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Impeach Bush. Please

I’m happy to say that my senator has voted “Yeah!”, to refer the Kucinich’s articles of impeachment to the House Judiciary Committee. There is will most likely die, alas!

But maybe not; we brought impeachment charges against Clinton for having sex outside of marriage and LYING about it. Gasp! Lying about cheating on your wife; a heinous crime to be sure, but let us compare it to the charges that could be brought against GWB.
full text here:

Please do not turn off your mind while reading this brutal list. At least some of it is most certainly true, and have been commented on in this blog and in many other places. And if even some of this is true, it is certainly grounds for impeachment, if not criminal proceedings.

Article I
Creating a Secret Propaganda Campaign to Manufacture a False Case for War Against Iraq.

Article II
Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of Aggression.

Article III
Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Manufacture a False Case for War.

Article IV
Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Posed an Imminent Threat to the United States.

Article V
Illegally Misspending Funds to Secretly Begin a War of Aggression.

Article VI
Invading Iraq in Violation of the Requirements of H. J. Res114.

Article VII
Invading Iraq Absent a Declaration of War.

Article VIII
Invading Iraq, A Sovereign Nation, in Violation of the UN Charter.

Article IX
Failing to Provide Troops With Body Armor and Vehicle Armor.

Article X
Falsifying Accounts of US Troop Deaths and Injuries for Political Purposes.

Article XI
Establishment of Permanent U.S. Military Bases in Iraq.

Article XII
Initiating a War Against Iraq for Control of That Nation’s Natural Resources.

Article XIIII
Creating a Secret Task Force to Develop Energy and Military Policies With Respect to Iraq and Other Countries.

Article XIV
Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Article XV
Providing Immunity from Prosecution for Criminal Contractors in Iraq.

Article XVI
Reckless Misspending and Waste of U.S. Tax Dollars in Connection With Iraq and US Contractors.

Article XVII
Illegal Detention: Detaining Indefinitely And Without Charge Persons Both U.S. Citizens and Foreign Captives.

Article XVIII
Torture: Secretly Authorizing, and Encouraging the Use of Torture Against Captives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Other Places, as a Matter of Official Policy.

Article XIX
Rendition: Kidnapping People and Taking Them Against Their Will to “Black Sites” Located in Other Nations, Including Nations Known to Practice Torture.

Article XX
Imprisoning Children.

Article XXI
Misleading Congress and the American People About Threats from Iran, and Supporting Terrorist Organizations Within Iran, With the Goal of Overthrowing the Iranian Government.

Article XXII
Creating Secret Laws.

Article XXIII
Violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.

Article XXIV
Spying on American Citizens, Without a Court-Ordered Warrant, in Violation of the Law and the Fourth Amendment.

Article XXV
Directing Telecommunications Companies to Create an Illegal and Unconstitutional Database of the Private Telephone Numbers and Emails of American Citizens.

Article XXVI
Announcing the Intent to Violate Laws with Signing Statements.

Article XXVII
Failing to Comply with Congressional Subpoenas and Instructing Former Employees Not to Comply.

Article XXVIII
Tampering with Free and Fair Elections, Corruption of the Administration of Justice.

Article XXIX
Conspiracy to Violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Article XXX
Misleading Congress and the American People in an Attempt to Destroy Medicare.

Article XXXI
Katrina: Failure to Plan for the Predicted Disaster of Hurricane Katrina, Failure to Respond to a Civil Emergency.

Article XXXII
Misleading Congress and the American People, Systematically Undermining Efforts to Address Global Climate Change.

Article XXXIII
Repeatedly Ignored and Failed to Respond to High Level Intelligence Warnings of Planned Terrorist Attacks in the US, Prior to 911.

Article XXXIV
Obstruction of the Investigation into the Attacks of September 11, 2001.

Article XXXV
Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders.

Jericho Cancelled…Again

 jericho.jpg

I am completely bummed. Jericho, one of my favorite TV shows was canceled due to embarrassingly low ratings. More people watched a repeat of “Law & Order: SVU” than watched the season finale. That is pretty sad.

The show had some problems, but it was a gripping story. J & R, a paramilitary corporation, uses nuclear bombs and mercenaries to destroy 23 cities. The show deals with the aftermath of the attack, focusing on a rural Kansas town named Jericho. An EMP is also set of, causing frying all electronics. But it gets interesting when the start fighting with the town next door. And then J & R starts taking over, and some people start fighting back.

