Thursday, July 28, 2005

Did Comcast and Symantec help cover-up the Downing Street Memo ?

How Comcast Censors Political Content |

After reading this I have to wonder what other topics critical of the current administration might have been "censored" by these companies. Congress better call executives of these companies in and get to the bottom of this ASAP! (And bring those 40+K "complaints" with them!)

As usual, nothing was done by either company until they realized that the cat was out of the bag and they were flooded with complaints.

Think about it. If this is true, and I have no reason to doubt it, the public's trust of these companies (and every other ISP really) has been shattered. Then we'll have to wonder every time we send an email that it could be "filtered" out because someone associated with your ISP doesn't like something in it.

Is this the old Soviet Union or the United States of America?

I'm not implying that anyone in the current administration orchestrated this, but we damn well better have an investigation and find out who did. Of course it wouldn't surprise me one bit if there was a connection to the RNC. These Republicans seem to be the masters of "dirty tricks".

What's next, sending enemies of the "state" to secret prisons?

Do we have to encrypt all our email so the government's spies can't read it or censor it? And on the topic of encryption, I recall that recently, some in our government wanted to force (through legislation I believe) companies who write encryption software to put a "backdoor" into their programs so that it could be read without having to attempt to break the encryption. I'm not sure that it's fully known if any of those companies did. I think [most] of them said no and some of the proposed legislation was dropped.

Do we now have to develop software to get past "censors"?

China has been in the news for blocking certain word searches like "Freedom".... Is the United States next?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Why most polls are useless...

The way I see it, most of the questions asked in polls assume the people being polled have some knowledge of the subject. From everything I see, I'm afraid that's not true.

Most Americans are painfully ignorant when it comes to national and international issues.
Most Americans don't take (or feel that they don't HAVE) the time to stay informed, which, as we'd say back in the 1970's is a "cop-out". The truth is, most people choose to spend their time on other things. Governments (and ad-min-is-tra-tions too, as GW duh would say it) have to be watched. An ignorant public is vulnerable to "spin", and an informed public should be immune to it.

It's called "civic responsibility" isn't it?

Another responsibility is the press'. To investigate potential corruption, point out when politicians make "false statements".

Well these days, those folks who only take the time to catch the evening news, or one of the "clone shows" (as I call them, because half the time they all have the same topic ), aren't getting the "real" news. Most of the time they're getting regurgitated news at best, and at worst nothing but speculation and rumor.

And why is that? It's because in far too many cases journalists are NOT doing their jobs!

So when you see polls quoted, take a moment to think about the people who answered the poll, and whether they actually are informed enough to be able to answer the question intelligently.

Confirmation of a leak is MORE important than the original leak!

FindLaw's Writ - Sebok: If Karl Rove is the White House Leaker, But He Broke No Criminal Laws, Could Valerie Plame Still Sue Him for Revealing Her Identity?

This is something else that was brought up in the hearings last week regarding the CIA leak. I wish that I could recall which person said it, but it makes perfect sense when you think about it.

When all you have is one source of information, you need to "confirm" it right?
Without that confirmation you really can't publish it (unless you're Fox News, or any of the vitriolic right-wing radio jerks like Rush and Savage) it's just a rumor at that point.

So Mr. Sebok's statement "If all the White House did was to confirm what journalists already knew," doesn't hold water.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The more I watch the History Channel....

The more I watch the History Channel.... the more similarities I see between the current administration and corrupt world leaders from the past.

The secrecy, the "My way or the highway" attitude, and the "dirty tricks" as evidenced in this "Plame Affair" (and MANY others).

The other similarity I've noticed is between the far-right evangelical groups trying to control people's lives here in the USA, and [some] of the "far right"
religious leaders in the Islamist Fundimentalist community throughout the world.
Talk about your "American Taliban"... I truly believe that if left to their own devices, these American fundamentalists would (and in some cases are currently trying to) create a similar model of government*.

*Islamist ideologies hold that Islam
is not only a religion, but also a political system that governs the legal, economic and social imperatives of the state.
(This is an excerpt from Answers / Wikipedia)

I don't believe that's the America our forefathers had in mind, and it'd definitely not an America that I'd want to live in.

I was thinking of the words to the song "My country, 'tis of thee" the other day.
Here's a clipping (again from / Wikipedia) with the verses:

The most famous portion of the song is the first verse:

My Country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside
Let freedom ring.

Three additional verses are widely known:

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love.
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture fills
Like that above.
Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom's song.
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

(In one of the original texts, the fifth and sixth lines are transposed and slightly altered, reading: "Let all that breathes partake;/Let mortal tongues awake.")

Our fathers' God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright
With freedom's holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King!

One verse, crossed out by Smith in original manuscripts, is generally omitted. Originally the third verse, it reads:

No more shall tyrants here
With haughty steps appear
And soldier bands.
No more shall tyrants dread
Above the patriot dead;
No more our blood be shed
By alien hands.

Excellent article by a true friend - A neighbor's view of Valerie Wilson's 'outing'

It amazing to me that people like Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman (and other BS artists) are still sticking to their "Talking Points" (aka. LIES) when the facts clearly refute them.

