Monday, January 29, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
The following is a long, self-indulgent reply to a regular e-mailer/critic, but it's my blog, so here goes.
I received this reply to my comment on some anonymous email regarding Mary Beth Buchanan a few weeks back:
Dear Bob, I do not leave my name because it was not required. As for the posts, you are incorrect. Yes she has held appointed positions; however she has never effectively served in them. Let's look at her record: Sentencing Guideline Commission - On her watch the Supreme Court Ruled the Guidelines Unconstitutional Patriot Act Committee - Yeah, she was a great marketer on this one, it almost failed to get renewed Thompson Memo Committee - Former Governor Thornburgh led revolt against memo. Specter utilized a senate resolution to get the justice department to discontinue the memo Terrorism - Utilized the new laws to protect us from international terrorism to improperly target a domestic organization in an attempt to add 12 yeards onto someone who was serving 24 year. The result was the appeals court threw out the verdict and put the new law in question. What else has she done..hmm lets see: Put a precedent forth of entering perjury into the court room - US vs. Risha and US vs. Rottschaefer - to date both appeals court have called the actions perjury, yet Ms. Buchanan won't go after these people because their lies benefited the government's case Utilized her post to seek criminal prosecutions against two korean war vets lying about their ranks Oh, lets not go into the motives of the Defazio, Wecht, and Murphy cases Please go drink the kool aid and tell us all how great Mary Beth Buchanan is.Then:
Well, Anon, let's take this in reverse order. As far as my intellect, I'll leave that to the readers of this blog to judge. We have your opinion. Now how about your intellect?
Also Bob, I felt your intellect was shown so clearly when you went out of your way to slander me for daring to point out the absurdity of the Buchanan appointment. No, I am not for porn or violence against women. I am against such crap and that is why I want what so many other want in reference to this position. A Qualified and Competent Director. Sorry, Mary Beth Buchanan has neither qualities.
You call a United States Attorney going after people who publish and/or film/video/distribute pornography that depicts the violent rape of women and children as "fringe porn lawsuits" then write back saying you're against this sort of porn. Which way do you want it, Anon? The argument that this sort of porn should only be stopped by people who see things YOUR way politically, socially, etc., shows a shallow wit indeed. Her actions were within the law, the constitution; your only real beef seems to be that SHE was the one who stopped them. Any signs of great intellect there, Anon?
You have never responded to my past invitation to produce evidence that she has diverted or directed funds earmarked for women's anti-violence programs to another purpose - could this be because not one iota of evidence to support this allegation exists outside of the Huffington Post-Feministing scare fantasies? You ask me to prove a negative--that being, prove that she won't do what you say she will do (improperly divert funds and resources from one program to another), yet you don't produce any evidence that she has ever done this, and then you question my intellect. When you, Anon, accuse someone of wrongdoing, the burden is on you to produce credible evidence; otherwise, you may expect attacks on your integrity.
Now to the citations in your latest harangue:
Sentencing guidelines - The Federal Sentencing Guidelines you refer to were passed in 1987, the same year Buchanan was graduated from law school. You see, Anon, you have to learn to intellectually distinguish between the case or law being argued and who is responsible for it being enacted to begin with. In this case, Congress enacted these guidelines based on recommendations of a committee, one of whose members was a man by the name of Breyer--you may have heard of him from the Supreme Court. What the SCOTUS said, Anon, was that the guidelines had to be used as recommendations and not automatically imposed. Intellectually speaking, Anon, that's a LONG way from being ruled unconstitutional, as you clumsily claim. It took me about 10 minutes to find the facts on that, Anon.
Your comment about her "marketing" of the Patriot Act is bizarre and nonsensical since a) the Patriot Act WAS reauthorized and b) anyone who followed the reauthorization at all knows she was not exactly the administration point person on this. This just seem to fall into anti-Bush hysteria, rather than an argument against Buchanan being appointed to the post.
Thompson Memo: She was one of dozens of US Attorneys utilizing this tool. In the wake of the Enron fiasco government was trying to find new ways to keep giant corporations from hiding illegal misdeeds. I thought you guys were for that, Anon? I guess if Janet Reno had come up with it all would be well. Honest people can debate the merits of the Thompson Memo, but to try to use it as a reason that Buchanan cannot or should not hold her current post is is frankly rather odd-ball.
As far as your really vague reference to terror laws and sentencing, send me a case name/citation and I'll be happy to respond.
