30.11.10

Conspiracy theory. Pakistan. Etc.

http://video.nytimes.com/video/2010/05/26/world/asia/1247467920759/losing-the-media-war-in-pakistan.html

Everyone's a bloody international terrorism expert. Everyone's so set in their defensive mindset that they cannot for one minute accept that.

It does not make sense!

Why would the United States want to have such conspiracies against Pakistan?

It might be a planned matter against Pakistan!

If this was Al-Qaeda they would not have left the car keys in the car and the car would have blown up!

A lot of anti-Pakistan forces which want to see Pakistan in the dark...

When you hear or see these types to things you can fairly surely figure that someone is COMPLETELY NUTS. Fox News and Bill O'Reilly style commentary and polemics over actual news. You people deserve what you're gonna get - which is a secret ground war by US forces on your soil against the people you refuse to confront.

Which will just push the masses deeper into their mistrust of the US. Ugh. Israel. All Middle East political roads lead to the Occupied Territories.

Follow the money. Stop the cash going to the settlers in the West Bank and Gaza. Cut off that money. Regain the high road, and the moral superiority over our enemies, our detractors and the conspiracy theorists.

Divining rods. God help you, Iraq.

http://www.slate.com/id/2274797/

The idiots are still using them. Corrupt politicians refuse to believe that the things don't work.

In the armored truck, with half-inch glass windows and iron paneling, the ride into town was an endless series of checkpoints. Beside great towers of poured-concrete blast walls, heavily armed Iraqis regarded us sourly and used a sort of divining rod to see whether our car had explosives. If shooters approached the truck and opened fire, I was told, we would have an hour before bullets breached the armor.

And some Western journalists apparently have no clue about them.

France. Police brutality. Tasers. Immigration.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11880852

You'd be a fool to pretend that society would be safer or better off without police having tasers as an intermediate option between nothing and a very deadly gun.

Yes, people will die every year after being shot by tasers. If you're in a country illegally and chasing cops with a hammer and actually managing to injure four of them, then I won't be crying about you dying from a heart attack or whatever after getting tasered.

Yes, police brutality is a problem sometimes, and quite often in certain parts of the world. Corruption, low pay and social status, all that. But the vast majority of police in the Western World are just doing a job.

Let them do that job with as many tools as possible.

Nice try, Mr. Affleck. Congo. 4-5 million dead.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/29/AR2010112904242.html

4-5 million people dead from 1998-2003, and then some more millions after that. Starvation. Disease. Rape.

But no oil and no great economic interests and a huge mess and not much in the way of exporting their discontent by flying commercial airliners into the World Trade Center.

It sucks, but the U.S. can only do so much. The Europeans are content with their infinitesmal military budgets and their ineffective and hamstrung blue-helmets. We simply can't solve all the world's problems.

Africa is a mess. Africa might just be better off with a massive war with a clear winner. Or not, that was kinda cold and heartless. Africa has some of the most porous and ill-defined borders in the world. Life expectancy. Education. Income. Rich countries' trade barriers, esp. the EU Common Agricultural Policy and American dumping of cheap and counterproductive "Food Aid".

Work on some of that and maybe we'll eventually make headway in the darkest, nastiest conflicts on the planet. In the meantime we have two other wars and an eventual nuclear confrontation in the Middle East or East Asia.

29.11.10

Hope. Feel good about it.



Global warming is a problem, but I highly doubt it's as bad as the doomsday prophets make it out to be, or the people with an axe to grind about it.

Africa will be okay as long as the developed world gets real on not stopping them from trading on a reasonably fair playing field. Which won't happen anytime soon, but it'll get a bit better over time I'm fairly sure. Spread of information, getting a free college education over the internet, all that good stuff. Health education. Spreading knowledge, etc.

Overfishing this and destroying that natural resource - mankind will adapt and overcome. Scientific progress will help solve China and India's massive automobile problems that are soon to manifest themselves.

There might be a nuclear war in the Middle East but things will work out even if that happens. The two biggest problems left are Iran and North Korea. Both have signs of hope. Israel will eventually stop beating up on the Palestinians. The Arabs will eventually succumb to their own population's will to live free.

Korea. China. Hope.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/29/wikileaks-cables-china-reunified-korea

Don't hold your breath, though. The Guardian hasn't in my mind been all that crazy reliable as far as analysis and commentary goes - my guess is they're cherry-picking the intel background to support their pre-conceived thesis, not unlike a certain G.W. Bush and neocon friends not so long ago.

The reality is that China isn't all that interested in a South Korea on the Yalu River. But with some US guarantees or withdrawal this could become easier to swallow. Get on it, Mrs. Clinton. Way for her to show some leadership and job competency in the last year or so, btw.

So, hope. Yeah, but not much. Time time time.

Homebrewed extremists. Jihad in suburbia.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/us/29suspect.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/us/29portland.html

In response to the thwarted plot, Mayor Sam Adams has floated the idea of cooperating more fully with federal law enforcement agencies. In 2005, the Portland City Council passed an ordinance that put conditions on the city’s continued participation in the F.B.I.Joint Terrorism Task Force out of concern for the civil liberties of residents.

Fun how public opinion only responds to events which are viewed as 'local' or affect people like yourself. Naive idiots. Bleeding hearts. Extreme left-wing Swedish-style liberals.

Si vis pacem, para bellum.

Extremism and homegrown terrorists are kinda like divorce and walking in on your significant other in flagrante delicto - the people who suffer the consequences of any of these rarely (though it happens, everyone has suspicions sometimes) see it coming.

“When you think of someone doing what he did, you think of some crazy kind of guy,” said Mohamed Kassim, 21, a fellow Oregon State student who knew Mr. Mohamud from around campus. “He wasn’t like that. He was just like everybody else.”
Naivety is everywhere. Inoculate yourself and your loved ones.

“If this kid’s being radicalized, it’s not from the locals,” said Jesse Day, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Portland and Masjed As-Saber, where Mr. Mohamud sometimes worshiped.
Sure, entirely possible. Or just possible that you don't know who it was. Or maybe it was ALL internet-based. Either case, you don't know, so quit trying to make it seem like you do know. You're just trying desperately to protect your mosque and its congregation. A little less hyper-defensiveness and a little more openness and trying to liberalize and reform your religion and its adherents and making sure your people don't end up like this or are influenced by people who feel it's okay to kill someone due to their religion or Sunni/Shiite loyalty.
 Mr. Khan and Mr. Day said several people who worship at the mosque said that F.B.I. agents had knocked on their doors late at night on the day of Mr. Mohamud’s arrest, but that none had agreed to speak to the agents.
Congratulations. That really helps build trust in your community when your side of the divide refuses to speak to the FBI about terrorists and extremists in our midst. Thanks. A lot.

“Whatever this event is, it has nothing to do with the mosque,” Mr. Khan said.

Bullcrap. It has everything to do with the mosque. You had a chance to preach an invasive form of anti-radicalism and to try to make sure that your flock did not become fanatics. Maybe you tried. Either case you failed. This guy worshipped there and decided he wanted to kill a bunch of civilians based on the religion that both you and him follow. Sure he's a nutcase and maybe you're not.

A. Prove that.
B. Stop this stuff from happening again and fix your religion.
C. Stop sticking your head in the sand and pretending that the problem will go away. Do your part to protect us all.

That doesn't mean that setting mosques on fire is the way to go - it just means you got your work cut out for you in winning the community back over. Hop to it.
 
 

Scientists murdered in Iran.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11860928

If the USA got caught doing this kind of stuff the backlash would be immense and swift and massively complicate US efforts in the region.

If Israel got fingered with actual evidence the reaction would be: "Oh, you guys again, eh?"

There's tons to gain for Israel in doing this kind of stuff, and little to lose except a few low-level operatives.

There's some to gain for the US and TONS to lose.

There's plenty to gain and LOTS to lose for some other actors like Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf States or maybe even Turkey or Russia.

