Thursday, December 20, 2007

This blog "blacklisted"... for demanding we respect the professionals...

One of our beleaguered senior federal professionals - who happens to be a fan - wrote in: "One of my employees tried to check out your blog on his government computer. Red flags went off declaring your site ‘contains inappropriate material.’"

Who... me?

I admit there’s an occasional "dang" or "golly". And, amid word tsunamis from many commenters, the rare #!$*#! That sort of thing makes a tiny fraction of "Contrary Brin," compared to masses of cutting-edge-interesting stuff about astronomy, high-technology, SETI, political theory, popular culture and ruminations about human destiny.

Anyway, I know the reason orders came down, banning government employees from access to any of this.

Mea culpa... I have called upon the professionals of the civil service, the intelligence services, the many agencies of law and accountability, the scientific community and the U.S. military officer corps, to remember their oaths -- to protect the people from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

That’s it, really. My “inappropriate” sin. Pointing out that our professionals - both in and out of government - have been the top victims of the neoconservative putsch. I have praised the skilled men and women who dedicate their lives to public service, and made it clear - in bold but meticulously legal terms - that they do not have to put up with being bullied by incompetent, dogmatic hacks, who have oppressed them in a concerted campaign of intimidation, ever since the Bush Administration began.

All right, I did more than that. I also called upon Democrats - and decent conservatives who remember true patriotism - to make this a centerpiece issue, not only because it is just and right, but because no other accusation (backed by proof) could damage the current GOP ruling cabal more than this one.

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EmpoweringCitizensIS IT IRONIC for the fellow who coined the term “Age of Amateurs” -- suggesting that educated and assertive citizens will play a bigger role in the 21st Century -- to also be so up-front and aggressive in demanding respect for the professionals? I see no contradiction. We are in this civilization together. And when the pros aren’t harassed by fanatics and thieves from above, they may gain enough calm and perspective to realize how badly they need help from the rest of us. From the great mass of citizens, during the decades ahead.

We can start this process, if citizens stand up and help! If we step up to defend the people who we’ve hired to defend us.

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A PERFECTLY LEGAL REBELLION

All right, the case has been made - and proved - and proved again and again - that the professionals of the U.S. civil, law, intelligence, science and military communities are the Bushites’ number one target. So, what’s the upshot? Am I asking the professionals to rebel? To break the law? To commit mutiny?

That is what Bill O’Reilly said about me, some months ago, claiming that I was fomenting insurrection and treason! But close examination shows that no such words or meanings were ever written or uttered by me. Not ever. In fact, I accept that the position of our civil servants, professionals and -- especially -- military officers is difficult and not without ambiguities. Their response to neocon bullying will call for great care. Indeed, there are many ways that the present political leadership of the US Executive Branch must continue to be treated with deference, as if it were still legitimate. To do otherwise might do far more harm than good.

Certainly, I am in no place to prescribe the manner by which these professionals choose to resist an infamous kleptocrat-putsch, though one method comes to mind -- for the pros simply to do their jobs, in strict accordance to law. And for them to remember that the protections of law, that were erected by great leaders, from Teddy Roosevelt onward, are still on the books.

In fact, there are signs that this process is underway, and has been for some time. Take the growing independence of Defense Secretary Gates -- already called the “adult” in an administration that seems very much like Lord of the Flies. Or the crucial appointment of Admiral Mike Mullen to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. (Any time you see the Navy ascendant, feel a surge of joy. They are the service least despoilt by this decade’s American fever dream.) Or, see a citation I’ll offer below, where it seems that our law agencies are finally starting to gather the goods on corrupt, inept and simply ruinous “inspectors general,” who were appointed to many agencies, strictly for the purpose of allowing or abetting graft.


DO WE EVEN NEED “RESCUE” BY THE DEMOCRATS?

Can the professionals wake up, stand up, and do their jobs? And will it matter?

otherculturewarI have an unconventional theory, that runs counter to the fervent hope that so many millions are placing at the feet of Democratic political candidates. Yes, that wing of our counter-attack to restore civilization is important. Even libertarians and decent conservatives now realize, they must make temporary alliance with liberals, in order to help save America.

And yet, I believe that a rising by our professionals - along strictly legal lines - could, all by itself, be what really turns the tide. If only these skilled men and women do what they are paid to do. What they swore to do.

