Friday, March 16, 2012

Hard Cases Make Bad Law


Without gainsaying that Dharun Ravi was guilty of a hate crime, the prosecution never proved that he hated gays.

It didn’t matter. In cases where there is no way to compensate a victim juries often go for the extremes.

Such a case more than 200 years ago led to the saying that bad cases make tough law Tyler Clementi is dead. His soul left adrift on a Twitter posting.

He committed suicide after Ravi made a video of him kissing a lover.

The Convictions

Ravi was found guilty of the most serious charge, bias intimidation. He faces up to ten years in prison and possible deportation.

No one will ever know how much the video played in Clementi’s decision to kill himself. Certainly other things that had happened to him after he came out of the closet caused great hurt. Some of these events involved people he knew, including his mother.

The Web

Also weighing on the jury would be the explosion of privacy invasion that are part and parcel of the Web.

Surveillance cams are on many streets throughout the nation. People are growing tired of it.

And the Web has become a powerful tool for bullying.

This decision hopefully will cause some people to think twice before acting in harmful ways with handy Web tools, including smart phones.

What To Do In This Case

Making Ravi a martyr to some could have an impact that was the opposite of what the jury intended.

Those predicting that the decision will have a major impact on social media may not understand how powerful a force it is. Ravi became a trending topic on Twitter almost immediately after the decision was announced.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March Madness

We should have known when the Ides of March was preceded by Linsanity.
Holy Steve Jobs. Not only did we have a Super Tuesday, Wednesday starts with a new iPad.
Defendant in privacy case in New Jersey is rushed by spectators in a court room.
Pirate Bay now calls itself Supr Bay.
Peyton Manning will always be a Colt. But because of an injury caused by a bounty hunter he won’t be playing for them.
Politics remain a dream. Should we call in a Lego crew? Caesar was stabbed 23 times.
A bad joke that needs to be told again. Republicans appear headed to a Sanatorium.
What did they expect after they pissed off a majority of women and workers. Who does that leave out.
Rush made sure contraception was included. I’ll bet this guy never hard of foreplay. Well, with all those drugs available why bother.
Six Brits killed in Afghanistan. No, the war is not over. Perhaps the mainstream media might mention it from time to time.
The slaughter continues in Syria. Again, too many references to screw ups elsewhere, like Vietnam. Let’s talk about Rwanda, the Balkans and Liberia.
Where is a drone when you need one.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ludicrous Tuesday


You are more likely to have an Amazon store come to your town than a Republican primary.
It certainly would mean more.
Sometimes these things look like the kind of standoff a local SWAT team would handle.
The media reports today that Independents don’t care for any of the candidates. That is blamed on bruising primaries.
It does seem that some candidates have taken out bounties on their opponents. It is easier, however, to knock an opponent out than to build your own credibility.
One possible factor, in addition to the primaries, is the possibility Independents were put off by the failure of the GOP to do anything.
President Obama, on the other hand, can probably count on enough Progressives to vote for him to win a second term.
For some it is déjà vu all over again. At least in 1968 there was a third candidate, sadly it was George Wallace.
Given the Internet’s ability to send unhappy activists into the streets of Cairo and Moscow,  and into the artillery of Syria, one wonders why so little impact here. Occupy this, occupy that.  Hey they try.
Recessions being somewhat cyclical, things are turning around.
Who will admit being a Republican in December? Kind of reminds one of the late Everett Dirksen denying he had nominated Barry Goldwater as the GOP presidential nominee. Expect something like that.
And all the stories of this boring campaign wouldn’t even fill the smallest Kindle.
The fact is they want us to have no fun of any kind.




Friday, March 2, 2012

Six Things You Didn't Know About Bison


6 Amazing Facts You Never Knew About Bison
from Wildlife Promise
2 2/29/2012 // Judith Kohler
Bison, Great Plains, tribal bison, Yellowstone National Park




Photo credit: Beth Pratt/NWF
The bison, shaggy behemoth of the Great Plains, despite weighing as much as a ton, can race up to 40 mph, jump up to 6 feet vertically and can quickly pivot to combat predators. Unfortunately this mighty beast is not faster than a speeding bullet.


Though the bison’s ancestors roamed the continent with saber-toothed tigers and woolly mammoths, he could not protect himself from expansion and was nearly wiped out in the late 1800s as the nation’s population moved West.

Millions of bison were slaughtered for sport, for their hides, to clear the plains for settlers and their livestock and to control the Plains tribes. Native Americans used the bison for food and clothing, shelter, tools and ceremonial implements – nearly everything to survive physically and spiritually.

Before their near extermination, an estimated 30 million to 60 million bison ranged from Canada to northern Mexico and from the Plains to Eastern forests. By about 1890, roughly 1,000 remained, including two dozen in Yellowstone National Park.

Now the tribes at Fort Peck and Fort Belknap are preparing for the arrival of 65 Yellowstone bison.

The American buffalo, also known as bison, has always held great meaning for American Indian people…buffalo represent their spirit and remind them of how their lives were once lived, free and in harmony with nature.  -the InterTribal Buffalo Council





Credit: D. Forehand of Montana
6 Facts about Bison:

1) Bison are North America’s largest land animals. Mature bulls weigh up to 2,000 pounds and mature cows as much as 1,000 pounds.

2) A bison stands 6 – 6.5 feet tall and 10 – 12.5 feet long.

3) A bison’s hump is composed of muscle, supported by long vertebrae. It allows the animal to use its head to plow through snow.

4) Most of the 500,000 or so bison nationwide are raised as livestock on ranches. About 30,000 are managed for conservation in private and public herds.

5) Fossils and accounts from early travelers show that Yellowstone National Park is the only place in the U.S. where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times.

6) The Yellowstone herd is one of the few that remains genetically free of cattle genes.






