In which the middle-aged Peacenik mouths off about War Drones--and all the other things that make him cranky.

Mr Mahatma--who is a Mr in real life--lives in the valleys of Southern California with his wife, a herd of Dears, and an impressive collection of books. Pnorny!
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Little Mr Mahatma
Thursday, December 30, 2004  
The U.S. has been criticized because it's pledged - what? - about $35 million towards the tragedy in Southeast Asia. And the critics are right. Consider that we're in a "war" in Iraq, one that was arguably without merit, without provocation, and that little fiasco is to the tune of $100 BILLION and counting. Much of that is rebuilding what we destroyed.

$100 BILLION and counting!!

The cost of the tsunami tragedy is estimated around $15 Billion.

Hmmm, we could have had Hussein and Sons assassinated for a few million and still had billions left over to help those truly desperate in Asia. Tell me again how Iraq is a good thing?

Happy New Year
Doubtful I'll post tomorrow. I plan to sleep most of the day and clean the house in prep for a party. But Happy New Years to you-all. It's got to be better than 2004, what with the Election idiocy, and 24/7 coverage of every "who-gives-a-f_ck-about-them" celebrities (*cough* Britney, Janet, Michael, Paris, Lindsey. and so on). Rationality and critical thinking disappeared in a wave of blind, follow-the-leader religious "intuition" lead and exemplified by Dubya. Morality and Ethics disappeared as actions were justified because of fervent beliefs. The Ends justified the Means and Might almost made Right (if'n it weren't for those darn "insurgents").

The rain has stopped. The sky is clear; the air crisp and sweet. As 2005 quickly approaches, we need to forget the Politics and Celebrity Stupidity that've made our lives shallow and meaningless. Don't look to them for meaning, for meaning is not found on TV or in a glossy magazine. Meaning is with family and friends, those who truly care. So for 2005 have a meaningful New Years.

7:56 AM

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Wednesday, December 29, 2004  

Wednesday Musings
Still raining like Bush on a bombing blitz of Iraq. Finally I got around to making the comments more obvious on the Blogger site. Blogger is still the main site and whenever I post a link to my blog, it goes to Blogger. Only because I've been with Blogger longer than tBlogs. tBlogs is a more familiar and active site. In the shorter time I've had it, it's gotten about four times the views than Blogger. Now that's an active community! Plus I think tBlogs defaults to a prettier site, nice pale blue.

Buying Online
My mother refuses to buy anythinig online although for her, with limited mobility, the convenience would be immeasurable. Her concern is that she doesn't know what will happen to her information when she hits the submit button. Having ordered quite a bit online I'd like to reassure her and others that things are about as safe as shopping offline. While it's possible that someone could intercept the data en route most ordering sites use encrypted data. I wouldn't worry too much about the security of the data travelling to a site. If the site is of a reputable company rest assured they've taken secure steps. They want to maintain their reputation and not lose a customer. No, like shopping offline, the danger is when the company has the data. They can be hacked online. They can be snooped offline (la, la - look at the credit card number over the shoulder). The company can (will) sell your information either way.

So, Ma, it's OK to order online - really! And if you shop around online you can usually figure out a better deal than if you trudged around store to store. Look for when the shipping is free or at least less than the sales tax you'd pay.

2:26 PM

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Tuesday, December 28, 2004  

Tuesday Frothings
Usually this time of year I'm one of the poor saps who doesn't take a vacation while the rest of the company takes a cushy two weeks off. On the other hand, I have an easy time finding parking and there's no supervisor being a pain in the butt. It's the time to catch up on bureaucratic bullshit.

Last week was nice and I looked forward to this week being real dead. And it is, except for the freaking monsoon outside. We Southern Californians aren't used to drivinin inclement weather. Hell, to us, anything less than 70 degrees and clouds or clear skies is cause for concern. But this rain in unbelievable! I didn't drive to work as so much perform a thirty mile controlled hydroplane. Not fun at all. At least the smog is gone.

But that hasn't cheesed me off. What is pissing me off this week is two things.

