Singing the Bite Me Song


Privacy & Free Speech


October 31, 2006

Another reason to be suspicious of foaming-at-the-mouth anti-abortion nutjobs

This Nation article on Rush Limbaugh's laughably lambastic attack on Michael J. Fox contains some interesting observations down below the lead.

Call me naive, but given all my past history of counter-protesting the Friday afternoon anti-abortion nutjobs outside our local Planned Parenthood clinic, this particular angle, that the anti-abortion groups are so ridiculous and crazy, they serve as a little-noticed front for GOP big money special interest funds, somehow never occurred to me before.

Anti-abortionists as a nutty button for big money corporate manipulators to push at will, with massive funds?

Well, think about it. They must be getting money somewhere, and right-wing money seems much more likely to come top down with fake astro-turfing than truly from grassroots bottom up (unless the so-called "grassroots" is on some GOP moneybags' payroll). The media doesn't take Flat Earther's seriously, or those who deny the Holocaust occurred. But no matter how nutty these folks get, how many clinics they bomb, how much they conspire like terrorists, they still get a fair hearing in the media.

I guess I got inklings of that in reading about the odd PACs that Tom DeLay was affiliated with, like that supposed "family" political action committee that his wife even worked for, but was nothing more than a front to funnel major influence-buying money from some Russian kingpins (why doesn't anyone cry "treason" when these folks are so eager to allow international cartels and money-bags to have more influence over legislation and U.S. policy than people in the U.S?).

Anyway, here's the deep down bits. I don't see documentation on these claims, but I do take refuge in the knowledge that The Nation is one of the most rigorously fact-checked long-running publications in the country. Although this is in a blog, and not in the print edition that I know of.

Link: The Nation: Limbaugh's Savage Crusade.

BLOG | Posted 10/28/2006 @ 12:44am

Limbaugh's Savage Crusade

John Nichols' "The Online Beat"

[...]

For the better part of three hours each day this week, the radio ranter has been "Swift Boating the television and film star for daring to do what Limbaugh -- who freely admits that he is an entertainer -- does every day.

In Limbaugh's warped assessment of the political process, it's fine for him to try and influence the votes of Americans. But woe be it to anyone else who attempts to do so.

[Don't you wish he'd used the phrase "woe betide" instead of "woe be it"? I think I'm going to try to find a reason to say "woe betide" at least three times this week. I just like the way it sounds.]

[...]

Because it is easier to criticize the way that Michael J. Fox looks than it is to criticize the content of his message.

Fox's ads are fact-based. They reference the voting records, public statements and policy initiatives of the Democratic and Republican candidates he is talking about.

That being the case, beating up on the "Back to the Future" kid would not seem like a smart political strategy. And it certainly is not going to help Limbaugh soften his image as a partisan hitman who knows a little too much about what it means to be on or off particular medications.

So why are Limbaugh and other readers of Republican talking points continuing to accuse Fox of "acting" sick, and of lying his own disease and about the role that stem-cell research may play in the search for treatments and a cure? Why devote so much time and energy to attacking one ailing actor and one set of commercials? It has a lot to do with the powerful lobby that is opposing serious stem-cell research.

Unspoken in much of the debate over this issue is the real reason why candidates such as U.S. Senator Jim Talent, the embattled Republican incumbent who is the target of Fox's criticism in Missouri, and U.S. Representative Mark Green, the Republican gubernatorial candidate who is mentioned in Fox's ads in Wisconsin, so vehemently oppose embryonic stem-cell research. [emphasis mine]

[...]

...it is because Talent, Green and other politicians who are campaigning not just against their Democratic opponents but against scientific inquiry want to maintain the support of the groups that oppose serious stem-cell research: the powerful and influential anti-choice political action committees that in each election cycle spend millions of dollars in questionable cash to support candidates who are willing to echo their faith-based opposition to research that could identify treatments and perhaps even cures for for life-threatening illnesses...

[...]

Groups that oppose reproductive rights are central players in our politics because they have established networks that serve as some of the most effective hidden conduits for special-interest money that is used to pay for crude attack campaigns against mainstream candidates. [again, emphasis mine]

They also mobilize voters on behalf of contenders who cynically embrace the ugliest forms of anti-scientific dogma to make the rounds since the evolution deniers ginned up the Scopes trial. For this reason, the antiabortion machine gets what it wants when it wants it.

[...]

In states across the country, so-called "Right-to-Life" and "Pro-Life" groups spend freely on behalf of the candidates they back. And much of that spending goes essentially undetected, as the groups often do not give money directly to candidates but instead run "issue ads" and mount independent-expenditure campaigns.

Republican politicians like Talent and Green fully understand that, without the behind-the-scenes work of antiabortion groups -- most of which flies under the radar of the media and campaign-finance regulators -- they could not possibly win. And Limbaugh, whose stated goal is to maintain Republican hegemony, is perhaps even more aware of the fact than the candidates he is working so feverishly to elect. That's why the radio personality is on a personal crusade against Fox. That's also why Limbaugh has been willing to stick to his outlandish claims about the actor, even while acknowledging that he's gotten the facts wrong.