Either case it IS murder of civilians - but where you draw the line between a civilian working on a very likely nuclear weapon project and a civilian who's just an average Ahmed trying to make a living - that's kinda iffy. Killing one sort-of innocent person if doing so can delay the nuclearization of Middle Eastern conflicts by a few years? Sure, sounds like a good deal to me. Let's not be naive here and let's realize that there's very little the West and allies can do to realistically stop Iran from getting the bomb. Israel is willing to strike but doesn't have good targets.

Iran will have nuclear weapons - might as well start planning for it. Might as well get Israel into the NPT well before that. And start talking to Russia and Turkey about how to handle it. And get the Chinese in on this. Cutting off the North Korean supply chain might be a little late, but better that than never.

Rio. Favelas. Drugs. Gangs. Time's up? I don't think so.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/americasview/2010/11/brazils_gangs

Good job to the police and authorities. Bad job to The Economist for thinking that this means "Time's up" for the bad guys. They just melted away and disappeared and will be back or move to another favela - there's just way too much money easily had by doing what they do.

If this was really going to be a success you'd have to make jobs for the people in the slum, allow them to get their belongings and move them into temporary housing, raze the whole slum and rebuild it according to some sort of plan with streets and avenues and community amenities and modern housing and whatnot. But the problem is way too huge to do that on the scale at which it's needed. So the pendulum swings again.

Good start though. Good on the people who made this push happen. Hopefully that'll lead to the next push being a little easier and the next one after that a little easier and maybe over time they can chip away at the mentality and the drug use and the gangs and the social distortion (...far behind) that pervade Brazilian social and political and economic realities.

At least there's hope.

28.11.10

Mosque attacks. Time for Islam to clean its house.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11859599

I hope the people who committed this arson will eventually be caught. I hope the community will be able to heal itself. We don't need any discrimination in this country on the basis of religion or sex or skin colour or ethnic background.

We do need the world's moslems to stop pretending that your religion is special compared to other religions - with the exception that you're just fine believing everyone else is wrong, as long as you accept the same kind of treatment that all the other religions get.

1. Every religion gets made fun of and has caricatures drawn of its prophets and leaders. Yours is no different. Deal with it.
2. Every man, woman and child is free to worship whatever deity they choose - and to STOP worshipping if they so choose. A person leaving Islam is no different than a person leaving another religion.
3. We are all equal before the law. Doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman or black or white or whatever. You need to start treating women somewhat more equally than you have. That goes for the crazy Christian cults as well.
4. So-called "honour killings" should not be tolerated in any society. Live and let live. Let the kid marry who they want.
5. Do not preach hate. Do not teach hate. If you suspect that someone might be interested in committing violence against civilians then you have a duty to report or act on that. If you don't, then don't be surprised if your place of worship becomes a target of society's backlash. Doesn't mean that backlash should be violent, just means that now the focus and mean-ness will be on you.
6. You have the right to home-school your children. You have the right to set up religious schools. As long as all that conforms to the legal requirements of the country or state you live in. Again, let's not preach or teach hate, and give our kids the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in a diverse and increasingly tolerant world.

NY Times. Freedom of Speech. Wikileaks.

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/reaction-to-leaked-u-s-diplomatic-cables/

Dear Mr. Mackey,

Your publication's release of Secret and Confidential and Noforn documents does the world no favour and is decidedly not in the public interest. You are hampering the efforts of military and civil servants in their efforts to bring peace and stability to Korea, the Middle East and elsewhere - you hamper our ability to develop a mutually trusting relationship with foreign entities and you do it all in the name of "Freedom of the Press". The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, already longer due to the efforts of people like Michael Hastings, will now go on for longer still - or have worse outcomes, or cost more US and civilian and local military lives.

Simply put, you serve the interests of the enemies of the U.S. The world would be a better place without people like the ones who release and publicize these documents. That does not excuse the security failings that lead to their release - just as you are not magically absolved of responsibility for the consequences of these publications - not unlike how Gen. McChrystal is responsible for the things he and his subordinates say, and how Mr. Hastings is responsible for making that public knowledge so we can have some decidedly unnecessary military leadership turmoil.

You are not excused on the basis of "Well, this stuff would be available anyway even if we didn't put it on our website..."

You are not excused on the basis of "Everyone's doing it..."

You are not excused on the basis of "We tried to redact some names..."

You, Sir, are a naive idiot if you think me and my buddies currently in Iraq and Afghanistan won't have to bear the burden of you and your Wikileaks cohorts' double-talking agenda to make our jobs and our lives harder and more dangerous.

Thanks for nothing, ***hole. Thanks for prolonging one already unnecessary war and another mostly legit one. Congratulations on your big fat paycheck and your air-conditioned office. I'd rather be working an honest job, where the people shooting at you at least don't usually pretend to be your friend.

Congratulations on finding a way to turn the very freedoms me and my friends provide you ...against us.

If you should happen into a tough spot sometime, and I should happen to have a chance to rescue you or help you out, don't be surprised if I happen to have a weapon malfunction or need to get through on unreliable comms to my immediate superior to make sure I have official clearance to go help you out. That might take a little time, or it might be too difficult or dangerous to come help you out. Risk assessment is a bit of a judgement call, you know how it is - might take a while.

I'm willing to kill and/or die to protect our freedoms, including your Freedom of Speech, and I strongly support the efforts of a muck-raking Free Press along the lines of Bob Woodward - and your colleague Mr. Ernesto Londono writing about bogus bomb detection devices.

I do not ask, want or need your thanks for protecting these freedoms, as long as you pay taxes you pay my salary and I'm grateful for that. I just want you to not make my job and life harder and more dangerous.

Which you just did. The fact that Wikileaks and their friends are doing the same thing does not diminish your responsibility. I'd like my friends to stop dying, please. You're not helping make that happen. In fact, you're making things worse.

Very Respectfully,

P. Larsson
former USN Diver Petty Officer 1st Class

Wikileaks. Bullet-dodging.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/world/29cables.html?hp

Looks like the world dodged a bullet here today. US gov't ability to do its work is downgraded. Ability to deal with foreign states and individuals downgraded. Efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan to accomplish US objectives and GET THE HELL OUT have been hurt.

But I don't see anything major blowing up. A lot of pissed off people, but no major airstrikes or wars breaking out. Bad stuff - yes. Horrific disaster - not so much. Individual ruins out of well laid plans - yes.

Mr. Morin raised the delicate topic of whether Israel could strike Iran without American support.
Mr. Gates responded “that he didn’t know if they would be successful, but that Israel could carry out the operation.”
Then he added a stark assessment: any strike “would only delay Iranian plans by one to three years, while unifying the Iranian people to be forever embittered against the attacker.”

Smart man, that Gates guy. There are no good options here. If you think this is a partisan issue you can blame Obama or Bush for, think again. This is long term and religious and Arab and Persian and cultural and the Middle East Dark Ages and whatnot.

Internet. Hate. Money.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/business/28borker.html

Hmmm. Citibank refusing to stop fraud. Police not doing a whole lot when innocent (but not terribly smart) consumers are threatened verbally and in writing.

Hatred for people like Vitaly Borker.

Mexico. Meth. Dark days ahead.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/23/AR2010112303703.html?tid=iGoogle

Good luck winning a drug war when there's massive amounts of money to be had in not winning it. Porous borders. Porous international shipping regulations. Guns and money going south. Drugs and gangs moving north. NRA obstructing assault-weapons bans or ATF doing their job or keeping track of sources of illegal guns. US Congress obstructing any sort of immigration reform tried by G.W. Bush (one of few things I really liked about him).

Or maybe the Meth explosion in Mexico will finally kill off people's desire to have anything to do with drugs. Nasty bad stuff for a few years and then society finally reacts and stops the precursor chemicals and cold medicine is no longer freely available.

1. Shut down the border.
2. Stop the flow of guns that's killing Mexican LEOs.
3. Tax marijuana since you can't seem to fight it.

