Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Drama of Andromeda

Some may criticize our articles which point out that textbooks could be considered an endangered species.

Some may consider that to be unfair criticism.

For example, articles here and here indicate that textbooks are no different than products designed with planned obsolescence in them, even though that is not how textbooks are designed.

While it is an unintended event that textbooks become extinct in one sense, science does 'intend' that knowledge become obsolete in another sense; because discovery is an insatiable force that tends to lead to the obsolescence of current 'knowledge'.

The intent of these Dredd Blog articles is to show that science is not always fixed information, but instead it is also constantly changing information.

I am reminded of that each time I watch a documentary on PBS after having read a scientific paper which has updated the science which now makes the documentary obsolete. Sigh, I can't keep up.

We also like to point out that science does not always belong to the few.

In that regard a student has done some work that has led to the discovery that the Andromeda Galaxy is 5 times larger than scientists previously had estimated:
The researchers picked out Andromeda's faint halo stars using a technique developed by Karoline Gilbert, a UCSC graduate student, which distinguishes the halo stars from the more numerous foreground stars in our Milky Way.
(Space, italics added). Good work Karoline. Her work led to analysis which helped all of us understand Andromeda better:
Paul Hodge, an expert on the Andromeda galaxy from Washington University who was not involved in the study, said the new finding paints a very different picture of our galactic neighbor than was available only a few years ago.

"It's a new galaxy," Hodge said. "The outer parts of this galaxy are finally being revealed and its turning out to be much more interesting and beautiful than [we] could have imagined."
(ibid). So keep on with your research all you students and professors who read Dredd Blog.

One never knows what may be discovered next to give new meaning to 'constant'.

UPDATE: I ran across another article over at Space which fits here:
Scientists have found two large leaks in Earth's magnetosphere, the region around our planet that shields us from severe solar storms.

The leaks are defying many of scientists' previous ideas on how the interaction between Earth's magnetosphere and solar wind occurs: The leaks are in an unexpected location, let in solar particles in faster than expected and the whole interaction works in a manner that is completely the opposite of what scientists had thought.
(Space, emphasis added). Clearly the textbooks will have to be thrown out to the extent that they are now "completely the opposite" of current reality.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Common Sense About State Secrets

I suppose we could blame Abraham Lincoln for starting the state secrets doctrine.

Abe hired a spy to go into the south and report information to northern headquarters.

After the spy died his widow wanted more money from the government, which evidently had not paid all of its debt to the former spy.

Abe said the information was a military secret so the widow had no right to that information. The federal case is Totten v US, 92 US 105 (1876).

As long as we must have a military we are going to have legitimate military secrets. It goes with the territory, so to speak.

That is not the central problem. The central problem is the corruption that toxins within power bring to the table. You know, that old "power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely" doctrine.

That very corruption which distorts the minds of military men into wanting every wrong to be kept secret, like torture and the murder of civilians, for recent examples.

This is an ancient problem. Our founding people were well aware of it hundreds of years ago and they spoke of it:
Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.

War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.

In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.

The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manner and of morals, engendered in both.

No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement. In war, a physical force is to be created; and it is the executive will, which is to direct it.

In war, the public treasuries are to be unlocked; and it is the executive hand which is to dispense them.

In war, the honors and emoluments of office are to be multiplied; and it is the executive patronage under which they are to be enjoyed; and it is the executive brow they are to encircle.

The strongest passions and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast; ambition, avarice, vanity, the honorable or venal love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace.
(James Madison, from "Political Observations," April 20, 1795 in Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, Volume IV, page 491). War is the province of the military, and therefore, what Madison said about war applies without restriction to the military.

It is no wonder that President General Dwight Eisenhower warned us with great concern about that very danger we always face.

General Eisenhower knew that an ongoing military presence within our borders; yes, our own military is a grave danger to our liberty for the reasons James Madison revealed.

The corruption spoken of above has spilled over into even keeping secret the amounts of money they spend on war ideology and weaponry.

Certain portions of the budget (how they spend your money) is "classified" and is a state secret. We have to really dig into the facts from many sources to get the actual quantities clearly in sight.

The corruption of the state secrets doctrine has now spread into every facet of government, and that corruption is used to cover up every imaginable crime of the government against its citizens and against other nations and peoples.

But the irony of it all is that this is no secret.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tim Jones of EFF Wonks Out This Time

Many people are talking about the state secrets doctrine as if it was a thingy the Bush II regime cooked up.

