Friday, April 30, 2010

say grazi to British Petroleum


""Much of the Atlantic coast—like that of the Gulf of Mexico where oil from the explosion at British Petroleum’s Transocean Deepwater Explorer rig is expected to arrive imminently—is composed of estuaries, bay backs and miles upon miles of fragile wetlands, the spawning and feeding grounds for the chain of marine life. It’s a “soft” coast that would absorb oil like a sop rag. There’s no way to clean oil from wetlands, to clean it off the bottoms of bays, no way to get it off bay bottoms where shellfish live.


Drilling of the Atlantic was stopped by Congressional action.

But that would end if Congress goes along with President Obama’s declaration in his March 30th speech that “my administration will consider potential areas for development” for oil and gas drilling in the Mid- and South-Atlantic, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the north coast of Alaska.

Beyond the environmental devastation threatened, the drilling itself would have a huge price: the cost of off-shore drilling is estimated at ten times the cost of drilling for petroleum on land.

This would make for very expensive gasoline, oil requiring huge capital and operating expenses to mine—the kind of money with which could vastly expand our getting energy from the sun, the winds and other clean, safe, renewable sources. But oil companies, being oil companies, are fixed on their product."""

Keep in mind Democrats --including Obama, supposed "green"--have pushed for offshore drilling nearly as often as have repubs.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

La Santa Cruz de la Mojave


"""The U.S. Supreme Court has moved toward a greater accommodation between church and state, ruling that the lower courts went too far in ordering the dismantling of a cross erected on public land to honor the soldiers who died in World War I.

Using broad language, the court said the Constitution does not require the eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm.

The nation's national war memorials are by and large built on government land, using a combination of government and private funds. The World War I memorial is an exception. It is an 8-foot white cross originally erected on public land without the government's permission by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1937. As a memorial, it never got much attention until it became a legal cause celebre, courtesy of the cross that catapulted it into public controversy in the 21st century.

Anything that scares a Totenberg, masonic Kalvinists, or wahhabi-ists cain't be alll bad

The lower courts ruled that the cross on public land was an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion, and the Park Service made plans to dismantle it.

Then, Congress stepped in, declaring the cross the national war memorial for World War I, and transferring to the VWF the land on which the cross stands.

The lower courts, however, declared the measure an unconstitutional end run to avoid complying with the order to dismantle.

Rationale For Decision

The Supreme Court saw it differently Wednesday. Though the five justices in the majority wrote three separate opinions, delineating three different rationales, the principal opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, spoke in broad terms.

Although the cross is "a Christian symbol," said Kennedy, it was not placed on sunrise rock in the Mojave Desert to send "a Christian message." Nor was it placed there to put a government "imprimatur on a particular creed." Rather, he said, "those who erected the cross intended simply to honor our nation's fallen soldiers."

"The Constitution does not oblige government to avoid any public acknowledgment of religion's role in society," Kennedy said....blah blah blah.

Dee-eep. The Mojave cross case relates to another mostly trivial matter. The USA faces economic crisis, environmental crisis (ie offshore drilling), immigration problems, yet the celebrity-solons of SCOTUS insist on bringing up some light-weight First Amendment issue, which allows them to wave the flag, win one for the gipper, and please the pious. The predictable NPRish response from the Totenbergs of the USA follows--an outrage! It's not an outrage--merely the proverbial tempest in the piss-pot.

The Cross may not be entirely PC--and Kennedy sounds disingenuous as usual--yet most of the soldiers who were stationed out at Twentynine Palms and other desert bases were mostly christians, whether one likes it or not. The descendants of the veterans approve. The court's recent ruling on campaign financing--whereby five men overthrew the Feingold/McCain legislation, supported by thousands, if not millions--featured an authentic cause celebre, and the decision, a reason for outrage.

You were ripped off by the Ernest Hemingway-code of stoical-secularism, Rube (or Rubette):
Papa Hem...... él está enterrado con la basura de la tierra

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

D-backs bucks support AZ-shakedown

The Thrill of Trickery; the Agony of da Feet. Politics vis-à-vis pro-sports teams, cont.