Like the Republican politicians who are scrambling to smear Fox, Limbaugh is doing the bidding of one of the most powerful behind-the-scenes political forces in America -- a force that is essential to Republican prospects. And he is not going to let a little thing like the truth make him back off.

[...]

October 31, 2006 at 04:18 PM in Democracy, Favorite Links, Media & Journalism, News to Note, Politics, Privacy & Free Speech, Rhetoric, Science, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 16, 2006

Speaking of the brilliance of The Onion...

I've been thinking furiously lately about the growing pandemic of righteous relativism, not even trendy po-mo relativism. This is that odd concoction, AUTHORITARIAN RELATIVISM.

Quick! Go find the ghost of Harvard's William Perry Jr.! Let's do a study! My idea of what he might find with this new category of anti-intellectual development, after this brief word from Holy Writ, The Onion. (can you tell I'm sporting for a fight?)

Link: Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory | The Onion - America's Finest News Source.

Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory

August 17, 2005   | Issue 41•33          

KANSAS CITY, KS—As the debate over the teaching of evolution in public schools continues, a new controversy over the science curriculum arose Monday in this embattled Midwestern state. Scientists from the Evangelical Center For Faith-Based Reasoning are now asserting that the long-held "theory of gravity" is flawed, and they have responded to it with a new theory of Intelligent Falling.

"Things fall not because they are acted upon by some gravitational force, but because a higher intelligence, 'God' if you will, is pushing them down," said Gabriel Burdett, who holds degrees in education, applied Scripture, and physics from Oral Roberts University.

Burdett added: "Gravity—which is taught to our children as a law—is founded on great gaps in understanding. The laws predict the mutual force between all bodies of mass, but they cannot explain that force. Isaac Newton himself said, 'I suspect that my theories may all depend upon a force for which philosophers have searched all of nature in vain.' Of course, he is alluding to a higher power."

[...]

According to the ECFR paper published simultaneously this week in the International Journal Of Science and the adolescent magazine God's Word For Teens!, there are many phenomena that cannot be explained by secular gravity alone, including such mysteries as how angels fly, how Jesus ascended into Heaven, and how Satan fell when cast out of Paradise.

The ECFR, in conjunction with the Christian Coalition and other Christian conservative action groups, is calling for public-school curriculums to give equal time to the Intelligent Falling theory. They insist they are not asking that the theory of gravity be banned from schools, but only that students be offered both sides of the issue "so they can make an informed decision."

[...]

Proponents of Intelligent Falling assert that the different theories used by secular physicists to explain gravity are not internally consistent. Even critics of Intelligent Falling admit that Einstein's ideas about gravity are mathematically irreconcilable with quantum mechanics. This fact, Intelligent Falling proponents say, proves that gravity is a theory in crisis.

[...]

Some evangelical physicists propose that Intelligent Falling provides an elegant solution to the central problem of modern physics.

"Anti-falling physicists have been theorizing for decades about the 'electromagnetic force,' the 'weak nuclear force,' the 'strong nuclear force,' and so-called 'force of gravity,'" Burdett said. "And they tilt their findings toward trying to unite them into one force. But readers of the Bible have already known for millennia what this one, unified force is: His name is Jesus."        

I just love physics humor. Beware of Quantum ducks! Quark! Quark!

Oh, for those who, for no fault of their own, don't know who William Perry Jr. was (no, not the oversized football player), above, here's a link.

Here's a bit from his New York Times obituary (why did the venerable Mr Perry have to have a PAID obituary?) about his famous book:

..."Forms of Intellectual and Ethical Development in the College Years'' (1970) described nine developmental stages. His framework started with a freshman's simplistic adherence to notions of absolute truth and morality, traced the discovery of multiple frames of reference regarding data, and the upperclassman's subsequent growth and eventual achievement of personal and ethical commitment in a relative world. This developmental framework has had nation-wide impact on the theories of the psychological development of late adolescence. ...

Another book that turns Perry's descriptive theories on their ear somewhat is:

WOMEN'S WAYS OF KNOWING The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind. By Mary Field Belenky, Blythe McVicker Clinchy, Nancy Rule Goldberger and Jill Mattuck Tarule. 256 pp. New York: Basic Books. $19.95.

Otherwise known to those of us who use it as Belenky et. al. [grin]

So anyway, Belenky et. al. got to expand on Perry's descriptions of Harvard (male) undergraduate intellectual development in the 1950s, and if they get to do it, I wanna do it too! The Onion is inspiring me!

OK, here's Perry shorthand, for your crib sheet:

You show up in college (if you are male and it's the 1950s) and your world is divided into Right and Wrong. In other words, you are an authoritarian thinker. Authorities tell you what is right and wrong, frequently using the "Because I said so" argument. You get to college expecting more of the same, but if your college is worth squat, they won't let you get away with that, no sir. They actually want you to THINK FOR YOURSELF!

