Saturday, October 20, 2007

How to use the Internet to get elected.

Ron Paul knows it, John Edwards is learning - nobody else seems to have a clue.

According to a remarkably inarticulate press release from an online polling firm, there are indications that Edwards has ditched a number of his consultants in favor of an internet-centered push on real issues.

“They want me to shut up,” Mr. Edwards said to listeners in Creston, Iowa — comments that were recorded by an Edwards’s campaign employee and posted both on YouTube and the admired open-minded Web site “Let’s distract from people who don’t have health care coverage. Let’s distract from people who can’t feed their children. Let’s talk about this frivolous, nothing stuff.”

“They will never silence me,” he sustained.

“The Internet is the principal way we are communicating with voters right now,” Mrs. Edwards said in an interview.

Indeed it is. It's a nationwide - nay, world-wide forum. And it's free. So there's no MSM - based limitation on what points you can address or how many words you can use. This contest will be about substance - if for no other reason than this campaign will be so long and so grueling that we are going to tune out those who say the same things all the time.

But there's still more to the "Ron Paul Phenomenon," as these YouTube videos clearly demonstrate.

Views: 600,861
Comments: 10,057 Favorited: 4,327 times Honors: 3 Links: 5

Views: 77,525
Comments: 1,495 Favorited: 1,350 times Honors: 1 Links: 5

People - just ordinary people - are now reaching out and touching people in the wholesale amounts usually reserved for newspapers and televison.

How much do you think videos like that are worth to a campaign? Not how much they paid - they probably didn't pay a cent. There would be a disclosure if they had. But in terms of dollar value - I'm sure this has as much impact as a thirty second radio spot. Conservatively. If it's compared to a thity

It's not enough to just have some ideas. You have to somehow inspire people. Nerd Arts puts a finger squarely on this point.

Nerd Arts » Blog Archive » Ron Paul, The Internet, and getting people to do stuff:
Part of my daily routine is that I go to the YouTube news section, and watch the videos I find interesting. Then I skip on over to Digg and see if anything catches my eye. One thing that anyone who frequents either of these sites knows is that Ron Paul dominates the political posts by about 20 to 1. The mainstream media has called them RonPaulaholics, people who live in this mysterious land of the internet, and email networks to have him on their shows, record and then upload not only every Ron Paul appearance on television, but record and then upload anytime anyone mentions Ron Paul’s name. Now, why is this at all important, and why am I currently writing another post about Ron Paul? The answer is that Ron Paul for some reason gets people to do stuff. The idea is so strong that it has changed peoples daily schedules, peoples views on wars, and even got them to use their time uploading, blogging and spreading a political message.

Why is this so important? Currently only about 50 percent of eligible voters get off their asses and vote. One thing we’ve seen already with Ron Paul continuously showing extremely well at straw polls is that Ron Paul supporters will leave their house to attend a straw poll. They will spend 15 cents to send a text message after a debate. They will blog about him. They will take out their credit cards and donate money. They will make their own videos about him and post them on youtube. In short, Ron Paul supporters make the leap from thought into action. It takes very little effort to say who you support during a phone poll (which is how most of these presidential polls are done, not to mention the fact that they also call people who will are “most likely vote” in the upcoming election).

One thing that the mainstream media has forgot time and time again. It is that people who make elections are highly organized groups, these are the people who will actually get out there and vote. The republicans have the Christian Fundies, the democrats have the Unions and minorities. Both sides have a “get out the vote” campaign. Now, with Ron Paul, we see the first internet candidate. We are also seeing an anarchic synergy which has propelled an otherwise unknown candidate into the mainstream. Make no mistake, Ron Paul didn’t find the internet, the internet found Ron Paul.

If our numbers remain strong, we will be a force that will wake up the mainstream media. The idea I would like to spread is that Ron Paul motivates people into action, and that this should become part of the campaign. We are the people on Digg, and YouTube that make stories stick and others languish. We have the power to directly alter and help form a political candidate, let’s not lose this opportunity. Digg this story up, and watch how your participation on the internet can change a presidential campaign. My message is simple. If you agree with it, then start spreading it. Ron Paul makes people do stuff, and people who do stuff, will also get off their asses and vote. :)

And a lot of people are starting to see profit in motivating and "viralizing" messages - such as this one.

The problem the internet presents for the "old campaigners" of Left and Right is that it's a medium that provokes questions, rather than providing answers. Television does that remarkably well, and the mastery of the "sound bite," the provision of simple answers to complex questions is the explanation - in my humble opinion - for the rise of Neoconservatism - which is all about simple answers for complex questions and of course, emotional, rather than intellectual appeals.

Ron Paul's answers to complex questions are blunt and short - but that's because understanding them requires an understanding where they come from; a solid foundation in the Constitution. If you respect the Constitution, you respect his answers, even if you don't always like them.