Of course, these two paths - political and professional - intersect. Because any Democrat (Clinton, Obama, Chris Dodd oreven a yellow dog) who enters the White House, in January 2009, will do one crucial thing. He or she will fire 5,000 Bushite political appointees and take their boot heels off of the pros’ necks. He or she will then replace the petty hacks, to a large extent, by promoting from within the services. (While rooting out the neocon shills who “burrow in” by transferring to the Civil Service.) And that one action -- just enforcing the laws we already have -- may restore America.

Can you see, now, why the political satraps have put my blog and website on an "improper" list, banished from access by government computers? From access by members of the civil service and officer corps?

Again, since very little happens on my websites that is notably rude or markedly offensive -- mostly intellectual ruminations about civilization and science and society -- there can be no other explanation. And, I’ll take it as a compliment. A badge of honor --suggesting that I am (in my small way) fighting with some effectiveness for my country and my civilization.

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SOME DETAIL: THE DESTRUCTION OF THE OFFICER CORPS: WORSE THAN EVEN I HAD IMAGINED

Want an example of why I’ve been blacklisted?
OfficerCorpsPurgeNobody spoke up publicly, about the Bush Administration’s devastation of the U.S. Officer Corps, before I did. Now, at long last, some in the media are catching on. But will anybody have the brains and courage to make this the scandal that it ought to be? Something to rouse every decent “ostrich” conservative in America?

For the latest, see: “Why the best and brightest young officers are leaving the armed services.” And “The Bush administration is pushing to take control of the promotions of military lawyers.”

Read and realize. Saving the US Army should be a top Democratic campaign issue. It would slice the Rove Big Tent wide open and tear their unholy coalition to shreds.

Quoting from the first of these: ”Since the conflict began, around 40 percent of the Army and Marine Corps' large-scale equipment has been used, worn out, or destroyed. Last year, the Army had to grant waivers to nearly one in five recruits because they had criminal records. There are no more combat-ready brigades left on standby should a new conflict flare.”

That, by the way, makes me a cockeyed pollyanna! Because I actually gave today’s Army the benefit of the doubt and counted two brigades in Korea as ready for national-level land war. But even so, even leaning over backward to be fair, I can only point out a stark comparison. Supposedly “wimpy” Bill Clinton managed to utterly transform the continent of Europe, achieving all Balkan War objectives in quicktime, while losing zero US lives and leaving our state of readiness intact. When Clinton left office, we had thirty brigades, ready for almost anything. George W. Bush inherited a force that he could then use - instantly - to topple the entire Taliban regime and then slice through Saddam’s elite armored forces... a feat entirely beyond the ability of the army now, in the state that he has put it.

But this article concentrates on an even deeper problem, attrition of the bright young officers on whom the future depends. ”In the last four years, the exodus of junior officers from the Army has accelerated. In 2003, around 8 percent of junior officers with between four and nine years of experience left for other careers. Last year, the attrition rate leapt to 13 percent. "A five percent change could potentially be a serious problem," said James Hosek, an expert in military retention at the RAND Corporation.” Above all, the losses seem to be top-heavy, among the most gifted and promising.

What is not discussed in the article -- as it was ignored during the US Attorney firings scandal -- is the ghost at the banquet. The question nobody asks. The mirror image question.

What about those left behind?

Regarding the US Attorneys, the picture is simple and chilling. Nine US Attorneys were sacked for being insufficiently political and pliant. But that means more than eighty had been deemed “satisfactory” by an administration dedicated to utter political bias and dogmatism as a basic job requirement. An aspect to this scandal that (to my knowledge) not a single pundit or journalist has raised.

ostrichpapersRegarding those young officers who remain in the military, the situation is far less simple. Most are probably dedicated Marshallian citizen soldiers, holding on out of patriotism, duty and tenacity. But, we all know there is an element that has been funneled into the Officer Corps by more than a hundred radical-reactionary Congressmen, and by an administration bent on promoting for reasons other than competence. An element with standards and loyalties that would have made Washington or Marshall shiver. Just watch “Seven Days In May” to grasp what I mean.

Read the article. More important, make your favorite “decent conservative” ostriches read it!

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SOME MORE READINGS... PLEASE LOOK AT THESE!

First the inimitable Arianna Huffington (my second-favorite Ariana). Dang but the Republicans made a mistake when their lemming veer into neofascism drove her out of their party! Read this commentary on how the Huckabelievers are getting the secretive lords of the GOP in a sweat. And make sure it is read by your favorite ostriches

Then see: "How America Lost the War on Drugs” from Rolling Stone. Funny how the hypocrites have let this slip off their radar screen.

