Thursday, February 24, 2005

Letters to Wingnuts: In which I rebut people I kinda know

This is from the February 22, 2004 issue of the Omaha World Herald.
Now I actually kinda know this guy. I met him years ago and was friends with the woman he married (years before they married). She was a very funny, sweet person (I'm not sure she is still married to him, but probably). He is a very smart lawyer. He lays out a nice lawyerly argument below. But what is always interesting to me is the way people will try and defend things that are morally repugnant (like torture) or morally questionable (destroying charities on the way to “fixing” social security) with arguments that "seem" reasonable. You have to look at the assumptions as well as the supporting evidence. My first impulse on reading this was the same as the highly reflective Mr. F . He said, "What? Man, we gotta stop these people."
As always, wingnut in black, Spocko logic in blue.

Charities may take hit

The proposal to fix Social Security's structural defects by removing or increasing the earnings limit would end up hurting charities and the poor.

First, which proposal is he talking about? The one that was proposed by some Democrats in response to the "no-details" proposal from Bush? In Bush's comments about a privatization plan he hasn't presented, he admitted that it does NOT address the longer term financial issues in Social Security funding. By long term I mean beyond 2042 or 2052.

Most wage earners who earn between $90,000 and $200,000 a year are making mortgage and car payments as well as college tuition payments and contributions to their retirement and 401(k) plans. Some tend to donate 5 percent to 10 percent of their incomes to charity.

He says wage earners as if he is talking about Wal-Mart workers or Joe 12 pack down at the Kellogg plant. Lots of people would consider someone who makes over 90,000 a year pretty well off, especial in Nebraska.

"Some tend to donate 5 percent to 10 percent" Yes, those people are the called the poor. In fact, the average American gives about 3.2% of his or her income (before taxes) to charity. The people that give the most actually make the least. Households earning under $10,000 a year -- far below the poverty line -- gave 5.2% of their income to charity. That's a larger percentage of their money than any other income group.

So the average person gives 3.2 percent of his taxable income. Say their taxable income is $150,000 a year. The average they give is $4,800 per year. As we all know, the tax code rewards giving. So this fictional person is not even giving $4,800 per year. Tax savings vary depending on your overall tax rate, but for a rough example:

Federal tax rate Donation Simple tax savings After-tax cost
35% $ 4,800 $ 1,680 $3,120

If payroll tax caps are increased or removed, would these wage-earners pull their kids out of college or private schools? Would they reduce their retirement contributions or sell their house and cars? Not likely.

(I’m inclined to say “Of course not, because they are selfish bastards who care more about their new SUVs and club memberships than any charity!” But I’m not going to go there.) Clearly they will discontinue ANY giving because of this new tax. The logic is, "If the government taxes me to maintain a safety net for the less fortunate in society, I will punish the charities I give to." Is the code here "I've got mine, pull up the ladder?" It appears so. Why should they have to pay more? It appears they should not have to make any sacrifices in their lifestyle since clearly they aren't part of overall society. It appears that no one they know has or will fall upon hard times. They don't want to pay an additional incremental amount to deal with the long term security of people. Maybe they have NEVER benefited by the programs and policies of the federal government. Not in the roads they drive on, the air they breath or the defense of their country. For make no doubt about it, the "defense of the country" is what is taking a huge chunk of the tax dollars. Has that money been spent wisely? There will be a price to pay for this fiscally reckless government’s wars, but clearly they don't want to pay it. Is the logic that the people who should pay for it are the poor and others who need social security to be there for them? Why? Because the Republicans want to shift the problems of the outrageous deficit to someone other than the people who created it.

The one discretionary spending item in most personal budgets is charitable contributions.
Increasing the payroll tax caps likely would result in an immediate drop in charitable giving, hurting the charities and people who rely on them.

So the first thing he thinks of in this situation is that people will screw charities. Fascinating insight into your world. This is the "stern father" model that Lakoff talks about. You see your world as an isolated island, were people fly around the room from pulling themselves up from their own bootstraps. So when push comes to shove in government spending people are always last and benefits for them are always too high, yet wasted government spending on ridiculous wars and insane Star Wars programs are sacred cows. I'm also guessing here that this whole letter could be a ruse from yet another elite who makes even MORE that $200,000. A tax roll back of these richest one percent would have dealt with these shortfalls better. But clearly that is not a proposal that you can push forward. In your world it is better to appeal to the lesser nature of people who are already think they are giving too much, who also think they aren't part of the whole community, that only see waste when it comes to helping people and never things that benefit the few, the powerful, the Republicans.