For instance - his position on abortion manages to displease everyone about equally. He's anti-abortion - personally, as a physician and from an ethical and libertarian standpoint. But he does not feel that it's the business of the Federal Government; He's come to the conclusion that it's either a state or an individual choice. And it's a conclusion he states with some visible reluctance.

In other words, he's the only candidate out there operating from a solid, verifiable foundation of principle, and who has stuck by those principles in a context where abandoning them would have been both normal and profitable.

That's a clear challenge for the other campaigns. Well, for the Democratic contenders, really, since the only option for candidates is to do what Ron Paul is doing - tell the truth. Given the things he's telling the truth about, he's the only one who won't have to eat a great deal of crow pie to get to that point.

Dr. No is vulnerable on only one front - he doesn't seem to have a "yes" bone in his body. I don't have a problem with that, given the office he's running for, but it's an obvious point Democrats should address - and they had better start addressing it before long.

The other factor in this is that it's becoming increasingly obvious to anyone paying attention that this process is about as random and honest as a game of Three-Card Monte. The MSM have already picked Clinton or Obama as the "front-runners;" and I'm suspicious that's due to them being the most vulnerable to a credible Republican, considering the nature of the people that own and control the major media outlets.

I note that the two "front-runners" are both equivocating on the war in Iraq and the various unconstitutional "necessities" of the War on Terror. That tells me that both are "acceptable" to the Powers That Be. That is a damn good reason to vote against them right there.

Image developed from the Ron Paul Flickr Feed; Photomanipulation by Bob King. Yard signs available - speaking of getting people to "do stuff."

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A Pox Upon Both Your Houses.

N. Eric Phillips Online » Value Voters - An Unconstitutional Debate:

"We have this document that defines the shape of our nation. You might have heard of it. It is called the Constitution. It is considered one of the great documents in human freedom ever, along with the Magna Carta. It was radical in its time. In a world ruled by monarchs, where people were either born as a have or have not (and the chance to move up was almost nil), and where religion was commonly dictated by governments, here comes a document guaranteeing everyone has the right to speak his mind, seek his fortune and worship (or not) in whatever kind of church he chooses."

Or in other words, if you don't believe in gay sex, don't have sex with gays. If you don't believe in gay marriage, don't marry a gay person. If you don't believe in sex before marriage, don't have it. If you don't believe in birth control, don't use it. If you don't believe in evolution - well, I can't help you there.

But there's no constitutional requirement than any belief you hold dearly has to make sense. But there IS a lot in there intended to keep busybodies from imposing their fondly held ideals upon others by force supplied by the State.

I make no distinction between the self-righteous Liberal and the self righteous Conservative. I care not whether your "thing" is gay marriage or smoking, your cause PITA or AFF. To the extent that you are willing to coerce me in order to achieve a "moral good," to that extent you are willing to sodomize the constitution to get your way. And I will have none of it. A pox upon both your houses.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Take THAT, Obama Girl!

"Scantily Clad Lesbians for Ron Paul!"

Via GordonUnleashed

What a long, strange trip it's gonna be...

Now, I didn't mean this as just another "go ron" post. It's more of a celebration of citizen participation. You KNOW this thing has gone viral! And whatever it says, it's being said without a "this message approved by" or "this message paid for by" tag line...

In other words, on the internet, there are those candidates that accept the truth that they cannot control their message - and just hope that everyone spells their names right. And then there are those OTHER candidates who, realizing they cannot control the message or the spin that unpaid individuals put on their words in order to promote them, simply ignore the whole thing as being unimportant.

There's a word for those candidates: "Losers."

I keep coming back to Ron Paul, but it's exactly things like this that have been pulling in the big bucks. Ron Paul is the first actual candidate to go viral himself. Now, what that means for the other Republican candidates - indeed, what it means for the other Democratic candidates - remains to be seen. But I think this bodes to be the most interesting campaign in living memory.
Of course, there is that tiny, nagging little question as to whether our votes will ever be counted, but we have time to fix that. And fix the bastards what unfixed it.

A Little Hint for Christmas, My Love...

What has four HUNDRED watts of power, amazing torque, all metal construction and makes biscuits to die for?

Well, the short answer is, a really good stand mixer. You know, the all metal kind with the stainless steel bowls, the dough hooks, the whisk and orbital mixing motion like the high end commercial models? The You Know We Can't Afford That, Bob kind that I lust after every time Alton Brown hauls his out?

How does $199 sound? Yep. Two hundred bucks. Not seven, not five, not three - two hundred. Maybe a little more with shipping. It's a Hamilton Beach® Mixer , and I would love one. It's not the kind Alton has but it's a Best Buy according to two separate magazines. And if it's not quite so big and glam as his - I don't have TV cameras in my kitchen - or people to lift it for me.

