Saturday, April 18, 2009

Life After People - The Movie

Downtown Ubi Sunt
I am looking forward to the series that starts on the History Channel Tuesday.

We have been touching upon that theme in articles of the Dredd Blog system for a while.

It is absolutely clear and certain, as things stand now, that humanity will not always inhabit this planet, because a new planet is required.

Life After People in that sense, then, is axiomatic.

However, how it will happen is where the mystery comes into play.

Will we leave for a new home world after having conquered our problems?

That would give one meaning to "Life After People".

Or will we destroy all people here before we develop the futuristic space travel required to move to a new home world?

The latter episode would give an entirely different meaning to "Life After People" wouldn't it?

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Torturing Of America

We have posted some articles about the judiciary having been changed over the past 8 or so years.

The judiciary is in a condition now that it has not been in since 1937, as we pointed out in an article about the conservative judiciary.

We also pointed out that a new judicial code of conduct has been implemented for those judges.

But that code of conduct evidently does not forbid putting on the bench at least one conflicted judge. A conservative judge who was appointed for life by Bush II and who is a bad, bad, boy.

Yes, a judge who even authored some of America's Shame Memos; those infamous memos which advocate water torture contrary to federal criminal law.

One wonders whether state law judges are now being influenced by these bad, bad, conservative federal boys?

Perhaps so, because one Texas state judge in effect sentenced a prisoner to death because his lawyer was about 20 minutes late.

Another state court, in California, destroyed 34 families by wrongfully sentencing them to prison and destroying the family structure and good will.

Which reminds me of the article about the corrupting of America, and another one wondering if we are too successful at retraining criminals for a higher calling?

Are they getting into the judiciary and into other high places from which America is being tortured to death?

Should we not look backward, but instead look forward to forget all this and to "get over it" as Justice Scalia suggests?

Find And You Shall Seek

This post has been moved to the Ecocosmology Blog.

America's Shame Memos - #Last

We have been doing a series called America's Shame Memos.

Each article in the series links to a previous article on that subject.

The final memos are discussed by The New York Times website in a manner that will help you to not puke.

If you read enough of the Bush II regime words in those memos it is bound to make you sick all over and then some.

The NYT website linked to above will help you keep your food in your stomach, because it summarizes the mess for you.

In the previous articles mentioned above it is pointed out that The Geneva Conventions are the law of our land, because the US Constitution mandates that reality once we agree to and adopt a treaty.

The shame memos teach people to violate our constitution by violating those conventions.

So for our good name's sake we also argue that the guilty who pushed torture should not go unpunished.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

You Must See Past Your Nose Obama

We discussed the secret torture memos and criticised General Hayden for publicly chiding President Obama for releasing them.

The President released the memos, but along with that release he made the statement in his press release that he would not allow the people who "only followed orders" to be prosecuted.

At least that is the opinion Law Professor Turley has posted concerning the issue of what the president meant.

For President Obama to look forward only a little bit, because he does not want to see the whole picture, is going to prove to have been short sighted.

If one will look forward a little further than President Obama is doing now, one will see repeats of these crimes in the future. That is because those types of criminals now no longer need to fear prosecution.

It is the dream of every criminal of this sort to want to be able to say "I was following orders" because each and every criminal of that sort from time immemorial was "following orders". It is the spineless who will not speak truth to power, who will not say "No, I will not do torture because it is a violation of American law".

If we look at the facts, find crimes and therefore want to prosecute, that is "looking backward"? What if we look at the facts, find no crime and therefore do not want to prosecute, that is "looking backward"? No, both scenarios are cases of justice, not cases of "looking backward".

Look further ahead President Obama! Calling justice "looking backward" is inaccurate, a canard, a red herring, and a straw man that actually avoids the issue.

Your press release is an exclamation of the Nuremberg defence that has already been rejected by the United States and the free world.

Remember that it was Hitler’s minions who exclaimed that they were "only following orders” at Nuremberg, and remember that it was rejected.

That defence has also been rejected by US federal criminal trial courts. There is a criminal case in the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit that held it to be criminal.

It is a published case where a sheriff and his deputies water boarded prisoners to exact confessions. They were all convicted of felonies by a jury. One of the deputies raised the Nuremberg defence, but it was rejected by the federal trial court and also by the federal appellate court.

It is not an issue of war crimes, it is an issue of plain vanilla crime. The case is US v Lee, 744 F.2d 1124 (5th Cir., 1984).

As of 2008 Dennis J. Dimsey who worked on the US v Lee case still worked at the DOJ and might still work there and might still remember prosecuting police officers and those who only followed orders and did water boarding.

