Apparently an AIDs victim has lived too long. What crap!

Though this is much more gruesome, at it's heart, it's not much different than car insurance.

Your car insurance premiums are calculated based on the statistical chance of a claim. That's fine and good.

What I never understood is that the insurance company raises your rates if you do have a claim. Wasn't the cost of that claim built into the rate in advance? If you've ever done the calculations, you'll find your rate increase will pay the company back within a couple of years.

I guess I just need to buy me a couple of politicians to pass regulations that guarantee me a profit! Mr. Abramoff, where are you when I need you?

US Attorney General as President's shill

When the Attorney General of the US becomes a shill for Presidential usurpation of Constitutional separation of powers, it's time to worry.

Attorney General Gonzales is clearly so greatful for his job, that he will spout what the administration wants in order to keep his position. That is eerily similar to Alito saying that opinions offered during his Reagan era job application were meant to get the job, not necessarily his own.

Neither Bush nor Gonzales have offered anything more substantial than, "we have studied this and concluded it's right." BULL!

What part of the Constitution don't they understand? There is no Constitutional power giving the President the power to override written laws because he thinks it necessary and legal.

Remember, in order for the NSA to find suspicious stuff in phone calls, they must be either:
  • From known terrorists to US citizens, or,
  • From NSA filters that found suspicious words.
In the first case, it is clear that a warrant could be obtained from FISA, even 3 days after the interception.

In the second case, it is clear that my wife's calls to her family in The Netherlands must be monitored by the NSA to determine whether or not sinister communications are taking place. I certainly hope FISA would find that a clear violation of our rights.

Get it? To find suspicious calls ... ALL calls must be monitored! Is that a violation of our rights? You BET!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Bush: "I Robbed a bank the other day."

NOTE: Humor/Satire (NSA, got a sense of humor?)

If President Bush said,
I robbed a bank the other day. Now trust me on this, it was 'legal and necessary'. This bank had communications with people we suspected of being Al Quaida operatives.

This is the only way to freeze terrorist funds. There was no time to get a warrant. We knew that getting a warrant, even three days after the robbery, was too constricting.

And, by the way, the U.S. Constitution, that protects citizens' privacy rights, was written 200 years before there were phones and electronic banking so it can't apply here. Don't kid yourself, the people depositing money in that bank were aiding terrorists, trust me on this.

I'm looking out for the interests of the American people. Those depositing money in these terrorist banks are warring against America, believe me. Some of you may lose your money, innocently, but, that's what you get for dealing with terrorists.

I just felt it was time to exercise the Nucular option. You have to trust me to do the right thing. The courts are too slow, and liberal to help us interpret the Constitution in this time of crisis."

How do you think that would fly? Isn't this the same argument the Bush Administration is using to defend Domestic Spying.

Of course, now Mr. Bush is calling it the "Terrorist Surveillance Program". That raises a question. How do they know my phone calls are to terrorists, not family, unless they listen to my calls to begin with, regardless of how innocent? Get the idea?

Friday, January 20, 2006

18 "Innocents" Killed in Attack on Terrorists!

Was this attack justitied? Maybe it's just me but:

When I invite guests for dinner, I generally don't invite mass murders. I guess it's just a personal quirk.

If I did invite several mass murders to dinner at my house, I think I'd expect that unpleasant things might happen.

It's Legal Because "I Said So!"

So far, the only justification of Domestic Spying that I've heard is, "Because I said so."

That's just not good enough. Even members of the legislature who have supposedly agreed to it, have expressed that they didn't realize that's what was being discussed.

The important questions are not:
  • Is it needed?
  • Is it important?
  • Isn't it the patriotic thing to do?
  • Wasn't it disclosed to Congress?
  • Aren't we in a war?
The only important questions are:
  • Is it authorized by our Constitution?
  • Should the president abide by the Constitution whether or not it is convenient for him?
  • If changes are necessary to allow Domestic Spying, shouldn't a Constitutional Amendment be required?
  • Should an Attorney General appointed by a President who appears to be creating Constitutional Amendments from thin air, be allowed to interpret the Constitution?
Ladies and Gentlemen, important precedents are being set here. Speak up or get what you don't deserve!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Domestic Spying - Its sinister consequences

I’ve been following the domestic spying story closely. Its effect on me has been subtle and disturbing. First, some necessary personal information. My spouse was born and raised near Amsterdam in The Netherlands. As a result, she frequently calls friends and family.

I suddenly realize that I've not stated my concern on this subject because of a nagging worry that the NSA may be listening to my phone and internet posts as a result of my spouse's connection to Western Europe. Suddenly, it dawns on me ... my freedom of speech has already been abridged! Well ...

NSA Listen up! Leave me alone! I'm as patriotic as most Americans, but the President of the US nor his NSA have rights to shut us up simply because he/they are willing to commit treason. I await their jackbooted thugs.

As you can tell, I'm concerned about our country. I'm sure the Taliban's outrageous performance in Afganistan began as subtly as this.

  • The legality doesn't seem clear.
  • The administration keeps telling us that "We need to do this." But, the legality isn't clear.
  • The traditional media seems to accept this reasoning. Maybe that's because the U.S. Attorney General tells us they have had many lawyers review the legality of domestic spying. Let's remember who he works for and that the Attorney General's opinion only counts when determining who to prosecute under our existing law. The interpretation of those laws is left to our courts, not the President or his lackey, the Attorney General.
  • "Because I think it's important" isn't a good enough reason to contravene the Constitution.
  • Whittling away at our rights is extremely dangerous, no matter the reason. Even assuming George Bush's intentions are honorable, the precedent is being set unless "we the people" object. After all, we don't know what the next President's intentions may be.
  • George Bush's intentions are not clear. I suspect they're not clear even to him. He seems to have fallen for the view that what he does is best. Maybe his God tells him that is so, just as Pat Robertson, and Mayor Nagan hear God's message (to hear them tell it).