I'd make biscuits more often, and more of them. You know how a dozen just isn't enough, but it's about all I can stand to make. It's the rheumatiz, you know.

I won't give anyone my family recipe for "beaten biscuits." Actually, I can't give it to anyone; it turns out that my "old family recipe"is identical to the one from the Joy of Cooking!

Seems like one of the biggest "family secrets" is where you got the secret family recipes!

But "Beaten Biscuits" are different than any other kind; unlike most, which are light and fluffy, beaten biscuits have a smooth,firm, fine grained texture that lends itself to a good old Southern tradition - slicing them in half and piling them high with butter, ham sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, jam, jelly, marmalaide - and combinations of all the above. I've even made them as hamburger buns.

They are a southern culinary tradition, there are even fast food joints centered around them - but here's the rub:

"20 licks for family, 200 for company."

By a "lick", we mean taking a pretty stiff dough and punching it just as hard as you can with a closed fist.

Now you know WHY Aunt Jemima has those broad shoulders. Don't NEVAH honk off Miz J! And now you know why I don't make the original recipe all that often.

I've never even tried using my hand mixer to mix that dough - smoke and flames would ensue!

Hamilton Beach® Stand Mixer will let me get in my licks in a dignified and civilized manner.

And then there's carrot cake. I know how you love Carrot Cake... Proper carrot cake batter... well, again, you don't use a wimpy little hand mixer for it, and to keep the texture right, you really don't want a mixer that will chop up the shredded carrot, so even most stand mixers (with the standard dual beaters) are problematic. Come to think of it, I don't think I've EVER made you carrot cake. And the cream cheese icing... well, this would help with that too; it would be all light and fluffy and fresh, a blend of cream cheese and neufchatel with real vanilla extract.

And then there's that braided Easter Bread, and the Michael Cookies. And did I mention meat loaf? My mother taught me all about making meat loaf. (Don't worry, I've unlearned most of the things she taught me, like including beef liver and ground heart.) But the real secret to a good meat loaf, one that can be sliced thin when cool, is mixing it until every particle is coated with whatever binding agents the recipe calls for. Seriously, there must be ten thousand different meat loaf recipes and it's the sort of homestyle comfort food we all love.

Speaking of comfort food... whipped potatoes, with butter, sour cream and chives beaten into it!

And the price of a loaf of bread worth eating is starting to really annoy me, and the tiny loaves my bread machine makes are a cruel tease. If I'm gonna make bread, I want to fill the oven with it!

So this would be the gift that keeps on giving. Back. At least as good a return on investment as that electric grill you-all got me last Christmas.

[Ayup, this was a paid post. But it doesn't change the fact that I really, really want a
Hamilton Beach® Eclectrics® Mixer in Licorice (black). Or white. White would be OK too. So either I get it for Christmas - or I buy it myself with proceeds from posts like this.]

Ron Paul Rings True on the Issues

The Disciples of Ron Paul, Spreading the Word in N.H. -

Have you ever heard the expression, 'What's wrong is right and what's right is wrong?' " Aitken, the retired art teacher, asks. "We've been doing things that are so wrong for so long that the right thing for some might feel freaky. Sometimes you have to stop and think, 'Okay, this is my conviction.' " (closing paragraph)
This month, the 10-term Texas Republican stunned the GOP field by raising a little more than $5 million in the third quarter, 70 percent of it from online donations; Sen. John McCain, once considered the front-runner for the GOP nomination, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who placed a strong second in the Iowa straw poll in August, raised $6 million and $1 million, respectively. For months now, Paul has been the most popular GOP candidate on the Web, with more supporters on MySpace, Facebook and Meetup than Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson or Mitt Romney, who won the Iowa straw poll and leads in the polls here.

"Everyone -- the staffers in the other campaigns, the bigwig political observers in the state -- is scratching their heads. They don't know what to make of this Ron Paul phenomenon," pollster Smith says. A University of New Hampshire poll last month showed Paul at 4 percent in the state. The most recent Washington Post-ABC News national poll, also from last month, had him at 3 percent. "The other campaigns aren't worried that he'd win the primary. They just don't know who his supporters are and whose support he's taking away," Smith adds. "His poll numbers aren't high now, but it's only October. And they could see him getting 10 percent of the vote here. If you get 10 percent of the vote in a crowded field, well, you might finish third." But the Paulites are aiming for higher than third place.

And it doesn't even occur to them to wonder if it might be that the problem is not that Ron Paul is an exceptional spokesperson for his ideals of small, limited, ethical and constitutional government, but that the other Republican are such a mixed bag of lousy, triangulating, scheming, lying, conniving pandering jokes that a man who might seem unremarkable and even a bit dotty in the company of a Roosevelt, a Kennedy or a Goldwater is seen as a literal giant towering over the mental and moral midgets sharing the stage with him.

