Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween World o' Crap


And now for something completely largely different...I had often quipped when I was doing my dissertation that I'd publish excerpts in Weekly World News.

In a case of life imitating my quips, Focus on the Family produces an "apologetics" article, that, yep, footnotes noneother than the lair of batboy, Weekly World News, I guess for "balance," especially since "Intelligent" "Design" is shilled in the article as well. I guess...

What about Buddhism lately?

The overwhelming majority of the posts on this blog have not been explictly about Buddhism of late, or so might seem.

There's several reasons for this:

  • First of all, much of the practice of Buddhism simply can't be described, but practiced. While I generally see eye-to-eye with the political stance of the folks at Street Prophets, to me, the much of a discussion about Buddhism would distract from its practice. Of course there is an underlying moral attitude, informed by Buddhism that animates posts here, but when it comes to talking about Buddhist practice, this blog is only the tiniest of windows into it. It's a reflection of what's in my mind when I write and post, and hopefully at times conveys the vows I have made to help all beings. It definitely falls short of those vows from time to time, but the attempt is important; occaisonally the target is hit, and with practice the target is hit more.

  • There's much, much more going on in my life outside of this blog- which I simply cannot talk about, for reasons that have to do with committments outside of this blog. My work, for example has entered an interesting and somewhat demanding phase, which requires its own practice.

  • In truth, though, this blog is an attempt at applying Buddhism to the realms of the immediate concerns of life, in a very dangerous age, when greed, hatred, and ignorance are expressed as benevolence and righteousness.

Care must be taken.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

There needs to be a Congressional and Senate investigation into Treasongate

Although Harry Reid's right, Rove should be fired, the real thing that should happen is an investigation by Congress into what happened here, why it happened, and whether or not any impeachable offenses have been committed by either Bush or Cheney.

It won't happen, of course, which underscores the need for the Congress to change hands.

What DarkSyde said:

Fitzgerald, other than the fact that he's neither a Republican or Democrat, I don't know squat about his politics (and that's the way it should be), but he's one straight shooter, that's for sure.

Why a broker's "Diversify Your Investments" is stupid sometimes

You've seen the information handed out from brokers: at age X you should have Y% of your investment money in stocks, Z% in bonds, and so forth.

This is generally, stupid, though, especially in times like this, for reasons I've noted before.

So, it seems like a new entry in the "no shit, Sherlock" department is this article from the NY Times:

IF you want to know what's up in the bond market, talk to Robert L. Rodriguez. As manager of the FPA New Income fund since 1984, he has never lost money in any calendar year.

Today, Mr. Rodriguez says he is shying away from making major bets on bonds because of all the question marks that abound. Among them is the uncertainty over whether interest rates will continue to rise, eroding the value of older, lower-yielding bonds. There is also uncertainty over inflation, which eats into bond returns. And now there are the unknowns surrounding the first transition at the helm of the Federal Reserve Board in nearly two decades...

Because Mr. Rodriguez thinks that bonds aren't compensating investors for all the current risks, he is content to have as much as 45 percent of his fixed-income portfolio in cash or cash-equivalent investments. The question for individual investors is, should they follow his lead?

It's certainly tempting. While the yield on 10-year Treasury notes has risen recently, it's still less than 4.6 percent. Yet inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, shot up 4.7 percent over the 12 months through September. In other words, you're not earning anything on long-term government debt, adjusted for inflation.

You should diversify investments, but into those that, you know, actually make money.

That about wraps it up for Michelle Maglalang

Wow. I know conservative media's essentially got to be factually challenged, but this is ridiculous. If anyone I know was as incompetent or malicious in their jobs, they'd be out of 'em in a heartbeat.

This is the type of person that many newspapers see fit to publish as an op-ed columnist and "Fox" media person.

Bring it on!


In his two choices for the Supreme Court so far, President Bush has tapped what some conservatives called "stealth" nominees: jurists without a clear record of legal opinions on abortion rights or other contentious social issues.

But with the announcement of a third nominee to succeed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor expected as early as Monday, prominent conservatives said they were confident that this time would be different. They argued that the reaction against the nomination of Harriet E. Miers had proven the perils of such an approach, even though some also acknowledged that the failure of the Miers nomination may have weakened the president if the next nominee sets off a battle.

"To the degree that Bush was enamored of a stealth strategy, I have got to believe he has learned there is a real downside," said William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard and one of the first conservative thinkers to call for withdrawal of the Miers nomination.

But if the next nominee provokes a fight with the left instead, Mr. Kristol added, "it is tougher having made a mistake with Miers."...

Democrats argue that Mr. Bush may have made promises to his conservative supporters that may be politically difficult to fulfill. "They have riled up their base, but to feed their base the red meat it demands will hurt the president with the general public," said Senator Charles E. Schumer, a New York Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

Bush is deeply in trouble for playing footsie with theocrats; he's not really one of them, after all, but more of a well, Eastern elite educated Repub pretending to be a failed oil man.

I had commented on another blog, that, based on Treasongate, folks like Hugh Hewitt and Joe Carter are rapidly becoming irrelevant.

Watch now for the next thing; this is going to be Terri Schiavo all over again.

What those folks just don't get is that they aren't America. They aren't even a majority of Americans. They aren't even a significant plurality of Americans.

Here we go; what Dems warned against for years, these folks want to overtly take: our rights.

Watch Underneath Their Robes for more.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Useless factoid of the day...

Pope Leo XIII was fond of Vin Mariani
, famous, as everyone who read Lester Grinspoon's tomes in high school knows, for containing cocaine.

One can only speculate, right now, what David Price thinks of that.

Yeah, Buish~ Hitler, sort of...

I saw over at Atrios that Jonah Goldberg, child of Lucianne, got around to writing - a book! Complaining about "liberal fascism!"

Now Hitler died some 60 years ago. Having recently re-seen Triumph of the Will, and having recently discoverred Mein Kampf on line, it's pretty easy to show that:

a) Hitler actually hated liberals; he thought liberal=Marxist=Jew.
Bushist conservatives think: liberal=Marxist=atheist="Arabist"="life not worthy of life." Do a search through Mein Kampf for "liberal." Hitler's rantings against the Frankfurter Zeitung come quite close to the rantings by conservatives against the NY Times. (Not that the Times doesn't deserve its share of criticism, but that comes about due to its sucking up to power, not questioning it.)

b) One can find echoes of Hitler's racism in Pat Robertson's rantings, Bob Jone's rantings (Bush had no problem going there), Reagan's visit to Bitburg, and of course, Pat Buchanan.

c) The left often compares Bush to Hitler, of course based on the similar the idol worship, the staged scenes, the cribbing of Triumph's flashy settings with the appropriate Orwellian backdrops. We recall "Mission Accomplished" with the codpiece airman suit, the handpicked audiences of sycophants, the abuse of dissenters, etc. "Politically correct" speech codes on campus - to the extent that these are not urban legends - simply can't compare to what we've seen from the Bush regime in the time it's been around. It outdoes Reagan.

d) Finally, there's the tiny matter of civil liberties. Bush and the right hate 'em, Hitler hated them. Sorry if we see a similarity.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Let's see if Fitzgerald can nail Bolton Marc Grossman.

This is getting quite good.

Update: TNR reports it's Marc Grossman.

Still, somebody should investigate Bolton for something.

Whoops...there it is...


A federal grand jury indicted Libby on one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements.

The indictment alleges Libby learned of the identify of CIA operative Valerie Plame from Vice President Dick Cheney and then talked about her to reporters. The indictment also says Libby endangered national security by doing so. However, Libby is not charged specifically with disclosing her identity.

