Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Little Leftover Christmas

My friend akaGaGa is on a blog sabbatical, but she's still emailing -- fortunately for me. Check this out -- it's definitely good for some serious laughs (please pardon the oxymoron).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Some Modest Assistance for Our "Unofficial Envoy"

Anybody awake out there? The Empire has about twenty-nine thousand legionaries occupying South Korea, which is the part of Korea that's quite prosperous and ruled by a heavily-armed regime. There's also North Korea, very poor, and also ruled by a heavily-armed regime. These regimes are very, very different from each other: the southern one is corporatist, and the northern one is communist. Think of them as, you know, a red state and a blue state. Oh, yes, incredibly different. They've been cooperating, though; they've recently been doing their best -- or something close to it -- to get a good shooting, bombing, nuking war cooking:
North Korea, breaking from the restraint it showed this week during military exercises by the South, said Thursday that it was prepared to use its nuclear weapons if it was attacked.

The North is “fully prepared to launch a sacred war,” Minister of the People’s Armed Forces Kim Young-chun said in comments carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency and quoted by Western news media. North Korea’s comments are typically bellicose, but they had been low-key this week as South Korea staged military exercises across its territory.
Hmmmm, a sacred war. At least there can be areas of agreement between what would seem to be the bitterest of enemies; both the North Koreans' supervisors and ours seem to recognize the sanctity of war. But, to continue, farther down in the news story:
The outburst from North Korea followed comments by Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico warning that continued military exercises by the South threatened to ignite violence between the two Koreas. Mr. Richardson, a former ambassador to the United Nations, returned to the United States this week after spending five days in North Korea as an unofficial envoy to discuss the North’s nuclear program.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Mr. Richardson said the large-scale military drills by South Korea were another test for the North.

“The situation is still a tinderbox,” Mr. Richardson told the A.P. “There’s still enormous tension, enormous mistrust, and I believe diplomacy is what is needed to get us out of this tinderbox.”
I'm not sure who Gov. Richardson means by "us," but if he's talking about Imperial Americans and their legions, I have to disagree about diplomacy being what's needed to get out. No, what's needed are two things: a return to sanity, and some transportation.

The transportation is the easy part. The legions are equipped with many large aircraft and more than a few large ships. The soldiers can shoulder their rifles and get on board with no difficulty. Concerning the heavy weapons, trucks, and facilities: forget 'em. We're better off without those things anyway; they seem to inspire us to go out looking for trouble. Given sanity, the legions could be gone tomorrow, or the day after for sure.

But that return to sanity is more problematic. I can't say where that's coming from. Maybe from being out of money and out of credit -- the silver lining, perhaps, on a dark, dark cloud.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Christmas Miracle, DC Style

I'm pretty sure I just saw this on my monitor:
U.S. Senate negotiators reached agreement today on legislation to aid first-responders with illnesses linked to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City.

"The Christmas miracle we've been looking for has arrived," New York Democratic Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand said in a statement. "We thank our Republican friends for coming together to fulfill America's moral obligation to the heroes of 9/11."
Ah, yes, the Heroes of the Holy Nine Eleven. Kind of like the Vet'runs: we're always told that no thanks can ever be enough -- but we're certainly encouraged to keep on trying, forever and ever, amen. But wait, there's more:
The revised bill as worked out closed-door talks provides for $4.3 billion in additional aid over five years, with $1.5 billion for health benefits and $2.7 billion for compensation, Coburn said. The House initially earmarked $7.5 million, and the original Senate version was a $6.2 billion bill.
Well, maybe that's the Christmas miracle: $4.3B, instead of $6.2B or $7.5B. (These lawfakers -- why do they hate the Nine Eleven Heroes, appropriating a mere 4.3 billion? Where's the full 7.5 billion? What's up with that?)

Let's see, about 2500 died in NYC ... $4.3E+09 ... that's a little over 1.7 million dollars per martyr. Still, that's chump change compared to the money flushed down the toilet in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and Yemen, and Pakistan, and ... yeah, maybe Iran's next. And there's the little matter of hundreds of thousands of people murdered. But they're just Musselman wogs, so I guess there's no point in cluttering our accounting with them.

