Saturday, January 29, 2005
Friday, January 21, 2005
Social Security: The lessons of the Patriot Act and Iraq show how quickly the nation will rush without debate
If they'd asked more questions about WMD, things might have been different.
But will the Americans ask the questions this time? We've learned in the wake of 9-11 how quickly the nation will give up its rights. Now we will see how quickly they will give up their security. The Patriot Act was rushed. So too is the Social Security debate.
There was "no time" to debate the war in Iraq. We see the results. There is no reason to expect anything different with social security.
Once a nation goes to war and gives up its fundamental rights, those decisions are difficult to undo. Do not make the same mistake with Social Security. Once it is destroyed, it will take much to repair what remains needed.
Social Security: Will it be reformed or destroyed?
An imminent crisis? Not likely. The estimates are bogus. The basis for forecasting doom are unreliable.
Who's pushing for this? The ones who are going to get a percentage, Wall Street. Analysts. It remains to be seen how much money they provide with donations.
More troubling: Social Security employees are reportedly taught to warn of problems.
It remains to be understood whether this amounts to:
Are US Social Security employees giving "investment advice" without adequate training?
"unauthorized practice of law"; violations of the investment advisors act; or RICO violations
- Will the US government defend them from prosecution by refusing to prosecute?
- Is there a private cause of action against social security employees allegedly giving false, misleading, or in appropriate financial advice?
- Are only "registered" advisors governed by the act; if so, why are "non-lawyers" then regulated by the Bar in re Unauthorized practice of law?
- Are government employees regulated by Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, in preventing knowingly, false statements; or is their "defense" ...they didn't know they were being manipulated into proving misleading information?
- What types of disclosure to the Federal Election Commission or the Securities and Exchange Commission would be appropriate when firms provide information and funding to government and employees in exchange for plans to privatize Social Security?
Will the SEC, and FEC look into the apparent conflicts?
The results from the 1990s show that both FEC and SEC are designed to be slow. They are inefficient.
Yet, the Republicans, as we saw with the Patriot Act, will move quickly.
It is problematic for private industry and government employees to provide financial advice to the public using unreasonable assumptions and estimates.
There is an apparent conflict when those financial institutions that stand to benefit from these funds-transfers are providing information to Social Security.
It remains to be understood whether there have been funds paid from private industry to political candidates in exchange for promises of post-political careers; and the specific role private industry has in providing "estimates" to Social Security.
Social Security should be something that is secure, not squandered. Otherwise, we are simply reverting back to the 1920s: High risk, no safety net, and inaction in the face of apparent conflicts.
They lied about WMD. They lied about Enron. They'll lie about social security.
Read more . . .
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Asteroid: Unconfirmed reports -- Going to coolide with earth
Webnymph Readers: Here are the blog entries that did not post
List of blogspots which didn't publish on Webnymph.
Read more . . .
Saturday, January 15, 2005
Ridge denies, while Rummy hides
It takes more than a few to do nothing.
Americans pretend they live in a democracy, but refuse to discipline abusive tyrants. They didn't ask Rumsfeld about Abu Ghraib and torture. They asked Ridge.
Why, if the problems happened under DoD's control, wasn't Rumsfeld asked about this signals torture sent to the world?
Counter-Intelligence Field Activity is the DoD-DoJ intelligence gathering arm. It knows about the Bureau of Prisons abuse. And Guantanamo. Their personnel were there. Celebrating the training opportunity. And the career advancement.
Rumsfeld is quiet. He knows a denial of crimes is admissible in court. Especially in cases where other intelligence agencies have the goods. The facts. And copies of both the e-mails, video-tapes, and communication between Guantanamo and NSA.
What's it going to be NSA? Proud of the great legacy you've created? All those years to "protect America" and "never another Pearl."
What are you actually defending, and what are you defending it from?
It's clear the NSA has a twisted sense of accountability. Their analysts, around the globe "sacrifice day and night" for which constitution and whose accountability?
Not America's. Something else. Something twisted and perverted. Something they say, "We must endure" as our enemies are far worse.
There is no need to worry about a foreign enemy when the real enemy remains at home. Ever pointing "out there," while the real problem remains in the mirror.
Ridge claims the US will not condone torturing terrorists. But what about US citizens in US jails? Pretend it doesn't happen. Don't look in the DoJ BoP audit.
If the US truly didn't condone torture, Rumsfeld would put it in writing. And then let the troops who know otherwise come forward to show Rumsfeld has made a knowing, materially, false and misleading statement to Congress.
Secretaries of Defense can be impeached. That is, if Congress chooses to open its eyes. Get your white canes.
Read more . . .
WH Goal: Discredit those who followed orders
Convoluted arguments from a convoluted mind. The Texas courts martial found him guilty of war crimes.
Curiously, they found Charles Graner guilty based on evidence that his insubordination was a well known problem, pattern.
Huh? If it was "well known" that Graner had a "discipline problem," why was he left on his own, "out of control?"
No answer on that one. Why?
Because the White House chooses to label Graner a rogue that was "out of control," yet not so out so "out of control that his supervisors knew about it, and failed to act."
Nope. The White House can't have it both ways. Either Graner was out of control and supervisors knew it and let him continue; or Graner was not out of Control and his supervisors knew it.
Yet, to believe the White House and courts martial, we have to believe "despite all those thousands of photographs, 'nobody knew."
Curious. The Solicitor General and Ridge "know enough" to deny torture despite the practice occurring daily in US prisons. Who's going to believe a "disgruntled inmate?"
Even with pictures, there's no accountability in the US military. The same reserves who patrol the hallways of the courts and prisons.
The White House and Rumsfeld have yet to fully explain why "their troops" were left in charge, despite a "well known" discipline problem.
The White House wants it both ways. Who is going to let them? America!
The reason there's so much focus on the "prior discipline problem" of Graner has nothing to do with him, but a ruse to shift attention from the leadership problem and lack of accountability both within the White House and Secretary of Defense's office.
For his silence, Gonzalez is being rewarded with DoJ. How fitting. The man who crafted the memo now gets to implement it, then hide the skeletons.
Texans know how to hide them. Ask Enron. Ask Andersen. Ask Gonzalez.
Read more . . .
Prince Harry's costume
An error. Or a wardrobe malfunction?If people would be as outraged at US foreign policy abuses as they have over a wardrobe selection, they might have credibility.
But they have been silent.
Who is most upset about the choice? Those who continue to commit abuses on the West Bank in the name of "protecting" them from similar abuses of WWII.
How long will the "excuse of the Holocaust" be used as the excuse not to hold Israel to the same standard that the Nazis were held?
Forced detentions, withholding resources, resettlement, driving people from their homes.
"Oh, that's OK..." just as long as Israel invokes the Holocaust.
Indeed, the Holocaust was awful. Yet, put your energy into remind those who "invoke the Holocaust as an excuse to justify abuses" before you lecture someone about their Holiday Costume.
Indeed, in 2005 a "symbol" invokes great passion. Despite the abuses occurring during WWII and the rage a symbol evokes, somehow the world fails to see the same abuses when they occur on the West Bank.
Save your lectures for Prince Harry. He's only rubbed your nose into something you don't want to be reminded. Symbols remain important symbols, especially to those who want to divert attention from the real issue: Your lack of applying the "lesson of history" to Israel, when they took, and continues to take advantage of their self-created-immunity to accountability to their own lessons.
Some things are within your power. Accountability on Israel is not one of them. Lecturing a prince, who might be king, is your "best" alternative? I'm not impressed.
Read more . . .
JTTF: If you support the Constitution, are you against AlQueda?
American law enforcement: At war with Americans and the Constitution.
JTTF stands for "Joint Terrorism Task Force."
A nation which embraces torture, then hides it. A nation which ignores the laws of the land, then rewrites it.
A nation that wastes time on trivialities, yet refuses to face square-on its fundamental document.
Who is for AlQueda? Those of you who embrace torture and have no denied it. Those who banter of a "constitution," all the while holding with utter contempt those who dare stand up, at home, for those principles.
It is only a principle we give lip service to. Yet, daily, JTTF goes out of its way to undermine, ignore, and create excuses to "get around."
Now, "they just know" who a bad person is. Going after them, with a fine microscope, to find the details. Yet, where is JTTF when it comes to mirrors? Do they stand before the mirror and ask, how their inaction contributes to this problem?
They act in Texas, but squander the money. They act on the roads creating excuses to stop and detain. Yet, where is the leadership within JTTF? Abysmal. Just excuses.
They lie to protect their own. AlQueda loves JTTF. Not because AlQueda admires power. But because AlQueda know JTTF's abuse drives a wedge between the government and the constitution.
Those who ignore the laws of the land, as does JTTF, support AlQueda; those who waste time and resources, as does JTTF, support AlQueda; those who refuse to hold their own accountable, support AlQueda.
Ask them why the money is going to the drug lords in Afghanistan, but not Columbia; ask them why they are keen to act for "public safety," but they are not safely conducting their affairs in a manner consistent with the constitution.
We hear excuses, not solutions. They do not deserve to be respected, but called to account. Before the courts. Notice their abuses. There are many.
You are many. They are few in number. Remember they will lie to take away your rights, your freedom, and constitution. JTTF is not your friend. They are to be despised as Hitler's SS.
They have much to fear. As the I-drive has back-ups. And those records are now kept outside their control. More Ms Gunns. More GCHQ monitoring.