Karl Rove, the president's deputy chief of staff, will not be indicted today in the investigation, two sources have said. They say investigators have told Rove's office they haven't resolved all their questions about his conduct, however, and that they'll keep investigating.

Documents were released at about 9:40 a.m. Pacific time, and Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald will update the case today in Washington, D.C. at 11 a.m. Pacific time. plans to stream his statement live.

And here's the indictment press release:

Beginning in late May 2003, Libby allegedly began acquiring information about a 2002 trip to
the African country of Niger by Joseph Wilson, a former United States Ambassador and career State
Department official, to investigate allegations concerning efforts by the former government of Iraq to
acquire uranium yellowcake, a processed form of uranium ore. The CIA decided on its own initiative
to send Wilson to Niger after an inquiry to the CIA by the Vice President concerning certain intelligence
reporting. Wilson orally reported his findings to the CIA upon his return. Subsequently, Libby allegedly
lied about information he discussed about the CIA employment of Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame Wilson,
in conversations Libby had in June and July 2003 with three news reporters – Tim Russert of NBC News,
Matt Cooper of Time magazine, and Judith Miller of The New York Times.
Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson’s employment status was classified. Prior to that date, her
affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community. Disclosure
of classified information about an individual’s employment by the CIA has the potential to damage the
national security in ways that range from preventing that individual’s future use in a covert capacity, to
compromising intelligence-gathering methods and operations, and endangering the safety of CIA
employees and those who deal with them, the indictment states.
“When citizens testify before grand juries they are required to tell the truth,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.
“Without the truth, our criminal justice system cannot serve our nation or its citizens. The requirement
to tell the truth applies equally to all citizens, including persons who hold high positions in government.
In an investigation concerning the compromise of a CIA officer’s identity, it is especially important that
grand jurors learn what really happened. The indictment returned today alleges that the efforts of the

grand jury to investigate such a leak were obstructed when Mr. Libby lied about how and when he
learned and subsequently disclosed classified information about Valerie Wilson,” he added.
Mr. Fitzgerald announced the charges with John C. Eckenrode, Special Agent-in-Charge of the
Philadelphia Field Office of the FBI and the lead agent in the investigation. The Washington Field
Office and the Inspection Division of the FBI assisted in the investigation.
The indictment alleges that Libby had frequent access to classified information and frequently
spoke with officials of the U.S. intelligence community and other government officials regarding
sensitive national security matters. With his responsibilities for national security matters, Libby held
security clearances giving him access to classified information. Libby was obligated by federal criminal
statute, regulations, executive orders, and a written non-disclosure agreement not to disclose classified
information to unauthorized persons, and to properly safeguard classified information against
unauthorized disclosure.
According to the indictment, on September 26, 2003, the Department of Justice and the FBI
began a criminal investigation into the possible unauthorized disclosure of classified information
regarding Valerie Wilson’s CIA affiliation to various reporters in the spring of 2003. In January 2004,
the grand jury investigation began examining possible violations of criminal laws prohibiting disclosing
the identity of covert intelligence personnel (The Intelligence Identities Protection Act), improperly
disclosing national defense information, making false statements to government agents, and perjury. A
major focus of the grand jury investigation was to determine which government officials had disclosed
to the media prior to July 14, 2003, information concerning Valerie Wilson’s CIA affiliation, and the
nature, timing, extent, and purpose of such disclosures, as well as whether any official made such a
disclosure knowing that Valerie Wilson’s employment by the CIA was classified information.

So the Kossacks were right, and the 101st Keyboarders were wrong.

Banks are where the money is.

This op-ed ad appeared in yesterday's NY Times.

It's not clear if it's a real apples-to-apples comparison (is this after tax or pre-tax revenue? before or after deductions?), but one thing is apparent: banks are profitable.

Merry Fitzmas, everyone!

It's today, it seems, at least for Libby; we may have to wait for Rove.

I wish all of you a safe and merry Fitzmas. May we remember it's true meaning.

Give me Stephen Roach any day over Austin Pryor

I'd lambasted Joe Carter, because especially lately, his blog has seemed increasing irrelevant, because, maybe it's a mixed-metaphor, but "morally tone-deaf" seems to be the words going through my mind.

While it's one thing to claim a moral high ground shilling pseudo-science, and mistaking a brain dead woman for a live, concious woman and zygotes for born people, it's quite another to turn a blind eye towards what is now manifestly the most corrupt Republican regime in memory, with all kinds of sins like theft and murder, and lying, rolled into one, creating a bad national karma for the US...

So it is with some interest I read today's entry on Carter's blog from one Austin Pryor on investing. Good, I can work with that, although I don't want to come across as a Borscht Belt comic or dour fanatic as I do it.

So without further ado, I'll resond to Pryor, who, if memory serves me right, is some kind of a "Chrstian investment" guy...ah yes, at "Sound Mind Investing."

Some things can be predicted; most things can't. Since nobody really knows what is going to happen, your plan must allow for the fact that the investment markets will experience some unexpected downturns every now and then. That's where diversification comes in...

Actually there is one thing we can say with absolute certainty: the past will not be repeated. And in fact we can say that about the United States.

Anybody who's read Stephen Roach and related folks (see, e.g., here) or worked at a job in the US that was involved in anything that involved making anything knows that the US economy is a radically different beast than it was in the 1960s or 1970s, or 1980s, or even 1990s. Jobs and many services can be easily outsourced today.

This trend may or may not continue, but it seems that the future does hold that there will be a continuing deterioration in the US economy unless some form of protectionism kicks in, but of course that could start a trade war and a real war. (We already see signs of that in the lumber dispute with Canada, which could get ugly. They export oil to us you know.)

Alternatively, really high energy prices will force a restructuring of the US economy, perhaps not as bad as the clusterfuck nation guy says, and in fact somewhat better.

Anyway, short rebut to this point: there are indeed long term trends macro-economically, and these can be profitablly followed if thought about them far enough in advance. But- and here's the point- there will be uncertainty and volatility. No pain no gain.

Both of SMI's core strategies offer you portfolios that combine stocks and bonds in various combinations in order to reduce volatility and risk while still achieving attractive long-term returns.

While I'm a big fan of diversification, I also think this position - "stocks and bonds provide diversification" is simplistic enough to be potentially disastrous to even the capital preservation of a portfolio.

Think Argentina. Think Turkey (the Turkish lira was once something like $4; today it's thousands to the dollar).

Economies, to use the technical term, shit the bed every now and then. It's good to be diversified in other ways; such as real estate, commodities, and especially foreign assets, especially in a situation where the mid-term trend is a deterioration in dollar denominated assets.

But in the short to mid term, it is likely that some sectors of the US economy may flourish and others not. It's important to know which.

Principle #2: Your investing plan must have easy-to-understand, clear-cut rules. There must be no room for differing interpretations. You must be able to make your investing decisions quickly and with confidence.

I have a better principle, although who can disagree with the statement above translated to "Know what you're doing and why!"

My better principle is: Sell it even when you think it's going to go higher. Buy it if you think it's going higher in the mid-term, even if you think it can go lower in the mid term. Cut your losses. Lock in gains. Practice detachment about it.

Your plan should prevent you from taking risks you can't financially afford. Every day, people who mistakenly thought "it will never happen to me" find just how wrong they were....

Know what you're doing and why.

We receive letters asking us to recommend safe investments that will guarantee returns of 12%, 14%, and more. If by "safe" they mean there's no chance of the value of the investment falling, then we don't know of any investments like that. Investments that are "safe" in that sense usually pay much less than 12%...Consider the story of Jack and Jill: Jack saved $600 in an IRA each year between ages 8-18, then never added to it again; a total of $6,600. Jill waited to start saving until she was out of college at age 26. She put $2,000 per year into an IRA for 40 years; a total of $80,000. Both earned the same 10% rate of return.