Radical idea, I know. Some people become authorities unto themselves, Egoistic Authoritarians, I guess. Most go the way of Perry. (Oh, btw, Belenky et. al. found that while Harvard men in the 1950s were doing this, many women in the same boat didn't have a voice, and so their intellectual position was SILENCE. As in, they were silenced. They had to break through that before they could gain their authoritarian righteousness swagger).

Now I know Perry breaks it down more finely than I'm going to do here, for the sake of my own silliness, but the thing that comes after Right and Wrong Authoritarian Dualism is a kind of defeat for overwhelmed young intellectuals. They throw up their hands in exasperation and sing (to the tune of "Everything is Beautiful") "Ooooh, Everything is Relative... in its own wa-aa-ay." Simple Relativism, otherwise known as oatmeal mush.

Simple Relativists might say:

We all have opinions, everyone is entitled to their opinions, and would you just shut up and stop making me discuss and argue every single point? THERE IS NO WAY TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN MUSHY OPINIONS ANYWAY, so let's all just go home and eat worms.

Bully for them. Future situation ethicists in the making, all of them. All opinions are interchangeable, one is as good as any other, so if someone says the world is flat, that's just as worthy a thought as if the world were round. Same if the moon is made out of green cheese. What difference does it make?

Overwhelmed people like this haven't learned that there are very good methods for weighing one viewpoint against another, of evaluating points of view and opinions, so for them, the world is simply two monster-shouters in little boxes on the screen on Fox News, each trying to out-holler the other with no way to tell if one argument is superior to another. Fox News wants us all to believe that is true, but then I'm getting ahead of myself.

To succeed in college, you are supposed to eventually think for yourself, and with luck, some professors give you intellectual tools to do things like evaluate arguments. That way you don't have to go around throwing up your hands at a world of oatmeal mush like those poor folks who watch Fox News who secretly want the ones who shout the loudest to be the winners.

So you have to think your way out of Silence, Authoritarianism, Simple Relativistic Mush, and then what happens? You learn to play sneaky little games.

Like what? Brown-Nose Games! College 101, everyone knows, is Brown-Nosing. Listen to what the teacher says and parrot it. I know, that's not sneaky, but it gets better. Brown-Nose games are a variation of Lawyer Games. That's where you learn to argue any side in an argument, and win! There were some Greek guys who perfected this to a fine art, got so good at it, some lawyers were named after them, the Sophists.

Perry would call this sophistry sophomoric, I guess, and instead see how it becomes more Complex Relativism. See, a simple relativist who believes that everything is oatmeal mush wouldn't be able to function in a Brown-Nose Universe. Brown-nosers have to be discerning, intellectual even, to be able to tell apple-cinnamon oatmeal mush from peaches and cream oatmeal mush, in order to use it to their advantage.

Brown-nosers learn the rules of the game in order to play it well. They figure, one set of rules is just as good as another set of rules, so long as they can figure out the rules. With one teacher you flatter shamelessly, another you have to sleep with, another you just learn to parrot. Like a good lawyer who can argue either side of a case, game-players of any stripe don't stop to reflect on whether the game is worthy of them, or if the game is utterly stupid, or even if the game is immoral. They just play. Complex Relativism.

Our friends Belenky et. al diverge a bit here, go off into ways of knowing things, Committed Knowing, Constructed Knowing, Collaborative Knowing (I made up that last one, I think, because I like it).

What Perry's undergrads were supposed to figure out, as their intellectual toolboxes expanded (you know, if all you have is a hammer, suddenly everything needs pounding), is that all games are not created equal, just as all opinions are not created equal. Some are better than others for reasons that we can work out through logic, support, proof, and so on. There are CRITERIA with which we can formally evaluate things and dredge our way out of the mush.

And with such evaluative power, we can argue on behalf of the superiority of certain positions, argumentative stances. We become committed to particular ways of reasoning through an issue, not because a position is RIGHT and another position is WRONG, like those Harvard freshmen, but because we can back up our thinking from a position of considering multiple viewpoints and weighing them against each other.

Of course, around about that time, some postmodernists will show up and call you a "dirty rotten foundationalist" and rant about the "tyranny of the Enlightenment" and all that. That might confuse you for a bit, thinking you had actually wandered back into that oatmeal mush, until you stop for a second and look at your own intellectual processes.

The only reason postmodernists like to call you those names is that they think anyone who jumps up and down on the lumps in their oatmeal is ready to rebuild the rigid edifices of the Inquisition, that vast enforcer of Right/Wrong authoritarianism. Postmodernists think you're the bad guy. They think you are ready to make an authoritarian religion of the ladders of thought you've built into your Committed Relativism. But your mind is more open than that, if you've come this far.

And besides, if you leave structureless, foundation-less postmodernist oatmeal out in the pan too long, it will harden into a big gray rock too, a big gray authoritarian rock of po-mo oatmeal. There are some seriously rock-hard chunks of that floating around in this world too.

But my NEW boogeyman! I want to build on Perry and Belenky et. al. for this NEW intellectual development, Authoritarian Relativism, or RIGHTEOUS RELATIVISM, oppressive relativism, preached by the true believers.

