Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The First Amendment rides again

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:44 PM Permalink

This is a big deal, an appellate court overturned a trial judge and held that just because we report online, with links and constant updates and corrections, doesn't mean we don't have the same protections as a print reporter.

It is only a state court of appeal, but we can hope it signals a deeper understanding of free speech online.
Court applies reporter's privilege to Web site operator

The state's shield law and the First Amendment apply to journalists for an online magazine, a appellate court ruled in reversing a trial court decision not to apply the reporter's shield law to a Web site.
"The shield law is intended to protect the gathering and dissemination of news," Presiding Justice Conrad L. Rushing wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel for the California Court of Appeal in San Jose. "We can think of no workable test or principle that would distinguish 'legitimate' from 'illegitimate' news."
In reversing the trial court decision, the appellate court found that California' shield law applied even though the journalists repeatedly linked back to their source material -- the supposedly confidential Apple materials.

"Courts ought not to cling too fiercely to traditional preconceptions, especially when they operate to discourage the seemingly salutary practice of providing readers with source materials rather than subjecting them to the editors' own 'spin' on a story," Rushing wrote.
The court also ruled that Apple could not subpoena the journalists' e-mail servers in order to retrieve their confidential source information.
Cool, finally a court seem to get what the web is about. I was impressed that the judge understood that linking to material that supports your story is better than just relying on a point of view. The web can be more like a research paper, which has to have references, and is peer reviewed, than some reporter's swiftboating a public figure by selective use of facts mixed with conjecture.


posted by The Vidiot @ 8:10 AM Permalink

Long-time readers know that I'm a bit of a nut when it comes to derivatives. I think derivatives are THE DUMBEST most RIDICULOUSLY TENUOUS things to ever be invented. Mostly because they're concocted out of thin air. Well, guess what? They're beginning to go boom. Will this cause ripple effects or are they the part of a ripple effect? The dollar is falling, foreclosures are up the price of homes is dropping. These are some of the things derivatives are made of. Who knows, but it fascinates me that the Bushies are out there saying the economy is fine and wondering why the people say no it isn't. (Of course, the media would have you believe it's about the gas prices. I guess they don't want to bring up inflation, wage stagnation and real estate prices.)

As an aside, have you ever noticed that when the stock market rises 50 points it's "a big day on Wall Street" but when it falls nearly 200 points, the markets are down only "one to two percent."

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

To paraphrase Lincoln ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:37 PM Permalink

Geoge W. Bush must truly love our dead soldiers ... he's made so many of them.

A quickie...

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:07 AM Permalink

They showed "Enemy of the State" on ABC the other night. That's the movie where Will Smith and Gene Hackman are fighting against the NSA.

I found it odd that they showed such an old movie (1998) on a Saturday night and let it run it's full 3 hours. I mean, not only is it old, but that movie goes on and on about the NSA and what they can do, especially when one man runs amok, and it talks about the agreements the NSA has with all of the telecoms and that was eight years ago and they were stretching it then. Now, it's easy to think all that stuff is way possible now and then some.

But the weirdest thing about the movie is that at one point, Gene Hackman is doing research on the bad guy and pulls up his file. Guess what the bad guy's birthdate was?

Go ahead. Guess.



I shit you not.

Movie Review

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:49 AM Permalink

Saw Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" this weekend.

Wow. What a geek he is. But that's a good thing. I love how he does it all himself on his Mac. (It's been said repeatedly, but it's hard to look at Al Gore because looking at him reminds me of what might've been different these last 6 years.)

Go see the movie. Drag your Bush-loving brother-in-law to see it. Do what you have to in order to get someone who's NOT in the choir to see it. It's that important. It's simple to understand and it's really rather conservative so it should be easy for the red state types to swallow. (And you might get your chance. It had a great opening which means it should be opening in a lot more theaters.)

When you see it, and then you see headlines like these:
GAO Report Faults Voluntary Programs To Cut Air Pollution
European Mosquito Calamity Hits South Moravia
Jet streams off track, may affect weather patterns
Deserts Expanding With Jet Stream Shift
Well, it makes you think. I mean, in the movie, he talked about all of those things. And he offers very simple ideas to make things better. The Kyoto treaty, while not signed on to by the present mis-administration, could work. The Montreal protocol that was signed to reduce CFCs has actually reduced CFCs and as a result, the ozone layer is healing. We can do things now that will have results in the future.

Yet this government continues to do stupid things like cutting funds to Amtrak. When gas hits $7 a gallon, how the hell is an east coaster going to go the west coast? Drive? I don't think so. Fly? Well that will be prohibitively expensive at those gas prices now wouldn't it? The only thing we SHOULD do is invest in our rail infrastructure and make it as energy economical as possible.

Well, whatever you do, do not ignore this movie.

Monday, May 29, 2006

In Memoriam

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:07 PM Permalink

It's Memorial Day and the unnecessary deaths from friendly fire, bad political decisions, poor equipment ... have nothing to do with the soldiers who died. Those conditions have been inherent in war since war began. And especially so in the wars that started with lies. Just in my lifetime: 'Gulf Of Tonkin Incident'; 'Grenada Was Taken Over By Communists'; 'Iraq Has WMDs and We Know Where They Are' were all lies.

But the people who died because of these lies did not die for these lies. They died for their fellows, they died for their country, they died for us.

This is why we should remember them every day, not just between brats (edible and sired) on this day, but because regardless of the lies, the coverups, the sheer incompetence that put them in harm's way to begin with, they were doing it for us.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Saturday Sailboat Blogging

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:56 AM Permalink

(Pic courtesy of Northernpoet)

There is truly some real crap on the web.

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:56 AM Permalink

I have no idea how I stumbled upon this nightmare, but I did. It's called "National Alliance News. News for white people... by white people." Ohmigawd, Ohmigawd, Ohmigawd. (I spend way too much time surfing.) The URL is I don't want to hotlink crap like that because it would only encourage them, but you have GOT to read the headline on their site. They used a perfectly reasonable story from the BBC on the origin of HIV. The original headline from the BBC article is:
HIV origin 'found in wild chimps'
This Natall news thing rewrote the headline.
HIV Origin Found: Negro Sex With Chimps Cause Jump to Humans
I shit you not! That's what they put in as the headline!

Who are these people and where are their meds?

Like "one hand clapping"...

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:53 AM Permalink

If a person apologises and then smirks, is it still and apology?
Excerpt: Bush's body language suggests this wasn't an open and honest acquiescence to a straight forward question, but a rehearsed and choreographed ploy to boost his pathetic approval ratings.

What is wrong with this country?

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:43 AM Permalink

Are we so paranoid and afraid that an air hammer can cause a lockdown of the capitol? A woman has a stress attack from fear? Secret words are needed? WTF?

I think we have to take a good hard look at how we've been manipulated and how fearful we all are. I live in NYC. I moved here in the 1980s. I was always fearful of being raped or mugged. But in my 20 years here, I've only been mugged once and it wasn't that big of a deal. They were total pussies and couldn't even get my bag from me or knock me out. Three big boys couldn't manage one little girl. Ha.

But now, the government, with the help of the media of course, has us so worked up, we look at any swarthy male with suspicion, an empty bag is cause for alarm and backfiring car will have us diving for cover. Of course, it doesn't help if our lawmakers are paranoid as well.
Excerpt: A US lawmaker admitted to being the source of the mistaken report of gunfire that sparked the mayhem amid worries that an armed intruder was on the loose in Congress, leading authorities to shut down parts of the legislative office complex for hours.

Republican Representative Jim Saxton (news, bio, voting record), speaking to Fox television, said he was in an elevator at the garage level of the Rayburn House Office building, when he heard what he thought was gunfire.
We're doomed.

A suspicion is confirmed.