Next batch of Wikileaks. Death and destruction.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11856122

Full disclosure: I do not currently work for the US gov't. But I have in the past and hope to again in the future. Why? Because a stable security situation in the vast majority of the world is good for international trade and commerce, in fact it's the very bedrock on which progress and understanding and political liberalization rest. And me working for the US military or gov't seems a very good way to contribute to that - while most of the rest of the world stands on the sidelines, spends their money on other things (freeloading on US security spending, minus Iraq imho) and has a generally good time being upset and self-satisfied with their anger at US efforts TO ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING. Yeah, just keep paying ransoms and being professionally aghast at this or that without actually committing troops anywhere. Or when you do - nice job hamstringing your UN troops so they can't actually do anything and end up sitting in their compounds while people are being systematically raped and ethnically cleansed a few miles down the road.

That said I believe in a Free Press. Big important concept, checks and balances and Freedom of Speech and all that. Fundamentally, the issue of leaks rests with stopping the leakage, not punishing those who publish gov't papers that come into their hands. BUT. Big but here. Publishing said papers doesn't absolve you of responsibility for the consequences thereof just because they're gov't papers and the controls on them weren't enough to stop them from coming out.

Secret and classified information is that way because it HAS to be that way. Communications between different parts of the gov't and the military and foreign embassies HAS to be classified or the whole thing breaks apart and now here you go with that whole international stability and economic progress through commerce and the GRADUAL spreading of liberal ideas like - hey, let's get some elementary education for women and let's not run around and kill each other and die from diseases and starvation and bad governance QUITE SO MUCH in that little big hell-hole called Africa.

Mr Assange has said the US authorities are afraid of being held to account.
Sure, that makes sense. It also makes sense that the vast majority of US civil and military servants are NOT evil ***holes bent on taking over the world and torturing people. Most of us just want to do good and protect people. To do that we have to communicate. Privately and securely, so we can advance the cause of individual freedoms and Self-Determination and all that good stuff in the world.

Ok, Iraq war. Sure, that was wrong. But that was Bush's and the neocons' deal and the extreme right-wing of the GOP. I had nothing to do with starting that war. I didn't like it. It turned out better than I thought it would but it is what it is and now we have to make the best of it. I'll be working on the repercussions of those decisions long past Mr. G. W. gets his first royalty check for his memoirs. Not my fault - I'm just trying to deal with the situation as is. Plus now we have a nascent democracy in Iraq - can't be a bad thing. At least people are allowed to leave the country now. Tiny little issue of the fact that the Iraqis themselves seem hellbent on driving their country into the ground, but Hell - that's on them.

So Wikileaks is about to throw a big wrench in this whole thing. 250 000 new classified documents. Good luck checking every single one of those for something that could conceivably have a VERY BAD IMPACT on things like education for women, operations against terrorists, liberalization in oppressive regimes etc. With luck there won't be any serious immediate killings of informants and helpful nice people who just want to do good for their societies. But that might happen.

And for sure the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will now last longer. Emboldened insurgents and Taleban. Hampered allied forces. Less allies and more isolated US forces.

1. Immediate withdrawal. Wikileaks and Mr. Assange cheer. The badly elected governments fall. Total chaos and a return to some very evil ways of doing business. Tribal councils and tribal law and sharia and there go your liberal openings.
2. We stay on and it continues to go sort of good, but made harder by the fact that now we have to take into account that anything we write that should be classified can one day very well end up on a website.

No good. Allies leave the operations because they can't trust communicating with us since they know we're a target for Wikileaks - in fact THE ONLY BIG TARGET, apparently. I would have zero problems with Wikileaks if they went after the Taliban and Pakistan and Russia as much as they go after the US. But they don't. They have an agenda and they're prosecuting that agenda full tilt.

...a response to correspondence from Mr Assange, who had written to the US ambassador to Britain, Louis Susman.
Mr Assange had asked which individuals would be put at risk by the leak, the state department said.
A senior American official told the BBC that Mr Assange was offering to negotiate over limited redactions.
In response, Mr Koh demanded that Wikileaks return official documents to the US government.
"We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained US government classified materials," Mr Koh stated in the letter.

Basically they want the names of anyone that could possibly get hurt by these documents. They then plug the names into a search function in their database and redact all mention of them, publish and proclaim themselves the good guys.

Bull****. You do not negotiate with terrorists or hostage-takers because it encourages more such operations. And likewise you do not negotiate with people who have illegally obtained documents which should stay classified FOR THE GOOD OF US ALL - because if we do, then we make it easier for them to do so again in the future. To put it simply - don't ask for help in making yourself look better from the very people you are hurting and making look bad.

When you publish, the onus of all the death and destruction you unleash over the next few years IS ON YOU. You are now the bad guy for making conflicts last longer and making conflicts harder to solve. Sure, maybe G.W. Bush needed to be taken down a notch.

Hey - NEWSFLASH - he ain't in power no more, bonehead.

Ok, maybe the neocons needed it too. But they're not looking all that great either atm. And punishing them should take a secondary place compared to helping us END THE WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN. You ain't helping. In fact, you're hurting.

F*** you, Mr. Assange. F*** you and your kind.

27.11.10

With the cops on this one. Mostly. Sorry.

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Exclusive+Citizen+obtains+video+Stacy+Bonds+jailhouse+abuse/3883952/story.html

Racism? Entirely possible.
Public drunkeness? Entirely possible.
Police excessive force? Possible - but I didn't see it in the video.

You get arrested for public intoxication or whatever. You don't agree with it. You are now going to get strip searched.

But you don't like that either. Problem is, some of the people who don't like that have weapons and drugs and whatnot concealed in their socks or underwear or wherever. And you wouldn't like us to not search THOSE people for that kind of stuff, since they're gonna end up in the sam damn holding cell as you are - oh so innocently - in.

You may very well be completely innocent. I believe you. But we won't find that out until you've gone before a judge or jury or whatever. Due process, all that.

So you have to be strip searched. Now you're resisting and you spit in the face of an officer and you're struggling against multiple people because YOU'RE PRETTY DRUNK. Or very very very stupid. Or you - again, stupid - don't realize that there's three or four of them and only one of you.

You do something to the female officer to make her flinch real hard - looks like a kick or a slap or a spit or something. The female officer knees you pretty good to get you subdued so she can do her job. Looked to me like there was a reason why she did it, just can't tell exactly why.

Then you really manage to hurt one of the officers. Now you're just gonna get it. Sorry. They're not gonna be gentle - and plenty worse than they were before. You manage to mule kick one of them. Do you really expect a bunch of underpaid civil servants who are tired and just want to go home to take that lightly? You're doing everything in your power to **** with these people.

But as soon as YOU are the victim of a crime you'll be screaming bloody murder why don't the cops do more to help me!

Sure you might be the victim here. But sure doesn't look like that from watching the video. Should you have gotten a coverall or something after you lost control of your bladder/bowels - conceivably due to being too drunk? Sure. Is it the officers' responsibility to be able to tell that you need a new set of clothes?

Well hell yes it is. If you rip the top off of a female prisoner I think you should reasonably provide that female with a new t-shirt or coverall. Given that the person may be too uncooperative or drunk to make use of it or to even accept it. Given that you may have just really badly wounded one of the officers. Screw it - maybe you should just sit there for a while and calm down until the officers can reasonably expect you not to mule kick them again. Why should I try to help you and try to get you a new set of clothes when you just managed to kick the crap out of one of my friends and colleagues?

Resisting arrest? Almost definitely - unless you're gonna go with the "they used excessive force first after an unlawful arrest".

Racism and sexism? Sure, entirely possible. But I wouldn't convict these officers based only on that video. Why? Because I have a reasonable doubt that you precipitated this whole sequence of events by extremely forcefully resisting people doing their jobs and performing a search that's entirely legal and in fact necessary to protect other people arrested.

If you hadn't managed to kick the crap out of that one female officer, then maybe this entire thing could've have been avoided. Yes, three officers should be able to handle one little girl - but even little girls can kick like hell - and accidents happen where an inmate is in position for just a fleeting moment to really do some damage like you apparently did.

