"They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening"
- George Orwell - 1984

Saturday, October 20, 2007

It's Not Friday......

But this song makes me smile.

There are some good things about youtube, and this is an example of that. It's opened up a lot of really cool music to me. Stuff I would never have heard before. Some of the retro 80's stuff is really, really good!

Illegals OK'd to Drive in N.Y.

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer has started a major political fight over immigration by ordering state officials to issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens, prompting at least one county legislature to defy the executive order and pushing toward a showdown in court.

The embattled governor's order has drawn some acerbic commentary, including a cartoon showing Osama bin Laden as a New York City taxi driver. After spending months trying to deflect charges that he used state police to target the Republican leader of the state Senate, Mr. Spitzer appears eager for a fight over this contentious issue.

"The rabid right that wants to pile on and use this to demagogue the issue will not carry the day in New York state," he said recently. "Those who view this as a political issue once again are taking the state in the wrong direction."

The driver's license issue has once again put the governor at odds with New Yorkers. When New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who inJune abandoned the Republican Party, criticized the order recently, the Democratic governor shot back that the mayor was "dead wrong, factually wrong, legally wrong, morally wrong, ethically wrong."

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani joined the list of opponents this week. "Governor Spitzer should not give licenses to illegals," he told the Republican Jewish Coalition on Tuesday. "It doesn't make sense."

The issue heated up late last week, when the Monroe County legislature defied the governor and ordered its county clerk to require anyone seeking a driver's license to provide a valid Social Security number. The decision runs counter to Mr. Spitzer's order, in which illegal aliens with valid foreign passports would be eligible to obtain a state driver's license.

Again, Mr. Spitzer was defiant: "I hate to say it — the clerks have to enforce it," he said. "The clerks who issue driver's licenses are agents of the state. They do not make state law on this. State government does."

In another move, 29 clerks, all but one a Republican, voted to oppose the plan, with 13 vowing to directly disobey the governor, even if ordered to comply. The clerks said their offices would be hard-pressed to determine the legality of applicants.
Story Here

Baby Chickens!

Our little chicks arrived today! They're all so fuzzy and cute. We were expecting 25 (24 hens, and a rooster), but the hatchery was nice enough to throw in 5 more, so now we have 30.

So here they are:

And we've determined that this guy is the cockeral, or 'rooster chick', for the layperson. :P

Friday, October 19, 2007

New US Visas Offered to Crime Victims

7 Years After Authorization, New US Visas Offered to Crime Victims Who Are Illegal Immigrants

Eleuterio Rodriguez Ruiz poses in his Sacramento, Calif. apartment Friday, October 12, 2007. Rodriguez Ruiz was among those who qualified for a "U" visa because he was the victim of a crime when he and six others were held at gunpoint as they entered the country illegally in April of 2005. Seven years after Congress passed legislation to protect from deportation crime victims who are illegal immigrants, the federal agency charged with administering those visas finally starts processing them this week.

Illegal immigrants who are victims of violent crimes in the U.S. can now apply for special visas, seven years after Congress offered protection against deportation to those who cooperate with law enforcement agencies.

The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services is finally starting to process the visas this week, agency spokeswoman Marilu Cabrera said.

The long delay occurred largely because the agency drafted rules for issuing the so-called "U" visas before it became a division of the then-new Department of Homeland Security, she said. Consequently, the rules had to be reviewed again. Then the Department of Justice had concerns, she said.

"It is legally very complex, and so it went back and forth for a while," Cabrera said.

The 2000 Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act established the visa to encourage illegal immigrants to report crimes against them in return for the right to remain in the United States and eventually apply for permanent residency.

"This is an extremely important visa for individuals who have been victims of a crime," Cabrera said. "It is helpful for the government that we get information and cooperation so we can solve these crimes and prevent future crimes. For the person, it gives them peace of mind and an opportunity for a new life."

The law authorized up to 10,000 "U" visas every year. The visas are good for up to four years, and visa holders who are in the U.S. continuously for three years can apply for permanent residency.

Critics are concerned about that provision.

"I would much prefer that we used it as a temporary visa, not an immigrant visa something that allowed a person to testify but didn't give them the jackpot of a green card," said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors limits on immigration.

Ed Hayes, the Kansas director of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, is more vigorous in his opposition to the program. He argues that there are many more American victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants than illegal immigrants who are crime victims.
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Man Tasered For Filming Warrantless Police Search

A man from Portland Oregon is suing police for unlawful seizure with excessive force after officers fired a Taser and bean bag rounds at him when he refused to stop filming a warrantless search of his neighbour's property last year.