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:40 AM Permalink

This pretty much says it all.
Excerpt:For the third year in a row the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney has refused to disclose data on its classification and declassification activity, in an apparent violation of an executive order issued by President Bush.
Apparently, Mr. Cheney is really the president.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Nano Nano

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:32 PM Permalink

Tainted Love 3:58 Skinny Puppy
Sleepwalk 4:50 Santo & Johnny
Circle Of Hands 6:29 Uriah Heep
Surrender 4:12 Cheap Trick
Mothers Little Helper 2:48 Rolling Stones
For The Love of Money 3:47 Bullet Boys
Still 3:50 Little Feat
Good Girls Don't 3:07 The Knack
I Need You Tonight.mp3 3:01 INXS
I Want You to Want Me 3:38 Cheap Trick
Piece Of My Heart 4:16 Big Brother And The Holding Company
Under A Bad Sign.mp3 7:38 Jimi Hendrix

Submitted without comment ... because why reinvent the wheel?

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:16 PM Permalink

Top 10 Signs of the Impending U.S. Police State
OK, when I said without comment, what I meant was (hey, just consider this my 'signing statement';-) I wouldn't comment. But I thought this comment by Arvy from the Alternet site was concise (and snarkalicious):
George Bush said that the terrorists hate the West because of its freedoms. Makes sense that he's taking those freedoms away in order to stop the flow of hate ...! Once you're all living in a police state then the terrorists will have nothing to hate you for!

My Favorite Quote

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:51 AM Permalink

from the Ken Lay Show (paraphrased):

"This decision is dangerous because it makes doing business as usual illegal."



Thursday, May 25, 2006

So how bad do the neocons want a war with Iran?

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:22 PM Permalink

UPDATE: Read the following quote and tell me if you don't agree the neocons are crazy, bloodthirsty wackdoodles
Against this tide, neo-conservatives, whose influence in the administration runs chiefly through Cheney's office, have been fighting back, warning that direct talks with Tehran would be a trap from which Washington would find it difficult to extricate itself and declaring that recent ethnic unrest inside Iran showed that its population was ready to rise up against the regime.

"The question before the world now is: Can Iran be coerced by any means short of force (to halt its nuclear programme)," wrote David Frum of the American Enterprise Institute. "There's only one way to find out -- and it is not by talking."

Original Post:
Iran Proposal to U.S. Offered Peace with Israel

Iran offered in 2003 to accept peace with Israel and to cut off material assistance to Palestinian armed groups and pressure them to halt terrorist attacks within Israel's 1967 borders, according to the secret Iranian proposal to the United States.

The two-page proposal for a broad Iran-U.S. agreement covering all the issues separating the two countries, a copy of which was obtained by IPS, was conveyed to the United States in late April or early May 2003.

The two-page document contradicts the official line of the George W. Bush administration that Iran is committed to the destruction of Israel and the sponsorship of terrorism in the region.

U-turn by White House As it Blocks Direct Talks with Iran

The White House yesterday ruled out previously authorised direct talks between Tehran and the US ambassador in Baghdad, which were to have focused on the situation in Iraq. The move marks a hardening of the Bush administration's position, despite pressure from the international community to enter into direct dialogue with Iran.

A White House official said that although the US envoy had originally been granted a mandate for talks with Iran, "we have decided not to pursue it."
I'm so sick of this wild west bunch and their playground rhetoric. Either they are too stupid to recognize the hand of peace extended, or they are just hell bent on carrying out the PNAC plan for conquest of the world. Either way, we need a regime change ... in our country!

Did anybody else watch CBS Evening News last night?

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:47 PM Permalink

We were watching it and when they did the story of the Jefferson investigation and the FBI going in and searching his offices (with a warrant, I might add. Too bad we citizens don't get the same consideration) and the ensuing stink in Congress, the woman who was reporting, at the very end, slipped and instead of saying "Representative Jefferson", said "Representative Clinton" instead.

Now, I know that Bill Clinton is William Jefferson Clinton, but isn't that a bit odd? And when she did it, it was like she was going to say Jefferson, but then remembered she was supposed to say Clinton (or at least, that's what it seemed like.) It was odd.

But let's look at it a different way. If you understand Operation Mockingbird, and you subscribe to Wayne Madsen's theory, (mentioned in a previous post) that the search was really a shot across the bow for the incoming Congress to NOT investigate the Bushies, well then could it have been a warning to Clinton?

I'm just saying....

Hey, if I didn't occasionally write crazy stuff, you all would get bored and not visit us anymore.

A quick perusal of this site

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:46 AM Permalink

makes me think it's quite worthy. It's called Global Voicec Online and their mission statement is as follows:
Global Voices Online is a non-profit global citizens’ media project, sponsored by and launched from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at the Harvard Law School.

How Global Voices Works:

A growing number of bloggers around the world are emerging as “bridge bloggers:� people who are talking about their country or region to a global audience. Global Voices is your guide to the most interesting conversations, information, and ideas appearing around the world on various forms of participatory media such as blogs, podcasts, photo sharing sites, and videoblogs.

Our global team of regional blogger-editors is working to find, aggregate and track these conversations. Each day they link to 5-10 of the most interesting blog posts from their regions in the “daily roundups� section. A larger group of contributing bloggers is posting

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Why isn't the good news from Iraq being reported on?

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:37 PM Permalink

VOA's Baghdad Bureau Still Closed After Six Months

The Voice of America's bureau in Baghdad has been closed for the past six months, ever since the government-funded agency withdrew its only reporter in Iraq after she was fired upon in an ambush and her security guard was later killed.

Hero of the week

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:34 PM Permalink

Ion Sancho

Elections chief urges citizens to demand vote accountability

First, they forced counties to adopt electronic voting machines that can be tampered with, then, last year, they made it illegal to use paper ballots to recount close races, Sancho told 100 people gathered at Daytona Beach Community College.
"Everything you do today is verified," Sancho said, whether it's a store receipt or a high school diploma. So why should voting be any different, Sancho asked.

Sancho caused a brouhaha earlier this year when he asked computer experts to hack into touch-screen machines to test their vulnerability. One hacker discovered he could change vote tallies without detection by manipulating the memory cards.

The tests irked officials at Diebold Election Systems, which manufactures the touch-screens. To retaliate, Diebold and other vendors refused to sell machines to Leon County, but later relented.

In December, Volusia County Council members voted 4-3 to reject Diebold in the hope of eventually buying from AutoMARK, a vendor whose machines offered a paper trail. But the state never certified AutoMARK. [ED: gee, I wonder why that was?]
Equally troubling is a state law passed in 2005 that makes it unlawful to use paper ballots in official recounts, Sancho said. Electronic votes must stand on their own.
And now, the $$ shot:
Clint Curtis, a computer programmer, said lawmakers asked him to develop software that could divert a vote from the item a person chose to another on the page. The idea was to boost voting security, Curtis said, although now he's not so sure.

He designed the program so the erroneous vote would show up everywhere in the electronic system. An independent paper trail is the only way to beat it, Curtis said.
(Sancho said) "The truth is messy," he said. "The truth makes you uncomfortable."
Uncomfortable, frightening, scary ... yet the truth will set you allow us to remain free.

I'm used to the Washington Post publishing fluff ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:19 PM Permalink

... but a fluffer!?

For your voyeuristic defenestration I give youLaura Blumenfeld.


posted by The Vidiot @ 4:05 PM Permalink

While the friggin' idiots in Congress are busy flinging poo at each other:
Excerpt: Republican incumbents are far more likely than their colleagues in Congress to receive oil company money, RAW STORY has found.

Excerpt: Republicans have responded to widespread reports of Rick Santorum's (R-PA) lobbyist contributions by pointing out that 8 of the 11 U.S. Senators to benefit the most from lobby gifts are, in fact, Democrats, RAW STORY has learned.
Bush is busy making it easier -- nay WAAAAyyy easier -- to hide money and shield his corporate buddies for unnecessary prying eyes.
Excerpt: President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar, John Negroponte, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations. Notice of the development came in a brief entry in the Federal Register, dated May 5, 2006, that was opaque to the untrained eye.
Note the date: May 5. Not only are most Americans drunk that day, celebrating a tiny little battle in a failed Mexican war, but that was the day that Porter Goss resigned.

