Friday, December 30, 2011

Media Misses More Often Than Not

While the mainstream U.S. media is focusing on B Roll from the North Korean funeral, some of it possibly looped to go round and round, some serious events are ignored or barely touched.
Turn to groups like Humans Rights Watch, the ICRC or Amnesty to find out about countries that don’t sell Western products or Obama doesn’t want you to know about.
To sum it up, all the violent politics are hardly in Syria, Yemen, China or Russia. The latter two get coverage, though mostly in Western Europe and Asia. Economic conflicts are a separate issue in some cases.
Given that most Americans couldn’t care less about other countries, it was startling to me to see the bureau of whatever the Great Navigator is called these days.
Even film crews were not visible. No foreign crews were allowed to march with the goose-steppng mourners.

At the same time we heard of blood in Syria and Yemen, and political violence elsewhere.
Saudi reform advocates have staged several protests since mid-December, 2011, despite a categorical ban on protests issued last March, Human Rights Watch said today. In Riyadh, Buraida, and Qatif, security forces immediately arrested the protesters, who were peacefully protesting the detention without trial of hundreds of people held for long periods in intelligence prisons.
“Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry should immediately release scores of detained and convicted peaceful advocates of reform,”Human Rights Watch said.
Part of the problem is the lack of contest. Those of us long taught to explain situations by including history have learned it is often remove or put at the bottom. Once there it disappears.
It took several days for reports from the Times of India to reach the U.S. about demanding major Internet powers to remove content that can result in racial or racial hatred.
This despite the fact that new U.S. legislation that if passed could turn the Internet into a milk run. There remains a strong strand of reporting the Indian information without exploring what it could mean elsewhere, even soon.

Monday, December 26, 2011

West Africa wins again

Forgive the old expression, WAWA, but trying to narrow Nigeria’s problems down to conflicts between Muslims and Christians just doesn’t seem to tell the entire story. Nigerians believe juju was used to defeat them in soccer.
Certainly the latest murders of Christians by a power-mad Islamic sect is not funny at all.
But for some of us who spent time there we still recall the expression that Nigeria “is the asshole of  the world.”
How can you forget the graffiti on the wall of the ex-Eko Holiday Inn. “Beam me up Scotty, now!” Or the mouthful of cigarette ashes spit out from a breakfast buffet.
And it seems too late to blame the British for the boundaries they and other Europeans drew.
I traveled from Nairobi to Yola, Nigeria, in 1984, passing through Chad and Cameroon because it wasn’t safe to pass from the coast to near the Cameroon border in the east. A Muslim called Musa Mekaniki, had led an assault that could produce a Garden of Earthly Hells painting by Hieronymus Bosch. Thousands died, including many of the bullet-proof sect. Getting home was fun. As I drove through Cameroon an attempted coup was underway. Wearing clothes from Banana Republic I sort of looked a bit mercenary-like. I dared not call the Paris bureau or they would ask for coverage. I made it through dozens of roadblocks, got to Ndjamena, not most reporters’ idea of a safe haven. Then the plane I was booked on just before Christmas flew over and did not land. I boarded an Air Sudan flight. It couldn’t take off until someone raised money for a bribe or gasoline. Khartoum seemed like Geneva that night.
Why should America care? Because Nigeria is our fourth-biggest oil supplier and in the not to distant future could be the third. That is if the country of 160 million doesn’t “fall apart,” to steal part of the title of the acclaimed 1958 novel by
1958 English language novel by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe.
The concept of a second civil war, the 6 July 1967–15 January 1970 Biafran War claimed at least 600,000 lives and perhaps as many as 2 million, seems unthinkable.
Some are calling for breaking the nation in two, with a Muslim half and Christian half. The population is about evenly divided.
The Christian President Goodwill Jonathan, some say, is taking the same laissez-faire approach to the Boko Haram Muslim sect as the military government took to the failed coup that led to the Biafran War. The plotters were not killed, as is the usual reward. This year dozens were killed in Christian churches in the second Jihad Christmas in a row. Of course not all Muslims are fanatics. Not much help to those who die to know that, however.
Most of Nigeria’s oil is in the Christian South, and residents there already think they don’t get enough for the oil taken from them and the pollution left behind. A rebel group there is mostly observing a truce in the Niger Delta area. It is not clear how a Muslim North could survive without oil revenue.
It must be conceded Nigerians retain their sense of humor. Scrawled electronically across the Vanguard Website: "Apart from going to hell" there is really nothing wrong with using juju.