The doctrine is not a political doctrine, it is well established American law, but the people talking about it tend not to understand law.

For example, Tim Jones is described on the EFF website as:
A lifelong technologist and activist, Tim Jones joined the EFF full-time in November 2007. He works as the Activism and Technology Manager, coordinating online advocacy strategy, software development and tech infrastructure.
(EFF About Tim). So it remains unclear what qualifies him to make sweeping rhetorical and polemic legal conclusions about a very complicated legal subject.

There was no typical "I am not a lawyer and so you can't hold my legal opinions against me and p.s. this is not legal advice" disclaimer along with his article.

Would you suppose, then, that the nature of the article is not legal analysis?

Or would you suppose that the article is about how to write software and other technical computer stuff?

If it is about neither of those, then it must be about activism for stuff out on the electronic frontier?

The only trouble with those conclusions is that his article makes inflated, incorrect, and sweeping legal, civics, and political conclusions.

Conclusions based on his interpretation of law. Conclusions that, in my opinion, don't hold water.

Thus, to that extent at least, he damages the professional look and feel of the EFF to the demise of all of us.

The state secrets doctrine was already well known at the time of the Reynolds case decided by the US Supreme Court in 1953.

Way before Bush or Obama and even before Tim Jones for that matter. In the Reynolds case the court said:
The Claim of Privilege applied to military secrets, and asserted by the Air Force, is well established in law. The existence of privilege is conceded by the court in this case, and by the most outspoken critics of government claims to privilege
(US v Reynolds, 345 US 1, (1953), emphasis added). That doctrine was well established 56 years ago, which means it came into existence well before that year.

The state secrets doctrine is very old law that even President Abraham Lincoln used in Totten v US, 92 US 105 (1876), against a widow.

Tim Jones quotes Obama the presidential candidate as having said that the Bush II administration:
"invoked a legal tool known as the 'state secrets' privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court."
(Obama DOJ's New Arguments). That quote is an Obama statement about excessive use, not an Obama comment on the validity of the proper use of the well established legal principle.

This case Tim is talking about may be the first time it has been used by the Holder Department of Justice, since the entire administration is only three months old. In fact, some of the administration is not even in place yet.

Surely a single use of a valid legal doctrine would not be an excessive use would it Tim? How many times is ok Tim? Zero?

After making his astounding F. Lee Bailey legal point, Tim moves in for the kill, averring:
it's the Department Of Justice's second argument that is the most pernicious. The DOJ claims that the U.S. Government is completely immune from litigation for illegal spying — that the Government can never be sued for surveillance that violates federal privacy statutes.

This is a radical assertion that is utterly unprecedented. No one — not the White House, not the Justice Department, not any member of Congress, and not the Bush Administration — has ever interpreted the law this way.
(ibid, emphasis added). He first argues as if the DOJ and the White House are in some aspects separate. That AG Holder does not have to obey every command of the president. Tim is correct on that issue.

The mission of the DOJ is to enforce the law no matter what the law is. Bush wanted the DOJ to ignore the law, not enforce it.

That kind of DOJ activity, the AG being a robotic soldier of the president, was a perversion of the Bush II years. We now know that Gonzales was a sock puppet of Bush II, Rove, and Cheney.

So Tim needs to show some nexus, some link to reveal that Obama ordered this argument and Holder slavishly bowed down to that command. Tim asserts no such evidence nor argument. He just infers that it happened.

Tim's accusation and assertion certainly cannot be assumed from the legal papers Tim links to. Thus, even the structure of the argument Tim advances has no sensible foundation.

Now to the merits. Tim is wrong in what he asserts the DOJ argument actually is, that is, he misrepresents the actual DOJ argument.

It would be absurd for the DOJ to say "the U.S. Government is completely immune from litigation for illegal spying". Uh, Tim, are you saying that "completely immune" would also apply to criminal cases?

This civil case would decide criminal law too? You mean that illegally obtained evidence can now be used by the federal government in criminal prosecutions too? Wow Tim, that is big news!

The law is well established that equitable relief is available in civil cases in the form of injunctions and the like, even if civil damages (money awards) are not.

I read the motion papers, and what Tim says the DOJ is saying is not what the DOJ is saying.