The excuses are on the way.
Read more . . .
Iraq: Rewriting history and creating a justification for irrational foreign policy
Flimsy goals. Flimsy accountability. And a bizarre foreign policy. Those who got the "WMD in Iraq"-argument wrong are not ones to give up. The latest move is to shift attention from their failed forecast, and now use more convoluted tales to justify US foreign policy.
As if absurdity is a strategy; that bungling is by design; and instability is a quality to be respected. It is not.
Beachhead to what?
One argument going around is that the US, despite no WMD in Iraq and no link with AlQueda or Bin Ladin, will now be able to use Iraq to go after AlQueda in other places like Iran, Syria, and Turkey.
This is the beachhead argument from WWII and Guadal Canal, but doesn't hold water: There's no explanation where AlQueda is physically located in the countries surrounding Iraq.
In reality, the US invasion of Iraq has precipitated the insurgency, while the revisionists US argues it is there in Iraq to fight an AlQueda problem, which they selectively pretend didn't exist.
Lying, but not now
There's another canard floating around. That the US "did lie in 1991 in whether the US would do anything if Iraq would make a claim on Kuwait," as part of a deliberate strategy of insightful deception.
Brilliant. What is to say this argument is similarly not part of another deception? No answer.
Rather, if the "US bluffed to gain advantage"-rule is applied to 9-11, then we could conclude that the US deliberately chose to do nothing in order to justify invading Iraq and going after AlQuedea.
Notice the double standard: Inaction and deception are par for the course when used to explain US success, but that same standard of inaction somehow doesn't apply when applied to the US in re 9-11.
Another comical argument is that the US deliberately chose to invade Iraq, not because of Iraq, but because of Saudi Arabia. That's right. All that pre-9-11 planning which Tip O'Neill said was going on to clearly topple Iraq, actually had nothing to do with Iraq, but to persuade Saudi Arabia to reform, but not isolate or embarrass the Saudi government which would have sparked popular support for bin Ladin and AlQueda.
This is a ridiculous theory. Iraq-invasion plans were in place before 9-11 and AlQueda was on the radar map.
If this is true, then we are to believe that the smear against O'Neill's book was part of a greater plan to create the illusion that Bush was upset about O'Neill's awareness of something which O'Neill never mentioned.
Again, what's happening is greater levels of non-sense are being used to explain away initial problems that do not add up. Yet, the public is buying it. "Oh, so that explain it all..."
It remains to be understood how much money DoD is paying for this non-sense to be spewed out. What is happening is those who oppose Bush are being painted not as problems, but as actually helping Bush in perpetuating the illusion that Bush is unstable, and must be reckoned with, unlike Carter and Nixon. The opposition is doing good, therefore failing.
Again, this is an absurd theory. Because DoD is incorrectly assuming that "people who oppose Bush are doing so because they support bin Ladin; therefore if the opponents think their opposition is helping Bush, they will stop."
This line of thinking presupposes opposition exists for the sake of opposition, while the real anti-Bush core is simply related to a fervent desire to protect the constitution from a madman.
DoD has forgotten what their oath really means
DoD has lost sight of their collecting responsibility to safeguard the document, ethics, and UCMJ all the while making excuses for the continued leadership problem and lack of senior commander accountability.
What is comical is the illusion of "ineptness as a strategy." Bush is inept. What's being done is to celebrate this ineptness as a careful choice to confuse bin Ladin.
In practice, the White House, Cheney and the Senior Staff have forgotten the other half of the equation. One cannot simply fight an enemy. One must also rally the home front. A requirement has failed, barely squeezing by a win with only 100,000 votes in Ohio.
The President's overtures post-November 2004 election have ended. It's back to business as usual: Make up stories, blame others, and use "the war" and "terrorism" as the convenient rallying cry where leadership fails.
Bush only acted in South Asia's Tsunami when it was self-evident AlQueda and other nations were moving faster.
There's another rewriting of history when it comes to explaining, "Why did the US have no intelligence about WMD in Iraq." The convoluted argument goes something like this: Because the US only focused on the Russian Politburo, the US thought it only had to monitor Saddam; Saddam was clueless about WMD and had no idea he was being lied to; the US relied on Saddam's cluelessness as a datapoint in assuming, "What Saddam believes to be true must be true.
This line of logic is self-evidently absurd. But the argument presupposes that US intelligence gathering in Russia pre-Cold-War-end was focused exclusively on the Politburo. It was not. US intelligence had agents all over the then-USSR, not just in one place outside Moscow.
Also, the "Saddam was fooled because he was at the top is a unique problem to Russia and Iraq"-argument is troubling. All world governments have this problem. Thus, to argue, "The US only made the error in Iraq because it incorrectly assumed that the leadership in Russia was 'in-the-know' and the 'same Cold war intelligence made the same error in Iraq" ... is simply ridiculous.
The reason the US had a problem with intelligence in Iraq wasn't because of a "Cold War psychology or focus in the CIA to focus only on the leadership in the USSR; and only focus on the USSR-now-Russians."
Rather, the US consciously chose, despite the warnings that the Russians were a paper-tiger, to not prepare for their demise and a peace.
Also, the US intelligence problems in Iraq were not simply because of a Cold-War-focus on defending Europe from the then-USSR. Rather, the US simply chose to, despite a war between Iraq and Iran, not to develop sources and intelligence capability in the region where the US's core oil interests reside.
Such a choice should not be considered strategic. Call it what it is: Foolish, short sighed, and reckless. Yet, post 2004, somehow the same forces which launched this approach to preserving US interests, now wish to argue that the bungling in Iraq is somehow to be celebrated.
Indeed, the White House has taken the appropriate political solution: Blame someone else in the CIA for their acquiescing to Cheney's baseball bat. The US leadership wants it both ways: To suggest in Abu Ghraib that they "didn't know," but at the same time suggest, "They knew better than the CIA." How selectively convenient.
Selectively knowing, but not knowing
It is problematic to suggest that the US government "didn't know" about the abuses in Abu Ghraib. During court testimony, it was acknowledged that the gentleman standing by the pyramid had an alleged insubordination problem for not following orders and that the pattern of conduct meant that he could not be relied upon.
This is core problem for the Administration. Because if this now-convicted war criminal truly was unreliable as the military tribunal found, then why was he allowed to stay in the prison unsupervised and allowed to engage in conduct that was apparently, "Not following orders."
Clearly, the military, DoD and the Administration have a problem now that this has come out in the courts martial. The Administration and DoD now have to explain how the torture occurred by someone the leadership "should have" known was a problem:
DoD's problem is they cannot explain how all this happened despite knowing there was a problem with this soldier. Thus, we are left to conclude the White House has done what it always does: Discredit the one that has been caught, and quickly hide.
The White House has a problem. And they know it. Moreover, rather than get DoD's Rumsfeld to account for the "pattern of torture," the White House is deploying soon-to-be-replaced Ridge.
What use is it to have a denial from Ridge about "whether or not the US condones torture"? Ridge has nothing to do with DoD. The accountability and questions should be placed on Rumsfeld.
But they are not. Curious. It appears the White House knows that a "denial of knowledge about war crimes and torture" in Abu Ghraib form Rumsfeld are known to be admissible. The solution is to defer the issues to outgoing Ridge.
Rome, Ceasar, and Political commentary
The US is behaving how the Romans did. Use force. Be brutal. And then crucify a scapegoat.
The US should not be rewarded with joyful celebrations of this absurdity. There is no grand plan to surprise the enemy. There is a grand plan to solve problems, and the US leadership is the one that is most surprised: They realize they do not have the information, are out of touch, and that they believe their own delusions more than reality.
This isn't simply "doing more of what Saddam did in re WMD", but what Hitler did when he foolishly invaded Russia.
The US's action are not part of a strategy to confuse. The US is not deliberately trying to do the unexpected. Rather, the US is choosing to act without regard for the rule of law and the Constitution.
That is not a strategy. That is a leadership and accountability problem. It is absurd to celebrate recklessness. This is at odds with the American values.
What is actually happening is the United States citizenry, as in Rome, has let the leadership get away with more than what was reasonable.
Caesar knew he could get away with things. And he did. Thus, this is why you are reminded, once again, of what can be done. What a leader does do. And what a citizenry, when infused with passion will ignore.
One day, you will realize that "Caesar" is not a man, but an idea. That Caesar is not a subject of a play, but a notion of a momentum that moves at odds with the fundamental principles of the land.
A wise prince is wise. He does not squander his power. Nor does he squander his resources, as has this President.
He is no Caesar. He would like to afford himself the immunity of a Caesar, and at the same time divert attention to those who dare challenge his recklessness.
Rome was no different. And today's citizenry, infused with passion and a desire to hold onto any semblance of decency, simply turns a blind eye to the continued foolishness.
The national mind and consciousness is affected. It accepts the above non-sense as "more signs" of "leadership."
It should be taken for what it is. A symptom of a people who have been sparked with passionate minds, which has clouded their sense of reason and good order.
They gladly chose
The national psychology has not "suddenly" changed, nor taken on a "new" acceptance of irrationality. Rather, the "leadership" merely continues to hold, as its standard, ever greater lies, in the hopes that the masses will acquiesce, and then turn their rage upon those who might otherwise state the self-evident absurdity.
To what end these might take us it not unknown. As power, when absolute, as it is in the United States when it is unchecked, will end badly. First for the masses. Then for the country.