First, the tragedy in Indonesia is beyond expression. Yet in todays paper there's interviews with survivors and one of them said that they survived because an angel must have been looking out for them. What the holy crap?!? Does this mean that the Devil or God killed 44,000 people becuase somehow they weren't as worthy as YOU?!? YOU GOT LUCKY DUMBSHIT!!! Plain and simple random luck. It happens. Earthquake: Our house stands while the neighbor's all collapse. Luck that we got that house. Flash flood - luck that you were where you were when it hit. Angels my ass... By the way, if you want to help out consider a donation to the Red Cross. This is important folks.

The other thing that pissed me off was a commercial for a TV show called 'Medium" - yet another cop show where the troops can't get their job done without the help of a paranormal ubersleuth. I hate that it gives creedence that such help exists effectively. From what I've read, mediums and psychics always offer their help to police and are consistently wrong. But then they get to crow about helping the police. Please let the Police do their job. If you really had psychic powers go to Incredible Randi, claim the million dollars, and donate that to the Police. The money would help the Police better than your mindless twaddle.

Lakers Feel Heat
Kobe scores a million. Shaq's team wins the game. Said it before, the wrong guy got traded. Shaq may be slow and fat but he's big and irreplaceable. Kobe is replaceable. Given the choice, wouldn't you'd rather have had Shaq, Karl, and Phil instead of Kobe?

10:09 AM

1 comment(s)

Wednesday, December 22, 2004  

"Happy Holidays!"
And I repeat - "Happy Holidays!"

Not "Merry Christmas!" or "Happy Hanukkah!" or any other religion-specific good greeting. I don't care if some Christians are getting their bungholes a-quivering because people chose to say a more generic "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". First, it's not exactly uncommon knowledge that JESUS WASN'T BORN ON CHRISTMAS!!! Christmas is yet another Christian holiday developed to overshadow a pre-existing more Pagan holiday. Second, it's not about materialism, about having to get gifts for people. So stop the panic and save your money. There's more to Christmas and Hanukkah and this whole time of year, and why I say "Happy Holidays!"

It's about light.

Every week I talk to a friend - it's our ritual and we've talked every week for about 30 years. We're both deeply into Religion and Spirituality but from different directions. In our last talk we both griped about how we're sick of the faux Holiday Spirit and the wretched music. He talked about how the true meaning of Christmas gets overlooked. No, not about the birth of Jesus which has tremendous controversy, least of which is "When..." and most of which has to do with an illegitimate birth. In any case, he mentioned the true meaning of Christmas has to do with light, that this time of year Christmas represents a temporary light from the long Winter's darkness.

Which is all well and good, I said, and fits in well with Hanukkah AKA The Festival of Lights. Hanukkah is about the miracle of oil lasting for eight days instead of one day, giving those extra days of light and thus extra comfort from the darkness.

And we both nodded our heads after seeing the light.

As human beings we don't care for the dark. It hides the boogeyman and other creatures. It allows our imagination to run a bit wild over every unexpected noise. Simply, darkness hides those that could, and long ago did, prey on us. With that, winter can be difficult as the nights are very long. We want something to break the boredom and shadows. We want something to remind us that spring will happen very soon. We want light. We want a festival. And so before Hanukkah we had something, a wintertime celebration. And we have Hanukkah, and Christmas, and more celebrations.

And so I say "Happy Holidays!" to all people, religious or otherwise, in the spirit of humanity.

"Happy Holidays!" - II
And I repeat - "Happy Holidays!"

Not "Merry Christmas!" or "Happy Hanukkah!" or any other religion-specific good greeting. I don't care if some Christians are getting their bungholes a-quivering because people chose to say a more generic "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". Their self-centered, selfish attitude is exactly wrong with this time of year and our country. That attitude is divisive and certainly not in the spirit of Christmas or being a Christian. But it's perfectly representative of the New America where Jesus apparently rules over the right shoulder of Dubya and a Kevlar-clad Angel of War looks over the other. Where Dubya lights the Christmas tree and the Menorah yet, hmmm, doesn't fast, even symbolically, on Ramadan. And how will Bush include the Atheists? Maybe have a day where he doesn't invoke God in every paragraph?!?