By: Judith Kohler
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Thursday, March 1, 2012

The End Of Privacy






   The End of Privacy
   In this century it appears the loss of anonymity will be more shocking than the loss of virginity.
   Two events that resulted in deaths, and both involve the Internet at least tangentially, signal the need for a reexamination of privacy.
   Is it even possible in a world with surveillance cameras wherever you turn?  Drones aren’t only used in Afghanistan.
In the Princeton suicide case of Tyler Clementi his predator had figured out how to set up a remote control viewing of his sex with an older gay man.
   Even though it never happened, and even though no video of the sexual encounter was ever posted, the mere appearance on Websites of the fact it happened led to Clementi jumping off the George Washington Bridge.
   This raises another issue. In any sexual harassment case it is difficult to determine what happened, and why. There will be exaggeration, which could result in a more extreme response than might otherwise have followed.
   Can a court handle cases like this. Did events in Clementi's prior life contribute to his decision to take his life?
   How can there be free speech if your right to swing ends where my iPhone begins.
Must everything be figurative, not literal.
   AFP reports a Frenchman is suiing Google for posting a photo of him peeing in his back yard on its Street View.
   This week a teen in Chardon, Ohio, allegedly killed three high school students after publishing a poem that included references to death on Facebook that could have been a warning of what was to come.
   The Christian Science Monitor reported T.J. Lane, the Chardon killer, attended an alternative school for students who are evaluated as a high risk for “substance abuse/chemical dependency, anger issues, mental health issues, truancy, delinquency, difficulties with attention/organization, and academic deficiencies,” according to the school's website. All are red flags that should have made the family weapon more difficult to obtain, says Jennie Lintz, acting executive director of The Center to Prevent Youth Violence in New York City, the Monitor reported.
   Lane had been accused of assaulting a family member in 2009. What does it take for authorities to act.
   As far back as the Columbine High School Massacre 12 years ago, a lifetime in the Web age, killers Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, issued threats on the Internet. And they were reported to area law officers.
   Families at the high school remain convinced police action could have prevented 13 deaths. Instead of investigating why no action was taken the Colorado state government has blocked release of information that may hold the answer.
   Had the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office dragged the two boys into its headquarters for questioning the officers might have faced a court order insisting the threatening words were covered by the First Amendment.
   On the other extreme, Princeton student Dharun Ravi, is on trial for revealing to the university public and beyond electronically that his dormitory roommate was gay. Tyler Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge after learning of his betrayal, it has been reported.
   ----------------------
The author was the lead reporter for Associated Press on the Columbine Massacre, and ten years of events that followed. He also was working the night life support was turned off for Matthew Shepard in a Colorado hospital.

ICRC Syria


Syria – ICRC Bulletin No. 01 / 2012
1 March 2012


Syria: with no halt in fighting, aid effort faces major challenges

In areas affected by the violence, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, with ICRC support, is doing its utmost to evacuate the wounded and others in need. It is also distributing essential aid to the population in areas of unrest.

On 21 February, the ICRC called for a daily humanitarian pause in the fighting of at least two hours, so that ICRC staff and Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers have enough time to deliver aid and evacuate the wounded and the sick.

In Homs, as the violence continues, the humanitarian situation is very worrying. Despite ongoing negotiations with the authorities and opposition groups, Syrian Arab Red Crescent personnel managed to enter Baba Amr only twice in the last seven days. The situation makes it impossible to distribute aid in the Baba Amr and Il-Insha'at areas at present. However, assistance operations are taking place in other areas, sometimes with difficulty owing to the security conditions.

In Al-Zabadani, 50 kilometres north-west of Damascus, people have been leaving the city for Bludan and Madaya, near the Lebanese border, in search of safety. Bludan residents and people they took in from Al-Zabadani were without medical care for 10 days. There were reports of shortages – of food, electricity and water – resulting from the lack of security in the Zabadani area.

Evacuating the wounded and distributing aid in Baba Amr and elsewhere in Homs

●   Convoys of 13 trucks carrying relief goods and food, and five other Syrian Arab Red Crescent and ICRC vehicles, entered Homs between 11 and 28 February. The supplies they carried included medical items, food for 30,000 people for one month, 3,000 blankets, 1,000 baby-milk tins and hygiene items for 9,000 people.
●   The Homs branch of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent has been distributing the aid since 15 February in four areas of Homs (Al-Khalidiyah, Karm al-Zaytun, Al-Rastan and Al-Tawzi' al-Ijbari). Subsequent distributions also took place in six other parts of the city.
●   A convoy of nine ambulances, a mobile medical unit and three Syrian Arab Red Crescent and ICRC vehicles entered the Baba Amr neighbourhood of Homs on 24 February. Syrian Arab Red Crescent ambulances evacuated seven seriously wounded people and 20 sick women and children to the nearby Al-Amin Hospital.
●   Three other people, including two women, were evacuated on 27 February.
●   On 11 February, ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent personnel joined local Red Crescent volunteers in Homs in evacuating more than 80 inhabitants of the Insha'at area to a mosque in a safer neighbourhood. "A period of calm made it possible for us to evacuate people," said Jeroen Carrin, an ICRC delegate who took part in the evacuation. "People looked exhausted. They had been trying to leave the neighbourhood for nearly a week. Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers provided first aid for those who needed it."
●   The ICRC also provided medical supplies for the private hospitals that continue to function in the city.

Bringing aid to Hama, Idlib and Dara'a

●   During the past week, humanitarian convoys entered Hama, Idlib and Dara'a. The relief goods they were carrying included the first ICRC aid to reach Hama since 17 January. A total of 2,000 food parcels, 500 blankets and hygiene items for 2,200 people were delivered to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent branch in Hama. "The distribution of the assistance started on 28 February," said Rula Daoud, an ICRC field officer on the scene.
●   Another convoy reached Idlib on 28 February, carrying 1,500 food parcels, 1,000 blankets and hygiene items for 9,000 people.
●   In addition, 500 food parcels were delivered to Dara'a for distribution by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent branch in the city.

Medical teams enter Bludan and Madaaya

●   On 18 and 19 February, the ICRC set up another first-aid and medical post in Al-Zabadani, manned by 17 Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers, including three doctors and 11 first-aid workers, and provided with two ambulances and a mobile clinic. Three specialized clinics (paediatrics and surgery) were formed to provide medical care. The ambulances brought in people who would otherwise have been unable to reach the post for treatment. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent also set up a pharmacy to dispense medicines. Nearly 700 people have been treated.
●   On 12 February, Syrian Arab Red Crescent set up a medical post in Bludan. For three days, volunteer doctors attended to more than 250 people, many of them injured. Returning to Damascus, the medical team brought five patients with them, including a woman and her daughter, who could not receive proper medical treatment on location.
●   On 11 February, a Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy of ambulances and trucks carrying 480 baby-milk tins and other food for 16,200 people, 800 blankets and hygiene supplies entered Bludan.

During the same period, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent delivered and distributed 1,500 20-kilogram ICRC food parcels to the affected population in Bludan, Madaya and Buqqin and 1,000 57-kilogram food parcels from the World Food Programme in Al-Zabadani. In addition, at least a dozen injured people were evacuated to Damascus for treatment and then returned to their homes a day later.