Uphold the criminal law, or you will revive the notion of the old Department of Just Us.

UPDATE: Well, to show how much influence we do not have, Obama has gone further now and said even those who wrote America's shame memos will not be prosecuted.

This is having international repercussions because it violates treaties. In that sense there is a backlash here in the US too because it violates American Law when a treaty is violated.

The Attorney General, Eric Holder, is the final arbiter of this since he is independent of the president, and therefore can prosecute if he so chooses. So can congress via a special prosecutor. But it is unlikely that either will go down that road.

In the end the president has the final say in that he can pardon them, however, that is a minefield I do not expect him to navigate for several reasons.

One is that the damage is now done, the sore is festering, but our government thinks we can outlive the gangrene.

They will let this rot underneath with a band aid on top, because they think that is the sophisticated thing to do.

Thus, they are saying "Look forward (even if it is only to the tip of our nose)".

Phase Two of the Currency Wars?

A while back we did an article about the first shots being fired in the currency wars.

A new volley may be under way in the background:
Hard money enthusiasts have long watched for signs that China is switching its foreign reserves from US Treasury bonds into gold bullion. They may have been eyeing the wrong metal.

China's State Reserves Bureau (SRB) has instead been buying copper and other industrial metals over recent months on a scale that appears to go beyond the usual rebuilding of stocks for commercial reasons.

Nobu Su, head of Taiwan's TMT group, which ships commodities to China, said Beijing is trying to extricate itself from dollar dependency as fast as it can.
(British Telegraph, emphasis added). That would be unfortunate, since the Obama Administration is making the best diplomatic efforts, the best outreach, and the most neighbourly gestures in a decade.

Those gestures offer a new era to our neighbour countries around the world.

But perhaps some of the damage the Bush II regime did to the US and to the world is that some of this cannot be avoided. Who knows.

But I hope the State and the Treasury Departments are taking note that it is not all just about us.

Hayden Suits Up To Dress Down Obama

General Hayden appeared on MSNBC today in a suit rather than the usual military uniform to dress down President Obama for releasing what had been previously classified documents. We mentioned these particular documents in a previous post.

Those documents reveal torture practices used by US interrogators on prisoners held at Gitmo, and elsewhere perhaps, during the Bush II regime, of which Hayden was part and parcel.

The General said that Obama was making a mistake by releasing information about how prisoners were going to be treated.

Isn't that what The Geneva Conventions were specifically designed to do? Don't those conventions of that treaty we agreed to decades ago tell everyone everywhere how prisoners will be treated? Exactly how they are to be treated and not treated?

Yes.

Well then, pursuant to the supreme law of our land, the US Constitution, we are to know this about that treaty:
This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
(US Constitution, Article VI, emphasis added). Big secret? Really?

No General Hayden, it is not a big secret that you are a joke, and that you willfully take part publicly in propaganda as you advocate disobedience to the United States Constitution you have sworn to protect.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Stealth Care For The Masses

We have pointed out stealth care for the homeless, and something in between that and health care for many more.

An article in Mother Jones fast forwards us to where we could be heading if things do not work out:
Though the sun is beginning to filter in through the barred windows, it's damp and cold in the men's ward at Fernando Ocaranza Psychiatric Hospital—no more than 50 degrees. Around the edges of the common room are tangled nests of men lying together in heaps, trying to stay warm. Others shuffle busily back and forth, as if they have a destination in mind. In the middle of the floor, running half the length of the ward, is a pool of urine.
(Out of Mind, Out of Sight). So when are we going to stop glorifying destruction so we have funds to eradicate stealth care?

Maybe when we realize a hospital costs about as much as a stealth killing machine

The Toxins Within Power

This post has been moved to the Toxins of Power blog.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wicked Witches Of The West

Sean Penn is the executive producer of a very disturbing documentary about the facts of life in some of the court systems in our nation.

The documentary is called Witch Hunt, and it airs on MSNBC.

It tells the story of how a zealous, young, inexperienced, and wrong headed prosecutor in Bakersfield, California destroyed 34 families with false charges.

Some of the people were in prison for 20 years before they were set free from the dark ages styled prisons of California.

That prosecutor just won re-election for the seventh time in a row.

If you wonder how such things can happen, how such immorality can exist in our sophisticated and advanced society, don't forget to think about this.

Popcorn Wins In Minnesota

For those who remember the old election that should have been over last year, last night a court said some more words about "the election that should have been over last year". A certain news source said this about that court decision:
A Minnesota court ruled Monday night that Democrat Al Franken has defeated Republican Norm Coleman and should be granted the election certificate that will allow him to take his seat in the U.S. Senate.