Happy Holidays!

8:59 AM

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Monday, December 20, 2004  

Don't Play Rummy With Shit Cards

Bush Comes to Rumsfeld's Defense

WASHINGTON - President Bush defended embattled Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Monday, saying the Pentagon chief was doing "a really fine job."

Bush answered indirectly when asked at a news conference about his view of Rumsfeld's use of a mechanical device to sign letters of condolence to military families. That practice drew criticism from lawmakers of both parties, and Rumsfeld has since dropped it.

The president did not directly offer his opinion of Rumsfeld's practice, but said, "I have heard the anguish in his voice and seen his eyes when we talk about the danger in Iraq (news - web sites) and the fact that youngsters are over there in harm's way. And he's a good, decent man. He's a caring fellow."

Yes, I'm sure Rummy is a fine, upstanding, caring, decent person. He's just freakin' incompetent at his job. But, for Bush, it doesn't matter - he has nothing to lose during this his second term, so Rummy stays in place and the War in Iraq continues unabated. Isn't that just wonderful?

We live in a circus world. How else to explain the freakshow that is Michael Jackson's life. As his lawyers seek more delays for his child molestation case, Mikey throw a party at Neverland for young kids whose parents should know better. Hmmmm, would those same parents let those kids sleep over at Neverland now? Would they let their kids thumb through magazines with "Jacko"? Can they figure out that "Jacko" is missing "ff" at the end? MJ is not real but I'm beginning to believe most super-celebrities just aren't of this planet. Where's the MIB when you need them.

11:29 AM

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Friday, December 17, 2004  

ANTM - Final Episode
Oh the cruel suspense and surprise twist at the end. After hearing so much about Ya-ya this and Ya-ya that, the winner was Eva-Diva - chosen because she could connect with young girls and be tough or sensitive depending on the sitch. The final episode combined two shows in one hour so in the first half hour Amanda - my fav - got the boot and in the second half-hour the big finale.

The Producers blew it. What they should've done with the final hour is have a three-way showdown. The suspense would have held up. As it was I didn't care after Amanda left. Plus, it would have jibed better with the judges saying that the final three were true models. It would have been more fun and less tedious, having to hear Tyra drone and Janice whine for half the time. It's OK now, Janice, you can go get your drink.

Well, I hope Amanda finds success. Her looks were truly devastating and unlike Eva, she could pass for young and hip or for a more mature look. Just look at that Covergirl (tm) shot...

My wife was thrown that there was a guy on the show called "Miss...". She soon realized that there probably wasn't a straight guy on the show.

Reality Show Pitches
Since I live in L.A. I have a god-given right to pitch shows, whether or not anyone gives a shit. So here are my ideas for the next wave of Reality TV shows:

  • "Meta-Reality Show" as in "I never met a reality show that I didn't try to sell" follows a Reality Show (RS) Producer as he/she tries to sell the next wave of RS shows, such as this one.

  • "Pre-News News" follows the trials and tribulations of a news show before the news airs. Will they make their deadlines, or will the pressure get to them? Will the sportscaster nail the weather girl? And what up with the new anchor? And ratings...bad ratings means the axe for someone and the viewers get to vote.

  • "Post-News Wrap-up" follows the trials and tribulations of a news show after the news airs. Did they make their deadlines, or did the pressure get to them? Did the sportscaster nail the weather girl? And that bastard new anchor?!? And ratings...bad ratings means the axe for someone and the viewers get to vote.

  • "One Hit Wonders" finds what those groups of yore are doing today. Are they sick of playing the same song over and over and over?

  • "WWJ?" asks "What would, drink, sleep, drive, watch, and other topics" - a different topic each week. The show would have a regular panel of religious scholars plus, to keep the show from being drier than croutons, a floating passel of special guest celebrity has-beens and 2nd tier comedians to keep the yocks coming.