Ultimately, the absolute power and abuse will come tumbling down. But not without a fight. Not without creating many scapegoats. Not without missing the obvious.
Let us hope the world awakens, and that this passionate citizenry, although warned, will awaken from this daydream. Not likely, as every convoluted logic is now celebrated as self-evidently "inspired" and an example of a greater purpose and plan.
Too bad the details and leadership are wanting. He has done this. He, the "Caesar," has diverted attention. And the people, emboldened, fearful, and disjointed have rushed to embrace that which is most absurd: They have offered unto the leader all that might protect them from the leader--their rights, their mind, and their souls.
This man, this new "Caesar," has done this.
How do I know?
For, this is what I have seen. So have you. Simply open your eyes. You will see, he is no Caesar. He is no leader.
He is a madman. And he will sacrifice you and others to save himself. He already has the constitution. There is little stopping him, but for your mind.
You have already heard this before. Time is running out. The fog continues to advance. Awaken!
It is time to think more. To expand your mind. To notice.
Yet, the continued action and momentum shows us who might be a puppet. They used many.
Have many chosen to do be used? Indeed, out of fear. Out of hate. Out of love.
Do you love your freedom and constitution more than you love this current crusade? If you do, you need to remember what was done to get your freedom, to preserve it, and protect it.
At home. Not "out there." But in your country. In your land. And within your own spirit.
If you love your constitution as much as you love your freedom, you will pause. To reflect. To ask. To wonder. Whether you must be told in a play what to do.
This is not a play. This is not a movie. This is your life. And your future.
It is happening. Unfolding. Before your eyes. Right now.
Read more . . .
Media Memos: Bush-CBS v Blair-BBC -- What does it say about power, the media, and propaganda?
Protecting the American government's freedom to terrorize.The National Guard secretary stated the CBS-Bush memos substantially reflected reality; while the BBC report on David Kay was found to be accurate: WMD reports had been sexed up.
Isn't it surprising that the initial reports, although slightly off, have become the focus, while those who are the subject of the memo, or stand to lose a great deal get away with it.
In my view, the Bush memos in re ANG and the BBC story that WMD-reports had been sexed up were largely true.
The focus of the debate has shifted from "what the information says," to how the information was obtained, or whether there was a minor detail that was incorrect.
The substantial allegations have never been disproven: We have yet to understand, if the CBS memos in re Bush were false, why no defamation against the Secretary?
And we've found no WMD, laying the basis to suggest that the BBC initial report, despite Lord Hutton, was largely correct: There was no basis to be concerned with WMD in Iraq.
It's noteworthy that minor technicalities take on a life of their own and overshadow the continuing government misconduct. Many were involved in the spin, shifting attention from the government flaw to the messenger.
CBS and BBC have seen personnel shake-ups, all the while government accountability is considered irrelevant. You only will have freedom if you choose to preserve and protect it.
Both the US and UK have shown how far they will go to preserve themselves, not the public's sense of government accountability.
Read more . . .
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Costumes are sometimes just costumes
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
DHS Appointee: Is Michael Chertoff's track record enough to succeed, or does it say volumes?
He learned the wrong lessons. And he is Bush's best choice. Last week we saw Gonzalez go through the motions before the Senate Judiciary Committee. As if DoJ was getting Ashcroft II. Gonzalez's remarks sent a chill up my spine.
This week, we've got a new DHS Appointee. Great. He's been an Appellate Judge. In charge of 800 people. His new job will be over 100,000 people.
They say he's a fast learner. But "what does he learn?" He sat by and let the post 9-11 detentions at the Bureau of Prisons go full speed. He was there taking notes as the roundups occurred in Guantanamo. Apparently he was even involved in the Patriot Act.
Today, his legacy leaves us with: Torture in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib; increased surveillance for just "looking the wrong way;" and round-ups and abuse in the prisons.
This is a man who sat by, has this legacy on his hands, and they want to give him more power to do nothing but watch, as he did before?
Even those praising him seem, at second glance questionable. The former Solicitor General sang high praises for him. Uh, isn't this the same Solicitor General's office that claimed "We don't commit torture" before the Supreme Court?
Either the Solicitor General's Office is out of touch, or making misleading statements. Either way, I'm not putting much weight on anything anyone [past or present] in the Solicitor General's Office says. They're either clueless or liars.
Their endorsements are as hollow as a Bush appointee's promise to protect the constitution.
Under Michael Chertoff we stand to have more of the same, and expect the abuses of DoJ abroad will now be more acceptable domestically.
DHS is a mess. When I hear that Chertoff "is the man" for the job because of his involvement in the Whitewater investigation, and Senate's Judiciary and Banking Committees, I'm not all that persuaded he's got a strong track record.
Sure many like him. But "being liked" is far different than "doing the right thing." If he truly wants to stand on his record on the Senate Committees, we need to really go back to the legacy of Enron and 9-11.
I haven't seen a massive sweep of the corporations under Bush or the SEC Chairman. It's been Elliot Spitzer in New York who's doing the work.
Nor have I seen the banking committee injecting its wisdom to get this economy going. Rather, it's been the distraction of 9-11, the war overseas, and the massive deficit spending that saved this economy from debt-deflation.
On top of this, we have the problem with the disagreements in the Detroit office over the post 9-11 prosecution. If there were genuine and material problems with an issue . . . yet Chertoff still let the case go forward, is he really going to be the right one to stand up and say, "This is the right thing."
I don't see him doing that to the President. The man just gave up a life-time position on the Federal Bench.
Plus, I question the detailed work on Whitewater. Sure, Ken Star got indictments. But was it because a crime was committed, political jockeying, or some games of "no win" before the grand jury?
And where was he when the abuses were occurring in Guantanamo? We have records that it was known in 2002 there were problems. Senate Staffers visited Guantanmo in November 2002.
Today we've heard that the appointee has "close, good relations with the Senate and understands Congress. Indeed, where was Chertoff when the Senatorial staffs visited Guantanamo in November?
Chertoff's "qualifications" also make him the most dangerous. He seems to be so well qualified, we can only wonder "Where was he when he had the chance to stand up to the Constitution?"
It looks like his silence, inaction, and cow-towing to the President post 9-11 got him a Federal Bench and the Senate went along with it. Chertoff was there when things went bad. He's back. Things are still bad.
I don't expect miracles out of Chertoff. But I do wonder who's going to step in and make sure DHS gets cleaned up before DHS cleans up the constitution. Despite Gonzalez's sweating, Chertoff also looks as though he'll be rubber-stamped.
They don't make many constitutions out of rubber. This one is already on fire.
We shouldn't be comforted with comparisons to Hitler. Yet, like Bush, we have no other option.
Read more . . .
Tsunami: What you can do, even if you are far away
What you can learn. And how to apply the lessons to your life.I'm sure there's been many who have probably already thought about what I'm going to say. But, it's been on my mind and I thought I'd say it.
There's been an outpouring of offers for assistance. Some people, although far away, want to get involved. But there's not much they can do. Things are taking time.
I was thinking about all the nice people who were offering to help. Even though you may not be able to do anything "specific" [like fly in, fix a building, or repair roads], ...other than give money, I was thinking "what else could someone do?"
I got to thinking. The people on the ground are going to end up having to get through this. People around the globe can't "go through their grieving for them"...although they can empathise.
One thing people could do if they wish to "understand better what people are going through" is read over the journals of those who might have survived different ordeals. Perhaps reading their struggle and their commentary on "how things were" and "what they had wished for" might give others with the time to come up with new ideas on how to help.
Perhaps people, after reading of other ordeals and struggles, might come to gain a closer awareness of "their situation", and you might come up with your own ideas of "what to do."
Now, I'm not suggesting that nobody is doing this. From what I can gather, people are probably reviewing the old religious texts for similar references of struggles. So don't think that I'm that out of touch.
However, if people have done that and are looking for "new ideas" and "what to do," perhaps they might wish to read the struggle of those who were in similar situations of struggle, close confinement, and displaced from their homes.
I'm not suggesting that the events in Asia match what I'm referring to, only that "the idea of struggle, loss, displacement, and sudden changes" are similar to other situations that have come to mind:
This list is not intended to be all inclusive. But I thought I'd share "my thought" on what people could do.
People might want to review the above literature, or other similar situations to review the following types of questions:
Again, the above questions are not intended to be "all inclusive", but perhaps others have ideas on things.
My overall thought is: If we take the time to read examples of other situations, we may come up with our own ideas of "what we might do."
Anyway, I'm sure others who are actually working in the relief area have already thought about these things. Perhaps these are the types of things that prompted them to get involved in the first place.
But, for the rest of us who may not be physically involved, we can still "get involved" by looking at the situation from a similar perspective. We might even be in a position to better support those who "return from the relief efforts."
We also might be in a position to write a nice letter of goodwill to those who are not only suffering losses, but to those who are working hard to help. It's always nice to get mail expressing support and warmth, even from a stranger.
We may not be able to get our hands dirty. But we can at least be there to help others who are moving through this difficult time.
Thanks for reading and best wishes to you.
Read more . . .
Monday, January 10, 2005
Constant: Featured on Channel 4 -- When you really want to know
JTTF: Using more standards to justify stopping the innocent
They made up stories to justify their jobs. Now they're writing fiction to take away your rights.First it was the "drug courier profile." They stop people for "Driving to safe." Now it's the "everyone else profile." They stop people for doing things to look out for yourself.
