January 30, 2008

Mukasey Takes the Fifth for US on Torture

Attorney General Mukasey, who speaks for the United States on matters of law, could not say that torture is torture. Yes. It's truly come to be that openly Orwellian.

Everyone agrees that water boarding is torture, even Mukasey, as indicated in the following exchange with Senator Edward Kennedy:
“So let me ask you this,” Mr. Kennedy said. “Would waterboarding be torture if it was done to you?”

“I would feel that it was,” Mr. Mukasey said.

The reason Attorney General Mukasey could not admit that torture is torture is because, as the voice of the United States in legal matters, he would be admitting that the US committed torture, which is an international war crime. So, Mukasey effectively used the fifth amendment of the Constitution to avoid self-incrimination, the "self" being the United States of America. He did it on behalf of us, or should I say U.S.?

The illegality of waterboarding is not a boarder line judgment. Senator Patrick Leahy reminds us, "we prosecuted Japanese soldiers for waterboarding Americans during World War II."

Waterboarding often leads to lungs filling with water, actual drowning, not just the "simulation" of drowning. When the French committed waterboarding, during their occupation of Algeria, people died from it. French journalist Henri Alleg describes his experience during the Algerian war.

George Bush is responsible for besmirching the Country by making torture an open policy of the United States. It is a war crime for which he should face a grand jury.


New York Times, Mukasy Demurs on Torture, January 30, 2008.

January 29, 2008

This Day in 2002

January 29, 2002

President Bush delivers his "Axis of Evil" State of the Union. Speech writer David Frum later says the phrase was the fruit of being asked: "Can you sum up in a sentence of two our best case for going after Iraq?"

This fact became revealed to the public in January 2003.


Mother Jones, Lie by Lie, September/October, 2006.

January 28, 2008

Holy Shit, Literal Pun Intended

330 ft deep sink hole in Guatemala kills at least two. [More Photos]


Thanks to Is America Burning Blog for the tip-off.

January 27, 2008

So Many Blogless Days

The Palestinians continue their people-power revolution, the establishment media look at each other and shrug, the federal reserve Congress and White House take futile acts, and the presidential candidates compete for a job that will be far less relevant than what "the people" choose to do in the months and years ahead.

Meanwhile, I continue to edit an animation video to be entitled "What the Hell is a Corporation?" It's taken from a chapter in Jim Hightower's book "If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates."

January 26, 2008

Text Message Privacy

We know the technology exists for the government and corporations to systematically collect information on us, and they are using it more and more.

But short of raising a rukkus to stop that, here's an article from the mainstream media on this topic as it applies to text messaging. It includes some common sense "tips," including the use of anonymous services like AnonTxt.com. And, of course, the security of your messages depends on the people who receive your messages.


January 23, 2008

Modern Day Exodus

It should go down in history as a modern day exodus.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians poured from the Gaza Strip into Egypt...

Gazans crossed on foot, in cars or in donkey carts ... [escaping] an Israeli blockade of their impoverished territory. Across the coastal strip, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, people pushed into buses and piled into rickety pickup trucks heading to Egypt and a rare opportunity to escape months of isolation.

"Freedom is good. We need no border after today," said unemployed 29-year-old Mohammed Abu Ghazal. Desperation is driving humanity across the Egyptian boarder, like a Bible story.

US and Israeli foreign policy of crushing the Palestinians has become so unbearable that the people are fleeing the oppression. This is the "wrong side of history" as warned by Martin Luther King, Jr.

More Info and Pictures: BBC, UK Times on Line,CBS


Associated Press, Tens of thousands cross downed Gaza wall, January 23, 2008.

January 22, 2008


If the USA has "evolved" into an "advanced economy," characterized by information and high-technology rather than industrial production, why is the NASDAQ dropping 2% while the Dow Industrials only drop 1%?

OKay, OKay, I understand that "new" economies are more risky and subject to change, but that would lead one to believe the NASDAQ is the place to invest. The NASDAQ lost about 50% of its value in the 1987 crash, 50%. It's been a decade since then. One would think that the tech-industry, given that US [sic] corporations have shipped most of the production off shore, would have matured somewhat by now.

Perhaps, a smarty-pants would argue that, by it's nature, high-tech industry, our "new economy," is rife with uncertainty, and thus rife with growth 'potential' and volatility. Our economy will, for the foreseeable future, be the new-technology leader; that will be our role in the world. Great! We're sooo cool. USA is on the cutting edge. We can ship dirty old industries off shore, and focus on the new innovative stuff!

OKay. I'll buy that. But, if that's the case, isn't our economy subject, for the foreseeable future, to the volatility that is the nature of high-tech industry?


