Friday, August 08, 2008

Col. Joe Abodeely calls for Bush War Crimes Trial.

Joe Abodeely is a a former JAG lawyer, guest on the Veterans for Peace "About Face" show on KPHX.
Yannone: Joe Abodeely joins ranks with Vincent Bugliosi

Colonel Joe Abodeely told his worldwide radio audience on Saturday exactly how and why he expects George W. Bush to be prosecuted for the war crimes he committed as president of the United States. Drawing on his considerable expertise in criminal law and his accomplished military career, Colonel Joe helped those of us who want the Bush crime family held accountable to see the distinct possibility on the horizon.
It's stunning to listen to the listen to the list of precisely defined war crimes outlined in the audio clip. Here's why and how Abodeely thinks Bush should be prosecuted.

George W. Bush wanted to be a “war President”, and he liked playing “Commander in Chief”, so he must accept the responsibility. Relating to war crimes prosecutions is the concept of “command responsibility.” “Command responsibility” is also called the Yamashita standard or the Medina standard. It is the doctrine of hierarchical accountability in cases of war crimes. The doctrine of “command responsibility” was established by the Hague Conventions IV (1907) and X (1907) and applied for the first time by the German Supreme Court in Leipzig after World War I, in the trial of Emil Muller.

The "Yamashita standard" is based upon the precedent set by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita who was prosecuted, in a still controversial trial, for atrocities committed by troops under his command in the Philippines. Yamashita was charged with "unlawfully disregarding and failing to discharge his duty as a commander to control the acts of members of his command by permitting them to commit war crimes." That is what Bush and his commanders did.

The "Medina standard" is based upon the prosecution of U.S. Army Captain Ernest Medina in connection with the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War. Medina was the company commander of Lieutenant William “Rusty” Calley. The principle is that a commanding officer, being aware of a human rights violation or a war crime, will be held criminally liable when he does not take action. (Medina was, however, acquitted of all charges). Bush, his administration, and generals could be prosecuted under the doctrine of hierarchical accountability. Bush had “command responsibility” for the war crimes.

Vincent Bugliosi, famed prosecutor of Charles Manson and author of #1 New York Times bestseller Helter Skelter, writes in his new book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, that Bush should be tried for murder in American courts. He writes that the best venue would be the federal court in the District of Columbia. He thinks the U.S. Attorney should be the prosecutor. I agree, but I understand politics. The Attorney General of the United States is appointed by the President, so you see why I was talking about Obama and McCain earlier. Bugliosi believes that state prosecutors can try Bush for murder of the soldiers from each state. I don’t think most state prosecutors in America have the intellectual acuity or courage to prosecute Bush. There is too much politics involved. I can just see some mediocre state’s attorney trying to make a name for himself, starting the case, screwing it up, and setting a bad precedent for others down the road. I do think Bush must be prosecuted by a guy like Bugliosi, but very carefully.

Under the Geneva Conventions, signatory states have a duty to prosecute or extradite persons alleged to have committed violations of the law of war, regardless of whether the state was involved in the underlying conflict. The law of war recognizes prosecution by third-party countries under the principle of universal jurisdiction; therefore, a country other than the U.S. or Iraq can prosecute Bush for war crimes. A special court can be convened to prosecute or some other coalition of nations can take action against the United States and Britain for actions in Operation Iraqi Freedom for violations of international law. Russia and China are not our friends, and we have alienated “old Europe” to such an extent that rogue “political and military leaders”, including those from the U.S., can be brought before other countries’ war crimes courts. Consider the Rwanda and Yugoslavia courts. The international political climate has changed.

The International Criminal Court gives the Court jurisdiction over the crime of genocide; crimes against humanity; war crimes; and the “crime of aggression”, which has yet to be defined. The U.N. Security Council can refer a matter to the ICC if the U.S. courts fail to take action. The massive bombardment (remember Shock and Awe?) of non-military targets, the indiscriminate killing of hundreds or thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens, torture, and the occupation are war crimes requiring G.W. Bush’s accountability.