The Coleman camp immediately vowed to appeal.

"More than 4,400 Minnesotans remain wrongly disenfranchised by this court's order," Coleman attorney Ben Ginsberg said in a statement. "By its own terms, the court has included votes it has found to be 'illegal' in the contest to remain included in the final counts from Election Day, and equal protection and due process concerns have been ignored. For these reasons, we must appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court so that no voter is left behind."

The three-judge panel rejected Coleman's equal-protection arguments, saying that "errors or irregularities identified by contestants in the general election do not violate the mandates of equal protection."
(Politico). We said a month or so ago about "election integrity" blogs who fan the flames with abstract and ill advised rhetoric:
Instead of seeing it as the disaster it really is. The Brad Blog has unabashedly said:
Franken Declared 'Winner,' But Final Certification Will Likely (and Appropriately) be Delayed ... Excellent provision in MN law ... A very good provision in MN's law --- not found in most other states --- may delay Franken's seating, meaning he will not be sworn in with rest of Congress at the beginning of the new session slated to start tomorrow. Ultimately, however, the provisions should ensure that whoever is eventually sworn in to serve as the state's Senator will not be forced to serve under a cloud ... Would that all of the other states in the union had such a provision ... The voters of MN deserve that much, no matter how long it takes ...
(January 5 Thread, emphasis added). When the blogsters there were out getting their popcorn they had no concern about time or anything else except their own juvenile joy.
(Dredd Blog Article). Now the Brad Blog is complaining about the "very serious charge" that newspapers only declared who got the most votes, not who won.

They still do not care how long it takes.

Popcorn sales are going up over the top, and Brad Blog is asking for donations! All at the same time!

The Minnesota election for senator is not over! wooo hooo!

But, this is not very exciting to the common sense folk who still see it as the disaster it is.

The Brad Blog kiddies should have stuck to their max headroom last last last story.

Monday, April 13, 2009

State Secrets Bills Are Mostly Secret

Not enough people know about the state secret's doctrine, which we have mentioned here and here recently.

Fewer people still know about pending legislation which intends to cure some of that governmental disease.

In the House, H. R. 984, titled "State Secret Protection Act of 2009", claims that the House bill is "To provide safe, fair, and responsible procedures and standards for resolving claims of state secret privilege."

That would be nice.

My reading of the House Bill is that it would be an improvement over existing ad hoc court decisions.

In the Senate, S.417 is substantially the same.

Contact your Representatives and Senators to support this important legislation.

Vision - Nip It In The Twirl

The type of vision I am talking about in this instance is not eyesight.

Instead I am talking about the ability to foresee events and the consequences of behavior. For example, we know that hurricanes eventually disrupt, destroy, kill, or maim both sophisticates in cities and sophisticates in the countryside. But they begin as a tiny, twirly eddy in the mountains of Africa.

Then they grow out of their embryonic state when they reach the womb of the Atlantic Ocean:
"A lot of hurricanes start out over the Ethiopian mountains. Air is steadily flowing over those mountains and they cause waves in the air. We're going to have Mobil radars and aircraft flying through those waves," explains Owen Kelley, a NASA researcher.

One of those waves made its way to the Chesapeake Bay and turned into Hurricane Isabel.
(WJZ, emphasis added). The mountains of Ethiopia, not the east coast of Florida, is where the egg is fertilized, if you will.

Yet, when weather scientists or meteorologists long ago had the notion to control hurricanes in some way, their plans involved waiting until they were monsters. So nuclear weapons and various chemicals were their "medicine" of choice.

One wonders why they did not think of coal mining the tops off the African mountains, or nuking those mountains? Just call it a pre-emptive strike based on national security? Was it not done because "doin' a heckuva job" was the rage then? Who knows.

Anyway, dealing with the cause or source of a problem rather than dealing with its eventual effects once they have become monstrous somehow escaped them.

There was a lack of vision or foresight, which in the "old days" was called "nipping it in the bud". Deal with a problem when it is a tiny bud instead of waiting until it threatens your very life is the basis of that saying.

In general we tend to not deal with life threatening or liberty threatening problems that way because there is a severe lack of vision in our society at the political level. The next election is usually as far as the thinking goes.

One exception to this rule is that diplomacy, a form of vision, is returning this year with the election of the Obama Administration.

It is a refreshing development after almost a decade of diplomatic demise, and the resultant surge of militarism.

But the return to diplomacy is not because all of a sudden the politicians waxed diplomatic on their own.