Article first published as West Africa Wins Again on Technorati.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Moscow Staggered By Democracy Protesters

Photo Ria Novosti
The Russian news agency Ria Novosti, BBC and France’s Le Monde had virtually identical headlines Saturday on how Moscow was overrun by opponents of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Ria said tens of thousands, the BBC thousands and Le Monde called the crowd immense.
Rallies were reported across the vast nation.
The usually cautious New York Times headline read:  Vast Rally in Moscow Streets Is Challenge to Putin’s Power
It brings to mind how the Occupy Wall Street movement hasn’t died across the Atlantic.
People won’t take no for answer any longer. Former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, who stood up to the Army and Communist Party to end their rule, urged Putin to resign.
On Sakharov Ave., named after the nuclear scientist dissident, they held banners that called for “free elections” or blew red whistles, Ria reported.
Neverthless the Kremin has shown no sign of rerunning parliamentary elections. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton boldly effectively called them rigged in favor of Putin’s United Russia party.
The protesters also want new rules to prevent fraud in place before the presidential elections. Law does not permit a president to serve three terms in a row. So the presidency was lent to Dimitry Medvedev, who will likely become prime minister.
Even with the alleged rigging, the United Russia’s share of the vote was knocked down from 64 percent in the last vote to 49.9. Putin denies the claims.
He will have a billionaire among opponents, but his regime has not flinched at putting billionaires in jail.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Internet on the Brink

Netizens of the World Wide Web had a shot fired across their bow Friday. At the very least they must realize there is a world out there.
India is one of the biggest Web users in the world.
And this shows Web may be in danger before the U.S. Congress even passes SOPA, if it does.
The Times of India reported Friday that an Indian court in Delhi called in all the powers, Google, Google, Youtube and 18 others to charge them with criminal conspiracy for “selling, publicly exhibiting and … (circulating) obscene, lascivious content,” The Times of India reported. They also were accused of promoting racial hatred and violence, as radio had done before them.
Google said because of the holiday no one was on duty to comment. 
Some are arguing that Hollywood, or perhaps Bollywood, are behind such restraints.
But there has been widespread use of the Internet to spread profanity. In the U.S. there have been several major cases in which coaches at all levels have used the Web to sexually harass or assault athlets.
Internet content has caused riots and death. It also has led to freedom for millions, and brought down dictators.
Google already lost a YouTube case in Italy for material it removed as soon as it learned it was present.
Freedom of speech in the U.S. excludes prior restraint. That means someone may not be stopped from saying, something but can be punished afterwards.
In essence that means the accountability must follow the act. On the other hand, providers can be held responsible for permitting it continues. Racketeeering laws, in the U.S., can be used in such circumstances.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bradley Manning Landmark

Baby boomers growing up learned of cases like the Scopes “Monkey Trial.” Clarence Darrow, perhaps the best American lawyer of all time, made it a landmark.
Although teacher John Thomas Scopes was convicted of teaching evolution, which is still a hot topic, he was released on a technicality.
Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed in 1927 for two murders committed in South Braintree, Mass., authorities said, on behalf of anarchists. Historians remain split over whether they were guilty.
Manning’s lawyer and the prosecution were gave final arguments today in his preliminary hearing but the judge, who limited the defense to two witnesses, has until mid-January to render a verdict. And it won’t be conclusive. He could be ordered to go through the whole thing again in a court martial.
Manning’s case is more controversial than either, even before a verdict, for two reasons.  He was not fit for such classified duty. He demonstrated it on numerous occasions when he lost control, and even reported himself.  As a writer on disability because of PTSD I know what it is like to contend with overwhelming forces.
The second reason is the Army has demonstrated it is not capable of dealing with such cases. This can be partly blamed on making it all-volunteer. Rome’s downfall was preceded by a decision to replace draftees, indeed only those who owned property, with mercenaries. It is all a chimera meant to allow presidents to get away with unwanted wars.
Legally, there is a third reason. His lengthy detention, which included the punishment of being held in solitary, is illegal.
My view is based on having covered military trials, murderous military fiascos, and Wikileaks itself.
Manning, who now is being presented as literally gaga, is accused of walking out of an Iraq base with 251,000 classified documents he had put on a DVD marked Lady Gaga.
The documents, including a video showing what appeared to be an unjustified U.S. helicopter attack on Baghdad civilians, reached Wikileaks which published them selectively.
Any analysis of what happened should begin with noting American soldiers are required by military to report war crimes.
In fact, I have witnessed time and time again soldiers being given white glove treatment in court martials for killings and wounding of civilians.
Pat Tillman, an NFL football star, a volunteer, should not have died of friendly fire in Afghanistan.
In one case, a soldier charged with others for throwing two non-combatant Iraqis in a river where one drowned, was given a leading question. He didn’t know the man was going to drown or he would have intervened. “I wouldn’t go that far,” he said to courtroom laughter as I recall.
Then the defense asked why the other man, who was a witness, was not in court or on a televideo. The Army said they couldn’t find him.
That led to the defense saying the AP had found him an interviewed him, which was true.
Suddenly the military judge wanted me, then an AP reporter, to say whether this was true or not. Of course I refused to comment. And this was something that could have been found on Google.
The Army told me over and over again that potential sufferers of PTSD would be stopped from deploying. Yet history shows many were, including some who had already been deployed and thus suffered the psychiatric wound.
A soldier-translator was charged with cowardice, the first case since Vietnam, because he freaked out when he witnessed the body of an Iraqi killed by the Special Forces he accompanied. Publicity led to his discharge.
A doctor who was in charge of dispensing medicine that led to the death of a soldier who had returned from deployment with serious psychiatric problems. Civilians seemed just as incompetent. An El Paso County doctor got the man’s race wrong.
Once, after listening to the umpteenth attempt by Army commanders to convince reporters that PTSD was not cowardice, an Army captain leaned over to me and said it was all horseshit; these people were all cowards.
Dr. Nidal Malik Hasan, a Virginia-born Muslim psychiatrist, killed  13 at Fort Hood. His likely behavior should have been obvious.  In World War 2, the Army tended to avoid sending Japanese Americans to fight in the Pacific.
It was not the first time a Muslim soldier had killed his Christian counterparts.
In military and civilian courts it has been shown that Muslims sometimes get special treatment, at least from journalists.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

