Sunday, December 31, 2006

Playpen's top ten of the year

The following is excerpted from SLATE. Follow the link for the complete report with details of the violations of rights.

The Bill of Wrongs
The 10 most outrageous civil liberties violations of 2006.
By Dahlia Lithwick
Posted Saturday, Dec. 30, 2006, at 6:30 AM ET
I love those year-end roundups—ubiquitous annual lists of greatest films and albums and lip glosses and tractors. It's reassuring that all human information can be wrestled into bundles of 10. In that spirit, Slate proudly presents, the top 10 civil liberties nightmares of the year.
10. Attempt to Get Death Penalty for Zacarias Moussaoui
9. Guantanamo Bay
8. Slagging the Media
7. Slagging the Courts
6. The State-Secrets Doctrine
5. Government Snooping
4. Extraordinary Rendition
3. Abuse of Jose Padilla
2. The Military Commissions Act of 2006
1. Hubris - This legal and intellectual intractability can create the illusion that we are standing on the same constitutional ground we stood upon in 2001, even as that ground is sliding away under our feet.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Killing killers kills humanity

Imprisoned for life as a living warning not to commit crimes against humanity, SH would finally have served to promote human rights; executed by hanging, SH will in the end merely become yet another martyr to those lusting to kill humans and trample their rights.

The New York Times gets it right:

The Rush to Hang Saddam Hussein
Published: December 29, 2006
Toppling Saddam Hussein did not automatically create a new and better Iraq. Executing him won’t either.

The Washington Post has yet to understand the rights at stake:

A Death Sentence Affirmed
For those who oppose the death penalty, as we do, any execution is regrettable -- and this one, should it come to pass, will follow highly imperfect judicial proceedings and may in the short term inflame sectarian divisions. But it's hard to imagine the death penalty existing anywhere for any crime and not for Saddam Hussein [...] Should the world see his end in the coming days, the justice will be imperfect. But it will still be justice.

No, Justice would be served in worldwide abolition of death penalty: to show what human rights are all about!

And the current results of an online poll in Nouvel Observateur

Saddam Hussein condamné à la pendaison
- Normal : 31,81%
- Scandaleux : 17,91%
- Et Bush alors ? : 50,29%

The cynicism expressed is certainly warranted.

And Le Monde apparently understands, as does "Old Europe" in general, what rights and manners of justice are constitutive of democracy and a free society.
Pas grand-monde, sauf peut-être dans son fief sunnite de Tikrit, ne versera une larme sur Saddam Hussein. L'ancien dictateur a été pendu, samedi 30 décembre, après avoir été condamné à mort, le 5 novembre, pour crime contre l'humanité. [...]
George W. Bush, qui ne sait ni pourquoi maintenir ses 140 000 soldats en Irak ni comment les retirer, a salué l'exécution de Saddam Hussein comme "une étape importante sur le chemin de la démocratie". C'est une conception de la démocratie. Elle n'est pas la nôtre.

Non à la peine de mort
LE MONDE 30.12.06

© Le

Thursday, December 28, 2006

READING from point to point

By Gore Vidal
Illustrated. 277 pages. Doubleday. $26.
And it is wonderful to read someone who is still writing in our (as it indeed CAN be) wonderfully mellifluous and malleable and musical language!
It is also wonderful to note that the New York Times, who long denied him any mention of his books, has granted Vidal (deservedly) two rave reviews, excerpts and links follow.

Books Of The Times 'Point to Point Navigation'
Wry Luminary Upstages Stars
Published: November 24, 2006
As a memoir (his second, after “Palimpsest”), “Point to Point Navigation” is as meandering as its title indicates. That’s a compliment: it takes an adroit raconteur to skip so entertainingly among seemingly unrelated subjects without losing track of each anecdote’s destination.
In the end he is his own best advertisement, with a lifetime’s worth of stinging observations and sharp, combative insights to his credit. Add vanity, hubris and audacity on the same scale, and you have a man whose new memoir is unmissable. Surely he would be the first to agree.
Sunday Book Review
Published: November 26, 2006
TO describe this collection of fragments as a valediction would apparently be in accordance with the author's wishes. Nearly every page is heavy — I almost said "gravid"—with intimations of mortality . It's closing time at the Vidal villa in Ravello, Italy, where (as Noel Coward once said about his own bedroom), "let's face it, quite a lot has happened over the years." The books and pictures are being crated up, and farewells tendered to the locals. On a neglected hook hangs a faded bathrobe , somehow preserving the outline of the late Howard Auster , companion for over half a century . "I now move, graciously, I hope," Vidal writes in his opening line, "toward the door marked Exit."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A playpen Christmas present from the bushbaby

AP report as published in the Houston Chronicle, excerpt:

Dec. 26, 2006, 4:36AM
U.S. deaths in Iraq exceed 9-11

By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA Associated Press Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press
BAGHDAD, Iraq — At least 36 Iraqis died Tuesday in bombings, officials said, including a coordinated strike that killed 25 in western Baghdad. Separately, the deaths of six U.S. soldiers pushed the American toll beyond the number of victims in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Here is the link to the complete article on the bushbaby's Christmas present to Americans and the world.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Doing the family holidays ...