Friday, November 11, 2005

Pat Robertson confirms the religious nature of Intelligent Design

Pat Robertson responded to the citizens of Dover Pennsylvania after they voted out of office all the school board members who voted to include "Intelligent Design" in the curriculum. He told them:
"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city,"
Later he decided this statement should be "clarified." Then he said:
"God is tolerant and loving, but we can't keep sticking our finger in his eye forever. If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them."
Well ... it's clear to me that God must be telling Mr. Robertson how he feels. Or, his Mr. Robertson telling God how He should feel, or, maybe he's telling us how we should feel. Gee, I wish he'd be clearer.

At any rate, Pat Robertson has let the cat out of the bag.

Maybe the church should religiously indict him for "outing" the fact that "Intelligent Design" really is a disguised campaign to introduce religious Creationism into the schools, even though the courts have already ruled against that one.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

We must be in Kansas Toto!

Well, as expected, Kansas Board of Educations "Intelligent" Design advocates passed rules requiring the teaching of Alien Design (after all, they wouldn't want to imply God had anything to do with it) along with evolution.

In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is "no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena".

Excuse me??? Science is not about explaining natural phenomena?? Assuming The Designer created everything, then are not all phenomena "natural" by definition?

Next, I guess, we will be teaching our children the "science" of miracles! Maybe, we can teach the "science" of life after death, ghosts, The Flying Spaghetti Monster (see previous post), or maybe the "science" of cultism.

One "natural phenomenon" the Kansas Board of Education will have to face is the one faced by the Dover, Pennsylvania Board of Education. After voting in similar rules, they were just voted out of office! Now there's science at work! Of course, it was only a natural phenomenon.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Darwinism vs. Intelligent Design, Pastafarianism and Goatism


I have had my ignorance pointed out to me by
David Trevaskis (YahooID: tdiedesign).

Darwinism (the theory of evolution) is beset by several other beliefs with logic and proof of other methods of creation and evolution.
  1. Intelligent Design which purports that complexity necessitates belief that some higher being (Alien?) created the universe.
  2. Pastafarianism, which purports that The Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe beginning with a mountain, trees and a midget. They believe that global warming, earthquakes and hurricanes are caused by the decline of pirates since the 1800s (graph available). Prayers to "Him" are ended with "Ramen" rather than "Amen." An open letter to the Kansas Board of Education requests that Pastafarianism be included in education about Evolution. See
  3. Goatism, which claims everything is a Goat. The appearance of a herd of goats is a miracle, since it is mathematically proven that there is only one Goat, all others being multiple instances of The Goat. Further information about Goatism, with formal proofs by scientists from renowned universities can be obtained at
All these religions depend on the same premise. Believe or be damned!

Now, don't you Intelligent Design believers feel silly? ... No? ... well you should!

Intelligent Design's faulty logic

Intelligent Design proponents beliefs frustrate me when they try to force our public school children to consider science a subject that can be done based on invalid logic.

The IDers logic is summed up in the Latin phrase
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
That translates to: This happened after that therefore that caused this.

When IDers say that the universe is so complex it must have been intelligently designed, they are using Post Hoc logic.

That same line of logic proves that frogs are the offspring of mud. That is, the frogs showed up after the mud so the mud caused the frogs. Sorry, boys and girls, that just isn't scientific.

Intelligent Design is not a theory. It is a conclusion based on invalid logic. That's what happens when you try to do science based on conclusions that must be taken on faith.

For Intelligent Design to be a scientific theory it must follow proven scientific method:
  1. The ID conclusion must be approached as a Hypothesis.
  2. The Hypothesis must be proven using proofs that hold up to real-world facts, processes and events. The Hypothesis will then have become a Theory.
  3. The Theory must be published along with the proofs, evidence and methods used.
  4. The Theory must be reviewed by the scientific community for accuracy of facts, evidence, and validity of methods.
  5. If the proof is accepted by the scientific community (in general), only then can ID be accepted as science.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Do Intelligent Designers believe Aliens created Life?

A Kansas institution has now been granted the money and responsiblity of renovating a satellite. Given the Kansas Board of Education's position on "Intelligent Design", I must question whether or not that state should be entrusted with any scientific project.

Question for Intelligent Design advocates:
If a "higher being" created the universe, then, that being also created Carbon 14 which has been used to validate the Origin of Species (not the Origin of Life). How do you explain that conundrum?

Also, If a "higher being" created the universe, does that mean life was created by aliens? Apparently you believe in either aliens or God. Which is it?

Are you aware that Darwin never claimed to explain the origin of life? Afterall, his book was entitled "Origin of SPECIES" (my emphasis).

I have a scientific turn of mind. Even I wonder if Intelligent Design is the only thing to explain the "Big Bang". Afterall Quantuum Physics may only be saying that The Designer introduced a certain amount of uncertainty into the EVOLUTION of the universe.

But, assume for a minute that an Intelligent Designer created the Universe.

Does that not assume that our laws of probablility were also created by that Designer? Does that not assume that The Designer created the very Carbon 14 we use to validate the "Origin of Species?"

Come on you fundamentalist nuts! Do you believe our Universe was created by Aliens (confess now!) or maybe God (who you don't want us to know you mean when you advocate ID) or maybe its just something we (ALL of us) don't understand yet.

Saying that it's too complicated for us to understand, is not a SCIENTIFIC reason to assume some ALIEN created our world. Do you people really want to be known as people who believe that an ALIEN created our Universe. You then begin to sound like the crazies I currently think you already are!