Thursday, January 31, 2008

Not Illegal, Just Really Shitty

What a surprise.
The Oakland International Airport did not break any laws or regulations when it denied 200 Marines and soldiers access to the passenger terminal during a layover last year from Iraq to the troops' home base in Hawaii, the Transportation Department says.

Calvin L. Scovell III, the department's inspector general, blamed the mix-up on security concerns and a communication failure between the Defense Department and the Homeland Security Department.

The contract to allow military layovers at the California airport "did not require that military personnel have access to the airport terminal; it only required that military personnel be allowed to deplane and stretch their legs on stops lasting over one hour," said a report released yesterday to House lawmakers who requested an investigation into the matter.

Yep, they weren't doing anything illegal, but showing how they appreciate those that stand in harms way is a really strong indicator of why you should just skip Oakland, and most of California for that matter.

This bit irritates me in a big way.
Airport officials were concerned that the flight's ground staff could not provide "an adequate level of escort and control of such a large group of military personnel in or around the terminal area," the inspector's report said.

The report also said the Homeland Security and Defense departments have no coordinated policy to conduct security screenings or a communications process to allow the Marines and soldiers in passenger terminals.

Thats right. Those guys who are defending your right to be a jackass are not trustworthy enough to be allowed in passenger terminals without security screenings. Sorry, I just don't buy it. I trust them more than I trust most of the TSA people.

And if that all isn't irritating enough, here's a gem that I found at QandO.
The city council of Berkeley, California, hateful, spiteful, small-minded little idiots that they are, have giving notice to the Marines to get out of town:
[T]he Berkeley City Council...voted 8-1 Tuesday night to tell the U.S. Marines that its Shattuck Avenue recruiting station "is not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders."

In addition, the council voted to explore enforcing its law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation against the Marines because of the military's don't ask, don't tell policy. And it officially encouraged the women's peace group Code Pink to impede the work of the Marines in the city by protesting in front of the station.

In a separate item, the council voted 8-1 to give Code Pink a designated parking space in front of the recruiting station once a week for six months and a free sound permit for protesting once a week from noon to 4 p.m.
OK. Then how about we cut off every penny of Federal funds that go into Berkeley? Including the University.

The level of moral vanity and sickening vindictiveness this demonstrates really sends me into a towering rage.
Nice. Berkeley and Oakland are adjacent aren't they? I wonder if the same jackasses get together for this crap.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bloomberg Did Nothing Wrong In Straw Purchase Sting

This is fascinating. Caught it at SayUncle.
A federal judge said Friday that Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration did not commit a crime when it sent undercover investigators into gun shops to attempt illegal weapons purchases as it prepared to sue the dealers.

In the sting operation two years ago, private investigators hired by the city wore hidden cameras and attempted "straw purchases," where one person fills out the legal forms and buys the gun for someone else.

The scam, prohibited by federal law, is typically employed by people who cannot own firearms, such as convicted felons.

Lawyers for some of the gun shops had argued the city had itself violated the law by attempting the illegal purchases.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak said Friday the court had found "that the city's actions do not constitute a crime or fraud" because an actual straw sale never happened. In the purchases made by the city's investigators, the buyers did not hand over the guns later.

"No 'straw' sale took place because ownership was never transferred," the judge wrote.

Both sides claimed victory. The city said the decision was good news for its case.

"What the court has said today is exactly what we've said — the only people who broke the law here were dealers who engaged in straw purchases," said John Feinblatt, Bloomberg's criminal justice coordinator.

The gun dealers, meanwhile, interpreted the decision as validation that they did nothing wrong because the court said no crime was committed.

"Our side is getting stronger every day," said Carl Pierce, attorney for some of the gun shops. "These people engaging in these sales weren't doing anything illegal."

The sting operation was conducted as the basis for a civil lawsuit brought by the city against 27 gun dealers in Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia; Bloomberg targeted shops that the city believes are responsible for selling guns traced back to crimes in New York City.