Therefore, to say Obama is worse than Bush II based on that case, and especially over a misread of that case, is to make one suspect to being infected with the Bill O'Reilly-Rush Limbaugh-Karl Rove loose mouth virus.

The issue in the case is the personal liability of government officials, as well as the monetary liability of the public treasury for torts.

Personal damage liability law concerning federal government officials and their personal wallet or pocket book is a whole separate world from federal government damages liability law where money is paid from the treasury.

Both of those areas of law belong to a whole separate world from the law concerning other non-damages relief available when government messes up. It is well settled that other relief is available even when personal liability damage is not.

This area of the murky world of law is like tax law in the sense that it is not a place to use toy flash lights for exploring those shadowy zones.

What Tim and others can accurately say is that this area of our law is badly out of touch with American sentiments, and is in need of repair. And that is most certainly true.

But confusion is not the road to clarity, so take time to know what you are talking about, like Obama tends to do, before you carelessly blurt words out.

The correct road to take here is to change the law via federal legislation. Nancy Pelosi is open to changing it and making improvements.

The Patriot Act sunsets this December. A better law concerning state secrets, personal civil liability of federal actors who violate spy law, and / or civil liability of the government itself for such violations is in need of repair and enhancement.

But think clearly and fix only what is broken. Leave the remainder, which is not broken, alone.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Economy of Destruction Reaps Poverty

How much would you pay a hurricane to come through your town or city and wreak havoc, destruction, and death?

Or an earthquake?

Or a flood?

Or a tornado?

Or a fire?

Did you know that modern armies can wreak more havoc, destruction, and death than all of those combined?

In the USA's arsenal alone is enough WMD to destroy all human life on earth several times over:
However, what's different about this weapon? In our past, we've discovered gunpowder, rocketry and TNT - but they've never threatened all life on Earth as we know it. This is because all weapons in the past have never had the capacity to act on such a global scale, where as weapons based on Element 92 - nuclear weapons - can quite easily cause a 'nuclear winter' by throwing up enough dust into the atmosphere to prevent light from the sun reaching us. There are still close to 50,000 nuclear weapons in the world. More than enough to finish off the entire human race.
(Think Quest, emphasis added). That considers only the nuclear destructive capacity. There are biological, chemical, and other WMD that can do total annihilation too.

Yet each year the United States still pays more money for armies than all the rest of the world combined.

So what does an investment in havoc, destruction, and death produce?

Does it produce homes, stores, clothing, food, roads, infrastructure, or compassion for the weak among us?

No, instead the purpose of havoc, destruction, and death is to destroy those things.

So why does the US spend $623,000,000,000 EVERY YEAR on destruction, then wonder why it is having financial problems?

The answer is because of deceit and propaganda. See posts here, here, here, and here.

A substantial portion of that money is used to sell people on the need for the capacity to wreak havoc, destruction, and death.

If we don't have the capacity to destroy, they say, we will suffer havoc, destruction, and death. They teach that MAD, mutually assured destruction, is the only way to stop destruction. Which is a tad disingenuous isn't it?

They scare us with propaganda against "the axis of evil" and dangerous enemies.

For example, remember that dangerous enemy Russia? Russia spends $50 billion a year, and China spends $65 billion a year on the military.

Those two big military powers, which the propagandists have used to scare the willies out of us, together only spend $115 billion a year to our $653 billion a year.

We spend 5.7 times more than the both of them combined, so their people must be really, really scared of us?

All the world together, besides the USA, spends $500 billion annually on their military. The USA spends $653 billion annually on the military.

The whole world can't keep up with our insatiable spending spree on WMD. Six billion people can't outspend 300 million people. Twenty people can't outspend 1 person?

During the Bush II years we spent $5,000,000,000,000 on destructive things. That is enough to build about 33,400,000 homes at $150,000 each. Or enough to do a lot of good instead of a lot of destruction.

The share of each American each year is roughly $2,000.00; yes, an amount in effect paid by each man woman and child; but it is much more per person if only working people are considered for the source of those taxes.

There is little wonder that a people who spend so much on destructive machines, which have no other economic worth, would have financial problems is there?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Baghdad Bob

Everyone likes to make fun of Baghdad Bob.

He is an example of the comic form of propaganda gone bad.

But propaganda gone bad is not limited to any one nation, so we have an abundance of it here in the USA too.

President Obama has made a surprise visit to Baghdad today.