Watching the hearing on C-SPAN last week dealing with this issue it made me wonder why all those over-paid news readers and so-called "journalists" never challenge statements made by people like Mr. Mehlman, even though they should* know it's pure BS.

There's something seriously wrong when good decent Americans like Valerie Plame/Wilson and her husband Joe are slandered like this without conscientious reporters revealing that the Republican "Talking Points" are false, misleading, or otherwise not based on reality.

And some of these overpaid parrots in the MSM have the nerve to "pooh-pooh" bloggers, many of whom are actually serving their readers by pointing out all the innacuracies in the *news*.

*If they don't they should be fired. The [actual] facts are easy enough to verify.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Very interesting Congressional Hearing on C-SPAN yesterday

AP Wire | 07/23/2005 | Ex-CIA officers rip Bush over Rove leak

Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson made excellent points yesterday when he spoke at a Congressional Hearing (televised on C-SPAN).
He filled in some of the blanks, and at the same time pointed out some of the administration's blatant lies, along with the media's careless repetition of many of those "falsehoods" like the reporting/smearing that his wife was the one responsible for sending him to Niger.

He also brought home the serious danger, and the extent of the damage to the intelligence community that was done.

All done (I feel) because the White House was embarassed and shown to be full of it by Joe Wilson. (GOOD job Joe!)

But there's a real problem.... So few people will have seen this hearing that these important facts won't enter the collective consience, like the Watergate Hearings did. It was carried by the networks and a great majority watched it and talked about it.
As I see it, the chances of this hearing even being mentioned on the numerous "news" channels is remote.

Jon Stewart and/or* Al Franken might talk about it though.

Just think about that for a moment.....

The MSM (saying again for the millionth time) should be ashamed, although I *think* some of them might be starting to smell the coffee (and as I see it, the Internet and Blogs have been an important part of them "waking up").

*And a couple of others I can't come up with at the moment.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

It hurts in here (more than usual).

No posts lately due to brain that feels like it wants to explode.....bbl

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

It's always interesting hearing from a person's colleagues.

Daily Kos: More Rove

Interesting reading I caught at Daily Kos.
This sentence captures it:
" In this case, journalists as a community have been played for patsies by the president's chief strategist, Karl Rove, and are enabling him to abuse the First Amendment, by their invoking it. [...] "

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Not an endorsement, eh? Right, and I'm not turning 48 this year either...

NTI: Global Security Newswire - Tuesday, July 5, 2005

More verbal sleight of hand from the mouth of a politician. Check out this snippet from the article (I added the bold/italicized lettering for emphasis):
" U.S. Representative Ralph Hall (R-Texas) said in the promotion video that Bio-Germ “certainly appears to be a breakthrough and the answer to the anthrax problem.” He said he did not believe he was endorsing the kit. Members of Congress are barred from endorsing products in their capacity as lawmakers. "

Congressman Hall? Here's your first clue... It's called a "Promotion Video" for a REASON!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

I'm not surprised, but my brain says "Is this too easy?"

The Huffington Post | The Blog

I've always been a skeptic, and there's something in the back of my head that says "Is this too easy?"

Like some of the others who've commented already on this "news", I feel that Rove surely knew this was coming, and has had plenty of time to pull the puppet strings, syncronize watches, and the like.

Aside from that, I know that one of the things I'll be watching is how this gets "treated" in the media. If current history is any indication I have my worries.

In a world where distinguished military men have had their honor challenged by "friends" of this administration, lying to the American people through dishonest TV ads like the Swiftboat ads (which the majority of the media just couldn't seem to see through), I have my doubts whether the majority of them have the work "ethics" (or in some cases their bosses blessings) to cover this story so that this time the American people won't be mis-led by the professional liars.

This will be a true test for all the media, and I'll be watching with intrest. It was disheartening to watch the way the public was allowed to be manipulated before the election by men like Rove pulling the strings and working the levers "behind the curtain", with no "counterbalance" provided by the news media, who should be seeking the truth and providing it to their readers, viewers, and listeners.

These days, I trust certain blogs much more than anything I'm told by the talking heads. In fact, I have little to no confidence in most of what I see on TV news now.
That's a sad state of affairs, and what's worse, I don't see it getting any better any time soon.
And if the current state of influence wielded by (the minority of) the "Religious Right" is allowed to continue, we'll be headed for our own version of the "Dark Ages".

One thing I do know though, is that blogs are part of the solution.
Especially in investigative journalism, I think that having an outlet for news without the pressures of station owners, news directors, etc., can help prevent the "filtering" that keeps many stories out of the news and other stories from being "skewed" in one direction or another.

Aside from that, turning the mainstream (news) media away from their current path of "entertainment", and back towards thoroughly and impartially investigating stories (of course there's room and need for both) is so important.

I believe that in one way or another, "What goes around comes around", and "You reap what you sow", although in many cases it's not apparent. In the case of Karl Rove I truly hope that what he has "sown" is finally come around to bite him in the ass.