Coinkydink? I think not.


posted by The Vidiot @ 3:26 PM Permalink

I just have to beat my head on my desktop and moan the moan of a trapped soul in hell.
Excerpt: In the latest White House personnel changes, the editor of a conservative magazine will replace Claude Allen, the domestic policy adviser who left in February amid a shoplifting investigation.
The White House announced the appointment Wednesday of Karl Zinsmeister, who has been editor-in-chief of The American Enterprise magazine for 12 years.
I have to assume that The American Enterprise magazine is the same American Enterprise magazine that is published by the American Enterprise Institute, which, as you all should know by now, is a slithering den of neocons.

Think it can't happen here?

posted by The Vidiot @ 2:44 PM Permalink

1,000s of people are quarantined in Bucharest because of bird flu.
Excerpt: The mayor of the southern fourth district, Adrian Inimaroiu, said residents would be cut off and all businesses in the area would be closed during the quarantine period of up to three weeks.
It can happen here too.
Excerpt: Executive Order: Amendment to E.O. 13295 Relating to Certain Influenza Viruses and Quarantinable Communicable Diseases
Brace yourself. It's going to be a bumpy ride.
Excerpt: "We have seen clusters in the past and we have seen what was almost certainly (maybe) limited human to human transmission in some cases," he said. "But this is significant because it's the mother of all clusters. It's seven people, six of whom have died and possibly an eighth as well who died before samples could be taken so this is the mother of all clusters."

Cordingley says the WHO is particularly concerned because scientists cannot find a link to sick birds in these latest deaths.

Here's a thought...

posted by The Vidiot @ 2:22 PM Permalink

The GOPers are going ape-shit over the fact that the FBI has raided a Congressman's office, even though that Congressman is a democrat (and one of the skankiest) and you would think they'd be all hee-hee and ha-ha over it.
Excerpt:The Republican Speaker of the House has lashed out the Justice Department--and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales--over the raid of a Democratic Congressman's Office, RAW STORY has learned
Some speculate that they're covering their own corrupt asses. Wayne Madsen has a theory that's sort of along the same line. He says it's a warning shot to Congress to not investigate the Bush administration.
Excerpt: The recent Saturday raid by 19 armed FBI agents on the House of Representatives office of Rep. William Jefferson was not a warning to the current 109th Congress but a threatening broadside against the 110th Congress, which looks to have at least one house controlled by the Democrats. The unitary fascist Bush White House is sending a message to a future Democratic Congress -- "engage in investigations, hearings, subpoenas of Bush administration current and ex-officials, and impeachment notions, and this type of ransacking of congressional offices will be the rule and not the exception." That is why pathetic GOP leaders like Dennis Hastert, Bill Frist, and Trent Lott are so upset. Like the weak and cowering German conservative parliamentarians, including the Catholic Center Party, German People's Party, National People's Party, and Bavarian People's Party members, who, after the Nazi victory in the 1932 elections, voted in 1933 for the Enabling Act (Germany's version of our Patriot Act) and themselves out of a job, the Republican leadership complaints about Bush are too little and too late. Now, they will also feel the brunt of Bush's judges who will rule that FBI invasions and ransacking of congressional offices do not violate any separation of powers clause in the Constitution. Soon, the names Hastert, Frist, and Lott will be as forgotten as those German conservatives who voted for the Enabling Act and handed power to a fascist regime.
So here's my amazing and brilliant thought:


OK. I supposed evidence can be planted. But still....

This is what I'm talkin' about.

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:12 AM Permalink

If you're a long-time reader, you may have read any number of my rants regarding how the police state is creeping up on us. One of the ways this is done is by acclimating and desensitizing the general public to the presence of armed troops, be it National Guardspeople or police in military-like garb. (That's only one of the reasons why I'm so disturbed by the militarization of our borders, by the way.) Well, take a gander at this. It starts out by describing how, when an unmarked, black SUV pulls up to the front of the Empire State building, and four guys in paramilitary gear pile out.

Excerpt: A stone's throw down the sidewalk, Abad Nieves watches the scene unfold. Nieves is a detective with the Intelligence Division of the New York Police Department (NYPD). Casually clad in slacks and a black leather jacket, he monitors the response of people loitering in the area. Is anyone making notes or videotaping? Does anyone seem especially startled by the out-of-the-blue appearance of a heavily armed NYPD squad?

On this day, Nieves doesn't see anything overly suspicious, but he is pleased that the deployment created a strong impression. Known as a Hercules team, it makes multiple appearances around the city each day. The locations are chosen either in response to specific intelligence or simply to provide a show of force at high-profile sites.

"The response we usually get is, 'Holy s---!'" Nieves says. "That's the reaction we want. We are in the business of scaring people--we just want to scare the right people."

Add to that "and train the rest of them to accept us as authority figures."

My suggestion? Keep some rotten tomatoes on hand. When you see these guys, pelt them.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


posted by Mr. Vidiot @ 1:07 PM Permalink

This article gets somethings right and some things wrong:
Excerpt: The American government in its various incarnations was not created to serve the interests of the people. It was designed to serve capital and to create wealth for the upper echelon by exploiting the working class and plundering the earth. In fact, it is a voracious predatory crime syndicate devoid of conscience that creates perpetual war while simultaneously pilfering the public treasury. It remains in power only through the collusion of its obedient servant, the commercial media and a disengaged public.
Because capital finances and controls the major political parties, it is always assured of both power and control, regardless of which party is in power. Thus capital will never allow meaningful reform that could usurp some of its power and redistribute it among the people. Capital demands complete power and total control over the political process. It will allow no more than minor change within narrow predefined limits that create the illusion of reform. Beyond those limits capital feels threatened and reacts with violent brutality.

This is in large part true though with flaws. This excerpt forgets the power of agency and resistance among many working class people. Hegemony is never complete, never static but rather a fluid equilibrium adapting and changing, incorporating and digesting as a bulimic while purging out the unwanted it creates. The expelled remains do not vanish; they continue to resist making American hegemonic control always problematic for the power elite.

Agency is always operating and threatening now more than ever corporate control, state power, and the legitimacy of our political economy. This excerpt is a half-truth, and is stifled by its own logic. There is never complete control, never complete power, never complete rule, never throughout all of history. The article forgets those that are silenced, and only adds to their silence by its refusal to admit their existence. The voices of the silenced exist where the cameras do not exist, where the eyes of the world fail to turn. We are well aware of what the writer is trying to convey, yet the writer must take a step further and realize the power of the marginalized and dispossessed, it is where the true battle is fought, not in the political arena, not in the global media, but in the streets where the so called left and right equally hate and ignore. The battle is fought in the social cracks in the urban landscape that has yet to be consumed with global capitalism and American hegemony. It is in these ignored social spaces where true resistance is found and power is challenged every day, every minute, and every moment.

And there are more cracks and fractures everyday to the logic and legitimacy of our social foundations. Failure to recognize this is failure to give our current system of power too much credit over the power of human agency -- our capacity to think, to fight, and for humanity to triumph.

And triumph we will.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Why no Rove indictment?

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:56 PM Permalink

The newest rumbling has Alberto Gonzales as "The Indictment Squasher!"
Excerpt: The Wayne Madsen Report and the Chris Matthews Show have both floated the theory that Fitzgerald had secured indictments against Rove, but Gonzales --via McNulty-- came in at the last second and used his power as Fitzgerald's superior to kill the indictments.

Polishing a turd.

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:17 PM Permalink

Bush is already quite dicatorial.
Excerpt: The leadership style is hierarchical, with the top guy able to make any decision he pleases basically without any approval from any quarter. It is the style of a dictator. It is 100 percent subversive of our Constitutional framework.
But I guess if FDR thought about it, then that makes it OK.
Excerpt: As America struggled for its survival on the eve of FDR's presidency, Roosevelt felt that all options were on the table. One heretofore undisclosed possibility that Alter unearthed from the archives was to form a private army over which he could exert what amounted to dictatorial powers.
Yes yes. If the beloved FDR thought about it, then it must be OK.

Must-read, must-read of the week.

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:08 PM Permalink

Get this before it becomes censored. It's from Wired and it's what AT&T (and by extension the government) don't want you to know.
Excerpt: AT&T claims information in the file is proprietary and that it would suffer severe harm if it were released.

Based on what we've seen, Wired News disagrees. In addition, we believe the public's right to know the full facts in this case outweighs AT&T's claims to secrecy.

