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“What I want to know is what in the world so many Democrats are doing supporting the President’s unilateral intervention in Iraq?”

– Democratic Presidential Candidate Howard Dean

(March 15, 2003)

“I won’t stand here and pretend that there are many good options left in Iraq, but what’s not an option is leaving our troops in that country for the next hundred years, especially at a time when our military is overstretched, our nation is isolated, and nearly every other threat to America is being ignored.

“We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in, but start leaving we must. It’s time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future. It’s time to rebuild our military and give our veterans the care and the benefits they deserve when they come home.”

– Presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama

(June 3, 2008)

Appeasing Republicans

Corporatist War Monger President George W. Bush, in a pathetically desperate attempt to use an International speech to smear his domestic Democratic opposition as appeasers, quoted a Republican Senator as an example of American appeasement of Hitler prior to World War II.

While delivering an address before the Israeli parliament commemorating the 60th anniversary of Israel, President Bush said that Sen. Barack Obama and Democrats favor a policy of appeasement toward terrorists. CNN reports that Bush was comparing Obama to “other U.S. leaders back in the run-up to World War II who appeased the Nazis.”

In his speech, Bush said, “As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”

The Senator whom Bush quoted verbatim was Idaho Republican William Edgar Borah:

From 1924 to 1933 [Borah] was chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, and his major interest was in foreign policy…. An advocate of disarmament and the outlawing of war, he suggested the Washington Conference of 1921-22 and promoted the Kellogg-Briand Pact; in 1939 he fought revision of the Neutrality Act.

Of course Borah was far from the only ‘appeasing’ Republican. Indeed, prior to WWII, the Grand Old Party was home to many of the fiercest advocates of appeasement.

Hockeydharma Playoffs Opening Night Liveblog (updated with scores)

The second season starts tonight.  

6 weeks of intense, all out, hard hitting (but no fighting), super fast competition for the oldest, most venerated trophy in professional sports.


Eastern Conference

1 Montreal Canadiens

8 Boston Bruins

2 Pittsburgh Penguins

7 Ottawa Senators

3 Washington Capitals

6 Philadelphia Flyers

4 NJ Devils

5 NY Rangers

Western Conference

1 Detroit Red Wings

8 Nashville Predators

2 San Jose Sharks

7 Calgary Flames

3 Minnesota Wild

6 Colorado Avalanche

4 Anaheim Ducks

5 Dallas Stars


Tonight’s Games

Senators v. Penguins  

7:00 PM ET

Rangers v. Devils

7:00 PM ET

Avalanche v. Wild

9:00 PM ET

Flames v. Sharks

10:00 PM ET


HockeyDharmites have already started making their picks.

(Not too late to make yours if you haven’t already done so.)

I’m picking the Sharks to win the whole thing, and incurring the eternal wrath of 73’s entire family by predicting that both the Flyers and the Wild will not get past the first round.


And remember, a hot goalie can take a team a long way…



Pens shutout Sens 4-0

Rangers beat Devils 4-1 (a lot closer game than the score shows)

Update 2:

Avs over Wild in OT 3-2

Flames burn Sharks 3-2 (ucc is looking like a genius right now).

Bank Drops Wikileaks Case

Run Away! Run Away!

(Not really much else the bank could do at this point):

Julius Baer Bank and Trust dropped its case against Wikileaks today, days after a San Francisco judge reversed an injunction against the iconoclastic document-leaking site. Judge Jeffrey White had ordered Wikileaks shut down in response to arguments that it had published stolen bank documents that contained sensitive proprietary information. But Wikileaks argued that the documents exposed fraud, and the injunction prompted a firestorm in the press over concerns that White had abridged constitutionally guaranteed rights to free speech and freedom of the press. “There are serious questions of prior restraint, possible violations of the First Amendment,” he said on Friday before reversing the order.

The bank took a voluntary dismissal (PDF), which technically means it could refile the suit if it wanted to.  

I wouldn’t hold my breath for that, though. After the pummeling they took both legally and publicitywise, Julius Baer is more than happy to get as far away from this colossal blunder of a law suit as it can.