There Is Hope For Journalism

There is a sign of hope for journalism despite recent setbacks in Western countries. And like the Arab Spring it is from a surprise source: Russia.
It is no longer uncommon to find hard-hitting news reports, even on the official Russian news agency, Ria Novosti.
Also credible sources such as Al Jazeera are becoming increasingly. Millions can get to it via the Internet in places like the U.S. where it is only on commercial TV a few hours a day at best.
After 40 years of experience, 40 in in mainstream U.S. journalism, it has been distressing to see the mainstream media so embedded they frequently avoid controversial stories.
For example how much play was there in the U.S. for the report that a Pakistani intelligence officer sold out Osama bin Laden. And that the Saudis had been paying Islamabad hide him, keep him safe and out of the trouble.
Even worse was the parroting they did of Cheney’s Halliburton line about WMDs in Iraq and unproven suggestion Baghdad was involved 9/11. Of course that was not true yet the implication still appears in numerous news accounts.
Today’s breakthrough story is in the American media because it paints the Russians in a bad light. An oil rig became a ghost ship in an instant. Not that Mosow, Putin and Co. need help on that score. They are being described by some as the Magnificent Sn as the muzhiks (dudes) override public opinion to a third presidential term.
Ria Novosti gave widespread coverage to the sinking of the oil rig Kolskaya in a winter storm in the Sea of Okhotsk.
Family members were shown accusing the Russian oil company of sending the rig into the weather against government rules.
VIDEO Ria Novosti
Of course the government denied it. The video, taken from the air in part, showed seas even those of us who have been in the Bering Strait in a seal skin boats was stunned by. The rig is shown overturning.
So far only 14 of the 67 aboard have been rescued. Many are missing. Most the rescued are in hospitals.
 Ria Novosti said three possible causes were being considered, it included violation of safety rules. The families’ insistence that no rigs were to travel in the area until the end of February. The other two reasons were no more reassuring: weather and technical problems aboard the rig.
Novosti reported:
“The Kolskaya drilling rig was being towed in a severe storm when it overturned and sank some 200 km (125 miles) off Sakhalin Island early on December 18. Of the 67 people onboard, 14 have been rescued and 37 more are listed as missing. The death toll now stands at 16 people.
“The Kommersant business daily said on Monday that about a half of all people onboard the oil rig were not authorized to be there. “According to regulations, only the captain and a minimal part of the crew needed for the transportation process are allowed to be onboard when the rig is being towed.
“The drilling rig, built in 1985 in Finland, was carrying out work under a contract with energy giant Gazprom. The rig, which is 69 meters long and 80 meters wide, can accommodate up to 102 people.

