Saturday, March 29, 2003

Nation at war: Pit stop

Reuters is reporting that the forces will take a four to six day stop to allow supplies to catch up.

I guess the President’s “Plan” includes our troops only eating one meal a day due to lack of food.

I would think that the one thing this administration is good at is warmongering. I would think that, but then I would be wrong.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Technology: Firewalls and Laws

Freedom to Tinker is reporting that several states are considering bans on personal firewalls in an effort to stop file sharing.

Apparently, the firewalls are blocking the MPAA from searching your system to see if you have illegal downloads on your computer.

If you don’t know what a firewall is (which I assume most legislators do not) that would sound like a pretty good reason to ban them. So, for the sake of those who do not know, I will explain:

Think of a Firewall as a wall between your computer and the internet. The internet is a wild, untamed land, where viruses, hackers, and Trojan horses run amok. If you have a cable, or DSL line (like I do) you are connected to the internet whenever the computer is on. Obviously, this leaves your computer to be a static target for those unsavory elements. To protect yourself from these elements, you obtain a Firewall. The idea is that you can reach the internet, but the internet cannot reach you. It prevents malicious attacks upon your system.

This legislation reaches deeper though. Through language that states “any attempt to conseal” would mean that email encryption software would also be banned.

Worse yet, NAT technology would even be affected. On my keychain, I have a little “token.” This token generates a seemingly random number every 30 seconds. It allows me to VPN (Virtual Private network) to my office from home, allowing me a secure pipeline to my office. Secure being the key word, as my office deals with checks and EFT transfers from residents of the state of Ohio. Under this legislation, I could not use this technology, and would not provide me the ability to work from home.

Fortunately, the residents of Ohio and Pennsylvania (the two states I have subscribers in) have not had this legislation introduced in. This is something I will be watching out for, and will lobby against if and when the time arrives.

The RIAA and MPAA have a right to protect their trademarks, but the cost of this legislation is far to great.

Friday Cat Blogging: Introducing Ernest Hemmingway

Taking the lead from Calpundit,

Here is a Ernest, named after the Author.

Site Update: RSS Feed now available

For individuals using Feed Reader, or other Blog reading services, I’ve added a RSS Feed button (orange XML button to the left.)

These type of programs allow you to have the latest content of all your favorite blogs beamed to your desktop, and alert you of updates.

May I suggest Feedreader. It’s a very nice program, and sort of simple to use. If you would like assistance with this program (the help file isn’t very helpful) drop me a line, I’ll help out.

Media Whores: We ridicule, you decide.

During the Manhattan “Die-in” on Thursday, Fox used their street ticker to harass protesters complaining about unbalanced coverage of the Iraq War.

"War protester auditions here today ... thanks for coming!" read one message. "Who won your right to show up here today?" another questioned. "Protesters or soldiers?"

Said a third: "How do you keep a war protester in suspense? Ignore them."

Still another read: "Attention protesters: the Michael Moore Fan Club meets Thursday at a phone booth at Sixth Avenue and 50th Street" - a reference to the film maker who denounced the war while accepting an Oscar on Sunday night for his documentary "Bowling for Columbine."

Thanks for proving the point, Fox News.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Civil Liberties: Patriot Act II

It looks like Ashcroft may be building steam to release his second assult on civil liberties. This one, as reported by the village voice, would…

Among the more extreme powers Patriot Act II would grant the executive branch: The ability to strip citizenship from an American who supports a group the feds label as terrorist. Secret arrests—the government could avoid revealing the location of, charges against, and evidence on someone it was holding. Far looser checks on search-and-seizure activities of law enforcement. And a DNA database for people deemed to be terrorist suspects. “

In other words, if the government decides it doesn’t like the teamsters, ACLU, Amnesty International or the Boy scouts, and you are a member, they can strip your citizenship, put you away in a dark hole, and not tell anyone where you are.

[SINGING]I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free…[/SINGING]

Media: The pendulum swings both ways

For months, left-leaners like myself have been railing against mainstream media for their one-sided coverage of the Bush administration.

Now, I think we are at the very tip of that swing, just before it starts falling the other way. Why? To explain, we need a history.

