23 March 2002

Ashcroft Sings

John Ashcroft, reportedly is having his employees at the Justice Department sing along with him his patriotic songs. Mr Ashcroft, a devout Christian and a grittily determined singer, went public with one of his works (RealPlayer) last month, when he surprised an audience at a North Carolina seminary with a rendition of Let the Eagle Soar, a tribute to America's virtues, which continues: "Like she's never soared before, from rocky coast to golden shore, let the mighty eagle soar," and so on for four minutes.

Workers at the department of justice have become accustomed to his daily prayer meetings, but some are now drawing the line at having to sing patriotic songs penned by their idiosyncratic boss. Mr Ashcroft's staff are complaining that printed versions of the song are being distributed at meetings so that they will be able to join in.

Isn't there a "separation of Church and State" issue here?

21 March 2002

Copy Protection Bill Introduced

Democratic senator, Fritz Hollings, from South Carolina finally has introduced his copy protection legislation, ending over six months of anticipation and sharpening what has become a heated debate between Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

The bill, called the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA), prohibits the sale of any kind of electronic device -- unless that device includes copy-protection standards to be set by the federal government. ... Translation: Future MP3 players, PCs, and handheld computers will no longer let you make all the copies you want.

Read the full text of this atrocious act here ...

Reasons why you should oppose this bill and notify your legislative representatives ASAP:

  • Do you want the government really deciding what should left to the natural work of market forces.
  • This law potentially makes criminals out of software developers - again, the "authorities" can decide that a given software creation is devoid of "copy protections" and deem the author an outlaw.
  • How does Hollings come up with his "billions of dollars a year" figure with regard to piracy on the internet? Does he assume that every downloaded song is a lost purchase? In fact, empirical research shows that online music swapping has actually resulted in increased music CD sales.
  • The proposed legislation harms ordinary consumers while does nothing to curtail illegitimate transactions - any movie or CD can be purchased dirt cheap in Hong Kong or any other "pirate" haven.

16 March 2002

Penalty Was Steep For A Missile Defense Whistle Blower

Telling the truth will have you blacklisted. At least if you work on missle defense systems for TRW. That is the case of Nira Schwartz and the U.S. government vs. TRW and Boeing.
» read more

6 March 2002

Former CIA Senior Officer Says Bush War on Terror Won't Work

A very good read on the "War on Terror" by an ex-CIA officer - he gives his reasons why he believes U.S. military action will never be effective in solving the problem of terrorism against the United States and he explains why he feels we need to understand the root causes behind the terrorism.
  1. My number one root cause is the support by the U.S. over recent years for the policies of Israel with respect to the Palestinians, and the belief among Arabs and Muslims that the United States is as much to blame as Israel itself for the continuing, almost 35-year-long Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

  2. My number two root cause is the present drive of the United States to spread its hegemony and its version of big-corporation, free enterprise globalization around the world. At the same time, the massive poverty of average people, not only in Arab and Muslim nations but also in the whole third world, has become more important as a global political issue. The gap between rich and poor nations, and rich and poor people within most of the nations, has grown wider during the last 20 years of globalization or, more precisely, the U.S. version of globalization. Animosities against the United States have grown among the poor of the world, who have watched as the U.S. has expanded both its hegemony and a type of globalization based on its own economic system, while they themselves have seen no or very little benefit from these changes.

  3. The number three root cause I want to discuss is the continuing sanctions and lack of food and medicines for the people of Iraq, deaths of Iraqi children, and the almost daily bombing of Iraq by the U.S. and Great Britain. Right or wrong, the Arab and Muslim "street" blames this on the U.S., not on Saddam Hussein.

  4. My number four root cause is the continued presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia.

  5. The fifth root cause on my list is the dissatisfaction and anger of many average and even elite Arabs and Muslims over their own authoritarian, undemocratic, and often corrupt governments, which are supported by the United States.

  6. The sixth and last root cause on my list arises directly from the U.S. "war on terrorism." It has to do with the kind of war the U.S. is now able to fight. On three recent occasions ­ the Gulf War of 1990-1991, the Kosovo war of 1999 against Yugoslavia, and the current war against Afghanistan ­ the United States has easily achieved victories by relying almost exclusively on air power, on missiles launched from a great distance, and now even on drone aircraft with no humans on board. The U.S. has won these wars with practically no casualties among its own forces. But while few Americans get killed, sizable numbers of other nationalities do.

» read more