The United States is not a State which is a Party subject to the jurisdiction of the Court, but the ICC can try an American national for a war crime without the consent of the American Government where a crime committed by an American national was committed in a State other than the United States and that other State is either a State Party of the ICC Statute or has agreed on an ad hoc basis to the exercise of jurisdiction by the ICC in that particular case. An independent Iraq could consent to ICC jurisdiction to prosecute Bush and his accomplices for war crimes and genocide.

Change demands accountability by Bush for his actions. If McCain wins, it’s more of the same. If Obama wins, for there to be true change, he and the Democrat Congress are going to have to do more than just redistribute wealth. They must let the Courts and the U.N. Security Council do what they must. They must not let these criminals go free.

Joe is not some usual suspect from Huffpo or DU; here's what he says about himself:

You should also know that I am a registered Republican and have been since 1968; I voted for George W. Bush the first time; I am a fiscal conservative and a social moderate; I own guns and am a member of the NRA; I was a combat infantry unit commander during Tet 1968 in Viet Nam; I retired from the Army Reserve as a JAG officer with the rank of colonel with my last assignment at the Pentagon; and I have been a criminal law attorney since 1971 (15 years as a state prosecuting attorney). [Emphasis Added] I am not a left-wing, commie-pinko, ultra-liberal, anti-military, un-American nutcase. I love this country, and that is why I must declare that George W. Bush and his co-conspirators must be held accountable for their crimes in either a U.S. tribunal or an international tribunal or both.

I'm passing this on to all the contacts I have; ye who stumble upon this, please do likewise.

UPDATE: From Think Progress and Seymore Hirch - Yet MORE reasons!



Speaking at the Campus Progress journalism conference earlier this month, Seymour Hersh — a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist for The New Yorker — revealed that Bush administration officials held a meeting recently in the Vice President’s office to discuss ways to provoke a war with Iran.

In Hersh’s most recent article, he reports that this meeting occurred in the wake of the overblown incident in the Strait of Hormuz, when a U.S. carrier almost shot at a few small Iranian speedboats. The “meeting took place in the Vice-President’s office. ‘The subject was how to create a casus belli between Tehran and Washington,’” according to one of Hersh’s sources.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Custom Keds Create sensation, lag

Chuchill's Tommy Gun kedsshoe






Would you pay $65 or more for a pair of Keds? What if they looked like these?




I've been doing t-shirts and other products at various sites for years now, and I've never seen a swarm like the one Zazzle has had. They aren't talking about it, but if you try to do a shoe at peak hours - patience is your friend! Furthermore, every single pair is being reviewed by humans. Expect delays, and have pity on those poor humans, who are probably dreaming about being trampled by bad designs...

I don't often mention process here - this isn't generally that sort of blog. But it's my blog and I get to mention my little perseverations, especially when they have caused conspicuous gaps in posting.

Well, I needed an excuse, really. Trying to get a coherent political or ethical post out of my feeds for the last few days has been like putting lipstick on an inflatable pig. (Note to Self: T-SHIRT!!!!)

Well, then; time to do chores. This blog doesn't monetize itself! :P And that is how I literally stumbled across the new shoes. If zazzle sent out a notice about them going live, I missed it. By the time I got there, there were already hundreds, if not thousands of designs and several, if not dozens of entirely new stores.

And most - and I'm gritting my teeth saying this - are seriously competitive with MY designs!



I abhor false modesty; I'm good. I'm professional grade good. But I'm not in the same league as professionals who do nothing else - and it's clear that this product has attracted a good selection of truly hardcore graphic artists and designers. The results are stunning and I'm going to have to ramp up my game just to get noticed!

Image credits:

Chuchill's Tommy Gun
by webcarve

Hills Shoe - Wearable Artwork by Seaclans
by Seachild001

Design your own custom shoes on zazzle.com

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

One Final Chance to be seen in public with Nancy Pelosi? Thanks, I'll pass.

I am known for answering rhetorical questions; I'm also known to respond aloud to talking heads on the teevee and to answer spam.

And yes, these days anything that comes from Nancy Pelosi strikes me as probable spam before I even open it. Of course - and I don't think she GETS this - I'm not at all alone in that view.

Here's one more example of why Congress gets a 9% approval rating.

