Friday, August 29, 2008

"Democracy Murdered, Film at ...?"

"Woe unto thee, if being thyself vicious or criminal, thou dost asume to judge others and still more if thou givest corrupt judgment. For then will thy memory be execrated, and in all time, it shall be the bitterest reproach to an unjust judge to call him by that name."

Wrote this early 2001, posted it at Bart Cop.
-"Peggy Carter"

I think, upon reading it now, that the article shows I felt a foreboding of evil.

Democracy Murdered, Film at ...?

Why does the whole rest of the world
know that Bush stole the election,
but the Americans get to be kept in
the dark about it?

I wonder why investors are pulling money
out of the US?

As well as talking down the economy into a sell off.
The man's Residency is cursed, no doubt about it.
I don't care *how* lucky he is supposed to be.

There should be a "Gate" Topic devoted
to Voter Scam Gate. Cheat Gate.

Whatever it is people want to call it.

Interfering with an election by a government
official is a crime punishable by a $10,000 fine or
one year in jail. There are many that should be prosecuted.

Why isn't Katherine Harris being fined for
hiring a private consulting firm for $4 million of
taxpayersdollars (as reported by the BBC and all over Europe)in order that 60,000 voters should be taken off the voter roles for being identified as felons. The error ratewas 95%?

The people so disenfranchised Democrats and Blacks.
Why isn't John Sweeney of NY being prosecuted for
shouting, "shut it down" and intimidating the people
counting the votes in Dade county?

Why are the men and women who were aides to
Tom DeLay, who were flown to FL on a paid vacation
to pose as grass roots citizens and behave a thugs
not being prosecuted?

The SCOTUS and the Republicans overthrew our
Democracy and to get it back they must be impeached:

This must not be covered up. Nor can it be
in the long run. Bush must be thrown out of office.

And this is a major argument for that end.
The corruption of the electoral process;
his indifference to it and his shamelessly benefiting
from it. And allowing his friends to benefit from it.

I believe the Justices of the SC were acting
cynically and consciously to do whatever it took
to ensure Bush's election. To imagine anything
else stretches my credulity. Scalia was "unconsciously"
making sure he's to become Chief Justice? That's funny.

He based his career on "State's rights"
and "Judicial restraint" What a joke!

What fools people are now to take them seriously.

I believe that the Press is intimidated
by the Far Right Repubs who jump up and down
and scream "Law" and meanwhile subvert it.
Where does the Law reside? Not in the pronouncements of a corrupt judiciary.

Not in the actions of pompous Justices who
impose their own will by technical and arbitrary rules.

Justice Scalia argued that the court
was acting to protect the legitimacy
of a Bush victory. But the Court's
decision damaged Bush's legitimacy
(not to mention to its own) much more than
anything else they could possibly have done.

It's obvious that the action of Scalia
was to make sure Bush had a Presidency.
He mentioned "legitimacy of his election,"
- - as if such an election existed,
which it did not under FL law at that time.

Scalia lies.

By backing up Bush's claim: that Bush
had been "elected," he repeated a lie.
He gave substance to a lie. He just
made up Law. The "legitimacy" smokescreen
was just a "claim." Scalia knew damn well
there would never be any "legitimacy" to
what Scalia did except as he writes the
Law and therefore Bush's claim is bona
fide if Scalia pronounces it so, by definition.

He didn't care. He's taken his gloves off.
That's why people are rightly frightened.

Supposedly Chief Justice Rehnquist and
his colleagues had hoped that history
would remember them well. They would have liked that.

But not as much as they liked to make
sure Bush got into power. Power is more important.
That's the name of the game.

If they honestly cared more about how
they'd be remembered, they wouldn't have
done this. Ruling the country is a more
important to them than what anyone thinks.

The SCOTUS deliberately setup a no win
situation for Gore. And they naturally
tried in the hearing of the oral arguments
to pretend to be fair. And they had the boldness
to have demanded of Boies that he tell them
what is a fair standard for the re-count.

But neither he, nor us, nor they, could go back in time.
And they knew that. And they had the boldness
to claim it was an issue of "equal protection."
Straight out of the book _Animal Farm_ it is:

"Your vote is not being thrown out like
those of other unfortunates; We must remedy that.

We are not protecting you adequately.
We must throw out your vote so all can be
equally protected"

It's not "equal protection" but "pretend
protection and equally arbitrary disenfranchisement."
They can't give you your vote back because
that is not fair to the people who's vote
were suppressed or who's votes got lost?
But they are naming it "Protection?"
Who exactly are they protecting? Only Bush was named.