First, on the street: You don't make eye contact. That provokes people. Second, you look around, and scan the area. Stay out of traffic.
So, what is the use of this criteria to question people: This is not probable cause:
The officers are targeting people who avoid eye contact, loiter or appear to be looking around transit stations more than other passengers, officials said. Anyone identified as suspicious will be stopped and questioned about what they are doing and where they are going."What is going on?
You avoid eye contact to so that you don't provoke others. Who knows where the idiot you're standing next to is an under-cover DEA agent. You don't want to provoke them. Look at what they do to people in Guantanamo.
Now the assholes in JTTF are saying, "If you do anything that indicates you have a brain....look out..."
And "loitering." What? Trains getting missed? There are neat signs up on the board.
If you don't want people "loitering" why don't you guys get rid of all the decorations, take down all the signs, and make it a barren railway station. Boring. Cold. Like an underground Siberian railway station.
What am I doing here? None of your business. Actually, the real question is, "Why are you stopping and asking people questions when you have no probable cause of criminal activity.
The criminal are the ones in JTTF. Creating more excuses to kills, beat, and maim people at Guantanamo. Hang them up by their wrists. On those metal poles.
JTTF: You wonder why people in South Asia "might" not support America -- it's because of assholes like you.
Where were you prior to 9-11? Oh, more excuses.
Where are you going, JTTF? Got the constitution in your sights, or are you going to target more innocent people going about their business?
And what, on earth, justifies this "heightened alert" other than your idiot supervisors like Keric who have problems with the mob.
Oh, that's right. DHS can't get their own act together; rebuffs complaints; refuses to act on conditions prior to 9-11 when things were small; and then turns in tack on the civilian population.
Again, "where's the probable cause"? Or, do we need to tell everyone in America that the Bill of Rights is out the window and we're no different than Nazi Germany?
Which is it, JTTF or are you to busy scanning your ass as you have fun with your boyfriends in Guantanamo? I heard they have high school girls there. Are you still dating your commander's daughter in Guantanamo?
You have no credibility. Talk to the morons in Nebraska. Outside Northe Platte. What a cess pool of morons you people are: How to further alienate a civilian population.
Keep it up!
Read more . . .
JTTF: How much money do they give IT in exchange for non-criminal information?
Those databases have things that shouldn't be in there. Texas had an audit. They found people were not adequately managing the DHS grants.
Also, there have been reports of personally-identified information appearing in non-criminal databases.
This wouldn’t be the first time the government lied. What is strange is to the extent that agencies would go to say “We protect this information,” all the while that information keeps showing up in government databases.
DoJ and the FBI like to blame the FBI I-drive. Actually the problem is much wider. Institutions hare sending out their web bots to target specific information which the US law enforcement and intelligence collecting is not legally allowed to do domestically.
But in the “new era where even photographing images of the American country-side from a plan is banned,” why expect the law enforcement community and domestic intelligence to follow the law.
We’ve had Ms Gunn banter about the strange GCHQ surveillance in the US; spying at the UN; and those inconvenient wiretaps which “nobody can explain.”
Alot of money flowing. Constitution be damned.
Read more . . .
IT: Once a gateway, now a barrier
First it was a tool, now it's an excuse. What happened to the payoffs? I’ve noticed a curious contrast in how IT is marketed vs what’s actually done in practice. The marketers like to say that IT will ensure access to information.
What I see is the opposite. Information is harder to find; more explanations have to be given to justify access that is otherwise public; and it’s harder to simply show up and read the information that is otherwise freely available.
A few years ago I could read public billboards and signs. Stand there. On the street. Reading them. Thousands would ignore me.
Today, a momentary delay in my pace…and the goons swoon down. Piercing eyes. Those “suspiciousness”-accusations.
Open billboards used to be fun to read. Now they are simply the excuse for greater intrusions.
And it’s not just on the street, but in the office. It sure is amazing how easily they wall off information.
Stuff I used to be able to read without problem. Suddenly it’s behind all sorts of firewalls.
To get access to this information that was otherwise freely available, I’ve got to do more things than I want to mention.
Yet, those in charge like to raise the barriers to entry; all the while affording themselves greater leeway in freely disseminating that which should not be disseminated.
Amazing how much something that is supposed to save time does the opposite.
There are others in this cave.
Read more . . .
Phishers have an e-mail backdating system
It is designed to confuse “what order the message were sent.”
Currently, if you get one message the normal routine is to look at the follow-on messages as related.
The trick is to change the dates in the send-line, and throw off the trace.
Imagine sitting at your inbox and you see the Trojan show up. You’ve got it pegged. You know the time, data, and location. Everything else, you delete.
You clean out your files. You know which date you’re done.
Then, out of the blue, a message shows up in your trash that is dated before you took this action.
That’s the dilemma. It makes for a real problem.
Encourage your people to clean out their trash and purge the system. Don’t leave the e-mail sitting there.
And let’s get a better handle on this backdating stuff. It doesn’t really inspire confidence when you’ve got an archiving system that depends on dates, but you find out that the dates can be adjusted to pre-date suspenses.
This is called a retro-active change to data and an unstable platform. I’d like the auditors to look into this. It’s not acceptable that the system be so loose that we have people writing memos after the due date, but their arrival data appears to be otherwise.
Read more . . .
EPA vs FDA: What if Donald Rumsfeld had been running the Normandy Invasion?
Part I -- EPA v FDA: Why does the same government have divergent review standards?
Today I heard some lovely news. Apparently someone has been making some solvent that is apparently not working out.
In fact, is could actually cause some problems. This remains to be seen.
My concern is that the current approach EPA uses is very different than that of FDA. Specifically, it looks as though EPA uses the “use it until someone says something” approach; while FDA takes the more conservative approach and says, “Prove it is OK and we’ll think about letting the public use it.”
Let’s go back to the early days. When there was no EPA or FDA. To the time of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.
Those were some very ugly days in Chicago. In fact, all over the country people were working in horrible conditions. And when they got sick, they usually didn’t have enough money. At worst, they had to work even when their limps were cut off by the meat machines.
In theory, the world learned from the bad days of The Jungle Society improved. Things got better.
So, today I’m a little puzzled. What’s happened? Why does EPA take such a divergent view from FDA on how it approaches things?
I’d really like to have a simple explanation and reconciliation between the two methodologies. Specifically, if the standard of “prove it is OK and then we’ll use it” is good enough for FDA, why isn’t that also applied to cleaning products that workers are exposed to?
I’m sure there’s some twisted logic to justify the inconsistency. Some weird regulatory mind-set that justifies doing one thing in EPA, and an equally convoluted approach in FDA.
I personally don’t care what the General Counsel or the various departments’ Inspector Generals have found. Nor do I care that “it’s been like this for so long” or “this is what Congress in their infinite wisdom have agreed to do.”
Brilliant. All these years, and two very different approaches. Excellent. It’s time for Congress to have some joint hearings on drugs and environmental regulation: To iron out the inconstancies.
To come to a really good, clean story as to why product safety for drugs is one standard; while the opposite assumption is taken on food safety.
I’m sure we’ll hear the consultant-PhDs who are getting paid a lot of money by their various lobbying groups to come up with a very nice story for their respective area of interest.
However, I would hope that there bee some challenging questions how logical standards that apply to FDA could be so opposite to that which is equally logical.
In my opinion, it is ridiculous to ask the world to believe the US has a “fine standard” of health care under FDA; while the EPA uses such a radically different approach.
What’s needed is a similarly rigorous approach in EPA as that is applied to FDA. Indeed, what is most absurd about the current state of affairs is that “products most needed for one’s health” are more likely to be delayed under FDA; while products that could cause serious physical damage appear to take the opposite route: That they are presumed to be OK, until someone demonstrates otherwise.
I’d like to see workers protected. This means making sure that drugs are tested before New York ACS uses them on Children. And also this means making sure that cleaning solvents are safe on rats before the public is asked to breath in their fumes.
If you’re going to have a standard for the product under FDA that the product be safe before use, that standard should be similarly applied to EPA-related products.
I suspect industry and their lobbyists have another view. Remember the tales of woe in re cigarettes. All those years, problems were known, but publicly things were denied.
It would be nice if those games were of the past. It remains to be seen whether we have real reform, or more of the same.
I remain ever confident the Congress will accept the inconsistency, all the while blaming others for the lack of leadership.
If you want the world to assent to America’s vision of “where things need to be taken,” then the simple thing would be to show that American values its workers health not just when they are sick, but when they are working.
We await the convoluted logic to justify the most absurd results. We look to Iraq as a case in point: how much can go so miserably wrong. Congratulations, America. You’re showing the world why there is little confidence to believe America is part of the solution; and giving others greater confidence that alternatives are needed.
The world watches what happens not just in Indonesia, but also in the halls of Congress.
A country’s credibility is enhanced when its actions match its principles. America continues to be the land of “Believe in a fairy tale, but don’t dare ask us to explain our inconstancies.”
And America wonders why it is so despised. America’s solution to the “stand up to the arrogance” is to lock people away, chain them to the floor, and handcuff them to iron bars. Then explain away the photos as “contrary to public opinion.”
Paul O’Neill when he was with Bono in Africa talked about the importance of clean water. The President fired him for, now what is self-evidently, a truism in the wake of the Tsunami. Let’s hear from Paul O’Neill, what his thoughts are on the Tsunami, and some probing questions contrasting what O’Neill was saying, with what is going on in Asia.