By the modern standards of Republicanism, he's not a very good one. But then, that's the problem right there - and a hell of a lot of Republicans are wondering how the hell a Republican administration could get them into debt and into war with so little attention to the inevitable price of such folly.

Yet the current crop compete to compare themselves, not with Barry Goldwater, or even the saner and more centrist Richard Nixon - who'd be a Democrat today - but with that champion of Voodoo Economics and Feelgoodism, Ronald Regan.

Meanwhile there's a really troubling thought going around the nation, largely left unspoken but apparent in all quarters. What will Hillary do if she gets the Democratic nomination - and the Presidency?

She's thought of as being the most liberal - but she's the farthest to the Left. And those are two different concepts entirely. The way she's praised the President's war and his domestic surveillance with faint and perfectly triangulated damnations, I find it difficult to be confident that she will gladly return all the extra executive powers Bush has arrogated unto himself, nor will she see any way toward "healing the nation" other than centralized bureaucracies.

Now, unlike most Libertarians, I actually believe that one can have an efficient, professional and ethical civil service. I have been to Canada, and I know that in some countries, when a man from the government shows up at your door, they probably ARE there to help you.

But ... this is Ahumurika. And it would take an act of God, not merely Congress to change the culture of our civil service to the point where bigger would be anything resembling better.

Just ask anyone who has ever been in personal contact WITH our government, pretty much at any level, with any personal stake in the matter. The best you can expect is to waste an entire day waiting in an office designed with malice aforethought to crush the spirits and steal the souls of all so unfortunate or foolish as to step within them, even in search of a public restroom.

All them "Libruls" who praise, say, Medicare and Medicaid for it's remarkable efficiency and ruthless cost reductions have never been in contact WITH either program - or any competitor. Trust me when I tell you, as a Canadian-American, you do not want universal health care that is based in ANY way upon Medicare or Medicaid.

Some people refer to even those programs as "socialized medicine." I refer to them as "Stalinized Medicine." You see, socialized medicine comes with one assumption, that universal health care is of social benefit.

Medicare and Medicaid presume that all their clients are of little or no social utility, that giving them any medical attention at all (much less than the care they actually medically require) is more than they deserve, and that treating clients (and doctors) with anything other than suspicious contempt and a level of compliance enforcement and auditing that is generally reserved for things like ebola viruses and weapons grade plutonium. Their costs are low because they offload all the costs onto the few doctors that actually accept medicare and medicaid.

These are usually clinics and doctors that you would not want to go to. I mean, you would really, really prefer not to go. You might prefer consulting your local curando than trust your health to the disease incubators they laughingly refer to as "reception areas."

I actually want a universal access system that is free for those who are poor and affordable for everyone. I definitely want the government putting pressure on the costs of the system - many of which are deliberately extortionate. I want it simple and I want it to be easy, because sick people should not have to jump through hoops, nor should physicians be second guessed by bean-counters about appropriate treatments.

Plainly speaking, before we develop a new system of payment to overlay on our current healthcare industry, we should question whether it should be an industry at all. Shouldn't it be a profession, like education? Something seen as an inherent, inarguable social good that is one of a very short list of things government should do and be expected to do well?

Don't we deserve a government that sees every single citizen as being of value, deserving respect? Of course, we would have to ensure that the respect is mutual, and that government service was seen as a calling worthy of respect, not the last resort of idologues, cronies, losers and mental basket cases. CF "Education."

I believe in a small, limited, competant and efficient government, one dedicated to governing and regulating as little as possible, but doing what they actually do very, very well indeed. I want to be happy to pay my taxes because I get my money's worth.

And I don't think it's been possible to say that since... well I don't remember a time in my life where I was conscious of politics and government that I didn't consider it a gigantic waste of time, money, paper, effort and manpower to achieve results that were no better than that which a moderately retarded fifth grader with a decent education could have come up with on their own.

You see, it's not HARD to do that. We have a Constitution that's specifically designed to lead us to that very outcome, designed to strikingly limit the ability of Government to meddle with our private affairs and the public arrangements of the various States. It was intended to be a central FACILITY, not a Central Authority.

And when you start looking at it that way, you see all kinds of things it does badly, many things it should be doing, but doesn't, but above all it's impossible to ignore that it's gotten damned uppity and there are all kinds of folks in it that, while not properly qualified to give you change for a ten-spot, think they understand economic policy better than you or me.

I'm not saying that with the idea that we know better. I'm saying that in thinking they know more, they have actually achieved negative results.

People call Ron Paul dotty for calling for a return to "hard money," but when you start looking into it, you realize that all that means is that he's calling for a medium of exchange that government cannot mess with. He's calling for a return to one of the most fundamental duties of government, setting a standard of value for commercial exchanges that applies to all market activities.