Gun rights advocates and organizations like the National Rifle Association have complained that Bloomberg's gun sting was a criminal stunt. And the Justice Department even did its own inquiry as to whether the city was out of bounds.

Fifteen dealers have settled and agreed to let a special master monitor their sales, and a lawsuit against several of the remaining 12 is proceeding in federal court in Brooklyn.

Makes you wonder what planet Feinblatt is on. If they didn't do anything wrong by not completing the straw purchase that they commissioned, how could the dealer have done anything wrong?

I think I'd be moving to make any Bloomberg lawsuit that still exists on this topic to be considered frivolous. I think the dealers suing him now have a really strong case.

You'd think that at least a charge of Conspiracy would be appropriate here. I suppose if you have enough money you can get out of anything.

Monday, January 28, 2008

More Movie Magic with the Anti-Gun Elite

Geeks at Slashdot bring us a review of the movie Untraceable. I don't care much for the plot, but they point out an interesting bit from the movie.
Batter up! I think that an FBI cyber crime expert would have a pop-up blocker installed, but moving on. If a criminal wanted to gain access to your machine to steal your financial records, tricking you into downloading and installing a trojan horse as part of another program, is probably exactly how they'd do it. (However, a trojan wouldn't automatically and instantly find a file full of passwords, even if she did named it "passwords.txt" as bait.) The biggest slip is that if you upload a trojan horse back to someone who was downloading data from your machine, there's still no way to force the remote criminal's computer to run it, as happens in the movie. And a criminal that smart would probably be running the operation from the compromised PC of someone in another city, not stealing a neighbor's wireless access. (In any case, while having the criminal's IP address would allow you to go to someone's ISP and ask them to turn over the records of where that person lived, the characters should not have been able to narrow an IP address down to a person's house without that extra step.) Also, if I heard right, the FBI figures out who the guilty neighbor is even though he has no priors, based on the fact that he has two registered handguns. That will offend a certain portion of the audience, so viewers of "27 Dresses" in some cinemas may hear angry gunfire coming from the next theater.
Funny that they point to the Michigan Militia as those that would get offended. Not that any one else would see this as more of the same from the left coast. One commenter even points out that if the guy were a criminal there is no reason to believe that he would have registered his handguns.

Of course, this just points to the idea that if you have a gun, legally purchased and registered, you're still considered a criminal.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Democrats Pledges Condemn Iraq to Failure

Max Boot pointing out that the campaign stances are completely missing the point of the present successes in strategy.
That makes it sound as if Obama and Clinton favor leaving a few Marine guards at the U.S. embassy and a few Special Operations teams based either in Iraq or in a neighboring country.

This is a position so utterly disconnected from the on-the-ground reality I discovered in Iraq during a recent 11-day visit that it boggles the mind. The ability of our forces to rout Al Qaeda during the past year was due precisely to abandoning the Special Forces-centric approach we had utilized in the past. Instead of relying on a handful of commandos swooping in from afar, General Petraeus sent large numbers of combat troops to live in Iraqi neighborhoods. This created a sufficient degree of security to allow residents to rat out Al Qaeda terrorists without committing suicide.

Obviously we cannot keep 170,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely; we will be down to 130,000 (15 Brigade Combat Teams) by mid-July on current projections. And as Iraqi security forces grow in capability it may be possible to withdraw more troops without compromising the security gains of recent months. But it would be the height of irresponsibility to pledge, without knowing what conditions on the ground look like, the withdrawal of all combat troops in less than two years.

Imagine what would have happened in the Korean peninsula if the U.S. and its allies had withdrawn all combat troops in 1955. What are the odds that South Korea would have remained independent? Probably no higher than the odds in South Vietnam, where we did withdraw all combat troops in 1973. Within two years the war was lost.