The Crash of 08?

Will today's date become famous in future history books? It already has in Hong Kong.

Those who know the US economy is running on borrowed .... money, and time, have wondered, "Will it come as a rapid crash or a slow, grinding decline?" Judging from the following numbers, it might be the former, and the time might be now.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index nose-dived 5.7 percent -- its biggest percentage drop in nearly 10 years -- to 12,573.05, a day after falling 3.9 percent. Australia's benchmark index sank 7.1 percent, the market's steepest one-day slide in nearly 20 years.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index, which slumped 5.5 percent Monday, finished down 8.7 percent. In China, the Shanghai Composite index lost 7.2 percent to 4,559.75, its lowest close since August.

I sit here at 5:30am thinking, "Should I move my investments into cash?" Since I don't play around with my money that much, 1) I'm not sure I'd be able to do it rapidly, and 2) I'm not sure it would switch over quickly enough to avoid getting caught in today's pending crash here in the US.

Geeez! Hong Kong, 5.5% Monday and another 8.7% Tuesday. That's nearly 13% in two days.


Associated Press, Asian Markets Tumble on US Worries, Yuri Kageyama, January 22, 2008.

Thanks to the comment below. Correction made.

January 21, 2008

Newspaper Editor Contacts

Under Development


New York Times: letters@nytimes.com

USA Today Letters: editor@usatoday.com

Wall Street Journal Letters to the Editor: wsj.ltrs@wsj.com

Washington Post Letters to the Editor: letters@washpost.com


L.A. Times Contact Information by Department
Letters to the Editor: letters@latimes.com

San Francisco Chronicle letters@sfchronicle.com


Chicago Tribune ctc-tribletter@tribune.com


Kennebec Journal letters@centralmaine.com

Bangor Daily News letters@bangordailynews.net

The Journal Tribune communitynews@journaltribune.com

The Times Record letters@timesrecord.com

Sun Journal jmeyer@sunjournal.com

Portland Press Herald letterstotheeditor@pressherald.com

Morning Sentinel letters@centralmaine.com


Philadelphia Inquirer Inquirer.Letters@phillynews.com

January 20, 2008

I'm Mad as Hell...

... and I'm Not Going to Take This Anymore!

January 19, 2008

"How the West was Won" by Hilary Clinton

Falling into the manifest destiny thinking, to which Hilary Clinton is a product of her Republican white upper middle class up-bringing, she declared upon wining the popular vote, but loosing the all-important delegate vote by one,
"I guess this is how the West was won"

In reality, the West was won by driving natives off of the land, and setting up the exploitative system that places economic freedoms above political freedoms. Hilary Clinton is not the person who will change this formula.


January 18, 2008

Oops! Israel Killed more Palestinian Civilians

The number of Palestinian civilians killed by Israel dwarfs the number of civilians killed by Palestinian resistors to the Israeli occupation. Below is an example of many:
3 Palestinian Civilians Killed in Ongoing Israeli Airstrikes

Three Palestinian civilians, including a thirteen-year-old were killed Wednesday when an Israeli missile hit their car. Israel called the attack an “error” and said it was targeting militants. The killings came one day after nineteen Palestinians lost their lives—the highest single-day Palestinian death toll in more than a year.

Of course it's the militants' fault, right? If they weren't resisting the Israeli occupation of their land, which began in 1948, this wouldn't have happened.


DemocracyNow headlines for January 17, 2008.

January 17, 2008

U.S. Bombings in Iraq Increased Fivefold in 2007

The following report updates my blog entry of January 11, 2008 on this topic. According to news headlines from DemocracyNow:
U.S. Bombings in Iraq Increased Fivefold in 2007

New figures from the Pentagon show the U.S. carried out fives times as many aerial bombings in Iraq last year as it did in 2006. According to the Washington Post, U.S. forces dropped more than 1,400 bombs—an average of nearly four a day. The 2006 total was 229 bombs, an average of four per week. The UN estimates at least two hundred civilians were killed in U.S. bombings from April until the end of the year. The figures come as the U.S. continues an extensive bombing campaign over Arab Jabour south of Baghdad. In one of the largest strikes since the 2003 invasion, U.S. warplanes dropped 40,000 pounds of bombs in a ten-minute span one week ago. Military experts are predicting an increase in the bombing, should the U.S. draw down its forces in Iraq. Airstrikes are also at record levels in Afghanistan. NATO bombings topped 3,500 last year, doubling the number for 2006.


DemocracyNow Headlines, January 17, 2006.

January 16, 2008

Ooops! Pakistani Outpost Liquidated?