So today we're off to Heiko and Steffi's where niece Lea and nephew Malte will be reveling in the attention of far too many relatives for a 4-year-old girl and 4-month old baby to cope with. Detlef & I will be joined by his mother + friend, his father + wife, Steffi's mother & father & sister & her friend & grandparents.

And we'll have the camera along.

US relatives have already been sent a quick video Xmas greeting (see 12 days below) and will be getting phone calls tomorrow, mother and sister that is.

And this is the only really blog sort of blog entry for this year: something personal, almost chatty, downright familial.

But then, I am after all in love with Detlef -- and that makes us a family.

We're even registered, making us officially and legally "related" to each other's relatives.

All we need is something good to eat -- and maybe some flaming candles...

Which brings me back again to what I like to write about here most:

More Light!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas - 12 Days of it...

Ruinous pope / pape funeste

It is time again to warn against the ruinous pronouncements of Maledictus (maquerading as "bene", "male" is even more pernicious).
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) Friday, December 22, 2006; 11:37 AM - Pope Benedict warned in a year-end speech on Friday of an impending clash of cultures and religions [... and] reaffirmed the Catholic Church's rule of priestly celibacy and its condemnation of same-sex marriage[, ... which] "tacitly accredits those ruinous theories that strip all relevance from the masculinity and femininity of the human being as though it were a purely biological issue." [...] Theories "according to which man should be able to decide autonomously what he is and what he isn't" end up with mankind destroying its own identity," he said.

And the nihilism of his pie-in-the-sky abandonment of human responsibility is the most dangerous of all. If an ideology is ruinous, then such religious ideology, as apparent in the fuming rage it - in all its varieties - unleashes to threaten us all. And with this "papal condemnation" this so-called pope sees fit to attack me personally. So I will mince no words in proclaiming his lack of intelligence - clever though he is - because of the blinding power of his "ruinous" faith!
Sex and gender are indeed biological. What man makes of it is human, neither an animal nor a divine affair! (Or what is Maledictus implying about that lady with a baby in a cradle not procreated by the man she was married to?)
Une idée plus funeste que celle que proclame cet ainsi-dit pape n'est guère imaginable. Le manque d'expérience sexuelle l'a enfin rendu débil, malintentioné, et funeste même! Voir le rapportage de Le Monde:

© Le

Lors de ses vœux de Noël à la Curie romaine, vendredi 22 décembre, le pape Benoît XVI a fustigé avec vigueur les partisans du mariage gay, dénonçant leurs "théories funestes". Cette déclaration intervient alors que le débat sur le mariage homosexuel fait rage en Italie. Plusieurs élus de la coalition de gauche de Romano Prodi, divisée sur ce sujet, sont récemment intervenus en faveur des unions gays. Mercredi, deux d'entre eux ont ainsi disposé quatre poupées représentant des couples homosexuels près de l'Enfant Jésus, dans la crèche du Parlement à Rome. Dans son intervention, Benoît XVI a durement critiqué tous ceux qui mettent sur le même plan les mariages homosexuel et hétérosexuel. "Cela accrédite tacitement ces théories funestes qui refusent toute pertinence à la masculinité et à la féminité de la personne humaine, comme s'il s'agissait d'un fait purement biologique", a-t-il estimé.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Some voices are saner; others, ever more insane

For an example of the first:

The New York Times
Opinion, Published: December 22, 2006
Saner Voices in Iran
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the populist demagogue, is not so popular with important elements of Iranian society. [...]
Two weeks ago, the students chanted, “Forget the Holocaust — do something for us.” Last week, one of them told a reporter: “A nuclear program is our right. But we fear that it will do more harm than good.”
For an alarming example of the obstinate second:

The Guardian
Iraq sacrifices worthwhile, claims Rice
Mark Tran and agencies Friday December 22, 2006
Condoleezza Rice today said Iraq was worth the cost in US lives and dollars, rejecting accusations that the conflict is a foreign policy disaster.
With George Bush's popularity plummeting amid growing sectarian violence and US casualties rising towards 3,000, the secretary of state defended the decision to invade the country in 2003 and said the US could still win.