Terrence P. Maher, Omaha
Mr. Spocko (last name unpronounceable by humans), Star Fleet Academy, SF, CA, Earth. Federation Sector, 0,0,0

National budgets are a nation's theology walking

I first saw Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, on Bill Moyer's excellent program NOW. She was simply brilliant. Smart, fun and NOT BORING. I really hope to see more of her on TV as the "moral values" President continues to push his true agenda of death and destruction. Below is one of her weekly "From Where I Stand" columns.

In an era in which we call poverty "low-income" and hunger "lack of food security," the number of poor, according to the U.S Census Bureau, is increasing and the number of hungry in the richest country in the world has been rising steadily for four years. To pay for a war we should never have fought -- at least not for the reasons they gave us -- this budget is slashing domestic programs.

The budget of this Christian presidency cuts food stamps. It reduces support for subsidized housing. It suggests pillaging social security. It reduces environmental enforcement programs and scientific research in a scientific age. It even reduces veteran's health benefits.

Clearly, the country is in danger of going the way of all oligarchies; power and wealth are sucked to the top, while those on the bottom bleed. We can call it "Christian" as it collapses.

She also had this to say about the "religious right".
I understand the so-called "conservative" agenda. I even share its concerns. They are real and they are important. But they are also incomplete -- which is why I doubt that, as they are being framed right now, that they are either "right" or "religious." The agenda is simply too narrow, too concentrated on issues around human sexuality alone, and too self-centered to be the agenda that drove Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem curing lepers, feeding the hungry and raising the dead to life.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

First they attacked Kerry. Now They Are Attacking Old People!

The people at USAVEXED doing the AARP attack ads were bragging about how they reassembled the entire group of people who did the Swift Boat Liars ads. That includes Chris LaCivita who helped write the commercials, Rick Reed who produced it, Creative Response Concepts, the PR firm, and Regnery Publishing the company that published John O'Neil's duplicitious book--Unfit for Command.

When the ads came out the local TV stations they were quickly discredited in multiple places (but I guess the blogs didn't count or they weren't "high-level" enough to register in their elite media eyes. But there is no excuse for them to ignore the Post, The Globe, The Oregonian and the NY Times!) The SF ABC affiliate covered the story without checking into who these liars were and who backed them.

Below is my blast from the past (August, 2004) on this topic to the ABC 7 News Director. I wonder how they will cover it this time? Will they simply make the Liars' claim and wait until someone from the AARP comes forward and says, "These people are known liars. Of course we don't hate the troops. No, we aren't liberal, we are a non-partisian group blah, blah, blah."? By this time the first mover advantage of rumors and lies has spread to people who are inclined to believe this drivel.

I'm sick of the "A says this and B says this, here is C to comment on what A and B say." format of local TV. Do some FRACKING RESEACH beyond what the "experts" from each side say! I remember the joy I felt when I saw a reporter from the LA Times repeat a Cheney claim and in the very next sentence he stated that he has been proved wrong. He didn't wait to get that fact from the mouth of a democrat.

More of that kind of reporting please.

Kevin Keeshan
News Director
ABC7 News

Dear Mr. Keeshan:

Would you please knock it off and stop treating these discredited Swift Boat Liars like they have any credibility whatsoever?

It would be one thing if this story was early in the run of their slanderous commercial, but the contradictions and lies of the people in the ad have been revealed. Now is the time to show the ad for the baseless dirty smear that it is, not some "developing controversy".

For heavens sake do some reading about these people instead of simply calling it a "controversial" ad. If the Republicans tell you that John Kerry is a 12 foot Genie made out of cheese do you have to wait for the Democrats to tell you that, "No John Kerry is not a 12 feet tall Genie and is not made of cheese. Do you have to run a story titled, "Kerry's height and composition in question?" No, you tell the viewers that the Republicans made a patently false claim today in their bid to convince voters John Kerry is not of this earth.

Look, these people are now backing away from their statements and those who are not are disavowing their own words and previous statements which clearly question their credibility. Please do some background reading before just using the same old tired lines. Try The Oregonian here , The Washington Post here and Boston Globe here, or even the New York Times if you want a nice graphic. And for a more complete up-to the minute list try You could try too, but sometimes when someone makes a statement that is a scurrilous charge that isn't a fact, it's just mud.

Oh, and if you are going to make statements like "These ads are hurting John Kerry among vets could you please tell us WHO COMMISSIONED the SURVEY? How big was it? Who paid for the survey? Who put out the press release telling you about the survey? When was the survey run? Did they run it before or after the debunking of the stories in the press?

Also, when you have an expert on who is saying how this is going to hurt Kerry do you think that maybe the fact that the expert works for the conservative American Enterprise Institute is relevant to the viewers? Sure, you ran the name of the group but you didn't say it was a conservative group and of course you didn't mention that Lynne Cheney, the wife of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, is an AEI senior fellow.