A Pakistani outpost was recently overrun. Was the outpost of two-dozen troops liquidated, were prisoners taken or did surviving Pakistani troops switch sides?

The Knight report, er..., reports on January 16, 2008
Inside Pakistan today, there were more side effects of the US-directed military offensive against militants in the country's northwestern provinces when two dozen Pakistani troops turned up missing after rocket-armed Islamic militants overran a military outpost near the Afghan boarder.

Army spokesperson Atar Abass claimed that, "About two hundred militants charged they fort from four sides, and hey broke through the forts walls with rockets."

He also claimed that the army killed forty militants.

The annihilation of an army post is considered a landmark event in military terms. The disaster, which Afghanistan is becoming, is further evidenced by the more widely reported US troop surge reported on by Robert Knight:

President Bush is sending 3,200 more US marines to Afghanistan, ostensibly for training the US-led NATO army of occupation there. The Pentagon claims the deployment is a, "one-time extraordinary measure," but knowlegible observers are saying that the move is in anticipation of a spring offensive by militant Islamic nationalists ... 2,200 of those marines... will indeed comprise a combat unit available for sudden operations in Southern Afghanistan and near the boarder with Pakistan.

So goes the forgotten war in Afghanistan.


The Knight Report, with Robert Knight, January 16, 2008, on Flashpoints Radio.

January 14, 2008

Living in a Police State

Thinking people still say things like, "We need to be vigilant in protecting our country from falling into a police state," or statements to that effect. The reality is we are there now, but it's more subtle than the Orwellian 1984 world. It's more like the Aldus Huxley Brave New World.

Just as the 2006 Congressional elections had little effect on the Iraq war, a Democrat President in 2009 will have little effect on extricating us from the devolving police state we find ourselves in. The despotism is bi-partisan, and what's more eerie is that many of the so-called leaders don't even realize they're cogs in the police state machine. Congress votes for the USA PATRIOT Act without reading it. Congress funds a whole new "security industry" via Homeland Security outsourcing contracts; new financial interests help to lock-in elements of the police state. Hillary Clinton is duped into voting for the Iraq war and votes for a resolution to formally classify the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as "terrorists," blundering us into foreign wars. These wars are being used to justify suppression of domestic dissent and increase executive powers (can you say monarchy?).

But some in Congress, including Ron Paul who wrote an essay entitled "Is America a Police State?," do acknowledge the situation. Frighteningly, they seem powerless to reverse the rising police state tide.

Yes it's subtle, as Ron Paul notes:
The principal tool for sustaining a police state, even the most militant, is always economic control and punishment by denying disobedient citizens such things as jobs or places to live, and by levying fines and imprisonment. Peaceful control through these efforts can be achieved without storm troopers on our street corners.

He continues,

Terror and fear are used to achieve complacency and obedience, especially when citizens are deluded into believing they are still a free people. The changes, they are assured, will be minimal, short-lived, and necessary, such as those that occur in times of a declared war.

Dick Cheney, and others, aren't even saying "they'll be short-lived" anymore. They're now making statements to mold public expectations to accept perpetual war. The Office of the President now claims special war powers, which history shows will not be given up by the next President, regardless of political party.

This discussion isn't limited to radical right or left thinkers, like Ron Paul. It's in the main stream media, as evidenced in part by the PBS Frontline show entitled Cheney's Law. Yet the public stands frozen like a deer in headlights, unable to change the situation; this is another sign that we're in the grip of a police state. If this was a functioning democracy, or republic as some like to remind us, then we could change the situation. Maybe we still can.

It would be a big mistake to think all will be well when Cheney leaves. Cheney is a master of bureaucracy and social engineering, so you can be sure that he has set up turf wars, economic interests and other natural forces, to protect the police state apparatus he has helped put in place. We just gave the example of the unwillingness of the Office of the President to relinquish power once it has been gained. We've noted that there is a huge and growing "security industry," funded by the unknowing Congressional cogs in the police state machine.

Dennis Kucinich has alerted us to a provision in a recent Defense Department funding authorization bill that would give the President powers to use the US military to control domestic dissent. I stumbled across the Army's "C4ISR," which stands for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. The talk now is turning this capacity toward "Homeland Security." They take George Bush seriously, as evidenced in the following justification for directing C4ISR:

President George Bush declared war on global terrorism with a goal of eradicating it from the face of the Earth. In declaring that objective, the president launched the nation on a two-front campaign—overseas and at home.

The principle of not using the US Military for domestic policing, embodied in the Posse Comitatus Act, is eroding like the founding father's principle of not having a standing army has eroded.