First reported on

Monday, December 19, 2011

Could History Label Bradley Manning A Hero

As the pre-trial of Pvt. Bradley Manning gets more complicated, it seems to increase the possibility he could be the American version of Neil Aggett of South Africa and/or the Alfred Dreyfus of France.
The Dreyfus story is already well known. The world should know about Dr. Aggett,  a white who joined in the anti-apartheid campaign and died in prison. Security police claimed he hanged himself.
His family, friends and activists, and one fellow prisoner, said he probably died from torture. He was the 51st campaigner to die in detention, but the first white in almost 20 years. The “best guess” for his death is Feb. 5, 1982.
I will never forget his funeral. The death of this white do-gooder stunned the country. An Afrikaans newspaper published my interview with his family.
Fifteen thousand turned out for his funeral.  I remember calling the bureau astonished that police stood back and let them march. It may have been the straw, or one of the straws, that broke apartheid’s back.
At this stage, Manning is finally in a court, after 17 months of imprisonment, much of it in solitary, a brief portion forced to sleep naked.
This denies him his constitutional right to a speedy trial. In general civilians must be tried within six months unless they request delays or the prosecution needs a witness who is not available. The U.S. Supreme Court has set no time limit but precedent holds that if the right is denied the only remedy is dismissal of charges with or without prejudice. A delay of more than a year has been ruled prejudicial in some cases.
For it to take this long, and for so much of the early days to focus on Manning’s apparent cross-sexual tendencies makes it appear more like the case is about a military RuPaul than treason.
His right to not be punished before trial, violates the Uniform Military Code of Justice. Solitary confinement for lengthy periods is clearly punishment, some experts say torture.
It has led to torture in many cases. Aggett only made it through 70 days. French resistance leader Jean Moulin twice tried to kill himself to avoid talking to Nazi Klaus Barbie, and apparently succeeded the second time.
It also should be noted that it is now widely accepted Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Even if it had war crimes would remain war crimes. Whatever Manning did was because he felt war crimes had been committed.
Just following orders has not been accepted since the Nuremburg Trials. We led them.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Islamic Honor Code

What if Islamic law does support Honor Code killings?
What if they are legitimate under Islamic law?
Does the argument that Muslims are normal people like the rest of us and those who commit terrorist acts are radicals and aberrations of Islam still stand? Should their violent actions be ignored?
This question has arisen before elsewhere. When the U.S. tried to bomb Hanoi back to the Stone Age non-combatants were killed. Thousands. It was of no help to them that we did not mean to kill them.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that perhaps as many as 5,000 women and girls a year are killed by members of their own families.[3] Many women's groups in the Middle East and Southwest Asia suspect the number of victims is about four times greater, according to Wikipedia.
Yet as a 40-year veteran of journalism it appears to me, and I could be wrong, that honor killings do not receive the news coverage they would if did not involve Islam.
Is it because it is feared coverage will trigger more violence. Why is the Kingston, Ontario, alleged honor killings of four women getting minimal coverage?
A Muslim iman who graduated from Montreal’s Concordia University says “There is no such thing as honor killing in Islam.”
Yet the Canada Free Press says it has found at least two references to honor killings being allowed when a “father or mother” kills their “offspring, or offsring’s offspring.”
The first reference, according to Canada Free Press, is “Umdat al-Saliq,” a manual of Islamic law written in the 14th Century and approved as late as1991 as a reliable guide to Sunni Islam by the al-Ahazar University in Cairo.
The late Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led the Iranian Revolution against the Shah, also approved immunity for parents who killed their own children. He wrote it in “Resaleh Towzih Al-Massadel” in 1961.
Or can we solve this question by verifying, for example, whether someone is a member of the Judean People’s Front or the People’s Front of Judea. Chances are they will explode their bomb before you can ask.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Humans

The blows heard around the world may come from a relatively small Chinese village but the social media is preventing the Communist regime from keeping it quiet.

It won’t work. At least one journalist is inside Wukan, and the social media has plenty of experience outwitting dictators.

The people, near Hong Kong, are reportedly fed up with the Communist regime’s officials allowing their underlings to take property and hand it to developers to flip it to get rich quick.

It is the first time Beijing has lost control of a governmental unit since the early days of the Mao regime.

Unlike most of the Occupy events elsewhere there has been at least one death. One Chinese YouTube video shows a local woman being assaulted with a baton by a policewoman. She blows it off like Jackie Chan. Food has been cut off, no fishing is allowed and the village is on lockdown.

But in some ways it must be more frustrating than the U.S. and Europe. There are jobs. But what do you do with the money?

Around the world social media is waking sleeping people who gone from being ants to become giants. It is almost like the story of the Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The New Yorker is calling Putin's Russia the Civil Archipelago.