Res ipsa loquitur.

There's a great deal of information on the 'net about this. And much of this information is completely free of charge. You can do better than Austin Pryor, but you've got to know more than he tells you.

And you don't have to pay him a red cent to do better than he does.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

File this under "640K should be enough for most people"


SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Broadband wireless technology is likely to remain too cost prohibitive to ever achieve user numbers close to the 2 billion people who currently use mobile phones, according to Andrew Viterbi, co-founder of Qualcomm and currently president of the Viterbi Group LLC, a technology advisory and investment company.

Delivering a keynote address here Wednesday (Oct. 26) at the GSPx signal processing conference, Viterbi said broadband wireless could provide a "nomadic desktop experience" for business and professional users, but that high-speed wireless connectivity is not necessary for the majority of applications that consumers are interested in. Ultimately, he said, the user base for broadband wireless would peak at "hundreds of millions," rather than billions, of users.

"A lot of the dumb things that people do don't take that much bandwidth," Viterbi said, referring to applications such as gaming...

One application that people have been counting on to support the need for broadband wireless is high-quality audio and video broadcast. But Viterbi expressed doubt that people would be interested enough in this capability to justify paying the additional cost.

"We are going to get broadcast, and that is going to need high speed," he said. "But we've had audio broadcast for 100 years and video broadcast for 50 years, so what's new?"

Andy Viterbi doesn't get out much, I think.

Treasongate: Karma for Katrina?

It's the incompetence and corruption which causes the incontinence, and hence the investigations and the resulting suffering, according to Paul Bergala. But karma has a way of working through the nooks and crannies of existence, penetrating its very interstices:

The grand jury, a group of onetime strangers from across the District, has spent two days a week for nearly 24 months in the cloistered, guarded room on the third floor of the U.S. District Courthouse. They have sifted through the day planners of White House aides and listened intently as the prosecutor grilled West Wing officials and reporters who relied on them as confidential sources. They are paid $40 a day, plus $4 for transportation.

Now they might be called upon to make decisions that could deal a crippling blow to the Bush White House and put top administration officials on trial.

There were 23 members at the start, committed for 18 months. Their term was extended in May for six months. At least six original jurors have been excused because of hardships their service created. Some were replaced with alternates.

Like the jury's forewoman, the majority are African American women who appear to be middle-age or older. The jury includes at least two black men, two older white women and three white men. One trim, agile retiree with white hair often entered the grand jury room with his bicycle helmet in hand.

As everyone knows, Bush's standing amongst African Americans went down the tubes after Katrina. And now they sit in judgment of him and his accomplices and toadies.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Iraq vote fraud

Say it ain't so.

The most significant news of the day: indictments

Maybe, of course, the pro-war Washington Post has been beguiled by Michael Moore,, and Cindy Sheehan.

Then again, maybe they've admitted what 90% of Americans polled say: we're dealing with criminality here. Although, at this point if there aren't indictments, we can can the anonymous sources forever, OK?

The prosecutor in the CIA leak case was preparing to outline possible charges before the federal grand jury as early as today, even as the FBI conducted last-minute interviews in the high-profile investigation, according to people familiar with the case.

With Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald in Washington yesterday, lawyers in the case and some White House officials braced for at least one indictment when the grand jury meets today. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, is said by several people in the case to be a main focus, but not the only one.

n a possible sign that Fitzgerald may seek to charge one or more officials with illegally disclosing Valerie Plame's CIA affiliation, FBI agents as recently as Monday night interviewed at least two people in her D.C. neighborhood. The agents were attempting to determine whether the neighbors knew that Plame worked for the CIA before she was unmasked with the help of senior Bush administration officials. Two neighbors said they told the FBI they had been surprised to learn she was a CIA operative.

The FBI interviews suggested the prosecutor wanted to show that Plame's status was covert, and that there was damage from the revelation that she worked at the CIA.

Underscoring the uncertainty surrounding the probe, two Republican officials said Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove, the president's top strategist, is not sure whether he will face indictment as the case winds down. Rove was said to be awaiting word from Fitzgerald, even as prosecutors questioned at least one former Rove associate about Rove's contacts with reporters before Plame's name was disclosed. The White House expects indictments to come today, according to a senior administration official.

And the tentative approval of an Islamic Republic in Iraq has done squat to quell the violence there or nock Treasongate off the front pages.

Worse than Watergate?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Let me be on record as saying

If George Galloway lied to Congress, he, too should be prosecuted.

BRITISH MP George Galloway faces possible
criminal charges after a US Senate investigation tracked $US150,000
($197,000) in Iraqi oil money to his wife's bank account in Jordan.

The Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations will refer the
Respect Party MP for possible prosecution after concluding he gave
"false and misleading" testimony at his appearance before the panel in

The subcommittee will also forward the information to British
authorities, saying it raised questions about Mr Galloway's financial
disclosure and the payment of illegal kickbacks to Iraq.

"We have what we would call the smoking gun," Norm Coleman, the subcommittee's Republican chairman said.

The subcommittee's report, released yesterday, was provoked by
Mr Galloway's clash with the senators in May - which he turned into a
book titled Mr Galloway goes to Washington..

He reiterated his denials yesterday, saying he had "already comprehensively dealt with these allegations under oath"...

But the Senate report provides bank account
details tracking payments from an oil company through a Jordanian
middleman to Mr Galloway's now-estranged wife, Amina Naji Abu Zayyad,
and his Mariam Appeal fund.

"Galloway was anything but straight with the Congress. He was
anything but straight with the American people. There was a lot of
bombast. There was a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing," Senator
Coleman said.

On the other hand, I think, especially after all we've been through, that a degree of skepticism is in order; at the very least, did Gallowayknow his "now-estranged wife" and Mariam Appeal fund (sounds like a charity, doesn't it? does to me) misused the oil for food money? What evidence is there of kickbacks? It might just be that it went to a charity, but if the law was broken, then there should be prosecution, just as it should be for Libby, Cheney, and Bush.

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Reality check for Matthew Yglesias

Yglesias says:

Back in the real world, of course Fitzgerald shouldn't offer up
a charge of "ambiguous perjury" or whatever it is these two are worried
about. We use a "reasonable doubt" standard of proof in the American
criminal justice system, so people charged in cases where the evidence
is equivocal will be acquitted. Maybe Fitzgerald's an idiot who for
some reason doesn't realize this and plans on bringing all sorts of
weak charges to the table so he can suffer an embarrassing court
defeat. But by all accounts he isn't and idiot and nobody likes
an embarrassing court defeat. He won't bring charges unless he thinks
he'll win -- that seems simple enough.

Umm... prosecuting attorneys bring charges that won't win in court all the time for various kinds of reasons, chief among them, to use as leverage against defendants prior to discovery to entice a plea bargain. I don't think that would be the case for all players in Treasongate, but it simply can't be ruled out.

Having said that, though, outing a covert operative even to advance a policy direction is, and should still be treated as a crime if there was fallout from it, such as compromising our intelligence on the ground on weapons of mass destruction. Going back to Aaron Burr again, if there had been two witnesses against him, I think the case could be made that Burr was indeed convictable of treason, because of the damage done to the United States.

So I'd predict that history will view Cheney as John Quincy Adams did Aaron Burr: [his] " life, take it all together, was such as in any country of sound morals
his friends would be desirous of burying in quiet oblivion.""

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The Nature of Treason

I had wanted to avoid a Fitzmas discussion today, but the discussion about Cheney's role in Plamegate, in the Times and in Kos beg a response, especially in light of the sure to be denials on the part of conservatives.