Activities in the Golan

The ICRC continued its activities to ease the effects of the occupation on Syrian Arabs living in the Golan Heights. On 27 February, ICRC staff facilitated the return to the occupied Golan of a bride, three students, and five other people whose travel to Damascus had been arranged for humanitarian reasons.



For further information, please contact:
Saleh Dabbakeh, ICRC Damascus, tel: +963 993 700 847 or +963 11 331 0476
Hicham Hassan, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 41 or +41 79 536 92 57
or visit our website: www.icrc.org

To preview and download the latest ICRC video footage in broadcast quality, go to

To find out what the ICRC is doing to put an end to attacks on health workers and patients, go to




Sunday, February 26, 2012

Two French Movies Vie for Best Film


Whether they are really French is irrelevant, one was filmed in Paris and the other was a French production, tous les deux are Gallic.
Hugo deserves as many awards as it can get. The Artist should be Best Picture because it is so novel. Michel Hazanavicius, as its director, should take the Oscar.
Both leads in The Artist also should win, Jean Dujardin for best actor and Berenice Beijo for best supporting actress.
Virtually every performance of Glenn Close is Oscar-worthy. Meryl Streep has plenty of Oscars, and the role of the Iron Lady should have gone to Helen Mirren.
Viola Davis gave The Help what it needed to lift itself up from previous civil rights movies and deserves best actress.
Kenneth Branagh deserves best supporting actor. A true renaissance performer on stage, on screen or producing and directing.
For musical song, head south for the samba. Rio in Rio.
This year seems to have a surplus of excellent and original movies, including “The Tree of Life” and “The War Horse.”
The Artist has an old-fashioned kicker, a surprise ending not to be revealed here.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Credit 22





As the economy starts showing signs of life don’t expect that any one of those hundreds of jobs you have applied for will fall into your hands.
Sadly, many employers will not hire you if you have bad credit.
Personal finance expert Liz Weston says there is no evidence connecting bad credit to job skills or likely performance.
She has included the subject in her latest book because there is "mounting evidence  that employers are abusing credit checks."
It’s kind of like insurance companies refusing to pay victims of PTSD a third of the money they are entitled to if part of their problem is depression.
Geeze. You are suffering from PTSD or some other major problem and you get depressed.
You lose your job, or jobs, can’t pay your bills and your credit goes down the toilet.
Of course bankers, if they escape jail, can get right back where they were. No one blames them.
These days you are lucky if you can even talk, face to face, with an employer. It’s almost always some kind of résumé orgy. It just isn’t going to happen.
Some states are cracking down on the use of bad credit to deny jobs. But spam for finding out credit scores must be driven by something.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Winds of War



With American/NATO, Iranian and Russian warships playing chicken, it appears a missing plug in, in today’s language, is the only thing missing.
Syria could be it. Israel could be the decider
There is increasing evidence that the Putin Regime wants to match arms with the U.S., a battle it lost long ago and is not likely to win again.
Clearly it is a way to guarantee his election to a second presidential term. Only time will tell whether the tactic can be dropped once the victory is won.
Critics of expanding relations with Moscow would say we have already given away most our leverage. Last December Moscow was allowed in the World Trade Organization.
Retired CIA station chief Robert Grenier, writing for Al Jazeera, said, “Any conventional war involving Israel, the US, Iran and perhaps other regional powers would be a limited one. Military efforts to degrade Iranian nuclear capabilities and defence infrastructure will surely not include an attempt at occupying the country, nor at forcibly removing its government. Even the US would not be capable of doing so, even if it were so inclined. Nor is war likely to induce either the Iranian regime or its people to capitulate on their nuclear program, regardless of its ultimate intent. Instead, armed intervention is far more likely to swing the Iranians more solidly behind their government and its nationalist agenda, even if that agenda were temporarily set back.”
I recall France once rather ominously pointed out  that it has a very dirty bomb that could be used and keep property damage limited.
Should strong force be needed to drive Syria’s Assad from power could that cause Iran to step back. Would Russia attempt to forcefully block the West, not if its recents signals are accurate.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Entertainment Industry Picked Wrong Time to be Money-Grubbers



One evening in Manhattan in the mid ‘70s I was leaving Rockefeller Center for home and the thunder began.
I could have taken a subway, but chose to dance my way “Singing in the Rain,” literally.
The way things seem headed, if I tried it today the copyright police would be after me.
Yes the industry has slipped some new obstacles past us, but they seem to be losing the war.
Entertainment is about the only bright thing on the horizon in these dismal days. Don’t expect any sympathy from the 99 when all that money is going to the 1ers.
A quietly negotiated Web strangling agreement is being repudiated. A European judge blocked an order requiring social media to insert filters to prevent copyright abuse.
Back in the day many, if not most, would have had no argument with making sure entertainers got their fair share. With the earnings in the billions it is hard to shed more than a crocodile tear.
The concept of making music cheaper and infinitely easier to acquire, might have held the high ground.
Not so when an online bookseller got $15 from me for a Kindle edition by a little-known writer.
Few subjects are less prone to be targets of the Occupy people.




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UN Assembly Condemns Syria
http://aje.me/xdd73K


NEWS FROM EUROPE,AGHANISTAN, CHINA,RUSSIA,SIBERIA

Hardship and Risk Remain in Libya


Libya: hardship and danger remain

16-02-2012 Operational Update No 12/01

Thousands of people remain in detention, individual lives and communities continue to be threatened by unexploded devices, and many families are still trying to find out what happened to their missing loved ones. The ICRC is pressing ahead with its humanitarian work.

Effective monitoring of the situation of detainees

ICRC delegates currently visit approximately 8,500 detainees in more than 60 places of detention. About 10 per cent of the people held are foreign nationals.
"We pay particular attention to the treatment of detainees and stress that their dignity must be respected at all times," said Mr Comninos. "The current situation is complex and challenging, with many places of detention and many different authorities in charge." The ICRC has called upon the authorities at various levels to ensure that detainees are handed over to the Ministry of Justice and are placed in suitable detention facilities as soon as possible.
"While we remain committed to addressing any issues in a bilateral manner with those in charge, the current situation in Libya has confirmed that our work is needed in places of detention," said Mr Comninos. "Our expertise and the quality of the dialogue we have established with the authorities at all levels enable us to obtain certain improvements at this critical moment."
ICRC visits take place regularly. The organization's delegates talk in private with detainees of their choice in order to monitor the conditions in which these people are being held and the treatment they receive. All detention facilities and all detainees must be visited. The ICRC also looks into the detainees' need for medical attention, and detainees are given the opportunity to contact their families.
Between the beginning of March 2011 and the end of last year, the ICRC carried out some 225 visits in 100 places of detention in Libya.
In order to help ensure that conditions of detention are acceptable, the ICRC has also provided detainees with aid. More than 2,500 hygiene kits have been distributed to detainees in over 30 facilities throughout the country. In prisons in the Nefusa mountains, Tajoura, Tripoli and Misrata, the supplies provided included over 3,000 blankets, 700 mattresses, and almost 2,900 sweaters and other winter items.