How can anyone believe their goodwill after
what they did? The 5 "SCOTUS" had the brazenness to
demand Boies tell them how to repair it? After
it was a fait accompli!

They would've liked to have gotten themselves
off the hook. But after all, it was too late for that.
That's why Scalia was all smiles.

Our institutions are the sum of the people who
inhabit them. If the standard goes down, I see now,
the body politic gets weak. The weakness doesn't
erupt into sickness necessarily right away.
But December 12th we crossed that line into sickness.

If the sanctity of the governmental Institutionsare not upheld - - And I don't mean because of something
as minor as a blowjob; If the Institutions are notprotected, the country is prone then to increasing violations.

Then the ultimate value of those Institutions
will become zero or less.

An article on the Supremes I read recently
detailed that it was the respect of the Supreme Court
Institution and the delicacy with which that
respect was held that kept the two swing Justices
from overturning Roe vs. Wade. Maybe that is part of
Scalia's motive in destroying the reputation
of the court at home and in the rest of the world.
He is a Roman Catholic and his loyalties are
obviously with overturning Roe v. Wade for
his G-d and for his Church.

He is an operative for the Republican
Religious Right, not a jurist. He has proved that.
The Court is sullied now, so there is no
reason for anyone to uphold its reputation anymore.
The masks are off. The green curtain is pulled
back from the racist wizard from AZ
and pulled back from the smug and faux fancy cohorts
who voted with him. And now Scalia can get his way.
No one will persuade O 'Connor and Kennedy to
hold back from the decision of Roe vs. Wade
because of fear to harm the Institution of the court.
There is no more reputation.

The Supreme Court respectability is now a pretentious
charade. Every one of Nino Scalia's opinions
is now rendered questionable. His judgment is
proven by this to be worse than poor. It's proven
to be completely arbitrary. In fact, the ruling
is probably illegal because Thomas didn't recuse
himself (it broke the law that his wife will
benefit from the decision because of her job
"headhunting" for the Enterprise Institute.
Rehnquist's involvement was illegal because two
of his sons work for a law firm that work for Bush.
And Scalia broke the Law because his son works for Ted "Theodore" Olson)

(Ted Olsen, argued Bush vs. Gore for the Bush cabal
and so mourned his wife Barbara, who disappeared, by Ted's own contradictory word, on Ted's birthday Sept. 11th..that he remarried in 6 months.)

Why are no investigations being done of this fraud?
These three broke an actual law. It's not some
trumped up insinuation.

They do not care about the law.

They are seriously dangerous.

They only care about power.

What the Supreme Court have done is worse
than the simple breaking of
some rule in a bid for a Faustian freedom,
since Faust, at least, made a barter,

since in the bargain we all were betrayed.

They threw away our Democracy so they could,
in what they pretend to be their superior
wisdom, but is in fact their job as operatives
for the Radical Republican Party, to decide on
what would be our government. The "Supreme Court 5"betrayed those values upon which our Country was founded.

Our tradition here was that of the Enlightenment.
The Tradition is that the settlers came here
to escape and avoid the arbitrary rule of those
in power. Our Government was constructed in particular to avoid the arbitrary rule of power.

The remedy in order for us to return to
our original form of government, determined
by the rules of that form of government,
is to Impeach and remove Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas.

I call for this here and now.

If this is not done our Democracy is in peril.

The betrayal of the American people
and the American tradition by this Supreme Court
and by the ultra-right factions of the
Republican party, I am afraid can never
breed happiness nor anything good. It is based
upon hubris. George Bush's highhanded
actions and disregard for the people
of this Country is based upon the disenfranchisement
of elderly Jews and Blacks and millions who
voted for the better, the more qualified, and the
smarter man. No good can ever come from that.

I shiver for our beautiful Lady Democracy;
224 years old. But way too young anyhow to
face murder.

She is supposed to be immortal.
In our lifetimes, we will never know her immortality
for she died for us December 12th. I never knew how muchI truly and keenly loved her. In case you didn't guess I curse "Nino" Scalia.
And will do so each day of my life.

