Guantanamo: "No Legal Basis" for Holding Detainees

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that the problem with hearings for the detainees at Guantanamo Bay is that there is NO LEGAL BASIS for holding them and that they SHOULD NEVER BE RELEASED.

First of all, if we are not a nation of laws, what are we?

Secondly, by deciding that all detainees should never be released, and denying them a fair hearing, you are making sure that no one will ever find out if you've imprisoned the wrong person.

Wrongful imprisonment is a very important issue here because of how the detainees were treated. Making sure the detainees never get out is a great way to see to it that no one ever knows what you did.

It was never a great strategy, and one that will fail in the near future.


God Likes Me Better Than You

Societies with certain rules, such as "don't murder" and "don't steal," survived. Societies that didn't have those rules did not. Other rules, like "women need to wear a cloth on their head" do not rise to the same level. That is, societies having that rule do not have an improved chance at survival.

But it is not enough that behaving a certain way will increase your society's chance of survival and therefore your chance of survival. GOD must order it. And not only does GOD like my way better than yours, but GOD condemns your way of doing things. GOD likes me better than you.

A belief in GOD and GOD's will and GOD's rules means survival of humanity.

When people rail on about GOD and GOD's will, they are hijacking GOD's name to their own purposes. How do you think he feels about that?


Dick Cheney - King of the World

Our Vice President is not a part of the Executive Branch, did you hear? He's King of the World. That would give us all a lesbian princess in his daughter. My, have times changed.

As King of the World, Cheney does not have to worry about public opinion. The elections that got him in office were just a ruse for the masses. Little did we know.

As King of the World, Cheney is not under the authority of the President of the United States. The President is under him. What a fun Christmas party that must be.

Speaking as one of the huddled masses, I can't WAIT for Cheney to realize that one day he won't be in office anymore. I hope someone has a camera at that moment. It will be the falling of a dinosaur.


Hamas and Fatah

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has criticized the international community for its open support of Fatah over Hamas. They express this support by giving money to the Fatah government and not to the Hamas government.

I think Carter's a little wrong on that one. Former President Carter says that Hamas was elected and the world is making a big mistake in ignoring the voice of the Palestinians.

Yes, Hamas was elected. No, Hamas cannot govern. They can't even work with other groups of Palestinians. And when real bare-knuckled politics of governing is required, Hamas pulls out its guns.

So Jimmy Carter complains that the global support of Fatah over Hamas will create a divide between Palestinians. Maybe. But why should anyone support a government they oppose? One calling for the destruction of Israel? One that can't even negotiate a political solution with its own brethren?

There is a democracy of international support as well. No nation MUST give the Palestinians money. If there are two governments, as there are now, support can be given to either, or both. If you act like gun-toting lunatics, don't be surprised if you don't get money from other nations.


Economics Explained with Cows



You have two cows.

You give one to your neighbour.


You have two cows.

The State takes both and gives you some milk.


You have two cows.

The State takes both and sells you some milk.


You have two cows.

The State takes both and shoots you.


You have two cows.

The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the

milk away.


You have two cows.

You sell one and buy a bull.

Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.

You sell them and retire on the income.


You have two giraffes.

The government requires you to take harmonica lessons


You have two cows.

You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.

Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why your cow has dropped dead.


You have two cows.

You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of

credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a

debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get

four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.

The milk rights for six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a

Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who

sells the rights to seven cows back to your listed company.

The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on

one more.

You sell one cow to buy a new President of the United States, leaving

you with ten cows.

No balance sheet is provided with the release.

The public then buys your bull.

You don't need money to start a dog walking business. Buy The Dog Walker's Handbook


You have two cows.

You shred them.


You have two cows.

You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads because you want

three cows.


You have two cows.

You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow but

produce twenty times the milk.

You then create a clever cow cartoon image called 'Cowkimon' and market

it worldwide.


You have two cows.

You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and

milk themselves.


You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.

You decide to have lunch.


You have two cows.

You count them and learn you have five cows.

You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.

You count them again and learn you have two cows.

You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.


You have 5,000 cows. None of them belong to you, but you get to charge the

owners for storing them.


You have two cows.

You have 300 people milking them.

You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.

You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation, and run him over with a

tank in a large open square area.


You have two cows.

You worship them.


You have two cows.

Both are mad.


Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.

You tell them that you have none.

No-one believes you, so they bomb the hell out of you and invade your


You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of a Democracy.


You have two cows.

The one on the left looks very attractive.


You have two cows.

Business seems pretty good.

You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate



Have we had enough of reports that detainees at Guantanamo Bay are being mistreated? Have we had enough information on how this Administration has orchestrated a policy of torture?

I have.


The Paris Hilton Index

It's nice to know that not just Americans are pathetic celebrity watchers.

