Archive for November 15th, 2007

I, For One, Welcome Our Impartial Robot Overlords


How bad could it be?

Kung Fu Monkey’s friend Tyrone makes a good point:

John: … No.
Tyrone: Listen, all I’m asking is that you give the idea a decent —
John: Robot overlords. You are “pro-robot overlords”.
Tyrone: They bring world peace, universal health care —
John: At the cost of our freedoms!
Tyrone: MY POINT EXACTLY. We’re already giving up our freedoms — our right to privacy, gone. Warrantless arrest, gone. Right to have your vote counted is super-gone depending on the state you live in, right to stand trial, gone — we have torture. We already have all the downsides of a supposed robotic takeover, but we’re being cheated of the upside! I say, if this is the world we’re gonna live in anyway, at least let the robot overlords have their shot. World peace, technological utopia — and no crime! The robot overlords’ crime control is swift and merciless.

(…)

Tyrone: Sure, the robots rend criminals with horrible tearing jaws. But if you’re telling me they eat white and black criminals equally
John: I get it.
Tyrone: They use that as a selling point, the robot overlords will be ass-deep in brothers with oil cans and subpoenas.
John:
Tyrone: Robot overlords don’t give Scooter Libby pardons. No rich man can bribe his way out of the robot overlord court. You telling me you don’t want to see the robot overlords kick in Dick Cheney’s door —
John: I would buy that DVD. The two disc box set, with robot overlord commentary.

(…)

John: …But look,the Democrats won in 2006!
Tyrone: Suuuuuuuure they did.
John: What are you — Congress changed parties! We took over!
Tyrone: Absolutely. Remember when the Democratic Congress ended the war?
John: Ummm …
Tyrone: How about when they changed the Bankruptcy Bill, so middle class people didn’t get reamed. When they passed that children’s health care plan over the lame duck president’s veto. Or when they finally reclaimed America’s moral high ground when they bravely stopped the approval of an Attorney General who thought waterboarding was a grey area. When they shut down Gitmo …

Even without their obvious ability to influence voting machines, I’m pretty sure the robot overlords would totally split the conservative vote.

November 15th, 2007 at 10:12pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Republicans

Awfulness Of The Day

Well, this was a very bad idea…

A convicted pedophile sentenced to do community service in a German kindergarten will return to court next week to face charges of abusing two children there, a regional prosecutor’s office said Thursday.

The man was allowed to work as a janitor at the Evangelical Kindergarten St Petri in Melle, near the northern city of Osnabrueck, because a court worker missed three prior pedophilia convictions on his record, said Alexander Retemeyer, spokesman for the Osnabrueck prosecutor’s office.

The man, identified only as A.B., had been sentenced to 720 hours of community service earlier this year for working on the sly while collecting welfare payments.

“The colleague didn’t pay attention and didn’t see he had a sexual conviction, so she allowed him to serve in a kindergarten,” Retemeyer said. “She didn’t read the file.”

The prior convictions date from 1988-1990, when the man was living in the former East Germany, Retemeyer said. Though the convictions are listed in the man’s criminal record, the details are unclear because prosecutors cannot access his East German police file.

Police arrested the man in April after the head of the kindergarten reported he had fondled himself in front of two children.

It’s like a Bush appointee metaphor come to horrible, horrible life. Except for the part about it being an accident.

November 15th, 2007 at 08:29pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Hooray?

Well, this sounds like a resounding… not-yet-failure:

The Senate Judiciary Committee punted on Thursday over whether to shield telecommunications companies from civil lawsuits for allegedly helping the government eavesdrop on Americans.

That decision – the main sticking point in a rewrite of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – will be left to the full Senate. The FISA law dictates when the government must obtain court permission to conduct electronic eavesdropping, and President Bush has promised to veto any rewrite that does not provide legal immunity to telecom companies. Bush argues that the lawsuits could bankrupt the companies and reveal classified information.

About 40 civil lawsuits have been filed against telecom companies alleging they broke wiretapping and privacy laws.

The Senate panel rejected, 11-8, an attempt to strip the immunity provision out of the bill.

Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said granting immunity would give the Bush administration a “blank check” to do what it wants without regard to the law. Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the panel’s top Republican, also is leery of full immunity. He says court cases may be the only way Congress can learn exactly how far outside the law the administration has gone in eavesdropping in the United States.

When the full Senate takes up the bill, Specter is likely to offer a compromise that would shield the companies from financial ruin but allow lawsuits to go forward by having the federal government stand in for the companies at trial.

This kind of reminds me of when they would vote a judicial or AG nominee out of committee without a recommendation. Yeah, Judiciary isn’t actively endorsing the badness, but they’re not really closing the door on it either. And there are so many unreliable Democrats and so few (i.e., zero) principled Republicans willing to cross the aisle to defend the rule of law, that I fear that this may only postpone the inevitable.

As for Specter’s “compromise,” it’s worthless unless it can somehow cut off the administration’s ability to use a “state secrets” defense to thwart the prosecution.

My gut feeling is that Specter’s bogus compromise will carry the day, because it sounds like a reasonable, sensible way to hold the Bush administration accountable, while in actuality ensuring that no-one is held accountable. This will appeal to the Democratic leadership, whose approach to fighting BushCo. is very similar to BushCo’s approach to fighting terrorism: Looking like they’re doing something is far more important than actually doing something.

Which is not to say that it’s not worth fighting. Who knows, maybe there are some senators who simply don’t realize that Specter’s proposal is a scam. Make sure yours does.

November 15th, 2007 at 07:01pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Democrats,Politics,Terrorism

The Wages Of Apathy

So, after six years of propping him up without demanding a damn thing in the way of accountability, it is finally dawning on BushCo. that Musharraf may not be a good long-term bet.

Make no substantive moves towards democracy? No problem.

Look the other way while the Taliban and al Qaeda regroup in Waziristan? Hey, we’re all friends here.

Slap A.Q. Khan lightly on the wrist for selling nuclear secrets? These kids today, what can you do.

I wonder how things might have turned out if Dubya had told Musharraf in no uncertain terms that if he didn’t get with the pro-democracy, antiterror, antiproliferation program that they both claim to be on board with, that every penny of aid currently earmarked for Pakistan would be directed to India instead.

I bet that would have gotten his attention.

Of course, this would assume that BushCo. really does want to promote democracy and combat terror and nuclear proliferation. Democracy is woefully out of step with Republican values, and terror and nukes (especially when combined) are indispensable for their we-need-strong-ruthless-men-to-protect-us narrative.

2 comments November 15th, 2007 at 11:29am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Terrorism,War


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