If this is what passes for a "Christmas miracle" in Washington, let's just drop that First Amendment pretense of no established religion, and officially declare the US a Satanist state. Since it's increasingly true in practical terms, maybe the money should start saying "In the Prince of Darkness We Trust." Truth in advertising, you see.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Taking the High Road

Not that I'd want to start any unpleasant exchanges with mendacious trolls, but last holiday season, I chronicled here how I amused myself by accepting my employer's holiday gift, a $15 gift card for Wal-mart, and applying it there toward the purchase of a great big 36-roll package of toilet paper, which allowed me to smile numerous times during the first half of this year as I remembered that I was wiping my fundamental aperture on my holiday gift.

This year, the same holiday gift is on offer, along with the statement that anyone wishing to donate his or her gift card to "local charities" could do so by simply not claiming it. Sounds good to me. I'll just donate passively, and then go ahead and purchase my buttwipes in the conventional way in 2011.

Tiny Little Silver Lining

Thank God my state is near-broke. Finances may inspire them to lighten up -- just a tiny bit! -- in punishing malum prohibitum non-crimes:
... On a related note, Daniels announced the state has reached agreement with a private corrections firm to build a 512-bed, maximum-security addition next to the New Castle Correctional Facility. It’s expected to be completed by February 2012.

[ ... ]

Despite that announcement, Daniels wants to focus on ways to reduce prison-building in the future.

The Pew report found Indiana’s prison population has grown by more than 40 percent – or about 8,000 offenders – in the past 10 years. That is three times faster than any neighboring state, and the growth has come because more people convicted of property and drug offenses are being sentenced to prison.

With no changes, the state’s prison population is expected to grow from about 29,000 to almost 35,000 in 2017.

Daniels said the recommendations from the study, if adopted, would save the state $1.2 billion in future prison construction and operating costs and hold the prison population roughly steady in coming years.
There's no suggestion here, of course, that the state has been wrong to stuff people into cages for self-medicating with unapproved substances, as opposed to State-approved self-medication using booze, tobacco, and (some) gambling. Oh, no, heaven forbid! I'm certain the Guv would love to imprison all such offenders for even longer, or maybe execute some, pour encourager les autres, don't you see. But ... (sigh!) ... it's hard times, and our supervisors have to moderate their pleasures.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Now, and Then

My, how things do change. The Fagin of foreign diplomats' credit-card numbers, La Hillary, now:
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the leak of hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic documents is an attack not only on the United States but also the international community.

In her first public comments since the weekend release of the classified State Department cables, Clinton said Monday that online whistleblower Wikileaks acted illegally in posting the material.

She said the Obama administration was "aggressively pursuing" those responsible for the leak.

She said the leaks erode trust between nations. But Clinton also sa
id she was "confident" that U.S. partnerships would withstand the challenges posed by the latest revelations.
But, way back in the day, almost a whole year ago, then was then:
Now, in many respects, information has never been so free. There are more ways to spread more ideas to more people than at any moment in history. And even in authoritarian countries, information networks are helping people discover new facts and making governments more accountable.

During his visit to China in November, for example, President Obama held a town hall meeting with an online component to highlight the importance of the internet. In response to a question that was sent in over the internet, he defended the right of people to freely access information, and said that the more freely information flows, the stronger societies become. He spoke about how access to information helps citizens hold their own governments accountable, generates new ideas, encourages creativity and entrepreneurship. The United States belief in that ground truth is what brings me here today.

[ ... ]

In the last year, we’ve seen a spike in threats to the free flow of information. China, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan have stepped up their censorship of the internet. In Vietnam, access to popular social networking sites has suddenly disappeared. And last Friday in Egypt, 30 bloggers and activists were detained. One member of this group, Bassem Samir, who is thankfully no longer in prison, is with us today. So while it is clear that the spread of these technologies is transforming our world, it is still unclear how that transformation will affect the human rights and the human welfare of the world’s population.

On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress, but the United States does. We stand for a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas. And we recognize that the world’s information infrastructure will become what we and others make of it. Now, this challenge may be new, but our responsibility to help ensure the free exchange of ideas goes back to the birth of our republic.