Reducing the risks posed by explosive remnants of war

To date, many areas affected by fighting remain contaminated by unexploded ordnance. This continues to pose a serious threat to civilians as they try to get back to the life they had before the conflict. The city of Sirte is the worst affected area in the country.
Over the past few weeks, reports about explosive remnants of war still littering Sirte have been collected at a community clinic and at the local branch of the Libyan Red Crescent Society. The ICRC also works in close coordination with local authorities to identify areas that need to be cleared. "We have removed hundreds of unexploded devices from Sirte since November 2011," said Jennifer Reeves, the coordinator of this ICRC programme. "Now we also need to coordinate our activities with those of other organizations that have arrived on the scene to help with the clearing."
In the Nefusa mountains, ICRC staff are working with the local authorities to destroy abandoned ammunition. Alerted by reports from the community, they are also clearing contaminated farmland in remote areas.
At the beginning of February, volunteers from 15 Libyan Red Crescent branches received three days of training on how to educate communities about the risks posed by unexploded ordnance, how to collect data about casualties and how to identify dangerous areas.

Access to clean water and health care

In early February the ICRC donated seven new pumps needed to supply clean drinking water to an estimated 32,000 people in the town of Al Qubah and 12 villages near Benghazi. "The population had spent three months without an adequate or regular supply of potable water," said Sari Nasreddin, the ICRC delegate in charge of the operation. "The water network stopped functioning because no maintenance was performed on the original pumps during the conflict. People were relying on water-trucking services, which were not able to supply enough water for all those in need."
As clashes continue to occur sporadically in the country, causing casualties, the ICRC is re-supplying health-care facilities where needed in order to ensure that weapon-wounded patients can be properly treated. Enough surgical supplies to treat 100 wounded patients were delivered to Assaba'a along with other medical items, and surgical instruments were provided in Gharyan. In December 2011, the ICRC organized a seminar on the surgical treatment of patients with weapon-related injuries, an event that was attended by over 100 surgeons from all over the country.

Family reunited in Sabha

The life of Aisha, a 52-year-old widow and mother of seven children from Sirte, came to a standstill in October 2011. That day she went out with her 10-year-old son and was stuck outside the city because of the fighting. By the time she and her son finally managed to return home, her house had been completely burned down and her six other children were dead.
Aisha and her son were forced to leave. They ended up in the Sidi Faraj camp for displaced people in Benghazi. The camp manager noticed that Aisha and her son were terribly traumatized, and brought them to the attention of the ICRC. Aisha said she wanted to be reunited with her 15-year-old granddaughter, living with a host family in a village close to Sabha in southern Libya. On 25 January, Aisha and her son were taken there by the ICRC. "It was a very moving experience," said Fatma Eljack, an ICRC delegate who accompanied them on their two-day journey from Benghazi to Sabha. "Aisha had lost everything: her house, her personal effects and, above all, her children."
In late June and early July 2011, in cooperation with the Libyan Red Crescent, the ICRC carried out a large-scale maritime transfer to reunite several hundred families dispersed by the conflict.
Approached by grief-stricken families, the ICRC is providing the authorities with technical support and advice to help them in their efforts to clarify the fate of hundreds of missing people.

For further information, please contact:
Soaade Messoudi, ICRC Tripoli, tel: +218 913 066 198
Steven Anderson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 20 11 or +41 79 536 92 50

Friday, February 10, 2012

So-Called Blasphemous Tweets Could Cost Saudi Blogger His Life



And if that wasn’t disturbing enough, it is being reported that Interpol was involved.
That makes Julian Assange’s complaints about Sweden wanting to arrest him for a condom that broke look almost insignificant.
Of course, in theory, Assange could be sent from Sweden to the U.S. and end up at Gitmo.
Now I see how inconsequential my concerns about porn and plagiarism are.
Instead of being a method to free the hoi polloi, it will be more like the magician on the Tosh show who couldn’t break the chain tying him to a car in time and nearly died when it took off. Those Tweets will lead the authorities right back to you.
Here is what 23-year-old Hamza Kashgari had Tweeted last weekend, as reported by the Christian Science Monitor:
 “On your birthday, I will say that I have loved the rebel in you, that you've always been a source of inspiration to me, and that I do not like the halos of divinity around you. I shall not pray for you.
On your birthday, I find you wherever I turn. I will say that I have loved aspects of you, hated others, and could not understand many more.
On your birthday, I shall not bow to you. I shall not kiss your hand. Rather, I shall shake it as equals do, and smile at you as you smile at me. I shall speak to you as a friend, no more.”
 The bogger is considered an apostate and infidel. He could be executed.
Human Rights Watch issued a statement urging Malaysia not to send Kashgari back to the Saudi kingdom.
Users should also be careful of what they say on Facebook unless they want to risk being pulled off a plane in another country. The Saudis have a lot of power.