So I ask my self, "What is treason?" Aaron Burr comes to mind. If this definition from Wikipedia bears any truth, the colloquial way it's been used to describe Treasongate may be quite fitting:

In law, treason is the crime of disloyalty to one's nation. A person who betrays the nation of their citizenship and/or reneges on an oath of loyalty and in some way willfully cooperates with an enemy, is considered to be a traitor. Oran's Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as: "...[a]...citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation]." It is also generally considered treason to attempt or conspire to overthrow the government...

United States

To avoid the abuses of the English law (including executions by Henry VIII of those who criticized his repeated marriages), treason was specifically defined in the United States Constitution, the only crime so defined. Article Three defines treason as only levying war against the United States or "in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort," and requires the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act or a confession in open court for conviction. This safeguard may not be foolproof since Congress could pass a statute creating treason-like offences with different names (such as sedition, bearing arms against the state, etc.) which do not require the testimony of two witnesses, and have a much wider definition than Article Three treason. For example, some well-known spies have generally been convicted of espionage rather than treason. In the United States Code the penalty ranges from "shall suffer death" to "shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States."

In the history of the United States there have been fewer than forty federal prosecutions for treason and even fewer convictions. Several men were convicted of treason in connection with the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion but were pardoned by President George Washington. The most famous treason trial, that of Aaron Burr in 1807, resulted in acquittal. Politically motivated attempts to convict opponents of the Jeffersonian Embargo Acts and the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 all failed. Significantly, after the American Civil War, no person involved with the Confederate States of America was charged with treason, and only one major Confederate official, the commandant of the Andersonville prison, who was charged with war crimes, was charged with anything at all. The failure to prosecute Confederates was mostly due to the words and actions of President Abraham Lincoln, who considered peace and unity more important than vengeance. During the war, Lincoln issued a proclamation of amnesty for Confederates, and in his second inaugural address (1865) pleaded for a reconciliation "with malice toward none, with charity for all."

Several people generally thought of as traitors in the United States, such as the Walker Family, or Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, were not prosecuted for treason per se, but rather for espionage. John Walker Lindh, the "American Taliban" fighter in Afghanistan, was also thought of as a traitor by many. However, instead of being tried for treason, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder US nationals, aiding the Taliban and terrorist offences relating to Al Qaeda, even though he joined the Taliban before September 11, 2001, in the period when the Bush administration was aiding the Taliban to help their destruction of the opium crop.

The argument could well be made the Richard Cheney might have committed treason: it is an act during war time, his acts gave aid and comfort to the enemy if there were assets compromised, and indeed it looks like two witnesses might be able to be found for it.

Of course, whether or not Patrick Fitzgerald really goes for the Powerball charge is not known, and in my estimation, highly, highly unlikely. It only happened once before -with Burr.

But I'm sure then, as now, there was massive denial that Burr was a traitor.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Insert an Ed McMahon chortle here

I hadn't known that Bernanke wanted to make Social Security solvent or that he recruited Paul Krugman to Princeton from MIT.

This is a positive sign.

So is the fact that National Review doesn't like him very much.

Indictments might just be a buy signal...

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Reality Check for the Righties

I noticed that Michelle Malkin has propagated the comparison (from the WSJ) of Clinton's lying about sex to the likely indictments to be handed down regarding obstruction of justice and lying to a grand jury in Treasongate.

Like everyone else, I don't know what's going to come down the pike as I write this, but I do know that Clinton's behavior didn't rise to the level of perjury or lying to a grand jury. How do I know? Here's the relevant Federal law:




Sec. 1623. False declarations before grand jury or court

(a) Whoever under oath (or in any declaration, certificate,
verification, or statement under penalty of perjury as permitted under
section 1746 of title 28, United States Code) in any proceeding before
or ancillary to any court or grand jury of the United States knowingly
makes any false material declaration or makes or uses any other
information, including any book, paper, document, record, recording, or
other material, knowing the same to contain any false material
declaration, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than
five years, or both.
(b) This section is applicable whether the conduct occurred within
or without the United States.
(c) An indictment or information for violation of this section
alleging that, in any proceedings before or ancillary to any court or
grand jury of the United States, the defendant under oath has knowingly
made two or more declarations, which are inconsistent to the degree that
one of them is necessarily false, need not specify which declaration is
false if--
(1) each declaration was material to the point in question, and
(2) each declaration was made within the period of the statute
of limitations for the offense charged under this section.

In any prosecution under this section, the falsity of a declaration set
forth in the indictment or information shall be established sufficient
for conviction by proof that the defendant while under oath made
irreconcilably contradictory declarations material to the point in
question in any proceeding before or ancillary to any court or grand
jury. It shall be a defense to an indictment or information made
pursuant to the first sentence of this subsection that the defendant at
the time he made each declaration believed the declaration was true.
(d) Where, in the same continuous court or grand jury proceeding in
which a declaration is made, the person making the declaration admits
such declaration to be false, such admission shall bar prosecution under
this section if, at the time the admission is made, the declaration has
not substantially affected the proceeding, or it has not become manifest
that such falsity has been or will be exposed.
(e) Proof beyond a reasonable doubt under this section is sufficient
for conviction. It shall not be necessary that such proof be made by any
particular number of witnesses or by documentary or other type of

Here's the original complaint of Jones v. Clinton.

What the consensual relationship between Clinton and Lewinsky would have had on whether or not sexual harassment happened doesn't seem to me to be in the least material to whether Jones was sexually harassed; OTOH, leaking the identity of an operative and lying about it does seem relevant to whether an espionage law was broken or justice was obstructed.

Words from Stephen Breyer wort reading...


In September, Breyer published “Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution,” a manifesto for a progressive revival in American jurisprudence. The book, which is a hundred and sixty-one pages long, was inspired in part by Breyer’s disdain for the method of constitutional interpretation championed by his principal ideological rivals on the Court, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Their approach, known as originalism or textualism, holds that the words of the Constitution mean only what the framers understood by them; the document’s sense does not evolve over time. Constitutional scholars on both the left and the right have criticized originalism for being overly literal and doctrinaire, but Breyer is the first Justice to attempt to elaborate simultaneously a rebuttal and an alternative.

In “Active Liberty,” Breyer argues that the framers never intended for future generations of jurists to resolve contemporary controversies by guessing how the framers themselves would have resolved them. Instead, their goal was to promote what Breyer, quoting the nineteenth-century French political writer Benjamin Constant, calls “active and constant participation in collective power”—in other words, “active liberty.” The Constitution not only sets limits on official power, Breyer asserts; it insures the right of ordinary citizens to shape the workings of government. “There is this coherent view of the Constitution that has taken hold, called originalism, textualism, a kind of literalism, which is a well worked-out theory,” Breyer told me. “And I think people are tempted to say that there is a coherent theory, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, there are simply judges who go around deciding each case as they think appropriate. And that isn’t so. I think there is a more traditional approach, and it’s coherent, consistent, and specific.”

Indeed, if you are shackled in interpretation by what someone else may have said or thought or done ( in most cases we can't really tell)then are you really at liberty?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Oregonian takes on the bloggers

And comes up short.

Of course, no one expects blogs to be "fair and balanced." Though research on this is still scant, I suspect that many people who turn to blogs for their news like the frankly unobjective style of information they find there. But it does raise a serious question: For the millions of Americans who regularly go to blogs for political news, what picture of reality are they getting?..

But a campaign is an unusual moment when virtually all news organizations and news blogs are focused on the same set of topics. In more routine times, such as last week's mishmash of news about Harriet Miers, Iraq's vote on its constitution, Hurricane Wilma's gathering force, and the arrest and booking of Sen. Tom DeLay, it's likely that people who turn to blogs -- unless they make the effort to diversify their sources -- will come away with a fragmented picture.

And that's the final similarity between blogs and the MSM: No matter which you use, it's best to read more than one.