According to a report in The Oregonian, Frank Waterhouse claims that on May 27, 2006 he was brutally assaulted by police when officers followed a sniffer dog onto the property in pursuit of a fleeing suspect.

Waterhouse says that the dog keyed on a car, prompting officers to break out a window which upset residents who maintain that no one ran onto the property. It was at that point that an angry resident grabbed a video camera and started to film the police search.

The Oregonian report states:

When one woman was told to stop recording, she gave the video camera to Waterhouse. He walked to the edge of the property, climbed up a dirt embankment and continued to record. At one point, he yelled to his friend, "Yes, I got it all on film. They had no right to come on this property."

He says in the suit that police immediately came after him, and yelled at him "put it down." Officers moved towards him, and he said, "Don't come after me." Waterhouse said seconds later he was shot with a bean bag gun and a Taser and fell to the ground.

Need a Laugh?

A little lighthearted humor. :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Woman Accused of Being a Potty Mouth

Talk about a potty mouth. A Scranton woman who allegedly shouted profanities at her overflowing toilet within earshot of a neighbor was cited for disorderly conduct, authorities said. Dawn Herb could face up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $300.

"It doesn't make any sense. I was in my house. It's not like I was outside or drunk," Herb told The Times-Tribune of Scranton. "The toilet was overflowing and leaking down into the kitchen and I was yelling (for my daughter) to get the mop."

Herb doesn't recall exactly what she said, but she admitted letting more than a few choice words fly near an open bathroom window Thursday night.

Her next-door neighbor, a city police officer who was off-duty at the time, asked her to keep it down, police said. When she continued, the officer called police.

Mary Catherine Roper, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union in Philadelphia, took issue with the citation.

"You can't prosecute somebody for swearing at a cop or a toilet," she said.
Story Here

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Verizon Offers Details on Records Releases

Verizon Communications says it has provided federal, state and local law enforcement agencies tens of thousands of communication and business records relating to customers based on emergency requests without a court order or administrative subpoena.

In an October 12 letter to members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, a senior Verizon official says that from 2005 through this September there were 63,700 such requests, and of those, 720 came from federal authorities.

The company refused to discuss the content of those requests outside the several examples provided in the letter.

The letter came in response to a request from the panel seeking information from telecommunication firms about the extent of their cooperation with government entities, especially concerning the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program that started weeks after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

"There is an atmosphere of ambiguity which clouds this entire area," Rep. Edward Markey, D-Massachusetts, said in an interview with CNN. "Congress needs to know. The American people need to know what the Bush administration is doing in the name of the American people to its own citizens. And right now we don't know the answers."

AT&T and Qwest Communications International also submitted information to the committee, but Verizon's response was the most detailed. It said that from 2005 through September it received almost 240,000 requests from government agencies.

The information authorities sought often came along with a warrant from the classified intelligence court authorizing a wiretap or through an administrative subpoena, for example, seeking an Internet address.

The emergency requests, however, were some of the more surprising data provided. Some of the emergency situations Verizon said it assisted in included locating the Internet address of a child predator who had abducted a 13-year-old girl (who was then found due to that information) and helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents track down a man using a webcam to broadcast the sexual abuse of a 6-year-old boy.

In its letter to Congress, Verizon said that the emergency requests were legal and that private companies do not have "all the information necessary to completely assess the propriety of the government's actions."

"Placing the onus on the provider to determine whether the government is acting within the scope of its authority would inevitably slow lawful efforts to protect the public. When an emergency situation arises, prompt assistance is often needed," wrote Randal Milch, Verizon's senior vice president and general counsel.

The extent of cooperation between the nation's telecommunication firms and the government, especially in the counterterrorism arena, has been of intense interest to civil liberties advocates as well as members of Congress.

In May 2006, USA Today reported the National Security Agency had been collecting the records of tens of millions of customers from various companies. A former Qwest executive has said he decided not to participate in that program because of its questionable legality.

Verizon, AT&T and Qwest are all facing lawsuits about their possible participation in various government efforts and therefore have said they cannot comment.

The Justice Department has invoked the "state secrets" privilege to prevent the firms from confirming or denying possible involvement in specific intelligence operations.

Wayne Watts, AT&T's senior executive vice president and general counsel, wrote, "Our company essentially finds itself caught in the middle of an oversight dispute between the Congress and the executive relating to government surveillance activities. ... Disputes of this kind need to be resolved through accommodation between the two political branches of government."

Verizon, which has about 30 million phone and 70 million wireless subscribers, also disclosed it had received subpoenas for more detailed information about whom a person under investigation had called.

Not only had authorities sought information about the person called but wanted to know whom, in turn, that person then communicated with -- a "calling circle" or "community of interest."