Also the QuestionAuthority Project, which has completed a timeline of violations of civil and constitutional rights that have occurred during the Bush Administration.

Enough for now. Go hence. Convert another ostrich over the holidays. Reach out to a civil servant or military person. Forge alliances across party lines. This has got to be a rout.

38 comments:

Blake Stacey said...

Congratulations, I think, might be in order.

Pat said...

Ah, but what you say IS treason! You have criticized the Great Worm --- I mean, the God-Emperor -- and his policies! Off with your head!

Gaaah - you bet I'd vote for a yellow dog in 2008. Even a Blue Dog.

Doug S. said...

You just might be caught up in an IP ban. If blogspot.com hosts sex blogs, the filter might just be blocking the whole domain. It's happened to other sites.

David McCabe said...

Censorware is known to cast a wide net and block anything for any reason; it's not because you're the Enemy. Just one site documenting the bizarre choices of censorware: http://peacefire.org/censorware/

Zechariah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zechariah said...

Am I the only one disturbed by the image of a "proffesional" reading a blog at work? Did he discover you were blacklisted before or after his daily game of solitaire? I shudder to think what my boss would do if he caught me doing something like that.

OLD JOKE TIME!

A United State Government Employee sits in his office and out of boredom, decides to see what`s in his old filing cabinet. He pokes through the contents and comes across an old brass lamp.

"This will look nice on my mantelpiece," he decides, and takes it home with him.

While polishing the lamp, a genie appears and grants him three wishes.

"I wish for an ice cold diet Coke right now!" He gets his Coke and drinks it.

Now that he can think more clearly, he states his second
wish. "I wish to be on an island where beautiful nymphomaniacs reside." Suddenly he is on an island with gorgeous females eyeing him lustfully.

He tells the genie his third and last wish. "I wish I`d never have to work ever again."

POOF! He`s back in his government office.

Zechariah said...

Oh, sad news for the day:

EPA turns down California's plans for stricter auto emissions laws.

http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/dt.cms.support.viewStory.cls?cid=38456&sid=1&fid=1


Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson yesterday denied California's petition to limit greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, overruling the unanimous recommendation of the agency's legal and technical staffs.

Mark said...

Zechariah, all blogs get more hits during the work day then during other times. I don't think government jobs explain the phenomena.

I, of course, would never do such a thing!

David Brin said...

Want to hear a dream?

California's Guvahnold, justifiably one of the nation's most popular guvs, will get to make a speech at the GOP national convention. He'll ream the neocons... and attack liberals for balance. Fine. Too bad he can't run for higher office.

Still, here's what I wish he'd do. Call a meeting of all 50 states.

Yes, there's a National Governors' Conference. fine, do it there, only make a big deal of it.

Drop in their laps a pile of TEN URGENT THINGS THAT THE STATES COULD DECIDE TO DO THEMSELVES, BYPASSING OUR CRIPPLED FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

There are precedents. Most states use the Uniform Business Code, which was adopted, by sovereign treaty (!) among them. There are many other examples.

Top of the list?

1) Cure gerrymandering. Seriously, anyone who proposes doing it one state at a time is just a lying political hack. But across the board? The party numbers would not change much. Fair.

2) Work out a sane approach to Native Tribal gambling.

3) Push environmental needs, bypassing the (currently) corrupt feds.

4) End bidding wars between states, for factories, teams etc. The taxpayer always loses.

5) Stand up to the neocons over the National Guard!

6) Threaten to fix health care, if Congress won't. (Just the treat of states doing this would make the HMOs and insurance companies sweat and be more willing to cut a deal.)

7) ... your own suggestions?

Key point. It would let Arnold do some Presidential-level things and BE our president, in a small way, without necessitating any Constitutional changes or the stress of actually running for the office. How cool.

Zechariah said...

Wow. David Brin just said something nice about a republican presently in office!

I very much agree about the bidding wars, especially the sports teams. I never bought the line about how "the teams bring in money". If they want to run sports as an entertainment business, fine. They should have to face all the difficulties businesses usually face.

I wasn't aware there was a problem with tribal gambling, but then I don't gamble. You feel it is too prevalent?