Some random names to remember...

Harald Pinter, Orhan Pamuk, John Lennon, Hanna Loewy, Gutenberg, Detlef Siegel, Gore Vidal, Philippe Sollers, Martin Heidegger, William Shakespeare, Dante Alighieri, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Hermann Broch, Thomas Jefferson, Voltaire, D.A.F. de Sade, Casanova, Jonathan Safran Foer, Noam Chomsky, Truman Capote, Bernard Malamud, Martin Luther King, Thomas J.O. McCarthy, Erich (von) Kahler, Jean Cocteau, Oscar Wilde, John F. Kennedy, Montesquieu, Jacques Diderot, Friedrich Hölderlin, Éric Satie, Friedrich Nietzsche, Henry David Thoreau, Daniel & Noah Webster, and Koko.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Aspergic bushbaby Syndrome

Asperger Syndrome or (Asperger’s Disorder) is a neurobiological disorder named for a Viennese physician, Hans Asperger, who in 1944 published a paper which described a pattern of behaviors in several young boys who had normal intelligence and language development, but who also exhibited autistic-like behaviors and marked deficiencies in social and communication skills.
Except for his apparent lack of "normal" intelligence and language development, the bushbaby fits the description.
Perhaps he's exhibiting a new form; let's call it the aspergic bushbaby syndrome, the same as Asperger Syndrome, but to be found in middle-aged men of below-average intelligence whose language development shut down in early adolescence and who also exhibit obviously autistic behavior (particularly facial expressions) in public appearances (at which "normal" people would be embarrassed) as well as extreme deficiencies in social and communication skills, particularly with the press and anyone with other ideas, more education, or multinational experience.

Check out the Wikipedia explanations in English, German, and French.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Get the bushbaby a therapist ...

... says the editor of Newsweek International, Fareed Sakaria, in this interview on Comedy Central. Just sit back and watch and listen to how absurd the playpen's view of the situation in Iraq really is.
And here it is...

Stop wasting everyone's times (and lives) !

The New York Times
Without Deliberate Speed

Published: December 13, 2006
What follows are the first and last paragraphs from the NYTimes excellent editorial, which you can read in full by clicking the link in "opinion" above.
The claims of calm deliberation emerging from the White House this week are maddening. The search for a new plan for Iraq seems to be taking place with as much urgency as the deliberations over a new color for the dollar bill.
Mr. Bush has no more time to waste on “listening tours” and photo ops. The nation is in a crisis, and Americans need to hear how he plans to unwind the chaos he has unleashed in Iraq. If the president is delaying because he is searching for a good option, he can stop. There are none. But Americans need to see that he is prepared to choose among the undesirable alternatives, and clear the way for a withdrawal of American troops that does not leave even more killing and mayhem behind.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Time to put some grown-ups in charge...

Now it's clear that the bushbaby playpen isn't capable of accomplishing ANY "mission" it has set out on (while trampling on civil and human rights at home and abroad in the process). Not even the Afghanistan-Pakistan area is secure against the Taliban and al Qaeda there, which are creating a mini-state of more and more strength.
This was what the playpen first set out to rid the world of after 9/11 ... so what is going on?
Isn't it time to set priorities?
Please refer to this New York Times report for more on this disaster! What follows is a brief excerpt from the beginning of the article:

Islamic militants are using a recent peace deal with the government to consolidate their hold in northern Pakistan, vastly expanding their training of suicide bombers and other recruits and fortifying alliances with Al Qaeda and foreign fighters, diplomats and intelligence officials from several nations say. The result, they say, is virtually a Taliban mini-state.

And this bit from near the end of the piece:
Morale is high among the resurgent Taliban after their revival in Afghanistan this year, one Pakistani security official said. That will lead to still more recruitment and better organization and planning in the year ahead.

Isn't it time to be realistic about what is going on in the world, rather than simply trying to pretend? Let's depose the playpen and ask some adults to take charge again.

Or anyone who can and will think.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

In praise of a courageous citizen!

Represenatative McKinney introduced a bill in the House of Representatives on December 8, 2006, to impeach the bushbaby. Her courage is to be praised, her clarity of vision to be emulated. Here is the text of her statement on the floor of the house.