I am so excited about serving as Chair of our upcoming Democratic National Convention. In light of the extraordinary response to our 100 Days of Action campaign, I have opened up one final spot for a grassroots supporter like you to be my guest at our convention in Denver.

If you continue our momentum with a generous gift in the next 48 hours you can win this final opportunity to be my guest at our Democratic National Convention (August 25th-29th).

Please make a generous contribution of $15, $25, or more in the next 48 hours to win the final opportunity to be my guest at the Democratic National Convention. The more times you contribute in the next 48 hours, the more times you will be entered to win.

STOP TALKING TO ME AS IF I WERE A PARTICULARLY STUPID REPUBLICAN!

No, wait! I know what it reminds me more of; a begging letter from the Chrystal Cathedral! Think positive! Send Money! Get your cross from the Holy Land!

Anyway, I felt compelled to respond and share my response.
Compose Mail - Yahoo! Mail: Dear Nancy;

What an oddly apt subject line!

I'm sorry, I value my reputation rather too much to be publicly associated with you, and frankly, I don't trust the DCCC to do a better job of distributing my discretionary funds than you would personally.

Perhaps if you had followed the mandate we had given you... but you "took that off the table." If it is not yet clear to you, politics as usual is not really all that popular nor has it done anything much for democrats.

Your idea of prudent bipartisanship is admirable only if the other side is not actually a literal gang of criminals.


One starts to wonder about the ethics and crediblity of someone in such an important office who fails to consider such an obvious reality.

I believe I'll be lending my support to Cindy Sheehan.

Regards, such as they are;
Bob King



--- On Tue, 8/5/08, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, DCCC wrote:
From: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, DCCC
Subject: One Final Opportunity
To: "Bob King"
Date: Tuesday, August 5, 2008, 9:14 AM

Dear Bob,
One more chance to win a trip to the Convention!


For the second time in less than a month, you have shown that Democrats stand united in our determination to move America in a profound New Direction.

A few weeks ago, I asked you to help our candidates launch the largest grassroots mobilization effort in history, just in time for the final 100 days of the campaign. You came through with an astonishing $3 million in grassroots donations. I cannot thank you enough for your generosity and commitment to our country's future.

I am so excited about serving as Chair of our upcoming Democratic National Convention. In light of the extraordinary response to our 100 Days of Action campaign, I have opened up one final spot for a grassroots supporter like you to be my guest at our convention in Denver.

If you continue our momentum with a generous gift in the next 48 hours you can win this final opportunity to be my guest at our Democratic National Convention (August 25th-29th).

Please make a generous contribution of $15, $25, or more in the next 48 hours to win the final opportunity to be my guest at the Democratic National Convention. The more times you contribute in the next 48 hours, the more times you will be entered to win.

Your generous support is helping in so many ways. In addition to helping our candidates build their get-out-the-vote operations, your support is allowing us to stay focused, prepared, and organized and target our resources where they are needed the most.

Thanks to you, we recently purchased more than $53 million worth of television airtime in 50 of the most competitive Congressional Districts. This purchase included more than $22 million worth of airtime in districts that are currently held by Republicans.

However, as the DCCC's Executive Director Brian Wolff recently said, this was just the opening act of a many act play, so we need your help to get to work on act two, act three, and beyond.

Please make a generous contribution of $15, $25, or more in the next 48 hours to win the final opportunity to be my guest at the Democratic National Convention. The more times you contribute in the next 48 hours, the more times you will be entered to win.

There are now less than 100 days until Election Day and we still have more opportunities to elect change-minded Democrats than we can afford. Please stand with us in the next 48 hours and especially in these final 91 days.

Thank you again for your support and commitment. With your continued support, we will seize this historic opportunity to expand our Majority to create a safer, more prosperous and energy independent future for our country.

Together, we can build the foundation for Senator Obama's victory in November and secure a New Direction for America.

Best regards,
Nancy
Speaker Nancy Pelosi

P.S. Our Democratic National Convention is less than one month away. Please give a generous gift in the next 48 hours and you can win the final opportunity to be my guest in Denver. The more times you give in the next 48 hours, the more chances you will have to win.