I'm sure that if you had dug a bit you might have found someone who will come on and say, "This ad will actually help John Kerry because the Republican funded Vets have been shown to be liars, BY THEIR OWN WORDS. This ad will hurt Bush because Americans are disgusted by this mud slinging." That viewpoint would be just as valid as the AEI guy and I'll bet you would be sure to idenifty what group he is from. You can not simply take the experts from these "think-tanks" and put them on the show without understanding they have a very specific agenda. You are doing a disservice to your viewers by not letting them know that these "experts" are not impartial.

If these Swift Boat vets were saying what they are saying now under oath in a court of law some would be charged with perjury. This American is disgusted by this mud slinging and disappointed that the people from ABC7 are keeping this story in the headlines without doing some serious reporting on the current status of the key players in this story.



Spocko. Author of
Spocko's Brain, the blog that is sweeping the nation. Now with 8 readers!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Rocky is back!

Click photo for video. It's a rare parody video that
stays inventive beyond a single joke. Spocko's Brain
says check it out.

Monday, February 21, 2005

This just in...

Another famous singer has come forward to vouch for Michael Jackson. Musical legend Stevie Wonder has told ET, “I’ve never seen Michael Jackson do anything inappropriate.”

-Entertainment Tonight, Feb. 18, 2005, ET reporter Thehim Reload

An early Jackson family photo captures a serious face from the toddler that would grow up to become the “King of Pop.”

Other potential character witnesses, Liza and Liz Taylor.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Levels of deception: Power lies vs. Sex lies.

Read an interesting post by Del over at Hullabaloo. It got me thinking about Gannon's "performance" on Anderson Cooper 360 (See Media Matters for the clip)
It got me thinking about different kind of lies and who uses them. You might be an experienced liar in one area, but not in another. If I was a cop watching Gannon on Anderson Cooper I would say, "He's lying". If I was Counselor Troy on Star Trek, The Next Generation, I would say, "He's hiding something Captain."

Gannon actually has shame! We always say, "This White House has NO SHAME." Gannon also is afraid of some kind of legal problem and maybe jail. Or he might be afraid he will be "disappeared". That's not how this White House acts. They discredit and dismiss, they don't kill, they are much more effective that way. When you have control over all the House and Senate as well as have a cowed mainstream media you really don't have to kill someone physically. They do it with words. They are experienced at this tactic.

I've always wondered which of the egregious actions would be big enough to bring them down when they have no shame and so much control. Someone said the only thing that will do it is "A dead girl or a live boy."

Here's my post from over at Hullabaloo. Sorry it's so long. I didn't have time to make it short!
I found his demeanor on Anderson Cooper 360 fascinating and especially in light of your comment del, VERY insightful.

Gannon is not used to having a critical spotlight on him, and unlike the Bush Administration he is not practiced at LIES THAT WILL KEEP HIM OUT OF LEGAL TROUBLE.

Cheney can lie about a "connection al Qaeda" well after it has been disproved. How? He focuses on a tiny technical "relationship" that they actual had. He implied it was much greater. And when pushed he finally admitted just how tenuous the relationship was (Al Qaeda wanted help from Saddam and Saddam said no.) So technically they DID have a relationship and so technically this isn't a lie. But by this time the damage was already done. Only if Cheney lost power and only if he was under oath and only if there was a congress that had the will to push him on this would there be any consequences to conflating this “relationship” between Al Qaeda and Saddam.

What is fascinating about Gannon is that he has 1) shame 2) guilt 3) fear.
He is unpracticed at this hi-level deception of splitting hairs or playing the power card. Covering up your past is very different from the games politician's play to keep themselves out of jail.

By looking fearful, resigning and actually worrying about people seeing him as doing something wrong he is actually acting like a surfer with a cut leg in Great White Territory.
They can smell the blood in the water.

If you have ever been in the hot seat and you don't have a history of being a good hair splitter it is very, very hard. We all saw how uncomfortable he was on Anderson Cooper. One of the reasons that the president is kept in a bubble and the press are limited to one follow up is that he is not a good technical liar like Cheney or Condi. Cheney just finds some way to deny access to the truth. Condi claims ignorance and splits hairs and hides behind "national security". Bush speaks in nonsense if he is caught or just repeats a talking point that doesn’t answer the question and moves on. He actually uses the “how dare you question me, I’m the President!” attitude to intimidate the press. Since they are afraid of getting yelled at or losing access they don’t push too hard. Only people who HAVE SHAME and actually fear they might thrown in jail will exhibit the emotions of Gannon. Bush will pull all sorts of tricks out of his bag when he might actually pay a price and get noticed for lying (I have to “have a conversation” with the 9/11 committee with Uncle Dick their so we can (get our stories straight? Avoid saying something that will implicate the other? List to the story that the other tells so we can give each other cover?)