Social media could be the equivalent of the drug they are given in the movie. I know the power of apes and chimpanzees because I was knocked down by a gorilla in a primate center at a primate center in a jungle in Gabon. A chimpanzee distracted the 400-poud gorilla so I could flee.

But the democracy advocates have no powerful drug that turns them into the intellectual equals of humans to heal that diseases like alzheimers and is mistakenly given a bit and then the enlightened ones take more.

At times in the movie, as a big battle is fought on the Golden Gate bridge the seemingly overpowered Chimpanzees and gorillas are reminiscent of American Indians fighting the Calvary on horseback in the fog.

The way people are coming together now reminds one of John Galt. Outing corruption.

The winner has not been declared yet. Former French President Jacques Chirac was convicted this week of corruption. Gaddafi is dead. Army Pvt. Bradley Manning no doubt won’t do as well when he first goes to court for his assistance to Wikileaks more than 18 months after his arrest began. Much of the time he was being held in solitary, naked at bedtime. It was considered torture. At least remains won't be incinerated and dumped like our war heroes.

Some scenes in the Apes say it all. “Take your hands off  me you damn dirty ape.” Caesar the chimpanzee leading the revolt replies. “No.” Then the trashing of San Francisco begins. The apes, chimpanezees and gorillas don’t even make up one percent and their idea of occupy is more like Sherman marching through the South.

On the bridge is anything but “shooting fish in a barrel” and the army of the one percenters’ SUVs appear more like toys,.

When the playing field is finally leveled it will make a great YouTube video. After all, these people are home.

First on

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hawaii 5-0 Staff Insults Pearl Harbor Vets

Denver veterans of Pearl Harbor have told Channel 7 publicly that they were treated as nuisances by staff of “Hawaii F-O” when they attended the anniversary a week ago.
Staffers for CBS interfered with them walking through the graves at Punchbowl Cemetery, the TV station reported.
It showed video of the incidents.
Radio host Steffan Tubbs, who attended, said he heard show staff telling them to be quiet. Some were stopped from placing roses there. He is a board member of the Greatest Generations Foundation.
“The whole staff at Hawaii Five-0, whether it be the directors or the support staff, were completely disrespectful to our survivors and those veterans,” said Timothy Davis, president and chief executive officer of The Greatest Generations Foundation.
He said 23 of the 24 veterans were Pearl Harbor survivors.
During its newscast Tuesday night the station said the network had apologized.
This will probably be the last year for most of the survivors, who are generally in their late 80s or early 90s, to visit on the anniversary. So far no formal veterans’ ceremony is planned for next December.

First reported on

Read more:

National Canadian Clothing Rules, Eh

(Photo by Odd Andersen AFP-GETTY)

Canada has taken the big leap, banning the wearing of the Islamic veil known as the niqab at citizenship ceremonies.

“This is not simply a practical measure. It is a matter of deep principle that goes to the heart of our identity and our values of openness and equality,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Monday as he announced the changes in Montreal.
“The citizenship oath is a quintessentially public act. It is a public declaration that you are joining the Canadian family and it must be taken freely and openly,”

While some Muslims consider banning the veil violates their religious rights some other people feel it is a security risk, because some terrorists wear the full body cloaks to hide bombs.

But what’s next? Will shoes be banned to stop people from throwing them at dictators such as Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian news agency Mehr reported a laid off worker, S Rashid, was beaten up by the crowd when he expressed his discontent by tossing his shoe; he missed.

 Throwing shoes is a strong expression of unhappiness in the Middle East.

Next thing you know Canada will at least try to discourage the use of its trademark “eh.” The Canadian Web site Ask Men says it is the No. 1 Canadian expression.

“In short, “eh” -- the most popular Canadian expression of them all -- is used to solicit conversation,” Ask Men reports.

Some might, on the other hand, find it odd that stories about the citizen-niqab battle do not mention the honor code.

A Muslim Canadian is on trial now on murder charges for killing his wife and three daughters for allegedly violating the Islamic honor code. He says he would do it again.