The only thing that has really changed is America suddenly worries that AlQueda might step into the power vacuum. If AlQueda threatened to step in a provide leadership in Congress, wow wouldn’t that really be something.
Oh, wait. They already did that. They did that on 9-11. And what do we have from Gonzalez? More absurdity, lawlessness, and arrogance. The very things which AlQueda was fighting in Saudi Arabia.
But don’t be fooled. America is now seeing the value of Bin Ladin. Some have suggested that Bin Ladin is better alive than dead. The logic is that “since he is alive there will be no power vacuum.” The next step is to then compare Bin Ladin to Arafat. How far we’ve come since 9-11.
Indeed, in Afghanistan the DEA is now getting stepped on. DoD and State are crafting plans to ensure the opium continues to flow. Nobody wants to upset those war lords. All their support for democracy must continue; if the US interferes with the drug-trades, the Afghani war lords might actually support…Bin Ladin, who the US now supports.
So let’s have a straight story. Why are we fighting to protect drug traffickers in Afghanistan, but fighting them in Columbia? Is the real answer that Bin Ladin is making the first move; and the US is simply reacting to Bin Ladin?
That logic doesn’t work in Iraq. The US knew there was no connection between 9-11 and Saddam. Despite all the time to “get ready” for an Iraq invasion, the US argues “it had to go with what it had.”
What!?! The US chose to launch an invasion; but now the US wants to argue “we had to go with what we had.”
Why was there no build-up like there was in WWII prior to the invasion of Normandy?
Alas, the current JCS likes to say, “Whatever we do can be explained as rational.” Yet, I see nothing rational with forcing the country into combat all the while your reserve forces were already known [or should’ve known] were woefully below their combat readiness.
Part II – Don Rumsfeld Arrives at the Beaches of Normandy
There’s a story about “what if Lindberg had one the election instead of FDR.” Quite an interesting concept.
Let’s ask, “What if Rumsfeld had been in charge of the Normandy invasion?”
I invite the public to offer more to this list. Pass it to your friends. Add your own.
Remember, those who fail to learn from history are destined … to retell it another way …until all the messengers … are beaten into ploughshares.
Read more . . .
Friday, January 07, 2005
See bloggers comments on US legislative actions
White Collar Crime bloggers
Domestic law enforcement spying on civilians
It continues. RefRef Strange when we compare the Constitution to what Law enforcement actually does. The New Senate Judiciary Chairman asked Attorney General Gonzalez about the "probable cause" requirement.
Law enforcement is not to be trusted: They lie all the time. They have one goal: To put you in jail using any method.
They did violate people's rights in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. Prepare now.
What you can do: Take a look at suggestions on how to deal with law enforcement. If you do not assert your rights, law enforcement will roll over you.
Read more . . .
Smelly prosecutor -- strange how they take bribes and fabricate evidence
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Gonzalez makes a telling comment, and it doesn't bode well for the Constitution
This one sent a chill down my spine:
"I will no longer represent only the White House. I will represent the United States of America and its people. I understand the difference between the two roles," President Bush's counsel told the Senate Judiciary Committee.Ref Ref Ref Ref RefGonzalez as White House counsel is supposed to work for the American people.
In fact, it was during Watergate that Nixon had to get outside counsel. Bush has even consulted outside counsel about the war crimes.
Let's hope one of the Senate Judicary Staff members notices the problem. Gonzalez, all along should have been representing the American people.
Anything else, and he's let the public down. And the constitution. Ref
Read more . . .
Threats: Does JTTF respond?
Gonzalez = Goebbels
Rewriting history, Gonzalez referred to his signed-memos as “contrary to public opinion”. What?!?
Goebbels would be proud.
That’s right. All those memos and pictures, and the Senate Judiciary is set to confirm.
All those procedures, yet ignored in the images. Other are selectively ignoring the testimony and the photos.
It’s a discipline problem. It’s not isolated.
And Gonzalez is there to dissuade the investigators from going after the Big Fish in the oval office.
Read more . . .
Iraq Insurgency at 200,000 -- White House -- "Ooops!"
Yellow cake..Er, ammonium nitrate: The White House credibility problem
This week’s latest White House propaganda is no different than Yellow Cake. The new spin is that someone plans to buy 100,000 tons, yes…tons of ammonium nitrate.
Recall what Ambassador Wilson said about the yellow cake. There was no way to do it.
So too does the ammonium nitrate story not add up.
First, there’s the simple problem of 100,000 tons. McVeigh in his yellow Ryder truck had two tons. If anyone has 100,000 tons “just floating around”, that means there has to be 50,000 trucks.
Recall the ghost trucks in Iraq. Those convenient “bio labs” Powell swore up and down were “proof” of the “imminent” Iraqi threat. There were no bio trucks. No even a few.
So, today we are asked to believe that someone is moving around a ghost squadron of 50,000 ammonium nitrate trucks. But “nobody knows where they are.” Mind you, this comes at a time when people simple standing waiting for a bus are accused of crimes and thrown in jail for going about their business.
The argument that there are these 50,000 trucks rolling around is problematic.
Missing paper trail
Plus, the other major problem with this ammonium nitrate argument is the fiction that “somehow” all this planning, ordering, and shipment are going on, but there is no record.
Think about Ambassador Wilson’s comments about the Yellow Cake. In order to physically move the Yellow Cake, there has to be a paper trail.
We have no paper trail with ammonium nitrate. If there was one, they wouldn’t be talking about it. They’d be investigating and only announce the facts and details after the successful conviction.
I see no defendant. I hear rumors. Just like Iraq.
What’s going on? Well, need to look at the “new information” in light of the other news floating around. JTTF is chasing Boy Scouts, ignoring specific threat information against by-name targets, and at the same time “their man” in the White House is under a cloud of an impeachment over war crimes.
Plus, next month is the President’s Budget submittal to Congress. Happens every year. And this year the forces lobbying for more funds for local-level Homeland Security funding need a “new cause” to stir up Congress and the Committees just prior to the spring budget mark-ups.
Also, consider the extraordinary attention given to these lasers. This isn’t a new phenomenon. What is new is both JTTF and the local law enforcement are looking for new excuses to not do their job.
It’s all part of the “divert attention from the White House’s war crimes” plan.
The DEA story about ammonium nitrate is baloney and has as much credibility as the WMD tales out of Iraq.
JTTF and local law enforcement know that they need a new “big story” to justify continued funding for programs that should otherwise be eliminated.
The strategy is to continue to make up stories to get funding to support programs that, on their own merits, deserve to be cut.
The post 9-11 era has ended. We have 150,000 deaths in Asia. Law enforcement realizes they are no longer first in line, especially when “their man” in the White House needs more help to avoid accountability for war crimes under his command.
Their strategy is to make up more stories. To divert. And create the illusion of a “new threat.”
It’s the same game. There was no Yellow Cake. There is no order for 100,000 tons of Ammonium nitrate. And the Senate and House Committees are getting set up to take this ridiculous story hook line and sinker.
Read more . . .
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
President misleading country on need for Tort Reform
DoJ analysts showed the "need for tort reform" were based on myths.
Also, Corporations, not individuals are the ones that are filing the largest number frivolous lawsuits.
The President's proposals would limit the individual's right to bring action; and the corporations that bring these frivolous suits would be exempt from this requirement.
Why are corporations allowed to do things that individuals cannot? The Bill of Rights is to protect liberty, freedom, and security, not provide a shield to corporations to continue their abuse.
Ask your Senators to filibuster the President's proposal:
Read more . . .
Tsunamis touch down hitting Ian Spiers and Marine Cpl Hassoun
Comparing Ian Spiers and Marine Hassoun: One is a Patriot the other ...
Although the two are, now, on completely different sides of the world and spectrums, it is noteworthy to contrast the two cases. Let us look broadly at the two cases to understand why innocent behavior is treated with scorn; and outlandish behavior faces meaningless sanctions.
The common element is the United States government.
We can compare how the US government deals with two Americans as a proxy for the state of the US society. America has three classes:
The goal of the US government is to convince the sheep that the scapegoats deserve a great deal of wrath. This is why Spiers was targeted.
The problem the US government has is that it let one of its own do what the government does all the time: Lie, betray, and then avoid accountability. This is Hassoun.
Contrasting approaches are telling
What is most striking when contrasting the two situations is the differing approaches the US government took to both individuals. Spiers, despite going about constitutionally protected activity, was repeatedly hounded, threatened, verbally abused while going about his business.
Cpl Hassoun, despite desertion, was treated far more respectfully, even afforded the opportunity for home visits.
Why someone in the Marines afforded so many privileges despite being charged with a crime; yet a private citizen is treated as if they have committed treason?
It is all well and good to talk about the "post 9-11 world" which warrants "greater scrutiny", but it is clear the government has things turned upside down.
It remains to be explained by the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Defense why their approach to private citizens is so egregious, but when it comes to in-house accountability suddenly those same forces prove wanting.
The country may ultimately conclude America's national security interests are best served by Patriots like Ian, who under great scrutiny, remained calm and resolute in their conviction and faith in American principles; and that America's government ought to first put their own personnel under greater surveillance before imposing that standard on the wider population which does the real fighting for American principles. Day in, day out, around the globe.
Fundamentally it remains a leadership problem. The country saw at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo that, when caught, it will deny. The country learned that CBS was under pressure to delay releasing the Abu Ghraib tapes because the case was about to go before the Supreme Court.
The world is once again reminded that when under scrutiny, the Senior Executive Service will chase a scapegoat like Ian, and refuse to hold government workers accountable to clearly promulgated standards.
One standard imposed on Ian remains arbitrary. The other standard, to which the American government continues to woefully fall short, is a clearly promulgated standard under the UCMJ requiring "flight risk" to be detained.
The problem is not isolated to DoD. Rather, the ICE SAC in Washington State creates a climate sending a green light to its agents to abuse people like Ian; while DoD, DoJ, and the US Marshalls can only stand by watching as one of their own flees to Canada then Lebanon.
Harry Houdini once commented that it is easy to escape from a safe. Safe designers design safes to keep people out. They are not designed to keep people in.
So too is the porous problem with America's borders. Each day, people like Ian are put under the gun with frivolous and demeaning intrusions. The borders are sealed.
But those borders, albeit marginally, only protect the nation from attacks from without. Cpl Hassoun shows us that the border security is like a bad filtration system. It only works one way.
Where was the screening system at the border?
How was an alleged deserted allowed to leave the "most secure" nation on earth?
This is why the problem is not isolated to the Department of Defense. Nor just to homeland security.
Someone inside the Department of Justice is in charge of the US Marshalls. And others maintain liaison with the FBI and JTTF to ensure that personnel on "watch lists" are scrutinized. Detained. And sent to where they are supposed to go.
Not this government. It doesn't dare challenge its own. This government only acts when it is embarrassed, or the facts so obvious it can only move forward by doing the least respectable thing.
Is the public outraged that Cpl Hassoun lied, betrayed their trust? You bet they are. Because the American public enjoys being lied to only by the government.
And the government enjoys lying to the sheep.
What has changed is that the American government suddenly had "done to them" what the government and the media do every day: Lie, betray, and make up stories.
The US government is upset because it dares not blame one of its own: A Marine. Whispering Semper Fi. Always faithful. And this government, like the American people, now realizes, albeit slowly, that it was taken for a ride.
Watch the US government come unglued. The Senior Executive Service within all the branches of government are currently backpedaling to circle the wagons.
It is becoming woefully obvious that despite the catalyst of 9-11 and the commission report, that the same problems continue: Double standards, lack of accountability, and a gross disregard for requirements.
How do we come to understand how a high-flight-risk individual was able to leave, unattended, and tracked as he used his credit card, boarded a plane, and then departed the North American continent?
Memories of 9-11: Failed checks
Surely, there is a system in place to ensure that a known problem is quickly communicated. FAA has yet to explain how an individual was able to board an aircraft, and nobody in the United States or Canada dared stop them.
Bluntly, these are the same problems which have been allegedly "solved" in the wake of the 9-11 Commission. Back to Houdini. America is clearly putting its efforts on the wrong things. Indeed the security situation, screws, and arrogance are there. They are just poorly focused.
It is time the American people demand a full accounting for the Cpl Hassoun situation and demand why their fellow citizens are treated so arrogantly, when that arrogance needs to be brought to full bear on the most arrogant within the US government.
But, we are not going to hold our breath waiting for miracles. America has other distractions to create. Other excuses to fabricate. And more pointing fingers to go through before we get to the bottom of this.
The American government remains in denial about its own problems. Remains quick to blame others. Quickly to blame that which it does not understand.
Two men. Ian and Marine Cpl Hassoun. One a fellow citizen. Another, a fine Marine who brings great credit upon what the American government best does in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo: In denial, blaming, excuses, and refusing to follow procedures.
It should be no surprise why we have such a stark contrast. A nation that prides itself on lying about the reason for going to war. About the evidence needed to justify an invasion. And the standards to justify holding people without trial.
All these standards thrown out the window. Ignored. Labeled from a "bygone era" and "no longer relevant."
These are the same excuses they now give to justify why clear policy about a "high risk" personnel were ignored. Why the SACs refused to step in. And why this nation's borders were unable to detect the movement of a high profile person.
Standards are guides to be followed not explained away
This government, as we saw in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, likes to ignore the standards when it comes to accountability on its own. We should not be surprised by fine Marines like to take advantage of that "special trust."
Thursday, the American people will see another spectacle. The sham hearings of Attorney General Gonzalez. The Senators will be allowed only a short time to probe into the mind of the man who says it's "no problem" to ignore the international laws.
This is the same man who will shortly be in charge of the Special Agents in Charge, the US Marshalls, and those fine US Attorneys charged with enforcing the law.
Compare how the current system responded to Marine Hassoun. Attorney General Gonzalez will continue the same sham oversight on government officials. And continue to put greater focus on those who dare challenge the government malfeasance.
Gonzalez shows every prospect of continue to chase ghosts like Ian, all the while those who are alleged criminals will be given safe passage. Like the Anderson-Enron lackies. To hide. Avoid accountability. And remain above the law.
Ian, like the American people, was treated inappropriately.
Hassoun, like the government officials, has inappropriately escaped accountability.
Nothing has changed since 9-11. Or Guantanamo. Or Abu Ghraib. And soon-to-be rubber stamped Attorney General Gonzalez plans to continue. Business as usual. Finding more scapegoats like Ian. And giving safe passage to more Hassouns.
The legacy of Ian Spiers is telling. Nothing will be done to right the wrong. There will be no formal apology. And in the case of Marine Hassoun, the government will also take no responsibility. Blaming the public for the problem. Making excuses.
The abuses will continue. The scapegoats will be labeled to avoid changing the system. And ultimately, rest assured, the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security will once again take credit for failing to reform and impose consequences on those truly accountable.
Not the American people. But the Senior Executive Service. Which failed us prior to 9-11, and continues to fail us to this day. How are they going to turn this incident with Hassoun inside out to blame someone else?
The Marines have a rich tradition. Semper Fi. There is a monument to their bravery at Iwo Jima in Washington DC. Brave soldiers who risked their lives to raise flag. They fought and died around the globe. To this day.
We owe them a great tribute for their continued sacrifice under harsh circumstances. Mostly, because they continue to fight and die in support of principles that White House Counsel Gonzalez plans to continue to ignore as their Attorney General.
Recurring accountability problem
Today, one of the Marines' own risked his life to run back to Lebanon. Marines around the globe you can be proud that one of your own has done what all other government officials aspire to do: Avoid accountability.
Today, we might ask what is going on with the Joint Terrorist Task Force; where were they at the border, and why were they unable to screen someone from cross the border that was charged with a crime?
Will NAVY Seals be dispatched by the Joint Chiefs to invade a sovereign country like Lebanon; or will the CIA work with Massoud to spark another border conflict, and create the necessary cover to get Hassoun?
Will the DHS ICE SAC in Washington State apologize to Ian Spiers, or will ICE finally admit that the border screening process is worthless, and that innocent Americans are regularly harassed all the while internal corruption within DHS remains rife?
Will DoD admit that it failed to apply the necessary standards, lessons, and procedures in re Marine Hassoun, just as it failed in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo?
On all counts, the American people can fully expect more non-sense, diversions, and excuses. The number of people applying for Canadian Citizenship will be ignored.
What is most absurd is that the media channels are talking about the entire disaster surrounding Marine Hassoun as if he just wandered out of the country on his own. In fact, he went through the border, boarded a plane, and used a credit card.
You can rest assured that because of this problem, there will be greater calls for credit card expenditures to be screened. Rest assured there are attorneys within the District of Columbia drafting legislation that will delay the efficiency of the US capital market, and ensure there are even more intrusive questions on innocent civilians.
Be proud America. Just as your leadership failed you prior to 9-11. So too are they hoping to close the barn door after the fire has consumed what is most valuable.
But today, with 150,000 people dead in Asia, the "mere" 3,000 deaths on 9-11 somehow pale in comparison.
America has squandered its good will. And Marine Hassoun reminds us once again, that the leadership has squandered the American public's patience.
Rocking more heads under Pyramids
Fine Marines. Semper Fi. Let us recall the other "great sacrifice" of another fine Marine. LtCol Oliver North. Parroting, "Does Fox Rock?"
The legacy of clear. America's government selectively follows and enforces standards. There is a discipline problem in government. Marines like LtCol North and Hassoun will cross the line for their own interests, or to serve some "greater interest", all the while the Constitution remains smoldering.
This government fails because it ignores standards. Ignores principles. Ignores procedures. Then, after the disaster, fabricate stories to create the illusion that things are fine, there was no problem.
Today, we are reminded in the wake of Marine Hassoun's decision, that noncompliance with procedures does mean something. And Attorney General Gonzalez needs to have a full accounting of the "tone at the top" that his good Marines continue to discharge. Around the globe. IN the prisons of Abu Ghraib. In the halls of Guantanamo.
The US government violates the standards, procedures, and laws. It is no surprise they failed again. One one hand Marine Hassoun. On the other Ian Spiers.
The questions remains the same:
It is only when one of their own like Marine Hassoun, when he dared do what the government and media do all the time, that the government is given a jolt.
Betraying the Constitution: No problem; Betray the leadership, that's a crisis
This government doesn't like it when one of their own takes advantage of trust; when one of their own Marines lies to them. Yet, the nation loves lies. It believes in WMD. And it believes that torturing people is good for them. Ignore the Geneva Convention. All thanks to the to-be-confirmed Attorney General Gonzalez.