RUBICON CROSSINGS AND OTHER CYBERFLANEURIES - Robert Weller

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Should We Be Worried About Lego Movies



While the world was watching the Social Media animate the Arab World in real life, there was a dark side. Lego, on the other hand, seems pretty bright.
Not nearly as violent as the video games my kids play.
As I was updating my Web page on the Columbine Massacre (I was the leading AP reporter) I couldn’t resist adding the Lego Columbine piece. It is Danish, a reflection of how Lego movies or clips or whatever they are know no boundaries.
Tim Burton developed the stop motion animation, among others.
There are numerous Lego versions of 127 hours. No one makes the joke making the rounds about how if you play it backwards it is about a disabled man who finds an arm in the desert, attaches it, and parties on. Some certainly are in bad taste, much like life.
Here is what author David Waterhouse had to say about it one of his many pieces on the Web.
“Things would be so much better if the world was made out of Lego. Even the worst things about life, like traffic wardens, taxes and Lorraine Kelly, would be significantly improved if they were made out of little yellow bricks.
“… And what about terrible films? Could you actually make something truly awful such as Tim Burton’s Planet Of The Apes remake watchable by making it purely out of Lego bricks?”
My guess would be yes, though I don’t want to take too much of the fun out of it by telling you much.
Check them out on the Web, especially on YouTube.
So far I haven’t been able to reach Waterhouse. I am guessing Lorraine Kelly is a Scottish TV presenter.
But you need to be careful about what you meme. For example, some are using the word “prestitute” for female news anchors and reporters.
There must be dozens on 127 Hours alone. One of my favorites is 127 Seconds, when a student gets his arm caught under books. Check it out.
Some of the Lego videos have great music, including from the films they are spoofing. There already are their own versions of Oscars.
Perhaps the Legos could hook up with the Occupy people and seize power from our socalled leaders. 
Several different versions of what we should do on particular issues could be made Lego videos and then we could go online and vote on them.
In the meantime, the CDC should send haz-mat teams into the mainstream media. Viruses are brewing there faster than in designer-beer breweries.
For those of a more traditionally artistic bent, trying this Web site:

http://www.stylelist.com/2012/02/03/craft-of-the-day-napkin-holder_n_1253013.html?ref=stylelist-home&icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl8%7Csec3_lnk2%26pLid%3D133285

MORE Robert Weller stories https://sites.google.com/site/robertweller/rubicon

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Assange Extradition



Experts quoted by British media are convinced Julian Assange will be extradited to Sweden in a dubious sexual assault case. Normally this paragraph would have said to face charges, but none have been filed.
After several appeals of a lower court decision to grant extradition failed the case went before the U.K. Supreme Court on Wednesday. The hearing is scheduled to be completed after two days.
A decision would be released later, though no time has been set.
Assange could take the case to the European Court of Human Rights if he loses.
The British experts quoted by the Guardian and others say to not extradite Assange would bring down the entire European justice system. 


And well it might, but not necessarily for the reason they give. Most countries around the world have set up restrictions on extradition to prevent a political refugee from being dragged back to a dictatorship that will harm him, and deny a fair trial.
 An extradition of Assange could result in a disastrous precedent  for the European Union by making it possible for extradition requests without the approval of anyone outside the prosecutor’s office.
The process of extradition varies from country to country but a judge usually must approve, or even a high-ranking executive such as a state governor in the U.S.  For instance, A prosecutor may not order an extradition in Britain. Instead, he/she would only begin the process.
In the U.S.,  an extradition would require that a charge had been filed.
To refer to such restrictions as technicalities is to demean the law. Both Britain and Sweden likely will be embarrassed.
So far, more questions have been raised than answered. It is widely believed the extradition is meant to keep relations between the CIA and Swedish intelligence agency cordial.



https://docs.google.com/document/d/1bGxRDEojjAuWJsUB1Ld8L-BA2vDFDWLdxEsJFafdzPM/edit?pli=1&hl=en_US

http://justice4assange.com/Rule-of-Law.html

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hysterical Nation Calms Down


If the nation had gone on Freud’s couch after 9/11 he might have diagnosed it as hysterical.
Although this diagnosis has lost favor because some deem it as anti-female, it originated with women but was not confined to them.
It concluded that hysterical symptoms were part of an attempt to protect the patient from psychic stress and sometimes had other motives including gain.
One might say many in the nation suffered from PTSD, especially the editors near Ground  Zero. It made them vulnerable, even duty-bound, to support the Bush-Cheney war machine.
In years past the human cost of phony missions searching for WMDs might have been reined in by the cost of dead soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.
Not an easy problem to resolve. Certainly we could use the all-volunteer military to avoid the Vietnam scenario. Still, frequent deployments would be required. To induce the required enlistments expensive bonuses, health care and educational grants would have to be promised.
It worked well until the PTSD and suicide rate began rising sharply among those fighting the wars. Neither was new to war. Some said Westerners had evolved to the point where killing at all, even in self defense, would scar them. The expanding use of roadside explosive devices created more head injuries. And generally speaking, most soldiers were deployed outside the wire longer than those in World War II. Studies then, by the U.S. government, found the longer the GIs were on the front lines the less effective they became.
Anecdotal signs of the cost were war crimes that turned up on YouTube. Urinating on dead Taliban was hardly the worse. There is a saying. We must remember who we are and who we are not.
Now with the date for ending the Afghan war still not known, and Iraq still explosive, President Obama wants to cut 100,000 soldiers.
Where will they work? What about those with PTSD or prescription drug problems? 
The director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, warned in a meeting yesterday in Davos that inappropriate spending cuts might strangle growth prospects, the BBC reported.
What if more wars break out, which seems likely. Will we have to bring them back, at a high cost, or hire even more private contractors, at an even higher cost? We are breaking our word to these people who fought dirty wars for their country.
The National Guard will be next, at the same time its burden will grow. Iowa is already considering how much it will pay for college for those who have served.
That has been a tradition in our military, especially on medical care. I know, my father, a 17-year-old machine gunner who pursued a military career for pay that amounted to peanuts, was one of them.
If they can pull this off with the military, seniors look out.
To sum up: don’t betray the soldiers. End the wars. Trillions will be saved because of the collateral costs. Plus it will keep 100,000 in good jobs and off the dole.



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Internet TV


No, I am not talking about an Internet ready TV that requires an expensive wireless or HDMI cable connection. Nor the ability to have 3D or even some system that emulates the shaking of an earthquake or bomb blast.
Just make the bloody TV ready to go. Keyboard and mouse. All you need is a modem-router and an account.
There are so many workarounds now it is becoming silly.
For example, some devices can connect your TV to your cable TV box.
Apple TV offers splendid connections to Netflix, YouTube and others but will not surf the Web. Google has its version, much more expensive.
Apple only goes to certain sites.
When I brought this up with marketing reps several years ago they told me no one wanted a computer in their living room or entertainment room.
Wonder why alternatives such as iPads have done so well. Surely not everyone is reading it exclusively on trains, planes, and I certainly hope not while driving an automobile.
If they ever get this done (seems likely to happen this year actually) will there be a market for the HDMI cables.
And while we are at it, make sure it plugs right into your home theater complex.