To quote myself (ah, what the hell):

The damage to the bank for its ill considered attempt to use the Federal courts as a tool for censorship is already done.  Far from removing the incriminating documents from the public eye, Julius Baer’s blunder now means these documents are the main feature of a cause celeb that has generated the interest of millions of people around the globe, and many who would have otherwise never had known the documents existed are now fully aware of their incriminating contents.

What’s more, the boomerang effect of the bank’s lawsuit will make other would be censors think twice about trying to use the courts to silence opposition – while the bad publicity Dynadot received for cravenly caving to the bank’s intimidation should make other ISPs understand that they need to stand up against corporate bullies, and not sell out their customers at the first whiff of a lawsuit.

Nice to see arrogant corporate bullies actually get their comeuppance for once.

Ain’t it?

Judge dissolves Wikileaks shutdown order (updated 2x)

Judge White has had a serious Emily Latella moment.

From The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press:

The whistleblower site may resume its U.S. operation following a hearing in California federal court today, where Judge Jeffrey S. White dissolved a previous order that required the site to be taken offline and indicated he would not approve a second order prohibiting the site’s publication.

The Feb. 15 orders had required domain name service provider Dynadot to cut off access to the Wikileaks site, disabling the Web address. A Swiss bank had asked the court to require the site to be taken down, arguing it disclosed private banking records.

Acting as a friend of the court, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and several other media organizations asked the judge earlier this week to take notice of the prior restraint that occurred as a result of those orders. Wikileaks had not appeared in court to defend against charges by the bank that it had improperly posted private information and no First Amendment concerns were raised before the Court.

White’s order of today dissolved the injunction that had prohibited Dynadot from allowing to be accessible. It also “tentatively” denied the bank’s request for an order that would keep Wikileaks from independently publishing itself online.

“It’s not very often a federal judge does a 180 degree turn in a case and dissolves an order,” said Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy A. Dalglish. “But we’re very pleased the judge recognized the constitutional implications in this prior restraint.”

White is expected to issue a full opinion on the matter in the near future. The media coalition’s brief in the case can be found at:

Shorter Judge White:

“Never mind!”

Iran and Democracy

A nice, short primer on the 1953 coup and its consequences.

ACLU & EFF Intervene in Wikileaks Case

Here comes the cavalry:

San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California (ACLU-Northern California) Tuesday filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit where a federal judge ordered the disabling of one of the domain names associated with “Wikileaks,” a website designed to give whistleblowers a forum for posting materials of public concern.

For those who may be unfamiliar with this case: the Swiss bank Julius Baer sued the whistleblower site Wikileaks and its Internet host Dynadot to remove documents related to the bank’s alleged money laundering activities in the Cayman Islands.

In a highly unusual ruling, the District Court, per a secret agreement between Dynadot and Julius Baer, granted the bank’s motion for a permanent injunction to both disable the Wikileak’s domain name and prevent its transfer to another registrar. The Court also ordered Dynadot to divulge all of Wikileak’s private client information and ruled it illegal for anyone (apparently anywhere in the world) to link to the documents at issue.  

Indeed, what makes this case even more unusual is that Wikileaks was informed of the bank’s motion by email only hours before the hearing, and when a Wikileaks attorney showed up informally to find out what was going on, she was ordered to leave the courtroom.

For more on this case, see Valtin’s excellent essay (also check out the comments) as well as this summary over at Wired.

The court’s injunction has far reaching implications for free speech on the Internet, because if allowed to stand, it means that anyone who doesn’t like what you post on the Internet can simply sue your host to shut you down.

Turkey Surges into Iraq?

The US may not be the only country which thinks it can cow native, ethnic insurgencies into submission with temporary displays of force:

Turkish ground forces have crossed the border into northern Iraq to target Kurdish rebels said to be sheltering there, Ankara has said.

It said the raid began late on Thursday after an air and artillery bombardment.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has said the offensive is limited in scale and troops will return as soon as possible.

Although reports on Turkish troop strength vary, Turkish TV says that between 3,000 and 10,000 troops are involved in the operation:

The General Staff did not specify the size of the operation, but released photographs of armed troops in white fatigues walking through snowy, mountainous Iraqi terrain.

A senior military source in southeast Turkey told Reuters: “Thousands of troops have crossed the border and thousands more are waiting at the border to join them if necessary.”

NATO member Turkey says it has the right under international law to hit PKK rebels who shelter in northern Iraq and have mounted attacks inside Turkey that have killed scores of troops. Turkey says some 3,000 PKK rebels are based in Iraq.

The Turks, hoping to hit the PKK rebels in their Winter redoubts before warmer weather allows the insurgents to cross back into Turkey, claim they have advanced 25 km (16 miles) into Iraqi territory.

The Supreme Court did the right thing…

in rejecting ACLU vs. NSA today.

A number of good folks in the blogosphere are huffing and puffing over the Supreme Court’s rejection of the ACLU’s Petition for Certiori in the case of ACLU v. NSA.  They don’t need to.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court today dismissed the first legal challenge to President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping order, but without ruling on any of the key issues.

It is traditional and expected in our Federal system that the Supreme Court wait until a controversial legal issue is litigated in more than one of the lower Circuits before creating a binding precedent.  This way, the Supreme Court both allows for a broader range of opinion and ensures that a greater number of arguments and issues are considered before the Court decides the final law.  

In ACLU vs. NSA, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals had the first bite at the apple on unwarranted wiretapping, and spit out a Bushie worm. Yet the sour 6th is not the only Circuit with a say about whether our government can secretly spy on us.  


The video below contains explicit scenes of bad bar mitzvah dancing, political lyrics written by a failed auditioner for “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?”, and a song that has been known to cause dementia in laboratory mice.

Side effects include: sickness, nausea, vomiting, migraines, irritable bowels, snorting, guffawing, cringing, earaches, and a strong urge to shoot yourself in the head to get the tune out.

Arrangement by Lawrence Welk.  

This video has not been endorsed by Kenny G, who told us it wasn’t hip enough.

Viewers please note:  

No minorities were harmed in the making of this video except for the ones we needed to sing the song.  

Adios Amigos!

In the immortal words of Al Gore:

It’s time for me to go.

Some thoughts on race

One weekend a month, I run a special educational program, in cooperation with the local public library, that helps low income high school students prepare for getting into college.  Some are white.  A few are black.  Most are Latino.

Two weekends ago, a student who happens to be Latino started acting out during a test.  Clearly frustrated by his inability to master the subject matter, and showing off to a couple of girls sitting next to him, the student began surreptitiously throwing pieces of broken pencil at me.    

I was not sure how to respond at first. I didn’t want to disrupt the class in the middle of the test, so I decided to wait until the break to talk to him.  Not happy with my seeming lack of interest in his antics, the student then started making funny noises that sounded amazingly like drops of water in a bucket.

It was then I noticed an earnest and extremely muscular student on the other side of the room staring daggers at the noise maker.  I knew I had to do something to quell the disturbance right there, not only for the sake of a class but also for the sake the disruptive student’s physical well being.

I asked the student pick up his belongings and follow me into the hall, where I told him that he was free to leave, but if he wanted to stay his misbehavior would have to stop.  

Then the student called me a racist. He claimed I was picking on him because he was Latino, and that I wouldn’t be pulling him out of the class if he were White.

I explained to the student that his race had nothing to do with my disciplining him, but that his behavior was simply unacceptable and disturbing to his classmates.

Of course, my protestations had no absolutely no effect on the student’s opinion that I was indeed a racist, an opinion which he continued to declare loudly and repeatedly as he confidently strutted out of the building.

Was the student race baiting? You bet he was. He was making specious and unsupported claims of racial victimization in order to distract from his own obnoxious behavior.

Was it extremely hurtful to me personally?  Right again.  Not to mention how I felt walking back into that classroom.

I tell this story not as an allegory for the unfortunate events of the other day, but to lend context to my argument that race baiting is a very real and insidious tactic used by opportunists of every color to cover for their alternate agendas.

Of course, that is NOT to deny that prevalent and often virulent racist attitudes do indeed exist practically everywhere humans with even slightly different skin pigments commingle, but when charges of racism are recklessly hurled without solid foundation and good faith belief, this ‘cry wolf’ behavior serves both to undermine the credibility of those with genuine claims and to alienate many who might otherwise be sympathetic to those claims.

Which brings me to my main point.

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