It’s a fairly straightforward post apocalyptic story; borrowing from “The Day After”, “The Year of the Wolf” and”Testament”. The POV stays low and personal, although there is a “big picture” subplot involving spies and conspiracies. It also addresses the privatization of our military industrial complex, and addresses issues like our now standard torture tactics, our diminishing civil rights, and the continued rise of corporate sponsored special interest groups.

Of course, who the hell is going to watch it now that it’s been canceled? What kind of world do we live in where 6 million viewers is not enough?

You will be missed, Jericho.

Britain Drops War on Terror Label

Posted Date: December 30, 2007 – Sunday – 5:41 PM
This is very good news, for Britain if not for us.

“Sir Ken Macdonald said terrorist fanatics were not soldiers fighting a war but simply members of an aimless ‘death cult.'”

“‘The people who were murdered on July 7 were not the victims of war. The men who killed them were not soldiers,’ Macdonald said. ‘They were fantasists, narcissists, murderers and criminals and need to be responded to in that way.'”

“…Macdonald made a fresh attack on plans to extend beyond 28 days the length of time a terror suspect can be held without trial. He said that the evidence had shown that the existing limit was working well and he accused ministers of legislating on the basis of ‘hypotheticals'”

Wonderful.  Maybe we need new laws to combat terrorism, but we certainly don’t need to change the foundations of criminal justice.  I would love to see anti-cult legislation on the table in Washington, but I doubt that is possible in the current religious climate.

Definitions Define and the Defined They Love

Posted Date: December 23, 2007

Not really having a favorite dictionary site,  I went to google the definition of a word.  I accidentally typed in only “definition” without a keyword, and noticed that the wikipedia article “definition of terrorist” was ranked second.  Weird.

No denying “terrorist” as an extremely hard word to define.

I was mulling that very thing over while watching “Charlie Wilson’s War”, depicting American officials lauding the Afghani “freedom fighters”, equipping them with SAMs, and geving them special training on how to fight in a “guerrila” war.  The irony is hard to stomach, knowing these skills have been turned against us in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

I like what Wikipedia has to say on it:
“Among these definitions, not all recognize the possibility of the legitimate use of violence by civilians against an invader in an occupied country, and would thus label all resistance movements as terrorist groups. Others make a distinction between lawful and unlawful use of violence. Ultimately, the distinction is a political judgment.”

I would add, by current US definition, our founding fathers were “insurgents“.  At the time they were certainly considered “religious extremists“.  Just like many of those fighting in Iraq.  Wikipedia is right, differentiation is political; like “one group is religious extremists advocating secular government and the other is religious extremists advocating a theocracy.” One advocates the equality of all white men, the other the equality of all true believers.

Complicated stuff.  The very question of “definitions” has fallen to crowdsourcing tools like wikis.  It seems self-evident NOW, but just five years ago the big question was whether blogs would overtake mainstream news as primary sources of information.  Instead it seems that Blogs are going mainstream, and mainstream news portals are citing blogs every day.  And even more unexpectedly, the winner is now “non of the above” Wikipedia!  Search google for “Global Warming”, “Iraq War”, “peak oil”, “Christianity”, and wikipedia will be at the top, ranked number one.

Search for anything interesting, and if Wikipedia isn’t in the top ranked links…then, well…it probably isn’t at interesting as you think it is.

To understand why isn’t actually that hard.  (“run away, run away!”) Imagine that you are on your blog, and you want to include a hyperlink; say…to the wikipedia article on “Cats”.  There is actually a lot of data in that link, and can be extracted.  The major parts are the sight being linked FROM, the site being linked TO, metadata like “wikipedia article on Cats”, and the words close by the link on the page, like these ones.

Analyse millions of these and they start to reinforce each other, with the metadata in tow.  If lots of people link to my site, then my sight is ranked high for that metadata.  And at the next level…if lots of people link to me, then the people that I LINK TO also get ranked higher.  And the people THEY link to.

Each new link changes these ranks…like a recursive whuffie hug of network cognition.  AI blinking in its sleep, stirring after a long dream.

It’s like the ghostly way a picture forms when gravestone rubbing.  Combine/Aggregate something less than a google of these links in a simple and logical way, and you get a rough picture of the multidimensional dataset that is “the web”.  It’s like following a trajectory around a strange attractor; the system first develops in a seemingly random way, but eventually a high amount structure becomes evident.

What new structures will we see when we have more datapoints?

