Saturday, October 27, 2007

Construction Zone Ends

As you may notice, there's been some cosmetic changes, reflecting some changes under the hood. I'm hoping these changes will make it a lot easier for me to give credit where it's due and maintain a good selection of reciprocal links.

It's certainly made it a lot easier to deal with template issues, so that I can keep the blog looking neat and tidy, and as you can see, I've made a lot of progress in that direction.

I'm not quite done yet, but all the nailbiting drama is over. I always get quite nervious when I have to do major shifts and upgrades.

Anyway, xfingersx, all the stuff that could have lead to disaster are done, and for the rest of the day, I get to play. So perhaps a Second Life post will appear later. Or perhaps not. It depends on what we get up to.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Department of Impeach The Bastards Already

Media Matters - Altercation: Believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear ...:

"'They can't help themselves. They want to confess....' is the way Tom Engelhardt begins 'Bush's Pentagon Papers,' with the latest Bush administration torture-document revelations in mind. He reframes the torture debate, taking it beyond the 'shocked, shocked' response that goes with repeated revelations of secret administration memoranda that provide pretzeled legalisms justifying acts of torture and abuse."
Indeed, as has been often observed, there has never been an administration that was on the record admitting to so many obviously impeachable, certainly criminal and possibly treasonous acts. Doing these things seems to be not so much the point as getting away with it, with the full knowledge that everyone knows, and for whatever reason, dares not act. It's all about the power to abuse, and control those abused so they cannot or choose not to fight back.

He sums things up this way: "Of course, plumbing the psychology of a single individual while in office -- of a President or a Vice President -- is a nearly impossible task. Plumbing the psychology of an administration? Who can do it? And yet, sometimes officials may essentially do it for you. They may leave bureaucratic clues everywhere and then, as if seized by an impulsion, return again and again to what can only be termed the scene of the crime. Documents they just couldn't not write. Acts they just couldn't not take. Think of these as the Freudian slips of officials under pressure. Think of them as small, repeated confessions granted under the interrogation of reality and history, under the fearful pressure of the future, and granted in the best way possible: willingly, without opposition, and not under torture."
I'd be more blunt. To a bully, the exercise is pointless unless you can brag about it, unless you can savor the fear in your victim's eyes, unless you can revel in the impotent rage of the helpless and dis-empowered. And to the bully, the risk that the worm might just turn simply makes the occasions where the worm is just a worm all that sweeter.

In persisting in the naive belief that there must be something of substance behind Bush's actions beyond the ability to abuse, that there must be some overpowering reason that compels him to act as he does and some horrifying knowledge that justifies all of this is nonsense. Occam's razor and playground experience sums the man up to a point that no more elaborate analysis is needed. He's simply a bully, one given power irresponsibly by those who thought his failings made him controllable.

I take no joy in observing that they were only correct to an extent - and certainly not to the extent they would have reasonably expected, given the investments in capital and credibility Bush represents to all those who hold his debts. They assumed, of course, that he'd feel some sense of obligation, of duty. But the man is clearly incapable of associating cause and effect or of accepting any sort of responsibility, even obvious duties clearly visible to all. If he cannot and will not accept such responsibilities which, like a respectful attendance to someone like Cindy Sheehan, when it would have cost him nothing at all, what gives anyone the reason to presume that he'd accept responsibility when it might involve a check on his actions or a limit on his desires?

Nothing Bush has done has achieved anything that would have been useful even if it had worked as his excuses stated. No matter how noble or venial the ambitions of those supporting him, all evidence suggests that the only return they get is just enough to fully compromise them, at which point the exploitation and degradation begins.

Every single choice he has made has had the effect of some form of humiliation, some loss of dignity, some loss of rights, some trespass - and with nothing to show for it other than the humiliation, the indignity, the trespass itself. It's not unreasonable to come to the conclusion that he's a bully, no different than any other bully, with no great plan and no overriding principle other than enjoying the fruits of his daily trespasses.