When the dollar is "adjusted" against gold, it doesn't mean that the actual value of the gold has changed. It's worth what it's worth, based on a steady commodity demand. So when your dollar is mysteriously worth less gold than it was last Tuesday, that's what you call "theft."

In fact, our entire central banking system is a necessity that serves as a fig leaf for what must be the most massive fraud in existence; the Federal Reserve essentially pulls money out of the air. It's technically related, vaguely, to the return on government bonds and other indicators - though I darkly suspect that it's a designedly complex system intended to hide within it the essential core truth that a US Dollar is only worth what you believe it's worth - other than it's value as a recyclable material.

Now, nobody likes thinking about it, because we value everything in dollars - including human life and our own self-worth. So the idea that our entire economy is based upon debt and promises you would consider dubious coming from your brother-in-law is troubling, and in general, we prefer to not think about it. Really, Really Hard.

But for saying that real money based on a real commodity with a real, measurable value unaffected by and not bound to debt is a better way, Ron Paul is dismissed as a nut.

But what would you prefer to have in your hand, a silver dollar - Constitutionally set at one troy ounce of coin silver - or a promise that a coupon you hold will be honored at your local merchant according to an arbitrary value assigned to it in the money markets that day?

As it happens, nobody will ever trade you a one ounce silver coin for a one dollar US Federal Reserve note. And that indicates that ever since we went off the gold standard, our medium of exchange has lost touch with economic reality.

Of all the Republican candidates,
Ron Paul is the only one in close enough touch with reality to offer any sort of credible alternative. And that includes hard, cold, metallic truths such as this.

Money that does not have a real world value allows all kinds of economic shenanigans dear to the hearts of bankers and politicians - and that is precisely why we need to have a medium of exchange that can be independently verified as worth what it is worth.

Ron Paul - like hard money - rings true. That often means he says things you won't like hearing. But that's the test of truth, and we have collectively enjoyed the opposite since 1981.

Save the earth with... Light Emitting Diodes?

LED Christmas lights may seem like a trivial step to fight global warming, peak oil and soaring energy prices, but my sources indicate that it could be one small step toward all those things.

A 2003 report conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that the U.S. consumes about 2,220,000 KWh of electricity each year to illuminate miniature holiday lights. (*2,220,000 KWh is enough electricity to run approximately 200 homes for an entire year.) Based on these figures, the EPA report concluded that a 20% market shift to LED holiday or Christmas lights would reduce annual electricity consumption in the U.S. by 400,000KWh.

LED Christmas lights also last for more than 50,000 hours compared to about 2000 for incandescent lights. The lights are also safer because they operate at only 1 degree above ambient temperature unlike incandescent which can get very hot.

What does that mean in practical terms?

Progressive Georgia City Makes the Switch to LED Christmas Lights

October 7, 2007

The city of Monroe, Georgia has become the first city in the state of Georgia to switch to energy-efficient LED holiday lights. In a recent article in the Walton Tribune, city officials announced that the switch will lower their utility bill from $1600 to about $150.

Of course, it might take several years to pay off - but with a life expectancy of 50,000 hours of zero maintenance operation, it won't take that many hours to pay them off.

Indeed, according to, writing in an article featuring the maker of these particular LED Christmas Lights:

During the 45-day period during which the capital tree is illuminated it will consume approximately 37,800 kilowatt hours of electricity and cost the state over $3,000. After the holiday season is over the state will take the tree down and place the tree, along with its 5000 incandescent lights and wiring in a commercial shredder.

If the State of Michigan replaced its current C9 incandescent lights with energy efficient LED Christmas lights it would consume only 389 kilowatt hours of electricity which would cost only $30.00. This would save the state nearly $3,000.00 each year in electricity costs alone.

Perhaps more importantly, the LED lights could be used for several years so the state would not have to continue its environmentally irresponsible practice of shredding the lights each year. The ability to reuse the lights would also save the state approximately $2200 annually. Based on the state’s current usage, the new LED lights could last for as many as 50 holiday seasons.

The LED lights offered by are currently used on the national holiday tree on the Capital lawn in Washington, D.C. and Rockefeller Center in New York City.

I found myself fascinated with the whole topic, because this is a rapidly evolving technology and is already starting to appear in home applications. I'm excited by that for a reason that might seem odd to many, because of my Asperger's Autism.

You see, the current available technology available at my price-point is the compact fluorescent bulb. But there are large problems with compact fluorescents from my standpoint - first, they do flicker. Not as badly as the tubes of yore, but they do have a perceptible flicker. To ME, anyway. I find this bothersome, and the light quality muddy, so I don't use them in areas where the light quality is important to me.

Second, they contain mercury, and I really do not think we need to be using another technology dependent upon that particular neurotoxin. While scientists are still arguing about it's effects on people, and whether or not it can be directly attributed to the explosion in autistic births, there is no responsible science touting it as a nerve tonic, either, much less a large-scale food additive.