It is because the militarism wreaked havoc on the economy and on our world reputation, so the people voted the hawks out.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Brad Blog Abandons Big Bad John

In our article "Cornyn on Bad Blog" we pointed out that the neoCon right likes the Brad Blog idea that "elections should take as long as it takes". In fact, if you think about it, that is the very essence of Bush v Gore which Cornyn and Coleman now cite with ritualistic fervour.

It is as if Cornyn wants Coleman v Franken to be Bush v Gore II, the sequel.

The Brad Blog movie about the Minnesota election almost brought the popcorn industry out of the recession all by itself; and it is not done yet, king popcorn will live again!

It is the Brad Blog form of planned obsolescence. Once an election is "over" (perish the thought), an EI bard blog must talk about stuff that is boring, which is non-election stuff, all over again.

Yech! says the Brad Blog. Who can eat popcorn and not talk about elections that should have been over last year at the same time?

So the bardology is to perpetuate an election for "as long as it takes" so that everybody will be excited and happy all the time!

UPDATE: Evidently the Brad Blog idea did not work out so well. Is it because some people just give up too easily when it comes to perpetuating old elections that should have been over last year?

Do they not have the hardened heart of a soldier when it comes to new and exciting words and ways to describe an old election that should have been over last year?

Who knows, but it is for sure that the bard is now revising his history and revising his policy. Enough is Enough! is the new bardolator's mantra.

We never meant what we said exclaims the bard! We meant that Coleman should not take it to the Minnesota Supreme Court! Should not take it to the US Supreme Court! It should not take as long as it takes!

Well, we do remember what you actually said and advocated Brad Blog. We said you were wrong then, said you should apologize, said you should change your teachings on that, and we saw this coming.

Now you have to play pretend like Corny Cornyn and those whose ideology you have either spawned or followed.

Shame on you for misleading the EI community just to save Big Popcornyn.

UPDATE II: If this movie goes to the Brad Blog endorsed ultimate, "good", "take as long as it takes" Minnesota Supreme Court on appeal, one of the justices there (of the remaining 5 who have not already recused themselves) will be mini-me-Scalia, a.k.a Justice Dietzen.

Evidently that justice was a lawyer for, and contributor to, republican causes and, oh goodie, including Norm Coleman.

Get out the popcorn because now Justice Dietzen has a chance to show he can be unbiased by saying so (like Scalia did), but not by recusing himself. Oh, the bardolatry of it all.

If you like popcorn and election movies about elections that should have been over last year, get on the bardolator's set right now.

UPDATE III: Brad Blog contacted me to say that it still fully supports the Minnesota law, it is just that Coleman is "abusing" that law. Weak argument Brad Blog, very weak.

A clue for Brad Blog: those laws are not "abused". They are either obeyed or broken. Current Minnesota law allows everything Coleman is doing.

Coleman is not "abusing" Minnesota law by obeying what it allows; appeal, appeal, and appeal. The law is what is broken and needs to be fixed. If we did it your way and fixed Coleman, the law would still be flawed.

As I said, Minnesota needs to change its law.

In close elections after one normal recount, the law needs to be changed to say, among other things: a) that all costs of a challenge shall be borne by a challenger unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the challenge was brought in good faith; b) good faith means a clear chance of overturning the recount; c) the burden of proof is upon the challenger; and d) a 90 day limit must be imposed within which the challenger has to make the case after the one recount; e) after that 90 day period the candidate with the most votes shall be certified.

Brad Blog also challenges my use of the Bush v Gore case as an example of delay. They should read some of the statements of Cornyn and Coleman lawyers who are citing that case because they want it repeated in the US Supreme Court where they think deja vu could happen. They are not using that appeal to speed things up by the way.

If Bush v Gore had not been filed in the US Supreme Court the Florida count in 2000 would have been over sooner than Bush v Gore was decided by his majesty Scalia and the Supremes. With different results too I should add. Bush v Gore perpetuated uncertainty which is still with us to this very day.

We would not have had the Bush II regime, wars that are still with us, economic catastrophe, hurricane shame, the utter loss of our world reputation, the loss of civil rights, torture, and the pathetic, ad nauseum, and psychotic ramblings of the bushies telling us that history will eventually glorify him.

One more Bush v Gore thing Brad Blog is perpetuating ... we still have those who cannot admit when they are wrong ... like Brad Blog.

The Minnesota state government has been reading this blog, so I urge them not to drink the Brad Blog kool aid nor eat the Brad Blog popcornyn.

Fix what is wrong with your election law instead, so that you may avoid a next time, like Florida did.

And Brad Blog, while you are at it, stop carping about Oregon's election law that works just fine thank you.