He shows no discrimination between enemy and ally, nor is any ideological position explored in principle other than as a means to an end of getting people to do things to other people that ordinary decency would preclude. He has betrayed even his theocon and neocon allies, exploiting their hopes ruthlessly, knowing that they, least of all, were in no position to complain of the results of their particular devil's bargains.

I don't happen to believe in a literal Antichrist - but in the sense that he seems compelled to ask "What Would Jesus Do" so that he can do the complete opposite, while piously citing his Christian Values as the justification for outraging all of them, I cannot help but think that he's as close to a literal Antichrist as I ever wish to see.

But he's certainly not of the Antiheroic stature of Faustian Satanic archetypes, so perhaps it confuses folks who expect a little romantic nobility in their evil. Well, you won't get that from George.

He's a petty, spiteful, cruel and astonishingly banal excretion of evil, the sort that revels in doing bad things and getting away with it, for no greater reason than just that. His entire biography demonstrates it, to the extent that one begins to strongly suspect that all of his "failures" were his direct intent - he'd rather fail, if failure screws over those who relied on him. It's hard to find anyone - other than Dick Cheney - who's not paid a price for granting him favor greater than the favor was ever worth. And the only reason for that is that Dick is twice as vile and understands that Bush is exactly what he is, and understanding that, can rule him completely. It's only those who expect better of him that are disappointed, and my contempt for him is minimal compared to that I extend to those who permit him to continue as he does, knowing full well what a non-biodegradable turd he is.

Of course, his greatest glee must come from watching the the toll on those closest to him, the gradual realization that his promises will never come true, their sacrifices never repaid and their hopes doomed - and that their only hope now is to somehow work around him to escape prosecution and disgrace. That they are only a little better than him, that they still have some vestigial principles to compromise is what leaves them open to such men, for his greatest joy is to crush the last vestige of innocence, cause others to betray their own good opinion of themselves, to lead them to commit atrocities and asininities in his name.

You need no more profound explanation, for it serves very well to predict his actions and explain those actions already committed. You first met this creep on the playground in kindergarten. At some point, most of you realized the only way to reason with such a creature was to clearly communicate to them that you would not give in, you would not go along, and you would rather take your chances in a fight than continue to be abused.

A fair fight, or even a lopsided fight in which he might be personally scuffed is the last thing a bully will ever do. When they understand that you don't much care what happens to you, so long as you have the satisfaction of sinking your teeth in their throat, they suddenly develop other interests.

In my personal experience, that can be true even at four to one odds.

Are you listening, Harry and Nancy? Would it help to know that I don't much care at this point what his wiretaps and files might reveal, even if I thought they were likely to be true? What acts could you have committed in secret more damnable than what you permit in public, wringing your hands in pious impotence?

Redeem yourselves.

Your public acceptance of repeated political sodomy cannot be better in any sense than the alternate. If it's the end of your political career, is that such a bad thing? I certainly would never suffer such a fate as the price for holding on to the illusion of influence - and truly, that's all that's left either of you; a threadbare illusion that fools nobody.

He's not your president. He's not MY president. There are obligations due us from him in accordance with the oath of office, oaths he has publicly bragged he's violated. His duty is to "uphold and defend the constitution." He has not. He's on record on that. He's got Alito's opinions on record as to how he might get away with doing that. It's not even a matter of debate, so the other open question - as to whether his election was ever legitimate - is moot.

Engelhardt concludes:

The urge of any criminal regime -- to ditch, burn, or destroy incriminating documents, or erase emails -- has, in a sense, already been obviated. So much of the Bush/Cheney "record" is on the record. As Karen J. Greenberg wrote, back in December 2006, "What more could a prosecutor want than a trail of implicit confessions, consistent with one another, increasingly brazen over time, and leading right into the Oval Office?"

Looking back on these last years, it turns out that the President, Vice President, their aides, and the other top officials of this administration were always in the confessional booth. There's no exit now.

Justice demands recompense, the blood of the slain cries out for justice, and in her brutal way, Providence will assure it, if we do not take steps ourselves. One way or another, payment will be had, and justice will come out of this in the end.

However, if you think it would be good for this nation to survive in recognizable form with Constitution, borders and dignity intact, bringing these criminals to dock would be a fine start.