“While precise statistics are scarce, the UN estimates thousands of women are killed annually in the name of family honor (National Geographic). Other practices that are woven into the sharia debate, such as female genital mutilation, adolescent marriages, polygamy, and gender-biased inheritance rules, elicit as much controversy. There is significant debate over what the Quran sanctions and what practices were pulled from local customs and predate Islam,” the Council of Foreign Relations reports.

dispatch first appeared on

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Social Media Smarter Than Reds

The good cop, bad cop drill was working well for Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin.
Even my 20-year-old son was fooled by Medvedev’s good looks and Putin’s Mafia style. So was I.
When Medvedev seemed to clash with Putin over what was going on in Libya it made him even more of a world hero.
Everyone knew Putin was the chief don, but hoped somehow Dmitry would drive him from power. Medvedev seemed aware of how the world was changing because of social media. I even got a Tweet once from a page that was theoretically his.
I recall Putin and Medvedev telling the U.S. not to get so uptight about Wikileaks.
It was only a matter of time. Although the former Evil Empire managed to trick some liberals into opposing the denouement of Gaddafi, history readers knew it was Russian trash.
The mango hit the fan when the Russians held an election for its parliament or Duma. Videos of fraud were posted on YouTube. Worse, Hillary Clinton called them out.
Putin had been popular after the fall of Communism as the economy boomed. Three years ago his United Russia party won 64 percent while the ex-KGB guy and Medvedev swapped jobs. The same thing is scheduled to happen this spring.
What has happened in the interim? No room here to mention it all, though a document released by Wikileaks said the Russian Mafia was running the country. Political opponents and some billionaires ended up in prison.
Last week United Russian fell a hair short of 50 percent.
The government caved in and allowed protests, after arresting hundreds of activists.
No one can say for sure how many were on the streets. Probably hundreds of thousands.
Instead of an Arab Spring, the protesters cooperated with police. It could be the U.S. social media as well as the social media from most of the rest of the world were pulling the strings.
Still, it was too much for Medvedev. On his Facebook page condemned the Putin critics.
The result was a sort of Chinese crossing the Yalu River in the Korean War. Every Western-based social media site blasted Medvedev.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Putin and the Wolf

My what big teeth you have?  Sadly Apple rushed out an app that would wire his mouth shut.

The head of the Russian Mafia thought he had set up democracy activists so he could trick them into violency protests and then take them down like Peter the Wolf, blaming it all the time on that wicked Hillary.

It certainly was true that the American Imperialist had been using all her social media tools and friends to accuse Putin of stealing the latest Russian election.

But although Twitter, Facebook, Google, American official media like Voice of America urged the Russians to resist the return to the Evil Empire, the biggest protest since Communism fell went on without any major violence reported. Of course Putin's thugs arrested hundreds of patriots in the days before Saturday's national protests.

Hundreds of thousands of dissidents marched throughout the huge country and made fun of the ex-KGB black belt guy.
President Medvedev was quoted by one site as saying if the election really was crooked it needs to be run again. Many twitted they wanted no resolution just a new, free and fair election.

Considering all the false war crimes made against the U.S., NATO and the Arab League in Libya, Putin might want to watch his own mouth.

Mikael Gorbachev, who blocked the commies from regaining power, said that Putin wants to do just that.

Wikileaks released a U.S. Cable saying Putin et al were using the Russian Mafia to do their dirtiest work.

At the very best, Putin will be lucky to have any credibility at all. That’s assuming he survives in office.

Friday, December 9, 2011

What to do about the Internet?

Drawing Guy Billout, the Atlantic

Having recently spent months working with many untrained writers I suggest the debate on the Internet is rarely balanced.
For some, the only thing that matters is free speech. Some critics are upset about the sexual exploitation, pornography, plagiarism and fake presentations. Luddites ignore the benefits and the liabilities.
Still others believe our growing dependence on Google makes us addicted to Web tools, like a typewriter or a cane. If listening to Mozart and Bach can make children smarter why not this reaction. A typewriter allowed Nietsche to return to writing when his vision began to fail. Nicholas Carr, in “The Shallows,” argues that not necessarily all change will be good.
“Is Google Making Us Stupid” he wrote earlier in the Atlantic.
Hollywood and friends are trying to impose a law that will guarantee that none of their productions are used without permission.
Few care at all about the private citizens who often suffer.
The world has dealt with major changes in how it does business for thousands of years.
The Internet sometimes seems more than all the other changes combined.
There can be no doubt that the Internet does make important information more widely and easily available. This is perhaps the main reason some support it and reject draconian censorship.
Of late the tsunami of pornography on the Web as well as sexual exploitation of children is getting considerable attention. Every form of communication likely has been misused. Remember “phone sex.” Even video movies were interactive.
What can be done. Two things are not the entire answer, in my view. Accountability is necessary, research has been shown. But it is likely to be misused to benefit some. Still it is necessary. Unlimited free speech is already being overused.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hockey Club Parents Trade Texts On Sex Allegations

Is this the future of sports for American youngsters. Parents of a private Boulder ice hockey club are trading text messages to see whether their children might have been sexually exploited online by a 23-year-old coach.