White House Damage Control Playbook
Gannon is very dangerous and I expect this White House to circle the wagons and use the typical techniques they have used in the past.
1) Deny (We know nothing about planes possible being used as missiles)
2) Diminish -"It's no big deal" (a.k.a. 16 words)
3) Whine about the "liberal media" (All the rightwing noise machine)
Poor Jeff, everyone is out to get him. He didn't do anything wrong.
4) Appeal to a higher power to cover up previous sins "When I was young and irresponsible I was young and irresponsible. Then I was born again" Gannon bathed in the blood of Christ. He found Jesus and didn't do anything wrong since, why is his personal life fair game? If he did stumble on his path to the lord we are all sinners and he has asked forgiveness. I mean he WAS going to church the day he was outted and some scary people were following him. He said they were liberal bloggers; maybe they were Rove’s Rangers.
5) Claim that he was "out of the loop" and then ask for proof that he was in the loop. (Clarke, O’Neill)
6) Go deep and play another card. "The private relationship, gay card"? This falls into Karl “turd blossom” Rove’s territory. His Speciality is taking a shitty situation and making it smell sweet. How would he turn it around? I’m not sure; expect something subtle and deceptive that points to the enemies of the president. Distract people with some part they have gotten wrong or when in doubt, start another war. Raise the terror alert?
It depends on how much "capital" they feel they need to spend to get this under control. I'm guessing that the powers that be got him the media coach for the Anderson Cooper interview. I’m guessing that his GOPUSA boss (who looks to have disavowed him) paid for it, or Gannon is smart enough to figure it might keep him out of jail.

I look forward to the developments on this, especially if they keep letting him talk to non-softball press.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Baking Potatoes Tips

Friday, February 18, 2005

A Question for Senator Santorum

Senator Santorum is on the road and his handlers might let one tough question though amid all the plants with softball questions. At MyDD they asked people what they would ask Sen. Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum. My favorite?

About ten years or so ago, when you were still a House member, you were voted as the stupidest man in the House. Are you now the stupidest member of the Senate, or is there someone stupider, and if so, who?
by spiny norman on Fri Feb 18th, 2005 at 04:23:12 PM EST

Why people don't mess with Karl Rove

If Rove isn't connected with the Gannon/Guckert affair, look for someone else to take the blame and take it HARD.

The Rove Treatment

In 2002, Ron Suskind wrote an article about George W. Bush's chief political advisor Karl Rove (whom The Economist once dubbed "de facto head of the Republican National Committee, vetter-in-chief of Republican candidates, linkman between the White House and the conservative movement, and a one-man ideas factory") for Esquire magazine. "Eventually, I met with Rove," he recalled. "I arrived at his office a few minutes early, just in time to witness the Rove Treatment, which, like LBJ's famous browbeating style, is becoming legend but is seldom reported. Rove's assistant, Susan Ralston, said he'd be just a minute. She's very nice, witty and polite. Over her shoulder was a small back room where a few young men were toiling away. I squeezed into a chair near the open door to Rove's modest chamber, my back against his doorframe.

"Inside, Rove was talking to an aide about some political stratagem in some state that had gone awry and a political operative who had displeased him. I paid it no mind and reviewed a jotted list of questions I hoped to ask. But after a moment, it was like ignoring a tornado flinging parked cars. 'We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever fucked him!' As a reporter, you get around — curse words, anger, passionate intensity are not notable events — but the ferocity, the bellicosity, the violent imputations were, well, shocking. This went on without a break for a minute or two. Then the aide slipped out looking a bit ashen, and Rove, his face ruddy from the exertions of the past few moments, looked at me and smiled a gentle, Clarence-the-Angel smile. 'Come on in.'"

["In visiting the White House frequently from February to April [of 2002]," Suskind recalled, "I interviewed much of the senior staff, as well as the First Lady. No one would utter so much as a word about Rove... When I'd mention Rove, the reaction was always the same: 'I can't really talk about Karl.' It was odd; it was extraordinary."]

Rove, Karl ["Turdblossom"] (1951- ) American political strategist [noted for his bipartisan policies and calculating Beltway power-games]


Thursday, February 17, 2005

"Alberto Gonzales Wipes His Ass with the Constitution, Now You Can Too!"

WASHINGTON--(SB WIRE)--Feb. 16, 2005--Government printing office has overrun of special toilet paper ordered for the office of the Attorney General's office, makes Constitution toilet paper available to the public!

The GSA's mistake is your gain! Someone in the White House goofed! Seven months ago someone in the office of the legal counsel to the President filled out GSA schedule ooJWOD and checked the box SIN J851 1 for jumbo toilet paper. Then they also checked SIN J752 2 for customized business products and wrote in "The Constitution of the United States (with Bill of Rights)". Was the mistake that we printed the Constitution on the toilet paper? NO! They wanted the Constitution on the toilet paper! The problem is they ordered TOO MUCH! Instead of ordering 200 gross cases of the paper they ordered 200 gross containers! Each container alone contains 2000 gross cases! The total order equaled 829 MILLION rolls of toilet paper. Here at the GSA we just followed orders since we didn't want to be classified as enemy combatants!