""""As the official Arizona Diamondbacks boycott call states, "In 2010, the National Republican Senatorial Committee's third highest Contributor was the [executives of the] Arizona Diamondbacks, who gave $121,600; furthermore, they also contributed $129,500, which ranked as the eighteenth highest contribution to the Republican Party Committee." The team's big boss, Ken Kendrick, and his family members, E. G. Kendrick Sr. and Randy Kendrick, made contributions to the Republicans totaling a staggering $1,023,527. The Kendricks follow in the footsteps of team founder and former owner Jerry Colangelo. Colangelo, along with other baseball executives and ex-players, launched a group called Battin' 1000: a national campaign that uses baseball memorabilia to raise funds for a Campus for Life, the largest anti-choice student network in the country. Colangelo was also deputy chair of Bush/Cheney 2004 in Arizona, and his deep pockets created what was called the Presidential Prayer Team -- a private evangelical group that claims to have signed up more than one million people to drop to their knees and pray daily for Bush.

Under Colangelo, John McCain also owned a piece of the team. The former maverick said before the bill's passage that he "understood" why it was being passed because "the drivers of cars with illegals in it [that] are intentionally causing accidents on the freeway."

This is who the Arizona Diamondback executives are. This is the tradition they stand in.""""""

Note that under the new law, the AZ-cops--apparently (correct, lurkers?)-- don't merely ask suspected "illegals" for a driver's license, but demand a passport, or state issued ID card. So those not carrying a current passport are sent to mexico?? bullshit

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Reverend Nietzsche

""""Crime belongs to the concept "revolt against the social order." One does not "punish" a rebel; one suppresses him. A rebel can be a miserable and contemptible man; but there is nothing contemptible in a revolt as such--and to be a rebel in view of contemporary society does not in itself lower the value of a man. There are even cases in which one might have to honor a rebel, because he finds something in our society against which war ought to be waged--he awakens us from our slumber.""""

from infidels

Nietzsche's writings pose peculiar difficulties. NietzscheSpeak tends to appeal to frat boys and college-town party animals as much as he does to philosophical or literary types. The American frat boy, at least the one who can read Kaufmann's hack translations of FN's aphorisms, learns to crave Nietzsche's message of power, of the glorification of the will--that message also jibes with Darwinism, and the default naturalism taught in college town (explicitly, or not). Who needs all those boring pedants of the Aufklaurung, says Nietzsche?? Jr thus learns to detest reason and the slave morality of traditional religion.

There's also a sort of heroic romance to Nietzsche, with a slightly nihilist edge--he's taken to represent the code of Johnny Depp, more or less. Heroics of any type please Consumerland--really Sarah Palin might be termed Nietzschean in a sense (tho' Nietzsche was not one for patriotism--he might honor Caesar, not George washington). Unfortunately the heroic-gonzo reading is mostly mistaken, if not bullshit. Nietzsche's not a Hunter S. Thompson, tho' he's usually taken as such-- Nietzsche gonzo hints at tragedy for one; he's responding to Wagner, not to the stones; he often sounds nearly... muslim, a bavarian Turk, if you will. That "Gott ist Tot" (or, as Richie Dawkins says, never existed atall) should not be cause for celebration, but profound reflection--angst. Judeo-christianity--the farce of history! The flag-waving Baptist-goon has little to do with the shadowy christ of the beatitudes, anyway.

Nietzsche while capable of snooty pretentious verbiage (like the rather tedious chat of the ancient greeks in The Birth of Tragedy...), doesn't ever quite abandon his soldier's perspective--also revealed in his few comments which acknowledge the criminal as a sort of precursor to his Uebermensch. As his remarks on the criminal-rebel indicate, Nietzsche's not down with democratic proceduralism (that's not to say he's necessarily correct in that regard....perhaps his anti-democracy was not sufficiently thought out, as is the case with most frat-boy hedonists, or Randians, libertarian anti-statist types...) . He was no fan of English liberals and reformers, whether JS Mill or the temperance union. He was not particularly enamored with actors, or actresses, either: ""If we consider the whole history of women, are they not obliged first of all, and above all to be actresses?"" Entertainment itself functions as herd mentality, whether in quaint victorian potboilers, or the latest snatch-fest featuring more pointless pratfalls from Jenny Aniston and her galpals or that loud Kissinger-wannabe, Aram Sandler.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Springtime for Google

You were probably expecting like bobbleheads of the Runaways?...Nyet.