After going back over the video I'm thinking the initial knee-strikes were due to the girl not cooperating, not any specific hit or spit. I could be wrong.

Then you can't really tell exactly what it was that injured the female officer. Funny thing is I can't tell if the tape has been intentionally cut to obscure the stuff that the young girl did to hurt or resist her captors - or if that's just the bad quality of the tape. Again, inconclusive.

Can't honestly tell whether I think the video demonstrates excessive force. But I sure can tell that the girl is resisting. Whether that's justified or not, I don't know. Could conceivably be justified depending on the arrest itself and what happened on the way to the scene in the video.

Saudi Arabia. Women's rights. Middle East. Islam. Revolution coming.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/11/27/world/main7094816.shtml

"Be jealous, beat her hands, protect her and achieve superiority over her," reads page 212 of the Prophet Sayings textbook for 11th grade.

How long do you seriously think that this will last - with women in Iran asserting themselves - with women in Iraq and Afghanistan becoming more and more liberated - with women in Egypt looking at the West and wondering "What. The. ****."

Air security. Israeli model. Good? Bad?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/26/AR2010112603025.html
"Taking the bottle of water from the 87-year-old woman at JFK, you will never find an explosive material that is coming from bin Laden," 
"I know personally of people who came to Israel for a conference and were asked if they had met an Arab. After that, they were stripped and their laptop was confiscated," said Ariel Merari, a terrorism expert at Tel Aviv University
Not cool. Profiling works - but do you really want everyone who could conceivably be an Arab or Muslim to face extra searches and pat-downs while all the white people with European-heritage-sounding names go through with no problems? 
"The security here is far more professional," said Sandy Kornhauser, who arrived with her daughter at Ben Gurion from Philadelphia on Wednesday to attend a wedding.
Really? I'm guessing you're white and look like just another regular Philadelphia person. I'm guessing you're okay with racial profiling. (I am too, to some degree, but these guys take it a bit far. And they're VERY good at it.) 
 ...Donna Shalala, a 69-year-old American of Lebanese descent who was President Bill Clinton's secretary of health and human services and is now president of the University of Miami, was detained and questioned for 21/2 hours at Ben Gurion in July. The Israeli news media said she was subject to a humiliating security debriefing because of her Arab last name.
...Heather Bradshaw, an Indiana University professor, was subjected to a body search and forced to turn over her bra to authorities as she tried to board an El Al flight from Britain's London Luton Airport to Tel Aviv to attend an academic conference. All her belongings except her passport and credit cards were taken from her before she was allowed to board. She got them back three days later 
 "They began with my hair, even though it is only two centimeters long. They began feeling through it, then examining behind my ears, the neck, the shoulders. They began feeling me under my bra, and then continued on to my tummy. I felt as though I was under a sexual assault," Hunaida Ghanem, an Israeli Arab resident of Jerusalem who has a PhD from Hebrew University in sociology and a postdoctoral degree from Harvard, said as she recalled an incident at the airport in June 2009.
"I have been through searches in the U.S. But what they did here was very different. It was very humiliating," she added.
Since then, Ghanem has declined six invitations to attend conferences abroad, saying she finds it emotionally difficult to go to the airport.
Israeli civil rights organizations have repeatedly appealed to Israel's High Court of Justice to end the alleged discrimination against Israel's Arab citizens. 
"If you are a Jew, you can celebrate your journey. You can go to the duty-free," said Amnon Be'eri, co-executive director of the Abraham Fund, an organization that works to advance coexistence between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs. "If you are an Arab, you are discriminated against, separated, humiliated."

Israeli security services are VERY good at the things they do. They also have no problems discriminating against Arabs and non-white/non-Jewish/non-mainstream looking people. I have a bit of a problem with that. I was born and raised in Sweden and my skin is light brown (you'd call me White - I'd call me "Scandinavian" thankyouverymuch) and my family is relatively middle-class. College educations galore, all that. Ok, we were upper middle class sometimes while I grew up. I still have student loans. ENLISTED in the Navy for ten plus years.

But I really don't think we want our country to only be about doing what's good for the white majority. I think if we want to search and figure out if the 87-year-old Arab woman in bulky clothing is carrying something for her grandson's friend who managed to get her onto the plane - then we also have to be equally careful with the little old lady from Pasadena who's an 87-year-old grandmother and smuggling cocaine that she doesn't know about. We simply CANNOT give anyone a free pass. Or really nasty people will figure out that "Hey - they never check the old ladies. Sedate grandma, put her in a wheelchair and stick some PETN between her legs."

But I guess most nice people who are all up in arms about new security procedures aren't capable of thinking of such awful scenarios. I can. I guess that makes me a bad person.

I'm also guessing that Israeli airport security has a lot less volume than American airports - and the people at these airports are maybe less likely to be something nasty or evil that's not Muslim terror. Our threat picture is wider, is different. And we still believe in an American Dream, while you're running some sort of semi-apartheid show where you keep the Israeli Arabs in the not-so-good schools and refuse to let some of them back to the land they fled from in 1947 or 1967 - and where you keep the rest of the undesirables in ghettoes like Gaza or pretend to be fine with letting them running their own affairs in the West Bank.

So I'm fairly fine with the Israelis running their own racial profiling show. Works for them, except for the part where they piss off 20-25% of their population. I don't think it's something we should be interested in, no matter how much it would benefit the people who look like Dick Cheney etc.


26.11.10

Firearms education. Licensing. Tracking of who owns what. Idiots.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/11/26/vermont.friend.shooting/index.html

Kids killing kids. People getting drunk and having access to firearms. Friends killing friends.

@ Secret Service. Get some black/dark-coloured ear pieces.


Please send check now. K thanks.

Wikileaks war effort. Iraq. Afghanistan.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11847824

Ok, so you're a liberal, educated, snarky European and oh-so-superior to those idiotic war-mongering cowboys across "the Pond". Fine.

You disagree with how the U.S. has waged war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Fine.

You yourself have never carried a gun trying to defend democracy or innocent people - or to make the world a better place for people you have never met - or tried to improve the lot of millions of girls and boys deprived of opportunities and education. Fine.

And you work actively to hurt U.S. efforts to ensure a stable situation and a reasonably speedy withdrawal without chaotic repercussions from Iraq and Afghanistan. Not fine. Go **** yourself, Mr. Assange. Rot in a dungeon in Pakistan or someplace else in the Middle East. With a little luck you'll die in a terror attack and then there'll be a little poetic justice in this world.

Releasing a crapton of military and diplomatic reports will only prolong the current U.S. involvement in the places you want us out of. If we just pull out willy-nilly the whole thing will turn to crap.

You do not disinterestedly serve the needs of a public that has a right to know. You're just doing this out of spite - trying to get a jab in any way you can. You just want to hurt the US and its armed forces any which way you possibly can try to do so.

Up yours. You're an enemy of progress and an enemy of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. You deserve to be rendered there for trial and judgement. The world would be a better place without you, Mr. Assange. Wikileaks without a reasonably neutral leadership is just a danger to the world, just like Ariel Sharon and unlimited US support for Israel.

Get out of my foreign policy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/26/world/middleeast/26diplo.html

More money for Israeli settlements is not the solution to U.S. problems in the Middle East.

Pirate Bay. Content. File sharing. Music. Movies.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/211746/pirate_bay_guilty_verdict_upheld.html

Good luck trying to catch every new iteration of sharing information and content. Good luck with your legal assaults on people who just want to listen to music or watch movies conveniently. Good luck charging $20 for a seat in a movie theatre. Good luck with your out-dated Cable TV content delivery model.

Adapt or die. Spending millions of dollars lobbying Congress to take action against foreign pirates and increasing the length of time you can continue to suck money out of old content will only get you so far. Eventually reasonable people will gag at the scams you run. Eventually you'll have to realize that trying to milk money out of old stuff you made or developed 50 years ago just isn't the way to go.