And yet, it is, unfortunately, a nearly unavoidable food additive. So I'd like to skip right by compact fluorescent lighting and go straight to LED lighting. They use even less power, produce a crisp, clean light and do not create much impact upon the household heat load. And for those of us for whom this is important, they do not pollute the electromagnetic spectrum with nasty buzzy noises we should not be physically able to perceive.

So, why don't we all get our feet wet with a few strings of LED Christmas lights and save some money?

For you holiday display competitors, such as those mad folks up in the Reno Hills, they offer commercial grade strings and all the stuff you need to get extremely creative in many colors - with the ability to connect up to 125 strings in one circuit. Some of you could save thousands a year while executing designs you never thought possible before. For instance, you could create displays from Coroplast sheeting - that cardboard-like plastic that many signs are made from these days.

But there are endless applications for such affordable and flexible lighting. You could actually make your own chandelier from materials from this site and some Coroplast, Styrene, or Acrylic plastic with tools you have or could get from any hobby supply store.

Running at one degree over ambient temperature, you can use LED lights next to materials you'd never consider using in any incandescent application. I doubt that it would even soften hot glue. You could go all Martha Stewart with this stuff and come up with energy-saving replacements for those swag lights you've been meaning to do without for years now.

Heck, I might just get ambitious myself.

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In the Quest for Truth

A constitutional scholar says President Bush and his administration were working to expand their spy powers months before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which provided a "highly convenient" opportunity to dramatically strengthen law enforcement and surveillance authority.

This is why I will not vote for anyone who voted for the Patriot Act or any expansion of presidential powers. This leaves me with Ron Paul for sure, and maybe Kucinich, and rules out anyone who I think to be especially fascinated by the potentials for the ability of a strong central government to "do good" unto me.

Furthermore, anyone opposed to impeaching this president now, before he can start a nuclear war strikes me as being essentially too stupid or opportunistic to hold any political office.

In the Valley of Elah

I just sent this off to the publicity people for a new film, opening in theaters now, as they say.

I don't usually do film reviews on, and I am not wanting to be on your list of "usual suspects," though I'm interested in UNusual films.

The hook for me was that my state senator and majority leader, Harry Reid, handed off a copy to John Kerry - who watched it and sent out a notice to his entire mailing list. is pretty much about what it sounds like, and it sounds like this is a very graphic truth indeed.

For me, the fact that the ball started rolling on this in 2003 is to me the most interesting part of this story. It takes that long for the consequences of some acts to materialize, sometimes even longer.

This seems to be all about unintended, unimagined and unimaginable consequences.

I really, really do not want to see this film. I expect it will give me nightmares.

Can you please send me a review copy?


Bob King

I can count the number of times I've done something like this on my thumbs. And I'm doing it knowing that it is going to have a certain message, it is going to portray a certain reality that will be unpalatable to those who think that the War in Iraq and the War on Terror are inseparable.But in fact, when you go to war - every time, and for whatever reason, you must pay the Butcher's Bill - and the horrifying truth is that each and every soldier who faces combat is affected forever. This paragraph comes from John Kerry's letter.
The former top operating officer at the Pentagon, a Marine Lieutenant General, once said of Iraq that "the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions --or bury the results."

I've never seriously considered myself to be anti-war. It strikes me rather like being anti-hurricane.

It really doesn't matter to the hurricane whether you are philosophically opposed to it's existence or not. One can prepare for it, one can avoid being in it or choose to endure it, one must respond to it intelligently and clean up the mess so that life can return to normal. These are common sense observations, and wars come upon us for many reasons, many of which are no more under our control than the weather.

I am pro-peace - and to me, the best way to ensure peace and the best way to return to a state of peace subsequent to war is to have a very efficient and powerful response to aggression, and as realistic an appreciation as possible as to the costs of war upon the people asked to fight it and those who must stay at home. Above all, don't stupidly create conditions that may provoke a war.

There is a huge, indefinable, but real price that must be paid over the generations for every act of war, for ever war that starts due to foolishness, misadventure, miscalculation, aggression, need, greed, the hunger for power or the desire for "living room."

Thousands of years ago, Sun Tsu considered all these things in his "Art of War," a book George W. Bush has clearly never read, or at least comprehended. Source:; Links indicated with question marks lead to related discussion threads:

If one gains victory in battle and is successful in attacks, but does not exploit those achievements, it is disastrous.

This is called waste and delay. ?

Therefore, I say the wise general thinks about it, and the good general executes it. ?

If it is not advantageous, do not move;

if there is no gain, do not use troops;

if there is no danger, do not do battle. ?

The ruler may not move his army out of anger; the general may not do battle out of wrath. ?
If it is advantageous, move;

if it is not advantageous, stop. ?