Oatmeal is simply expedient for postmodernists, who are not true believers in anything, on principle, not even in themselves. It's their anti-principle principle, their anti-foundationalist foundation. They get off on watching dogs chase their tails too.

But these new converts to the cause of relativism, they are an odd lot, as exemplified and parodied in the Onion article above.

Ron Suskind knows of these folks, one of whom admitted to him that they controlled the world because they control reality. The people who are confused, this man said, are those who are still living in the "reality-based universe."

Think of it. Conservative Authoritarian Relativists. John Dean has a book out on this topic right now too, but I haven't read it yet. Conservatives Without Conscience. I won't speak to the book much, since I haven't read it, and instead riff off the idea.

I'm not talking about conscience, though. More like I'm talking of the level of discourse that Fox News is norming out into the media landscape, overpowering the intellectual tools we hope people find in college (it's a Hail Mary pass to even dream they'll find it in high school).

The idea? Not just that all arguments about things that can't be measured, counted, or attached to a dollar value are subjective shouting matches where the loudest talker wins, but instead, a RIGHTEOUS DEVOTION to and STRIDENT ENFORCEMENT of the idea that ALL OPINIONS ARE INTERCHANGEABLE.

It's like conflating the Authoritarianism of Perry's first stage, with the Simple Relativism of the next stage, and then instead of learning criteria or ways of evaluating arguments, support, and proof, it instead requires that we must COMMIT ourselves to the idea that NO ARGUMENTS, SUPPORT, or PROOF are sufficient, and if one can do that thoroughly enough, one would have made a case for faith, for God, for the Unknown, the big Out-There. (that last step is a big leap, so I best return to it in a bit)

That's a lot to wrap my head around, so let's try to come at that again from another angle. Look at The Onion parody above. Brilliant, isn't it? Such a finessed spin on Intelligent Design. In doing so, I think it holds this kind of thinking up to the light, by virtue of the apt analogy.

Can this intellectual somersault I'm proposing actually be done? Is it being done? Sure, like John Dean says, there are Crass, Sophistic Conservatives, what we might call the "Lee Atwater School," of which Karl Rove is clearly a graduate. They probably aren't the people I'm talking about, though.

This instead is more akin to an average person, not even an avid watcher of Fox News shoutfests. People could be affected by this changing intellectual climate and not know it, until they try to have a rational discussion with someone they respect intellectually, and that person not only refuses to engage or understand actual proofs or conclusive reasoning and rebuttals, but instead righteously makes a claim that there are NO SUCH THINGS as proofs, conclusive reasoning, or rebuttals, AND that anyone who would claim such a thing is deluded (that last step is important, because folks in this camp put a lot of energy into finding people to exclude so they can deny them the keys to the kingdom).

Disenfranchising the Enlightenment, in other words. Postmodernists would counteract and rebut the Enlightenment, but would they choose to wipe the Enlightenment out of history, out of our memory? Would they long for the "good old days" of the Inquisition, of Church and State and might making right? When authorities told you what to do and think and you obeyed them, not because you thought what they said was necessarily true, but because it was better than the information glut of oatmeal mush inside your own head?

Disenfranchising human intellectual activity, in other words. That would be the overt goal, from the "Lee Atwater School" standpoint. There is nothing in "reality" that is not baldly deniable (see also the Monty Python Argument Sketch), on a national political scale, but here's where it gets scary. This is also happening around the watercooler, over beers, in college coffeehouses. Ordinary interactions are becoming less rational, less thoughtful, less carefully reasoned and weighed.

It is as if the MEDIA AUDIENCE is being deliberately turned into those overwhelmed Harvard freshmen venturing out of authoritarianism, but with the tools to deal with the flood of ideas deliberately withheld from them, so that intellectual retreat is the only response.

I do know that this particular kind of media anti-intellectualism is being manipulated by some to create that overwhelmed retreat (perhaps in the name of sixth grade reading/comprehension levels in mass media), but how does that lead to greater faith in some Supreme Deity? That last step I threw in there above was a bit of a stretch.

It would appear on the surface that righteously-enforced sophism would lead to widespread cynicism, not growing faith. That's why my bullshit detector was going off on my own line of reasoning. Maybe I got it wrong.

Would those of a certain religious persuasion (belief) hold it as a truism that driving people to extreme cynicism will lead them to god? That hardly seems like a reasonable way to go about it, when I suppose there are other ways to induce duress, that "hitting bottom" moment addicts speak of, that foxhole/hurricane need to pray (no atheists in foxholes, or, we would assume, under the screaming winds of a hurricane). Would evangelicals willingly try to fill their pews by deliberately inducing duress? (That's ruling out Charles Colson, of course, who was probably recruiting evangelical Plumbers-for-Jesus in prison and giving them their own brown shirts when they got out)

See, it just doesn't make any sense to me. Not buying it. Maybe Lee Atwaters think that, but preachers in pulpits can't all be that crass.

So that leaves what? How does Authoritarian Relativism (note to self, copyright that phrase) fill up churches? How does it lead to a world that re-creates Inquisition authoritarian castes with no cultural memory that there ever was an Enlightenment?