Shortly before leaving for Iraq, he had said:
"Moving the ship of state takes time," he told a group of students in Istanbul. He noted his long-standing opposition to the war, yet said, "Now that we're there," the U.S. troop withdrawal has to be done "in a careful enough way that we don't see a collapse into violence."
(Obama Visits Baghdad). After we destroyed that nation's infrastructure, killed or maimed millions, and made millions of others homeless when they had to flee into other lands like Syria and Jordan, we have to be careful about violence?

We have to be careful about leaving because there might be violence?

Oh, Baghdad Bob, sometimes your propaganda is no match for our propaganda.

You piker you.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Mother Of All Shame Memos

We have been doing a series on America's Shame Memos, pointing out that we are waiting for the more volatile ones.

Evidently the advertised release of the final memos has caused all hell to break loose.

I am not sure if the memos have already been leaked, but here is what is shaping up behind the scenes.

The great Michael Isikoff had some revelations about it a few days ago which could be described as the Holy Hell memo story.

Daily Kos has a post today indicating a real internecine war is breaking out over the holy hell memos. Some reasons are proposed:
One thing is clear. Astute politicians must have judged that the disclosure of these torture memos may significantly change the stakes of politics. They fear that these memos will have a powerful effect on public opinion.

That, however, is another reason not to give into this form of political blackmail against Koh and Johnsen and release the memos immediately. Once these documents are released, it will be harder to keep out of government people who have condemned torture and illegality for a very long time.
(Daily Kos). Let me get this straight. Some of the republicans think that crime is a political football they can use as a negotiation tool?

That seems to me to be criminal thinking itself. Only a criminal holding hostages would be overcome with that kind of delusional thinking. They think they are in a flea market or something like that?

Keep an eye on the terror / torture memo stories, because they will reveal whether or not Obama will have to cave to the killer class.

Too Big To Stop Killing - The War Class

The entire world together spends $1, 100, 000, 000, 000 per year on killing machines, and support for those killing machines.

The entire world excluding the United States, the "peace keeper", spends only $500,000,000,000 per year on killing machines and support for those killing machines.

Thus, the United States, the "peace keeper", alone spends $623,000,000,000 per year on killing machines and support for those killing machines.

We are the big spenders on killing machines and support for those killing machines.

We spend $123,000,000,000 more than the REST OF THE WORLD COMBINED on killing machines and support for those killing machines.

As we talk PEACE?

Is there any wonder General Dwight David Eisenhower, then President of the United States, WARNED the citizens, yes, warned the people of the United States?

Yes, he warned us about THE MILITARY being wedded to industry, being wedded to the middle class, and being wedded to the working class.

A wedding made in hell in order to forge the warring class, the killing class. Eisenhower was not alone in this warning:
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the fewNo nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
(James Madison, Political Observations, 1795, emphasis added). Our founding fathers and mothers taught us to suspect that War is the greatest enemy of the people. Has war been increasing and liberties waning lately?

Our propaganda engines have tried to educate you and I into believing the opposite. That is a sure fingerprint of white ops, or 'good' psychological operations as they are called in the industry.

But obviously the warnings went unheeded and the consequences have been suffered, are being suffered, and will continue to be suffered for who knows how long.

Let me finish by saying there is hope that this disastrous and catastrophic public policy is going to subside, because Gates is talking of cutting spending on the killing class.

We could save $123,000,000,000 every year by spending the same amount as all the rest of the world combined spends on the enemy of the people, killing machines.

Think how much we could save if we just matched the two or three largest nations in the world?!

So, do you feel thrifty or do you feel like killing somebody?

UPDATE: Another take on this subject matter.

The List Of You Shall Be The Greatest

Liam Neeson did a great job playing Schindler in the movie Schindler's List.

That list is said to have been found in Australia:
Schindler's list helped hundreds of Jewish workers escape death in the Holocaust during World War II.

It was found in research notes which belonged to the Australian author of Schindler's Ark - the basis for the Oscar-winning film, Schindler's List.

The document was found at the New South Wales Library in Sydney.
(Schindler's List Found). Let's hope it helps to quench the flames of hatred many in the blogosphere seem to want to fan.

Like Bachmann, Limbaugh, and other wingnuts, some of those who fancy themselves as being "progressive" make anti-semitic statements while trying to cover them up with argument that they are only anti-Israel.

Enough, Enough already.

Too Big To Flail

The one and only Bill Moyers interviewed William K. Black Friday night.