I'm not sure what the states can do regarding the national guard. If they try defying the feds, they'll lose federal funding. I don't know many politicians willing to cut that umbilical.

Stefan Jones said...

I'm probably not the first liberal to admit that the Governator has turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

It took him a while to get over himself, but he learned and he's doing good.

One of the most dismal things about the current administration is their utter refusal to learn.

HMMMMM. Maybe Arnold could keep the National Guard so busy remediating damage from Greenhouse-Effect spawned storms that they won't be available for service overseas.

David Brin said...

Tribal gambling is a minefield to discuss. A wise man mightn't even put pen to paper (or screen.) But when was I ever wise?

Essentially, I am like many in America, who are pleased to see heaps of cash flowing to people who were abused and then neglected for generations. Finally, a generation will have the chance to break cycles of poverty and disrespect. But..

But...

But let's remember that this process amounts to a regressive tax on addictive personalities and the numerically challenged.

And the proceeds are NOT being fairly shared with poor tribes who happen to live far away from big cities filled with ready meat -- I mean customers.

And, above all, there is no thought for the future. I mean, should this be open-ended, for all time? What about when the schools and roads and clinics are all built and the scholarship funds are all full? Shall we then maintain this torrent of lucre that is based, fundamentally, upon a vice?

A vice that routinely, in the past, led to organized crime?

This is a dangerous road. One might envision the godfathers of 2030 being fellows who -- unlike the Italians -- have little love for the USA. (Can't blame them, actually! But does that mean we should subsidize it?)

No, the one thing o demand is a time limit. In 2020, it all gets renegotiated FROM SCRATCH. Or, an alternative. On that date legalize ALL ethnic groups to make casinos.

Otherwise, we're just like the folks who planned the freeways around Portland. Fools who ignore the future.

Matt said...

"It's actually fun to watch the consternation. Ross Douthat has dubbed this feeling 'Huckenfreude,' which he defines as 'pleasure derived from the outrage of prominent conservative pundits over the rising poll numbers of Mike Huckabee.'"

Huckenfreude?

That's beautiful. The Atlantic (and Ms. Huffington) truly is a gift from God.

Congrats on getting banned! I'd say you're definitely doing something right.

Anonymous said...

David, I'd ask your friend to check a few more blogs. I suspect that what is banned is blogspot, not just you.

Anonymous said...

Re: The blacklist

Relax, it's probably just a ban on Blogger or on blogs in general.

Zechariah said...

I agree that gambling is bad and that it hurts the poor and foolish badly.

Even so, I think allowing Native American casinos has less to do with restitution (which is why there is no African American casino) and more to do with sovereignty. The tribes are supposed to be able to make their own laws to some extent. Would you favor allowing them more independence in other areas in exchange for giving up gambling?

On the same track, would you like to get rid of the lotto? I believe Utah is the only state without one, and since the per capita Mormon population keeps dropping there, I'd imagine they'll fall eventually too.

Tony Fisk said...

Not just the indigenous...

The vic government has found it has developed a habit in the last 10-15 years since gambling and 'pokies' were introduced.

Ask also whether the person were blocked from accessing your site, or whether they were 'warned off'.

Derek Benson said...

You know, I don't think I'll vote Republican under any circumstance. But it was a pleasant shock to see Chuck Norris. And hear jokes, from a conservative.

Doug S. said...

Courts often rule that states can't do things (like regulate businesses in a certain way) because Congress has passed a law that sets a different standard than the state does. In other words, if the states got together and tried to fix the health care mess, the courts could tell them "No, Congress has to do this."

David Brin said...

In fact, federal and Congressional supremacy are more limited than many people think.

Yes, the Commerce Clause of the Constitution opened the door long ago to Federal supremacy whenever there is even a small chance the a good or service (or part of one) might cross state lines. A HUGE excuse for supremacy.

Still, much of the dominance by the federal level is also do to lazy abrogation of responsibility or power by the states. Assertive action by many (or all) states on particular domestic issues actually has good precedent.

Besides, Congressfolk who saw their home states demanding this or that action would think twice before thwarting it. No guarantee of course. Especially since a gerrymandering fix is NOT what they want!

But it is possible, and would make a towering capstone to Arnold's career.

matthew said...

On my Govenator wish-list is the idea batted around here earlier - setting up peer to peer protocol for cell phone text relay during emergencies. A few states putting up some seed money and pressure on the telecoms could make all the difference to this phenomenal idea.