The company said it did not provide that information because it doesn't keep such records. Government officials have said there was a standard that had to be met before making that type of request.

However, in light of an ongoing Justice Department audit concerning abuses by the FBI of administrative subpoenas and misreporting of their use, the bureau has said it has temporarily stopped asking for "community of interest" data.

"It is important to emphasize that it is no longer being used pending the development of an appropriate oversight and approval policy, was used infrequently, and was never used for e-mail communications," FBI spokesman Mike Kortan told CNN last month.
Story Here

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mexican UCLA Professor Calls for Revolt Inside US

The Dair El Zor Hoax

Why are the Israelis lying about striking a "nuclear facility" in Syria?

The great "mystery" arising out of the recent Israeli strike at Syria – purportedly targeting a nuclear-related site near the town of Dair El Zor in the northern part of the country – has been the subject of much speculation, but its real purposes have been hidden behind the veil of obfuscation deliberately thrown over the affair by the Israelis and their media amen corner. The gale winds of another Israeli propaganda campaign are blowing at full force across the American media landscape, perpetrating a hoax of outrageous proportions: namely, that the Israelis knocked out a nascent nuclear facility. In a replay of the disastrous Judith Miller fabrications, the Times makes it look like the Syrians, with North Korean assistance, had constructed a nuke plant that was just about to go online:

"The attack on the reactor project has echoes of an Israeli raid more than a quarter century ago, in 1981, when Israel destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq shortly before it was to have begun operating. That attack was officially condemned by the Reagan administration, though Israelis consider it among their military's finest moments. In the weeks before the Iraq war, Bush administration officials said they believed that the attack set back Iraq's nuclear ambitions by many years."

What a lot of nonsense. The Iraqis had completed a nuclear facility that was fully operational and could have produced weapons-grade materials. The Syrian project has been going nowhere for 40 years, as Joseph Cirincione, author of Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons and a senior fellow and director for nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress, informs us:

"It is a basic research program built around a tiny 30 kilowatt reactor that produced a few isotopes and neutrons. It is nowhere near a program for nuclear weapons or nuclear fuel."

Who cares about facts when you've got a perfectly good excuse to run a sensational headline? In any case, "many details remain unclear," as the Times piece puts it, which gives the editors an out. However, I'd trust Laura Rozen before I'd trust the Times, and she relays the following far more plausible account from Intelligence Online:

"In attacking Dair El Zor in Syria on Sept. 6, the Israeli air force wasn't targeting a nuclear site but rather one of the main arms depots in the country.

"Dair El Zor houses a huge underground base where the Syrian army stores the long and medium-range missiles it mostly buys from Iran and North Korea. The attack by the Israeli air force coincided with the arrival of a stock of parts for Syria's 200 Scud B and 60 Scud C weapons."

The moment this story hit the headlines, the alarm on my bullsh*t meter started clanging pretty loudly. But what, one wondered, was the purpose of this elaborate deception?

First, it was meant as a warning to Iran, a clear demonstration that the Israelis can and will act if Tehran fails to curb its ambition to join Israel as a full-fledged member of the nuclear club. Furthermore, it was meant to show Washington's solidarity with Tel Aviv in this matter: in spite of doubts arising from the Rice-Gates faction within the administration, the Americans gave the Israelis the green light. It also, I believe, prefigures, on a much smaller scale, the sequence of events likely to trigger war with Iran: an Israeli strike, Iranian retaliation via Hezbollah, followed by American intervention, which would be practically inevitable.

Second, the Syrian hoax aims at derailing the recent U.S. agreement with North Korea to dismantle its nuclear apparatus. If North Korea is "proliferating," it's already in violation of the accord, and the neoconservatives in the administration and its periphery are already howling that the deal is off.

Third, and, in my view, most important in the long run, this whole propaganda campaign is designed to make an ideological point. As Joshua Muravchik put it in the Los Angeles Times Sunday morning:

"Law is largely a matter of practice and custom, and it is gradually changing to accommodate new realms of self-defense. Had American forces found nuclear weapons in Iraq, or a nuclear program nearly ready to produce weapons, the international assessment of our decision to invade would be very different today. That we made an appalling mistake about Iraqi WMD shows the risks of the new doctrine that Bush proposes – but it does not diminish the issue that gave rise to that doctrine.

"The evolution of our thinking about these issues will be at the forefront of the debate as Washington moves closer to a preemptive (or 'preventive') strike against Iran's nuclear program."