Those angry will be happy again, and those wrathful will be cheerful again, but a destroyed nation cannot exist again, the dead cannot be brought back to life. ?

Therefore, the enlightened ruler is prudent, the good general is cautious.

This is the Way of securing the nation, and preserving the army. ?

And I could not resist adding this further citation from the very first page:

Before doing battle, in the temple one calculates and will win, because many calculations were made;

before doing battle, in the temple one calculates and will not win, because few calculations were made; ?

Many calculations, victory, few calculations, no victory, then how much less so when no calculations?

By means of these, I can observe them, beholding victory or defeat! ?

It seems that in this case, foresight was 20/20.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Justice Department anti-porn regulations empower exploitation of women.

I've found over the years that keeping an eye on the porn business keeps me ahead of the game in many ways - I note social trends, I find out cutting edge web techniques - and there are stories to be had in the Naked City.

This one could be titled What Part of "World Wide Web" did you not understand, John Ashcroft?

It's now official. We have managed to outsource our porn. And in doing so - for all the "right" reasons - we have managed to return to the bad old days, when porn's ulterior motive was, amoung other things, the reinforcement of certain rather toxic social ideals we Americans seem to cherish. Or rather, the sort of cynical elites who see these social stereotypes as being very useful indeed.

The text below is a signifier of a great pile of compliance issues - the greatest of which is the legal requirement to maintain very explicit records on all models for as long as the images exist on your servers - or are leased to others. It's not difficult to imagine that many potential models might not wish to provide such explicit information - which includes a requirement for photo ID, and a requirement that there be an actual live person "on site" to provide access for inspection, which may occur at any time with no notice.

Perhaps a more benevolent government might be trusted with such information, but our current lords and masters never seem to use the process of law save to abuse it. Odd, don't you think, that this has the effect of making all amateur, not-for profit productions illegal? It's not an issue for industrial-scale porn-producers, though renting and staffing a separate compliance office is an annoyance, it's not crippling.

But then, large producers can be relied on to donate money to conservative political causes, put conservative politicians in contact with people they don't want their constituents - or spouses - to learn of. Meanwhile, domestic mainstream porn can be relied upon to uphold (by contrasting, negative example) stereotypical "family values" perceptions of sexuality and women.

That is to say, that they are all potential sluts and whores who must be carefully conditioned from birth to repress all sexual desire or expectation of any non-reproductively oriented satisfaction. And in porn oriented to that perspective - whores are no different. They just don't say "no" to men who DO want some non-reproductively oriented satisfaction.
Now, I'm not a feminist and I don't do feminist critiques of "mainstream" via "empowered" porn. A lot of feminists would chase me with torches made of vintage boned undergarments soaked in nail-polish remover for such arrogance.

Nonetheless, there was a tremendous renaissance in the exploration of sexuality, ethics and consequences - and it was disproportionately led by powerful women with powerful ideas about their "proper place." That "proper place" was not exclusively the missionary position - and they made it clear that they were throwing the catholic guilt and prodestant shame away with all male-designed undergarments and feminine hygene products. Furthermore they established the idea that women had the right to some basic consideration within the sexual dynamic. And orgasms. They made the word "orgasm" respectable - and expectable.

Now, this is a perfectly ordinary "webcam" site, and the nature of the technology is such that "coercing" people to play for pay is quite unnecessary; By the nature of the mechanism, it takes a lot more co-operation than your ordinary photo shoot with a lot less opportunity for coercion.

Oh, coercion may exist, but that's not within the power of the site, nor is it something record-keeping provisions will either prevent or allow anyone to easily detect. - Welcome to the World of Babes - Live Nude Video Chat:

18 U.S.C. Compliance

All persons who appear in any visual depiction contained in LiveGirlBabe web properties, including but not limited to were/are eighteen years of age or older at the time of the creation of such depictions. The records required by Section 2257 of Title 18 of the United States Code and associated regulations with respect to visual depictions of actual sexually explicit conduct are kept by the custodian of records listed below. LiveGirlBabe hereby certifies to all subscribers, webmasters, distributors and other related commercial entities that the aforesaid materials are in full compliance with the requirements of 18 U.S.C. 2257 and associated regulations.

Producer Name:
Custodian of Records Information: LiveGirlBabe

Drobnera #8

Wroclaw, Poland, 50-950

Now, you might well be tempted to shrug and question why this is significant. Well, there are many reasons why it's very significant, but of course, the most important one from a domestic perspective is this; it's a matter of serious concern when ANY multi-billion dollar industry pulls up stakes and goes offshore. All that lovely tax revenue goes with it.

As for compliance - well, it's hard to say what you would find at Drobnera #8. I imagine there would be very sincere seeming records, with photocopies of very sincere-looking identification cards. I doubt very, very much if local authorities would be willing to back up the FBI in verifying them, since validating the manifest insanity of a declining world power is not high on any cop's agenda, especially when they have real crimes to investigate.