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Naomi Wolf's Guide to Restoring Liberty in America

"Naomi Wolf: It is open season on all of us. It is time to take to the streets. "Graphictruth: If for no other reason than we must at least establish the moral high-ground before being forced to defend it.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November...

The Constitution now OFFICIALLY "Ron Paul Spam."

Alternet pointed me in this direction with barely concealed glee:

In a stunning move against supporters of a Republican candidate for President of the United States, the powers that be at, a magnet site on the conservative end of the political spectrum, has decided to censor those from the party RedState supports.

I had some hopes that I had found a conservative forum I would feel comfortable in at, and had gone so far as to create an account there. Alas, it's not so much Conservative as Authoritarian. The two concepts have become much confused over the last few decades. But anyway, the administrators and denizens of RedState have become much exercised over Ron Paul "spammers," to the extent that they have become deeply suspicious of people posting historical background about the US Constitution.

Yes, one would indeed have to be a "MoRon" to state the fundamentals of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence in order to facilitate debate about conservatism and governance.

You would think that the Constitution would be welcome on a Conservative site, it would seem to me obvious that it's the foundation of the ethos and ethics behind all that is fine and good about these United States, the essentials of our premise for civilized behavior and the responsibilities of individuals.

But such ironies are depressingly commonplace on the tighty-righty end of the blogosphere, where all things that interfere with the imposition of "Right Thought" are reacted to with a positively Stalinist fervor. Or perhaps I should say "Maoist," considering the importance TheoCons place on an ongoing Christian Cultural Revolution. I'm sure they would like to get all us "intellectuals" out into dem cotton fields, to learn the sanctity of work and politically correct thought.

Point is, though, our Constitution doesn't have much respect in evidence for "political correctness."

Nor do I. No matter who's restricting comment in the name of what sacred cow.

Attention, Ron Paul Supporters (Life is *REALLY* Not Fair). | Redstate:

By Leon H Wolf Posted in Comments (0) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Effective immediately, new users may *not* shill for Ron Paul in any way shape, form or fashion. Not in comments, not in diaries, nada. If your account is less than 6 months old, you can talk about something else, you can participate in the other threads and be your zany libertarian self all you want, but you cannot pimp Ron Paul. Those with accounts more than six months old may proceed as normal.

Now, I could offer a long-winded explanation for *why* this new policy is being instituted, but I'm guessing that most of you can probably guess. Unless you lack the self-awareness to understand just how annoying, time-consuming, and bandwidth-wasting responding to the same idiotic arguments from a bunch of liberals pretending to be Republicans can be. Which, judging by your comment history, you really don't understand, so allow me to offer an alternate explanation: we are a bunch of fascists and we're upset that you've discovered where we keep the black helicopters, so we're silencing you in an attempt to keep you from warning the rest of your brethren so we can round you all up and send you to re-education camps all at once.

Hey, we're sure *some* of Ron Paul's supporters really are Republicans. They can post at any one of a zillion Ron Paul online forums. Those who have *earned* our respect by contributing usefully for a substantial period of time will be listened to with appropriate respect. Those who have not will have to *earn* that respect by contributing usefully in the other threads... and not mentioning Ron Paul. Given a month of solid contributing, send one of us an email and we'll consider lifting the restriction on your account.

You may now resume your regularly scheduled RedState activities. Everyone but the Ron Paul spammers, that is. You can resume your regularly scheduled activities somewhere else.

P.S. Comments to this post are closed. Complaints may be directed to the contact form.

My response at RedState is reproduced here, in case it disappears suddenly.

The next sonofabitch what calls me a Liberal is gonna get it RIGHT in the cojones.

By graphictruth Posted in Comments (0) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

In response to Leon's statement about site policy regarding new posters and Ron Paul - Meta.

I'm not talking about Ron Paul here. I've got a whole blog of my own to do it, and I do ok there, thanks muchly. However, this fiat policy underlines why a lot of old-fashioned Republicans, not just "libertarians and liberals" are disenchanted with what sorts of policies and mindsets are associated with conservatism these days.