Mr. Black is not the comedian, but is currently an associate professor of law and economics at the University of Missouri. That interview is a good one if you like shock treatment:
William K. Black suspects that it was more than greed and incompetence that brought down the U.S. financial sector and plunged the economy in recession — it was fraud. And he would know. When it comes to financial shenanigans, William K. Black, the former senior regulator who cracked down on banks during the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, has seen pretty much everything.
(PBS Profile, emphasis added). See it if you have the capacity at the moment, and/or read what we had to say concerning another angle of this issue.

So, after watching Moyers, the MSM propaganda line "too big to fail" now has me wondering.

I wonder because the MSM also throws around the line "failed state".

Which often can mean a state that has oil we want or perhaps a nation that disagrees with us. However, it is supposed to mean a sovereign nation that has become too corrupt to "spill the beans".

But since empires are the largest states, does history teach us that empires are too big to fail?

After all, empires are orders of magnitude bigger than fraudy Wall Street banks you know.

Also don't forget that all those empires of history have failed eventually.

Somehow, then, I think the banksters are just blowing blue smoke up the microphones of the MSM, thereby causing them to flail and say that some banks are "too big to fail".

Do We Confuse Capacity With Morality?

One of us recently requested:
Can you come up with an insightful post on what happens when, in the face of unprecedented failure, no investigation taking place, and no one held responsible, conventional wisdom keeps praying day to day for confidence to return.

Can you find us one or two examples of republican retardation, bumbling economists spouting how this fits any existing models.

Feel free to draw from cinematographic tradition for approximate examples of precedents.

'Cause no one is saying anything in the MSN. I keep thinking China will wake up soon and wash America over with her own casino/cathouse money.

Tell us when you think the screws will be put on Cassano.
(Dredd Blogger Comment). I don't know if it will be insightful or not. That is, like art, something in the eye of the beholder. I replied to that post as follows:
I will try.

In the mean time remember that your analytical faculties are working quite well for you to have observed that reality.

The post will have to do with "capacity" rather than "what is wrong with the sheeple".

We are all human, I think, and we have only capacity (potential ability), not automatic ability.

Some do not have the capacity to investigate 911 again to clear up some of the missed evidence, wrongly decided issues, and perjury that took place.

This capacity weakens at times, and grows in strength at other times. It can be because of emotions, biases, fears, or a busy schedule.

Some of the public and widespread issues, therefore, fall on the ears of a mass of people who have constantly changing ability (capacity) to take it in.

I try to tailor and fashion my posts and articles with that in mind.
The full understanding of this subject matter requires a trip to the shrink, the psychologist, the psychoanalyst, story tellers, and others of that ilk.

At the same time don't forget "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows" (Bob Dylan).

A child confronted with the statement "Your daddy has a girlfriend besides your mommy" tends to generate an immediate subconscious retaliation for the "attack" on the child's universe.

The flaming arrow "Not true" is fired back as the drawbridge to the castle of the child's soul is pulled up and the gates are quickly closed, and water flows into the moat until it is once again filled.

After all, who wants their universe "destroyed" with such a reality?

As adults there are also many things, truths, and realities that are "attacks" on our universe, to which we immediately respond "not true".

This is really not an issue of morality in the first instance, because when we do not have the capacity to "deal with it" we are not immoral we are simply ill equipped. It is later when we do have the capacity but still reject knowledge that it could become a moral issue.

Each of us at various and sundry times has a weakness somewhere within which prevents us from being able to handle the truth from somewhere, sometime in our lives. Later on in our lives maybe we can deal with it.

In ancient times some kings would kill a messenger when that messenger brought bad news.

So, like our own modern day journalists, ancient messengers "got lost" many times on the way to delivering bad news.

How many times have you heard the phrase "it isn't the end of the world" in an introduction to the delivery of some bad news? Yogi Berra's statement "it isn't over til its over" comes to mind as a good thing to say in some of those deliveries too.

To the astute observer who posted that request, I hope this has helped.

It is a deep and a wide ocean that protects us from the unknown, and many a brave hobbit has suffered the scorn of the Hobbits in Hobbiton when they return from an adventure into those waters.

Knowledge concerning issues outside the shire were sorely frowned upon in that realm, as J.R.R. Tolkien duly noted.

After all the adventure has been said and done, do be sure to find a way to return to The Shire.

Sunday, April 5, 2009