Because thousands of people like me linked to the wikipedia article with the word “cat” in or around that link, the system now “knows” that the link “wikipedia.org/wiki/cats” is authoritative on the subject.  One might question what sort of authority this is, and one could answer that it is the only natural kind.  To be blunt, your brain probably works like a search engine spider, using some form of the process just described.

We should be very thankful for this; that definitions can be formed by crowds and algorithms instead of cabals.  I understand the lure of certainty, lulled by credentials and expertice.  And no denying we should listen to the trusted few!  Many time they know better than the crowds do. But many times they don’t, or they disagree, and so alone they cannot be in charge of what words mean.

(Languages form through our shared reality, like software loaded onto our brains hardware.)

So, let’s face it, the more points of view represented the better…

PS:  See “The Host”, it monster movie rocks.  This is THE breakout Korean movie, the world is finally starting to notice their filmmakers.

Harold and Kumar go to Guatanamo

Posted Date: December 28, 2007

Nope, it’s no joke…it’s a real movie, coming out in April.  And NPH makes another cameo…awesome.

Speaking of movies, I saw Terry Gilliam’s “Tideland”, and I’m still digesting it.  On one hand, I think it’s a masterpiece.  It’s unconventional, surreal, and has an amazing lead and perfect supporting characters.  On the other hand, it’s creepy and feels exploitative, even though objectively it is not.  I see a lot of parallels between this movie and “Oasis”, which is one of my top 10 favorite films.  Whether that counts for or against “Tideland”, I can’t decide.  At this point I would I rate it a very VERY interesting failure, and a fine addition to the Gilliam canon.

Regarding the “I Stole Jesus” story, did anybody notice that the doll is WHITE and has BLONDE hair?  Does anybody care?  The anti-Semitism in Christianity comes out in both subtle and not so subtle ways.

Yipes….I think I’ve watched too many movies set in distopian futures, because these billboards really bothers me.

Impeach the fourthbranch!

RIP, Benazi Bhutto!

The Act of a True Patriot

No more National Security Letters!&nbsp; W00t!&nbsp; Federal court judge Victor Marrero struck down portions of the Patriot Act that were clearly unconstitutional.<br><br>National Security Letters were used by the FBI to get customer information from internet ISPs and telephone companies without a warrant.&nbsp;&nbsp; Anybody served with one of these notices was also given a “gag order”, meaning they could not talk to anybody about the order, including their own attorney.<br><br><a href=”http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070906-patriot-act-provision-struck-down-by-federal-court.html&#8221; target=”_self”>From the article</a>:<br>Although Marrero recognizes the importance of preserving national security, he asserts in his decision that “The Constitution was designed so that the dangers of any given moment would never suffice as justification for discarding fundamental individual liberties or circumscribing the judiciary’s unique role under our governmental system in protecting those liberties and upholding the rule of law.”<br><br>So eloquent; and so true.&nbsp; We are at war with an abstract noun (terror), how many other abstract nouns (liberty, justice, truth) are we willing to give up to win?&nbsp; We (most) all recognize that there is a problem with militant Islamo-fascism.&nbsp; We recognize that privacy rights may need to be redefined.&nbsp; But there are those that would violate our highest law to do this, and that is wrong.&nbsp; <br><br>The fact is, a Constitutional Amendment would be required to make current intelligence tactics legal; the current tactics are illegal even though they are supported by Congressional law and kept away from the Judicial Branch through “state secrets privilege”.<br><br>The concept of a law being illegal is clearly defined in the US, by the Constitution and the Balance of Powers it contains.&nbsp; This reminds me of the Israeli military concept of an “<a href=”http://www.commondreams.org/cgi-bin/print.cgi?file=/views02/0506-04.htm&#8221; target=”_self”>illegal command</a>” I read about in “Unspeakable Acts”, related to the “<a href=”http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0789/8907039a.html&#8221; target=”_self”>The Night of the Broken Clubs</a><a href=”http://www.observer.com/node/42715&#8243; target=”_self”></a>”. (link leads to original account).<br><br>In military court, those who passed on the orders to break the arms and legs of innocent civilians were punished, as it was found that the orders clearly violated the basic morality of Jewish culture.<br><br>The thing is, this all started when Yitzhak Rabin said “We should break their arms and legs”.&nbsp;&nbsp; This statement was taken literally, and the orders were carried out, but Rabin &amp; Co. were never punished.&nbsp; In fact, this is the same Rabin who later won the Noble Peace Prize.<br><span style=”font-family: times new roman; font-size: 16px;”></span>