-Peggy Carter

~Jan 2001

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mad cows (and livid lambs)

Mad cows (and livid lambs)
Marauding elephants, aggressive sea lions, snap-happy crocodiles... As animal attacks on humans reach frightening levels, scientists are beginning to understand exactly what the beasts are thinking. And it's not good. Will Storr reports

In a tiny village in rural Assam, two terrified children will tonight sleep in a tree house. It doesn't matter how much their mother scolds them; there's no way they're going to bed down there. Not after what happened. They can still remember that night, of course - being picked up by their mother, and how hard she covered their mouths with her hands to stop them screaming. They can remember the other sounds, too.

The elephants had come in from the forest again. Then they saw one, a vast dark hulk looming out of the black towards their door. Their Dad tried to push it away. That's when the elephant carried him round the side of the house and killed him.

Elephants haven't always behaved like this. But in recent years, in India and all over Africa, too, some menacing change has come over them. And not just elephants - it's almost any species. This disquieting pattern has only recently been detected, in part because it is so disparate and weird. But it's now widely accepted that the relationship between humans and animals is changing. One of the world's leading ethologists (specialists in animal behaviour) believes that a critical point has been crossed and animals are beginning to snap back. After centuries of being eaten, evicted, subjected to vivisection, killed for fun, worn as hats and made to ride bicycles in circuses, something is causing them to turn on us. And it is being taken seriously enough by scientists that it has earned its own acronym: HAC - 'human-animal conflict'.

It's happening everywhere. Authorities in America and Canada are alarmed at the increase in attacks on humans by mountain lions, cougars, foxes and wolves. Romania and Colombia have seen a rise in bear maulings. In Mexico, in just the past few months, there's been a spate of deadly shark attacks with The LA Times reporting that, 'the worldwide rate in recent years is double the average of the previous 50'. America and Sierra Leone have witnessed assaults and killings by chimps who, according to New Scientist, 'almost never attack people'. In Uganda, they have started killing children by biting off their limbs then disembowelling them.

There has been a surge in wolf attacks in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Russia and France. In Australia, there has been a run of dingo killings, and crocodile violence is up. In Beijing, injuries from cats and dogs have swelled by 34 per cent, year-on-year. In America, the number of humans killed by pet dogs has increased sharply since 2000. In Australia, dog attacks are up 20 per cent. In Britain, nearly 4,000 people needed hospital treatment for dog bites in 2007, a figure that has doubled in the past four years. In Bombay, petrified residents are being slaughtered in ever-increasing numbers by leopards, leading J. C. Daniel, a leopard specialist, to comment, 'We have to study why the animal is coming out. It never came out before.' In Edinburgh, in June, there was a string of bizarre fox attacks - a pensioner was among the victims. In Singapore, residents have been being terrorised by packs of macaques. Sharon Chan, a national parks official, told reporters, 'It's a very weird situation.'

The numbers are disturbing enough, but the menacing changes in behaviour are especially worrying to scientists. In Australia, the biologist Dr Scoresby Shepherd - who pointed out that in areas where shark attacks used to happen every three or four decades, they are now taking place at least once a year - has suggested that sharks are switching their prey to humans. In Los Angeles, Prof Lee Fitzhugh has come to the same conclusion about mountain lions. In San Francisco, a spate of sea lion assaults lead one local to comment, 'I've been swimming here for 70 years and nothing like this has happened before.' In Cameroon, for the first time, gorillas have been throwing bits of tree at humans. They're using weapons against us.

It's easy to see why some suspect revenge. The theory that the animals of the three elements are conspiring against us gained popularity in 2006, when the Australian television presenter Steve Irwin was speared through the heart by a stingray off the north Queensland coast. In the aftermath, the phrase 'freak accident' was used in news reports. When, just six weeks later, the same thing happened to James Bertakis, of Miami (he lived only because, unlike Irwin, he didn't pull the barbed sting out), people started wondering. Then, in March this year, Judy Kay Zagorski was boating on the Florida Keys when a stingray leapt from the water and fatally struck her in the face.

Any sane person might decide that his theory, which posits that beasts are working in concert to take revenge on humans, is insane. But in the regions where the most research into HAC is being carried out, scientists have concluded that revenge for our myriad barbarities could indeed be a motive.

All over Africa, India and parts of south-east Asia, elephants have started attacking humans in unprecedented numbers. Not just killing - they're rampaging through villages and stomping crops, terrorising local populations in any way they can. 'What's happening today is extraordinary,' Dr Gay Bradshaw, a world authority on elephants, told reporters in 2006. 'Where for centuries humans and elephants lived in relatively peaceful co-existence, there is now hostility and violence.' Bradshaw is the director of the Kerulos Centre for Animal Psychology and Trauma Recovery, in Oregon. 'When you see reports of elephants running into crops or attacking people, they're highly stressed,' she tells me. 'And there are multiple stressors - violence, lack of food, lack of water; their families are being broken up; their society is collapsing. All of these things are human-derived.'