Maybe I answered my own question. Maybe the goal isn't to create true believers at all. In true Orwellian Doublethink (or a McLuhan-style media reversal), perhaps the goal is to fill the churches up with game-players, sophists adrift in ennui and mush, but not really committed to anything enough to object if they're asked to do any particular thing.

Authoritarian Relativists are far more malleable, I think, even than inclusive, "big tent" ecumenical types so decried by fundamentalists as a sign of the coming of the AntiChrist.

Malleable in the consumerist sense, in that they've been ultra-conditioned to blindly accept marketing messages with righteous fervor and fannish devotion (and fascist violence?) yet the marketing messages are still interchangable and can be substituted one for another at any time. The xenophobic group hate switches from illegal aliens to gays and lesbians, until the next switch. We are at war with Eurasia; we have always been at war with Eurasia.

Authoritarian Relativists are simply buttons to be pushed, in other words. Tools to be manipulated by Sophistic Conservative Authorities.

Maybe that's what's filling up those 20,000-seat mega-churches. They really don't seem to get as nutty as the 1970's charismatics did. They're pretty people who want to sing and wave their hands in a big auditorium and maybe get on TV in their nice clothes (at least that's what we see in the carefully selected video clips), ready to vote the way they're told, believe what they're told, shop in the mini-mall in the church "basement", but not to believe in anything so much that they'd ever cling to the idea of the belief in their own heads all by their own selves, without guidance from those who create and craft their fluid "un-reality-based universe."

July 16, 2006 at 08:01 PM in Best Essays, Privacy & Free Speech, Religion, Rhetoric, Satire, Singing the Bite Me Song, Television, Theory | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 26, 2005

GOP Rep. Ron Paul on a future martial law nightmare: The US policed by international mercenaries?

What an interesting sector that this voice is heard from. Rep. Paul is a conservative (perhaps an isolationist) who is pushing to pull the U.S. out of the U.N., which is not a position I support, but I find his point of view below very interesting, especially in the manner Blackwater Securities, Hallibuton, Chilean troops, etc. have been used in Iraq, not as U.N. Peacekeepers, but in the hire of the United States. Blackwater etc. were also seen patrolling with submachine guns without question in New Orleans.

I found this at PrisonPlanet.com.

Congressman Ron Paul Reiterates Danger Of Foreign Troops Being Used For Martial Law

Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones | November 24 2005    

Republican Congressman Ron Paul recently appeared on nationally syndicated radio and again reiterated his deep concern that foreign troops are mobilizing outside and inside America to be used as assets in a martial law takeover by the Bush administration.

"It's a horrible precedent and it's all part of the NAFTA scheme and globalization and world government," Paul told the Alex Jones Show.    

"Obviously they shouldn't be permitted. What I'd like to see is that we don't have our troops in foreign countries and if we needed a national guard that they were back here at home, that's the bigger problem. Then if there were foreign troops on our soil maybe our state officials could deal with that with their own national guard."

Paul elaborated on his fear that after  the next crisis the government, in line with their own public statements, will use military assets to police Americans on a regular basis.

"They're putting their back up against the wall and saying, if need be we're going to have martial law."

"We've heard all these statements by the President, by the administration, why they need more militarism at the federal government to keep people in check so nobody knows how this  will turn out but I do know that the only thing we can do about it is try  to alert the American people to what's going on so they can be prepared."

Paul offered his take on why the government seemed to be acting in a deranged and reckless manner on every issue.

"It's almost like they're going overboard  that they lose their rationality and that's part of the reason why they usually fail too is they get overly bold and I think our government is overly  bold thinking they are invincible and they feel invincible with their finances. Our government controls the reserve currency of the world, they literally  have the ability to print gold."

[...]

November 26, 2005 at 01:42 PM in Current Affairs, Democracy, Favorite Links, News to Note, Privacy & Free Speech, War/Terrorism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Deborah Davis challenges the federal government

OUTRAGEOUS!

Link: Deborah Davis :: Want to Ride? Papers, Please..

Commuting By Bus In Denver? Papers, Please.

DEB DAVIS LIKES to commute to work by public bus. She uses the time to read, crochet or pay bills. It's her quiet time. What with the high price of gas, she saves money, too: a week's worth of gas money gets her a month's worth of bus rides.

Deborah Davis and Son

Deborah Davis defends freedom at home while her son serves abroad in Iraq.

The bus she rides crosses the property of the Denver Federal Center, a collection of government offices such as the Veterans Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, and part of the National Archives. The Denver Federal Center is not a high security area: it's not Area 51 or NORAD.

On her first day commuting to work by bus, the bus stopped at the gates of the Denver Federal Center. A security guard got on and demanded that all of the passengers on this public bus produce ID.  She was surprised by the demand of the man in uniform, but she complied: it would have meant a walk of several miles if she hadn't.  Her ID was not taken and compared to any "no-ride" list. The guard barely glanced at it.