I could go on and on, but will leave you with one more tid bit, the definition of a "domestic terrorism."


5) the term `domestic terrorism' means activities that--

(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

(B) appear to be intended--

(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

Note the uses of "and" or "or." If the word "and" followed Section (A), then we'd know that the acts must be "dangerous to human life," not just intended to "influence" the government by intimidation, like might be the case with a mass street demonstration.

That said, a mass street demonstration could be interpreted as being, "dangerous to human life" if the protest became violent, even if government plants prompted the violence, as has been documented in the past.

So, have you ever participated in an action to influence the government by the intimidation implied by popular discontent? Maybe, by this definition, you have conducted an act of domestic terrorism. This law is intended to chill our right to dissent against a growing police state, and most of the mindless cogs in Congress don't even realize what they have done.


January 12, 2008

Nerdfigher Project: Remake of Hank Green's Explanation

There's a saying about "death by a hundred cuts".... I don't think it was written about video editing, but... it could have been.

The video below is a video animation of Hank Green's Project for Awesome: Explanation and Humane Society. He and his brother John were spending 2007 communicating only by YouTube videos, and Hank came up with this idea of promoting charities. You have to watch the video to see the charities I'm promoting. Comment PLEASE, and tell your friends.

Nerdfighter Project for Awrsome: Human Tennis Ball

If you haven't seen Hank Green's original, here's the link.

Spread the word. Thank You.

January 11, 2008

Pure Propaganda: Air Strikes a Success

The record, logic and the physics are clear. Increased areal bombing increases civilian deaths, regardless of increased accuracy of the weapons.

In Vietnam, the US drew down troops, increased bombing and civilian deaths increased. For over a year now, in addition to troop increases in Iraq, the US has significantly increased air attacks. A resulting increase in civilian deaths has been documented by many sources.

The Associated Press reports, "Commanders tout success of Iraq strikes." [1] This is a clear propaganda piece, and unfortunately, the AP is serving as the stenographer.

We know, and AP editors know, that my opening statements are true. That's why they throw the following bone to the unwashed masses:
Despite the massive size of the air strikes, Donnelly said that to the military's knowledge, no civilians were killed. That could not immediately be independently confirmed. He added that the targeting of three targets was called off because unmanned surveillance planes showed civilians in those areas.

As a government official, I know what the phrase "to the military's knowledge" means. It means, "we know that this policy of increased use of areal bombing increases civilian deaths, but in this particular case, we don't have detailed data, so... maybe civilians didn't die."

There's an implication that the military will get back to us later when they have more "knowledge." But how many of us will ever hear about their improved knowledge on this particular case? I follow this Iraq war fairly closely, and can almost guarantee I will NOT ever hear what happened to civilians in this case, even if the military gains the "knowledge".

But I have enough knowledge to see through the propaganda. It's a pathetic embarrassment to be American in the face of this Orwellian state of affairs. So I write a stupid blog entry, and go to work. I should do better than that.

Here's the contact for the Associated Press. Refer to the article sourced below. Ask them to find out, and report back to you, how many civilians died in this particular set of air strikes.

See Update: "U.S. Areal Bombings in Iraq Increased Fivefold in 2007"

The Date in 2003
Bush tells [former] Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar he plans to go to war two days before he tells Secretary of State Powell. This fact is revealed to the public April 18, 2004 [2].


1. Associated Press, Commanders tout success of Iraq strikes, BRADLEY BROOKS, January 11, 2008.

2. Mother Jones, Chronicle of a War Foretold, Tim Dickinson and Jonathan Stein, Sept - Oct 2006.

Photo: This photo happens to be of Lebanon, but it's counter propaganda value is justified. We need an image in our mind of what "bomb" or "explosion" means.

January 10, 2008

Epson Stylus CX4200 Requires All Colors to be Replaced?

Editor's note: This is a very popular issue, and blog post. I've updated it to read more easily. Please comment below on why you're searching this topic. Thanks

I think I might have discovered why I was given a "free" Epson StylusCX4200 when buying a laptop. This article applies to more than just the CX4200.

Let me give you the bottom line:

1) As designed, you have to buy ALL colors when replacing cartridges, even if you've only been printing in black.

2) There are work-around options described below....

Probably like you, I tried to print a black document, and the ink-out light remained on, even tho I changed the black ink. Then I discovered this question posed to Epson:

Will the Epson printer still work if one of the ink cartridges is empty or missing? ("no").
FAQ answer to the question.

You'll love this one too:

Q: Why is the Epson color ink cartridge out of color ink if printing has been in black only previously?