Yes, "the evolution of our thinking" will be helped along by the Israelis, who, as we know, are always in the vanguard when it comes to pushing the boundaries of prudence, not to mention morality and basic human decency. From "Israel has the right to defend itself," a phrase we've heard with metronomic regularity over the years, the progression to "Israel has the right to preemptively attack whomever and whatever it pleases" – based on "secret" intelligence – is a cognitive leap made easier by Israeli boldness. What it's all leading up to is an assault on Iran that may well be sparked by an Israeli provocation.

It's fitting that the whole propaganda campaign is based on a gigantic lie, one that surpasses their previous record in its brazenness and sheer scope. This is the War Party's signature style. In spite of reports that Israeli commandos landed on Syrian soil and made off with "nuclear materials" – a highly unlikely made-for-TV-movie scenario – one imagines that if this were true, they would have displayed the evidence by now. And what about the IAEA? Surely their scientists would have detected the nuclear emissions from such a bombing raid: yet we have seen no evidence, no announcement, no nothing. What's up with that? It's all verrrrrry suspicious.

As Joe Cirincione put it to the BBC:

"This appears to be the work of a small group of officials leaking cherry-picked, unvetted 'intelligence' to key reporters in order to promote a preexisting political agenda. If this sounds like the run-up to the war with Iraq, then it should."

It's the same gang, with the same agenda, only this time their lies are on a bigger scale – and the stakes are much higher. What's amazing, to me, is that, even with this kind of record, these guys appear to be getting away with it. Once again, the major news media outlets are acting as conduits for war propaganda – and instead of displaying the least bit of skepticism, they're more gullible than ever.
Story Here

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Wichita Massacre Revised

The Wichita Massacre Story Here

Just Doin' What Dey Do, I suppose

Rapper T.I. Arrested on Machine Gun Charges

Rapper T.I. was arrested on federal gun charges just hours before he was scheduled to perform at the BET Hip Hop Awards, according to federal authorities.

The entertainer, whose real name is Clifford Harris, was arrested in a federal sting Saturday after his bodyguard-turned-informant delivered three machine guns and two silencers to the hip-hop star, according to a Justice Department statement.

Authorities said that Harris, 27, provided the bodyguard $12,000 to buy the weapons, which Harris is not allowed to own because he is a convicted felon. Court documents said Harris was convicted on felony drug charges in 1998, and a federal affidavit said he has been arrested on gun charges in the past.

However, one of his attorneys, Dwight Thomas, said Sunday he was not aware Harris was a convicted felon and that "a number of people" live in Harris' suburban Atlanta home. Thomas added there were "two sides to every story -- sometimes three" and he was confident the legal system would work in Harris' favor.

The entertainer was taken into custody about 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday in Atlanta, where the BET award show was filmed.

Harris, the show's top nominee, was up for nine awards, including CD of the year and lyricist of the year. He also was scheduled to perform, along with fellow rap stars Common, Nelly and Kanye West.

The show went on without the self-proclaimed "King of the South," whose car and College Park, Georgia home were searched following his arrest.

Authorities said they found three more firearms in the car in which Harris drove to pick up the machine guns and silencers, "including one loaded gun tucked between the driver's seat where Harris had been sitting and the center console."

At his home, authorities found six other guns, five of them loaded, in his bedroom closet.

"Machine guns pose a serious danger to the community, which is why they are so carefully regulated," said David Nahmias, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

"The last place machine guns should be is in the hands of a convicted felon, who cannot legally possess any kind of firearm. This convicted felon allegedly was trying to add several machine guns to an already large and entirely illegal arsenal of guns."

The sting came after Harris' bodyguard was arrested purchasing the machine guns and silencers from an undercover Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent Wednesday, according to the Justice Department statement. The bodyguard then agreed to cooperate with the ATF, the statement said.

The guns were not registered on the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record as required by law. The bodyguard -- who has worked for Harris since July -- told authorities he had bought about nine guns for the rap star in the past, the statement said.

On Wednesday, authorities said, Harris arranged for the bodyguard to pick up $12,000 in cash from a bank to buy the guns. After his arrest, the bodyguard made phone calls to Harris, which authorities recorded, the statement said.

Harris was supposed to pick up the guns after meeting the bodyguard in a shopping center parking lot in midtown Atlanta. Authorities arrested Harris there without incident, the Justice Department statement said.

Court documents in the case show Harris was convicted on felony drug charges in Cobb County, Georgia, in 1998 and sentenced to seven years' probation. "Harris has additional arrests and at least one probation violation for unlawfully possessing firearms," according to an affidavit.

Harris' music is built around the drug culture and is known as "trap musik," the name of Harris' second album. A "trap" is Southern slang for a drug house.

Harris will be held in federal custody over the weekend and will appear Monday before a magistrate judge, the Justice Department statement said.

Harris soon will appear in the movie "American Gangster," starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. The film is set to open November 2.
Story Here