When she got home, what had happened on the bus began to bother her.  'This is not a police state or communist Russia', she thought.  From her 8th grade Civics class she knew there is no law requiring her, as an American citizen, to carry ID or any papers, much less show them to anyone on a public bus.

She decided she would no longer show her ID on the bus.

The Compliance Test

On Monday, September 26th 2005, Deb Davis headed off to work on the route 100 bus.  When the bus got to the gates of the Denver Federal Center, a guard got on and asked her if she had an ID.  She answered in the affirmative.  He asked if he could see it.  She said no.

Welcome.

Visitors Welcome (to be arrested). The entrance to the Denver Federal Center.

When the guard asked why she wouldn't show her ID, Deb told him that she didn't have to do so.  The guard then ordered her off the bus.  Deb refused, stating she was riding a public bus and just trying to get to work.

The guard then went to call his supervisor, and returned shortly with a federal policeman.  The federal cop then demanded her ID.  Deb politely explained once again that she would not show her ID, and she was simply commuting to work.  He left, returning shortly thereafter with a second policeman in tow.

The Second Compliance Test

This second cop asked the same question and got the same answer: no showing of ID, no getting off the bus.

The cop was also annoyed with the fact that she was on the phone with a friend and didn't feel like hanging up, even when he 'ordered' her to do so.

The second cop said everyone had to show ID any time they were asked by the police, adding that if she were in a Wal-Mart and was asked by the police for ID, that she would have to show it there, too.

She explained that she didn't have to show him or any other policeman my ID on a public bus or in a  Wal-Mart.  She told him she was simply trying to go to work.

The Arrest

Suddenly, the second policeman shouted "Grab her!" and he grabbed the cell phone from her and threw it to the back of the bus.  With each of the policemen wrenching one of her arms behind her back, she was jerked out of her seat, the contents of her purse and book bag flying everywhere.  The cops shoved her out of the bus, handcuffed her, threw her into the back seat of a police cruiser, and drove her to a police station inside the confines of the Denver Federal Center.

Once inside, she was taken down a hall and told to sit in a chair, still handcuffed, while one of the policemen went through her purse, now retrieved from the bus.

The two policemen sat in front of their computers, typing and conferring, trying to figure out what they should charge her with.  Eventually, they wrote up several tickets, took her outside and removed the handcuffs, returned her belongings, and pointed her toward the bus stop.  She was told that if she ever entered the Denver Federal Center again, she would go to jail.

She hasn't commuted by public bus since that day.

Here's are some legal aspects of the case cited on the Papers Please site:

The Legal Case

Deborah Davis' case is about one thing: the right to travel.

The reason why she was charged has absolutely nothing to do with security. The guard at the Denver Federal Center wasn't checking IDs against a 'no ride' list: there is no such thing. The demands made against Deb Davis were nothing more than a compliance test, a demand that she kowtow to officialdom. And lest we forget, having to show your ID is a search without a warrant.

Welcome.

By 'Welcome', they mean 'Show us your papers'. Yet more signs at a Denver Federal Center entrance.

The significance of Deb's case was readily apparent to the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, who immediately arranged free legal representation.  The first-rate legal team of ACLU volunteers Norman Mueller and Gail Johnson — attorneys from the prominent Colorado criminal defense firm of Haddon, Morgan, Mueller, Jordan, Mackey & Foreman, P.C. — are mounting a vigorous defense on Deborah Davis' behalf.

[...]

When Deb is arraigned in U.S. District Court on the 9th of December, she will most likely be charged with the following federal criminal misdemeanors: 41 CFR § 102-74.375 (Admission to Property) and 41 CFR § 102-74.385 (Conformity to Official Signs and Directions).

[...]

Be sure to go to the site and check all this stuff out. It's amazing!

Miasma

 

November 26, 2005 at 03:24 AM in Democracy, Favorite Links, News to Note, Privacy & Free Speech, Singing the Bite Me Song, War/Terrorism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 02, 2005

OK, so if you start having some of these symptoms... you'll know what it is

I think my personal favorite is Substance "beta," which causes 'confusion, psychic weakness, temporary blindness and deafness.'"

Link: The Memory Hole > Reports on Psychochemical Weapons.

Reports on Psychochemical Weapons

>> On this page, we're posting military reports on chemical weapons designed to interfere with the central nervous system of targets, causing hallucinations, detachment, psychosis, and/or loss of motor control.

[...]

Clinical and Military Medical Aspects of Psychopoisons

(PDF format | 15 pages | 1.3 meg)

This article originally appeared in the German journal Zeitschrift Fur Militarmedizin (6/1971), and was translated by the US Army Foreign Science and Technology Center. Released to Russ Kick by the US Army Intelligence and Security Command on 30 August 2005 in response to FOIA request 378F-05.

From page 1: "This paper gives an overall view of the division of psychopoisons into psychotomimetica and disturbors [sic].... In addition to the general intoxication symptoms, synthetic substances of both groups are described. Finally, the military applications of psychopoisons and possible medical treatments are discussed."

From page 10:

"Tremorine
This substance produces strong tremors, connected with muscle weakness, excessive saliva flow and miosis.