Well, as they say in the young teen world, Duh. Many, many blogs are quoted by me and most other bloggers I know (of course the right-wing blogosphere tends to be far more stratified, yada yada yada), as well as sources as diverse as the London Times, Der Spiegel (OK, I doubt I quoted them specifically...yet), China Daily, the Financial Times, MSNBC/Washington Post/Newsweek, KCNA, the Bush press gaggles, the Financial Markets Center, Tricycle,, and a host of other places. This is an eclectic blog, opinionated, to be sure, but heck, this blog sure doesn't have the historical baggage that the Oregonian's been reported to have.

One nice feature of Flock

I can blog while my son watches Duck and Cover. He really likes the atom bomb stuff. Turns out though that he does this stuff in school now again - at the age of four- becaue of Columbine, evidently.

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Useless Factoid of the Day...

"Pee" is the name of the state record company in North Korea.

How appropriate. I wonder if they have any leaks going on...

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I hope James Wolcott is right

And Libby sings, because, after all, he feels left out because Dick Cheney's his own evil genius.

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Perjury: 5 Years

So the latest meme is perjury is a "technicality." So is apparently a host of other crimes.

Including money laundering, espionage, obstruction of justice and who knows what else.

Reasonable people can only hope that conservatism is shown the door, relegated to the ash heap of history, and given a happy death. Pronto.

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Just get the truth...

Yeah, yeah, we all know that Mao was not so much a savior to the Chinese as a butcher. But the NY Times' Kristof doesn't help much when he writes about Jung Chang's biography of Mao that:

Yet this is a magisterial work. True, much of Mao's brutality has
already emerged over the years, but this biography supplies substantial
new information and presents it all in a stylish way that will put it
on bedside tables around the world. No wonder the Chinese government
has banned not only this book but issues of magazines with reviews of
it, for Mao emerges from these pages as another Hitler or Stalin.

that regard, I have reservations about the book's judgments, for my own
sense is that Mao, however monstrous, also brought useful changes to
China. And at times the authors seem so eager to destroy him that I
wonder if they exclude exculpatory evidence. But more on those cavils

But then goes on to say:

This is an extraordinary portrait of a monster, who the authors say was
responsible for more than 70 million deaths. But how accurate is it? A
bibliography and endnotes give a sense of sourcing, and they are
impressive: the authors claim to have talked to everyone from Mao's
daughter, Li Na, to his mistress, Zhang Yufeng, to Presidents George H.
W. Bush and Gerald Ford. But it's not clear how much these people said.
One of those listed as a source is Zhang Hanzhi, Mao's English teacher
and close associate; she's also one of my oldest Chinese friends, so I
checked with her. Zhang Hanzhi said that she had indeed met informally
with Chang two or three times but had declined to be interviewed and
never said anything substantial. I hope that Chang and Halliday will
share some of their source materials, either on the Web or with other
scholars, so that it will be possible to judge how fairly and
accurately they have reached their conclusions...

Take the great famine from 1958 to 1961. The authors declare that
"close to 38 million people died," and in a footnote they cite a
Chinese population analysis of mortality figures in those years. Well,
maybe. But there have been many expert estimates in scholarly books and
journals of the death toll, ranging widely, and in reality no one
really knows for sure - and certainly the mortality data are too crude
to inspire confidence. The most meticulous estimates by demographers
who have researched the famine toll are mostly lower than this book's:
Judith Banister estimated 30 million; Basil Ashton also came up with 30
million; and Xizhe Peng suggested about 23 million. Simply plucking a
high-end estimate out of an article and embracing it as the one true
estimate worries me; if that is stretched, then what else is?

After all this stuff with Judy Miller, you'd think he'd be skeptical. I am, even though I concede that Mao was a murderer.

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You know, if it weren't for outraged media figures...

Like this lady at the Washington Post, I'd probably not have heard of "Happy Tree Friends" until my son found it.

But it's just not that good. Red vs. Blue it's not.

Harriet Miers = Bush Crony

I told you so.

Prediction: this nails her nomination coffin shut tight.

Now it gets interesting. Bush is between a rock and a hard place: he's either got to sate the extremists in his party - and thereby alienate the majority of Americans- or he's got to do a Sister Souljah/Ernst Roehm moment with the extremists in his party.

Knowing Bush, I'm betting against an Ernst Roehm moment.

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Well, yeah, of course we knew we were right...

Now that the Times has let Judy Miller be semipurged, a more honest narrative has emerged.

It features Brent Scrowcroft, ponders whether Libby will be offed, and finally says the intel was wrong.

Miller confined to a billabong?

"The real anomaly in the administration is Cheney," Mr. Scowcroft
told Jeffrey Goldberg of The New Yorker. "I consider Cheney a good
friend - I've known him for 30 years. But Dick Cheney I don't know

Mr. Cheney's focus on the threat from Iraq has put
some of his aides, especially I. Lewis Libby Jr., his chief of staff,
in the middle of an investigation by a special prosecutor into the leak
of the C.I.A. operative's name. According to lawyers in the case, Mr.
Libby remains under scrutiny this week in the investigation stemming
from his effort to rebut criticism by Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former
diplomat, that the administration had twisted intelligence about Iraq's
nuclear program.

Mr. Libby has become emblematic of the broader
Iraq debate, cast by supporters as a loyal aide working diligently to
set the record straight, and by critics as someone working to smear or
undermine the credibility of a politically potent opponent.

way in which the leak investigation is being pursued is becoming a
symbol of who was right and who was wrong about the war," said Ivo H.
Daalder, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who worked at the
National Security Council during the Clinton administration. "The
possibility of Libby being indicted, and the whole Cheney angle, is all
about proving in some sense that they were wrong and therefore that
those who opposed the war and never thought the intelligence was right
have been proven correct."

Except for this bit:

The passions surrounding the investigation and the question of why the
administration got it wrong about Iraq, other analysts agree, reflect
the troubled course of the war and the divisions over whether it was
necessary or a diversion from the effort to fight Islamic extremism

This (the bold my emphasis) assumes that there were people - "analysts" - who actually believed that deposing a secular strong-man (a nasty nasty murderer of a man of course) and balkanizing Iraq would somehow, uh, stave off Islamic extremism. If there are such analysts, I suggest they check their mercury levels.

Finally this bit by a former (first?) Bush employee deserves comment: "If the war had gone extremely well, you wouldn't have this controversy." If the "war had gone extremely well," there wouldn't have been a war in the first place.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Fun with Flock

I've download Flock and indeed it goes down like...well, rather than putting in a naughty metaphor, let's just say it's not all that stable yet. But it is fun. The coolest thing about Flock is that it's integrated with, and it allows you to share bookmarks on the web.

You can see who's bookmarked your bookmarks, and see in turn what they've bookmarked.

It's like a blogosphere for the browser. It has a blogging tool integrated into the browser, and that's where crashes come in. Beware of "TopBar" for now.

But alas, it crashes. Save blogposts frequently. I was in the middle of a rather lengthy blogpost, and Boom! Flock crashed.

But get it and play with it. It's the latest heat on Internet Explorer, and that can't be all bad, can it?

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Yes, the media lies...

Friday, October 21, 2005

This is a test

To see if Flock posts to my blog...

The meme repeats itself....

Tom DeLay repeats the "Republicans are criminals" meme.

"I have been charged with defeating Democrats," Mr. DeLay said. "I have been charged with advancing the Republican agenda."

So the "Republican Agenda" is money-laundering to evade campaign finance laws, and violating those laws?

He said it, not me. I'm only the messenger.

David Sirota's right about the Democrats, but the Dems are working on it...