And by "associated with Conservatism," I don't actually mean "Conservative." Nope, of late, I've noted myself in agreement with Pat Buchannon, the shade of Barry Goldwater and even the John Birch Society on the pernicious tendency of those in power - and those who identify themselves with those in power - to act as if they had the Mandate of Heaven and were imbued with the Divine Right of Kings.

And for raising points that each of these folks raised from time to time, I've been called a "liberal" more times than I can recall.

Which tells me that the average conservative wouldn't recognize a genuine liberal if it ran up their pant-leg.

God only knows what would happen if I raised a genuinely liberal point of view. It's never happened, because I'd have a hard time keeping a straight face. But I have a point that the farther "right" the blog is, the more likely I'd get high fives and hosannas, if I clad the idea in the right choice of words. Which tells me that it's the way it's said that matters, and that most people are pretty iffy on the underlying concepts. That's a general observation - I could easily pull the same stunt over at dKos. But now that I'm a grownup, it just doesn't seem all that funny any more.

I'm a Centrist in terms of my view on the economy, just a teense left of dead center according to the online assays of "who you ought to vote for," but I am definitely suspicious of Authority in general and unaccountable Authority in particular.

I consider those questionnaires to be silly at best. They don't generally ask the right questions. I'm a solid fiscal conservative, a solid Constitutionalist and an advocate of every one of the Bill of Rights, in no wise excluding the Second. I've always considered myself to be reflexively conservative, in both the small and large C sense, because I've always felt that prudence is better than panic, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure and that the government that governs least, governs best.

I have a saying: "Question Authority; the answers will be on the quiz."

And indeed, that's what this whole hoopla is about. We are having a two-year long quiz, and the results will determine who the leader of this nation is, and perhaps, whether there will even be a nation by the next election. I can't ever remember the stakes being higher.

And yet, with one or two notable exceptions, getting a straight answer out of any of the candidates with anything short of a trip to Gitmo seems to be impossible. Paul is one exception, Kucinich another - and it may just be that it's due to them having nothing to lose from saying what they believe.

But then, I'm conservative enough to think a man oughtta be able to tell the truth and shame the devil, and maybe having something to lose by telling the blunt truth is, I dunno, an issue we should be concerned with.

I'll agree - the people attracted to Ron Paul can be damn annoying. Hell, a lot of them are half literate, barely capable of using a spell checker and totally unsophisticated in terms of the realities of politics. Or, in other words, people who are completely out of touch with politics, people who may never have supported any political candidate before are becoming excited. And they are very commonly people we'd refer to as "salt of the earth" folks. Not your Hollywood types, not your coastal types; we are talking about folks who own pickups because they really honestly need them, and those pickups are 4x4s because they don't see freeways all that often.

They don't talk like Liberals. I know; I talk at liberals all the time, and I listen when they talk at me, so I can tell that the fundamental assumptions are starkly different. These are practical folks, who know which end of a gun goes bang and know that meat doesn't come from the supermarket.

And whatever else I think of it, it's one of the most interesting things happening right now. It's a genuine, completely unexpected phenomenon. I mean, if I were to have been asked to lay my money down on what sort of person would be catapulted to the forefront in a situation like this, I'd have laid bets on an old-fashioned Populist; some sort of Kingfish figure. I think this may be a genuinely new thing.

I also have a strange sort of idea that acting in an Authoritarian manner tends to prove one is less than properly Authoritative on the topic.

Or in other words - if as site mods, this is the best policy that you can come up with to deal with the supporters of an actual Republican candidate you don't like, it tells me that you are trying to "shelter" your readers from some uncomfortable facts of life.

Well, good luck with that. Me, I'd rather be accused of being "liberal" than finding myself compared with an intellectual condom.

I've been involved with probably hundreds of online communities over the decades, going back to Fidonet, and this pattern always seems to lead to one end. You see, in stating that new posters need to "earn your respect" by posting in a certain way about certain topics, you make it clear that you do not welcome dissent or debate, and "newbies" are on probation.

As you point out, there are thousands of other sites out there, and there is no freer market of ideas anywhere. So what is there about Red State that would make new posters willing to post here, instead of somewhere else? Folks like me, we are of the view that we have been posting long enough, literately enough and intelligently enough that we don't need to prove a damn thing. I used to get all snorty when such authority trips were pulled, now I recognize it for what it is - an inability to deal with real, unfettered free speech and a real, unbiased free market of ideas.

The old hands will stay on for a while, and continue reinforcing each other, until about a year later, nobody is bothering to say anything, because it's all been said, and it's become less and less relevant to the world outside. When you see a plethora of baked bean recipes and dog pictures - it's time to sell the domain, because it's over.

For myself, I'll take my leave now. I find participation in declining fora to be depressing.

...and for some reason, my account was blocked almost immediately after posting, and my post replaced with an adolescent grade of mockery. The irony of the following comment and it's tagline must be seen to be believed.

Seeing as we are used to and support people exercising their property rights to set guidelines and codes of conduct.

Ahh screw it. This must be like water off a duck to you.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Pretty much, yeah, it is like water off a duck to me.

The thrust of my criticisms being underlined at this sad effort of self correction, wherein the asinine revisions of my blog (and apparently several other dissents of a more or less respectful nature) were collectively replaced with this curt notice, which took it out of the realm of a personal disagreement and into a matter of general affront to all lovers of the underlying principles of liberty, free speech and spirited public debate.

A Brief Administrative Note

By Leon H Wolf Posted in Comments (5) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Okay, we (and by "we" I mean the moderators) have had a lot of fun with the whole YouTube thing when it comes to the moRons. But it's time to take our site back for non-Ron Paul purposes. This means not letting moRon diaries overrun legitimate diaries, etc. Effective immediately, pro-Paul diaries and comments from new users will be summarily deleted, no matter how reasonable, crazy, whatever it is that they might be.

It takes us two seconds to hit the delete button on both your diary and your account, moRons. We will be enforcing this policy without exception.

Thanks, and have a nice day.

He's so cute when he's being all stern and manly, ain't he?

I'm so tempted to go register, but I'll leave that to someone willing to treat this issue as it deserves, because this "clarification" pretty much underscores the obvious; that they will tolerate NO favorable mention of Ron Paul - or indeed, any mention at all.

That's clearly the RNC policy toward Paul, clearly the RNC-controled MSM strategy. And clearly to everyone BUT RedState, both policies are in the realm of wishful thinking.

You see, these here "internet tubes" are what we refer to as a "commons," even when they lead to privately owned sites like thine and mine. Why? Well, no visitors, no comments, no traffic, no relevance. Or in other words, it may be your property, but the more you treat it as an exclusive domain, the more you will be excluded.

Yes, your property rights are fundamental - but my right to avoid your property and refuse contributing to your income stream is even MORE fundamental. When I pick YOUR site to comment on, rather than someone else's site, I'm doing YOU a favor. Not the other way around. Content is king, and Bob King is content.

But I do indeed support your RIGHT to impose this policy. You have every right to enforce that policy. I encourage you to continue to excercise your absolute constitutional right in this matter.

Of course, it's also (imho) your constitutional right to smash your testicles with a rock. It doesn't mean that people won't point and laugh, because what you are doing is not a lot smarter than smashing your own testicles with a rock. It's pure commercial suicide, political suicide and entertaining as all hell.

I can just hear other influential sites "repositioning" themselves right now. At least some must be bright enough to know that alienating anyone still considering voting for ANYONE with an "R" after their name is just plain dumb, so they will suddenly throw their gates open - for all that lovely traffic, if naught else, and for the chance of turning some toward what they see as The Light.

Tom Paine was indeed correct: "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."

Let me remind you of another principle: "The proper response to offensive speech is more speech."

RedState is a site that thrives on (and monetizes) free speech. Your free speech. But your liberty is contingent upon the principle of liberty itself, including the inalienable liberty to take issue with your mental, moral and ethical acuity. You can, of course, make sure I'm over the property line before I do it. But that simply serves to underline how accurate my criticisms must be.

And you, Joliphant, being either too intellectually lazy or to fundamentally stupid to understand the point behind the quotation you misuse as a sigline, are in fact cheer-leading the imposition of a small, localized and utterly impotent tyranny. You see, in order for a "sit down and shut up" policy to work, you have to actually keep them sitting down and shutting up. Instead, they walk away and talk more - using you as a talking point!

You may be congratulating yourself on "silencing" Ron Paul supporters - but in fact your only accomplishment is analogous to that of small children sticking their fingers in their ears and yelling "Na, na, boo boo, I can't HEAR you!"

This Martin A. Knight tantrum reminds me of some of the more memorable Communist tantrums of my youth, where the only thing they hated more than actual "cryptofacists" were people who agreed with them for the wrong reasons:

Get the %$#@ off our website and stay the %$#@ off ... Boycott this site. Get your loser friends to do so as well. Please have nothing henceforth to do with us or the GOP for that matter.

In fact, if you can pull yourself away from the porn you've been downloading in your mother's basement on Election Day please go and vote for Hillary. Vote for Reid, Kennedy, etc. Vote for sand. I would hate to have any Republican win thanks to the votes of anti-semites, Stormfronters, troofers, Code Pinkers and all the other assorted fools that "support Ron Paul."

Do you understand? Your votes are tainted. We don't want them. Sit at home. Vote for Hillary. Vote for Satan or the joint you just fried your brain dead with.

Javohl, Kamerade! Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Kindergarten!

Whatever you might think you were accomplishing with that remarkable public hissy fit, you made Ron Paul all that more credible, by demonstrating how viscerally you hate and fear the Ron Paul Revolution and all it represents, and undermined the only person on your site who's been trying to explain your position - which seems to be that you don't like Ron Paul because he opposed the war and continues to oppose it.

Well, there are rather a lot - seventy odd percent - of the American People who agree that it was either a stupid idea to begin with, incompetently executed, or an effort utterly compromised by corruption and greed - if not all three. I'm pretty sure that it's a non partisan observation to say that insisting that a super-majority of the American people are foolish, wrong, deluded, traitorous appeasers of terrorism isn't the way to usefully influence the election. Well, not if you identify "useful" with "results you would approve of."

You may be unimpressed with the "average Ron Paul supporter." But then, the Ron Paul Revolution is pretty much a mob of "peasants with pitchforks" headed straight for the doors of folks like you, folks who think they know better than the "ignorant, unwashed masses,"- and are too dim-witted to realize that events have long established that they do not.

And That is the Graphic Truth.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

BP only Energy Co. sponsoring DOE Solar Decathlon

BP Solar Decathlon promises glimpse at cutting edge solar technology.

BP (British Petroleum) - one of the few energy companies with Petroleum right IN their name - is ironically the single energy conglomerate supporting the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon, in which teams from all over the world are invited to compete in ten contests that will establish the best overall solar home design.

The contest is scored as follows:

As you can see, this is not a challenge for just one university department, it's a broad, synergistic, multidisciplinary effort.

As part of their support for the competition, BP has created a blog in which all of the teams as well as an on-site reporter will write posts throughout the competition. Visit the site: It's quite good.

I want to throw in something extra here; not because I have to, but because I can and I should. BP is quietly present all over the alternate energy map, putting their money and their name behind all kinds of green tech. And I think we should encourage that with polite applause and interested clicks.

Now, no doubt you scoff; you think they are
only in it for the money.

And I'd agree with you. I'm sure they are, because it's a damn poor company that
isn't. But they are also in it to get first crack at what will likely be very promising technologies and people. Short term profits are all very well and good, but it seems far too few companies ever have the flexibility and foresight to look beyond the horizon of fundamental technological and social change.

They must be looking ten, twenty or thirty years down the road to what technologies MUST become profitable in order for them to profit, instead of focusing on the quarterly reports to the exclusion of all else. And that means that that much less is going to dividends or executive bonuses. In other words, the Grow Light is on in the Boardroom.

So if I were just out of college, working on my first job, I'd be thinking about tucking away a few shares of BP. It's likely to still be around when you retire.


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