IDPN
The application of this compound to experimental animals leads to an irreversible situation where the animals run around in circles, describing a circle with their heads, without endangering their lives.

Substance 'beta'
In the U.S. Army, this designation is used for a chemical warfare agent whose chemical structure is not known and which causes 'confusion, psychic weakness, temporary blindness and deafness.'"

October 2, 2005 at 11:12 PM in Favorite Links, News to Note, Privacy & Free Speech, Singing the Bite Me Song, War/Terrorism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 27, 2005

Freeway Blogging for fun and profit...

What do you want for nothing... Burmashave?

Contest: Blog Your Campus

I've written about freeway blogging on this site before, but I thought a picture or two would be nice.

Also, college students make note: a contest to "freeway blog" your campus with prizes at Operation Yellow Elephant.

Link: FREEWAYBLOGGER.com - Free Speech: Use It or Lose It.

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Link: Operation Yellow Elephant: Contest: Blog Your Campus.

Many of you may be familiar with the Freeway Blogger's brilliant work. We'd like to see something similar happening at or near college campuses. To that end, Operation Yellow Elephant is holding a "Blog Your Campus" contest.

Description

Create signs relating to Operation Elephant's mission to expose the hypocrisy of hawkish College Republicans and other young conservatives who are too cowardly to fight in the war they demanded. Post these signs near roadways and pedestrian pathways on or near college campuses. Photograph your work and send it to OYE@charter.net. I'll post them here. In early October, the OYE contributing Writers and the Freeway Blogger will pick a winner.

How to Make Your Sign

It's always a good idea to learn from the masters.

How to Win

Send us a photo featuring a sign with a great message and lots of people or cars traveling past it. If it generates press, it wouldn't hurt to send us a url or a clipping.

[...]

Rules

1. Signs must be placed near roadways or pedestrian pathways on or near campus.

2. Photos of the signs must demonstrate that the sign can be viewed by many people (people or cars in the foreground)

3. Submit your entries here [OYE@charter.net] no later than September 30, 2005.

4. Vaughn adds this:

Make sure the sign really kicks ass, it's easy to see, and it's clear that it is not a fake. I'm a Photoshop master, so don't f&*k with me and you will get your musical device -- grasshopper. Perhaps take photos of the sign making process including the hanging of it?

August 27, 2005 at 01:49 AM in Cyberculture, Favorite Links, Interactivity, Media & Journalism, Photography, Privacy & Free Speech, Rhetoric, Singing the Bite Me Song, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 07, 2005

Video - Orwell Rolls In His Grave - Parts I & II

It's long, but go watch the whole thing! Requires RealPlayer.

Link: Video - Orwell Rolls In His Grave - Part I .

Link: Video - Orwell Rolls In His Grave Part II .

When Lies Become Truth

Video - Orwell Rolls In His Grave

A Must Watch Documentary
"Could a media system, controlled by a few global corporations with the ability to overwhelm all competing voices, be able to turn lies into truth?..."

Director Robert Kane Pappas’ "Orwell Rolls In His Grave" is the consummate critical examination of the Fourth Estate, once the bastion of American democracy. Asking whether America has entered an Orwellian world of doublespeak where outright lies can pass for the truth, Pappas explores what the media doesn’t like to talk about: itself.



August 7, 2005 at 11:15 AM in Cyberculture, Democracy, Favorite Links, Intellectual Property, Interactivity, Media & Journalism, Politics, Privacy & Free Speech, Rhetoric, Singing the Bite Me Song, War/Terrorism, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 06, 2005

An eye-opening story from Iraq...

Khalid is the brother of Raed: http://raedinthemiddle.blogspot.com/ ("Dear Raed", known in the U.S. as the "Baghdad Blogger" from earlier in the war)

Link: Tell Me a Secret: I found myself....

Saturday, July 30, 2005

I found myself...

Sleeping in a grave-size space, defined by two walls touching both my head my and feet, and surrounded with human bodies touching me from both sides, in a way that hardly leaves any chance to move at all during the long… long night, in a 12 square meters room stuffed with 35 people trying to sleep, and to hold themselves together in order not to fight…

The whole thing started when I went to the university to pay my tuition fees, the thing is that the engineering campus is separated from the rest of the university with few kilometers, but for such administrative issues, students should go to the headquarter, and this is what I did. I entered the main campus and went to the financial department to pay money. I started the paperwork process, and then reached to a point where we needed the director’s signature to finish the paperwork, but she was in a meeting. So, the employee asked me to go and waste an hour inside the campus till the meeting is over, and I did.

What would you do in such a case? Go to the café? I tried, but was totally bored after less than 15 minutes, and then I don’t remember how an idea flashed in my head like a big light bulb: internet!
Of course, what is better than the internet to kill time?

I remembered there was an internet café inside the campus. I rarely came to this campus during the last five years. I think I came like three or four times only. Anyways, so I went to the internet café and did my regular tour: raed in the middle, riverbend, etc etc..and then I was bored again. I left the internet café heading towards the financial department again.