We should not be surprised why this Marine took advantage of the system. His leadership is wanting. The Generals continue to pretend that destroying the Bill of Rights, to which they serve and give their oath, is somehow stronger when the American public like Ian is subjected to these arbitrary conditions in Guantanamo.
DoD is so afraid of a backlash that its officers lie. Saying they are FBI agents. America, do you really trust your leadership? They will rubber stamped the man who will ensure there is more abuse on people like you and Ian. And ensure there are no consequences for a discipline problem within the ranks of the SES, departments, and government offices.
There should be no surprise after Thursday why the fine Marine like Hassoun drifted and "found himself" in Lebanon. The American system failed. And it put the wrong focus on people like Ian.
Gonzalez will not reform the Marshalls. Will do nothing for the problems in the US Attorney's office. He will give only excuses. Avoid accountability. And do nothing to solve the real problems with ethics within DoJ or DHS.
You will see more handwaving. Yet, the American public will be asked to put up with more intrusions. More abuse. And more non-sense.
More 9-11 memories: Inaction in Action
Failures to take action. Meaningless oversight. Failures to act and comply with procedures. And ignore repeated warnings of problems.
The problem is not isolated. It is across the board. And Attorney General Gonzalez has been given the charge to make sure we have more abuse on people like Ian, and less accountability on people like fine marine Hassoun.
It remains to be seen which Inspector Generals are given the run around. We have seen in the wake of the Vice President's intrusion into the CIA, that the CIA agents were blamed for reporting what they were told to report.
The Inspector General process is flawed. The reports used as an excuse to shield the Vice President. To protect people in the Vice President's office who are under investigation for leaking CIA agent names.
It is this office to which Gonzalez ultimately serves. More Hassouns. More Ians. America wants it. And you voted for it in November 2004.
The protection racket will continue. The Wizard of Oz's curtain will be redrawn to hide those who need to be removed from office. The discipline problem within the FBI, DoD, and DHS continues.
Nevermind the background checks, security procedures, and training defects. The recurring problems which Sibel Edmonds pointed out will be explained away.
They will cover-up. They will insulate. Create excuses. Do nothing. Divert attention. And blame more people like Ian. While fine Marines like Cpl Hassoun lounge on the beaches of Lebanon. Watching it all unfold on CNN. And Fox.
The Tsunami may awaken the world from the nightmare. We can only hope more like Ian Spiers are spared before the Gonzalez Tsunami strikes land.
Read more . . .
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Swedes send a love note to Dreamworks
Ref Anyone can threaten legal action and make contact with someone in regard to a legal issue. In fact, the courts prefer parties use threats of lawsuits as an inducement to settle out of court and avoid costly litigation.
There's no basis to bring a claim against Dreamworks when legal counsel writes a letter; again, this would be up to the Swedes to prove.
Also, the other problem with the letter is that Copyright laws are international. It remains to be seen how Dreamworks handles this.
State Attorney Grievance
The state bar is not the same as the forum for attorney grievances. Even though they threatened a counter-suit for harassment and might notify the California Bar for frivolous legal threats [not that that is actionable or a valid claim, but anyway...].
If they truly had an attorney, then it remains unclear why the attorney didn't write a response ... as counsel cannot interact with represented parties, nor did the Swedes identify a specific legal counsel to direct other matters.
They had a nice salutation.
Read more . . .
DoJ: Copy of 6-page letter to Senate Judiciary Committee opposing Gonzalez nomination
DoJ Gonzalez: He will be confirmed as part of the new Wall Street dream team
DoJ: Copy of 6-page letter to Senate Judiciary Committee opposing Gonzalez nomination
Note outlines the implications of Gonzalez as DoJ AG: More pre-1930s recklessness in the markets. Buyer beware.
Several former military commanders wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The letter is noteworthy in what it hopes to do. Ref The last three pages of text is biographical information.
The letter largely recounts the well known inconsistencies between the Geneva Convention and Gonazelz' statements in the memo.
The 6 page letter on page 4 suggests a series of questions which are problematic. Namely, all the questions are ones reserved for the confirmation hearing on the assumption that the response will actually mean something.
More telling is the questions simply ask, "Do you believe..." as if the response would change the nomination process.
I remain unpursuaded that any response, however "consistent" with the Geneva Convention, should be taken as a measurement of what Gonzalez is likely to do as DoJ. Rather than focus on the verbal responses, all the committee has to do is review the written memos.
That remains the evidence.
Yet, given the Republican-controlled committee we have little confidence the confirmation process is going to drag into the wee hours; or that any probing questions will necessarily change the vote.
In all likelihood, initial "oh, I'm so shocked" responses will face nothing but a rubber stamp.
No rules to enforce
It is unlikely that the Senate will take the Republican-lead in the House and actually enforce the rules. With respect to the House Republican's decision to hold Tom Delay accountable to the existing clearly promulgated standards, as opposed to the proposed selective waiver of the rules for Texans.
More broadly, we also note prior to the 2004 election many former State Department officials signed a similar letter of "no support" for President Bush. This is to say that in this case, where only 12 former military commanders signed the letter, we remain skeptical the letter will generate any national movement to remove Gonzalez from the nomination list.
President Bush is providing the nomination to a loyal ally from Texas. It is not likely the President, this late in the game, is going to withdraw the nomination as doing so would certainly raise questions about the basis for the initial appointment, and the information that might come to light. One embarrassment over Keric was enough.
It would be unlikely the White House, even if slapped in the proverbial-face with overwhelming evidence, would change course. Bluntly, there is no prospect the White House would want to admit for X-number of years "their man in the White House" [Gonzalez] was there, working, providing "wise counsel" to the President, all the while there was an issue related to vetting.
No. This late in the game, the President plans to win. No amount of Democratic whining is going to change the President's plan to create more excuses to ignore international law, undermine the constitution, and create double standards for government officials.
The 2004 election, rightly or wrongly, was a mandate to continue the games with the full expectation that the country, in the end, can be manipulated to endorse and celebrate that which is most abhorrent to our founding principles.
The nation chose on 2004 to continue down the path toward greater fascism. And we see in the Indian Ocean what steps the Administration will take, even taking no action, in order to justify expansion of American interests.
More disasters remain on the horizon. And the Senior Executive Service working within DoJ can rest assured that Gonzalez will provide the necessary top cover to avoid war crimes trials. At this juncture, the damage is isolated to DoD.
Anything else, and you can surely expect the ghost of Vince Foster to resurface. Translation: It's not going to happen; and this problem is going to be buried.
Debt-deflationary escape plan
If you're still not clear what is going on in the country, here's the summary. The country just prior to 9-11 was quickly sliding into a debt-deflationary spiral. 9-11, like the Asian Tsunami, was selectively ignored so that greater government interests could be advanced.
9-11 brought the needed catalyst to change psychology, create an external focus, drive up spending, and militarize the economy. There is a direct relationship between military spending, national output, growth, and inflation.
9-11 brought the country the needed gift to drive down interest rates, fight debt-deflation, and justify increased debt-spending. In turn, the nation, so mobilized then launched on a crusade to execute the plan: Blame someone, find an excuse, and inject money into the economy to avoid a debt-deflationary crisis.
One small problem. The dollar continues to implode, the trade deficit is rising, and the constitution has now been undermined. All the while the local law enforcement took it upon themselves to abuse those most trusting of their authority and abuse the domestic and foreign populations under their charge.
This is fascism. And under Gonzalez it is going to continue. The tenor and tone may change, but the momentum continues.
The economy continues to slide, the dollar continues to weaken, and the only solution this nation has is to continue appointing officials most abhorrent to the underlying documents and principles. These are symptoms of a greater crisis.
It remains to be seen how long the United States remains a viable entity. The dollar no longer remains the "currency of last resort." Although OPEC petro-dollars are US-denominated, it remains to be seen how long this lasts.
Sure, America enjoys great prosperity, wealth, and a high standard of living. But the present condition may only be transitory as the nation continues to put pressure on the very talent needed to sustain wealth creation.
In the end, the market will decide. In the end, Wall Street will create the new monsters to gobble up the inefficient use of capital. In the end, things will be better off.
But, in the meantime, the market has yet to digest the prospect that more fascism is necessarily the best course of action.
All markets, when left to their own devices, will destroy the capital. It remains to be seen how many attorneys under the 'watchful' eye of this new attorney general will cross the line on ethics and embrace a "new paradigm" which is simply more of the same.
Tread carefully. The nation's sense of values, planning, and principles are getting undermined in order to fuel the Wall Street appetite for more markets, less transparency, and looser regulation.
1930's Hay Days
Gonzalez plans to deliver: Less oversight, poorer enforcement of the existing laws, and greater celebration of the days before the 1930s Acts. Whether he can convince the SEC to go along with this is irrelevant: If DoJ's resources are diverted to the "principles" Gonzalez has already discussed, you can rest assured that the big money is safe, and the "most convenient targets" are the ones the lazy-FBI agents are going to go after.
Buyer beware. We're going back to the 'before the 1930'-days. Gonzalez is doing exactly what the country wants.
Nothing has changed. The market knows there will be less sanctions on fraud, corruption, and spinning.
Welcome to the makings of another bubble. Gonzalez is part of the plan.
Read more . . .
Monday, January 03, 2005
Buyer beware: US financial reporting system remains deeply flawed
It is interesting how communication works on the internet. A tool to quickly communicate. A method to present ideas. A place to display skills.