(Here.) But I think they'll do what he wants, and the Republicans will sooner or later be in the doghouse for thirty years. I just hope that happens in the next two years, not the next ten. I've got to think about the future.

This bit here by Ruy Teixeira is also intriguing. If done right, on the policy and message fronts, and if Dean does the campaign front well - and if this is done quickly- we can take back Congress in 2006, setting the stage for recovery from these awful years.

This bit from the DCCC is a good start, but it's still a bit clunky. But it does have broadband....mmmmm....broadband...

Seriously, the Repubs have seriously wounded our techno infrastructure. It's time we got it back.

(HT: Sam Rosenfeld)

OK, here's the secret decoder ring to Treasongate.

The blog formerly known as Mossback Culture seems somewhat mystified by the the metaleaks on Treasongate, so in order to set him and others straight, here's the secret decoder ring to Treasongate.

I know I shouldn't be telling you, seein' as I've taken those blood oaths and all but folks like him seem mighty mystfied by all the goings on...OK, here it goes (See here for a prime example of what I'm discussing...

Rule number 1: Leaks from unnamed administrative sources are basically discounted, unless there is corroboration elsewhere.

Rule number 2: Leaks from unnamed administrative sources specifically identified by some job function (e.g., "former Congressional staffer" = Libby) are still discounted,... BUT

Rule number 3: Despite Rules number 1 and Rules number 2 (you'll note that "source familiar with the Fitzgerald investigation" or some such thing invariably means Rove's or Libby's Lawyer- Cheney's permanently in his hidey-hole (kinda like Saddam, no? oh, the irony...) and the only folks with authority to vet the kind of crap that goes out to the media are mouthpieces like Luskin. So, de-spin it for Rove, do a bit of what the Russians used to do reading Pravda, and voila! (French...there goes the irony again!) - some trajectory in the vicinity of what's going on. Or BS.

Rule number 4: Despite all the above, there are still pretty objective sources: Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame aren'tthe ones being considered for orange jumpsuits and frog-marches. Neither is George Tenet, who started this thing.

Rule number 5: Matthew Cooper has no real grist for BS-ing here. Judith Miller has to save face...strike that...she's toast, as toasty as if there were a video of her and "Pinch" Sulzberger engaging in sexual congress at the NY Times Christmas Party.

Rule Number 6: Some players, such as Chris Matthews (a.k.a., "Tweety" in Kos because of the way he flies from one position to another as well as being a reference to his hair color), Tim Russert, Ms. Allen Greenspan, and of course Robert Novak, know more about this then they let on since it's known that they've been leaked to as well (or at least that's what Rove/Libby has let on through their leaks) and if they didn't at this stage, have some connection, you can be sure that Fitzmas would include some obstruction charges specifically related to wild goose chases involving these reporters.

Rule Number 7: There are no, nada, zilch zipppo, nothin', coming from Fitzgerald's office, despite propaganda mills' attempts to imply otherwise. Fitzgerald's no Ken Starr, and we're not talking semen stained dresses here.

Rule Number 8: This is all put together via inference and a healthy dose of skepticism. We're aware of what kind of folks we're dealing with, you know.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Irrational Exuberance in the Pony Market

What with Fitzmas around the corner...we do have to make sure we don't spend too many ponies, betting on too many indictments...

So, let's be generous with ponies, but remember, Patrick Fitzgerald can't indict every Republican elected to Federal office.

And if the above makes any sense to you, you're probably more connected to events than I am...

Tom DeLay's mugshot

It's not on the Smoking Gun yet...

6 Degrees of Patrick Fitzgerald

I didn't know the Conrad Black connection to Fitzgerald. Put Perle in there twice, add a bit of Kissinger, and it's a political Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster.

He sees into the ugly, greedy, oozing heart of the NeoCon kleptocracy, its mafia-like structure and the all-too-cozy overlap between the war party and the profiteers, and it pisses him off. "Shareholders in public companies have a right to expect that their monies will be managed properly by officers and directors and that the officers and directors won't steal it," he said.

Fitzgerald has also been busy indicting henchmen of the cravenly corrupt Daley administration, proving along the way that a) he is non-partisan in his pursuit and just as willing to throw a beating to crooked Democrats, and b) he is, as he was once described, Elliot Ness with a sense of humor.

Jury Duty: My personal piece of the slime...

Well, my jury duty- in this case as a juror on State v. McIntire has been completed. The defendant was charged with 4 residential burglaries; the evidence against him was, as is typical in these types of things, very thin: no evidence of him actually atthe crime scene, although there was evidence of possession of stolen property.

On 2 of the burglaries, one Seargant testified that the defendant was confessing, and agreed to take the officers on a "ride around," identifying houses that were violated. The only problem was that there was no written record of this, other than a report written several days after the fact, there was no signed confession - despite the fact that the defendant was apparently doing this after he was "Mirandized," and, there was no recorded record, because, as one Seargant Eastman of the Clark County WA sherriff's office testified, audio recordings in automobiles had "too much noise" for them to be used by the Clark County Sherriffs.

Which, in my professional opinion, was complete, total, steaming bullshit, and possibly perjury, especially since my fellow jurors were incredulous that a cop would lie under oath. Indeed, it's not like their office is totally unfamiliar with such technology. Moreover, in my experience (developing further technology originally developed by Earnest Ashkenazy, who did work on acoustic analysis for the John F. Kennedy assasination, thereby connecting me with the alleged vast conspiracy therein) it is possible to pull voice signals out of noise when the noise is at levels experienced in the cockpit of an F-15- enough noise to make your ears bleed without protection.

That this technology in the 25 years since it was first developed has made its way into the law enforcement field is illustrated here.

I have offered my services to the defense as an expert witness if they need any additional help.

Verdict: guilty on 2 counts, hung jury on 2. The prosecution, I am told, intends to retry on the other 2 counts. I am hoping there is a perjury indictment as well based on what I heard there. There is more I know about what's going on in response to this (and there is something going on), but I cannot mention it at this time.

What was odd to me was the fantastic level of denial among my fellow jurors- while I had my doubts about whether all of the police officers' testimony was tainted (there were 2 officers), I could not, reasonably, find the other officer's testimony tainted to the point where I would throw it out. But whether it is a reasonable doubt or not, it still nags me that somebody "with his career on the line" would blatantly make what to me seemed like a bald-faced lie. The other jurors believed the cop becasue "his career" was on the line; but I saw blatant arrogance.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Jury Duty...

Against what I thought were tremendous odds, I have actually been sat on a jury. I cannot, of course, talk about it at the moment, but when I am done I hope to have a fuller accounting of the matter than we've seen from Judith Miller and Bill Keller on treasongate.

Suffice it to say, I'm existentially conflicted. I hate being existentially conflicted.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Another great economics post on Kos

Read it

The only thing missing is the bird flu pandemic effect.

A liberated Iraq post...

Richard Bennett, on the increasingly ho-hum "Mossback Culture" blog, points to a post on "Protein Wisdom," (here).

Richard notes the selective quoting there and says, "Lefty blogs have a particularly illuminating take."

As a centrist-to left of center blog, I might as well chime in here:

When George W. Bush has to resort to quoting some more probably made up stuff (see here and here; I hadn't realized that its provenance depended on the guy who allegedly helped out the death squads in Central America, Negroponte), you know the stock excuses for Iraq's invasion are getting shop-worn.

Yglesias and Marshall said their pieces on the Iraq vote.

Some more lefty blogs covered it as can be seen here.

MHO: This won't stop the violence of course; especially since democracy is the last thing the neocons want in the middle east. The article in the NYT today hints at increased escalation and duration.

And, as Atrios notes, some Democrats are being silly:

I guess I'm not sure what this means - Biden's offering up the "if it becomes a total clusterfuck we get the hell out" strategy?