Gina Finney, whose son was one of those who may have been assaulted, told the Boulder Camera parents are trying to get as much information as possible by ex-coach Zachary Thomas Meints. He turned himself into police Thursday and was being held without bond on five charges.

Details of the incidents were in sealed arrest warrants used to seize a computer and a mobile phone, said police spokeswoman Kim Kobel.

She said 13 people who were witnesses and or victims were involved in the case.

“To hear something like this is happening is very disconcerting because of how it impacts our life,” said Finney.

The Penn State scandal, by no means the first time youth sports have involved misconduct, has shaken the nation. The Nittany Lions and longtime coach Joe Paterno were among the most respected group of college athletes in the nation.

Kobel said police were trying to determine whether there was any and if so how much physical contact. “We do believe  there are more victims. We are asking people to call the tip line or the police. If they have any information about any suspicious behavior, we’d like to know about that too.”

Boulder has long been regarded as one of the finest places to live in the nation. Back in the day, “Mork and Mindy” was based there.

The still unsolved murder of JonBenet Ramsey, wealthy parents, destroyed the city’s apparent virginity.

Yesterday a Boulder sheriff’s deputy was arrested and is being held on $100,000 bond in a separate online sexual exploitation case.

Putin Pissed At Hillary

One of my favorite memories of the Cold War, while dad was maintaining Falcon air-to-air missiles up in Alaska, was Slim Pickens waving his cowboy hat as he used his body to navigate a nuclear missile right down to its Russian target after warning the crew that they were facing noo-clear combat toe-to-toe with the Russkies.

Or as Donald Fagen of Steely Dan put it: “Yes we're gonna have a wingding
A summer smoker underground
It's just a dugout that my dad built
In case the reds decide to push the button down. We've got provisions and lots of beer. The key word is survival on the new frontier”

And then there was being with the commies on Y2K night at NORAD. I remember being the journalist whisperer: Major. Should we be letting these guys in the war room? No worries. They won’t get to really see anything he replied. Well, there was one missile fired that night by the Reds, but it was just a theater device _ not meant for the Yankee Imperialists (Chechens).

And now for something completely different. The point of this story.

The U.S. Secretary of State saoid Russian voters deserve a full investigation of electoral fraud and manipulation.

Vladimir Putin got his rear kicked in recent parliamentary elections though he his United Russian did hold on. And he is blaming Hillary Clinton. The sexy Russian better hurry or the French profession that his name sometimes is transliterated to will be banned. He might even have to arm the Anna Chapmans of the Russian secret service. Russian voters deserve a full investigation of electoral fraud and manipulation."

Or, as speculated by Ljubica Vujadinovic,  the Ukraine might be persuaded to legalize prostitution. But that’s another story.

The friction between Clinton, who I would bet on in a street fight despite the Russian’s reported black belt, stems largely from his government’s insistence on supporting world dictators. After losing in Libya why go on to support Syria?

But the real disgust is that Clinton dared to suggest Russia’s election was on the same standard used by these and other dictators.

For months, Mikhail Gorbachev, who broke Russia free from the Iron Curtain has been warning his countrymen and women that Put will take Moscow back to the Cold War Days. He said last week’s election was a fraud and a fresh vote should be held.


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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Will Life Be As Tender Without Irma On Call?

The late Jack Lemmon, the straight arrow rookie flic in one of the red light districts of Paris, asked the bartender why so many couples are going into the Hotel Casanova next door.

“I have a very definite idea. They’re making love,” which the cop, Nestor, denounces as vice.

He earns the retort from Moustache, the bartender, “petit bourgeoisie. It shows the kind of world we live in.

“Love is illegal but not hate. You can do that anytime, anywhere, to anyone.” Lovers must hide in the dark.

Irma La Douce was a hit as a musical on the stage in Paris and London before it was a film smash in the U.S.  Life Magazine called the musical "a French fairy tale for wicked grown-ups who want to believe in love.

"France has always been the artistic and fashionable center of the profession in the West. It also has been common for Frenchmen to have mistresses.

And when the disgraced head of the International Monetary Fund, Daniel Strauss-Kahn, resigned after being accused of raping a New York City hotel maid many prominent French leaders stood up to publicly defend him. 

Although he was able to escape prosecution, opinion quickly turned in France, egged on by American and French bloggers and other feminist leaders.