As far as Risha and Rottschaefer cases, it is simply not true that the appeals courts have found perjury in either case. Rottschaefer's appeals, wherein his attorney raised allegations of perjury on appeal, were DENIED by the appeals Court, Supreme Court and District Court. In fact, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the evidence against Rottschaefer was so overwhelming that even if it were believed that the witness lied when she said she traded sex for illegally prescribed Oxycontin, it would not affect the totality of the case since it was undisputed that she did receive illegally prescribed Oxycontin, no matter the barter. The man was guilty as sin and the Court found the evidence against him overwhelming; anyone who has read the rulings knows this.
In Risha the allegation was that prosecutors failed to disclose that their chief witness expected leniency on an unrelated charge (even though, as I understand it, no actual deal had been struck) in exchange for his testimony. NO allegation of perjury was made by any court or governing body. So, Anon, wrong again.
Regarding the Korean war veterans: They did, in fact, misrepresent their rank and were likely turned in by fellow vets offended by this--Buchanan did not go hunting them and when informed of the veterans' misrepresentations, they were charged only with misdemeanors. I do think they should be verbally spanked and sent home and I doubt seriously they ever saw jail time, though I have been unable to confirm this. Many, if not the majority, of veterans themselves consider it a serious offense to misrepresent your service or rank as the men and women of the military must earn their rank, commendations and so on by integrity and difficult service to their country. So they generally take offense to those who lie about such matters. It was certainly not abuse of her office to charge these veterans. By condemning her for charging them, you seem to advocate selective application of the law, something that you claim makes her unfit for office to begin with.
Defazio was a former sheriff who took punitive actions against those under him who failed to support his re-election with checks and promoted those who did. He pled GUILTY to this and his cry that he was singled out for being a democrat was the best defense he could come up with when caught red handed. Intellectually speaking, not a very good example, Anon.
Wecht: a former coroner who is alleged to have used his office for private gain, including trading the bodies of indigent/unidentified persons in exchange for lab space for his private business. A grand jury, after hearing the evidence for a full year, hit him with 84 counts and one of his assistants has plead guilty and turned evidence against him. Motives, Anon? How about robbing the last bit of dignity from indigent persons, perhaps with family out there somewhere wondering where they are, by trading their bodies for personal gain. Is that a good enough reason to prosecute him, Anon? (Intellectually speaking, that is.)
Murphy? A Mayor who traded favors for union endorsements. Wow, I can see why you'd be up in arms about him being prosecuted. (He pled guilty, by the way.)
Yes Anon, I can see why you would say "Let's not go into the motives" regarding those cases.
You see, Anon, when you get your news from the comments section of the Huffington Post and do not verify FACTS yourself, you leave yourself open to attack. If this bothers you, I'm sorry--no, not really, because it's people like you who walk around with half-assed bumper sticker facts in your head that are making this a less sane, rational and intellectual world to live in.
Feel free to write again, Anon, it's nice to hit softballs out of the park now and then.
UPDATE: Received the follow email from Anon this morning:
I see you would not post my response to your comments. Truth hurts doesn't it. So go on beleiving your bull that Ms. Buchanan is some sort of righteous individual. She is just another politician who abuses public trust and her office for her own personal endeavours. Ah, but don't just take my word. Look at what comes up via a web search on Ms. Buchanan http://www.theagitator.com/archives/025837.phpWow, Anon, wrong again. In fact, I published you comments in the most prominent way possibe, as a post, with my response for all the world to see, including the factually vacuous post you link to, which I have effectively rebuted above before I even read it.
Posted by Bob at 12:13 PM
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Sunday, January 07, 2007
(The incredible picture to the right is not doctored in any way and was snapped by Eric Nguyen; it is perhaps the most spectacular tornado/funnel cloud picture I've ever seen and I've seen a lot of them.)
What really sits like a boil on my butt is that any one of the "journalist" could spend less than 15 minutes on the Internet and see from historical weather data that October through February tornadoes occurred virtually every year since they have been systematically tracking such thing, usually in the Southeast/gulf coast regions. I need a BC Powder.
Posted by Bob at 6:43 PM
Posted by Bob at 5:57 PM
Well it's been a while since regular posting, had a nice holiday and all that rot, so let's get right to it:
It seems many in America, Europe and the Mid-East thing Saddam's hanging was just not dignified enough; excuse me while I laugh so hard I blow coffee out of my nose. Let me name a some people who have real reason to worry about the undignified hangings of murderous dictators: Kim Jong Il; The Iranian Leadership and, several tin horn dictators on the African Continent, to name a few.
Yes Kim, look at that video again and again, in between your porn screenings and sips of Cristal - this is the fate that awaits dictators throughout history.