I think that's the Repub strategy, too.

Freeper Logic...

With respect to my post below, on how conservatives are equating conservatism with criminality, (it's their talking point, so don't blame me; I'm only relaying what was blast-faxed) for "balance," and for your enjoyment, I humbly submit for your coinsideration this post on Free Republic.

To: Pokey78

I read somewhere else this morning that Delay's fundraising has set a new record high in the last three months. The democrats tactics continue to backfire.

3 posted on 10/15/2005 6:03:41 AM PDT by somemoreequalthanothers (All for the betterment of "the state", comrade)
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To: martin_fierro
Kristol may have nothing to fear but his headline is oh so correct. Criminalizing conservatives .. also include Christians.
4 posted on 10/15/2005 6:07:03 AM PDT by svcw
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To: Pokey78

The connect the dots exercise is fine.All too well known here at FR maybe. Question is, what is the GOP gonna do about it?
Can we also PLEASE throw up some shameless, focussed, disingenuous, victory-at-all-costs politicians in the Dem mould? ...

To: Pokey78
This is the situation: There are so many laws and regulations that everyone has probably committed a felony sometime in their life, almost all of them unknowingly.

Conservativss are held to the absolute letter of the law, even when trying their best to avoid violating any law, they sometimes fail. Now I don't think Delay has even done that.

On the other hand we have corruption by Liberals on a massive scale with stealing elections, stealing money, selling secrets to the enemy, sexual pervision, the list goes on and on. If anyone tries to hold them accountable, they are attacked in the most vicious manner by the media, and Democratic apparatus.

It really is that shocking.
9 posted on 10/15/2005 6:15:44 AM PDT by yarddog
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That last one was particularly interesting: the "everybody does it, multiple wrongs make a right" defense.

To: Pokey78
Criminalization is a reflection of a deep malady at the heart of American politics..

If criminal prosecution is seen to loom ahead for every politician who begins to act out his or her beliefs in unconstitutional government or politics, perhaps reform will be sustainable.

We don't need to pretend to have all the answers, or a solid answer even to one of these questions.
But it's a reasonable bet that when it became clear that a comprehensive strategy of criminalization has been implemented to inflict defeat on politicians who seek to govern as socialists, that true reform would soon follow.
12 posted on 10/15/2005 6:26:53 AM PDT by faireturn
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Um, they tried that in the 30s. It was a kind of insurrection against Roosevelt.

Now for a bit of denial:

To: Pokey78
You don't have to read down too far before he begins accusing this administration of classified leaks. The Plame leak being the most serious.

Kristol has truly lost his mind, but then I never thought he had much of an intellect.

More like a useful idiot for McCain.
13 posted on 10/15/2005 6:37:47 AM PDT by OldFriend (One Man With Courage Makes a Majority ~ Andrew Jackson)
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And denial-er:

To: Pokey78
"Why are conservative Republicans, who control the executive and legislative branches of government for the first time in living memory, so vulnerable to the phenomenon of criminalization?"

First of all, conservative Republicans do NOT control the legislative branch, which of course, hamstrings the President. The legislative branch is controlled by a cabal of Senate Democrats and RINO's.......and when you get right down to it, the Senate is controlled by 6 or 7 faux Republicans in the McCain, Chaffee, Snowe mold. One might also add to this the "gang of 14" which deftly seized control in the judicial appointments process, again hamstringing the President.

Second, Republican solons don't know how to fight back and they never have. They are not alley-cat fighters like the Dems have always been. This pussiness is always praised by purists as being something "noble". About as "noble" as the phoney Nobel peace prizes.

Right off the bat, the "new tone" in DC disarmed the GOP victors. It lulled them, and soon, they preferred the state of lullness to any meaningful confrontations. The GOP elected hierarchy are, for the most part, paper tigers big on talk, short on wielding the big stick.

Mr. Krystal, you know the answer to your own question as well as we, you are just too delicate, sensitive and wussy to articulate it. Perhaps you fear a more manly critique of the fighting spirit of the DC GOP might hurt sales of your magazine. If so, then you are part of the problem.

Years ago, GOP "compassionate conservatism" in DC morphed into "dispassionate conservatism".....and therein lies the rub.

28 posted on 10/15/2005 7:21:02 AM PDT by MinuteGal (Re: The Anti-War Sheehan-ites - They want to live in the garden but not tend the garden)
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Nice handle...and finally, projection and paranoia:

To: yarddog

Your post is an accurate description of American politics since at least Watergate times. To me the mystery is why Pubbies don't figure it out and naively keep kicking Lucy's football, expecting a different outcome "this time." The only explanation that makes any sense to me is that they truly don't comprehend the depth of Democrat corruption, cynicism, America-hatred and ruthlessness.

35 posted on 10/15/2005 8:06:44 AM PDT by Bernard Marx (Don't make the mistake of interpreting my Civility as Servility)
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To: Pokey78

The criminality of dissenting opinion is a central tenet of leftist strategy and rhetoric. These specific cases are merely the public tip of a very large iceberg.

Out here in the trenches, even the dimmest liberal conformist sheep know that the first reaction to criticism, dissent, or opposition should be to represent such opposition as a criminal attack on liberal rights. Last week, I spoke with a high school English teacher who was almost comically obtuse about this.
She literally could not conceive of the idea that criticizing, say, the Dixie Chicks was not a criminal attack on their rights. She had no conception of the irony of pretending that total stone silence from those with certain opinions was the only way to protect "free expression."
Two generations of Americans have now been indoctrinated to believe implicitly in these imaginary rights for liberals and leftists: the right to the forum of their choice, the right to an audience, the right to financial support, and the right to be taken seriously.

36 posted on 10/15/2005 8:17:23 AM PDT by atomic conspiracy (Islamo-terrorists: Strike force of the MSM)
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To: atomic conspiracy
I like your tag line. I also agree with what you said.

I have come to believe there is a vast left wing conspiracy in this country. I am not kidding BTW.

I have always loved conspiracy theories, they are so darned interesting but I didn't really believe in them. In the last few years I have come to to totally believe in them. The only problem I have is many who think the same thing really are nuts.

How would I join in with a bunch that I know to be mostly if not all, at least a little strange?

Maybe 20 years ago, I noticed these things seemed to be staged and pushed by real forces. I am not even saying they are all wrong.

First of all came the anarchists and atheists who were also communists. Next came the civil rights movement. Then the sexual revolution, attack on the family (along with feminism) and open immigration.

I can remember back around 1988 when I was in grad school mentioning to a friend that the next big push was going to be homosexual rights. I also said I thought they had finally overstepped. Boy was I wrong.

A few days ago on the History Channel they had a program on secret societies. Among them was "skull and bones" and the various groups such as the CFR, Trilateral Commisssion and the Bilderbergers.

Then it hit me. These groups are just what the right wing nuts called them. They really are conspiracies to take over the world.

In fact they are really conspiracies right on the face of it, hiding in plain sight. The only thing which could be argued is what they are doing.
37 posted on 10/15/2005 8:47:14 AM PDT by yarddog
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There's a lesson here: don't sound like them, but we must insist on clean government, whether Repub or Democratic.

Why the Republican Party is a Clear and Present Danger

I saw this phrase: "conservatives who seek to govern as conservatives" within the context of an alleged "criminalization of politics," from at Hunter's post on that "new meme" at Kos.

We're talking about real crimes and serious ones, too; felonies, some involving national security, and some that are, IMO, as important as national security (i.e., buying the legislative process lock, stock, and barrel is as great a threat to the functioning of our democracy as any foreign threat; indeed, with multinational corporations today with allegiance to no border, it's the same damned thing if they're calling the shots in Washington).