Combined with a series of alleged rapes and sexual harassment of world-famous politicians, athletes, gays and celebrities, around the world, one could sense too many of these incidents were happening to be mostly inspired by gold-diggers. The FBI of the U.S. has reported for decades that the vast majority of sexual assaults are for real. And most involve people who know each other, not someone jumping out from behind a tree.

An investigation of rape at the Air Force Academy came too late to result in much prosecutorial action, but it made clear the leadership had been mostly ignoring the problem.

But recent scandals in France and elsewhere around the world seem to harden. San Francisco and Canada have supporters for decriminalization.

This week the right and the left in French parliament passed a resolution condemning prostitution. It clearly was going to be met with strong resistance.

But this time, as in Sweden and some other countries, and U.S. states like Colorado, the proposal is to arrest “johns.” As the name implies most of the perpretrators will be males.

Assuming all the technical difficulties of proving money changed hands, it seems about as likely to succeed as Prohibition in the U.S. Most people just don’t care. They may not want to see them standing on street corners but overworked and understaffed police forces won’t make it a priority unless some public scene occurs. Such arrests will have to compete with the cases against political candidates for one.

Whether some of the more recent sex cases, such as Penn State, will make the entire subject sickening is unknown.

Much of the traffic has already moved to the Internet. While they are being pursued aggressively around the world, unless there are underage or slave-like prostitutes the appetite for nailing cyber sex artists also may not have the after-thirst for police agencies as rapes, murders and such.

So there will be the occasional big bust such as occurred in Polk County, Fla., where at least 60 were picked up in a sting.

A crackdown that seems likely on the Web will have to overcome opposition by those who support free speech. The record of law enforcement in the U.S. on abiding strictly by laws that guarantee free speech have a mixed history at the very best.

As far controlling the crime, if it is one, societies have had little success for the thousands of years it has existed. In America, at a certain level it is a violation of privacy.

It wasn’t until 2003 until the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed the remaining laws against sodomy. Clearly it was unlikely where could ever be a conviction without violating the defendants’ privacy.

Would judges be asked to personally review the activity, to determine whether it was legal, as portrayed in a Saturday Night Live skit.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sheriff to Spend Christmas In Jail Named After Him

If you find the constant creep forward of Christmas annoying imagine what it will be like for former Arapahoe County Sheriff Pat Sullivan. He is being held in a jail named after him.
A year before he retired in 2002 he had been declared national sheriff of the year.
He is being held on $500,000 bail on charges of providing meth to recovering male addicts for sex. In charge of the third largest county in the state, with a population of more than 500,000, he had been one of the most highly regarded public servants.
Investigators began tracking him after getting a call saying an "old guy" was trying to get his roommates back on drugs. When Sullivan was told the residents would call the police he said,"...I am the police."
A sting was set up and he was caught, possessing meth. He told detectives he was part of a statewide meth drug task force to help druggies clean up. No such task force exists, the Denver Post reported.
Because of his association with so many county employees, in courts, jails, law enforcement, the trial is going to be very difficult.
Even tricker might not be the jail name. It's not like renaming a football stadium when a company that bought the name goes out of business.
Will anyone want to buy the right to rename the Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. Detention Facility?

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Psychiatrists Say Norwegian Mass Killer Insane

Courts in Norway have determined that Anders Behring Breivik suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. He killed 77 people and wounded 151 in two attacks July 22 in Oslo and on the nearby island of Utoeya.

 Verden Gang Nett and other Norwegian media reported the decision.

“Paranoid schizophrenia is one of several types of schizophrenia, a chronic mental illness in which a person loses touch with reality (psychosis). The classic features of paranoid schizophrenia are having delusions and hearing things that aren't real,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

 Two psychiatrists compiled a 243-page report for the Norwegian Board of Forensic Medicine.

 The BBC said although the 32-year-old remains insane it is not clear whether his trial will go ahead as planned in April.

 Breivik inhabited his “own delusional universe where all his thoughts and acts are guided by his own delusions.” In the past it was frequently diagnosed as a split or multiple personality, but in fact it is a shattered image or personality.

 In most countries victims of such a psychotic illness end up being hospitalized in mental wards, even if they were convicted of murder.

 A key element in many locations is not whether the defendant can tell right from wrong but whether he or she can control the behavior that resulted in physical violence.

 Years ago psychiatrist Karl Jung said that for every one such sociopath who is known there are ten others not discovered.

 In some cases paranoid schizophrenics are more capable of appearing to act normal than others suffering different symptoms.

 In Breivik’s view he was fighting a cultural Marxist and Islamic invasion.

Many of the dead were youngsters attending a summer political party on the island.

First published on Technorati