When you murder by the city load, you do not get dignity and dewy eyed executioners. Got It?
I suppose if so many had their way, we would have played the Iraqi equivalent of "Hail to the Murdering Thug," offered him a brandy, xanex and cigar before dropping him down and breaking his filthy neck. Dignity. Please, God, someone hit these people over the head with a common sense/humanity bat.
I am just neck deep fed up with people who want to shed tears for this worthless pile of droppings under the guise of being shocked at his undignified death. Rubbish.
He was heckled? SO WHAT? I would have been whispering in his ear, "Everyone you killed, gassed, tortured to death is waiting on the other side for you, Saddam; they will look like you left them and follow you through eternity."
Let's ponder some circumstances less dignified than Saddam's death:
- Being tortured with electrical current, power drills (Yes the Shiites learned well), sharp, penetrating instruments like nails, awls, etc.;
- Having the nails on your toes and fingers pulled out, slowly, one by one;
- your arms tied behind your back and hung by the wrists until your shoulders pull from the socket (the Romans used this to great effect);
- Being tied up, blindfolded and thrown off a building;
- Your bones methodically broken with iron bars, hit again and again until they are the consistency of jelly;
- You children stung by bees and wasps, being tortured and executed, all for just for being your children;
- Your wife, daughter, sister gang raped or tortured before your eyes;
- being dipped in acid vats, shredders, gassed, explosives placed on you and blown up - and while all or part of the above is going on you scream, sometimes in front of your family, to Saddam, your tormentors and God for mercy or death.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak did not think much of Saddam's hanging and it's little wonder since Egypt is well known for routinely torturing prisoners. One odious blogger compares the hanging of Saddam to the lynching of blacks(!). It simply boggles the mind to hear and read about those who are willing to dismiss the actions of someone who tortured and murdered on scales beyond imagination, yet weep and fawn over the quick, painless execution of the responsible party.
Was it revenge in part? You bet your ass it was and it was justified. Watch the videos or the torture under Saddam's rule, then watch the tape of his hanging again. If you think the two are even close to some sort of moral equivalence, I submit you are a morally bankrupt individual.
Posted by Bob at 10:12 AM
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Joseph Rago writes in the December 20 Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal what at first might appear to be a scathing indictment of the blog community, but it is fact a mirror reflecting the worst of the mainstream media and ultimately explaining why blogs rise and newspaper circulations plunge.
Rago's entire take on the WWW and blogs in general is broad brushed, elitist tripe:
The blogs are not as significant as their self-endeared curators would like to think. Journalism requires journalists, who are at least fitfully confronting the digital age. The bloggers, for their part, produce minimal reportage. Instead, they ride along with the MSM like remora fish on the bellies of sharks, picking at the scraps.Wow; I'am glad Rago has moved past this elitism stuff, otherwise I might think he was just another traditional media snob. Journalism requires journalist? Tell me Mr. Rago, where do you pick up your journalism license? I majored in Journalism, was managing editor of my small college weekly, won awards from various collegiate press associations, worked for a while at a network affiliate, in public relations and in politics and have yet to meet a journalist that was such by any other virtue but educational emphasis and a decision to work in that field.
There is no standard, test or commission that ensures one is a good or bad journalist except for the court of public opinion. As far as the blogs picking up scraps, it sounds exactly like picking up a dozen different dailies from around the country and reading the same AP news/opinion/can't tell the difference story. The MSM chases its own tail with frightening regularity and if Rago does not see this it is willful blindness. Watch any White House Press briefing, read the major daily papers, watch the network news and cable news (Yes, including Fox) and you see an automaton of frightening proportions when you consider this is supposed to be the vanguard of truth and accountability. The press has become a lazy, following and often politically driven institution that mistakes self aggrandizing as asking tough questions and too often gives out free passes to those in our public service considered "friendlies."
But what really seems to bother Rago more than anything (except that the right seems to dominate the blogs) is that there are so many non-journalist writing these days. We're not as serious as Rago and his pals, we don't posses the same faculties for introspection, seriousness and we are just, darn it, NOT journalist. It's obviously so vexing to Rago.
Rago complains that there is "rarely...sustained or systematic blog thought." Oh dear God. Watch any C-Span panel of journalist and often what passes for "rigor" or systematic thought" is simply the systematic regurgitation of the same press releases and/or quotes again and again without the slightest hint of skepticism or real intellectual digging for underlying fact or verification. If bloggers are the cattle of journalism, the MSM has become the great Bison herds of the 1800's.