Here's the PDF of the actual filing.
Here's a tasty morsel
In 2003 AT&T built "secret rooms" hidden deep in the bowels of its central offices in various cities, housing computer gear for a government spy operation which taps into the company's popular WorldNet service and the entire internet. These installations enable the government to look at every individual message on the internet and analyze exactly what people are doing. Documents showing the hardwire installation in San Francisco suggest that there are similar locations being installed in numerous other cities.

It only gets more chilling

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:00 PM Permalink

Not only will they go after the journalists,
Excerpt:Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Sunday he believes journalists can be prosecuted for publishing classified information, citing an obligation to national security.
They're going to go after the papers that publish the journalists' work.
Excerpt: The federal government appears to have the authority to prosecute journalists or newspapers for publishing classified information, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said on Sunday.
One smart blogger asked the right question: When will they come after the bloggers?

Sweet. Add that to the militarization of our borders (possibly a violation of Posse Comitatus, which I have posted down on the right hand column)
Excerpt: A central issue of Bush's plan is that the troops would be under federal authority. One of the exceptions built into the Posse Comitatus Act is that troops may be deployed to support law enforcement agencies, but with the exception of insurrections and riots, nuclear attack or interdiction of drug smuggling (when working directly with law enforcement agencies), they must be under the authority of a state governor.
And you have yourself a police state. The only thing missing is the creation of a perpetual war state.

Oh, wait.
Excerpt: Iran is just a few months from acquiring the technological know-how that will allow it to build a nuclear bomb, [insert bull-shit cough here.] Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was quoted as saying Sunday in the transcript of an interview he gave to CNN.
We have that too.
Excerpt: In order to sell more weapons, the United States needs to create phantom enemies for countries targeted as markets. This is definitely the case in regard to the tiny Arab states on the southern shores of the Persian Gulf.

Update: It only gets worse.
Excerpt: The Supreme Court reaffirmed Monday that police can enter homes in emergencies without knocking or announcing their presence.
Tell me, what constitutes and emergency? Suspected terrorist inside, even though it's just a blogger at her computer?

Propaganda of the Weekend

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:48 AM Permalink

While attending a bar Mitzvah in Cleveland, Ohio (oh joy) I was listening to the news on the local news there. It was astounding! It was about the uprising in Gitmo. How they staged a hanging and waited for the troops to come in and stop it, then they ambushed the troops. Then, they had had some commander from Gitmo on a phone line saying (and I paraphrase) "You see! This just proves that these guys are committed jihadists and want to kill our people whenever and wherever they can."


Yes, yes. That's it. They want to kill our troops whenever and wherever they can. It absolutely has nothing to do with the torture and abuse and the indefinite incarceration and the heat and the bad food and the .....

I tell you what those "committed jihadists were doing. They wanted to hold a couple of those troops hostage and bargained their way off that island OR they were committing "suicide by cop." Pretty simple really.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

This probably explains a lot ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:51 PM Permalink

... about me, because it cracks me up!
Cell Phone Symphony

The Moebius

Best Buy

And many more!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Just Farking Around ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:50 PM Permalink

Minor update: edited for readablility.
Let them eat cake!
Mega-developers and the city's mayor are shooting down a proposed affordable housing law, calling it unfair, communistic and doomed to failure. People could afford a place to live, the mayor said, if they were willing to work harder.

Mayor Jim Naugle, a conservative and brash politician serving his final term, said people mistakenly think they're entitled to an affordable single-family house on a 40-hour work routine. They need to work more hours, and even then settle for a condo or townhouse, Naugle said.

"I'm supposed to subsidize some schlock sitting on the sofa and drinking a beer, who won't work more than 40 hours a week?'' he asked. "I deny that there is a problem. You can buy condos all day for $160,000.''
That's almost as funny as Dick Cheney lecturing poor people on saving for retirement.

Prankster's pals turn room into man-size hamster cage
I think the headline says it all.

Va. Town Council Seeks Removal of Mayor

APPALACHIA, Va. May 19, 2006 (AP)— The town council voted to seek removal of the mayor, who is charged with rigging his election two years ago, including a scheme to buy votes with beer and cigarettes.

Mayor Ben Cooper, 63, was not present for Thursday's vote because he is under house arrest.
Now how could I tell that story was from appalachia?

Obviously it's Mesa, not Mensa

A new banned substance is making its way around Chandler Basha High School — ketchup. Bottles of the condiment have been smuggled into the cafeteria and promptly confiscated when students whipped them out for their burgers and fries.
Frankly, if all students are whipping out is a bottle of catsup, I'm all for it.

Gor blimey! Subservient cult is unleashed on Darlington

Growing concern over Internet addiction Don't believe the headline for a second, remember this site is free, and the first one is always free! Just keep reading, c'mon you know you want to ... besides, if you quit now you'll never get the $$ shot:
"Denial is strong in Internet addicts who claim they cannot be addicted to a machine," Wieland notes.
Yeah? Try telling that to my girlfriend ... (damn D cells anyway [/muttering])

Summer Camp at Gitmo

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:25 PM Permalink

I came across this op-ed by Gitmo Torturer In Chief Navy Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., who is liable for detainee operations and intelligence gathering at the camp

Inside Guantanamo Bay

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba -- On Sunday, the Tribune editorial page asked readers: What should the U.S. do with the Guantanamo Bay detention camp? Harry B. Harris Jr., the commander of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo, offered this essay in response.

I lead the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians responsible for the safe and humane care and custody of the unlawful enemy combatants* held here at Guantanamo--a responsibility we take very seriously.
Here's an example of how seriously they take it:
The Tribune's characterization of Guantanamo as a "detention camp" is precisely correct. Despite our persistent efforts to correct the record, many mainstream outlets--print, voice and electronic--persist in referring to this facility as a "prison camp." This is not mere parsing of words or semantic folderol. Prisons are about punishment and rehabilitation; Guantanamo is about neither.

What we are about is the detention of unlawful enemy combatants--dangerous men associated with Al Qaeda or the Taliban captured on the battlefield waging war on America and our allies, running from that battlefield, or otherwise closely associated with Al Qaeda and the Taliban--and, as you correctly pointed out, preventing them from returning to the fight. We hold men who proudly admit membership at the leadership level in Al Qaeda and the Taliban, many with direct personal contact and knowledge of the Sept. 11, 2001, attackers. We are keeping terrorist recruiters, facilitators, explosives trainers, bombers and bombmakers, Osama bin Laden bodyguards and financiers from continuing their jihad against America.
Here's a small sample of the most dangerous men in the world:
_ Hafizullah Shah, from the village of Galdon in Afghanistan, was being held based on classified evidence he was not allowed to see. The farmer said he was walking to a bazaar when he was arrested. The United States said Shah was wearing an olive green jacket and was seen by soldiers with a group caching weapons. "I was just walking in the street and I was captured," Shah said. "The next thing I found out is that I am sitting here" in Guantanamo Bay.

_ Abdur Sayed Rahman, of Pakistan, identified himself as a poor chicken farmer. The United States alleged he was in the Taliban, either as a military judge or deputy foreign minister. It emerged during the hearing that the deputy minister is Abdur Zahid Rahman, a near homonym of the detainee. Police searched Abdur Sayed Rahman's home in Pakistan in the fall of 2001 and arrested him. "An American told me I was wrongfully taken and that in a couple of days I'd be freed," Rahman said. "I never saw that American again and I'm still here."

_ Zakirjan Asam traveled from Tajikistan to Afghanistan in the spring of 2001. He was accused of being a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which allegedly has ties to the Taliban. Asam said he came to Afghanistan as a refugee and was turned over to U.S. forces because he could not afford to pay a bribe.

_ Salih Uyar, 24 at the time of his tribunal hearing, traveled to Afghanistan from Turkey in 2000. He was accused of living with a known al-Qaida member for two months just before raids began in Kabul, Afghanistan, and of associating with Turkish radical religious groups. At the time of his capture, he had a Casio watch - a model that authorities say was used in bombings. "If it's a crime to carry this watch, your own military personnel also carry this watch, too," Uyar told the military tribunal. "Does that mean that they're just terrorists as well?" Uyar also went to Syria but said his purpose was to study Arabic.
So the fashion police ('wearing a green jacket?', a 'casio watch?'), and the language police ('a near homonym of the detainee'), are protecting us from terrerists!?