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Monday, August 04, 2008

Rove gets told by Iowa Judge.

Not the sort of Judicial Notice Karl was hoping for:
Think Progress » Judge on Rove’s citizen arrest: ‘It’s about time.’

Last Friday, police in Des Moines, Iowa arrested four people who attempted to make a citizens’ arrest of former top White House aide Karl Rove, who was in town to speak at a GOP fundraiser. A retired minister and three members of the Des Moines Catholic Workers community were cited for trespassing. However, according to a press release, the judge presiding over the case praised their efforts:

[Mona] Shaw was the first called before Polk County Fifth Judicial District Associate Judge William Price.

After entering her plea, the judge asked Shaw, “Mamn, what were you doing at the Wakonda Country Club?”

“I was attempting to make a citizen’s arrest of Karl Rove, your honor,” Shaw answered.

“Well,” the judge looked up and said, “it’s about time.”"
And who said nothing good ever came from Polk County? :P

BTW, as the police were apparently aware of the intent of the four, would it not have been their duty to facilitate the arrest, rather than obstructing it? If there is any meaning to be had in the term "obstruction of justice," this would be a direct example of it.

The comments at Think Progress are fascinating. Clearly, this new sense of citizen empowerment and second-amendment based activism is making conservative heads explode. And yes, I did say "second amendment."

You have two arms. Go uphold the Constitution.

Oh, OB Nevada, Karl Rove hales from Sparks, and drops by from time to time.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Pinhole Lenses: More than Meets the Eye; Less than I'd Hoped.

You may have seen ads for glasses with pinhole lenses. You probably think they rank right up there with the "x-ray specs" found in the back of old comic books. Nope. These suckers work.

I was approached by the webmaster of pinhole-glasses direct who flattered my ability to describe things. Well, flattery works to a point, but not to the point that I'll review a product blind. However, as a person who has nearly been blind and has always had some sort of optical prosthesis, I found the whole idea of pinhole lenses inherently interesting.

Anyway, I took a look at the sight (pun intended); was instantly beskepticled (ibid) and told them that I'd need a pair to check out and would not promise a positive review. One small thing gave me hope and pause.

Please Note: Pinhole glasses are meant to be used only for stationary viewing. It is dangerous to use them when you are moving as it affects peripheral vision of the eyes.

When there are warnings attached to something, it strongly implies that whatever it is, it succeeds in doing something.

Anyway, they came, I tried them and they work, kinda, sorta. Well enough that the concept is well worth exploring, not so well that I could use them to entirely replace my glasses. They do work better the longer you wear them, and for people with mild prescriptions, I think they are well worth trying out. If nothing else, they are an lusciously cool accessory; kind of Fellini Goes Punk and they are obscenely comfortable.

For hand crafters, I'd suggest buying three or more and hand-painting them.

The first thing these people need to do is market what they have as a fashion accessory. Coat the lenses in various colors. Have a rainbow of frames. And then, get in contact with the technical people at Zazzle.com to see about creating a product that's ideal for printing on. Here's a quick concept sketch.
There are any number of places where specialty-printed wraparounds would be popular. Sports events, for one. But consider how cool it would be to have shades that match your shoes and bag. Totally boutique! And right now, it's becoming possible to stock a boutique with art-printed originals. I think the existing material really lends itself to that application; it has a stiffness and conformability that should make it possible to create a single-piece printable product. It will probably require a simple frame, but that should be straightforward.

I wrote large parts of this review while wearing them. I'm extremely astigmatic and have artificial fixed focus lenses in my eyes after developing cataracts. Well, these do actually correct my astigmatism, and I can see the downside to moving your head - your vision blurs suddenly. I found that my brain compensated very quickly, both for the oddly spotty (literally) vision (referred to on the site as "the honeycomb effect") and the drastic reduction in the total amount of light. (Not a downside here in Nevada, I should add.)

I've never really had peripheral vision that I can recall until I did get my new lenses installed. I used to be so extremely near-sighted that the world was a blur without my coke bottles, and my brain is used to relying on peripheral vision for motion detection alone. Your mileage may vary on this point, but AS a point, it could be easily addressed by making a wraparound style.