Bradshaw describes the elephants as being 'under siege' from the locals. But the violence against humans has increased so suddenly, and reached such levels, that these traditional factors aren't thought to be sufficient to explain it. Bradshaw and her colleagues now think that there's been a massive, pan-species psychological collapse throughout the world's pachyderms. In essence, we're witnessing the dysfunctional shenanigans of a generation of depraved elephants. These are individuals who have become psychologically fractured after being orphaned at a developmentally delicate age or are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after watching their families being slaughtered.

'You could make a parallel between elephants and people who are undergoing genocide and war,' Bradshaw says. 'They've gone through massive killings and many have sustained culls or severe poaching, so they've witnessed the violence and they're traumatised. It's critical to understand that when you have an experience at a young age, or through adolescence or even as an adult, it enters into the brain. In other cases, the normal rearing process is disrupted or conducted by distressed parents, so you're creating individuals who are mentally challenged.'

Such claims might be dismissed as so much Disneyfied anthropomorphism if Bradshaw did not have the observational, psychological and neuroscientific evidence to back them up. And, she says, it might not be just in elephants that this critical point has been breached. 'I think we're well past the critical point,' she says. 'Well past. People are starting to notice these atypical behaviours in an array of species.'

Of the question of elephant revenge, though, she is more cautious. 'Put yourself in an elephant's shoes. What's it like living in Africa or Asia when you're surrounded by an active threat, not just to you but to your family? Let's take, for example, one of the things that's happening in Africa. Females are starting to charge lorries. Why? It's hard to understand the motive. Perhaps she's traumatised. Perhaps it's pre-emptive - they may have a gun. It may be self?defence. And other times it may well be revenge. It's not that I don't think elephants have the capacity.' Dr Marc Bekoff, a leading ethologist, agrees. 'We need to be careful when using that sort of language,' he says. 'But I don't think there's any doubt that, in certain situations, animals show revenge.'

At first he thought it was a dream; that shuffling, that banging that bulged out of the darkness around him. By the time Michael Fitzgerald had roused himself and put on his slippers, he decided it was burglars. They were in the garage. He crept forward, readying himself for what awaited behind the electric door that was slowly, noisily rising. He peered in. It was a badger. Just a badger! He'd never seen one so close before. The badger looked up, then slowly, calmly walked up to him. 'Pam!' he called to his wife. 'Get a camera!' Two minutes later, blood from his arm was spattered over his front door.

'It was some kind of hell,' Fitzgerald, from Evesham, told the BBC, in 2003. 'His razor-blade teeth were around my arm.' Even after he had shaken if off, it gave chase, biting his legs and arms. 'I never envisaged I would be seeing my own insides,' he said. The badger then embarked on an 18-hour rampage around the town.

Stories like these remind us that there are millions of beasts armed with teeth and stingers, who can out-sniff, out-run, out-fly, out-fight and out-bite every one of us. The eerie truth is that, right now, we're surrounded. As a species, we've been at the top of the food chain for so long, we've forgotten that 'humans' are mere anthropoid apes and, in distant millennia, we had to fight the feral armies to get here. In our hubris, we imagine we're an animal apart. For centuries, we've been told by priests and scientists that animals are not much more than unfeeling, unthinking, unselfconscious automatons. They're a gift from God, and their purpose is to have paracetamol rubbed into their eyes, to be turned into fancy trousers to be stuffed with nuts on His birthday. Many mainstream scientists still warn against anthropomorphism. But it doesn't stop the many people who are secretly wondering what's really going on behind those inscrutable black eyes? Are the birds talking about us? Do lobsters sulk? Can one moose love another? The more scientists have discovered about the inner lives of animals, the more troubling and strange things have become. 'Things are really changing,' acknowledges Bekoff. 'There's a lot of new behavioural research, a lot of new neuroscience research that demonstrates they are far more complex than was thought. We're not inserting into animals something they don't have.'

Bekoff describes the sound Darwinian logic beneath this gigantic paradigm shift. Simply, if our brains have developed the capacity for a rich emotional inner-life over the millions of years they've been evolving, then why not theirs? 'If you believe in biological continuity then, if we have emotions, they have emotions. If we have a heart, they have a heart.'