Virtual tour

I do reject out of hand, however, the Tribune's notion that we are somehow delinquent in our moral responsibility to transform the camp and that the camp is "unsatisfactory." This is simply not true. Your editorial is either misleading or ill-informed. Conditions have improved dramatically for detainees since they first arrived in 2002. More important, we aggressively look for ways to build on the "safe and humane care and custody" mission with which I opened this dialogue.
Really!? What about this:

Hearings may consider torture
The specter of military torture entered pretrial debate over how to proceed in the trial of a Yemeni captive.

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- A U.S. Army colonel presiding over four war-crimes cases here acknowledged on Wednesday that upcoming trials may have to weigh whether torture was used to gather testimony against alleged al Qaeda conspirators.
Air Force Maj. Jane Boomer, said after the hearing that Military Commissions rules that protect information for national security reasons do not specifically ban evidence gained through torture.

''Hypothetically, is it possible? Do the rules allow for it?,'' she said. ``Yes.''
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld issued, then repealed, interrogation regulations that some senior Pentagon insiders saw as abusive. FBI agents, in internal e-mails, described detainees shackled to the floor, naked, left to urinate on themselves and blasted with icy temperatures and mind-numbing music -- in order to break their will during interrogations.
Nothing to see here, just move along.
Detainees have sent and received more than 44,000 pieces of mail since February 2002[...]
How is that possible since until about a week ago no one except the Pentagon knew their names, and the Pentagon only released their names because of a lawsuit. Bonus fun fact: The Pentagon's excuse? "Personal information on detainees was withheld solely to protect detainee privacy and for their own security,", which is almost as funny as their excuse for not releasing torture photos "The Pentagon originally argued that releasing the images would violate the Geneva Convention rights of the detainees", you remember, those rights that Bush declares they don't have.
Doctors in the house

We provide outstanding medical care to every detainee, the same quality as what our service members receive. We are improving the health and extending the life span of the detainee population in our charge.
With methods like these!?
Army Doctors Implicated in Abuse
Medical Workers Helped Tailor Interrogations of Detainees, Article Says

U.S. Army doctors violated the Geneva Conventions by helping intelligence officers carry out abusive interrogations at military detention centers, perhaps participating in torture, according to an article in today's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.
It says that medical workers gave interrogators access to patient medical files, and that psychiatrists and other physicians collaborated with interrogators and guards who, in turn, deprived detainees of sleep, restricted them to diets of bread and water and exposed them to extreme heat and cold.
And this:
Force-Feeding an End to Guantanamo Dissent
Pentagon ruling on hunger strikers raises concerns
Report for UN calls the practice akin to `torture'

The policy to tube-feed detainees appears to contradict what's set out in Article 5 of the 1975 World Medical Association Tokyo Declaration to which the United Sates is bound through its membership with the American Medical Association.

It states: "Where a prisoner refuses nourishment and is considered by the doctor as capable of forming an unimpaired and rational judgment concerning the consequences of such a voluntary refusal of nourishment, he or she shall not be fed artificially."

Former commander of the base Maj.-Gen. Jay Hood told a group of civilian doctors, psychologists and ethicists who visited the camp's medical facility in October 2005 that doctors had been "screened, before coming to Guantanamo, "to ensure they do not have ethical objections to assisted feeding," according to an account of that visit in The New England Journal of Medicine.
I hear they call it the Mengele test.
Passing inspections

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which enjoys full diplomatic status, has unfettered access to the detainees. Their reports are useful, meaningful and confidential.[...]
Perhaps he's referring to these reports:
Red Cross: Guantanamo Tactics 'Tantamount to Torture'

WASHINGTON - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has accused the U.S. military of using tactics "tantamount to torture" on prisoners at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
In Geneva, the ICRC said it would neither confirm nor deny the New York Times report -- in which allegations of treatment tantamount to torture go further than what the neutral intermediary has publicly stated before about inmates held at Guantanamo.

But, in a statement, the Geneva-based ICRC said it remained concerned that "significant problems regarding conditions and treatment at Guantanamo Bay have not yet been adequately addressed," and it was pursuing talks with U.S. authorities.
The Times said the U.S. government and military officials received the ICRC report in July and rejected its findings.
The Times said the Red Cross investigators had found a system devised to break the will of prisoners through "humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions."

"The construction of such a system, whose stated purpose is the production of intelligence, cannot be considered other than an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture," the Times quoted the report as saying.
But wait, there's more!
The Red Cross said yesterday that the U.S. may have committed war crimes at Guantanamo Bay if reports of detainees being tortured at the military base are true. This according to a report in the Guardian of London. The comment by the Red Cross comes a day after three former detainees from Britain revealed they were the victims of systemic abuse at the hands of their US captors both in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay.
Danger within

The U.S. government remains committed to not detaining any person any longer than is absolutely required.[...]
Sounds good ... unless you know this:
15 Muslims, Cleared of Terrorism Charges, Remain at Guantanamo With Nowhere to Go

In late 2003, the Pentagon quietly decided that 15 Chinese Muslims detained at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could be released. Five were people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, some of them picked up by Pakistani bounty hunters for U.S. payoffs. The other 10 were deemed low-risk detainees whose enemy was China's communist government -- not the United States, according to senior U.S. officials.

More than 20 months later, the 15 still languish at Guantanamo Bay, imprisoned and sometimes shackled, with most of their families unaware whether they are even alive.
All 15 Uighurs have actually been cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay twice, once after a Pentagon review in late 2003 and again last March, U.S. officials said. Seven other Uighurs were ruled to be enemy combatants and will continue to be detained.

Even after the second decision, however, the government did not notify the 15 men for several months that they had been cleared. "They clearly were keeping secret that these men were acquitted. They were found not to be al Qaeda and not to be Taliban," Willett said. "But the government still refused to provide a transcript of the tribunal that acquitted them to the detainees, their new lawyers or a U.S. court."
And this:
The U.S. military says 759 detainees have been held at Guantanamo Bay since the detention center began taking prisoners in the U.S. war on terror in January 2002. About 275 have been released or transferred.

The U.S. has filed charges against 10 detainees.
Remember this part from his lies above? "We are keeping terrorist recruiters, facilitators, explosives trainers, bombers and bombmakers, Osama bin Laden bodyguards and financiers How does that square with only charging 10 out of 759 detainees?

And how does Rear Admiral Harris' fiction compare to these facts?
Six hurt in violent clashes as Guantánamo Bay uprising is put down by US guards
According to Guantánamo Bay naval base commander Rear Admiral Harry Harris, the unrest began when guards were set upon as they came to the aid of a detainee pretending to hang himself in Camp 4
Pretending!? You mean like these guys?
Earlier on Thursday, two other prisoners made suicide attempts by swallowing prescription medicine they had been hoarding. Military officers yesterday described them as stable but unconscious.
There have been 41 suicide attempts at the facility since it was opened in January 2002 to house prisoners seized on the battlefields of Afghanistan, and suspected members of al-Qaida.

In 2003, according to the US military, 23 detainees carried out a coordinated attempt to kill themselves during a week-long protest. The attempts were classified as "self-injurious behaviour" rather than suicide attempts.

One prisoner, Bahraini Juma'a al-Dossari, has made 12 suicide attempts in four years - including one last October during a visit by his attorney, Joshua Colangelo-Bryan. "I saw a pool of blood on the floor in front of me, and then I looked up and saw him hanging from the inside of the steel mesh wall of the cell. He had a large gash in his arm, and he was unconscious," Mr Colangelo-Bryan told the Guardian.

James Yee, a former US army chaplain at Guantánamo, said the number of suicide attempts had become much worse. "When I was down there it was happening pretty often," he told CNN.

Last August, more than 120 prisoners went on hunger strike to protest at their indefinite imprisonment and beatings by the Immediate Response Force squads which are used to put down such protests.