Again we see that those who understand the reality on the ground in Iraq are certain that the ways ahead planned by the dems will ensure failure.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oliver Stone's "Fair" Movie on W

I'm going to guess this will either be a complete flop or will be so nonsensical that fair couldn't even be used in the sentence.
Director Oliver Stone, who has made movies about Presidents John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, is developing a project about the current occupant of the White House, but promises it will not be a hatchet job, Daily Variety reported on Sunday.

Stone is in talks with Josh Brolin, who is starring in "No Country For Old Men," to play the title role in "Bush," the trade paper said.
Not a hatchet job? Right.

I'm sure he could get together with Mickey Moore on the project and make it completely fair and balanced.

Comrade Hillary's Economic Plan

Lovely article. If your a libertarian or just a free marketer, this one will make you nervous.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said that if she became president, the federal government would take a more active role in the economy to address what she called the excesses of the market and of the Bush administration.
Nice way to start. Nothing helps free markets like government intervention.
Reflecting what her aides said were very different conditions today, Mrs. Clinton put her emphasis on issues like inequality and the role of institutions like government, rather than market forces, in addressing them.

She said that economic excesses — including executive-pay packages she characterized as often “offensive” and “wrong” and a tax code that had become “so far out of whack” in favoring the wealthy — were holding down middle-class living standards.
Favoring the wealthy is always a hoot to read. I wonder who pays the vast majority of taxes in this country. It certainly isn't the poor, or the middle class. By favoring the wealthy she must be referring to favoring their money for more appropriate uses.
Mrs. Clinton’s approach to the economy would have three main components. She would roll back the Bush tax cuts for households with incomes over $250,000 while creating more tax breaks below that threshold; impose closer scrutiny on financial markets, including the investments being made by foreign governments in the United States; and raise spending on job-creating projects like the development of alternative energy.

“We’ve done it in previous generations,” she said, alluding to large-scale public projects like the interstate highway system and the space program. “But we’ve got to have a plan.”

Funny how she says conditions are so very different and yet alludes to projects from the past as a means of fixing the problems. Seeing that development of alternative energy is something that you're not going to find occurring in the low income business sector, I don't see that what she's as being anything but gibberish. Can anyone see that as being a large job creator? Well, maybe she's envisioning huge gerbil wheels with people running on them to create electricity.
Mrs. Clinton’s approach involves programs narrowly focused to deal with specific problems, a strategy that economists say has pluses and minuses. Her proposal for short-term economic stimulus, centered more on home-heating and mortgage subsidies than a broad tax rebate, has generally received lower marks from economists than Mr. Obama’s plan, which emphasizes immediate tax rebates to most workers.
Hillary shows her colors clearly there. Essentially she only wants to allow you certain very focused areas where you can spend the money that she wants to redistribute. She must be in the oil companies pocket, because she wants the money to go to them for the home-heating subsidies. This is more a subsidy for mega-corps than an economic stimulus package. With this ultra-control level on a topic, it frightens me to think where she will go on so many other topics.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bloomberg's NY - San Fran in the Making

I'd expect such stupidity from the likes of San Francisco, and I guess I'm not overly surprised to see it starting in places like NY. Bloomberg seems to be moving on the premise that no one is smart enough to protect themselves so why should they be allowed any type of tool to do that.
But Richard Falkenrath, the NYPD's deputy commissioner for counterterrorism, knows that it's just a matter of time. That's why he and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have asked the City Council to pass a law requiring anyone who wants to own such detectors to get a permit from the police first. And it's not just devices to detect weaponized anthrax that they want the power to control, but those that detect everything from industrial pollutants to asbestos in shoddy apartments. Want to test for pollution in low-income neighborhoods with high rates of childhood asthma? Gotta ask the cops for permission. Why? So you "will not lead to excessive false alarms and unwarranted anxiety," the first draft of the law states.

Last week, Falkenrath made his case for the new law before the City Council's Public Safety Committee, where Councilman Peter Vallone introduced the bill and chaired the hearing. Dozens of university researchers, public-health professionals, and environmental lawyers sat in the crowd, horrified by the prospect that if this law passes, their work detecting and warning the public about airborne pollutants will become next to impossible. But Falkenrath pressed on, saying that unless the police can determine who gets to look for nasty stuff floating in the air, the city would be paralyzed by fear.