[ ... ]

As I speak to you today, government censors somewhere are working furiously to erase my words from the records of history. But history itself has already condemned these tactics. Two months ago, I was in Germany to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The leaders gathered at that ceremony paid tribute to the courageous men and women on the far side of that barrier who made the case against oppression by circulating small pamphlets called samizdat. Now, these leaflets questioned the claims and intentions of dictatorships in the Eastern Bloc and many people paid dearly for distributing them. But their words helped pierce the concrete and concertina wire of the Iron Curtain.

[ ... ]

Some countries have erected electronic barriers that prevent their people from accessing portions of the world’s networks. They’ve expunged words, names, and phrases from search engine results. They have violated the privacy of citizens who engage in non-violent political speech. These actions contravene the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which tells us that all people have the right “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” With the spread of these restrictive practices, a new information curtain is descending across much of the world. And beyond this partition, viral videos and blog posts are becoming the samizdat of our day.

As in the dictatorships of the past, governments are targeting independent thinkers who use these tools. In the demonstrations that followed Iran’s presidential elections, grainy cell phone footage of a young woman’s bloody murder provided a digital indictment of the government’s brutality. We’ve seen reports that when Iranians living overseas posted online criticism of their nation’s leaders, their family members in Iran were singled out for retribution. And despite an intense campaign of government intimidation, brave citizen journalists in Iran continue using technology to show the world and their fellow citizens what is happening inside their country. In speaking out on behalf of their own human rights, the Iranian people have inspired the world. And their courage is redefining how technology is used to spread truth and expose injustice.
Good Lord. I could pretty much quote the whole wonderfully sincere speech here -- she just goes on and on -- but you get the idea.

My thanks Mr. John Naughton of The Guardian for bringing this to my attention, via

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Corporate Media

In the previous post, I referred to them as "journo-harlots." I'm not going to do that again -- I have too much respect for actual harlots to lump them in with the propagandists who truly have become a fourth branch of the criminal conspiracy that masquerades as "our" central government. I mean, Rahab was a harlot.

Anyway, this arrested my attention:
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange continued his assault on U.S. government officials, calling for President Obama to resign if it is proven that he approved of spying on UN officials by U.S. diplomats.

Assange told El Pais, "The whole chain of command who was aware of this order, and approved it, must resign if the US is to be seen to be a credible nation that obeys the rule of law. The order is so serious it may well have been put to the president for approval."

Assange has also called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to resign her post.

The State Department directive sent in July 2009 asked diplomats to collect basic contact information about U.N. officials, including Internet passwords, credit card numbers and frequent flyer numbers.

WikiLeaks documents reveal that the CIA was behind the State Department's directive to gather information on U.N. officials.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said that Secretary Clinton "is responsible, but she was not the author of that particular document, and the contents of that came from outside the Department of State."

"Our diplomats are just that, diplomats," Crowley maintained."They collect information that shapes our policies and actions."

The Department of Justice is considering bringing criminal charges against Assange.

Assange is thought to be hiding in the U.K. London police are expected to execute Interpol's arrest warrant to bring him in for questioning on sex crimes charges and possible extradition proceedings.

In the cat-and-mouse spy game, WikiLeaks' supporters a backup plan to disseminate data if anything untoward happens to Assange or the website. Thousands of encrypted files containing an uncensored version of the diplomatic cables have been sent around the world, and can be opened with a special "key."
"Assault." I mean, really. You have people (sort of) in the US government openly calling for Assange's murder, but for him to say what any reasonable person would -- that some resignations of the criminals involved, such as Madam Secretary of Identity Theft Clinton, and her sly and feckless capo, Barack Milhous Obama, are due -- to say that is an "assault?" And here's the US Department of Injustice "considering bringing criminal charges against Assange." Memo to you, goofballs: Assange isn't a US subject citizen. Of course, I'm forgetting: under the US empire, foreigners are subject to US law, but aren't entitled to the increasingly dubious protections of our poor dead constitution. Heads, the ruling class wins; tails, anyone else loses. Sweet. Sure is enough to make me want to go out and vote. Three or four times, maybe.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Going Through the Motions

I suppose the US is officially still claiming to the The Free-est Country Anywhere And At Any Time. I'll have to admit, though, that I'm a little surprised at what a small and shoddy effort they're putting into the maintenance of the charade, in these latter days.