* Can we finally put paid to the fiction that the term "unlawful enemy combatant" exists anywhere but in the minds of Bushco?
The Convention Against Torture prohibits its signatories from using cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of prisoners, and obliges them to ensure that any detainee is given certain minimum legal rights. President Ronald Reagan signed the treaty, President George H.W. Bush formally sent it to the Senate for approval, and the Senate ratified it in 1994.
Congress also passed legislation turning the treaty's provisions into domestic law, which President Bill Clinton signed. But after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush's legal team told him that he had the power to bypass domestic and international restrictions on the treatment of prisoners, such as the antitorture treaty or the Geneva Conventions.
Last year Congress passed a law making clear that no US official can use any form of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment against detainees, anywhere in the world. But when Bush signed the new torture ban, he issued a ''signing statement" reasserting his claim that he has the power, as commander-in-chief, to authorize interrogators to bypass the restrictions.
I just read the constitution again, and I can't find anywhere in it that the president can ignore laws when he signs them just because he kept his fingers crossed.

Saturday Sailboat Blogging

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:07 AM Permalink

Friday, May 19, 2006

Not Exactly Worth a Thousand Words ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:30 PM Permalink

So MyKeru references a post by Atrios who links to a post by Lawyers, Guns and Money who linked to a post about battle fatigue ... suffered by the WATB warbloggers. Which gives me an excuse for this picture:

I'm a hypocrite ...

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:14 PM Permalink

... because I think you should see this movie, but there's no way in hell I could: Baghdad ER

Filed under: Don't the have anything better to do?

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:17 PM Permalink

Bump and freakin' update:
President George W. Bush has long opposed making English the country's national language, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said on Friday,
"The president has never supported making English the national language" Gonzales said
As opposed to:
White House spokesman Tony Snow said Friday that President Bush supports both measures.

Original post:
Whether or Not English Is America's National Language Dominates Senate Debate
My favorite part?
"What the president has said all along is that he wants to make sure that people who become American citizens have a command of the English language," Snow said.
That's pretty funny coming from a guy who speaks like this:
"I aim to be a competitive nation."
"If the Iranians were to have a nuclear weapon they could proliferate."
"And so I'm for medical liability at the federal level."
"I hope you go you know I hope you go back to the ranch and the farm is what I'm about to say."
"The best place for the facts to be done is by somebody who's spending time investigating it."
And here's more.

Well, if that wasn't trivial enough:
Senate Votes Hike in Indecency Fines
With no dissent, the Senate late Thursday approved a bill to raise indecency fines 10-fold to $325,000 per violation for television and radio broadcast stations that air profane or indecent material between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., prime family viewing hours.
The legislation was inspired by the 2004 Superbowl halftime show, during which singer Janet Jackson briefly exposed one breast in what she later called a "wardrobe malfunction."
Because god knows a nipple is more of a threat to our society than torture, murder, corruption and illegal spying.

Which brings us to the most dangerous thing facing America today:
Ban on Gay Marriage Advances in Senate

A Senate panel advanced a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage Thursday as the committee chairman shouted "good riddance" to a Democrat who walked out of the tense session.

"If you want to leave, good riddance," Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) told Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.), who refused to participate because, he said, the meeting was not sufficiently open to the public.
Of course there's no need for openness when you are marginalizing 10% of the population. Nyet!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Winning their hearts and minds

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:54 PM Permalink

Pardon the snark in the headline, but some things are so upsetting a little black humor allows me the distance to write about it.
Lawmaker: Marines killed Iraqis 'in cold blood'
Navy conducting war crimes probe into November violence in Haditha

WASHINGTON - A Pentagon probe into the death of Iraqi civilians last November in the Iraqi city of Haditha will show that U.S. Marines "killed innocent civilians in cold blood," a U.S. lawmaker said Wednesday.

From the beginning, Iraqis in the town of Haditha said U.S. Marines deliberately killed 15 unarmed Iraqi civilians, including seven women and three children.

One young Iraqi girl said the Marines killed six members of her family, including her parents. "The Americans came into the room where my father was praying," she said, "and shot him."

On Wednesday, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said the accounts are true.

Military officials told NBC News that the Marine Corps' own evidence appears to show Murtha is right.

A videotape taken by an Iraqi showed the aftermath of the alleged attack: a blood-smeared bedroom floor and bits of what appear to be human flesh and bullet holes on the walls.

The video, obtained by Time magazine, was broadcast a day after town residents told The Associated Press that American troops entered homes on Nov. 19 and shot dead 15 members of two families, including a 3-year-old girl, after a roadside bomb killed a U.S. Marine.

On Nov. 20, U.S. Marines spokesman Capt. Jeffrey Pool issued a statement saying that on the previous day a roadside bomb had killed 15 civilians and a Marine. In a later gunbattle, U.S. and Iraqi troops killed eight insurgents, he said.

U.S. military officials later confirmed that the version of events was wrong.

Murtha, a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq, said at a news conference Wednesday that sources within the military have told him that an internal investigation will show that "there was no firefight, there was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

Military officials say Marine Corp photos taken immediately after the incident show many of the victims were shot at close range, in the head and chest, execution-style. One photo shows a mother and young child bent over on the floor as if in prayer, shot dead, said the officials, who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity because the investigation hasn't been completed.
The Marine Corps issued a statement in response to Murtha's remarks:

"There is an ongoing investigation; therefore, any comment at this time would be inappropriate and could undermine the investigatory and possible legal process. As soon as the facts are known and decisions on future actions are made, we will make that information available to the public to the fullest extent allowable."
The 'fullest extent allowable', pardon my cynicism but I read that as 'we weren't going to tell you.' It's not like there's national security at stake, it's not like the world hasn't seen the video and heard the accounts, but it's a lot like yet another embarrassment to Bushco.

I've also seen reports comparing this incident to My Lai, I sure hope not, because what most folks don't realize about My Lai is that the low level Lt. Calley was sentenced to life in prison ... and all he served was house arrest for a couple of months.

Golly, guess who was instrumental (and I stress the 'mental' part of it) in absolving the butcher of My Lai!? Colin Powell! He wrote: "In direct refutation of this portrayal is the fact that relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent."

Jeebus! More tomorrow, now I have retch for the stars.

Addendum to 'Why Do It Legally'

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:42 PM Permalink

The Vidiot did a great job with the NSA post, but I'd like to add what I consider a $$ quote:
Officials familiar with Thin Thread say some within NSA were stunned by the legal flip-flop. ThinThread "was designed very carefully from a legal point of view, so that even in non-wartime, you could have done it legitimately," the official said.

In a speech in January, Hayden said the warrantless surveillance program was not only limited to al-Qaida communications, but carefully implemented with an eye toward preserving the Constitution and rights of Americans.

"As the director, I was the one responsible to ensure that this program was limited in its scope and disciplined in its application," he said.
Why are there even hearings for this liar? He not only shouldn't get the job, he should be in prison ... in Gitmo.

Why do it legally

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:45 AM Permalink

when doing it illegally is just so much gosh darned fun!
Excerpt: The National Security Agency developed a pilot program in the late 1990s that would have enabled it to gather and analyze massive amounts of communications data without running afoul of privacy laws. But after the Sept. 11 attacks, it shelved the project -- not because it failed to work -- but because of bureaucratic infighting and a sudden White House expansion of the agency's surveillance powers, according to several intelligence officials.
(You'll need bugmenot to access the site if you're not registered)

And for the contract to build a fence along our borders...

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:26 AM Permalink

The contract goes to..... Halliburton.

Well, it's a safe guess anyway.
Excerpt: Through its Secure Border Initiative, the Bush administration intends to not simply buy high-tech equipment to help it patrol the borders -- a tactic it has also already tried, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, with limited success. It is also asking the contractors to devise and build a whole new border strategy.
Update: Or as Josh Marshall said (and I wish I had) "I guess Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrup Grumman bid so it can seem like a competitive process when Halliburton gets the contract?"


posted by The Vidiot @ 9:17 AM Permalink

Uh, if you knew 3,000 Americans would be killed and you didn't say anything,
Excerpt:In 2001, an anonymous White House source leaked top-secret NSA intelligence to reporter Judith Miller that Al Qaida was planning a major attack on the United States. But the story never made it into the paper.
wouldn't that put you somewhere in the neighborhood of, oh, I don't know, Moussaoui ????