Mr. Speaker:
I come before this body today as a proud American and as a servant of the American people, sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States.
Throughout my tenure, I’ve always tried to speak the truth. It’s that commitment that brings me here today.
We have a President who has misgoverned and a Congress that has refused to hold him accountable. It is a grave situation and I believe the stakes for our country are high.
No American is above the law, and if we allow a President to violate, at the most basic and fundamental level, the trust of the people and then continue to govern, without a process for holding him accountable—what does that say about our commitment to the truth? To the Constitution? To our democracy?
The trust of the American people has been broken. And a process must be undertaken to repair this trust. This process must begin with honesty and accountability.
Leading up to our invasion of Iraq, the American people supported this Administration’s actions because they believed in our President. They believed he was acting in good faith. They believed that American laws and American values would be respected. That in the weightiness of everything being considered, two values were rock solid—trust and truth.
From mushroom clouds to African yellow cake to aluminum tubes, the American people and this Congress were not presented the facts, but rather were presented a string of untruths, to justify the invasion of Iraq.President Bush, along with Vice President Cheney and then-National Security Advisor Rice, portrayed to the Congress and to the American people that Iraq represented an imminent threat, culminating with President Bush’s claim that Iraq was six months away from developing a nuclear weapon. Having used false fear to buy consent—the President then took our country to war. This has grave consequences for the health of our democracy, for our standing with our allies, and most of all, for the lives of our men and women in the military and their families—who have been asked to make sacrifices—including the ultimate sacrifice—to keep us safe.
Just as we expect our leaders to be truthful, we expect them to abide by the law and respect our courts and judges. Here again, the President failed the American people.
When President Bush signed an executive order authorizing unlawful spying on American citizens, he circumvented the courts, the law, and he violated the separation of powers provided by the Constitution. Once the program was revealed, he then tried to hide the scope of his offense from the American people by making contradictory, untrue statements.
President George W. Bush has failed to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States; he has failed to ensure that senior members of his administration do the same; and he has betrayed the trust of the American people.
With a heavy heart and in the deepest spirit of patriotism, I exercise my duty and responsibility to speak truthfully about what is before us. To shy away from this responsibility would be easier. But I have not been one to travel the easy road. I believe in this country, and in the power of our democracy. I feel the steely conviction of one who will not let the country I love descend into shame; for the fabric of our democracy is at stake.
Some will call this a partisan vendetta, others will say this is an unimportant distraction to the plans of the incoming Congress. But this is not about political gamesmanship.
I am not willing to put any political party before my principles.
This, instead, is about beginning the long road back to regaining the high standards of truth and democracy upon which our great country was founded.
Mr. Speaker:
Under the standards set by the United States Constitution, President Bush—along with Vice President Cheney, and Secretary of State Rice—should be subject to the process of impeachment, and I have filed H. Res. 1106 in the House of Representatives.
To my fellow Americans, as I leave this Congress, it is in your hands—to hold your representatives accountable, and to show those with the courage to stand for what is right, that they do not stand alone.
Thank you.

And here is a link to the PDF file of her articles of impeachment.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Truth emerging?

So now the bushbaby has some serious information in his playpen (leaving him and all his playmates looking a bit grim, as though they all reek of the sour milk he has splashed about him) from the independent study group on Iraq. Not enough that his dad's ol' pal Gates (whom daddybush evidently prevailed on babybush to nominate for the Defense Secretary post) told the Senate that the US is currently NOT winning "the war" in Iraq, his papa's own Secretary of State Baker with his colleague Hamilton have presented him with their bipartisan independent analysis of the situation there. This is how it begins:

The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating. There is no path that can guarantee success, but the prospects can be improved.

And this is a clear warning from the end of the "Executive Summary":

It is the unanimous view of the Iraq Study Group that these recommendations offer a new way forward for the United States in Iraq and the region. They are comprehensive and need to be implemented in a coordinated fashion. They should not be separated or carried out in isolation.

Right clicking on this link will give you the chance to download the entire report to read at your leisure and draw your own conclusions:
The Iraq Study Group Report

Monday, December 4, 2006

Bolton bolts... Lightning strikes...

In a bit of good news, the media is reporting today the "resignation" of Bolton from the position of US Ambassador to the UN, a job for which the Senate has NEVER confirmed him, and which he has thus been usurping for more than a year, and for which even the bushbaby has finally realized the new Senate, including some prominent Republicans, will NEVER confirm him in the future.
Time to appoint - and confirm - someone committed to diplomacy and the United Nations so that the US can begin a slow return to international legitimacy and credibility.
Here a few links to the reports on the end of this "acting" ambassador:
from CNN, and
Let us all rejoice together.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Vidal fantastically Gores the bushbaby !

You just simply MUST watch this clip from a Tavis Smiley PBS interview on November 28, 2006, with Gore Vidal on the bushbaby's playpenned wargames in Iraq. It includes such zingers as:
"'I'm a war time president, I'm a war time president, Quack quack quack.' Any fool can see that he is looney. Preemptive war, well, what's he trying to preempt? Certainly not a war since he's starting a war."