"There are currently no guidelines regulating the private acquisition of biological, chemical, and radiological detectors," warned Falkenrath, adding that this law was suggested by officials within the Department of Homeland Security. "There are no consistent standards for the type of detectors used, no requirement that they be reported to the police department—or anyone else, for that matter—and no mechanism for coordinating these devices. . . . Our mutual goal is to prevent false alarms . . . by making sure we know where these detectors are located, and that they conform to standards of quality and reliability."

Hey, why not? You have to register your car with them, why not your geiger counter. Thought that bit of logic was especially scary when relating to guns? Well, here they come for anything else they don't think it's safe for you to have. (Or is that what is inconvenient for them if you possess it?)
After an hour of this, poor Peter Vallone looked shell-shocked. He had planned to fast-track this legislation—in fact, the law was supposed to have been voted on last week—but that was before the critics had heard about it. As the opposition mounted, Vallone pulled the proposed legislation just before the meeting's end and agreed to give it a second look. "When I was first given a briefing only weeks ago, the potential problems did occur to me," he said in a later interview. "But the extent of the opposition, on such short notice, was a bit surprising."

But don't think Vallone has given up or anything. He and his colleagues will try to accommodate all the concerns when they redraft the bill, he said, but one way or another, the cops are going to have this new power. "No one's going to be completely happy in the end," Vallone said, "but I think the police department gave some very impressive testimony on the stand, and also expressed a willingness to listen to concerns." After all, if you let research scientists and community groups do their jobs, the terrorists will have already won.
Nope can't inconvenience the police. Wonder what other inconvenient situations they want to avoid, crime scenes? This is pathetic. It also comes to the conclusion that is heard too often from the security crowd on leaving security to the professionals. The problem with that is how many people are going to be dead before a professional figures out there is a problem? Of course the Nanny state is better equipped to make you safe than you could possibly be. Proven no doubt by all the murders that are prevented each year.

Schneier at least has a realistic view on the whole thing:
False positives are a problem with any detection system, and certainly putting Geiger counters in the hands of everyone will mean a lot of amateurs calling false alarms into the police. But the way to handle that isn't to ban Geiger counters. (Just as the way to deal with false fire alarms 100 years ago wasn't to lock the alarm boxes.) The way to deal with it is by 1) putting a system in place to quickly separate the real alarms from the false alarms, and 2) prosecuting those who maliciously sound false alarms.

We don't want to encourage people to report everything; that's too many false alarms. Nor do we want to discourage them from reporting things they feel are serious. In the end, it's the job of the police to figure out what's what. I said this in an essay last year:

...these incidents only reinforce the need to realistically assess, not automatically escalate, citizen tips. In criminal matters, law enforcement is experienced in separating legitimate tips from unsubstantiated fears, and allocating resources accordingly; we should expect no less from them when it comes to terrorism.
The problem comes into who are you defining as the professional? If I detect something with a geiger counter, are you going to tell me that the police will be knowledgeable enough to decide whether its a false positive or not? Especially considering that many of us "non-professionals" in this context are in reality professionals above the grade of those who would be judging our results? (Yeah, 13 years in the nuclear industry gives me a lot of practical knowledge of radiological detection devices. Far more than any police or fireman.)

Good luck to NYer's. Another reason to avoid that mess you call home.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Huckabee's Corrections for the Constitution

Found this link (@ QandO) that pulls a quote that really gives me the shakes when hearing it from a Presidential candidate.
"[Some of my opponents] do not want to change the Constitution, but I believe it's a lot easier to change the constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards," Huckabee said, referring to the need for a constitutional human life amendment and an amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
Whose god is the question. Should the country have to take his interpretation? Such statements are worrisome in you really don't know where such thinking will lead. I'll usually go with the extreme on such statements. Fortunately, a President by himself couldn't force such a change.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Micro$oft's Monitoring Patent

This is odd. Not sure I would ever allow any monitoring devices to be placed on me. Especially if it's related to Micro$oft.
Microsoft is developing Big Brother-style software capable of remotely monitoring a worker’s productivity, physical wellbeing and competence.

The Times has seen a patent application filed by the company for a computer system that links workers to their computers via wireless sensors that measure their metabolism. The system would allow managers to monitor employees’ performance by measuring their heart rate, body temperature, movement, facial expression and blood pressure. Unions said they fear that employees could be dismissed on the basis of a computer’s assessment of their physiological state.

Technology allowing constant monitoring of workers was previously limited to pilots, firefighters and Nasa astronauts. This is believed to be the first time a company has proposed developing such software for mainstream workplaces.

Microsoft submitted a patent application in the US for a “unique monitoring system” that could link workers to their computers. Wireless sensors could read “heart rate, galvanic skin response, EMG, brain signals, respiration rate, body temperature, movement facial movements, facial expressions and blood pressure”, the application states.

Considering how well their OS works, I'm not certain I would be depending on this device for any realistic monitoring.

I wonder what it will do when Micro$oft Office locks up and destroys the mornings work? Probably just lock up your system until dumpcheck is finished and then report you as the problem.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Because the PATRIOT Act Wasn't Enough

Yeah, I think the PATRIOT act has it's place, but frankly it really needs to be brought under restraint. Restraint, that thing that governments seem not to understand. This one though makes me nervous when added to it.
Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 - Amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to add provisions concerning the prevention of homegrown terrorism (terrorism by individuals born, raised, or based and operating primarily in the United States).

Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to: (1) establish a grant program to prevent radicalization (use of an extremist belief system for facilitating ideologically-based violence) and homegrown terrorism in the United States; (2) establish or designate a university-based Center of Excellence for the Study of Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States; and (3) conduct a survey of methodologies implemented by foreign nations to prevent radicalization and homegrown terrorism.

Prohibits the Department of Homeland Security's efforts to prevent ideologically-based violence and homegrown terrorism from violating the constitutional and civil rights, and civil liberties, of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.
Yep, the Dems, our champions of Freedom, are pushing this after they screeched about the PATRIOT act. My god, how can anyone take them seriously.

The moronic representatives for NH voted in favor. I'm not really surprised. I'm just wondering how this type of thing will go when the dems have majorities in both houses and the presidency. No doubt they'll be doing everything to ensure our freedoms.

I'm just hoping I'm not on the list already.

Stupid California

I love days when news with similar themes come my way.

Get this, Califonians are stupid. Ok that's no real surprise if you look at how their government treats them. First something from the geekWife.
The other big losers would be the overall level of achievement demanded in California public elementary and high schools. A recent study by the left-leaning Institute for Democracy, Education and Access at UCLA, the "California Educational Opportunity Report 2007," finds that "California lags behind most other states in providing fundamental learning conditions as well as in student outcomes." In 2005 California ranked 48th among states in the percentage of high-school kids who attend college. Only Mississippi and Arizona rated worse.
Nice. I bet if they keep working at it they can lower the intelligence average of the US all by themselves.

And this from Ravenwood's Universe by way of SayUncle:
The state of California has plans for you and your family. According to a proposed new rule, the state would mandate all new construction have a thermostat that the state can operate in emergencies.

The rule, set to be adopted January 30th, doesn’t give you a choice. It's mandatory. In a section on "Programmable Communicating Thermostats" found on page 64 of this document, it states:

"Upon receiving an emergency signal, the PCT (your thermostat) shall respond to commands contained in the emergency signal, including changing the setpoint by any number of degrees or to a specific temperature setpoint. The PCT shall not allow customer changes to thermostat settings during emergency events."

Consumer advocates say the utilities have let the rule be proposed and have not opposed it and it could actually be adopted.

Emphasis is original.

Wonder what they plan next. Remote control of your car? Remote control of the wobbly bits?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Obama on Iraq

From the Dem Debate:
MR. GIBSON: Would you have seen this kind of greater security in Iraq if we had followed your recommendations to pull the troops out last year?

Senator Obama.

SEN. OBAMA: Let me respond. I think the bar of success has become so low that we've lost perspective on what should be our long- term national interests. It was a mistake to go in from the start, and that's why I opposed this war from the start.

It has cost us upwards of $1 trillion. It may get close to 2 (trillion dollars). We have lost young men and women on the battlefield, and we have not made ourselves safer as a consequence.

Now, I had no doubt -- and I said at the time, when I opposed the surge, that given how wonderfully our troops perform, if we place 30,000 more troops in there, then we would see an improvement in the security situation and we would see a reduction in the violence. But understand, we started in 2006 with intolerable levels of violence and a dysfunctional government. We saw a spike in the violence, the surge reduced that violence, and we now are, two years later, back where we started two years ago. We have gone full circle at enormous cost to the American people.

What we have to do is to begin a phased redeployment to send a clear signal to the Iraqi government that we are not going to be there in perpetuity. Now, it will -- we should be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in. I welcome the genuine reductions of violence that have taken place, although I would point out that much of that violence has been reduced because there was an agreement with tribes in Anbar province -- Sunni tribes -- who started to see, after the Democrats were elected in 2006, you know what, the Americans may be leaving soon, and we are going to be left very vulnerable to the Shi'as. We should start negotiating now. That's how you change behavior.

And that's why I will send a clear signal to the Iraqi government. They will have ample time to get their act together, to actually pass an oil law, which has been -- they've been talking about now for years.

They will actually be able to conduct de-Ba'athification. We will support them in all of those efforts. But what we can't do is to continue to ignore the enormous strains that this has placed on the American taxpayer as well as the anti-American sentiment that it is fanning and the neglect that's happening in Afghanistan as a consequence.

It's entertaining to see that he believes that the violence levels are down to where they were two years ago. In fact they are lower. It also is indicative of someone who hasn't a clue as to what has been going on in Iraq.

His statement that the Sunni in Anbar are a minority is ludicrous. That province is primarily Sunni. The reason for the change of the tribes relates to added security, added funding for development and primarily because they got very tired of living with the Al-Qaeda tyrants that tried to kill their way into controlling the areas and evicting US troops.

Read the section with questions on Iraq. It's pretty indicative of a group who would prefer to see us fail for political benefits rather than make the area stable and peaceful.

George McGovern - Demonstrable Moronic

Nice to see that WaPo gives George McGovern vent to his moronic ranting for the impeachment of Bush/Cheney. His rant flies in the face of all the investigations that have been performed on multiple topics and some very basic realities of the world events that he rails about.

Of course he starts with Iraq.
In a more fundamental sense, American democracy has been derailed throughout the Bush-Cheney regime. The dominant commitment of the administration has been a murderous, illegal, nonsensical war against Iraq. That irresponsible venture has killed almost 4,000 Americans, left many times that number mentally or physically crippled, claimed the lives of an estimated 600,000 Iraqis (according to a careful October 2006 study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) and laid waste their country. The financial cost to the United States is now $250 million a day and is expected to exceed a total of $1 trillion, most of which we have borrowed from the Chinese and others as our national debt has now climbed above $9 trillion -- by far the highest in our national history.

All of this has been done without the declaration of war from Congress that the Constitution clearly requires, in defiance of the U.N. Charter and in violation of international law. This reckless disregard for life and property, as well as constitutional law, has been accompanied by the abuse of prisoners, including systematic torture, in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

Right. Seems he must have missed the Authorization to Use of Military Force Against Iraq. That was all that was needed. And there was no defiance of the UN since they had already had several resolutions against the Iraqi regime. But hey, Why should he actually note reality in his stupid tirade?

And it's fascinating that he uses the casualty estimate that is by far the largest and most questioned in it's reasoning and process.