Just wondering.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

This COULD be innocent. Then again...

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:33 PM Permalink

When I read this article that says menstruating women should act like they're about to get pregnant at any moment, something in the back of my head (and no, not my scar) began to twitch. It could be innocent enough, it could even be good advice.

But then again, perhaps the Powers That Be know that soon, abortion will be illegal (and if they had their way, so would contraception) in which case, there will be A LOT more unplanned pregnancies and unless women are constantly prepared to be pregnant, that means a A LOT more babies born with birth defects and other issues.

Call me cynical....

Update: If you're a subscriber, read Russell Shorto's "The War on Contraception" in the NYTimes May 7 Sunday Magazine. THEN tell me there's not something to what I'm saying.

Under the radar

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:09 PM Permalink

Britain sees no evidence US behind Somalia violence

A British government minister said on Wednesday he had seen no evidence to substantiate accusations Washington was funding Mogadishu warlords in a battle with Islamic militia.
Commenting on accusations from the Islamic militia that Washington is backing the warlords, charges given credence by many analysts, Benn said: "I am aware that people have made those comments ... I haven't seen any evidence myself." [ED: can you say 'carefully parsed non-denial denial?']
The United States has not confirmed or denied the claims, but said it would support groups in Somalia fighting terrorism.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said earlier in Washington "there is concern about the presence of foreign terrorists, particularly al Qaeda, within Somalia right now".

"In an environment of instability, as we've seen in the past, al Qaeda may take root
IOW, AQ didn't exist in Iraq until we invaded. But wait, there's more!
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack sidestepped questions over whether the United States was funding warlords but said Washington was working with "responsible members of the Somali political spectrum" whom he declined to name.
Anyone else translate 'working with' to 'giving money to'!? Maybe next Bush will send 6,000 National Guard troops to their border.

With much fanfare,

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:26 AM Permalink

the Pentagon 9/11 tapes have been released, in an effort to disprove all those "conspiracy theorists" out there (and of course, the words "conspiracy theorists" must be said with a tone oozing with sarcasm) who insist that no plane hit the Pentagon. Go here, watch, then come back.

OK. What did you see? I didn't see a plane. I'm not one of those "no plane at the Pentagon" people, but I didn't see any plane. If this is the best the government has to dispel conspiracy theories, they're in a whole heap o' trouble. There are two shots there and neither of them seem conclusive. Also, there are many other surveillance tapes that aren't being seen. There was a CITGO station across the street. Within minutes of the hit, the FBI confiscated the CITGO tapes. The owner never even saw them. And that's one I know about. What about the rest of the cameras? We live in veritable panopticon for chrissakes and only two cameras were pointing at the Pentagon? WTF?

And watching the evening news last night was like watching a bad movie. They played the tape, said the word "conspiracy theorists" like 10 times, and insisted that the plane could CLEARLY be seen, like, a bunch of times. "You will believe what we tell you. You are under our spell. Resistance is futile."

Part of me is like, there are so many inconsistencies and indiscrepancies that there simply has to be a conspiracy afoot. The other part of me is, if the government is so lame as to think that just releasing these tapes will dispel the myth, then how could they POSSIBLY be able to pull off a conspiracy this big!

That's if you believe the government did it though. I don't.

Update: More tapes to come.

Update 2: This guy really looked at the videos VERY closely and came to the same conclusions I did.
Excerpt: It strikes me that something flew into the Pentagon. I don't know what to say though because it also appears nearly as certain from all of the comparisons that the size, bright color and reflection of the object in the videos does not match what you would expect from a 757-200. I am NOT endorsing a missile or anything else! I am just looking at the physical evidence without a conclusion.
It does seem that they do not want us to have any clear picture of what it was exactly.....for now. I think the warnings people have made about a possible booby trap are valid. Don't bite on all of this and go on a tangent. They could pull something solid (or apparently solid) out of the bag and ridicule us later. We should focus on the irrefutable evidence like the demolition of WTC7, the free-fall speed of the towers, Norad, PNAC etc., in other words, things that are WELL documented. The Pentagon situation is always going to be a sticky mess. I think they have made themselves look bad enough without any more help from us.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


posted by The Vidiot @ 12:21 PM Permalink

I would've paid with a check, just to bust their chops.
Excerpt: Consumers Energy turned off the power to a Flint woman after she paid all but one penny of her bill, which was $1,662.08. The company told Jacqueline Williams the power would not be turned on until it received the penny.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Well THAT was creepy!

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:30 PM Permalink

Just watched Mr. Giggles give his little speech on immigration.

OK. For one thing, Mr. Vidiot is still yelling in the background here at the TV. We are both incensed at the concept of "building walls at the border" and "increasing surveillance" and "adding patrols" and "increasing the capacity of detention centers." I mean, it's frightening! Wall off the country! Damn SPLENDID idea.

And the democratic response! Holy SHIT! What crap that was. Of all the things to disagree on, and there's a lot, they decided to poke GW for not being efficient enough?! WTF! "Oh, well, we asked for those troops two years ago. And he's not given them to us. Waaaaaah." and "He's leaving out details. Waaaaah." For chrissakes!

Listen, the real issue is this -- and it's very simple. The real issue is fuck the surveillance and the walls and the police and the penalties. The real issue is WORK WITH MEXICO. Force Mexico and the corporations that operate there start to make Mexico a place PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE IN! How hard is that? Increase the living wage. Stop polluting everything. Stop exploiting everything. Mexico has plenty of natural resources. Share the wealth with the people. Create good schools, assist with housing, whatever it takes. That is the one SURE way to reducing our immigration problem. The solution IS NOT shoring up the police state.

CHEERISTE! We're steaming mad here at the Vidiot household.

The speech was scary, disturbing, annoying and the response by the democrats was flaccid and lame.

And what was up with George's forehead? It was all red and mottled. Weird.

Update: My mother was watching CNN's Larry King and she said Edward James Olmos was on and he said something like "well, they can't do anything about the problem. Mexico must become a first world country and that would solve the problem" (I paraphrase, of course) and Larry King got all nervous and cut to commercial. It wasn't mentioned when they returned.


Here we go again

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:01 PM Permalink

Remember the summer of Sharks that preceded 9/11? Well, now it's alligators.
Excerpt: The bodies of two women, both apparently killed by alligators, were found Sunday less than a week after a similar death in a state that had seen just 17 confirmed fatal attacks by the animals in the previous 58 years.
And of course, the media is all over it.
Excerpt: But if you want to learn about alligators eating women, please do turn on CNN. Oh yeah, Bush's "big" immigration speech is another top story on CNN. Yes, much bigger story than finding out the president is spying on America's journalists.
Avoiding the ever-growing wiretap scandal? Distracting us for something to come?

Rove Watch

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:58 AM Permalink

Will turdblossom be indicted this week? Jason Leopold over at seems to think so. William Rivers Pitt got a clarification from him on the timing. So, bottom line, look for an indictment late Monday or sometime on Tuesday.

I don't want to speculate any more than that. I don't want to get my hopes up. Though, you can be sure, if the turdblossom is indicted, that will not negate his coordination of the GOPs 2006 election effort. He'll just be behind the scenes.

But the champagne is chilling....

Update: Was someone setting up the otherwise usually accurate Jason Leopold?
Excerpt: The administration could provide a tasty bit of disinformation to Leopold’s sources and the attention of the reporter along with a fair amount of the progressive press would be turned to a story that would turn out to be false. This story and the rapid discovery that it was a hoax would overshadow the embarrassing filing by Prosecutor Fitzgerald. Indeed, it would overshadow the entire CIA Leak-Gate investigation or at least the reporting thereof for some time.
Could explain why MSM hasn't really run with it and also I have to commend the blogosphere for not jumping into its usual blog frenzy over it.

Update 2: Leopold is sticking to his story and his sources.

Breaking News- Bushco spying on reporters' phone calls

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:35 AM Permalink

via Atrios:
Federal Source to ABC News: We Know Who You're Calling

May 15, 2006 10:33 AM
Brian Ross and Richard Esposito Report:

A senior federal law enforcement official tells us the government is tracking the phone numbers we call in an effort to root out confidential sources.