Pravda, yes that Pravda, has her return to jail at the top of the page with a photo of her wearing very little. This being just days from Russia threatening to turn Europe into a pancake. You'd think people missing their old Cold War charms would have something more serious to talk about. But then, look at me. I'm writing about this stuff.

The Frankfurter Allegemeine at least puts Paris Hilton stories right next to George Michael ones, and a little bit above how handwriting has gone downhill since computers. Now that shows a proper sense of perspective. But only Germans would worry about the quality of their national handwriting.

The Belfast Telegraph puts the news of Paris Hilton's jail experiences right after Putin's latest insult to Tony Blair. Let me see, so Putin allegedly orders the killing of a person on British soil and won't give up the guy indicted for the crime. Russia and Britain are in a major struggle about this, and Britain is threatening to cut all business ties with Russia "if they don't conform to international standards." This is a big deal. And right next to that is Paris Hilton! Because if you want to know about impending economic war in Europe, you will definitely want to know what Paris Hilton is doing RIGHT THIS MINUTE.

The Sydney Morning Herald has Ms. Hilton at the top of its video news on its front page. At least they title it "Paris Hilton Media Circus" and outright admit that what is important is not where she is or what she is doing, but that so many idiot news outlets consider any of that important. A little ironic reflection is needed, perhaps, since all they post is a straight Reuters film clip.

The Lithuanian ELTA ignores our poor Paris, but is excited that Playboy will now be published in Lithuanian.

All in all, poor Paris might be regretting her notoriety right now.

Prince Bandar's Wild Ride

So Prince Bandar shows up at a bank and wants $2 million cash for "traveling expenses." The bank refused. Imagine being asked to scrape up $2 million in cash out of the bank's vault. Do they even have that much laying around at one time? He spends $17 million refurbishing one of his palaces.

"He is quoted in a recent biography saying that he personally flew $10m in a suitcase to Rome and gave it to a priest at the Vatican Bank, in order to covertly fund the Christian Democrats against the Communists in the 1983 Italian elections." See The Guardian article by clicking on the title to this post.

So why the scandal? Sure, the guy's a bit weird, but who cares? A British company, BAE, got a contract to build military weapons for Saudi Arabia. Apparently, as part of the deal, they have been sending $30 million to a bank account in the U.S. every quarter for at least 10 years as a bribe to the Saudi princes making the deal. Can you even imagine getting that kind of money EVERY THREE MONTHS? Bribing foreign officials has only just become illegal in Britain. And Tony Blair shut down the investigation because of "national security" reasons.

There's a lot of jobs in Britain being funded by Saudi military purchases. So they don't want to scratch too deeply on something silly like bribery.


Syria is an Ally of the United States in War on Terror

According to a BBC article, Syria allowed the CIA to house kidnapped people the U.S. suspected of terrorism. They also allowed them to use "enhanced interrogation techniques," said Dick Marty, a Swiss politician investigating the whole extraordinary rendition program for a European human rights group.

Syria's assistance in the War on Terror is not something new. But this information, if true, shows that their level of involvement and cooperation is a lot higher than we have been led to believe.

Also, it poses an interesting contrast to the rhetoric of this Administration, which has been very negative regarding Syria.

Click on the title to this post to see the BBC article.


Bush Uses Words, Not Threats, With Putin

Today Putin and Bush announced that they have a common framework for getting past this nasty missile business in Europe. So all these Russian remarks about Europe becoming a pancake were posturing, which is what you would have to expect. After all, Russia would be destroying themselves in destroying Europe. And I doubt they are prepared for another European war.

Without a doubt, though, Russia has felt very threatened by Eastern Europe's military cooperation with NATO and the U.S. They have made this plain over the last few weeks by their complaining loudly and publicly that Russia is abiding by treaties limiting missiles and no one else is.

But now that President Bush has found the value of talking instead of name calling, he and Putin have established the beginnings of a dialog on military cooperation against common threats. What are these common threats? A nuclear Iran, a Middle East meltdown, and an aggressive China. Those are my guesses. So much for the cold war military contractors were hoping for.

Click on the title to this post for the transcript of Bush's and Putin's public statements.

Training a Torturer

You train a torturer by torturing them. So when the military bosses decided they wanted to toughen up soldiers against rough interrogation techniques, they implemented the SERE program, which put our soldiers through some rough interrogation. Then, most of the limits put in place to prevent torture and abuse were removed.

Add to that the Presidential rhetoric about "the gloves are coming off" and other handy phrases, and what do you have except implicit permission to abuse prisoners? With unaccountable CIA contractors telling soldiers to "soften up" their Iraqi prisoners, what do you think you are going to get? No structure is in place to stop that pressure.

For these and other reasons, this Administration needs to be held accountable for its deliberate lapses in management and policy.