After yelling at us and threatening us with waterboarding, stress positions and sticking a model IR-139G eGloStick up our ass, we said we would get rid of the excess AT A PROFIT (which we would split with the Attorney General's office). So now this product that was to be used exclusively by the White House, and the Attorney General's office can be used by you in the comfort of your own bathroom!

Act now! Supplies are limited! Don't DeLay! Order yours today! Operators in India are standing by! Be the first Ranger in your gated community to own a case!

Here's the load coming in from China

Here's the containers sitting on a dock in Baltimore, waiting for your purchase!
-yes this is a parody and is covered by the still existing (for now) free speech laws, see Larry Flynt vs. Jerry Falwell for precedent. Please don't send me to Gitmo! The Heretik started this. I wasn't even in the room when that happened!

Monday, February 14, 2005

Alien: The Movie (as re-enacted by bunnies)

by Jennifer Shiman At the Angry Alien Website.
Click photo to go to this great 30 second flash movie.

tip o' the Hat to flameape at Candleblog for the link.

I'd like to recommend this link to Gil for Gil's link of the day.

Happy Valentine's Day! Happy Anniversary!

A year ago I took some photos of some people getting married down at San Francisco City Hall. It was one of the happiest group events I've ever attended. So much excitement and love on display, it was truly a pleasure to watch. A group of people from around the world got together and sent flowers to the couples waiting to get married. I talked to a few of them and took their photos. Here is another one:

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Wife Swap: Lesbians with an Inter-racial couple!

Dear Wife Swap Producers:

I can NOT believe how cruel the black woman was to the lesbian! I came in at the end of the show, but to see a black woman who was married to a white man quoting the Bible about how they are a “traditional Christians” and that she thought that the two lesbians were depraved, just knocked me out. Guess what, Miss "Traditional Christian"? Less than 40 years ago the "traditional Christians" were saying that interracial marriage was against the word of God in the Bible! I have news for her, all her gay hating comes from a very “un-Christ like” place.

You would think that someone who had experienced prejudice in her life and understood the strides made by blacks would be more open to the experiences of the gay couple.

I don’t know where this woman goes to church, but I think that there was a real failure in the leadership of her Church. They have allowed her to think that her hate-spewing views are sanctioned and encouraged. I would like to see her minister or pastor view this tape and ask him “Is she stating the Christian view on homosexually correctly? Is her attitude Christian?" What a sad, sad example of Christianity!

This black woman was calling the lesbian a sexual predator! She was saying they she and her partner were not a family and were just “shacking up”! They are “shacking up” because they can’t get married! That’s because good “Christians” are supporting and voting for laws that don’t allow equal rights for same sex couples. This woman was just spewing hate at the poor gay woman and reduced her to tears. The other gay woman, her partner, said, "You know that the number one sexual predators are straight white men, don't you?" I made me wonder how many of the sexual predators are “Traditional Christian?”

Good show. Took some guts to run it. It really showed which one was the loving couple and which one wasn’t. It certainly wasn’t the straight “Traditional Christian”.


Here is a shot I took last year at San Francisco City Hall. A wonderful, loving, lesbian couple. Not a lot of hate there! They don't look depraved to me. I think the depravity was in the eyes of the beholder on this episode of wife swap.
copyright 2005 Spocko's Brain Personal Collection.

WE aren't the ones with the "gay" problem

Over at Ntodd's blog (Dohiyi Mir) I comment on the Gannongate affair and respond to a excellent followup post by Ellroon:

I think Ellroon is on point here. And of course we won't say "it's about the Gay porn/gay military prostitution website!" it is really about him getting a CIA classified document from the White House (see Americablog for more details on this, and for a good time line see this Daily Kos link from diaryist spiderleaf) which was then used to suggest that the reason that Joe Wilson got the job was NOT because of his qualifications, but because his wife works for the CIA and put him in for the job.

1) The CIA said that was NOT the reason. Wilson was VERY qualified; in fact one of the MOST qualified guys to do the research.
2) "Jeff Gannon" is on the list of Plamegate witnesses because he got his supposed secret memo about Wilson from someone connected in the White House or CIA or someone pretending to be from the CIA. Where did this memo come from? Who gave it to him? This person is clearly part of the effort to discredit Wilson, which was pay back for Wilson not playing ball on WMDs and yellowcake. And that payback caused the outing of a CIA undercover agent. The Whitehouse got busted on outing Plame, they were doing damage control by giving this memo to Gannon as a way to get the story out there that Wilson has no credibility. The White House procedure in these matters is to destroy the source of any bad news. First they tried to destroy and punish Wilson by outing his wife. When they were caught doing a bad thing they tried to pretend "everyone knew she was really an Agent so we really didn't out anyone." When that didn't work, or concurrent to that, they tried to discredit Wilson in any way possible.

That is the problem. People can say:

  • "What about his fake name?" Really no big deal. His SSN was there somewhere to be used for a background check. I use a fake name too, but if I got vetted I'd have to give my real name for checking. I don't think the White House would insist he use his real name. (I know you are shocked that Spocko is not my real name!)

  • "He's not really a journalist!" Neither are the people at Fox and a bunch of other chicken shit corporate reporters.

  • "He's gay! He's behind some gay porn websites! He might have acted as a male prostitute!" Okay, now we are talking about the real distasteful stuff to the Republicans. WE don't have a problem with it, but they can't admit THEY if fact DO have a problem with it. They still have to please all their gay-hating Christian's. They preach "morals" and the whole anti-gay agenda. THEY are the ones who might get upset at this, but they can't ADMIT IT!

Watch how Rush and Hannity will spin this. I know their tricks They will:
1) Minimize it and say:
2) "I don't see how the Democrats should have a PROBLEM with this--I thought they liked gays! It's the democrats who are being hypocritical!"

I happen to know the process to get credentialed for the White House press briefing. It requires your name your SSN and the organization you work for. Then to get into the White House Presidential briefing you also need to be admitted by the White House Press Correspondents Association. They are gatekeepers. THEY must also bear some responsibility for Gannon in the briefing. Now the SS might do background checks on the real SSN of Mr. Gannon. They would find some things, but I don't know how deep their research is. They are more concerned with nutballs with a history of violence. If he didn't show that, but in fact has a history of doing a bunch of gay porn, I don't think that would have shown up. Sloppy yes, a danger to Scotty or the President? No.

So. to sum up:
Just like during the Clinton thing when they SAID it was about "lying under oath" when it was really about sex. We should say, "It's about his roll in outing Valeria Plame, not his Gay Porn website or his fake name or his military gay escort service (which we don't even know if he ever did anything more than register the domains in an effort to sell them to someone else.) If you've read my blog you know that I don't have a problem with anything gay. I DO have a problem with "Gannon's" roll in outing Valeria Plame and the destruction of a fine man who tried to tell the truth to the American Public and the White House. Remember, Wilson's report showed that the adminstration's story line that, "Iraq's trying to build a nuke, with yellowcake from Niger!" was a LIE.

“Gannon” caved, that is the problem. He is a weak link. The White House needs to get to him to shut him up. They should have told him: "Just tough it out Jeff. Don't roll on us and you will be fine. If you roll we will abandon you as fast as we abandoned O’Neill and all the other traitors. They haven't touched Cheney and others involved with Plame and they have done worse things. If you do roll we will make you the scapegoat for the whole thing.”

He should have toughed it out. By caving he draws more attention to himself and the issue. He has not learned that the way things work with bad stuff in this White House is just deny, diminish, delay and then re-position.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

If only a reporter knew how to use a spectrum analyzer

Did you know that the New York Times was going to do a story about Bush's Back Bulge?

They killed the story.

Three reporters spent days doing serious research. But since the Kerry camp didn't want to make an accusation, the Times decided that pursuing the truth would seem partisan. The President was wearing SOMETHING. A wire? A bullet proof vest? A defribulator? Something else? I guess it would have been bad manners to pat him down. What about during the post debate hugging phase? Wouldn't have that made great TV? "What the hell is this, Mr. President!?" Or Kerry could have challenged him by saying, "Mr. President, let's take off our jackets, roll up our sleeves and just sit and talk to the American people." Zot! Game over!

The Fair story lead me to a more technical story. Being Spocko, I love to look at the intersection of science, politics and the media. This story simply says, I have a spectrum analyzer and I know how to use it. These wireless ear piece devices are readily available, people in D.C. use them all the time, they have specific frequencies, here is the list of ones they run on and I've picked up White House transmissions from them in the past. I'm sure that in most cases their use is perfectly legit. But how would the American people (even the Bush voters) feel if they knew that the President was nothing more than a ventriloquist dummy being fed lines during the debate. I'm sure they would still excuse him, they always do, but COME ON! There have to be SOME standards for our leaders.

You know folks, a mogul or pissed off CIA agent with enough money could hire this guy and attempt to pick up Bush’s signal. It's too late for the debates, and I'm sure he doesn’t need it any more, what with his canned speeches and screened audience.... Also, Karl and Karen have probably destroyed the evidence. But maybe not, maybe he is still using it at press conferences. Since my good friends at the NSA and CIA do read me, I'm sure they will tell the president to either get rid of the equipment or TAPE HIM BEING COACHED. The tape can be USED AS LEVERAGE COME BUDGET CUTTING TIME... HINT. HINT. Listen folks, Rummy is phasing the CIA out. You need some leverage on the man with the purse strings. Think about it, the public is already willing to believe. Of course Karl and Karen will think you are bluffing, but screw 'em, they had their chance to keep you in the loop, but now that Rummy cut you off you don't have much to lose. Be sure to get some money from a few higher ups or from the people you leak it too because you won't be working in Washington again. The good news is that I'm sure there are some people in the CIA who's jobs you will be saving who would appreciate that you are a patriot and maybe set you up with some cash and a cushy job out of the US. Hell, maybe Joe Wilson and you can hang out.

Just a thought. Oh, and if you are wondering my clearance level is one below yours.

[UPDATE. Feb 9, 2005] The wildly intelligent and reflective Mr. F of course has to shine the light of pure science and reason on my theory. He rightly drags out his trusty Occam's Razor. (Hey Mr. F: Does Gillette sell these Razor's?)

He was wired by the SS in case of an emergency such as when to stop reading to children and get on AF1. It's obvious he was wearing a transceiver and probably that's why to nix the pix from behind. It doesn't mean he was receiving cues.

Kerry and others knew this was the purpose. They also knew it was a trap and that the White House would reveal the real purpose if challenged by the Kerry campaign, allowing Fox to expose Kerry as crackpot or as someone who wished to put the president's life in danger.

The reason conspiracy theories fail is that they fail to consider the obvious. Putting the transceiver in the president's pants would totally disguise it and running flat cable is trivial. Also, the weakest link in a plan such as the one suggested is that someone in the administration might become an enemy and disclose the fact at a later date.
I do in fact agree with you Mr. F. I think that I'm drawn to theories that are labeled as conspiracy regarding this administration because they have a history of twisting the truth and trying to cover it up afterwards. People rightly go on about how good a spinner Karl Rove is. And the attribute to him all sort of powers, but I don't think he plans every nasty slip based on incompetence, shenanigans, cronyism or greed. Once something terrible happens and the WH gets caught in the shit he figures out how to make it look pretty (or at least not deadly) that's how he got the nickname Turd Blossom. So, something is there. The thought tree goes like this, "We need to have blank on the president's back because of blank." If someone sees it we:
1) deny
2) mock the questioner --a favorite tactic
3) throw out the dreaded "conspiracy theory" tag
4) stall until the people get bored and move on.

If for some reason they get pushed further (Plame affair) they start with the discrediting process and use the media's need to be "fair" and claim they are being attacked without evidence. If and when hard evidence is shown in a court of law... well we will see. I'm sure they will play the "deniablity card" so the president doesn't get tarred. But since they made it past the election they don't have to worry about public opinion as much. They will just ask tough and swagger through, knowing that the political will isn't there to bring them down over a "minor" transgression.

Blog Comment Spamming

When I posted my rant about 180 Solutions over at Ed's Gripe Line I ended up the 2nd highest ranked comment about these jokers. I actually have gotten email from a nice fellow in Switzerland and corresponded with him and the most excellent Matthew Doucette.

So now I'm going to post a quick link on another annoying issue.

Blog Comment Spamming.

People who want to raise their page rank of their site on Google are going into highly ranked blogs and posting links to their websites. My comment on 180solutions over at Ed's site had a new comment so I eagerly read it. It turns out that this was some online gaming spam.

I alerted Ed and then did some research about the topic. As I suspected Google is on top of the situation. Here is a post explaining what they are doing about this problem.

This is called comment spam, we don't like it either, and we've been testing a new tag that blocks it. From now on, when Google sees the attribute (rel="nofollow") on hyperlinks, those links won't get any credit when we rank websites in our search results. This isn't a negative vote for the site where the comment was posted; it's just a way to make sure that spammers get no benefit from abusing public areas like blog comments, trackbacks, and referrer lists.

Even Spocko's Brain with its 6 loyal readers (Hi Everybody!!! Thanks for stopping by!) has seen this problem in his own comments fields. I suppose I could be flattered, because they must think reaching my 6 very smart and influential readers might make them a sale. But I choose to expose their shenanigans while wearing my consumer advocate hat. (Hey! I get 200 quatloos for using two of my reasons for blogging in this post!)

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Letters to Wingnuts: In which I rebut people I don't know

What is the point of arguing with some people? Is there some third party independent person out there that will say. "Spocko, you have won this argument your opponent has seen the error of his ways and has changed his opinion based on the brilliance of our rhetorical stylings."? I don't really like to rebut people; it's not really fun for me to point out their irrational assumptions, especially when I know there is such a minor chance for change. But sometimes I like to do it just to prepare for my mental debates I have with my wingnut relatives.