"It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick," the source told us in an in-person conversation.

We do not know how the government determined who we are calling, or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently-disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls.

Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.
Our reports on the CIA's secret prisons in Romania and Poland were known to have upset CIA officials.

People questioned by the FBI about leaks of intelligence information say the CIA was also disturbed by ABC News reports that revealed the use of CIA predator missiles inside Pakistan.

Under Bush Administration guidelines, it is not considered illegal for the government to keep track of numbers dialed by phone customers.
A pattern of phone calls from a reporter, however, could provide valuable clues for leak investigators.


posted by The Vidiot @ 11:24 AM Permalink

I actually got polled this weekend. I never get polled. It was for the dem primary in my district. Now, my congresscritter has been in congress for like 25 years. He used to be called the "Marlboro Man"' because of all the money he took from big tobacco. He's, frankly, kind of useless. Never takes a stand on anything. The poll was actually a push poll against him, but I didn't need that to say I wouldn't be voting for the incumbent.

I think that, wherever possible, we should vote against ALL the incumbents, sans those few who actually bother to fight for their constituency, like Dennis Kucinich. I mean, here's a California Congressman who, for all intents and purposes, whether it's illegal or not, used his position in congress to boost real estate values in his district, which included real estate that he owned. He's been in congress since 1992. That's about 10 years too long by my standards.

If we're going to revolutionize this government, we have to do a few things:
Well, a girl can dream, can't she?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

It doesn't matter who votes, it matters who counts the votes ... or ... Diebold is Stalin' on their security risks

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:00 PM Permalink

New Fears of Security Risks in Electronic Voting Systems

With primary election dates fast approaching in many states, officials in Pennsylvania and California issued urgent directives in recent days about a potential security risk in their Diebold Election Systems touch-screen voting machines, while other states with similar equipment hurried to assess the seriousness of the problem.

"It's the most severe security flaw ever discovered in a voting system," said Michael I. Shamos, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University who is an examiner of electronic voting systems for Pennsylvania, where the primary is to take place on Tuesday.
Officials from Diebold and from elections' offices in numerous states minimized the significance of the risk and emphasized that there were no signs that any touch-screen machines had been tampered with.
David Bear, a spokesman for Diebold Election Systems, said the potential risk existed because the company's technicians had intentionally built the machines in such a way that election officials would be able to update their systems in years ahead.
Yeah, update their 'systems' ... in case any of their candidates are losing. I mean, it's not like Diebold has had any other flaws, right ...right!? Uhh, no!
"For there to be a problem here, you're basically assuming a premise where you have some evil and nefarious election officials who would sneak in and introduce a piece of software," he said. "I don't believe these evil elections people exist."
Uhh, I guess he never met:
Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris

Or Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell

Or Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer.
Aviel Rubin, a professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University, did the first in-depth analysis of the security flaws in the source code for Diebold touch-screen machines in 2003. After studying the latest problem, he said: "I almost had a heart attack. The implications of this are pretty astounding."

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Saturday Sailboat Blogging

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:12 AM Permalink

Friday, May 12, 2006

Can you hear me now?

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:09 AM Permalink

We (meaning those of us who pay attention) were already pissed off about the whole NSA spying on Americans thing. However, their argument that they were only spying on international calls sort of held a little water and quelled some of the more shaky fence sitters. WELL, the latest news about the major cell phone carriers handing over data on a silver platter has finally managed to have some effect on the electorate. Bush's numbers have dipped into the 20s. Well THAT only took FOREVERRrrrrr. Jeesh.

And the administration's argument that they did nothing wrong? (Oh, this is a good one.) They said,... oh hell. You have to read it for yourself.
Excerpt: One government lawyer who has participated in negotiations with telecommunications providers said the Bush administration has argued that a company can turn over its entire database of customer records -- and even the stored content of calls and e-mails -- because customers "have consented to that" when they establish accounts. The fine print of many telephone and Internet service contracts includes catchall provisions, the lawyer said, authorizing the company to disclose such records to protect public safety or national security, or in compliance with a lawful government request.
Yeah. We agreed to it. Sure. Like we all read the fine print of any of those things. Honestly. I've heard actual CONTRACT LAWYERS say they've tried to read the small print and couldn't get through it. SURRENDER ME NOW!

The only telecom with the cojones to not hand over the info was Qwest (you can thank them here) And basically, Qwest said "Oh yeah? Well, show me a FISA subpoena and we'll comply" and the Government was all "Well, we're trying not to do that." Durrrr.
Excerpt: This theme emerges again and again. We continuously hear that the Bush administration has legal authority to do anything the President orders. Claims that he is acting illegally are just frivolous and the by-product of Bush hatred. And yet, as I detailed here, each and every time the administration has the opportunity to obtain an adjudication of the legality of its conduct from a federal court (which, unbeknownst to the administration, is the branch of our government which has the authority and responsibility to interpret and apply the law), it does everything possible to avoid that adjudication.
So, I read a great idea (and I can't remember where I read it) but here goes:

We should all dial one wrong phone number on our cell phone every day. Talk to the person on the other end a bit and apologize profusely for disturbing them, but make that one wrong call to a different number every day. That way, when they're trolling, they'll have all these random, non-connected pieces of data.

Wish I'd thought of that.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sherman, set the wayback machine

posted by The Vidiot @ 6:15 PM Permalink

April 12, 2000 -- In a rare public appearance, two men who head the top U.S. intelligence agencies sought to convince lawmakers on Capitol Hill that ordinary Americans are never the targets of high-tech government surveillance.

The director of the National Security Agency, Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, and his boss, CIA Director George Tenet, testified Wednesday before the House Intelligence Committee.

They sought to dispute newspaper reports suggesting the United States and its allies were using a surveillance system to eavesdrop on private conversations of Americans and Europeans.
On Wednesday, the NSA director dismissed any suggestions that his agency violates privacy laws.

"We are not out there as a vacuum cleaner," Hayden said. "We don't have that capability and we don't want that capability."
"We protect the rights of Americans and their privacy," Tenet insisted. "We do not violate them and we never will."

The agencies are barred from doing so by a 1978 law that was passed after the NSA was forced to admit in the 1970s that its massive eavesdropping equipment had been used against anti-Vietnam War activists [...]
That led to the law banning any spying on Americans anywhere. The law protects resident aliens, too, said Hayden, no matter who they are or what they are suspected of doing." Hayden testified.

"There is a rich body of oversight that ensures that we stay within the law," he said.
"It's not what we're about. It's not what we've done. We simply do not do that." he added.

The unusual hearing was scheduled by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss, a Florida Republican, who said he was satisfied that the intelligence agencies were fulfilling their role of guarding national security interests without violating the rights of citizens.

"I think our safeguards are in place and are working," Goss said.
Gee Mr. Peabody, that sounds awfully familiar, what's today's timelying:
Bush Says U.S. Spying Is Not Widespread
But Mr. Peabody, we're not gonna fall for that old trick are we!?

Of course not my dear boy, because we know that:
The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.

The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans

Get your war on

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:06 PM Permalink

And so it begins.
Excerpt: According to military and intelligence sources, an air strike on Iran could be doable in June of this year, with military assets in key positions ready to go and a possible plan already on the table.
And this:
Excerpt:Tuesday, the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group heads out to support the War on Terrorism. About 7,500 sailors are on board the Enterprise, the guided-missile cruiser Leyte Gulf, the guided-missile destroyer McFaul,and the guided-missile frigate Nicholas.
And this:
Excerpt: “The Iranians are clearly very concerned over the mobilization of their own Kurdish minority,� said Toby Dodge, an Iraq expert at Queen Mary College, University of London.
And Tehran may also be flexing its muscles to remind the United States that it shares a long border with Iraq, and could cause serious problems there for the United States.
And this:
Excerpt: After the Tehran administration conducted operations against the terror network Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) by crossing the Iraqi border, the US Army in Iraq is claimed to have increased the military build up of US troops on the Iranian border.
Here we go again, folks.