Go go copyleft. Go go internet independent movie delivery systems. Goodbye Blockbuster. Hello Netflix. Hello the next big thing. Everyone will be a movie maker. Thank God for cell phone video cameras. Hello Vimeo.

The Pirate Bay was just a start. You can't stop these developments, you can only slow them down and adapt your business approach.

There is hope and justice in this world.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/eu_russia_katyn

Have a little feel good about something of the day.

Somebody's gonna get hurt. Military. USMC. Gays.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101126/ap_on_re_us/us_gays_marine_corps

Get ready for it. It's coming. There'll be someone who "comes out" a little too brashly, a little too quickly and a little to happy-go-lucky without realizing the feelings of the unit he's in. That guy will get very badly beaten or killed.

If you don't want that too happen I suggest you wait for the legislature to catch up with public opinion and anti-discrimination legal stuff. Might take a year. Might take some more Democrats in the US Congress.

And for crying out loud, make it a civil rights issue - don't make it a "Hey we want everyone to think like us" issue. Don't push too hard - and push with people who are conservatively dressed, with conservative values, with combat or at least military experience.

Why?

To make the nasty-tasting medicine that's good for society go down a little easier. Same reason why they make raspberry-flavoured kid's medicines. Same reasons why they put Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse on Band-Aids.

You going on a talk show and shooting your mouth off about it when there's pictures of you with your pierced nipples dancing in the street just isn't gonna go over well in the rural Midwest and South - WHICH IS WHERE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE IS.

25.11.10

Bias.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11842358

Plenty of evil on both sides, don't get me wrong. But why do we need to have this kind of crap continue to make it easy for our enemies to recruit people and prolong the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

I'd personally rather not defend this type of stuff.

Iraq. Culture.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/22/AR2010112206760.html?nav=emailpage
"I wish the Americans had been with them," his mother, Nauja Razeq al-Hamaz, 54, said, speaking barely above a whimper. "They wouldn't have been so brutal and inhumane."
Asked about the detentions in Adamiyah, Busho Ibrahim, the deputy defense minister, grew exasperated.
"You are talking about the crimes of these monsters?" he said. "They killed policemen and burned them, and you're talking about human rights? If it were up to me, I would execute all of them in the same place as their crimes. An eye for an eye." 
Iraqi judges and lawyers said police officials are often reluctant to formally transfer inmates to the main corrections system because the conviction rate is low, ranging from 10 to 20 percent. Instead, punishment is meted out mainly at police stations, according to defense lawyers and former inmates.
"You get electric shocks, beatings, hangings from the legs," Iman Naman Saleh, a Baghdad defense lawyer, said. "Electric shocks are their favorite because they don't leave scars."
The culture is so messed up that police torture and corruption is ingrained in the very fabric of society. You pay 1 dollar to get past a checkpoint. That dollar will then encourage the person who got it to continue asking for bribes. The effect snowballs until it's commonplace for anyone in a position of power to feel entitled to money and kickbacks and bribes and deference.

"My father is Li Gang!" syndrome.

You demonize the people who happen to have the same religion as the people who probably killed a bunch of cops. You advocate shooting on sight Sunni's just because it was probably some other Sunni's who exploded a car bomb earlier.

How the heck do you determine who did it? Or do you just shoot everyone? Now you're advocating torturing and murdering innocent people just to react - just to let loose and blow off some steam.

America shouldn't have started that war. Assassinating Saddam and a few others would have done just fine - and disbanding the Iraqi Army wasn't all that genius either. But it's done now and America has to (had to?) try to build something from the ruins. Violence seems to be down a bit from a few years ago. Now you're just dealing with all the horrible politics and low-level violence that many other countries deal with. Except there's only so much an outside military force can do if your entire country's culture is corrupt and organized along tribal, ethnic or religious lines. You're simply ****ed. And there's no need for American troops to die for the sake of un-****ing your culture.

Sure, there's signs of hope. Sure, it'll get better in time. You've got a long hard road, but we all do. And it's time you learned to walk. Take responsibility for your country. Organize political grass-roots movements to stop violence and public officials who misuse their powers. Stop the police from using electric shocks. Stop the corruption.

America can't do it all for you.

Sarah Palin. Good things.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/11/barbara-bush-i-hope-palin-stay.html

I'm not a Sarah Palin fan. I don't want her in the White House and I think it was a mistake by Mr. McCain to pick her as a running mate.

But she did have some good things to say. Anyone with the last name "Kennedy" or "Bush" really is treated a bit differently in American politics. Name recognition, family ties and power and money and influence and all that.

That said, Mrs. Palin is still not qualified to lead the country. She is qualified to host an outdoorsy TV show that I'd rather not watch.

Condoleeza Rice. Colin Powell might be a bit old. Whatsisname the long-running US Trade Representative guy.

Truth in politics. Insensitivity. Economics.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11837538
"We're going to have a system where the middle classes are discouraged from breeding because it's jolly expensive.
"But for those on benefits, there is every incentive. Well, that's not very sensible."
Guy making the comments now has to apologize and back off and rah rah this and that.

Hmmmm. How's this work out economics-wise?

You pay money to someone and you encourage that person's behaviour. I pay money to a beggar and he'll be back on the same street corner the next morning, because obviously that place and that behaviour is a money-maker for them.

Ok, emergency support this and that. It's nice to be nice to people. I pay poor people and in return I get to feel better about myself. Yay. People lose their jobs and don't have any savings. You pay them for awhile because it's better for society that way while they get a new job. Hopefully. Or people just take advantage of the system.

You pay people who have kids. Great. You just encouraged that behaviour. You pay people extra money in the military if they have kids - because obviously the work they do for the nation is more than that done by a person without kids. Or maybe not obviously, but the nation needs people, and if you need more kids then pay more money to the families that have kids, at least.

But if you set up your welfare state to pay money to poor people with kids, then HELLS YES you're encouraging poor people to have more kids. The kids who grow up in that environment aren't exactly offered the greatest possible start in life. Public school, at least. Opportunities to fight your way out of the situation if you really really want it.

In short, the guy said exactly the right thing. He's now being jumped all over by the bleeding hearts and the spend spend spend tax tax tax social equality people. Sure we need taxes. Sure we need social support programs. To some limit. Debating this limit is a good thing, and healthy for society.

Trying to stop people from speaking their mind about it is wrong.

24.11.10

Ouch.



ROUGH TRANSLATION:
F***ing hell!
What's wrong?
Aren't you going now?
I'm not going. To. LONDON.
I'm not wearing this. I'm not wearing that one. This one is (something).
Don't you love me?
No?
What did I do?
You DON'T BUY ME CLOTHES!
Aren't you going to London to ...buy clothes?
BUT WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR TO GO THERE??
etc etc...
Can't you wear jeans?
I'm TOO FAT FOR JEANS!
But you sound like some luxury (something).
SHUT. UP! ...please

23.11.10

Religion kills 05. André-Joseph Léonard.




In another incident Leonard said that retired priests suspected of paedophilia should be spared canonic action, which he termed "a sort of vengeance." Priests who abused children in their care, Leonard went on television to say, must be made aware of what they did, "but if they're no longer working, if they have no responsibilities, I'm not sure that exercising a sort of vengeance that will have no concrete result is humane."

AIDS is also apparently an "intrinsic justice" for the sins of homosexuals and other deviants (rough paraphrase). I have no problems with people dying of AIDS if they don't protect or educate themselves. Except it's a huge drag on the economy no matter where. And people don't always get it from unprotected consensual sex. Ouch. Now this guy is just looking awful, along with the Pope on that same issue.

I'm not anti-religion - but I'm guessing that's what people will see me as for pulling this stuff to the front of my blog. "Religion kills" and all that. It just bothers me that these old ***holes get away with trying to force their idea of society onto other people, and then try to stop legitimate medical and social issues from being solved with modern technology.

Believe in God all you want. Pray all you want. Go to church, have fun, I'll see you when you get out and we can go have a coffee or tea or hang out. Don't bother me and I won't bother you. Live and let live.