His writing about the blogs also underscores the complete lack of introspection among "professional" journalist these days; their defense of even their most glaring mistakes is reflexive and vacuous, so lacking in intellectual honesty that it has led to the blog explasion he so decries.
But what really offends me about this hit piece posing as the rigor and careful thought trumpeted throughout is the anti-democratic notion that the competition in the marketplace of ideas is okay, so long as the ideas are put out there by the right people. Like the thoroughly trained, intellectually fit journalist of Mr. Rago's caliber:
But democracy does not work well, so to speak, without checks and balances. And in acceding so easily to the imperatives of the Internet, we've allowed decay to pass for progress.Without the checks and balances of a highly qualified journalist to tell us which opinions are valid, Mr. Rago? Are there lots of bad blogs? You bet. There are also lots of bad journalist. There is a lot of fault to be found on the blogs, but they do not erode democracy or the great debate, Mr. Rago, just your over-inflated opinion of yourself and your occupation.
Anyone who reads the last quote from Rago's piece and does not detect the malodorous scent of a snob is suffering from an common sense head cold.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Dr. Jamal Al-Karbouli, vice president of the Iraqi Red Crescent, said some U.S. forces appeared not to realize that the society, which uses as its symbol the Muslim red crescent instead of the red cross, was part of the international humanitarian movement.Then I wake up this morning to see that gunmen carried out a mass kidnapping of RED CRESCENT workers in Bagdad just hours ago.
"The main problem we are facing is the American forces more than the other forces," Al-Karbouli told reporters in Geneva. "We are spending a lot of time to explain about the Red Crescent."
Al-Karbouli said insurgent groups in
Iraq did not pose as great a problem for the organization.
"The insurgents, they are Iraqis, a lot of them are Iraqis, and they respect the Iraqis. And they respect our (the Red Crescent's) identity, which is neutrality."
He also complained that Red Crescent offices in Baghdad, Anbar and Najaf provinces had been repeatedly "attacked" by U.S.-led multi-national forces searching for insurgents.
"We have flags, we have everything, we have (the) logo, so they (U.S. forces) know everything, but unfortunately they come again and attack us many times," Al-Karbouli said. He complained that U.S. forces broke doors and windows at the Red Crescent headquarters "and they didn't find anything, and they left." Al-Karbouli said insurgent groups had tried to enlist support from the Red Crescent, but the organization had refused.
"We always say no. We want to keep our neutrality," he said.
Doctors and other medical workers have been targeted by militants in bombings and shootings in Iraq's relentless violence. Hospitals also have become safe havens for insurgents or Shiite militiamen, who have sometimes holed up in them in battles with U.S. forces.
You see, when we try to find terrorist who kill civilians in Iraq by kicking down doors, our Democratic party politicians, like John F Kerry says our troops "terrorize children." (Kerry is now on his "World Tour 06: President Bashar Assad , Eat with the Troops!") By the way, I'm sure the people of Lebanon are just wild over Kerry meeting with the man who, along with Iran, is seeking to plunge their nation into bloody constraint once again and ultimately spark a wider pan-Arab-Israeli war.
So the contrast is clear, we kick down doors, then leave, the terrorist kidnap, torture and kill the men, when they are not busy bombing markets full of women and children.
Folks, this ISG, Kerry, Nelson, ET AL lunacy is getting out of hand. Peace in our time. Oh Joy.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
The sleazy piece of human excrement shown here is Joe Francis, responsible to the trash called Girls Gone Wild. Francis has made millions selling tapes of flashing college and sometimes high school age girls to closet pedophiles and teen boys who can't get dates. Cruising spring break spots with video cameras, Francis and crew goad drunk girls into performing on camera for free and then sells them via cable TV infomercials.
But it seems some were underage and his company got a big fine, community service and he still faces more charges.
In 2003 a GGW crew filmed two 17 year old girls engaging in sexual activity and others came forward shortly after.
Many are outraged, and rightfully, so that this odious enterprise has resulted in a fine that equals about 12 percent of his company's profits from 2005. There is a lot of outrage out there on the net and rightfully so.
My favorite target for non-thinkers everywhere is Feministing. Check the short post and endless comments on the subject of Francis and GGW; everything from wishes for jailhouse rape of Francis to fantasies of violence abound. This is a website that revels in thoughts of violence on men who objectify women, once again, under some circumstances not a bad idea, as in unwanted physical contact.
So what's my problem with the Feministing ladies? The fact that they scorn and make fun of Mary Beth Buchanan for prosecuting people who write stories about the abduction and rape of children and men who make porn films depicting the violent rape and even killing of women. Seriously.