The events of 9/11 galvanized the American public, press, and leadership like no event since Pearl Harbor. Every house, every street, every office building, every car had the stars and stripes flying over it. America had been struck, and the wound was deep.

For once, Liberals, Conservatives, Administrations, and Media where more than just that. They were Americans, and Bush’s poll numbers showed it, reaching heights not seen in modern times.

But, as all things, this faded. First of course, with the Liberals, like myself. Although the patriotism remained very strong, our undying belief in the Bush Administration began to falter. The media, however, still rode this wave.

Wrangling with the UN played on TV and in the press as a debating society, unable to accomplish anything. Resentment and rumors of Powell threatening to depart the administration received very little play at all. The media was still playing softball.

The “press conference” of March 6th was the culmination of the love fest with the Bush Administration. That event was so biased that journalists were criticizing themselves for failure to challenge the Bush administration on any important issue what so ever.

The critiques were quickly drowned out by “Shock and Awe.” NBC, CNN, Fox all were so upset that they did not receive their promised shock and awe that they looked like death-loving fools. Then the criticism started again.

Then, the POW’s. Seeing these soldiers faces on television, battered, bruised, torn, and surely frightened pushed the pendulum the other way. That was the turning point thus far. Now, the war wasn’t going so good. Their Shock and Awe didn’t last until sweeps, and their ratings were coming in second to Fear Factor, and Friends reruns.

Words from the Blogsphere, and even from conservative web sites like drudge showed the story. Percentages of Americans were going to sources outside of the US for accurate and balanced coverage.

Rumsfield was on his heals yesterday, getting it from the media in full force. Ari Fleicher was drilled on the 25th by the press corp.

It’s instinctive really, the media, and press, being seen as weak on the Bush administration, is going to come at them full force to overcompensate. Their reputation has been damaged, and now they need to regain it.

It’s really a shame that it works this way. It’s more psychology than journalism. And in the world of PsyOps and Shock and Awe the first affected was the fourth estate.

Post Script:
David Sutor over at Phugit gives us a good example why people must think for themselves, and not rely on mainstream media to do their thinking for them.

Nation at War: The sounds of Freedom

Does This sound like a people who want to be "liberated?"

The only certainty to war is that things do not necessarily go according to plan. Such was the case when the first food convoys arrived in Iraq.


"At first I thought they were chanting pro-U.S. Slogans, but my Arabic speaking cameraman let me know that no, what they're chanting is with our tears, with our blood, we are ready to die for Saddam Hussein," Fremd said.

This is turning into North Ireland.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Nation at War: Protest signs

Um, someone may want to tell this woman that her peace sign is missing a line.

NO WAR for Mercedes-Benz

Media Whores: Protests bad for business

Where is Edward R. Murrow when we need him most?

Coming from the Broadcast and Cable magazine, a publication found on the desk of every news director, comes this article.

"The issue for the local stations—and it comes through loud and clear—is that, if they take a traditional approach to their coverage they are making a big mistake."

That “traditional” approach is fair and balanced coverage. This is why when 200,000 people marched in New York, it was nothing more than an “also happening” on MSNBC.

News organizations have a responsibility report the news, whether the viewers, or the administration likes it or not.
It really is time to take back the media.

Plug: Are you using The Meatstack to its full potential?

Real quick, then we’ll get back to the real content:

Subscribing allows you to receive emails alerting you when There has been signifigant updates to the site. I don’t send them out for every post, only for the major ones, or a bunch of little ones. And, I promise, I will not sell your name. I’m very anti-spam myself.

If you plan on doing some shopping on Amazon, please use the search portal to the left of this article. If you purchase something you search for using that, they throw The Meatstack a penance.

If anyone happens to have skills as a graphic artist, and would be willing to donate a graphic for the Meatstack, email me. I’d like to have a set of graphics or logos created so that I can move forward on something else I’m working on.

If you don’t have graphic artist skills, but would still like to donate, there is the paypal link below the Amazon link. Visa and MC accepted.

That’ll do for this PBS-esque pledge break.

Nation at War: Gee, we diddn't see this one coming.

With Shock and Awe, it's been announced that Halliburton subsidiary wins Iraqi oil firefighting contract.