I took the above screenshot because I thought the vandalism of the Wikipedia article was interesting. I didn't do the vandalism and didn't revert it since I'm not neutral and I'm not very experienced with Wikipedia. But I tried to alert others to it. And I can see why someone would call him "Antichrist" - I'm fairly sure Jesus the historical person wouldn't have liked this guy.

Would the man who washed a prostitute's feet be in favour of not prosecuting pedophiles? Or would he have ranted and raged against homosexuals?

I dunno. Still, a better guy than Ahmedinajad or the Ayatollahs or that nutcase Saudi imam who wanted men to suck on the nipples of random women in order to make them "symbolically related" or somesuch crap so they could conduct business in a way that gets around the edict against women having anything to do with men who are not their blood relatives.

*shrug*

My big question here - and this goes for a lot of victim-perpetrator media arguments, is ...what about the people who were violated - what's humane for them? This guy seems to care about the priests who abused children, but not very much about what's best for those kids or whether or not crime should be punished.

Same thing goes with communities in America which get all up in arms when a cop uses excessive force. Good. They should. Excessive force is excessive, and by definition wrong. But they often seem to care not a bit about the actual crime or behaviour that lead to the police confrontation. Have a little perspective in both cases, imho.

Sarah Palin. Michelle Obama. Racist?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/geoffrey-dunn/sarah-palin-michelle-obama-book-america-by-heart_b_785784.html

Sorry, I don't see where Sarah Palin (no fan of her, thank you) calls Michelle Obama racist. She takes offense to a questionable remark by the First Lady. Reasonable people might do so.

Michelle's remarks were something like "I had never before been proud of my country." Ok, what's the big deal? Sure, I kinda agree with Mrs. Palin that those words seem a bit suspect and seems like until her husband started winning, that the country really wasn't all that great. And I can see anyone's reasonable disagreement with the not-very-nice pastor the Obamas listened to for many years. That's their business.

But no, not a big enough deal to make me not have a fair amount of respect for Michelle Obama. Sorry, still don't have much good to say about Sarah Palin. Except she seems a person that genuinely wants to do good for this country. I won't be voting for her - unless the alternative is REALLY BAD.

I'd rather have Condi Rice - despite her defenses of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld stupidities. She's at least a highly accomplished and VERY intelligent and world-wise woman. Can't say that about Palin. I'd be a bit worried about her being too close to the Israeli settlers as I see the solution to that conflict being in denying the Israelis our taxpayers' money until they get their civilians out of occupied territories, but I'd still see her as a very good President and US and world leader.

As well, I know very little about the crap that the Obamas had to deal with while climbing the political ladder. Or social ladder. I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt on how or why they were or weren't terribly proud of their country at all times. She might reasonably re-think her comments if you gave her a few hours to really explain how it came to be that she wasn't all that proud or didn't feel like she was really included in the American Dream and the American successes. I'm ok with that.

China. North Korea. Solutions? Endgame?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11823474

China needs to be eventually persuaded to stop supporting their insane neighbour who cares not a whit about his people's suffering.

I'm hoping that could be eventually bundled with an agreement to withdraw U.S. forces from the peninsula. But I'm guessing the neocons and the China-haters and Japan might have issues with that. The Chinese arch-nationalist factions would be screaming victory and get all gung-ho about this crap.

But really, that's a lot of suffering inside North Korea. And a lot of nuclear weapons that don't need to be there.

Solution:
US - China engagement.
Chinese contributions to anti-piracy and multi-national military stuff in ANY PLACES YOU CAN GET THEM TO COME OUT. The world needs China to be a force for good in the world. Eventually greater global engagement will mean they lose control over their online population and eventually start coming around to a more liberal, civilized, non-confrontational worldview. Hey presto! - North Korea is then a liability in its current form.

Americans out of S. Korea. Chinese either take over the North (better than the current situation) or stop supporting them. Quick covert strike to take out the leadership - North collapses and TONS of people start streaming south. International uproar. Border dissolves. Korea re-unified. China stands by, or takes over the North. Either case the N. Koreans win hugely - the Chinese administering them is a boatload better than the current situation.

Or internal Korean coup followed by an opening to the South. Or China. Or something. Just end it.

Forgot to rap the S.Koreans for conducting artillery exercises that close to the border. Sure, it's your right to do so. Sure, the N.Koreans are 99% likely in the wrong. Sure, I'd back them up with my life.

But the situation is messed up enough that there's no real need to conduct these types of exercises without letting the N.Koreans know ahead of time - or doing it a bit further to the south, away from Northern artillery range.

Evil doctor. Two dead twins.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11814300

Experiments and medical stuff without consent is just wrong. This doctor and the parents... god****.

There you go believing people you see on TV. There you go falling for charismatic people with their own agenda. There you go listening to anecdotal evidence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Money

Pedophile-apologist (or worse?) bastard. Takes a special kind of evil to pretend to be a doctor working in the best interests of an injured child and recommend the cutting off of a 22-month-old boy's testicles.

While we're at it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_syphilis_experiment

People like that makes me want to kill.

Rats. Humane society.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11817720

Not a big fan of rats. Generally speaking they work against human economic progress. Disease etc. I'm sure they have some good ecological benefits, too - but right now I can't think of any.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat

Ok, lab experiments. Meat for food. (I have zero qualms about eating any specific animal, no matter what their status as 'pets' in any given society. If you do, you're either a bleeding-heart liberal or vegetarianist or just stuck in your particular culture without much broader horizons.)

De-mining operations (minefields in Africa, currently). Pets.

On the whole, though - I have zero sympathy. If you breed an animal and then don't bother stopping it from multiplying, then doom on you. Same with puppy farms and other unscrupulous animal breeders.

I couldn't care less about killing individual animals. I'm more interested in a sustainable economic model for keeping animals as pets or companions or for food and TREATING THEM NICELY.

If you need to kill an animal - go for it. Try to make it quick and relatively painless. If not possible, oh well. If you do it according to ancient cultural custom - oh well, just try a little bit to be aware that the rest of the world doesn't like to see animals suffering.

I personally don't like any suffering, but going out for a burger and fries doesn't bother me at all. Using animals in product testing doesn't bother me much. Cosmetics - yeah, a bit. Unnecessary drugs - yeah. Drugs with potential to very much help the human race progress and learn about its environment and stop diseases and whatnot - hell yeah, go for it.

So, rats. Go ahead and kill 'em. Or find homes for them as pets or for food or lab experiments. Just don't set them free in a community that doesn't want them.

Polygamy. Next after same-sex marriage.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11776534

To me, "marriage" is a traditional word that means a legal/religious union between a man and a woman. If you want to re-define that to mean between any two people regardless of sex - ok, go ahead. I'd prefer if you stuck to equal civil rights and civil unions and all that, but I suppose separate is never equal, so you kind of have to eventually go for the word "marriage".

Oh well, looks like you succeeded. Now the next thing I'm guessing will be polygamy. Nothing wrong with that, in theory, I suppose. Do what you want between consenting adults. Do as you please.

But in that article you'll also read about boys cast out and left without a chance to build a family. No good. And young girls aged 15 or less forced into marriage. No good.

Religion kills in stuff like that. People need to have options no matter what type of community they live in - and this crap is just wrong. But if all you want is polygamy without the religious enforcement and the forced marriages and crap - by all means, go ahead, I suppose. The LGBT people got their way - I see no civil rights reason standing in your way.

Just don't make it tax loopholes. Or the other way around, so that a man with 3 wives can collect two of his wives' single mothers' assistance.

Israeli right.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11817445

Palestinians want East Jerusalem. Now this. Goodbye peace for a while, see you next Presidency. Or when the US Congress gets enough moxie to stop handing oodles of cash to a semi-apartheid state that likes to settle its sillyvilians on occupied territory.

Congratulations to the Israeli right-wing. You won. No peace. No decent treatment of your neighbours or the Israeli Arabs already in your country. Continued American soldiers dying in Iraq and Afghanistan and wherever. Continued easy recruiting for Al Qaeda and similar. Continued difficult relations with Pakistan and whatnot.