I don't mean to beat this to death, but the outright hypocrisy and/or lack of thought on where they stand on these issues of exploitation of women and children is astounding and will remain so until, I suppose, I get hit in the face with the brick that makes me think Girls Gone Wild is bad because it objectifies women and prosecuting people who write about and/or film the rape of women and children is bad. Honestly kids, I just don't get it...
I am struck by the difference in attitude and questions between the press attending the grand unveiling of the ISG Recommendations and the White House Press Corps.
There were actually some pointed and tough questions at the grand unveiling, such as:
QUESTION: You're certainly a group of distinguished elder statesmen, but tell me, why should the president give more weight to what you all have said, given that -- as I understand, you went to Iraq once, with the exception of Senator Robb; none of you made it out of the Green Zone -- why should he give your recommendations any more weight than what he's hearing from his commanders on the ground in Iraq?
HAMILTON: The members of the Iraq Study Group are, I think, public servants of a distinguished record. We don't pretend now, we did not pretend at the start, to have expertise. We've put in a very intensive period of time. We have some judgments about the way this country works and the way our government works, and some considerable experience within our group on the Middle East.
We recognize that our report is only one, and there will be many recommendations. But the report will stand on its own and be accepted or rejected on its own.
We tried to set forth here achievable goals. It's a very easy thing to look at Iraq and sit down and set out a number of goals that really have no chance of all of being implemented. We took a very pragmatic approach because all of these people up here are pragmatic public officials.
HAMILTON: We also hope that our report will help bridge the divide in this country on the Iraq war and will at least be a beginning of a consensus here. Because without that consensus in the country, we do not think ultimately you can succeed in Iraq.
BAKER: Let me add to that that this report by this bunch of has- beens up here is the only bipartisan report that's out there.
It is impossible to impart the sneering tone of Baker's comment. The question was perhaps the most important however glossed over by Hamilton and rejected out of hand by Baker. The Military Adviser's to the ISG were not consulted on the military recommendations and many a military person from John McCain to General Barry McCaffrey has pointed out its tank-sized holes.
Other good question were posed on the reality of their recommendations being accepted in toto (more on that in a bit), the reality of real dialogue with Iran and Syria etc.
On the other hand, the White House press corps and network anchors/talking heads saw the delivery of the WORD, the repudiation of Bush and the confirmation of their every deepest, darkest thought about the Iraq.
It also, in their eyes, justified how bunch of reporters who rarely get out of New York City or the beltway, never get intelligence briefings (except for leaks they print) and have never consulted with a General, Colonel or Master Sargent on the ground in Iraq could know the REAL story of Iraq so well. For them it's not about Iraq per se, it's about vindication of their point of view. One wonders what the reaction would be if the ISG had come out with recommendations to increase the intensity of the war. But they did not and it's a no brainer why.
Commissions, committees and think tanks run to the center, to compromise and away from controversy and decisiveness like dogs run to steak over corn on the cob. Committees do not come up with bold new visions, they promote blinders and more of the same. They ISG report is full of cold war thinking in an asymmetrical war world.
Baker, in the announcement news conference (the Second Noel to the media left, but this time with two wise men and eight sheep) justified the loathsome idea of actually negotiating with the fascist regime in Iran by citing the fact we spoke with the Soviets during the cold war. We sure did; but it was not until we negotiated from the position of a military and economic buildup they could not possibly keep up with was real concessions and eventually the dissolution of the USSR achieved under Ronald Wilson Reagan.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
This is not criticizing an administration that, despite your dim-witted hyperbole, will never arrest, jail, torture or take away your life or family; this takes REAL guts. When you go protest dictators instead of elected officials of our republic, we'll take your seriously.
Holocaust deniers gather in Iran for 'scientific' conference in this Guardian story. You know, the usual gang, Ahmadinejad, David Duke, those cuddly Klansman. Wow, I bet Israel is sooo pumped over Jim Baker wanting to throw them under the bus for Mid-East peace.
Friday, December 08, 2006
I'm sure the ISG will figure out a way around this little speed bump:
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told thousands of Iranians on Friday that his Hamas-led government will never recognize Israel and will continue to fight for the "liberation of Jerusalem."
Making his first visit abroad since the militant group took power in March, Haniyeh blasted U.S. demands that Hamas recognize Israel as a basis for renewed peace talks and before international aid to the Palestinians resumes.
The U.S. "and Zionists ... want us to recognize the usurpation of the Palestinian lands and stop jihad and resistance and accept the agreements reached with the Zionist enemies in the past," Haniyeh told worshippers at Tehran University.
Posted by Bob at 9:46 AM