We share the latest installment. This note outlines why the spin about "Internet communication" is over-hyped, and can lead to great confusion. We see little need to engage in further dialog in-person.
1. Cancel plans to discuss issues in-person in MA. Travel arrangements need not be finalized, nor does any cash need to be expended on this effort. Contract effort cancelled.
2. Individuals with "Harvard Law School" on their C.V. now have a higher burden of proof during interviews and attorney screening. Not impressed with them.
We learned something. Even though a search engine provides as the "number one hit" something that seems, well...Important...it may not be.
Type in "Harvard law ethics blog," but the number one hit isn't the official site.
The number one search for something really isn't.
You'd think if you saw this URL, that it might relate to something official:
Hello, CP, this is David Giacalone. What took you so long to respond to my Oct. 7th post that mentions you? Your analysis and your assumptions are so flawed on so many levels, that there is no logical way to respond, so I shall make a few comments that seem relevant:
1) I am not a "Harvard" legal ethics blogger. I graduated in 1976 from HLS and happen to use their weblog server. I have no connection official or unofficial conncetion [stet] with Harvard Law School.
2) You will not find any weblog that spotlights the inadequacies of our legal discpline [stet] system more than mine -- and that suggests real, practical improvements. Nor will you find such a more constant voice decrying lawyer misconduct.
3) Federalization of attorney licensing seems to me to be politically impossible, as does meaningful lawyer regulation on the federal level. To wait for it to happen is to waste time that could be used fighting for meaningful regulation on the state level.
4) The fact that one agency has promulgated a set of rules for lawyers who practice before it in no way means that federal licensing exists, nor that of federal regulation of lawyers exists.
5) I know of no one who believes that there is a meaningful federal regulatory system in place, and I certainly never suggested that there was. So, what are all these strawmen that you are constructing?
6) I'm sorry I wasted my time trying to explain things to someone who appears to want to rant and not to think.
Someone may be listed as "mediator" but they may not understand where the client is coming from. Rather than listen, they may actually ask questions or make statements that do not make sense.
It would appear as though there is a communication problem. Yet, the "expert" in mediation seems to be taking quite an interesting tactic. What's the statement about "strawman" and "not thinking"?
The role of a mediator
"The Mediators Office is autonomous within the University."One factor we consider is whether there is consistency between the standards of conduct, actual practices, and written comments. Are the representations clear, consistent; or if there are apparent inconsistencies, are the issues amically resolved or does the fiduciary use belligerence? One SAS99 indicator for fraud is when a fiduciary has a belligerent attitude toward the clients.
How can a "mediator" be independent, but list a university?
We now turn to the other standard of conduct. Any individual who attempts to subvert or intimidate a party to a conciliation process or following the conclusion of a process victimises or threatens to victimise a party will be the subject of disciplinary procedures.
Another criteria used is to assess how clearly terms are defined; whether the fiduciary attempts to shift the burden of proof from their work product to the question, concerns, and issues in the clients mind. Also, we note whether the fiduciary has even bothered to explore the issue.
Do the following types of statements constitute intimidation:
"So, what are all these strawmen that you are constructing"?
We further evaluate the steps taken to evaluate and resolve the issue. When a simple matter cannot be handled, it is more likely that more complicated issues will face greater cost and schedule variances, or require rework, cloer monitoring, or shifting to alternative sources of counsel.
Has the mediator adequately introduce material that will resolve the issue?
The mediator will assist the applicant in selecting an option to resolve their issue.Has the mediator attempted to understand the concern?
The mediator will invite the applicant and the other party to participate in a series of meetings to assist them in arriving at their own outcome.
Let's consider the statement: "I'm sorry I wasted my time trying to explain things to someone who appears to want to rant and not to think."
Another factor to evaluate the fiduciary is their clarity of thinking. In situations where the parameters are not well defined, do they seek to understand the issues; or are they more inclined to become belligerent with the client, going so far as to shift the work requirement to the client.
If someone truly felt they were wasting their time, why would they bother responding?
One tool to evaluate fiduciaries is to examine their communication style, the clarity of their thinking, and the extent that they simply listen to the issues.
Has the mediator made a judgment about one of the parties to the discussion?
The mediator adopts the role of disinterested facilitator, a mediator does not make decisions or form judgements about an issue.A. Is this a presumption of a "hidden agenda": "So, what are all these strawmen that you are constructing?"
B. Is this a commentary on "what one does not understand": "I'm sorry I wasted my time trying to explain things to someone who appears to want to rant and not to think."
We further analyze the fiduciary on the basis of other criteria to include sound arguments, clarity of thought, and fluidity of thinking. Well-supported arguments win points, while vague statements and questions tend to undermine confidence there is a real effort to resolve an issue.
Has the mediator fairly asked questions about the assumptions?
"During the meetings the mediator encourages the parties to speak to each other, to ask clarifying questions and check each others assumptions about the nature of the dispute."Has the mediator attempted to clarify the specific issues?
Has the mediator attempted to make statements that invoke dialog?
Are the questions designed to evoke real information, or merely made on the presumption of something?
We next consider the fiduciary's ability to translate a problem into a viable solution with creative techniques, alternative methods to arrive at solutions, and other methods we might reasonably expect a fiduciary to employ to resolve the matter.
"What took you so long to respond to my Oct. 7th post that mentions you?"Has the mediator outlined a series of criteria that would form an acceptable response?
We witness the meltdown of a blogger. Are we surprised why the efforts to create change within the system are slow and ineffectual?
You'll need to cite a specific document stating a requirement that bloggers must respond within X-time frame. Feel free to use Lexis in your caselaw search. Don't forget to use the proper notation.
2. URL association
If someone has "no connection" with something then feel free to explain why Google "when it searches for Harvard law school ethics law" arrives on your spot.
3. Point of contention
Feel free to outline your specific comments; showing how the original comments and concerns in the original blog entry deviated from the follow=on comments; and subsequent remarks.
You are free to use Powerpoint in your presentation, however an agreement to disclose this information should not be construed as an agreement to engage in a contract for an enforceable consideration.
Failing to demonstrate a clear deviation from the "original points" would tend to undermine the central points in the comments.
We are surprised by the contrast between [a] standards a reasonable person might come to expect of a mediator; and [b] the apparent statements that would, at first glance, contrast with the intent of the mediation guidelines.
Feel free to discuss your comments in light of the mediation guidelines, and feel free to trace back to the original blog comments which outlined the original concerns. Again, because you are a Harvard graduate, we need not go into the details of how to find and search a particular blog entry.
Perhaps the writer refers to something else contained within the blog. We have yet to understand.
There are federal regulatory entities in re attorneys. Please outline your view of the adequacy of the oversight system; the failures; and the specific comments and proposals and suggestions made to improve the system.
Feel free to cite working papers, caselaw, conference notes, or other material you feel best supports your primary contentions. Again, you made excellent points, but we remain eager to review the specific links or documents you have that might support your positions.
Feel free to outline your views of the federal oversight of the legal profession. Is your view along the lines of: [Pick one, some, or a combination]
A. Federal legal oversight is not adequate;
B. Federal rules are different than statutes;
C. Federal rules governing attorney conduct are not adequate;
D. Federal rules in the securities markets do not amount of official oversight;
E. State level regulation of attorneys, although wanting, could not be improved by federal oversight;
F. State level regulation of attorneys, although wanting, could be improved by federal statutes, rules, and regulations;
Is your view that CFR as promulgated is not binding and not enforceable in federal court?
Feel free to discuss the administrative law issues in re a federal rule-requirement being clearly promulgated, but Congress failing to take action to ensure that rule is adequately enforced.
Feel free to discuss rule 302e.
Lawyers provide the necessary guidance for public filings to the SEC; and inter alia provide valuable negotiation strategies based on valuation and implied cashflows. If the problem [with legal oversight, enforcement, discipline at both the state and federal levles] is "so grave" and "unsolvable," why should the investing-public expose their capital to the US financial reporting and regulatory system?
Overall, we find that the advocates for reform might be in need of some self-examination. We may no general or specific comments about specific individuals. Rather, we merely speculate that perhaps some have not really calibrated their comments to the audience.
Indeed, someone who chooses to have this much anger and rage against someone who merely raises a point would seem to have some serious issues. We make no specific comment about their level of happiness as that is outside the scope of this discussion.
However, let us look broadly at the notion of reform and oversight. Is the public inclined to believe there is a viable solution at hand when the proponents of the solutions appear to suffer from the very flaws they decry in others?
We are not persuaded. Again, this is another case of those who arrive to solve the problem tend to engage in the very practices they decry in others: Missing the point; unresponsiveness; and poor service.
In the end, it is the investing public who will make the decision where they allocate their capital.
My concern is that the US financial reporting and regulatory system is not only flawed, but the major players in the reform effort are similarly incapable of intelligently making a coherent statement to the public they might otherwise seek support.
Thus, we have another anecdote of why the United States, for all its glory, remains an unattractive investing climate. The personnel, although well educated, are unable to apply that education when it is most needed.
The smallest thing says so much.
Thank you for listening. I appreciate your taking the time to review my comments. Thank you for confirming the decision not to allocate funding to the US financial reporting and regulatory system. It remains flawed.
Even those leading the charge to reform the system suffer from the same defects that would otherwise dissuade one from exposing capital.
Read more . . .