Consumer Watchdog, the Santa Monica group that's proving a perpetual thorn in the side of Google Inc., plans to call on the Justice Department to launch an antitrust action against the search giant and seek remedies including a possible break up.

The consumer organization, which won grants from the Rose Foundation of Oakland specifically to investigate Google's privacy practices, plans to make the announcement at a news conference titled "The Antitrust Case Against Google" in Washington today.

"We, as an organization, have concluded that there's enough evidence on the table to warrant this, to go beyond the reactive steps that the regulatory agencies have followed up until now," said John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog.

It remains to be seen whether the Consumer Watchdog's bite equals its...... bark.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day bar-be- que

In honor of Earth Day, a Contingencies klassic: El Pollo Gore-O.

Here's to Big Al finishing that wiki on standard deviation.

Freeman Dyson on AGW

(That said, Contingencies supports the Waxman-Markey Act).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

eMeg vs Moonbeam

"""The second GOP candidate, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, is running far ahead of Poizner, floating her campaign on an extraordinary sea of early money. Three months before the June primary, and eight months before the general election, Whitman (or eMeg, as local political journalists often call her) has already spent $46 million, mostly from personal funds on her campaign, and has threatened to spend up to $150 million if necessary.

EMeg’s strategy is to buy the election with her almost limitless personal fortune.

Whitman’s ads mainly convey, with numbing repetition, her claim to offer a fresh start for the state, delivered by a rock-star business executive committed to cuts in spending, tax cuts, and education reform.

And how is this to be accomplished in a state in which the population routinely says no to spending cuts and taxes?

She’s also bought herself grief by refusing, until very recently, to answer press questions or elaborate beyond the happy talk of her biographical ads about her positions on various issues. All in all, she’s in danger of earning the reputation of being something of a robo-pol like her political mentor, Mitt Romney.

So far there are no ideas coming from EMeg and no experience in government either. That sounds like “Governator” redux to me.

On the other side of the aisle we have Jerry Brown, known as “Governor Moonbeam” 30 years ago for his unorthodox style. He has experience in spades:

…Brown was first elected to statewide office 40—yes, 40—years ago. After a term as secretary of state, he was governor for eight years, and later state party chair, mayor of Oakland, and currently attorney general of California. He also ran unsuccessfully, and somewhat fecklessly, for the U.S. Senate once and for president three times.

But, although the anti-politician sentiment is raging, Brown may not be handicapped by it.


Indeed, over four decades of engagement in public life, Jerry Brown has developed a remarkable knack for displaying a sense of his own—and government’s—limits. He began his gubernatorial first term in 1975 with an off-the-cuff “address” that ran seven minutes; replaced the traditional inaugural ball with an informal dinner at a Chinese restaurant; traded in his gubernatorial limo for a 1974 Plymouth from the state car pool; rented a small apartment instead of living in the governor’s mansion; and reportedly slept on a mattress on the floor. (As governor, Brown was far more fiscally conservative than his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, who raised taxes and spending several times. His austerity, which created vast budget surpluses, prompted one Reagan aide to joke that the Gipper “thinks Jerry Brown has gone too far to the right.”)

And it’s not as though Jerry Brown is likely to present Whitman with an unmoving target. As protean as California itself and as wily as any other 40-year veteran of political wars, Brown nicely defined himself in an interview with Calbuzz just after officially announcing his candidacy: “Adaptation is the essence of evolution,” he explained. “And those who don’t adapt go extinct.”

Indeed, such adaptivity may be the only thing that can serve California’s needs right now.

I don’t know who will win. Californians have proven that they are willing to elect a wealthy, empty suit with a big mouth to run the state.