Did you all see this crap?
In a classic case of shutting the barn door after the horse has left, the Obama administration and the Department of Defense have ordered the hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors not to read the secret cables and other classified documents published by Wikileaks and news organizations around the world unless the workers have the required security clearance or authorization.

“Classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites or disclosed to the media, remains classified, and must be treated as such by federal employees and contractors, until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. Government authority,” said the notice sent on Friday afternoon by the Office of Management and Budget, which is part of the White House, to agency and department heads, urging them to distribute it to their staff

The directive applies to both government computers and private devices that employees or contractors might carry in their briefcases and pockets or have in their homes. It does not advise agencies to block WikiLeaks or other websites on government computer systems, a White House official said Saturday. And it does not prohibit federal employees from reading news stories about the topic. But if they have “accidentially” already downloaded any of these documents, they are being told to notify their “information security offices.”

[ ... ]

The Library of Congress has joined in the push, blocked visitors to its reading rooms, or anyone else using its computer system, from accessing the WikiLeaks site, noting that “unauthorized disclosures of classified documents do not alter the documents’ classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents.”
And in other news:
Columbia University’s Office of Career Service is said to have passed around an email warning students that if they read WikiLeaks or make comments related to the releases it would render them ineligible for any government jobs in the future, based on a warning sent by a former student working at the State Department.

State Department spokeswoman Nicole Thompson insisted the warning wasn’t an official Department directive but added that making public comments or posting links to WikiLeaks content wasn’t “a good move for any US citizen.”

Efforts across the US government to restrict access to the documents are having limited success, although Sen. Joe Lieberman (I – CT) did succeed in getting the WikiLeaks website removed for a few hours following a threatening phone call to
Well, with all due respect (and that ain't much, for sure) to State Department spokescreature Nicole Thompson, let me say this about that:

1. The WikiLeaks organization has performed an essential service to the public -- the international public, at that -- that the big-time professional journo-harlots are no longer willing to do. What Mr. Assange and his associates have done is wonderful. Tragically, I suspect he -- and others -- will be paying a heavy price for disseminating the truth; and, at least in the US, I suspect further that the revelations WikiLeaks have made won't make much difference. If productive US public outrage is what was wanted, well, sorry -- after all, Christmas, New Year's, the BCS bowl games, and the NFL playoffs are all coming up. Still, in this, the most public comment that a nobody like me can come up with: three cheers for WikiLeaks! Hip, hip, hooray!

2. I won't post a link to WikiLeaks here, simply because it's currently useless, what with all the DDOS attacks and other cyberthuggery that our charming government and its overseas subsidiaries are doing. Right now, the best I can do is post a link to this article, which its author says he will update as often as he can with working links to mirror sites and other such workarounds. Three more cheers for, while we're at it!

3. Finally, your tax dollars at work: notice above how Joseph "the Weasel" Lieberman is spending his time: making threatening phone calls. Truly, a worthy son of the Stern Gang, and perhaps the most effective of the many US senators owned by the Israelis.

Seriously, folks, doesn't it seem to you that the whole US imperial enterprise is really starting to rip and run in more and more places, like a rotten old stocking? Things seem to be picking up speed quickly, like a boat on a narrowing river just above a high falls. Myself, I've got my fingers crossed for a Soviet-style collapse, without a huge bloodbath. Wishing isn't predicting, though.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Jesus on WikiLeaks ...

... and WikiLeaks' outraged accusers. Quoted in John's gospel, chapter 3, verses 20 and 21:
"For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."
Dissenting is former Baptist preacher and 'Pubbie presidential candidate Mike Huckabee:
“Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason, and I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty,” Huckabee, a likely presidential candidate, told reporters Monday during a stop at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library to sign copies of his new children’s book, “Can’t Wait Till Christmas!”
Well, there's at least two views about everything, and you takes your choices. Still, I have to wonder what sort of parent gives his children a copy of Chucklebee's "Christmas" book.