A: The Epson printer uses small amounts of ink from each ink cartridge when printing, even if printing only in black. This is done to clear the print head (avoid clogging).

Work-Around Options:

OPTION 1: You can buy cartridge "refill kits" BUT, need a little device to re-set a micro-chip in each cartridge (even if you fill the cartridge, the micro-chip will tell the printer the cartridge is empty if the chip isn't reset):

Refilling cartridges offers the greatest economy possible for the user, as long as it is done correctly.

Original cartridges from Epson printers have a small memory chip that works as a counter. As the printer uses the cartridge, it updates that small memory. When the cartridge is empty, that circuit knows there is no more ink. Simply putting more ink in the cartridge does not enable it for use, since its chip will still indicate that the cartridge is empty.

Here is a link to learn about this resetter hardware. It costs about $20. Check to be sure it works for your particular type of epson. I cannot vouch for it, but if you plan to re-fill your cartridges, this might be the way to go.

OPTION 2: From a commet (Thanks!). Try SSC utility... free download, but is limited to PCs (not macs). It allows you to fool the epson into thinking the ink levels never go down. Wait until the ink really starts fading and then replace the cartridge with this sweet little program. It also allows resets for ink pad problems when the printer decides to stop printing all together because the cleaning pad page count has reached the predetermined number.

Good Luck, and again, please offer any advice you think helpful as a comment!

January 8, 2008

Preview of Human Tennis Ball Nerdfighter Project

You'll not find a better tennis ball animation on YouTube than the one in the following Nerdfighter Power Project for Awesome. For a taste of what's to come on January 12, 2008, take a look at the following preview.

It's an unauthorized remake of the original Project for Awesome: Explanation and Humane Societies by Hank, brother of John (no, that's not a biblical allusion).

Human Tennis Ball Project for Awesome Preview

January 5, 2008

Busy with Tball and Earth

Been busy with video editing, and learning, over the New Years holiday. The two fellows below have been dominating my time.
As has one of these.

Earth and the Human Tennis Ball

January 3, 2008

The Military's Domestic use of "Future Force"

The war at home. In a report on the role of the Army's "Future Force" enabled by C4SI (command, control, and computers, communications, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance), we find a section on domestic deployment of this force.

Finding 1-1. Homeland security is an important extension of the Army’s historical role of providing military support to civilian authorities. The Army will be called on to assist the lead federal agency, the Department of Homeland Security, in meeting a wide range of demands for consequence management and recovery of public order and critical services.

Finding 1-2. The Army National Guard, given its historical mission and flexibility, geographic dispersion, dual-mission capabilities, and frequent association with local agencies, is the key Army asset to meet homeland security demands and can be augmented as necessary with special capabilities from the Army Reserve and the active Army.

Finding 1-3. There are many similarities between military operations involving allied or coalition forces and operations involving civilian emergency responders.

SOURCE: National Research Council of The National Acadamies (2003), pp. 24, 29, and 31.

It's worth noting that the panel that convened to write the report (below) in which this 2003 report is cited, met in 2003. Consequently, a lot has probably transpired since then.


Army Science and Technology for Homeland Security: Report 2
-- C4ISR (2004)
Board on Army Science and Technology (BAST)

January 1, 2008

Hello Reykjavik, Welcome 2008

To honor a return visitor to my site, and because my transit through Iceland in September was far too brief, I thought I'd pause and smell the tundra.

First, I confess to knowing very little about Iceland, except that it's the "green" place, whereas, Greenland is the white, icy place. OK, I also know that President Reagan had nuclear weapons negotiations with the USSR in Reykjavik.

Well... I also know that it has lots of geothermal activity. I could see steam rising from the foothills and mountains as we flew out of the airport.

For those who revel in wide open spaces, Iceland seems to have much to offer. This picture of a farm in Laxa Valley gives some perspective to that.

Of course, the thermal spas, blue lagoon being the most famous, have an allure, which had me hoping we would have a longer stop-over on our way to Amsterdam. Maybe next time.

Now, I'm not sure if these "waterfalls of the Gods" are thermal spa water, or cold water (they have both in Iceland... that much I do know). Another opportunity for my Icelandic visitor to inform us.

I know these photos don't do it justice. And surely there are many more things about the history and culture that deserve mention, but alas, I have my Human Tennis Ball project awaiting me. Perhaps the visitors from Keykjavik can add a comment and some links that will help us better appreciate Iceland.

With that, I'll leave you with a sketch of the two funny guys who hope to have their fifteen minutes of fame some day. Tball hast to go lay down some video for a Nerdfighter Power Project for Awesome.

Earth and the Human Tennis Ball

Happy New Year 2008