But, as Hunter quotes Kristol and Jeffrey Bell this is merely what happens when there are in power "conservatives who seek to govern as conservatives." (This is also the meme in the attack dog ad against non-partisan DA Ronnie Earle put up by Tom De Lay to try to tamper with the prospective jury.)

So they themselves are making the equation: conservatism is lawlessness run amok; it endangers national security, it is sleaze personified.

Hope that cleared everything up for you. It'll be great fodder for Democratic politicians the 2006 elections. The only thing I'd add is that not only is governing with criminality the style of conservatives, but also being inherently anti-democratic; it's why they attack liberals so much. They just don't seem to like folks having civil liberties, I think.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Sunday Times: Funny; you like armageddon, I like following treasongate...

Today's New York Times - as anyone who's read the blogosphere knows by now- has "its" story on Judith Miller, treasongate, etc.

While others have extensively commented on it, what strikes me about the story is the degree of denial and delusion present at the Times and their editors. Anybody who calls this paper a "liberal" paper after reading this story is basically being dishonest.

Ms. Miller said she was proud of her journalism career, including her work on Al Qaeda, biological warfare and Islamic militancy. But she acknowledged serious flaws in her articles on Iraqi weapons.

"W.M.D. - I got it totally wrong," she said. "The analysts, the experts and the journalists who covered them - we were all wrong. If your sources are wrong, you are wrong. I did the best job that I could."

In two interviews, Ms. Miller generally would not discuss her interactions with editors, elaborate on the written account of her grand jury testimony or allow reporters to review her notes.

No she didn't do the best job she could; from way back where I sit I could smell something out of place. If I, with only publicly available information could have my bullshit detector blinking red, why couldn't Miller's?

Well, the answer's contained in that article; rather than being skeptical, rather than endeavoring to find the facts, Ms. Miller - and by extensin the Times- were basically being sycophants to power, not speaking the truth about power, which, I submit, should be their mission.

Their objective was to cultivate powerful sources, to let them have their say, not to put the powerful sources in the context of reality.

This long article is well worth reading, because - unintentionally- over and over again this sub-text appears. There is no ethical requirement to protect a source unless you are engaged in the mission of actually, you know, finding out the truth.

And, if you think that speaking about power, but not necessarily putting power in the context of reality isn't part of the Times' game plan (and why you'd think that at this point is beyond me) all you have to do is consider their business plan. They get more money if they get more viewers of their content- just like Fox. The only difference is they start from different demographics and delivery systems.

Which brings me to their "Armageddon's Bustin' Out Everwhere" article.

Today, only about a third of evangelicals are truly dispensationalists, estimated Richard Cizik, vice president of government affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, although he said he thought most evangelicals are generally pre-millennial, harboring a more pessimistic outlook on history.

But the dispensationalists remain the most vocal segment, Mr. Cizik said. Aided by books, television and the Internet, they have shaped a fascination in evangelical culture on the end of days, said Craig C. Hill, a professor of New Testament theology at Wesley Theological Seminar in Washington and the author of "In God's Time: the Bible and the Future," about biblical prophecy. Preaching on the end times is an obvious way to draw an audience, Mr. Hill said.

"It's inherently interesting," he said. "If you have a sign out for the sermon, 'Our obligation to the poor,' you won't get anybody. If you have a sign out for, 'The Internet and the Antichrist,' you'll bring them in."

And so it is with this brand of Evangelicals, which the Times has previously noted somewhere that it'd like to bring in to its demographic. They're interested in "bringing them in," in increasing market share, regardless of whether or not there's a good relationship to reality. When market share is your ultimate objective, fidelity to reality will suffer sometimes. Period.

Not unexpected, one or two bits of facts that annihilate dispensationalism are left out of the Times article; the most obvious one to me is the whole history of how Revelation got into the bible in the first place- traditionally explictly understood as an allegory, with most references explicitly to the Roman empire.

But that would ruin a narrative that brings 'em in...

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Isn't there better ways to use this technology?

From Krauthammer in the Washington Post, "A Flu Hope, Or Horror?", comes this scare- you'd think that "terrists" would have more fun putting the DNA sequence for delta-9 THC into something like strawberries or something.:

While official Washington has been poring over Harriet Miers's long-ago doings on the Dallas City Council and parsing the byzantine comings and goings of the Patrick Fitzgerald grand jury, relatively unnoticed was perhaps the most momentous event of our lifetime -- what is left of it, as I shall explain. It was announced last week that U.S. scientists have just created a living, killing copy of the 1918 "Spanish" flu...

Which brings us to the second element of this story: Beyond the brilliance lies the sheer terror. We have brought back to life an agent of near-biblical destruction. It killed more people in six months than were killed in the four years of World War I. It killed more humans than any other disease of similar duration in the history of the world, says Alfred W. Crosby, who wrote a history of the 1918 pandemic. And, notes New Scientist magazine, when the re-created virus was given to mice in heavily quarantined laboratories in Atlanta, it killed the mice more quickly than any other flu virus ever tested .

Now that I have your attention, consider, with appropriate trepidation, the third element of this story: What to do with this knowledge? Not only has the virus been physically re-created, but its entire genome has also now been published for the whole world, good people and very bad, to see...

On the other hand, resurrection of the virus and publication of its structure open the gates of hell. Anybody, bad guys included, can now create it. Biological knowledge is far easier to acquire for Osama bin Laden and friends than nuclear knowledge. And if you can't make this stuff yourself, you can simply order up DNA sequences from commercial laboratories around the world that will make it and ship it to you on demand. Taubenberger himself admits that "the technology is available."

What Krauthammer fails to note, though is that this is MAD with a bullet: you can't control this stuff if you get it out without a vaccine; meaning that all good Muslims or Bible believers - that is those -who support the terrorists would be killed too. Everybody dead except for those with natural immunity.

Who could be, well, folks opposed to terrorism.

Try again, smartypants.

They've got to be kidding...Syria?

With the prospect of a continued quagmire in Iraq- "If they vote down this constitution we'll do the process all over again" is what soldier in the scripted photo-op said the other day- now we find out that there's border skirmishes with mean... Syria?

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 - A series of clashes in the last year between American and Syrian troops, including a prolonged firefight this summer that killed several Syrians, has raised the prospect that cross-border military operations may become a dangerous new front in the Iraq war, according to current and former military and government officials.

The firefight, between Army Rangers and Syrian troops along the border with Iraq, was the most serious of the conflicts with President Bashar al-Assad's forces, according to American and Syrian officials.

Wait, wait, here it it comes...

One of Mr. Bush's most senior aides, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject, said that so far American military forces in Iraq had moved right up to the border to cut off the entry of insurgents, but he insisted that they had refrained from going over it.

But other officials, who say they got their information in the field or by talking to Special Operations commanders, say that as American efforts to cut off the flow of fighters have intensified, the operations have spilled over the border - sometimes by accident, sometimes by design.

Some current and former officials add that the United States military is considering plans to conduct special operations inside Syria, using small covert teams for cross-border intelligence gathering.

You know, if they don't have the testicular fortitude to come right out and own up to their own propaganda, why should we believe any "unnamed administration official?"

Now, for the gratutious Vietnam analogy...

Increasingly, officials say, Syria is to the Iraq war what Cambodia was in the Vietnam War: a sanctuary for fighters, money and supplies to flow over the border and, ultimately, a place for a shadow struggle.

To reiterate: this is worse than Vietnam, far worse. As with Vietnam, there isn't a chance we can ultimately achieve our objective:regional hegemony. But unlike Vietnam, there's the entire lynchpin of the American economy riding on this. It's the greatest disaster, challenge, or opportunity that's ever faced the US.

Too bad we have a hack failed ex-oil executive in charge, who got there only by nepotism.