  • "Class Clash" contrasts the styles and trials of two families. One family is typical low-income, scraping for food and rent, playing the lottery, working hard just to get by. The other family is "privileged", worrying about their tax shelters and where to vacation this year. Let the laughs roll as the families switch places for a month...

    Taxcut Reality
    In todays paper there was a blurb about the Bush logic behind the taxcuts. Essentially the taxcuts spur people to work harder to get more money, therefore increasing the tax revenues by such an amount to offset the cut and to reduce the deficit. That's the logic and, of course, it's flawed both logically and as proven by reality.

    In America we have essentially two types of workers - Exempt whom are salaried and don't get paid overtime for hours beyond 40, and Non-exempt whom are by the hour and get overtime. If you're Exempt a tax cut means - yay! - more money in your pocket without having to work harder, plain and simple. You get paid a certain amount of money and taxes determine how much is left for you so a tax cut is a good thing. For Non-exempt workers a tax cut means you may have to work less hard to bring home the same amount of money, or work the same amount of time and take in more money. A tax cut means, if anything, either the same amount of work or less.

    In either case it should be obvious that the tax revenues will decrease, period, and that is what happens in reality. Clinton raised taxes for the rich and revenues increased so much that we ended up with a surplus. Bush cut taxes, revenues plummeted fueling a deficit further into debt.

    So for Bush to crow that further tax cuts are necessary to reduce the deficits means (1) that he's living in a fantasy and (2) that many Government programs, like Education, Health, etc. are going to be severely slashed (except for the Military and pet projects). Or for all the talk the deficit will just continue to grow and Bush and cronies watch with wide-eyed wonder.

    11:07 AM

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    Tuesday, December 14, 2004  

    "Probable Cause"
    "Probable cause" - Remember this phrase. Put it on a t-shirt. Tattoo it on your forehead.

    This is the phrase that could destroy America. Seriously.

    "Washington, DC, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday police may make an arrest without a warrant if, given the known facts, there is probable cause of a crime."

    I see a tremendous potential for abuse beyond the occassional lone wolf officer running amok. This ruling could easily be used by politicos to justify citizen harrassment such as detaining someone because they look like a wanted criminal (that is, black or hispanic, or a white troublemaker) or they swerved slightly in traffic (must be drugs). The burden lies on the victim to prove their innocence all while under the eyes of the police.

    Worse is that those who are innocent usually protest loudly as such, which - gosh golly - can turn into "resisting arrest" and turn a mistake into an innocent crime.

    At what point does the Police who job it is "To Protect and Serve" the public become accountable to the very people they supposedly protect and serve? I fear that the Supreme Court has jumped on the "Security uber alles" bandwagon, neglecting our civil liberties (such as the right to sue). As we become more and more like the dreaded USSR of old, I remember an old ad that ran during the Reagan presidency warning of a bear in the woods and that we should be wary of the bear. The bear is out of the woods and in Washington.

    "Better dead than red" takes on multiple meanings now, doesn't it?

    1:28 PM

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    Monday, December 13, 2004  

    Monday Musings
    Over the weekend the wife and I were talking - we do that sometimes - and I had mentioned something that had appeared in the paper about Red States. She commented that the election was over. Why were people still going on about Red and Blue States? And that got me thinking. Why were we? Who benefits from that mindset? Arguably the Democrats which fits in to the position that the "damn Media" is liberally biased.

    But then my train of thought shifted to California and how we're portrayed as a Blue State. But, in reality, not really. Kerry won the state with something like 55% - not an overwhelming victory. Plus we have the annoying habit of electing Republican Governors (Good boy - I did'nt say "incompetent") such as Arnie. Where the hell is Arnie? What is he doing for California? Can anyone tell me?