Stronger American neoconservative right. I'm a conservative, too - but a bit more moderate, centrist, liberal conservative. I'm sure most neocons and arch-cons and religious fundamentalist rightists would call me a traitor liberal. And most extreme liberals would call me a crazy conservative. Oh well.

Public figures. Media.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11823449

This just in:

Public figures and politicians no longer allowed to speak "off the record".
You can no longer say anything remotely like a normal human would.

You WILL be mis-quoted. You will be put out to public ridicule if there's even a mild chance of recording your "off-record" comments.

Simply put - DO NOT TRUST ANYONE. Least of all the media.

That said I have no doubt the French (and others) are plenty guilty of kickbacks and bribes to get foreign business. It's just the way things are done. Feel free to investigate that, all you muckrakers out there. Go get them, Wikileaks. Oh - you're not interested in that?

22.11.10

This is crossfit and these are my friends.

video

I did not make this video, but I was there during filming - these ARE my friends.

Originally posted at http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1319586722214

Day 2:

I am the hammer.

I am the hammer
I am the right hand of freedom
I am the instrument of your will
The gauntlet around freedom's fist
The tip of the spear
The edge of the sword

I am freedom's sword and freedom is my armour
I am your wrath as you are my zeal
I am the hate of the oppressed
I am the woes of evil

I am the hammer
The sword in your hand
I am the bane of our foes
I am the woes of the treacherous
I am the prayer of the defenseless
I am your champion

I am the hammer
I am the sword
I am the shield
I am a soldier of the battle til the end of time.

I am Valhall!






Freeform in the manner of the Grey Knights, Ordo Malleus etc.

Interviews with TSA Officers (TSO's).

http://boardingarea.com/blogs/flyingwithfish/2010/11/18/tsa-enhanced-pat-downs-the-screeners-point-of-view/

You do your job to the best of your ability. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You do not make the rules. You enforce them, unless you believe them to be unlawful, criminal or constituting racism, illegal discrimination or torture or similar.

You don't believe that someone has a right to pat you down and touch your private areas. You don't believe the government has the right to force you to deal with this stuff in order to fly. You call your elected representatives and complain. You find other means of transportation or peaceful protest in the meantime. You make this a big issue in any coming elections. You change our society for the better.

You pick up a rifle and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.

NSFW. Nicholas Cage. Poetic screaming.

Stampedes. Public mass casualty events.

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/11/22/more-than-100-killed-in-cambodia-festival-stampede/
1. What would you do?
2. Do you know how to swim?
3. Do your kids know how to swim? If you didn't teach them, you may have indirectly killed them.
4. Are you strong enough to maintain enough space around yourself so you can breathe without being crushed to death when people are being asphyxiated from the pressure around you?
5. Are you mentally strong enough to be able to figure out what to do in an emergency, even if you're intoxicated?
6. Organizing public events is a bit of a risk. No doubt the families of the dead will blame anyone they can target. An easy target being the organizers and the police and rescue personnel. It's human nature to not want to blame yourself or blame your loved one that just died.

Be strong. Be aware - always always always Situational Awareness. That doesn't stop when you're drunk. Or in a cab with your buddies. Or with a prostitute. Or your girlfriend. Or wife. Or you have aces and eights at the card table.

Are you capable of climbing up onto the outside of a bridge on which people are running amok?

Are you capable of jumping into water of unknown depth with a reasonable chance of survival - even if you're very scared, drunk and injured and out of breath?

I think my own answer to these questions is: Yes I am. I am CrossFit. I am a climber. I am a diver and a swimmer with years of professional experience in and out of whitewater, waterfalls, surfzones, deepwater, rapids etc. I am a rugger. I am MMA. I do not drink more than one drink per day normally, and haven't gotten drunk since ...ummm, can't remember when. Must be at least 5 years or more. Possibly 15.

How ready would you like to be? What's your excuse? As far as I'm concerned, the answers to these questions are up to you.

Your problem. Good luck.

If I see you in an emergency I might try to help you out. After I've taken care of myself and the people I care about and the people in my party. I hope you manage to stay alive while I'm working on those people first.

Also - superstition and mob psychology and panic ...kills. We are all equal before the law - but our cultures are not. If this had gotten started in Sweden - do you really think people would have reacted the way they did in Cambodia? But I guess that might be called racist. If I get another Master's Degree it'll be in Comparative Cultural Studies or similar.

How to fix soccer/futbol.

Instant replay in international games, and series championships where it can be afforded by the national governing body.

Goals wider or taller by about 20-30cm to encourage:
* more goals, more exciting matches
* greater chance that the better, more aggressive team wins
* lesser chance for penalty-shootouts
* more emphasis on a team's skill and endurance
* less emphasis on luck and random chance
* more popularity in the USA - more money - more exposure - higher quality players
* (problem, reason for caution) - possible higher propensity for long shots on goal, should be combated with a possibly gradual increase in goal size, and studies on the effect of only wider and not taller goals to de-emphasize the importance of having an abnormally tall person as goaltender. We want all positions in the game to be easily filled by any talented, hard-working person irrespective of their natural build (to a reasonable degree).


No more end-of-game penalty shoot-outs:

* Take away one player on each team, continue the match in sudden death or two 15min halves.

* Take away one more player after 5, 10 or 15min.

* Repeat.


Stop calling it soccer. It's a ball. You play it with your feet 99.99 (repeating, of course) percent of the time. Foot + Ball = Football.

20.11.10

Movember. Lolz.

God****it, Kirk.

I think back often when I sit on my back porch (its such a beautiful view) and say to myself, "What the hell are you still doing here?".     I wish sometimes that I had a video camera to capture some of the things I've seen and done.   The funny thing about all of these near death experiences are that they all have these things in common;  inexperience, machismo and/or being in a hurry.  I could post more than 10, but it's a good, round #. 
From least catastrophic to worst:       
 
10.   Got drunk in college and went sideways on 2 wheels on the Barkley lake bridge.  Yee-haw.  What a stupid fucker!  
9.  Going head to head with a C-130 at 200 feet above the ground, thinking to myself  "Why are you heading straight into my aircraft?"  
8.  Todd decided to peel off onto the Pilot Rock road.  It felt like the Alfred Lord Tennyson poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade ".  We took that truck into and out of hell.  The funny thing was, the whole time we were about to invert into that sinkhole all I could think about was keeping the beer from spilling. 
 7.  Don't ever go 90 into a 25 mph zone. The signs are posted there for a reason.  You tend to take the road off the beaten path under those circumstances (especially on a motorcycle).  
6.  When you decide to go insane and ditch your car in the west Texas desert, bring plenty of water.  I went insane once on a whim and drove to the Guadalupe Mts.  After abandoning my car I wandered into the unforgiving Texas desert.  A few days later I stumbled onto a road with a dry canteen.  After an angel found me I proceeded to vomit and go into a state a metamorphosis.  I found myself days later chanting on a rock in Joshua tree.     
5.  When I was 16 I gave Jamie B the keys to my ford F-250. Not the best decision. We were being delinquents in the country.   Some local chased us at approximately 80mph.  We lost control of the truck and flew upwards of 15 feet.  The truck finally landed on 2 wheels at an 80 degree roll angle. The vehicle landed so hard that the air in ALL 4 TIRES were completely gone.  That is how hard we landed! Jesus!........  The gun in the face was no picnic either.  
4. Stop signs are posted at very strategic locations for as reason; STOP AT THEM!  I learned this the hard way.  When I was 17 I was too cool to stop at signs.  I ran into oncoming traffic and nearly killed Mike (sorry about that).  Luckily nobody was injured, but man that fu&^%g hurt!  
3. Four wheelers are inherently dangerous.  Trees are not; unless you put them together.  I was going too fast through the woods and ended up between a tree and my 4-wheeler.  I threw my sister completely off the back!  The next morning I woke up sucking ice cubes and vomiting from bone surgery.  
2. As a rookie climber one statement holds true.  IF YOU ARE DUMB YOU HAD BETTER BE TOUGH!  After climbing up 80 feet I incorrectly set up my rappelling anchor.  When I leaned back the whole system gave way!  To this day I believe an angel must have intervened.  The rope miraculously caught a carabiner and allowed me to rappel to the safe ground.  What a sandwich head!  
1. Air Traffic Control ain't perfect either!  Last year an air control tower cleared our aircraft for landing on runway22.  They then cleared a multi engine, 15 passenger jet simultaneously for takeoff on the same flight path!  Who has the right off way in this scenario?  Who fu%^% cares!  Get the hell out off the way! CLEAR RIGHT!