In my way, I was stopped by an old man, with a hateful face. “tfa`6al” he said (it means something like: “how can I help you?”) I was a bit surprised, I said “inta tfa`6al!” (meaning: “how can I help you?”) he said: where are you going? So I knew that he must be some kind of a security guy. I should have guessed from his tone, he sounds like a typical saddam-style security-man.
“to the financial department, to pay my tuition money” I said.

“where were you right now?”

“ in the internet café !”

“where is your ID?”

“at the campus entrance reception, with my mobile phone” (this is common now, in all governmental buildings you have to leave your mobile phone in the reception, you cant take it with you).

Please people; don’t be surprised because of all these questions. It used to be very common in “Saddam’s Iraq” and it’s very common in today’s Iraq.

Anyway, the old hateful man decided to escort me to make sure I was telling him the truth. Once we entered the financial office, the employees there talked to me spontaneously, so he knew I was there before and he left. I paid the money, took the receipt, and left. When I went back the campus entrance reception to take my mobile and leave, I found out that the mobiles’ closet was “mistakenly locked” as I was told. They were waiting for the guy that has the key. “He’ll be here in any moment” I was told.

I sat there waiting for my mobile phone to be freed. Then suddenly, after few minutes, someone came and asked “where is the detained guy?”

The other security guard pointed at me!!!

I was like: ehhhhh..sorry there is misunderstanding here, I am not detained, its only that the mobile phones closet is mistakenly locked!

“come with us, we have some questions please” they said, and I went with them, searching for answers inside my head…

[...]

Go read the rest here. It's long and detailed, but also absorbing and downright Kafkaesque.

August 6, 2005 at 09:01 PM in Democracy, Favorite Links, Interactivity, News to Note, Politics, Privacy & Free Speech, Singing the Bite Me Song, War/Terrorism, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 19, 2005

Has Tommy Thompson been replaced by an alien?

Tommy, you're from Wisconsin! State of Fighting Bob LaFollette! You were freaked out by a bunch of serious issues at the time you stepped down as secretary of HHS.

Now what have you gone and done?! Did you need money so badly you were ready to make this Faustean bargain?

thanks for the pointer, Boing Boing.

Miasma

Link: Boing Boing: Former Bush official signs up for RFID implant.

Former Bush official signs up for RFID implant


President Bush's former Health and Human Services Secretary, Tommy Thompson, onetime Governor of Wisconsin, is getting an RFID implant. Why is he volunteering for the Mark of the Beast? Promotional reasons! Thompson is on the board of Applied Digital, owner of RFID vendor VeriChip. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Thompson said people will eventually get beyond any queasy feelings about having a chip implanted.

"It will prevent babies from being picked up by the wrong people in a maternity ward and make sure people in nursing homes don't walk away," Thompson said.


So far, about 7,000 chips for people have been sold, with about 2,000 implanted worldwide, said Scott R. Silverman, chairman and chief executive of Applied Digital, which owns VeriChip.

Once Thompson gets chipped, chances are it won't help him in an emergency. Only two hospitals - Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston - read the chips, Silverman said.

No worries, said Rebecca Harmon, a spokeswoman for the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

"We can always take him to the vet school," she said.

Link (Thanks, Xeni!)



July 19, 2005 at 09:07 PM in News to Note, Politics, Privacy & Free Speech, Singing the Bite Me Song, War/Terrorism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 15, 2005

AMERICAblog: Novak reportedly ratted everyone out to Grand Jury

Ya think? Have you ever seen a name SO conspicuously ABSENT from the investigation, ESPECIALLY when it was his column that outed the CIA operative?!

Link: AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth.

by John in DC - 7/15/2005 03:07:00 PM
RADAR got a pretty good scoop here (I had nothing to do with it).

Interestingly, not only does it say that Novak spilled his guts to the grand jury, but he reportedly told them that the NYT's Judith Miller told Novak about Valerie Plame's CIA identity, then Novak called his two White House sources (one of which was Rove) for confirmation.

Interesting. So, when Karl Rove's anonymous source says today that Rove found out about Plame from journalists, did that source mean Judy Miller?
Did Robert Novak rat on New York Times reporter Judith Miller? While some have suggested Miller—who never wrote a word about CIA spook Valerie Plame—was dragged into the leak probe when her name turned up on a White House call log, several beltway insiders close to the investigation say special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald learned of Miller’s involvement from Novak himself.

Though the GOP hatchetman claims he’s never spoken to the grand jury about the column, a well-known Democratic pundit tells Radar, “Novak is the media’s Joseph Valachi,” referring to the 1960’s mafia capo who was the first mobster to testify against La Cosa Nostra. “There’s no question he rolled over.” According to our sources, Miller shared Plame’s identity with her perfidious fellow neocon after deciding not to publish it herself; Novak then called his two White House sources for confirmation and wrote the July 14, 2003 column that blew Plame’s cover.

July 15, 2005 at 05:09 PM in Current Affairs, Democracy, Favorite Links, Media & Journalism, News to Note, Politics, Privacy & Free Speech, Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack