Open Thread: Off to Hong Kong


Will write more soon. Off to Hong Kong today.
— Steve Clemons


19 comments on “Open Thread: Off to Hong Kong

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Meanwhile, with this jackass McCain joking about killing Iranians with cigarettes, heres this pathetic monkey George Bush, trying to outdo McCain’s buffoonery. Are these people possessed?
    President George Bush: ‘Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter’
    By Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor and Urmee Khan
    George Bush surprised world leaders with a joke about his poor record on the environment as he left the G8 summit in Japan.
    George Bush proves to be quite an entertainer
    The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: “Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.”
    He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.


  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Please vote here to spank this worthless coward Feinstein……………


  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Ok, so now Pelosi’s “communications director”, Brendan Daly, is denying Pelosi is trying to block the contempt citation. Gee, we can take that to the bank, can’t we? I mean hey, after all, Pelosi is a real hound dog for accountability, isn’t she?
    Meanwhile, Rove ignored the subpoena today.
    Whats Conyers do? Gives Turd Blossum more time to respond. Cowardly garbage, one and all.
    Issue the damned contempt citation, and be done with it.
    Do these posturing cowards really think Rove is going to just have an epiphany and come clean, respect the subpoena, and spill the beans?
    Just more friggin’ horseshit, posturing and insincere saber rattling. Waxman, Conyers, Pelosi, Reid. A bunch of cowardly and pathetic examples of spineless governance. These people embarrass our nation, and their oaths of office.


  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Meanwhile, though, Pelosi is allegedly working behind the scenes to discourage going after Rove.
    Really, there is no trusting Pelosi, as she has proven time and again.


  5. Kathleen says:

    Also, glad to see AfterDowningStreet is asserting the same thing I did last week here… namely that if Rove/Miers/Bolten, et al were subpoenaed for an Impeachment hearing, they couldn’t claim executive privilege.. at least not without incurring obstrution of justice charges.


  6. Kathleen says:

    Paul… sorry.. go to Democratic Underground..


  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    How dare a man of such low character, McCain, aspire to soil the carpets in our Whitehouse. Such slips of the tongue are a window into this man’s true self.
    And how might this comment be used by Islamic radicals for its propaganda value to turn the Muslim community even further against us?
    Any politician so fuckin’ stupid to make a comment like this deserves NO public position, much less the Presidency.
    Holy shit, is this the Twilight Zone? This guy might be President? Has this nation gone stark raving insane?
    McCain slips up over Iran after joking U.S. cigarette exports to the country might help ‘kill’ them
    By Daily Mail Reporter
    John McCain sparked amazement yesterday when he suggested America should keep exporting cigarettes to Iran as a way of ‘killing em’.
    The Republican presidential candidate was asked about a report that almost £80million of U.S. tobacco had been shipped to the country during George Bush’s presidency.
    America has long-standing restrictions on what can and cannot be exported to Iran.
    Mr McCain was waiting for a cheese-steak sandwich with wife Cindy during a campaign stop in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, when he was asked about the trade.
    Enlarge Teamwork: John and Cindy McCain. He ignored her poke in the back
    “Maybe that’s a way of killing them,” he told reporters, smiling.
    Mrs McCain was seen to give her husband a firm poke in the back, but it was too late.
    “I meant that as a joke,” McCain quickly explained.
    “As a person who hasn’t had a cigarette in 28 years,” he began to say, when his wife corrected him: 29 years.
    Taking a more serious tone, McCain said, “I’d like to look into” details of exports to Iran. “This is the first that I’ve heard about it,” he said.
    It is not the first time the Republican has gotten into trouble over Iran. He once sang the words, ‘Bomb,bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran’ to the Beach Boys’ tune ‘Barbara Ann’ after being asked about the country by a supporter.
    The incident comes after it was revealed that U.S. exports to Iran – including brassieres, bull semen, cosmetics and possibly even weapons – grew more than tenfold during President George W. Bush’s years in office even as he accused Iran of nuclear ambitions and helping terrorists.


  8. Paul Norheim says:

    Kathleen, your link lead to CBS, but not to the actual story…


  9. Kathleen says:

    My kind of news….CBS news is reporting that Pelosi said the Judiciary Committee may be holding hearings on Kucinich’s privileged resolution….


  10. Paul Norheim says:

    The big TV-stations and newspapers act more or less like when
    Bush prepared for the invasion of Iraq.
    You`re saying that the bandits intend to commit criminal acts?
    Murder? You must be an alarmist. Don`t you see that the bandits
    are in the restaurant right now, threatening the owner? How can
    they commit murder while they are busy intimidating him!
    We saw this even in the “negotiations” just before the Serbia
    bombings ten years ago: the Americans later admitted that they
    pushed MiloÅ¡ević into a corner, giving him ultimatums they knew
    he could not accept.


  11. Paul Norheim says:

    From BBC`s online site today:
    “Israel ‘ready to act’ over Iran
    Ehud Barak said Israel was the strongest country in the region
    Israel’s defence minister has warned of his country’s readiness
    to act against Iran if it feels threatened.
    Ehud Barak, speaking in Tel Aviv, said Israel had “proved in the
    past that it won’t hesitate to act when its vital security interests
    are at stake”.
    He spoke as Iran’s testing of missiles that could reach Israel
    stoked tensions between the two, and with the US.
    But Mr Barak added that diplomatic solutions should be
    pursued before other options were taken up.
    “Currently the focus is international sanctions and vigorous
    diplomatic activity, and these avenues should be exhausted,” he
    “Currently the focus is on…”
    This of course reminds us of the build up to the Iraq invasion.
    Sanctions and something called “vigorous diplomatic activity”
    (read: mafia style warnings and threats), considered as time
    consuming, but necessary ritual steps before attacking another
    Well, you see, to make our actions acceptable to the
    international community, first we`ll have to starve and boycott
    them, then to threaten them, and THEN, finally, attack them.
    And that euphemism called the “international community” does
    not react. They consider this new build up as business as usual.
    “War? No way! These guys are not crazy!
    Don`t you see that they are exhausting the avenues of
    vigorous diplomatic activity?”


  12. Kathleen says:

    POA..speaking of domestic spying and the recent passage of the FISA bill, this makes me think “Jonathan Moseley and his Legal Affairs Council” inbetween the lines….
    by: Joelle Tessler, The Associated Press
    (Artwork: Jill Lunes)
    Washington – Executives from major Internet players – Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. – are due for a grilling about online privacy in a Senate committee Wednesday, but the company likely to get the most scrutiny is a small Silicon Valley startup called NebuAd Inc.
    NebuAd has drawn fierce criticism from privacy advocates in recent weeks for working with Internet service providers to track the online behavior of their customers and then serve up targeted banner ads based on that behavior.
    According to Ari Schwartz, vice president of the Center for Democracy & Technology, a civil liberties group, NebuAd’s business model raises many of the same concerns as an earlier generation of “adware” companies. Those companies developed software programs that – when downloaded to a computer – could track where a user went on the Internet and mine that information to deliver customized online ads. Several NebuAd executives in fact were once employed by Gator Corp., an adware company that later renamed itself Claria Corp.
    Privacy activists say adware companies duped many Web surfers into downloading their software programs by bundling them with free screen savers, online games and other Internet applications. But NebuAd has a new twist: It works directly with Internet service providers to scan their customers’ Web surfing habits and deliver ads presumed to be of interest to them.
    By injecting its monitoring in between consumers and the Web sites they visit, NebuAd’s technology could violate a 1986 federal wiretapping law that requires at least one party to a communication to consent to a wiretap, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Center for Democracy & Technology. British technologists have leveled similar criticisms against a NebuAd-like system being prepared in that country by Phorm Inc.
    “This is analogous to AT&T listening to your phone calls all day in order to figure out what to sell you in the middle of dinner,” said Robert Topolski, a technology consultant to Public Knowledge and Free Press, two other public interest groups that have raised concerns about NebuAd.
    Although no major Internet service providers are known to have partnered with NebuAd so far, a number of smaller ones have worked with the company, including Wide Open West, a privately held broadband company based in Denver.
    Amid the publicity surrounding NebuAd, however, Wide Open West has stopped using the company’s advertising software. And other ISPs that had been planning to conduct trials with the technology, including Charter Communications Inc., have put those plans on hold.
    For its part, NebuAd has stressed that it does not collect any personally identifiable information about consumers and that it requires Internet service providers to notify their subscribers about its advertising system. On Tuesday, however, the Redwood City, Calif., company unveiled a new set of privacy protections, including an online notification system and an opt-out mechanism for consumers.
    “NebuAd is committed to driving innovation in online advertising while pioneering industry-leading privacy practices,” NebuAd chief executive Bob Dykes said in a statement.
    Besides NebuAd, Wednesday’s hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee may also examine Facebook’s “Beacon” monitoring tool, which tracked online purchases made by Facebook members and sent alerts to their friends on the site.
    In addition, the committee will explore the need for stronger online privacy protections in general. Among the issues on the table: whether Internet companies should be expected to make their programs “opt-in” (you’re automatically excluded from a service unless you sign up) or whether “opt-out” (you’re automatically in unless you speak up to say no) is acceptable.
    While the committee has no online advertising legislation pending, the hearing could lead to new bills. The committee will also examine the potential role of agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission or the Federal Communications Commission. Last year, for example, the FTC released a set of proposed self-regulation guidelines for online advertising companies.
    Witnesses testifying Wednesday include NebuAd’s Dykes, Microsoft associate general counsel Mike Hintze, Google chief privacy counsel Jane Horvath and Facebook chief privacy officer Chris Kelly. Lydia Parnes, director of the consumer bureau for the Federal Trade Commission; Leslie Harris, chief executive of the Center for Democracy & Technology; and Clyde Wayne Crews Jr., vice president for policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, will also testify.


  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    One hopes Steve’s organization will participate in this effort…..
    Online Movement Aims to Punish Democrats Who Support Bush Wiretap Bill
    Online activists from the right and the left announced an unprecedented campaign Tuesday to hold Democratic lawmakers accountable for caving in to the Bush administration on domestic spying.
    Netroots activists are raising money online to run advertisements against “Blue Dog Democrats”, such as Rep. Chris Carney, D-Pa., who voted for a bill that would immunize telecommunications companies who cooperated with the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping.
    Credit: Eggman A group of high-profile progressive bloggers and libertarian Republicans are rolling out a new political action committee called Accountability Now to channel widespread anger over pending legislation that would legalize much of the president’s warrantless electronic surveillance of Americans, and grant retroactive legal immunity to telephone companies that cooperated with the spying when it was still illegal.
    Progressive author and lawyer Glenn Greenwald, who writes for, and blogger Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake, are spearheading the effort. They’ve hired the political media consultants behind a historic Ron Paul online fundraising drive to organize a similar “moneybomb,” set to go off Aug. 8.
    “That is the day Richard Nixon resigned, and the idea is that 35 years ago when you did this kind of stuff, you were forced out of office, and now congress drops everything to make your crimes legal,” says Hamsher in an interview.
    The campaign marks a milestone in the evolution of online grassroots organizing. The PAC is cherry-picking the tactics and tools that proved most successful in the presidential primary campaigns, and is using them to corral online support for the single issue of domestic spying. The PAC’s money pay for advertisements in the districts of the House Democrats who voted for the spy bill — potentially causing problems for those capitulating on the Bush wiretapping program.
    “The fact is, we’re all entering completely new territory here,” writes Micah Sifry on the TechPresident blog in a post on other, similar efforts to rally support to influence Barack Obama’s vote on the pending legislation this Wednesday in the Senate. “There have always been efforts to influence political candidates to take or change positions during a campaign (or afterward), but we’ve never before had a national campaign create an open platform for mobilizing supporters and then seen a salient chunk of those supporters openly use that platform to challenge the candidate on a policy position.”
    Key to the new effort are consultants Trevor Lyman and Rick Williams, whose successful online money-raising effort for Ron Paul, the libertarian-leaning Texas congressman, broke records last year. The pair masterminded a “moneybomb” drive called “This November 5th” that brought in an unprecedented $4.2 million in contributions in a single day. A repeat effort in December raised another $6 million for Paul.


  14. Carroll says:

    Posted by Paul Norheim Jul 10, 1:38AM – Link
    Regardless of disagreements and differences, Carroll, on this
    issue I share your hope. Everybody will become losers if Israel or
    America attack Iran.
    Indeed, particularly the “dead” losers in another war based on lies about “American security”.


  15. Carroll says:

    Posted by arthurdecco Jul 10, 1:23AM
    Thank you! arthur. We will win the truth or go down trying.
    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”


  16. Paul Norheim says:

    Regardless of disagreements and differences, Carroll, on this
    issue I share your hope. Everybody will become losers if Israel or
    America attack Iran.


  17. Carroll says:

    I sooo want to believe! A twinkle of sanity perhaps?
    Mullen Gave Israel a “Red” Light, Says Cordesman
    July 8th, 2008
    Further to my post last week about Adm. Mullen’s press conference, Anthony Cordesman, the Middle East military specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), has told an Israeli audience that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told his Israeli counterpart during his visit to Israel two weeks ago that the U.S. would not support an Israeli strike on Iran, according to an article that appeared in Tuesday’s Haaretz newspaper. (Scroll down to see the relevant part.) Moreover, according to Cordesman, Mullen was speaking on behalf of the president when he communicated that message. Cordesman, a heavyweight who once served as McCain’s national security advisor (back in the candidate’s realist days), is known as a very cautious, taciturn analyst whose words are chosen with great care, although, on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, he described the notion that it would result in the democratic transformation of the region as something that “crosses the line between neo-conservative and neo-crazy.”


  18. arthurdecco says:

    Carroll, Thank you for your perseverance. Thank you for your intelligence, morality and sensitivity.