    And then my train of thought shifted Arnie's wife, Maria Shriver and how she looks like a freaking anorexic skeleton kind of like Karen Carpenter. PBS just had a special on Karen Carpenter - what a talent; such a loss. During the special I mentioned to the wife that Richard Carpenter looked like Richard Chamberlain. Lo and behold, during the special they mentioned that the Carpenters recorded a song originally recorded (poorly) by Chamberlain. RIchard's great role (for me) was Blackthorne in Shogun.

    With that I went to try out "Shogun: Total War" which the wife had found for a buck at a garage sale. Interesting game but not my style. It satisfied my curiosity about the game and quelled a minor thirst for things Nippon, though I never did get my edamames for lunch.

    Anyway. It's "Hell Monday" and as most Mondays I had massive trouble sleeping. Nothing like a forty-minute commute while semi-conscious to make one ponder mortality and the meaning of life.

    1:10 PM

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    Thursday, December 09, 2004  

    Down to the final weeks and the suspense is building. Who will be (say this breathlessly) "AmericasNextTopModel"? Ann-Banana deservedly got the ax this week. Farewell to the robo-model! That leaves Eva-Diva who should get cut next week, leaving Awesome Amanda and YaYa to square off. As I said before Yaya will win because Amanda will get cut due to poor eyesight. Anyway. This week had a major twist as the judges said that none of the four girls were Top Model quality. What?!? Didn't they say in previous weeks that Yaya and Amanda were Top Model caliber? Of course they did but the judges are trying to evoke or emote, or whatever it is that actors do to promote uncertainty and drama. Gosh, I was so thrown that I nearly cried into my banky. I mean, what if they end the series abruptly without any winners?

    (*sigh*) And if this giant of a show survives another 2 years or so you know they'll have a competition between the past winners. Reality TV like ordinary TV gets a bit predictable, just like in real life. Maybe that's why it's called Reality TV. Except many of them are scripted and, of course, edited for maximum effect. What that effect is supposed to be - I dunno.

    News Notes
    "Canadian high court says Government can redefine marriage to include same-sex possibilities." - Those hell-bound Canucks!! What next? Redefine marriage again to include animals?!? THis is an utter travesty and a complete mockery of the sanctity of marriage. I urge every Red-Blooded American to write Bush and call for a complete invasion of Canada!!! [This is sarcasm, folks]

    "Bush pushes for Iraqi eletions in January" - of course he does. Safety, legitimacy, and accuracy be damned. Bush wants the sound bite, the opportunity to crow about elections happening on time despite the insurgents. Remember when it comes to Iraq, it's not about them, it's about us. That's why Bush took us there. And to think, for a few million, we could have hired a hit team to knock out Hussein and Sons. That would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives and billions of dollars. But Halliburton stockholders would've suffered and we can't have that now, can we?

    "Ohio vote validation continues" - I'm curious, what if a couple of states did a complete recount and discovered that Kerry did, in fact, win the states, the electoral votes, and the Presidency - would Bush step aside come January? Or, would he claim, that since Kerry conceded he essentially removed himself from running leaving Bush as the unanimous winner?

    Light Blogging
    Blogging has become more of a chore instead of a catharsis. I'm still wiped from the election and a great part of me just doesn't want to deal with four more years of chronicling the inevitable Bush idiocies. If his incompetence isn't that completely obvious then perhaps something is wrong with America beyond simple ignorance. I dunno and for now don't really care. Bush has won in more ways than one.

    8:18 AM

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    Monday, December 06, 2004  

    Retooling the Democrats
    With the Bush victory, many Democrats and their supporters are posting solutions to fix the Party - how to get the Party in line for a 2008 victory. My two cents is that it doesn't matter any more.

    For decades the Democrats and Republicans have played the system - fixed the rules - to make our choices essentially boil down to one or the other party. Yes, there are other parties - Greens, Libertarians, Peace and Freedom, and so on - but the cost, Media, and bureaucracy heavily favors the Big Two. Our mind set is one or the other. And both parties were likely sharing a chuckle as they imposed further rules to discourage an attack by a third party.

    The Democrats saw themselves as equal to the Republicans and are now more the foolish. With the Republicans virtually in control of our Government they're changing the rules to favor themselves. Check out the DeLay business for an example. Expect to see more of this in Bush's second term. The Republicans will not give up control easily. If, come 2008, the Democrats win the Presidency expect there to be in place a rule that says the new President can't take Office until the results are verified and valid. Then look for a massive nationwide handcount, fraud law suits, and other manipulations. Or a terrorist attack just in time.

    So, instead of retooling the Democrats, the effort ought to be retooling the entire political system to give opportunity for other parties, to give more voices to the common and uncommon people. We need to strengthen our Election processes and remove loopholes and remove opportunities for fraud. We need to see other colors than just Blue and Red.

    Let's face it. You hear the word Republican and you don't picture a happy healthy America. I don't. I picture war, Nixon, crosses, and money streaming upwards. What do you see?

    1:26 PM

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    Friday, December 03, 2004  

    Update on my private TV vice - AmericasNextTopModel (read and said just like that). Bye-bye Norelle. Down to 4 girls. Next week should see Ann getting axed. Then Eva (for being too short and to set up a more racially PC finale). Then in the last episode, it'll be Yaya over Amanda, because no one will want to hire a near-blind model. But Amanda - DAMN!!! Though, though, though it may be Yaya who goes for being a Tyra clone and Eva who stays. Eva vs. Amanda? I'd take Amanda but likely Eva would win - shortness can be high-heeled out but blindness has no fix.

    9:50 AM

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    Bush Is Torture
    Another long news item. I prefer reprinting them here for posterity than chancing a link. Anyway, another piece demonstrating the "Fuck you!" mentality of this Administration of ours. When you read this keep in mind that if it's acceptable for us to hold this position than other countries are just as justified to do so as well, like pre-emptive strikes. Also, imagine that you are picked up for "suspicious terrorist related issues" and tortured, you think you wouldn't confess to some crime even if innocent? Welcome to the Brave New World where everyone is guilty until they confess, where torture is illegal for the othe countries but not ours. And, remember, the U.S. is always at war.

    U.S. OKs Evidence Gained Through Torture

    By MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN, Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON - Evidence gained by torture can be used by the U.S. military in deciding whether to imprison a foreigner indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as an enemy combatant, the government says.

    Statements produced under torture have been inadmissible in U.S. courts for about 70 years. But the U.S. military panels reviewing the detention of 550 foreigners as enemy combatants at the U.S. naval base in Cuba are allowed to use such evidence, Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Brian Boyle acknowledged at a U.S. District Court hearing Thursday.

    Some of the prisoners have filed lawsuits challenging their detention without charges for up to three years so far. At the hearing, Boyle urged District Judge Richard J. Leon to throw their cases out.

    Attorneys for the prisoners argued that some were held solely on evidence gained by torture, which they said violated fundamental fairness and U.S. due process standards. But Boyle argued in a similar hearing Wednesday that the detainees "have no constitutional rights enforceable in this court."

    Leon asked whether a detention based solely on evidence gathered by torture would be illegal, because "torture is illegal. We all know that."

    Boyle replied that if the military's combatant status review tribunals "determine that evidence of questionable provenance were reliable, nothing in the due process clause (of the Constitution) prohibits them from relying on it."

    Leon asked whether there were any restrictions on using torture-induced evidence.

    Boyle replied that the United States never would adopt a policy that would have barred it from acting on evidence that could have prevented the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks even if the data came from questionable practices like torture by a foreign power.

    Several arguments underlie the U.S. court ban on products of torture.

    "About 70 years ago, the Supreme Court stopped the use of evidence produced by third-degree tactics largely on the theory that it was totally unreliable," Harvard Law Professor Philip B. Heymann, a former deputy U.S. attorney general, said in an interview. Subsequent high court rulings were based on revulsion at "the unfairness and brutality of it and later on the idea that confessions ought to be free and uncompelled."

    Leon asked whether U.S. courts could review detentions based on evidence from torture conducted by U.S. personnel.