It's so blatant, but the networks are too jazzed up over a ground war in Bagdad that this will receive no play.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Nation at war: Those damn Canadians


Bush's strongarm tactics are going to isolate this country from the world.

Nation at War: The Staggering Cost

75 billion dollars. 75,000,000,000 dollars. 75 gigadollars.

How much is that? Well, in today’s dollars the Marshal Plan cost $120 billion. (source: Newsweek, no link available) The difference is that the Marshal Plan covered 18 countries.

But, unlike the Marshall plan, Bush’s plan is based on a war that only goes for 30 days or so, and has no provision to return the troops to their bases.

Also, according to Sen. Byrd, there is flexible language in the bill, which means that the actual bill can vary.

Oh, by the way. In this bill, Israel gets 7.8 billion, for just being Israel, while Iraq gets 7.2 billion for reconstruction. Perhaps I’m old fashioned, perhaps I’m just silly, but I would think the larger slice of pie would go to the country that actually HAD the bombs fall on it.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Legislature updates:

This is something new for the stack. I’ll report to you what your elected representatives are doing in the Senate and House. If you would like to see your officials on this list, subscribe, with your zip code (with your +4 please) in the body of the message.

Boxer Amdt. No. 272; FY2004 Congressional Budget Resolution

During the budget resolution debate, the Senate narrowly passed this amendment stripping the provision that would have ended the ban on oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Sen. Mike DeWine (OH-R) voted YES
Sen. George Voinovich (OH-R) voted NO
Sen. Rick Santorum (PA-R) voted NO
Sen. Arlen Specter (PA-R) voted NO

I had to read that several times, but it means that the ANWR is still protected.

To reduce tax cut to $350 billion; FY2004 Congressional Budget Resolution

During the budget debate, the Senate rejected this amendment that would have cut President Bush’s tax cut plan in half.

Sen. Mike DeWine (OH-R) voted NO
Sen. George Voinovich (OH-R) voted YES
Sen. Rick Santorum (PA-R) voted NO
Sen. Arlen Specter (PA-R) voted NO

This means that the Bush Tax plan is still on track.

Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act

For the second year in a row, the House passed legislation that would make it more difficult for consumers to declare bankruptcy.

Rep. Deborah Pryce (OH-R) voted YES
Rep. John Murtha (PA-D) voted YES

Nation at War: Napalm usage apparently false

While checking back on some of the links, verifying that they are still working, it is now being argued if the US used Napalm.

Marine Cobra helicopter gunships firing Hellfire missiles swept in low from the south. Then the marine howitzers, with a range of 30 kilometres, opened a sustained barrage over the next eight hours. They were supported by US Navy aircraft which dropped 40,000 pounds of explosives and napalm, a US officer told the Herald. But a navy spokesman in Washington, Lieutenant Commander Danny Hernandez, denied that napalm - which was banned by a United Nations convention in 1980 - was used.

"We don't even have that in our arsenal," he said.

The navy admitted to using napalm as late as 1993 in training exercises on the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico, but the last cannister of a vast US naval stockpile was reportedly destroyed in a public ceremony in April 2001.

I certainly hope this is true.

Nation at War: Coverage ahead of the curve

The agonist is covering the war, minute by minute.

In some cases, he’s ahead of the major news networks by minutes, hours, and sometimes days.

If you can get in, as he is having bandwidth problems, check him out.

Nation at War: WWJD?

"Jesus did not come to bring peace on Earth. I don't agree with those clergy who say Jesus would be marching for peace. Jesus said he did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Jesus brings peace to the individual heart amid war and pestilence and famine."

So says Pastor Dick Bernal.

There is a chaos theory that says humanity, on the side of order, must constantly battle chaos. It’s not fighting these battles that causes the infrastructure of society to degrade, and eventually collapse. It was featured in the science fiction book by Isaac Asimov.

I think this theory would hold true for our government and religions as well. Whenever we do not maintain our establishments, they will degrade over time, thus leaving only the most radical elements in place.

It’s this radicalism, along with a hope for end-times by some Christian religions causes the quotes you read in that article.

That is why it’s important to get involved. People must get involved in politics, even if that’s just voting. People must get involved in civic organizations, whether that be your church, charity, or PTA. The more numbers an orginazation has, the more its path moderates out.

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