And what of the prisoners that he states are protected by the Geneva Conventions? They don't even meet the definition of a legal combatant. In fact they clearly don't. Since the US hasn't signed Protocol III of the Geneva Conventions that would give these types of combatants status, there is nothing illegal in the actions. The discussion of torture is so brief that it doesn't even make a case for whether it was torture or not. And seeing that he hasn't access to any of the facts, he is completely without the ability to make this case.
It happened in part because the Bush-Cheney team repeatedly deceived Congress, the press and the public into believing that Saddam Hussein had nuclear arms and other horrifying banned weapons that were an "imminent threat" to the United States. The administration also led the public to believe that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks -- another blatant falsehood. Many times in recent years, I have recalled Jefferson's observation: "Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."
Oh come on. The Bush Administration never said that Saddam was involved with 9/11. The congress was the party that brought that into the light of a clear and present danger, not the Bush administration. Deceived congress? I think not. They had access to the same information as the President. If they chose not to review it, then its not the administration deceiving but the negligence of the representatives.

I'm still trying to find any reference of anyone saying that Saddam had nuclear weapons. I'm thinking he must be having a bout of senility.
The basic strategy of the administration has been to encourage a climate of fear, letting it exploit the 2001 al-Qaeda attacks not only to justify the invasion of Iraq but also to excuse such dangerous misbehavior as the illegal tapping of our telephones by government agents. The same fear-mongering has led government spokesmen and cooperative members of the press to imply that we are at war with the entire Arab and Muslim world -- more than a billion people.
It may not be pleasant, but it has all been reviewed by the courts and has been put into legislation, so it isn't illegal. In fact, it would need to come to the judiciary to decide whether the president went beyond his constitutional powers. There are very good reasons to believe he has worked within those powers even if the likes of McGovern doesn't like it. As for the fear mongering, whose doing that right now? Isn't this whole article trying to stir up fear that the citizens are being violated?
Ironically, while Bush and Cheney made counterterrorism the battle cry of their administration, their policies -- especially the war in Iraq -- have increased the terrorist threat and reduced the security of the United States.
No proof, just conjecture. Well I can say just the opposite and would be as valid, but it still wouldn't be proof. And it's not relevant to his argument for impeachment.
Today, after five years of clumsy, mistaken policies and U.S. military occupation, Iraq has become a breeding ground of terrorism and bloody civil strife. It is no secret that former president Bush, his secretary of state, James A. Baker III, and his national security adviser, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, all opposed the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq.
I guess McGovern hasn't watched any news in the past 6 months. Not that any war goes smoothly from the start and all have issues and challenges, but now that it has found some stabilization with the most recent strategy all McGovern can come up with is Baker and Scowcroft didn't like it. How is that relevant now that we are here?
In addition to the shocking breakdown of presidential legal and moral responsibility, there is the scandalous neglect and mishandling of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe. The veteran CNN commentator Jack Cafferty condenses it to a sentence: "I have never ever seen anything as badly bungled and poorly handled as this situation in New Orleans." Any impeachment proceeding must include a careful and critical look at the collapse of presidential leadership in response to perhaps the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.
Oh yes, quoting a reporter is evidence of presidential bungling. It ignores the local and state agencies ignoring the federal warnings and delayed preparations so long that the Fed couldn't get in on time. Yet this is all the President's fault. Idiot! No doubt the Fed could have done better, but since LA and NO politicians decided they wanted to do things their own ways, the problem was made much more severe. It also ignores where the Fed did extremely well with four other hurricanes in Florida that year. But if you can't be reasonable on all actions by the Fed, then you have no argument.

Read it for yourself if you have 5 minutes to waste. McGovern doesn't make his case and uses the usual lame and tired arguments without factual support or contact with reality.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Stupid Security - Anti-Missile Defenses for Commercial Airliners

Who thinks these things up? And why are they trying to secure something that hasn't been seen as a threat anywhere? I've done a couple of searches of the news for any evidence that the use of shoulder fired missiles have ever been seen in the US or Europe and I found nothing.
Tens of thousands of airline passengers will soon be flying on jets outfitted with anti-missile systems as part of a new government test aimed at thwarting terrorists armed with shoulder-fired projectiles.

Three American Airlines Boeing 767-200s that fly daily round-trip routes between New York and California will receive the anti-missile laser jammers this spring, according to the Department of Homeland Security, which is spending $29 million on the tests.

Jets will fly with the jammer device mounted on the belly of the plane, between the wheels. The device works with sensors, also mounted on the plane, that detect a heat-seeking missile and shoot a laser at it to send the missile veering harmlessly off course.

Who is going to pay for these stupid "protections?" No doubt they'll be free and won't be added to the users.

So another threat that hasn't been seen, and another protection that will no doubt never be used.

At least the airline running the tests isn't completely out to lunch.
American Airlines spokesman John Hotard says company officials agreed to participate in the tests in case Congress eventually requires airlines to install the devices.

But American is "philosophically opposed" to anti-missile technology on commercial planes, he says. "When you look at the cost benefit, it would be an extremely expensive proposition, and in the end, is it really going to work?"

I wonder who has proposed these "protections."

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Thinking Before Acting - A Theme for Delinquents and the Police

This "kid" is clearly an idiot. You don't make a even something slightly resembling a bomb in the People's Republic without causing a major over-reaction.
Andrew J. Spalt of Barnstable pleaded not guilty to possessing an explosive device during his arraignment before Barnstable District Judge Joan Lynch. A pretrial hearing was set for Feb. 11.

Spalt’s attorney, Edward Lynch of Barnstable, said, “This is an 18-year-old kid who made some foolish choices. ... There wasn’t any intent to destroy anything or hurt someone.”

He said he believed the charges should ultimately be reduced to either disturbing the peace or disorderly conduct.

Police said someone reported an explosion at the parking lot at about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday. The first officer who arrived at the scene found pieces of a plastic soda bottle littering the lot and another intact bottle that appeared to be suspicious. The latter bottle was detonated by the State Police Bomb Squad.

But from the film footage on the news this was clearly a soda bomb. Something that requires a bottle some baking soda and vinegar. The bomb squad used a disruption device to "detonate" the "bomb." Can't be too safe you say? Sure, once you've determined what the device is then you could walk up and pop it with a pointy stick.

Its also nice to see that the Police Bomb Squad gets lots of film coverage over-reacting as well.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Who Would Jesus Bomb

I really like pacifists. They prove that in a safe and complacent society people easily lose touch with reality and learn to live their lives with their heads completely up their asses.
Eight members of the Iowa Occupation Project and Voices for Creative Nonviolence arrived at Huckabee’s Locust St. campaign office early Monday afternoon, waiting for the former Arkansas governor’s reply to a letter delivered two months ago that sought his pledge to completely withdraw from Iraq within 100 days of assuming office; halt all military actions against Iraq and Iran; fund the rebuilding of Iraq as well as health, education and infrastructure needs in the U.S.; and “…the highest quality health care, education and jobs training benefits for veterans of our country’s Armed Services.”

Brian Terrell, director of the Catholic Peace Ministry in Des Moines, said approximately 35 reporters, including a number of international journalists, were at Huckabee’s office during the protest.

Terrell said in addition to the “Who Would Jesus Bomb?” banner, the eight protesters held signs that read, “End Iraq War” and “No War with Iran,” sang the refrain from “Auld Lang Syne,” chanted ‘Who Would Jesus Bomb?’ and then read names of Iraqis and U.S. soldiers killed in the war.
So, I propose a little lesson for these well meaning morons. Let's send them as ambassadors to the really nasty parts of the world. Let's drop them in Iraq or Iran in a nice friendly group of religious extremists. I'm sure they'd appreciate the fact that these people don't want to cooperate or live and let live. With their usual understanding of the world relating to how the US is wrong about everything and the evil cause of most of the worlds ills, I'm sure they'd be wonderfully dead in no time.