    Boyle said torture was against U.S. policy and any allegations of it would be "forwarded through command channels for military discipline." He added, "I don't think anything remotely like torture has occurred at Guantanamo" but noted that some U.S. soldiers there had been disciplined for misconduct, including a female interrogator who removed her blouse during questioning.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross said Tuesday it has given the Bush administration a confidential report critical of U.S. treatment of Guantanamo detainees. The New York Times reported the Red Cross described the psychological and physical coercion used at Guantanamo as "tantamount to torture."

    The combatant status review tribunals comprise three colonels and lieutenant colonels. They were set up after the Supreme Court ruled in June that the detainees could ask U.S. courts to see to it they had a proceeding in which to challenge their detention. The panels have reviewed 440 of the prisoners so far but have released only one.

    The military also set up an annual administrative review which considers whether the detainee still presents a danger to the United States but doesn't review enemy combatant status. Administrative reviews have been completed for 161.

    Boyle argued these procedures are sufficient to satisfy the high court.

    Noting that detainees cannot have lawyers at the combatant status review proceedings and cannot see any secret evidence against them, detainee attorney Wes Powell argued "there is no meaningful opportunity in the (proceedings) to rebut the government's claims."

    Leon suggested that if federal judges start reviewing the military's evidence for holding foreign detainees there could be "practical and collateral consequences ... at a time of war."

    And he suggested an earlier Supreme Court ruling might limit judges to checking only on whether detention orders were lawfully issued and review panels were legally established.

    Leon and Judge Joyce Hens Green, who held a similar hearing Wednesday, said they would try to rule soon on whether the 59 detainees may proceed with their lawsuits.

    9:06 AM

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    Thursday, December 02, 2004  

    Bully Bush
    Read the following and figure out the messages being sent:

    US watching Russian arms sales to Venezuela

    Tue Nov 30, 7:21 PM ET

    OTTAWA (AFP) - The United States is watching possible Venezuelan purchases of MiG fighter jets from Russia but doubts that such sales would destabilize Latin America, a senior US administration official said.

    "Let me put it this way: We shoot down MiGs," the official, who spoke to reporters at a White House-organized briefing on condition he not be named, replied when asked whether Washington was worried about such sales.

    "It should be an issue of concern to the Venezuelan people. Millions of dollars are going to be spent on Russian weapons for ill-defined purposes," the official said.

    Prodded on the purpose of such purchase, the official replied: "My understanding is that they're looking to upgrade their fighter fleet, and they've decided that MiGs might be the fighter to purchase."

    White House national security spokesman Sean McCormack said Russian fighter jet sales to Russia "would be an issue we would monitor closely."

    Asked about the anonymous official's "shoot down" comment, McCormack winced and said "I would leave that part out."

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez confirmed Friday, after a two-day visit to Russia, that Caracas would buy 40 military helicopters and an unspecified quantity of automatic weapons from Moscow.

    The Financial Times reported Monday that this was expected to be followed by Venezuela's acquisition of a fleet of the most advanced model of the MiG-29 fighter jet.

    One message is one of confidence that our fighter jocks can outgun any other country's fighter jocks, so if you buy MiGs and go against us you'll lose.

    One message is that our fighter plane technology is superior to that of Russia, so if you buy MiGs and go against us you'll lose.

    One message is that you should buy American...or else if you buy MiGs and go against us you'll lose.

    One message is that the U.S. still considers Russia an enemy or, at least, a lesser ally - one that will take such an insult without complaint...or else.

    But the most blatant message is that you will do as we say...or else. Such a nice message to help bring about Peace on Earth. Or maybe it's a clever way to keep our Defense industry and our economy a-float. But I've yet to find a reason to use "Bush" and "clever" in the same sentence, except now.

    Oh! - you say - but Bush didn't say we shoot down MiGs, so why blame him. It's the mentality - the "US (U.S.) against the World and we're Right because of our superior weapons" mentality. Don't be fooled. Bush is not a man of peace. We have four more years of war, if not in Iraq then somewhere else. And when Bush pisses off China...

    8:00 AM

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