S.M.B. - Logic and Rhetoric
Saturday, May 03, 2003
BIG MEDIA RECORD COMPANIES = EEEVIL
Some of the world's biggest record companies, facing rampant online piracy, are quietly financing the development and testing of software programs that would sabotage the computers and Internet connections of people that download pirated music, according to industry executives.
The record companies are exploring options on new countermeasures, which some experts say have varying degrees of legality, to deter online theft: from attacking personal Internet connections so as to slow or halt downloads of pirated music to overwhelming the distribution networks with potentially malicious programs that masquerade as music files.
Until now, most of the industry's anti-piracy efforts have involved filing lawsuits against companies and individuals that distribute pirated music. Last week, four college students who had been sued by the industry settled the suits by agreeing to stop operating networks that swap music and pay $12,000 to $17,500 each.
Interest among record executives in using some of these more aggressive programs has been piqued since a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled last month that StreamCast Networks, the company that offers Morpheus, and Grokster, another file-sharing service, were not guilty of copyright infringement.
A generation of music buyers hates them, not because they don't want people to share music, but because they're greedy. One CD costs a few pennies to make, one CD costs us 20 dollars. A Beatles CD is 20 dollars even though 2 out of 4 Beatles are dead. These companies do not simply screw over musicians, they are not loyal at all to their musicians and do not sleep on any opportunity they have to screw over their musicians. The big record companies don't care about music, they care about MONEY. I'm not crying for the multi multi billion dollar record industry, especially not when they're extorting from kids the equivalent of their college tuition for sharing music...
HOWIE HELPS A LADY
COLUMBIA, S.C. -Democratic presidential candidate and physician Howard Dean on Friday aided a woman who collapsed and struck her head outside an ice cream shop.
The incident happened when Dean, on his way to the South Carolina Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson dinner, stopped at a Ben & Jerry's, appropriate for the former Vermont governor. Dean was in town for Saturday's Democratic presidential primary debate.
MAJOR PARTS OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAW STRUCK DOWN BY COURT; WHAT'S FURIOUS GEORGE GONNA SAY?
The Washington Post:
A three-judge panel in Washington struck down several major provisions of the new campaign finance law this afternoon in a much-awaited ruling, setting the stage for a final showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court later this year that will determine the shape, style and bank accounts of the nation's major political campaigns.
Nearly five months after the McCain-Feingold law was argued before the panel, most of the soft money prohibitions were declared to be unconstitutional by a 2-1 majority, possibly clearing the way for major political parties to begin raising the large, unregulated sums of money from corporations, trade unions and wealthy individuals that critics said had plagued major election campaigns during the past two decades.
That decision, like the other parts of the new law declared to be unconstitutional, is effective immediately, the panel ruled.
Thursday, May 01, 2003
GLOBAL TERRORISM AT ITS LOWEST LEVEL SINCE 1969 SAYS DEPARTMENT OF STATE
So, we wonder, why are the rightwing ducks so paranoid, delusional, buck wild? Why are they going after Arab Americans with such ferocity? Why are they unrelenting in their media sponsored campaign to convince Americans that we should hate Arabs? Here's some of the story:
The State Department, in its annual report on global terrorism, says the number of terror attacks declined sharply last year due to increased international cooperation and resolve. Seven countries - Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, and Sudan - were again listed as state sponsors of terrorism, though Iraq may soon come off the list.
The State Department says there were 199 terrorist attacks last year, a 44 percent drop from 2001 and the lowest figure in more than 30 years.
OH GOODY GOODY!!!!! : )
A total of 725 deaths were attributed to terrorism, a dramatic decline from the nearly 3,300 recorded the previous year, which included the victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States.
I bet many more Americans were stricken by lightning than died because of terror.
AND DESPITE THIS NEWS, THE GOVERNMENT CONDUCTED A RECORD AMOUNT OF COURT APPROVED WIRETAPS...
This is what Demon Johnny (Ashcroft) is up to:
The government disclosed Thursday it requested and won approval for a record 1,228 warrants last year for secret wiretaps and searches of suspected terrorists and spies, a reflection of aggressive efforts to prevent terror attacks in the United States.
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft disclosed the figures in a mandatory, two-paragraph report to the administrative office of the U.S. courts. Last year's total was significantly higher than the 934 warrants approved in 2001 and the 1,003 approved in 2000.
The FBI often uses these specialized warrants -- issued under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- to record the telephone calls and e-mails of citizens and immigrants believed to be agents of a foreign power.
WHO GETS TO CHOOSE who is a foreign agent or traitor and who is not? Will Ashcroft release a report clearing the names of those who were "suspected" terrorists or spies, but were innocent? Does he care if the innocent are clumped with the guilty?
Operating with permission from a secretive federal court that meets regularly at Justice Department headquarters, the FBI has broken into homes, offices, hotel rooms and automobiles, installed hidden cameras, rummaged through luggage and eavesdropped on telephone conversations.
Besides break-ins, agents also have pried into safe deposit boxes, watched from afar with video cameras and binoculars and intercepted e-mails. They have planted microphones, computer bugs and other high-tech tracking devices.
Details about some FBI techniques emerge from court records spread across dozens of cases. But only a fraction of these surveillances each year result in any kind of public disclosure, so little is known outside classified circles about how they work.
This is the United States. Bush and Ashcroft seem to like Soviet surveillance methods better...
Wednesday, April 30, 2003
ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN ASHCROFT REJECTED BY NEWLY CREATED BRIDE OF ASHCROFT
The Onion reports:
WASHINGTON, DC—Attorney General John Ashcroft's quest for a companion to ease the pain of his lonely and tormented existence was dealt a severe blow Monday, when he was rejected by the newly created "Bride Of Ashcroft."
Unwrapped from bandages at a press conference, the ungodly Bride twitched grotesquely several times before turning to face her would-be mate. Reporters in attendance said the Bride recoiled upon setting her eyes on Ashcroft's horribly misshapen visage, letting out a blood-curdling scream.
"When the lovestruck Attorney General tried to embrace the Bride, she shunned him, just as the entire world has shunned him," CNN reporter William Hurlbut said. "It was truly tragic."
Despondent, Ashcroft roared with despair as all hope of finding a wife deserted his tortured brain.
"Love... death... hate... living..." Ashcroft said.
Wow, they're good...
PIZZA HUT AND BURGER KING HIT IRAQ BEFORE A NEW GOVERNMENT DOES!!!
I could not possibly make this up. This is simply too crazy to be fake:
The borders are still shut and the diplomats have yet to travel, but envoys from Pizza Hut and Burger King have arrived in Iraq.
The two fast food giants set up their first franchises inside the war-torn country, while many aid convoys waited on the borders for the war to officially end.
The arrival of the two restaurants - sited inside giant trailers on a British military base near Basra - won a rapturous welcome from soldiers, whose limited range of rations lost their appeal many weeks ago.
I'm sure the appeal was lost, there is yet some good in this, as wacky as this sounds...
Fast food outlets are common in US bases, including Camp Doha in Kuwait, but it is believed to be the first time they have been sited inside a British military base.
Another officer, who was directly involved in the franchise process, said: "It's an Americanism, we usually have them off the base, but because it is still a war zone we have to give them protection."
Permission to open the restaurants was granted through the Army and they will be run by existing franchise holders from Kuwait, with a percentage of any profits going to charity.
IT DIDN'T OCCUR TO THEM THAT THE IRAQIS COULD HATE BOTH SADDAM AND FURIOUS GEORGE...
From the New York Times:
The struggle for power in postwar Iraq came sharply into focus today as Shiite and Sunni Muslims united in a demonstration that railed against both the United States and Saddam Hussein, while an Iraqi exile backed by the Pentagon emerged from well-guarded seclusion in an exclusive club to stake a claim to a role in Iraq's future.
At overflow Friday prayer services at the huge Abu Hanafi Mosque, a Sunni religious center that opened its doors to members of the rival Shiite sect in a rare demonstration of solidarity, hostility toward the Americans and the desire for an Islamic Iraq were on display.
"CHRISTIAN" FASCISM AND THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION
This is an old story about the Pentagon's invitation to Reverend Franklin Graham to speak at its Good Friday service, a few weeks ago...
ARLINGTON, Va. — Pentagon chaplains say they have no intention of withdrawing a Good Friday speaking invitation to a controversial Christian evangelical leader who has called Islam “wicked, violent and not of the same God.”
The evangelist has since said that he was “not attacking Muslims.” But in his latest book, “The Name,” Graham writes that Christianity and Islam are enemies, locked in a “classic struggle that will end with the second coming of Christ.”
Graham has participated in Pentagon religious services at least twice in the past three years, attracting large crowds each time, Campbell said in a Tuesday interview in his Pentagon office.
Yet although Graham’s upcoming engagement has been posted on the Pentagon chaplain’s Web site for the past three months, it was just last Friday that three members of the building’s Muslim community voiced their concerns about the speaker, the chaplain said.
The Muslims “expressed their concern about [Graham’s] view of the Islamic faith,” Campbell said. “They weren’t asking us to do anything [about Graham’s engagement] this year. They said, ‘We’re just trying to raise the level of sensitivity in the future.’”
“It was a very reasonable request, and one we will certainly take into consideration,” Campbell said.
“We have made a commitment,” he said. “While I, personally, would not agree with some of Rev. Graham’s comments and observations, I would defend his right to have his religious views as part of the freedom we have as Americans.”
COLIN POWELL ADMITS UNITED STATES PLAYED A MAJOR ROLE IN THE OVERTHROW OF CHILE'S DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED LEADER IN 1973
WASHINGTON - When a student asked Secretary of State Colin Powell about the 1973 military coup in Chile, the retired general turned diplomat made no secret of his deep misgivings about the U.S. role) in that upheaval.
"It is not a part of American history that we're proud of," Powell said, quickly adding that reforms instituted since then make it unlikely that the policies of that Cold War era will be repeated.
The matter might have ended there had not Washington operative William D. Rogers taken notice of Powell's televised comment. Rogers served under Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1975-76 as the department's top official on Latin America and maintains a professional relationship with Kissinger.
In a highly unusual move, the State Department issued a statement that put distance between the department and its top official. The statement asserted that the U.S. government "did not instigate the coup that ended Allende's government in 1973" — a reference to the elected president, Salvador Allende.
Rogers was concerned that Powell's comment was reinforcing what he called "the legend" that the Chile coup was a creation of a Kissinger-led cabal working in league with Chilean military officers opposed to Allende. He called the department legal office to point out that there was a pending law suit against the government and Powell's comment was not helpful.
Rightly or wrongly, Kissinger has been linked to the coup that brought Gen. Augusto Pinochet's military government to power.
Rogers said the Chilean military acted not because the United States urged it to do so, "but because they believed that had the Allende regime continued much longer, Chilean liberties would be irretrievably lost."
THEY PUT A DICTATOR INTO POWER TO PROTECT, P-R-O-T-E-C-T, liberties?!?!?!?! OH JESUS, not even Clinton has said anything like that! So Kissinger actually believed that a dictator would defend and protect civil liberties BETTER than a republic... That's rubbish, these guys ain't good at lying...
Monday, April 28, 2003
BOB HERBERT COLUMN ON RACIST FEDERAL DRUG WAR TASK FORCE IN TEXAS
A grand jury in Texas has indicted the ex-cop who conducted a slimy undercover operation that devastated much of the black community in the small Panhandle town of Tulia.
But we should hold off on the champagne toasts. The perjury indictment against Thomas Coleman, a self-styled "deep undercover" narcotics agent who concocted one of the worst criminal justice atrocities of recent years, is not really that big a deal.
Thirteen of the people improperly targeted by Mr. Coleman's racist, lunatic investigation are still locked in the hellish environment of Texas state prison. And the lies that Mr. Coleman is accused of telling under oath were not directly related to his investigation in Tulia, which has now been officially discredited.
It would be outrageous if Mr. Coleman was nailed for perjury but the higher-ups who enthusiastically encouraged his activities — and prosecuted and imprisoned his victims — were allowed to escape all responsibility for their actions.
Mr. Coleman's undercover operation and his uncorroborated, unsubstantiated testimony led to the imprisonment of more than three dozen individuals, nearly all of them black. When the defendants were rounded up in a humiliating series of arrests on July 23, 1999, the police found no guns, no drugs and no money.
Why should ANYBODY have one iota of respect or regard for the justice system in Texas if they don't even double check witnesses before they line up innocent people to go to jail for up to 90 years? I have no respect for it...
Kalonji would be proud...
Cadillac Sixteen is a sleek machine of exquisite excess, with 16 cylinders (hence the name) generating no less than 1,000 horsepower. "The Sixteen is a modern interpretation of everything that made Cadillac the standard of the world, and can again," proclaimed Robert Lutz, the head of G.M. North America and director of product development. All you need to do to open the front door is stroke it gently.
THIS IS THE BUSH ECONOMY
CUTBACKS IMPERIL HEALTH COVERAGE FOR STATES' POOR
WASHINGTON, April 27 — Millions of low-income Americans face the loss of health insurance or sharp cuts in benefits, like coverage for prescription drugs and dental care, under proposals now moving through state legislatures around the country.
Many state officials are pleading for federal help as they face an array of painful trade-offs, often pitting the needs of impoverished elderly people for prescription drugs and long-term care against those of low-income families seeking basic health coverage.
In response to the turmoil in the states, moderate Republicans on Capitol Hill have joined Democrats in seeking legislation that would provide additional federal aid for Medicaid, which is financed by the federal government and the states.
"You can't have cuts of the magnitude the states are undertaking without it ultimately harming health care for some of the most vulnerable low-income citizens in this country," said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, a chief sponsor of the legislation. Another sponsor, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, said, "You don't go down without a fight on this thing."
A bad situation, brought to us by the Bush Administration's anti-robinhood antics on behalf of rich people.
The Bush administration has opposed such legislation. Administration officials and many House Republicans say Medicaid, created in 1965 as a pillar of the Johnson administration's Great Society agenda, is unsustainable in its current form. Despite recent efforts to slow its growth, the cost of Medicaid has increased 25 percent in two years and more than 50 percent since 1997, and enrollment is rising at the fastest pace in a decade.
Well atleast the President cares about our nation's health...
Medicaid insures one-fifth of all children in the United States and helps pay for two-thirds of all nursing home residents, many of them from middle-class families whose assets have been depleted by nursing home costs, which average more than $50,000 a year.