And besides, there is an even darker and uglier truth. Eastern Europe is now a hotbed of human trafficing. So, again, on a least harm basis, to the extent that the police are trying to control the trade at all, they could probably care less about those who have legal businesses with voluntary models. And if they are NOT voluntary, there's not much reason to believe the records will lead anywhere useful. But watching the streams themselves might well lead investigators right to where real victims are.

Forensic video techniques can be quite impressive, and a photo or video stream is what is referred to in the law-enforcement industry as "evidence."

Anyway, like most Bush Administration initiatives, the "anti-porn" crusade made sense from a certain, narrow, privlidged and moralistic perspective - if you were completely ignorant of the realities of the industry, the people in it and the social implications of pornography, with the additional requirement that one very carefully not even think about the ethical and social implications of trying to crush an entire industry and destroy the livlihood of hundreds of thousands of people who are not heavily invested in the status quo ante the effort is intended to reinforce.

But the real reason - just like the earlier efforts against child porn - is not what is said on television or written in Reader's Digest. It's nice that some tragedies are prevented and some children rescued, but if that were the goal it would make sense for the penalties for the crimes involving human beings to be greater than those involving pixils and film - but in both cases, the target is not those who may be committing the crimes, but those publishing and exchanging the evidence of the crime.

Odd, that. Unless it's not an act, but an idea that is being targeted.

The idea that sexuality is innate to humanity, that it is not the manifestation of that most pernicious doctrine of "original sin" and that ignorance of one's own sexual nature and needs is a blessing of some sort is the idea under attack. Bluntly, it's the idea that human beings have many sexual identities and an even wider range of choices to make regarding them, and that there is more than one responsible choice; moreover, that for many people, heterosexual marriage is possibly the most irresponsible and injurious choice they could make.

Some people are not heterosexual, some are not monogamous, some are unfit for much human company at all. Some folks have overpowering sex drives, others have little to none; in all cases, trying to be what you are not in order to comply with "appearances" and social expectations can lead to great harm to oneself and to others. Indeed, sexual morality in the west is one of the most conspicuous examples of how a system of morality can evolve away from any consideration of ethical behavior, creating double binds and harmful situations by definition if it's rigidly followed and enforced.

This is especially true in cases where "moral" behavior is imposed on other people by force. Personally, I see no difference between being forced to be forced to be good and being forced to be bad. Either way, it's the force that is the evil, not what one is forced to do.

And if you are "being good" in public because that's what's expected and you fear the consequences of an especially "wide stance," - that's of no great spiritual benefit. Since you are only "being good" for the sake of appearences, it's not much of a guide for you when nobody is looking.

Just do an engine search for "Republican Pedophiles" and "Republican Sex Crimes" if you doubt me on that one.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Duct Tape for your Teeth

Dentemp OS is a product I wish I'd been familiar with years and years ago. Heck, at the rate I loose fillings and with the problems we had a couple years back with high-deductible dental insurance, this might have saved me several teeth.

While this is not intended as a long-term solution, like duct tape, it's a long-enough solution. It's strong enough to eat with in thirty minutes, and will last long enough to get you to your own dentist without paying for an emergency visit. That alone will save you hundreds of dollars. There's enough for six-plus repairs, which should keep you going even if you get a puck in the mouth at the Stanley Cup.

When a tooth cracks or chips, unless you can get into the dentist immediately, it's likely that decay will set in and you may well loose the tooth. Otherwise, you might "just" need a root canal. I've had a couple of those. Not fun. Not fun at all.

I've had lousy teeth all my life and my mouth was full of amalgam by the time I was 25, with some "fillings" consisting of more than half of the tooth. Well, dental amalgam ages faster than teeth. I've had several just give up, leaving me with nasty sharp edges gouging my tongue and cheek.

And then there was the day that what seemed like a perfectly good tooth simply split with a loud crack... Wincing in memory, I'm tempted to drop a good old F-Bomb - but it's inadequate!

Thank God I could get an emergency appointment for that one the same day. I shudder to think what that would have felt like in a day or two, it was bad enough as it was. Now, good as this stuff is, I doubt it would have saved that tooth... but it would have kept it sealed up well enough to keep me relatively pain free for the few hours I needed.

Well, with this stuff, you can patch the chip, crack or lost filling - you can even re-cement a loose cap!

This should be in every single first aid kit and survival kit you own, especially your travel kit. The last thing you need is a blinding toothache during a vacation. Who wants to see a strange dentist? There are a lot of other times where a sealed vial of Dentemp OS is a great idea. Any time you are hunting, hiking, traveling or just busy an emergency dental repair can save you a lot more than a trip to the dentist. It can save your whole vacation.

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