This is from the Omaha World Herald on Feb, 2, 2004. Wingnut raving in black. Spocko logic in blue.

We were attacked

The war protesters seem to forget some things. The terrorists attacked us on 9/11.
Are these protesters protesting the Afghanistan war? Or the Iraq war? If it is the Iraq war, I'd like to point out that those terrorists were not from Iraq. The ones who attacked us were 15 Saudis, 1 Egyptian, 1 Lebanese, 2 from union of Arab Emirates and the head of the group was often based in Afghanistan and supported by their leaders. Please note the lack of Iraqis.

Were it not for the Bush administration's efforts toward homeland security, the war would be over here instead of over there. Therefore, we owe a great debt of gratitude to our soldiers.
This is a logical fallacy, the two ideas are not necessarily connected. Homeland security might indeed be responsible for no more terrorist attacks in the US (with the exception of the Anthrax attack. That attacker is still at large.), but you are assuming that the same people who might attack the US turned around and went to Iraq. The people who attacked the US were mostly stationed in the US, Canada and Germany. The terrorists that might attack the US and the ones that were drawn to the war WE started in Iraq are primarily drawn from two different populations.

Yes. We do owe a great debt of gratitude to our soldiers. One method to show them our gratefulness is by only using them when necessary and planning and preparing to get them out of harms way as soon as possible. Saying thank you while not providing them enough armor doesn’t appear grateful enough.

One reason the terrorists hate us is because most of us are Christian. We (Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals alike) like to help people (even theirs) instead of killing them.
Okay, that could be one reason. You suggest that they hate loving, helping Christians who have done them no harm? This knowledge is based on what proof, exactly? The interviews with them and comments from third party observers is that they hate Americans because of their actions and policies. Specifically, because we have defiled THEIR religion by putting army bases in Saudi Arabia. Why did we do that? Was it because we hate THEIR religion? According to appearances they could make a strong case for that.

What if your holiest of holy places was disrespected by a bunch of people from a different religion who didn't believe in Christ? What if, fume belching engines of war and cursing, drinking men of death and destruction were stationed right next to your churches and surrounding your cemeteries? Might that piss you off? Might you work peacefully for years to change that? Might you get so pissed off you finally take the law into your own hands when your leaders ignored your request for relief? But you would never do that because you are a good Christian and it is a sin to kill, right? Only non-Christians kill, correct? It's good to know that our armed forces are filled with Atheists.

You say that Republicans, Democrats, conservatives and liberals like to help people instead of killing them. Yet this conservative Republican government is showing they like to help the people of Iraq by killing them. Not just the insurgents, not just the terrorists who have been drawn by the chaos, but innocents.

The terrorists kill many times more of their own people than they do ours.
According to the medical publication The Lancet, over 100,000 Iraqi's are dead due to the consequences of this war. Are Christians behind this or are American’s behind this? Does George Bush follow American rules, or Christian rules? It can be demonstrated that they are not the same. Does Bush follow Christian rules only when convenient? This doesn't sound like any Christianity I know.

What would they do if they came over here?
Maybe the same things that our soldiers are doing over there right now. Accidently killing innocent people on their way to kill the leaders of the insurgency. If it happened here, would you fight back? Might they see you in the same light?

There are a lot of "God Bless America" bumper stickers around, and God has indeed blessed this country because of our Christian heritage.
It's good that you know the mind of God. What has He been telling you lately about current events? Is he speaking through noted holy men, Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly?

And one of the ways God has blessed us is by keeping that crummy war, which we didn't start, over there.
Yes, it is a crummy war, all wars are "crummy" they are also horrific. Maybe you should read about the war in some publication other than the American Media. Maybe you should talk to some Christian Iraqi's (they do exist!) that have had their homes blown up by mistake or their parents killed at a traffic check point.

Maybe you should read stories from OUR soldiers in Operation Truth. We started the Iraq war. We started it years ago when we supported Saddam, years before his invasion of Kuwait, years before he gassed people of a different tribe living in his country with gas WE sold him. God isn't the one who is keeping the terrorists "over there". Terrorists have been here before, they might be here now. Who is stopping them? Smart dedicated men and women who are tracking down terrorists using solid police techniques and spooky intelligence practices are the ones who are keeping the terrorists out of the US. And by killing all the people "over there" who are not terrorists or insurgents, we are pissing off more and more people. People who don't experience American as loving and helping Christians. People who only see the US military raining down death and destruction for years.

Dale Earhart, Beaver Crossing, Neb.
Mr. Spocko (last name unpronounceable by humans), Star Fleet Academy, SF, CA, Earth. Federation Sector, 0,0,0