Assange Russian TV Show



Wikileaks founder Julian Assange plans to host a show on Russian TV in March. The show will be taped in the United Kingdom so the long-running case of alleged sexual assault against Assange in Sweden would not necessarily interfere.
However, it wasn't clear how shows taped weeks in advance could be timely.
Ria Novosti, the official Russian news agency, confirmed plans for show.
It was an embarrassment for the U.S. media, coming on the same day that Reporters Without Borders lowered its ranking for press freedom from 20th to 47th.
Assange’s appeal of an extradition order is scheduled for a hearing in England’s high court on Feb. 1. The authencity of the allegations have has been challenged by Wikileaks and many others. Some consider it a U.S.-influenced attempt to discredit Wikileaks for the release of negative inform about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Assange has been under house arrest in England for more than a year.
The show will have ten half-hour segments with many outside guests, the channel Russia Today said. It will be called “The World Tomorrow," the station said.
“Guests of the show’s host and creator Julian Assange will include politicians and revolutionaries; people, who in his opinion, will form tomorrow’s agenda,” the channel said.
“We are proud and delighted that our channel will premiere Julian Assange’s project because the RT channel has gained a worldwide audience that's disappointed by the mainstream and has become open to new angles, making this show fitting for the purpose” RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said.
U.S. viewers likely would have to watch the show on the Internet or via satellite, barring a decision by commercial American television to pick it up.
Wikileaks said on its Web site that this is timely because some in the U.S. Congress were pushing legislation which would virtually shut down the free flow of information on the Web.
“Upheavals and revolutions in the Middle East have started an era of political change that is still unfolding," WikiLeaks stated on its website. "In the West, the deterioration of the rule of law has demonstrated the bankruptcy of once leading political institutions and ideologies. The Internet has never been so strong, or so much under attack.”



Friday, January 20, 2012

Alice in Afghanistan


Are the lives of French troops more important to their government than U.S. fighters are to Washington.

The killing of four French soldiers, and wounding of at least 12 more, led President Nicholas Sarkozy to order a stop to training of Afghan soldiers and police.

Six Americans died in a helicopter Thursday. Washington seemed to think it was some comfort that the chopper probably was not shot down, but crashed due to a maintenance problem or pilot error.

Please don’t trick yourself into thinking the reason President Obama isn’t taking an action like Sarkozy is because our soldiers are better than the French.

Remember the French Navy made it possible for us to become independent. And then of course there is Napoleon. He took Moscow, something the Nazis couldn’t.
French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet was ordered to Afghanistan immediate. “As part of a drive inside the base that gunman shot, killed four of our soldiers in conditions that are unacceptable , he said. “They were not armed, they were murdered by an Afghan soldier.”
American and other NATO forces have suffered similar losses, betrayed by people we are trying to help. The fact is many of these people consider us invaders and themselves heroes.
"I can not accept that Afghan soldiers fired on the French soldiers " , said Sarkozy . The question of an early return of the French army was raised, he told Le Monde.

"If the conditions of security are not clearly restored, then the question of an early withdrawal of the French army would arise," Sarkozy said.
"The French army is in Afghanistan at the service of the Afghans against terrorism and against the Taliban. The French army is not in Afghanistan so that Afghan soldiers can shoot at them," the Guardian reported.
The Guardian also reported that research commissioned by the U.S. showed the lack of trust with NATO and the Afghan people probably will mean more ambushes.
Perhaps Sarkozy’s actions could partly be tied to his re-election bid. The wars are barely an issue in America, distracted by unemployment, the Internet, entertainment and hijinks by its political parties.
The war in Afghanistan is barely an issue in the U.S. The mainstream media, after helping the Bush Administration to launch us into a war in Iraq for no authentic reason, largely has given up interest. Only the Internet keeps it alive.
“A celebrated people lose dignity upon a closer view,” said Napoleon.
Army Times reports attacks one NATO forces by our so-called allies have been increasing.
U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan are seeing a rise in attacks from supposedly friendly Afghan security forces, most recently the shooting of four French troops Friday and a U.S. soldier earlier this month.

Timeline for assaults on NATO troops by Afghan Army or police:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/20/nato-troops-killed-afghanistan






Monday, January 16, 2012

U.N. to Intervene in Syria


Top AFP Free Syria Army Bottom  Reuters
The U.N. is intervening indirectly in Syria by agreeing to train Arab League monitors, who have lost the confidence of most of the outside world.
More than 400 people have died since the League monitors arrived Dec. 27, the Security Council was told in a closed-door meeting, the Washington Post reported.
The training will begin after a meeting this weekend in Cairo, AFP reported. It was not clear whether any of the monitors already in Syria will be among those trained or whether they will be withdrawn, as previously scheduled Thursday.
A U.N. spokeswoman, Vannina Maestracci, confirmed the plan.
The decision, which followed a request by Arab League member Qatar to send troops into Syria, is one step short of it.
Pressure for a military intervention in Syria was growing as President Bashar al-Assad sent out mixed messages on his intentions. Russia appeared so concerned about what seemed likely that it introduced a third resolution in the U.N. in hopes of stopping it.
Turkish media reported a Russian ship delivered fresh weapons Monday. But with the country’s economy near collapse some members of Parliament, following an example set in Libya, fled the country.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who had already warned Assad to stop the killing, sent a message from Abu Dabi to the Security Council to deal seriously with the 10-month uprising. More than 6,000 are believed to have died, the vast majority opponents of the regime or those who happened into the line of fire.
Assad, promised a referendum on a new constitution in March and said he was issuing a countrywide general amnesty for those involved in protests. However, he also said he would use an “iron fist” to suppress his opponents, who he said were backed by Western governments and media.

http://en.ammonnews.net/article.aspx?articleNO=15325

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Syria: Growing Pressure for Military Intervention



Pressure for a military intervention in Syria is growing as President Bashar al-Assad sends out mixed messages on his intentions.
One member of the Arab League, Qatar, has called for troops to be sent in to stop the regime’s killing of Syrians opposed to Assad. Qatar played a leading role in support of ousting the late Muammar Gaddafi.
“Today, I say again to President Assad of Syria: Stop the violence. Stop killing your people. The path of repression is a dead end,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said in a  a conference on democracy in the Arab world held in Lebanon on Sunday.
"The lessons of the past year are eloquent and clear. The winds of change will not cease to blow. The flame ignited in Tunisia will not be dimmed. Let us remember as well, none of these great changes began with a call for a regime change. First and foremost, people wanted dignity," he said.
Assad, promised a referendum on a new constitution in March and said he was issuing a countrywide general amnesty for those involved in protests. However, he also said he would use an “iron fist” to suppress his opponents, who he said were backed by Western governments and media.
 The Guardian reported Assad vowed "God willing, we will be victorious … We are nearing the end of the crisis." Supporters cheered him at the end of what was described as a rambling 100-minute speech at Damascus University.
Russian media, which had roundly condemned the Libya intervention, was more reserved on the Syrian situation. Moscow, however, continues to oppose sanctions. The U.S. has indicated support for intervention if the bloodshed does not stop.
Arab media carried a wide variety of reports ranging from Assad would install a new government in February to Moscow refusing to support Damascus because the death toll was too high.
The U.N., relying partly on human rights organizations, says 5,000 have been killed by Assad’s troops. The government claims up to 2,000 soldiers have died.
Although Syria’s military is stronger than the forces Gaddafi deployed, the country is much smaller geographically and is surrounded by much stronger armies, including Turkey.