  19. Carroll says:

    “The news says the Israelis have raided the Nablus mayor’s office as well as schools and mosques in the West Bank city because of links to Hamas. Here is a first-hand account from a doctor’s wife, who has a master’s in English from the University of Illinois/Champaign-Urbana.
    “For the past 3 days, the people in Nablus awoke in a great shock to discover that the Israeli army has confiscated their property in a very
    organised and well planned way. Here is what happened. During the first night, at around 12, many military vehicles accompanied by huge
    containers attacked a school, a clinic, and a mosque. The entrance doors were broken,exploded and damaged. All the inside furniture,equipments, tools, files, and other property were carried by
    the soldiers into the lorries. You would never imagine that these things would ever be taken. The computers, files, cameras, the chairs and
    tables from the school, even the doors -unbelievable. These places were left empty with a state of mess and damage. The school and
    clinic were ordered closed for 3 years. The second night a huge shopping center called Nablus mall was also attacked in the same
    way. This building has over 50 stores, including a bank, many shops for furniture–one of the shops was the one that I bought you your presents
    dear Nancy and dear Laura–a restaurant, a supermarket, and many offices. The property of 4 places was emptied into the lorries in the
    middle of the night. Other shops were messed up and others were damaged. A leaflet was left and it said that the mall will be closed for 2 years, and that the property that has been taken—stolen, confiscated—now belongs to the Israeli army…anyone dares to enter will be imprisoned. At the same time, 5 mosques were entered and messed up in different places in the city…
    “Finally, last night, the building of the municipality of Nablus was attacked
    in the same way…the computers that are used for water and electricity services were all taken, in addition to files and other stuff. Some items
    were damaged during the attack, and night guards in all situations got beaten up…you would not believe this: 5 big buses that carry students
    and belong to a school were driven into the lorries and taken…
    “We do not know who’s next tonight. Maybe our house properties, our furniture and kitchen equipment, could this be true? No one owns anything anymore. We all belong to the Israeli army. Our lands, our olive trees,our bodies, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we get from the super market, our family members who are in jail,
    our beds and chairs…..what is left for us? our brains? Maybe.
    I do not know what to add, because there is nothing to be added.
    So take care and stay in touch since I feel isolated, and somehow vulnerable and no longer in touch. I love you both. I really do.”
    The Crime of “Genocide” defined in Internation Law
    The international legal definition of the crime of genocide is found in Articles II and III of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.
    Article II describes two elements of the crime of genocide:
    1) the mental element, meaning the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”, and
    2) the physical element which includes five acts described in sections a, b, c, d and e. A crime must include both elements to be called “genocide.”
    Article III described five punishable forms of the crime of genocide: genocide; conspiracy, incitement, attempt and complicity.
    “Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
    (a) Killing members of the group;
    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.
    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
    Article III: The following acts shall be punishable:
    (a) Genocide;
    (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
    (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
    (d) Attempt to commit genocide;
    (e) Complicity in genocide. ”
    It is a crime to plan or incite genocide, even before killing starts, and to aid or abet genocide: Criminal acts include conspiracy, direct and public incitement, attempts to commit genocide, and complicity in genocide.
    Punishable Acts The following are genocidal acts when committed as part of a policy to destroy a group’s existence:
    Killing members of the group includes direct killing and actions causing death.
    Causing serious bodily or mental harm includes inflicting trauma on members of the group through widespread torture, rape, sexual violence, forced or coerced use of drugs, and mutilation.
    Deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to destroy a group includes the deliberate deprivation of resources needed for the group’s physical survival, such as clean water, food, clothing, shelter or medical services. Deprivation of the means to sustain life can be imposed through confiscation of harvests, blockade of foodstuffs, detention in camps, forcible relocation or expulsion into deserts.
    Prevention of births includes involuntary sterilization, forced abortion, prohibition of marriage, and long-term separation of men and women intended to prevent procreation.
    Forcible transfer of children may be imposed by direct force or by fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or other methods of coercion. The Convention on the Rights of the Child defines children as persons under the age of 18 years.
    Genocidal acts need not kill or cause the death of members of a group. Causing serious bodily or mental harm, prevention of births and transfer of children are acts of genocide when committed as part of a policy to destroy a group’s existence.
    The law protects four groups – national, ethnical, racial or religious groups.
    A national group means a set of individuals whose identity is defined by a common country of nationality or national origin.
    An ethnical group is a set of individuals whose identity is defined by common cultural traditions, language or heritage.
    A racial group means a set of individuals whose identity is defined by physical characteristics.
    A religious group is a set of individuals whose identity is defined by common religious creeds, beliefs, doctrines, practices, or rituals.
    Key Terms
    The crime of genocide has two elements: intent and action. “Intentional” means purposeful. Intent can be proven directly from statements or orders. But more often, it must be inferred from a systematic pattern of coordinated acts.
    Intent is different from motive. Whatever may be the motive for the crime (land expropriation, national security, territorrial integrity, etc.), if the perpetrators commit acts intended to destroy a group, even part of a group, it is genocide.
    The phrase “in whole or in part” is important. Perpetrators need not intend to destroy the entire group. Destruction of only part of a group (such as its educated members, or members living in one region) is also genocide. Most authorities require intent to destroy a substantial number of group members – mass murder. But an individual criminal may be guilty of genocide even if he kills only one person, so long as he knew he was participating in a larger plan to destroy the group.
    Fourth Geneva Convention – Collective Punishment
    Collective punishments
    Article 4 defines who is a Protected person: Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.
    Article 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
    Pillage is prohibited.
    Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.
    Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions collective punishments are a war crime. Article 33 states: “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed,” and “collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.”


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