2006 IM Brazil race report.

Par, you're a retard.  But I'm glad you survived to tell the story.  You're starting to sound like a professional -- throwing a bone to all your sponsors in that race report.  Can't believe you still pulled of that time.  Must seem pretty uneventful being back at work.


>Subject: IRONMAN Brazil race report
>Date: Sun, 4 Jun 2006 09:29:20 -0700 (PDT)
>
>Me and my sister got sick with fever and persistent
>cough the day before the race, which made for the
>worst raceday morning I've had in 9 years of racing.
>
>Slept maybe 30min total the night before, feverchills
>the whole thing... all I could do was force myself to
>keep hydrating.
>
>Which I guess worked since I finished the race. But
>12:37 was about 1.5 hrs slower than I had hoped for.
>
>Nice mass start with fireworks and a big hot-air
>balloon on shore to help you find your way back on a
>sunny, calm morning. Super-easy swim conditions.
>
>Beautiful race course, great people, kids cheering all
>along the side of the road. Two laps with two
>not-very-challenging hills but enough to make you work
>pretty hard for a little bit and to give you some
>rather hairy downhill passages and a cool downhill
>decreasing-radius loop at a highway intersection.
>Confusing traffic cones all over the place but very
>few accidents from what I could tell. The policia
>militar was out in force and kept the cars in check.
>
>The run-course was rather fast, with a set of little
>nasty steep repeat hills that you had to do twice on
>the first long loop, but the second and third loop
>were shorter and flat, so easy day.
>
>All in all a great day with beautiful conditions.
>
>Ken Glah and Endurance Sports Travel had a ton of
>people there, and he runs a very smooth op with all
>the angles covered and tons of stuff to do for
>athletes and non-athletes alike. Some guy's bike and
>all his luggage ended up in O'Hare, but he did the
>race on Ken's bike, with a borrowed wetsuit/trisuit
>and bought shoes.
>
>The NEVERREACH hydration system worked great, again,
>especially with the quick-fill cap since there were so
>many aid stations with water and Gatorade.
>
>The athletes' dinner and party was great, but I missed
>most of it since I got more sick (woke up covered in
>sweat and walked back and forth in the hotel room with
>no clue where I was) and had to take care of a sister
>that kept on passing out in the hotel.
>
>I'm never doing another Ironman.
>
>But then again, that's what I said after IM Florida a
>year and a half ago.
>
>So now I'm back in San Dog and sick with bronchitis,
>yeay. When you leaving for the sandbox, tony?

Torture. Jesse Ventura.

[Water-boarding] is torture... It's drowning. It gives you the complete sensation that you are drowning. It is no good, because you -- I'll put it to you this way, you give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/12/jesse-ventura-coleman-a-h_n_202629.html

Generally speaking I don't have a crazy amount of respect for the former Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura. Served his country with honour. Served his state with honor (afaik). Did a decent job as an entertainer, I suppose - and as a governor, for all I know. Bit of a nutjob with respect to the whole conspiracy theory stuff. But whatever.

He said one of the smartest thing I've heard in a loooooong time. Quoted above.

Nature 01.

http://www.wimp.com/termitecolonies/

David Attenborough
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attenborough,_D.

/Bow.

I stand before the natural wonders of the world. Humbled.

Bad mother****ing ***.



That was a bit better than I expected of the usual parcour stuff. Wish I wasn't so messed up from the military.

America. Guns. Dysfunction.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/20/AR2010112002865.html?tid=iGoogle
I'm not a fan of the NRA. The Constitution (which I swore to protect and defend) guarantees our citizens' right to arm and keep bears. Or something like that, I forget exactly how it goes.

Anyway.

Guns. Let's keep them out of the hands of felons and straw buyers and let's get as much light and transparency on these issues as humanly possible. If a gun is used to commit a crime, let's make that gun's history a public document. Let's figure out how it got where it got and who sold it to whom and whatnot.

More information more better. Let people make up their own minds. Let's keep track of these guns and what happens to them. If you're a law-abiding gun owner and gun seller then you should have nothing to fear.

Let's also listen to the people south of our border on how they view our gun issues. Specifically related, but not exclusively so, to our recently lapsed ban on assault rifles.

Hunting is fine with me, as long as you use the meat and skin of an animal I see no problem in you going hunting. I'd like to go hunting, in fact. Was thinking more about a revolver and boar-hunting, but that's just me. If you're using a bow and arrow or a crossbow and you will actually use what you hunt for food or clothing or are doing it to get rid of an animal that's not endangered and is hurting human economy in the local area - by all means, go for it.

But do you really need assault rifles for that? Do you really need assault rifles for home defense? How about a shotgun instead? I'd personally prefer a small shotgun for home defense.

Let's also allow each individual community and state to decide how they want to deal with this issue. SUBJECT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Which may or may not should possibly be amended with this respect. But as long as the Constitution stands as is, I'm in favour of it. Keep and arm bears.

Or whatever.

Mandatory military/civil service in America.

http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/11/19/when_the_rich_abandoned_america_and_what_that_has_to_do_with_defense
Unworkable, but one can dream. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starship_troopers

One can dream, like Heinlein did. Serve the needs of all of us for a few years and here's your right to vote and benefits. Or do the civilian option - be a medic, doctor, school-teacher or cop or firefighter or something that's good for society and underpaid.

Or opt out.

Unfortunately this would work about as well as Communism. But one can dream.

Your right. My right. Ghailani's right. To a speedy trial.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speedy_trial
You capture someone in a war. You put the person in a prison camp. Now what??

You either have enough evidence to convict in a civilian court (i.e., not just a combatant, someone deliberately attacking civilian targets, someone you can PROVE did so). Or not. In which case he's just a POW.

You torture - you lose testimony and you lose moral high ground in the rest of the world. You lose your good guy status. You commit a crime. You put yourself squarely in the cross-hairs of the New York Times and people like Mr. Woodward of the Washington Post.

You render to a third country and the problem might just disappear. You ask them not to torture this person. They nod their heads, smile and say "Yes, of course." You walk away and it's now their problem.

You allow his home country to hold him. It's now their problem.

Either case you keep tabs. If he goes free and does something bad, hopefully there's a Predator with a Hellfire standing by.

Releasing terrorists who go back to killing innocents is the price of being the good guys.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/21/AR2009022101234.html

Yes it sucks. But unless you have enough evidence to convict ...ummm, I don't really think the whole "indefinite detention" was in the Constitution that I swore to protect and defend. "Due process" is, though - I'm fairly sure of that. I'll have to check.

Speedy trial, all that. Five years ain't speedy if it's you or me or your mother in jail. And therefore it's not for the bad guys either. Six months works for me. I'd rather have a guilty guy go free if you can't prove it's him, than have innocent people sitting around rotting in prison. It's the price of being morally superior.

If you don't like it, then how about I pick up your friend, or you, and toss you in prison and let you sit there for 5 years while I figure out a way to fix up some evidence?

WELL I'M NOT A TERRORIST! THESE PEOPLE ARE! THEY'RE BAAAAD PEOPLE.

Ok, so who gets to determine who's bad? Me? Or you? Or a panel of experts?? Mmmm how about a judge and jury and all that. Yeah, like due process and stuff.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/11/18/obamas_handcuffs?page=0,0