http://en.ammonnews.net/article.aspx?articleNO=15325
https://sites.google.com/site/robertweller/rubicon

Friday, January 13, 2012

Honor of U.S. Military Plummets to New Low


When the four Marines urinated on the corpses of Taliban insurgents they might as well have been emptying their bladders on the honor of the U.S. military.
As occurred in the Roman Empire, and was predicted here, replacing the draft with all-volunteers, mercenaries in my view, has been followed with one case after another of America’s proud tradition being stained.
Now, at virtually the same time the Marines were caught on YouTube a military judge decided Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning should be court-martialed for leaking information about apparent misconduct in Iraq.
Only now, 18 months after he was arrested, flouting his right to a speedy trial, was he brought to court. In general, defendants are entitled to a trial within six months unless they seek delays.
His denial by the judge of habeaus corpus, his right to face a court, alone is more than enough to dismiss the charges. Word is, no definitive answer is available, that because Manning wanted to meet with his lawyer before going to trial he was deemed to have given up his right to a speedy trial.
At his kangaroo court, definition "a mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted.”

“The outcome of a trial by kangaroo court is essentially determined in advance, usually for the purpose of ensuring conviction, either by going through the motions of manipulated procedure or by allowing no defense at all.”
The vast majority of his defense witnesses were blocked from appearing: only two were allowed.
What purpose does this serve. Primarily it obfuscates accountability.
The only thing proved in the Article 32 was that Manning gave more than enough warning that he should never have been near classified documents or in a war zone because of his unstable mental condition.
Just like the officers who escaped punishment for a crime spree outside Fort Carson in 2009 when at one point officers returning from the wars were charged in at least 11 murders, the guilty are allowed to fade into obscurity.
Many were suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. If ever the Army suffered a split personality this was it. While generals asked reporters to help them deal with it, lower-ranking officers whispered in their ears that the PTSD victims were just cowards trying to get out of fighting.
Even an Army psychiatrist was able to kill 11 and wound 31 at Fort Hood.
Does it take a Sherlock Holmes to identify these tsunamis as they approached?
Witnessing the Army not holding officers responsible at Fort Carson for the crime outbreak there, I asked the army surgeon general why officers were not being punished. He said something like this is not the time. “If not now, when,” I said in reply, quoting Holocaust writer Primo Levi.
As an Air Force brat I grew up in the lower middle class. My late mother was stunned to see bonuses of $10,000 and more enabling soldiers to drive BMVs. She also wondered if the civilian guards at Ft. Leavenworth would take a bullet for their country. We both knew they would deliver one.
Most of the so-called war crimes trials have ended with slaps on the wrist, with the exception of a handful that were just to big to hide.
But Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld didn’t dare call for a draft for a phony war meant to assuage the President’s ego and enrich Cheney’s business partners. Obama inherited it and didn’t have the spine to end it or the torture that accompanied it.
The story of Rome’s fall is attributed by some historians to the decision to use their wealth to employ mercenaries. Their draft had been much harder than America’s, which often relied on lower income troops. In Rome, only landowners could be in the Army. And they had to come when called, bring their own weapons, and stay until victory.
If the mercenary Army was such a good job why are there so many suicides? Why so much PTSD? Most never expected to be doing revolving tours deploying against guerrillas who followed no rules.
Manning reported things, by leaking them, that in some cases he had an obligation to report because they were violations of the rules of engagement, even war crimes.
What we must remember, to quote from the film “The Debt,” is who we are and who we are not.
Remember MASH, the TV show or the movie, the conscript surgeons put right ahead of military rules. They were not interested in rising up the chain. We don’t have lawyers like that now in our Armed Forces.
Army Times reports Friday that 15 soldiers involved in supervising Manning were being disciplined. This raises questions about the decision to prosecute him. His lawyer will argue he acted with the permission of his superiors.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Honor Of U.S. Military Plummets To New Low


When the four Marines urinated on the corpses of Taliban insurgents they might as well have been emptying their bladders on the honor of the U.S. military.
As occurred in the Roman Empire, and was predicted here, replacing the draft with mercenaries has been followed with one case after another of America’s proud tradition being stained.
Now, at virtually the same time the Marines were caught on YouTube. Bradley Manning has been recommended for a court martial.
Eighteen months after he was arrested, flouting his right to a speedy trial, a military judge has recommended he be court-martialed for his alleged role in leaking classified documents.
His denial of habeaus corpus alone is more than enough to dismiss the charges. Word is, no definitive answer is available, that because Manning wanted to meet with his lawyer before going to trial he was deemed to have given up his right to a speedy trial.
At the kangaroo court, definition "a mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted".
 “The outcome of a trial by kangaroo court is essentially determined in advance, usually for the purpose of ensuring conviction, either by going through the motions of manipulated procedure or by allowing no defense at all.”
The vast majority of his defense witnesses were blocked from appearing: only two were allowed.
What purpose does this serve. Primarily it obfuscates accountability.
The only thing proved in the Article 32 was that Manning gave more than enough warning that he should never have been near classified documents or in a war zone.
Just like the officers who escaped punishment for a crime spree outside Fort Carson in 2009 when at one point officers returning from the wars were charged in at least 11 murders, the guilty are allowed to fade into obscurity.
Many were suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. If ever the Army suffered a split personality this was it. While generals asked reporters to help them deal with it, lower-ranking officers whispered in their ears that the PTSD victims were just cowards trying to get out of fighting.
Even an Army psychiatrist was able to kill 11 and wound 31 at Fort Hood.
Does it take a Sherlock Holmes to identify these tsunamis as they approached?
Witnessing the Army not holding officers responsible at Fort Carson, I asked the army surgeon general why. He said something like this is not the time. “If not now, when,” I said in reply quoting Holocaust writer Primo Levi.
As an Air Force brat I grew up in the lower middle class. My late mother was stunned to see bonuses of $10,000 and more enabling soldiers to drive BMVs. She also wondered if the civilian guards at Ft. Leavenworth would take a bullet for their country. We both knew they would deliver one.
Most of the socalled war crimes trials have ended with slaps on the wrist, with the exception of a handful that were just to big to hide.
But Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld didn’t dare call for a draft for a phony war meant to assuage the President’s ego and enrich Cheney’s business partners.
The story of Rome’s fall is attributed by some historians to the decision to use their wealth to employ mercenaries. Their draft had been much harder than America’s, which often relied on lower incrome troops. In Rome, only landowners could be in the Army. And they had to come when called, bring their own weapons, and stay until victory.
If the mercenary Army was such a good job why so many suicides. Why so much PTSD. Most never expected to be doing revolving tours deploying against guerrillas who followed no rules.
Manning reported things, by leaking them, that in some cases he had an obligation to report because they were violations of the rules of engagement, even war crimes.
What has been forgotten here is that, to quote from the film "The Debt," we must remember who we are and who we are not.