I think it may also enhance the brain's ability to detect motion - I think it would be a great idea to get some data on this; if so, these might be of use in sport protection goggles.

I did try wearing them over my bifocals and found that suddenly my entire field of vision was available with full sharpness - indeed, sharper (if dimmer) than my corrected vision alone, and without the annoying search for a "sweet spot." It's very difficult to tell exactly, how well it would work with the pinhole layer actually integrated with a prescription lens - but my intuition and crude experimentation says that it's well worth finding out.

From the site:

Pinhole Glasses are special tools
In Pinhole glasses, holes of 1-1.5mm are spaced regularly using laser technology.

Yeah, that would probably be better. These pinholes are molded sheet plastic and I suspect that it's a stock sheet that is not really designed for the task. Nonetheless, it certainly does work. And the fact that the holes are actually conical in cross section may be a feature. It may not be. More data is required, and I've no way to go further along these lines.

Standard boilerplate continues, likely cribbed from some wiki. It's also clear that the English version of the site is written by someone who is quite sure they write fluent English.
Alas, no.

They may not be suitable for use in some instances.

Wearing pinholes affect your peripheral vision. They should not be used when you are driving or while moving about. It reduces the amount of light entering your eyes. Therefore, it cannot be used in environments having dim light. Wearing pinhole glasses does not prevent harmful UV rays from entering the eyes. So, do not use them to view the sun. It is also not useful for people measured as requiring lens of more than 6 diopters. Other eye problems like diffraction will prevent them from experiencing any significant benefits upon wearing pinholes.

It is always advisable for young people to avoid using any visual aid. Working on their eye muscles can improve their vision considerably.

As I said, the entire site comes across as a scam; this is not aided by their promotion of expensive "acupressure goggles."

As it happens, I'm not at all skeptical about acupressure; what I am skeptical about is the ability to automate an intuitive art, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

To say that the links to supporting science for these products is sketchy is charitable. But leaving the accupressure goggles aside completely, there is a great deal of science, history and experience behind the use of pinhole lenses and the application of some real optical science to the matter would result in a better site and a far, far better product.

Guys; Go thou forth and find ye an optician and an optical physicist!

Meanwhile a set of these plus a workbook on the optical effect is well worth marketing to science classes - with various editions for college, middle schools and lower grades. It's possible to directly observe the physical principles at work far more clearly than by other means.

I'd suggest connecting with education writers and publishers. That could nicely fund further R&D - or indeed, produce the same results for free from fascinated bespectacled minds.

I wish I understood the physics better myself, but I have a few questions based on what little I do understand, and I hope someone will contribute answers.

Would smaller holes in a tighter array work? Because it they would work, they would work better. I did a quick experiment using a flyswatter that has square holes much more closely spaced. It worked, but not as well. However, it worked in such a way that it was easier to bring a line of text into focus.

Does the plastic have to be opaque? Because if the plastic were sun-glass lenses, that would definitely improve the experience.

Would a thin film with ideal sized holes (laser drilled, perhaps) work if applied to ordinary clear or tinted lenses? Could the film be printed instead of drilled?

And would it make sense to consider creating pinhole/slit arrays specifically for individuals?

The advantage would be that you might be able to literally PRINT lenses, or use any number of inexpensive Computer Aided Machining tools to produce something that would work well enough at a very, very low cost per unit - and this could make a huge difference in the third world. Heck, it would be pretty darn cool right here. But this needs to be stated strongly: What exists right now is good enough to make a huge difference in the third world.

Finally, if you took a hologram of an ideal constructed pinhole matrix and lens combination and put it in a frame - would that work? I seem to recall something to the effect that hologram lenses were used in satellite cameras, to save weight, and I've always wanted my glasses to be as light as physically possible.

pinhole glasses - http://www.pinhole-glasses-direct.com/

pinhole glasses - http://www.pinhole-glasses-direct.com/order.html

pinhole glasses - http://www.pinhole-glasses-direct.com/faq.html

pinhole eyeglasses - http://www.pinhole-glasses-direct.com/alternativeprescriptioneyeglasses.html

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