But one way or another, our next governor is likely to be a clown.""""""

a mediocre corporate-bureaucratic clown at that.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Anthony Flew, RIP

""""In 2004...[Flew] announced on a DVD titled “Has Science Discovered God?” that research on DNA and what he believed to be inconsistencies in the Darwinian account of evolution had forced him to reconsider his views. DNA research, he said, “has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved.”

In “There Is a God” he explained that he now believed in a supreme intelligence, removed from human affairs but responsible for the intricate workings of the universe. In other words, the divine watchmaker imagined by deists like Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.

In a letter to The Sunday Telegraph of London in 2004, he described “the God in whose existence I have belatedly come to believe” as “most emphatically not the eternally rewarding and eternally torturing God of either Christianity or Islam but the God of Aristotle that he would have defined — had Aristotle actually produced a definition of his (and my) God — as the first initiating and sustaining cause of the universe.”

Antony Garrard Newton Flew was born on Feb. 11, 1923, in London. During World War II he did intelligence work for the Royal Air Force and spent a year learning Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.""""

Note Professor Flew's clarification: he believed neither in the judeo-Christian or Islamic conception of a monotheistic G*d (really, they're close cousins), but Aristotle's. Our Primum Mobile,
who art in Ouranon...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Factionalism 101

from The Federalist #10/Madison--

By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.

It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

American educators could do worse than have their Biffs and Bunnies read (and respond to) the concise, rational prose of the Federalist papers (authored by one PUBLIUS, the pseudonym of Hamilton and Madison. That wise man--and abolitionist-- John Jay also contributed). B & B might not agree, could violently disagree (tho' even the hard-minded economic materialist would probably grant Madison had a rather keen insight into the relations of production, in M-speak).

IN brief, Ham. and Mad. offer quite persuasive arguments--not necessary, but cogent--in favor of the federalist or classical republican models over the Lockean or democratic models, states-rights popularly called--tho' Locke's bastard son Jefferson was not unfamiliar with classical republicanism--ie that of ancient greece and rome, not the GOP...capiche?--and once claimed the American Rev. followed from "Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, etc." The texts of ancient soothsayers--ie the Bible, and the Koran--or the pathology of the everyday (schports, entertainment, bing-fluff) seem quite irrelevant in comparison.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mediocrity marches on

Perseverance, n. A lowly virtue whereby mediocrity achieves an inglorious success.
- Ambrose Bierce

"""Ballot measure I in the April 13th municipal elections reads, "In response to a recent complaint, with respect to the invocations that contained reference to Jesus Christ, shall the City Council continue its invocation policy in randomly selecting local clergy of different faiths to deliver the invocation without restricting the content based on their beliefs, including references to Jesus Christ?"

The complaint the measure refers to is one the ACLU of Southern California sent to city officials last August. As reported by the Times, it stated that the group had received "a number of complaints" about council members and commissioners opening their meetings with invocations given in "the name of Jesus," or containing other explicitly sectarian religious references. The ACLU called this "divisive" and "unconstitutional" and warned the city that it may face legal action if the policy continues.

As an answer, Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris sponsored Ballot Measure I.

"If the vast majority of the community is in favor of this," said Mayor R. Rex Parris, "I think the court should know that."""

++ ++ ++ ++ ++
Parris, an attorney, apparently missed out on the lectures on the Constitution at ACME Law School. James Madison, for one, had little positive to say about judeo-christian tradition, of any flavor, asserting that "Religion itself may become a motive to persecution and oppression". The Founders designed the First Amendment itself with the intent of controlling the pernicious influence of religious enthusiasm, not enabling fundamentalists.

First Amendment discussions were boring, like, a few dozen decades ago--yet the real issue brought up by the First Amendment pertains, we suggest, not to the endless crackerbarrel rights-talk, but to the tyranny of the majority, and thus to the problems of populism. That's boring to many as well, really--yet the populist politicians obviously still wield a great deal of power in rural and suburban areas. A populist, whether a Huckabee or a Parris, may always count upon the protestant voting bloc--really, a baptist voting bloc -- to affirm his latest quasi-moralist agenda.

Clever, PT Barnum populists often devise political measures which allow them to circumvent constitutional limitations. Proposition 8 was one such measure--whether one approves or disapproves of same-sex marriages, it's not an issue to be decided by popular vote. On a smaller scale, Measure 1, like Prop. 8, also takes advantage of a fundamentalist voting bloc, and appears to be unconstitutional to quite a few observers in Southern California.

The ACLU--hardly the representative of Liberty and Justice for all, but something-- has taken an interest in the theocratic doings of the Parris gang. Measure 1 in effect says, what the religious zealots of the AV want, they can vote in. So if they want Jee-zuss to be invoked, or shown waving a flag in front of F-18s, then He will be invoked. So, following that pseudo-reasoning, if the lemmings vast majority of the AV favors, say, arresting people who don't attend the Baptick church, that should also be law. That can't happen here, you might say, but in some parts of the USA (not only Utah, or Texass), a WASP police state may be arriving sooner than you think.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dios trabaja en vias mysterioso


"""[Camilla] takes a tumble in Scotland ruining the plans for an anniversary celebration in Scotland. Camilla is an outdoor lover and was hiking without Prince Charles when she fell.

Camilla continued her hike but went home and on advice of her doctor had an X-ray taken of the leg. The next day, Thursday the results were reported by the Clarence House that indeed Camilla's left fibula was broken in the fall at Birkhill. """


One of the descendents of Charles Lennox, an illegitimate son of King Charles II--ie Lennox born of one of Charles' whores mistresses--Camilla also has ties ancestral to her own husband Prince Charles.

** ** ** ** **

"Hegel... defines the monarch as the personality of the state, its certainty of itself. The monarch is personified sovereignty, sovereignty become man, incarnate state - [or political - ] consciousness, whereby all other persons are thus excluded from this sovereignty, from personality, and from state - [or political - ] consciousness. At the same time however Hegel can give this 'Souverainété - Personne' no more content than 'I will', the moment of arbitrariness in the will. The state-reason and state-consciousness is a unique empirical person to the exclusion of all others, but this personified Reason has no content except the abstract on, 'I will'. L'Etat c'est moi. """ from Karl Marx's Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Love it at Leibniz

""""This year marks the 300th anniversary of Gottfried Leibniz's "Theodicy," which remains one of the grandest attempts to prove the goodness and justice of a God who created an evil-soaked cosmos like ours. Most affecting was his claim that our world is, in fact, the best world that God could have made (so don't complain!), which sounds either crudely optimistic or despairingly pessimistic.

Half a century later, however, the Lisbon earthquake seemed to many to constitute clear proof that Leibniz was dead wrong. "Candide," Voltaire's lampooning reply to Leibnizianism, seemed especially compelling after the quake: "Candide, stunned, stupefied, despairing, bleeding, trembling, said to himself—If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others like?" A century later, Schopenhauer suggested that provoking Voltaire's derision was Leibniz's greatest contribution to European culture, adding: "In this way, of course, Leibniz's oft-repeated and lame excuse for the evil of the world, namely that the bad sometimes produces the good, obtained proof that for him was unexpected."

As international scholars gather to debate the significance and impact of Leibniz's theodicy during this anniversary year, I hope none will agree with Schopenhauer's glum assessment of Leibniz's relevance. For Leibniz also broke with earlier Christian tradition and claimed that natural evils like earthquakes are not intended to be punishments. Nonetheless, Leibniz insists, God had a justified and discernible reason for creating a universe with life-sustaining, but tectonically unstable planets. Leibniz argues that a world with simple, regular natural laws that yielded a rich diversity of effects—including rational creatures—was better than alternative worlds with different laws and creatures, even if the alternatives were free from natural disasters.""""

Some there are who may be tempted to agree with "Schopenhauer's glum assessment of Leibniz's relevance". ....

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Justice JP Stevens retires


"""Historically, Stevens may well be best remembered for his passionate dissent to the Supreme Court’s December 2000 ruling which blocked the counting of Florida votes and stole the presidential election for George W. Bush. After lambasting the majority for siding with Bush’s “assault on the Florida election procedures,” Stevens wrote, “Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.”

On January 21 this year, a clearly agitated Stevens read from the bench long excerpts of his 90-page dissent in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, excoriating the majority for invalidating laws on campaign finance reform. Echoing his dissent in Bush v. Gore, Stevens wrote, “The Court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.”

Despite the rightward shift on the high court, however, Stevens was able to obtain high court majorities in notable decisions limiting the Bush administration’s “war on terror,” writing the majority opinions in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006), invalidating military tribunals at the Guantánamo Bay detention camps, and Rasul v. Bush (2004), affirming the right of detainees to file for habeas corpus.

Stevens became increasingly opposed to the death penalty, frequently dissenting from court orders denying review of petitions filed by condemned prisoners. He wrote for a six-justice majority in Atkins v. Virginia (2002), that the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment prohibited the execution of the mentally retarded.

Not all Stevens’s notable opinions have been of a socially liberal character. In a ruling which opened the door to the right-wing’s destabilization campaign against the Clinton presidency, Stevens wrote the opinion in Clinton v. Jones (1997), forcing the president to submit to a deposition and respond to accusations related to extra-marital sex. Bill Clinton’s less than candid testimony about his interactions with White House intern Monica Lewinsky provided the basis for Special Prosecutor Kenneth W. Starr’s witch hunt, and Clinton’s eventual impeachment by the House of Representatives.""""

The GOP, FoxCo, TeabaggerCo will need a new script for the confirmation hearings of the incoming member--most likely a lib-rawl-- of the Black Robe Posse! Imagine something like this: We deem Judge X unfit to sit on the US supreme court because...he doesn't follow orders from...A)corporate oligarchies B)catholic church C)US Military D)AIPAC E)DEA

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Authori-tay questioned

From EFF:

""""In a ruling that imposes important limits on the FCC's authority to regulate the Internet, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals today overturned the FCC ruling against Comcast for interfering with the BitTorrent traffic of its subscribers. The court found that the Commission had overstepped the limits of its "ancillary authority" when it disciplined Comcast for its clandestine blocking behavior.

The ruling is not likely to make much difference to Comcast subscribers—Comcast had already agreed to cease its BitTorrent interdiction before the FCC's ruling was issued. Instead, the court's ruling is important because it represents a blow to FCC Chairman Genachowski's proposed net neutrality regulations, which are premised on the same theory of "ancillary jurisdiction" that the FCC used against Comcast and that the court rejected today.""""

The courtly authorities limited the FCC's authority, yet the Feds (both judiciary and legislature) may be, as the EFFsters suggest, preparing their own regulative measures to control Net content--that's not to say some Net content should not be regulated, but once one site's censored (say, some typical skanky valley or vegas porn, or the "torrent" sites favored by geek deviants), why not others, including political? Who establishes the moderation or censoring guidelines? Pelosicrats? Religious fundamentalists? Communists? Corporate executives?

The usual libertarian-leftist (including many EFF types) tends to react violently to regs of any sort, economic, communicative, or in regard to the sacred right to Entertainment. Yet communication controls of some sort should not be considered inherently rightist. One might say, allow the Tropic of Cancer on a blog, but oppose the ...SVP (skanky valley porn). Put Marx's writings online or on political blogs, and allow informed critique (not the Red Dawn-like reaction, or the comrade's dogmatic approach either). Other types of content may be more problematic--whether neo-nazis, extreme jihadists, or ...etsy goth gals who need to move some candle-products to pay the rent.

Communication issues should be at least negotiated, say via something like a Rawlsian contract--the right to free expression remains critical, however mundane it might sound to ideologues. That should hold at all levels of political discussion. Many blogs, whether big name such as KOS or the cowtown's reinforce "soft-censorship": a clique takes shape, and opinions, or what are taken to be opinions are shared. The site members establish a consensus of sorts, though the consensus views may have little to do with reason, facts, or science, or sound ideology for that matter. The religious blogs don't care for "secularists" interfering with their hustle, and vice versa. A similar situation holds for the political blogs--join the Teabagger pep rally, or leave (or the Death to Teabagger chant on the PC lib-sites). Without established terms of service, or communication guidelines, the blog becomes a sort of e-manifesto, or merely narcissistic indulgence--and most of blogosphere's headed in that direction.

Monday, April 05, 2010

United states of AIPAC

"""AIPAC is dangerous for many reasons. For one, it’s not a lobby group in the conventional sense - meaning a group of well-paid lobbyists harassing US Congressmen with telephone calls with the hope of advancing the agenda of their benefactors (in this case, the state of Israel). The pro-Israel lobby has actually grown and morphed into a political body that is embedded within all branches of the US government, as well as the media, academia and elsewhere. It is no secret that the neo-conservative cliques of politicians who engineered, steered and to an extent continue to influence US war policy are in fact a mere component of the same ‘lobby’.

While Jewish communities in the US may not be united in their support of the largely rightwing and hawkish Zionist lobby groups, both major political parties in the US and all branches of the government stand in complete support of Israel. The AIPAC annual conference is almost mandatory for them. Sadly, Netanyahu’s speech before AIPAC is of equal, if not of greater import to some of them than the State of the Union address. Following Obama’s address in 2010, many US politicians openly voiced criticism of his take on many issues. But few dare challenge Netanyahu on much of the malice he spewed on March 22.

Americans need to realize that this is no longer about Palestine and Israel. It is now about their own country, their own sovereignty and the future of their own democracy. They must ask hard questions and refuse to settle for sentimental answers. How could America be so divided on so many issues, yet so united on the ‘cause of Israel’? Where does a feeble politician like Netanyahu find the courage to defy the president of the very country that supplied his own with many billions of taxpayer dollars? Of course, we know that much of the fund was used to occupy, torment and wage war on Palestinians for many years. This is the atrocious fact that Americans need to understand fully: Israeli war crimes were made possible because of American funds, weapons and political cover. America is not an outside party to the conflict. It has done more than its fair share in the ongoing Palestinian tragedy.""""

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Education, Lone-Star-style

"""The Texas School Board is changing history one subject at a time, and they are changing which events to highlight and people to feature based on ultra conservative ideals. The school board chose people in history that reflect right-wing philosophy and Christian ideology over established facts and empirical data.

Texas is always out there in the nether-world where guns reign supreme, and God’s literal words in the Bible are the only rules they need, and is where Governor Perry speaks openly about secession while his supporters cheer the idea of breaking away from the United States. The governor’s actions border on sedition, and he is lucky he’s not in prison where traitors belong.

This new round of insanity, though, encourages intelligent people to reconsider whether it is a bad idea for Texas to secede from the Union, and, after further review, maybe it is time to help the Lone Star state out the door; and they can take their revisionist history with them.

For starters, the Texas board of education will replace founding father Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Constitution, with John Calvin, who lived 200 years before Jefferson, and whose life’s work was Christianity and Capitalism. Calvin’s Christian Reformation credit is in stark contrast to Jefferson’s deist beliefs, and the Texans’ goal is to diminish the separation of church and state that is in the Constitution, and erase the Enlightenment’s influence on America.

Texas believes it is better to align American history with a Christian bigot from 16th century Europe, than a Founding Father who shaped this country. The Texas school board also refuses to teach students that the Constitution prevents the government from promoting one religion over another.

The school board wants students to study former Israeli leader, Golda Meir, and the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’s impact on global politics. Calvin was anti-Semitic and said; “I have had much conversation with many Jews: I have never seen either a drop of piety or a grain of truth or ingenuousness—nay, I have never found common sense in any Jew.” It will prove interesting how Texans reconcile Calvin with Meir, but since it is Texas, they will just rewrite more history."""""

The texan edu-crats can't quite teach Mein Kampf (at least yet), but they can make use of Calvinism for the same ends. BILLY BOB! You get up thar and finish yr Hitler homework, AND yr readin's of the Good Book!!!
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