Marines Allegedly Urinated On Taliban Bodies

The Marine Corps Times reports investigators at the highest level are reviewing whether Marines urinated on four Taliban bodies, as purportedly shown in a video on YouTube and elsewhere today.
So far there has been no indication the video is a fraud.
The Marines can be heard joking about what they are doing. “Have a good day buddy” and “Golden like a shower.”
One of the Marines is holding what the Times said is a “precision,” or sniper rifle.
That and their other Marine gear and uniforms could help the Naval Intelligence Service track them down.
The Times reported: “The unit identified in the caption beneath the video — 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines — returned to Camp Lejenue in October from a standard seven-month deployment to Afghanistan’s Helmand province. Its Marines saw intense action in and around Musa Qala, a violent district located in northern Helmand.” The unit’s chain of command denied comment.
 The video was first uploaded by a user named semperfiLoneVoice.
It has drawn acerbic remarks on Tweeter, including Semper Pee, a twist on the Marine code Semper Fi, roughly translated from Latin and meaning keep the faith.
On the other hand, some commenting on the Marine Corps Facebook page dismissed the action as irrelevant and some said they would do it if they had a chance.
“The actions portrayed are not consistent with our core values and are not indicative of the character of the Marines in our Corps. This matter will be fully investigated.”


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Hampshire: A Word of Warning



It probably won’t hold up but it is worth noting that President Obama beat all the Republican contenders in the two New Hampshire villages that voted early in the presidential primary.
Obama totaled 13 votes in Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location. Mitt Romney led the GOP candidates with a total of seven votes in the two towns that voted just after midnight today.
These two towns are well aware that they can get attention by departing from the media’s plan. Stepping out for Obama may be driven by antipathy to Republicans, though.
Reuters reported a fresh national poll showed Obama leading Romney and all other GOP candidates.
This could mean trouble for the Republicans though.
Obama has been portraying them as obstructionists, who have tried to block everything he wanted to do.
Some of the social issues pushed by the Tea Party and right are anathema in the "Live Free or Die State." Mary Jo Liacos of Manchester told the Guardian: "We don't want to be told what our values are."Romney may have moved to the top of the GOP cast because he is seen as a moderate. Running a moderate against Obama likely would cause many conservatives to stay at home.
And that might cancel out stay-at-home progressives, unhappy with Obama not keeping his word on health care, torture and the wars.
It could even lead to a third party candidate on the right.
The party of Lincoln once had a proud record on the environment and some other issues. Now it is seen as a mouthpiece for fundamentalist Christians in the south.
Should Obama win a second term, he might find himself facing a weakened and embarrassed opposition.

 First on Technorati.com

Friday, January 6, 2012

Occupy Movie


Occupy protesters note: A risk analyst at a prominent Wall Street firm, about to discover the company’s assets are mostly thin air, is fired.
After learning what was happening,  a trader is asked by his youthful assistants whether the rumor he made $2.5 million the year before is true.
In a sort of Nero fiddles while Rome burns style, Will Emerson (Paul Bettany) says it was easy and rattles it off in cars, houses, clothes, savings et al. 
When it is pointed out he still had $125.000 left, “Yeah well I did spend $76,520 on hookers, booze and dances, but mainly hookers.
He quickly notes he was able to claim much of that back on his taxes as entertainment.
He might not have been as sanguine if he had not known that like Nero he would not be hurt financially.
In what may be the closest inside look yet at what happened the night the spotlight was turned on the real estate market and it turned out to be a mirage turned out to be a mirage, he defends what the company had been knowingly doing.
A young trader in on the secret says: “This is going to affect people.”
Emerson replies: “Yeah it’s going to affect people like me.”
The youthful trader replies: “Real people.”
Emerson unleashes what is almost a soliloquy: “People want to live like this and their cars and their big f* houses they cannot even pay for … you’re necessary … you’re the only reason that they all get to continue living like kings is we’ve got our fingers on the scales in their favor.
… I take my hand off and the whole world gets really f* fair quickly and nobody actually wants that.
“They want to get what we have to give them but they also want to play innocent and pretend they have no idea where it came from … F* normal people.
“Margin Call” is one of the strongest American films of the year and easily the best Wall Street movie ever made," the New Yorker says. The New York Times and Roger Ebert also are impressed.
Writer-director J.C. Chandor employs a strong cast, including two Best Actor Oscar winners, Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Irons, and Demi Moore for his first feature-length film.
Some might see it as Spacey’s vilification of the market, just as he had shown the American Middle Class in the worst possible light in “American Beauty.” Some would say it was about time and that it would take an artist to do it. The mainstream media, which frequently stumbles when presented with new things like the Occupy movement.
Chandor doesn’t put times or dates on what is happening, just the time of day. The need for the CEO, played by Irons, to come to the headquarters after midnight in a chopper is all that you need.
Irons knows he won’t be able to pull off the dumping of the firm’s mostly worthless assets without the help of Spacey, his market trading manager. Spacey is troubled but takes the money and pulls it off, with Irons noting “there is going to be a lot of money to be made coming out of this mess.”
The movie ends with the company surviving and Spacey burying his beloved Labrador retriever, who he had just had to put down. His ex-wife hears him in the late night hours and comes out and finds him digging a grave in what was once the front yard of their luxury home.