During the recent flooding here in Oregon parts of the western coast and coastal mountain ranges were completely cut off both physically and communication-wise. Even the police satellite phones were out. Citizen HAM radio operators kept the local governments operating, emergency crews running at the right time, etc. I strongly suspect that both the Oregon and Washington Governors would back PTP emergency texting. If just the West Coastal states and Louisiana backed such a plan it would get some traction, IMO.

Anonymous said...

(Zorgon the Malevolent)

Great article on why it's so important to avoid a zero-sum American economy.

Peak oil panic is zero-sum thinking. America's current mideast foreign policy obsession is zero-sum thinking. The Project for the New American Century is zero-sum thinking. The War on Terrorism is zero-sum thinking. We need to get away from that.

Rob said...

David, the freeways around Chicago are much, much worse than those around Portland.

Even so, yeah, those of the Bud Clark age had a massive case of the ideological stupids. And now other ideological stupids are preventing the excellent MAX tramlines from feeding into Clark County, WA, where half of the rich center-city employees live.

(Why? Why else? The Vancouverites don't want "that sort" tramming up from Gresham, OR. Or Northeast Portland. Kind of sickening, in a way, accepting hard gridlock every day because one doesn't care for Latinos...)

I'm still not leaving. I love this town.

David Brin said...

On the SETI/METI discussion list, the old saw came up, that humans may be so unattractive, due to our nasty gluttony and fractiousness, that others won't have anything to do with us. I'd like to share with you all my contrarian counter.

------
On Dec 21, 2007 3:16 PM, Mauro Cavalcanti wrote:
Indeed, Homo sapiens L. (the collective of which we usually term
"humanity") has "a very definite record of doing just those things"
NOT ONLY to itself, but to nearly every other life form on this planet
(or the entire planetary organism itself, from a Gaian viewpoint).

A contrarian position could be taken, in either direction.

To those who are overly-optimistic, I have already pointed out that predation appears to be deeply rooted in both biological darwinism and in the laws of thermodynamics.

Indeed, other species behave just as rapaciously short-sighted as humans, when they get an opportunity to engage in gluttony. Gluttony happens far more often than not! Watch an undisciplined dog who gets loose in a chicken coop!

From the opposite direction, let me point out how hard most human societies, religions and philosophies have worked, to CURB gluttony and aggression. Several letters to this list, including Mauro's, speak of a wish and hope that we will get better. Indeed, the environmental movement and also movements for tolerance reflect this very common desire.

The interesting thing is that our bad traits - gluttony and intolerance - appear to be rooted in biology, while our desire to overcome these things may be much narrower in origin, based upon our heritage as gregarious primates who happen also to have organic mechanisms for satiability and empathy that seem well above average, for Earth species.

Imagine an intelligent life form descended from tigers, would it even have a word for tolerance? Or would one descended from wolves have a word for satiability?

Let me tell you one of my top ten explanations for the Great Silence. It is that most ETICS can NEVER control urges that we humans have already PARTLY controlled! It may be that we are far more tolerant, even-tempered, satiable and reflective and forward looking than average. I tell you, there is some evidence for this.

Moreover, our guilt-trips... criticizing ourselves for not being tolerant and far-seeing enough, may actually help to prove my point.

Yes, this is contrarian to an extreme. But I think it bears pondering.

Stefan Jones said...

Tsk, tsk, Dave. Come out and admit it . . . you're afraid of Kzinti! :-)

I can imagine a civilization of wolf people pondering how awful a civilization of primates would be:

"Cripes, they'd communicate by beating their chests and hurling shit at each other. Do we really want the likes of them tracking us down?"

* * *

Interesting, Rob. I hadn't heard that reason for rejecting extending the Interstate MAX. I could picture it, though.

Portland's immediate transit problem: Bridges.

Matt said...

On the SETI note, I suppose it's entirely possible that other civilizations might just find us too scary to bother with.
We are, as David pointed out, a gregarious bunch, but other species might not be.
The argument that "a species advanced enough to travel all that way has nothing to fear" might come up, but it's not necessarily a good one.
After all, I'm from a species more advanced that a crocodile, but I'm not going to wade out in the middle of the river and start poking them with sticks. And bringing an assault rifle wouldn't make me feel better about the idea, either.
Of course they might not even be interested in talking to us. It's hard to tell because aliens would, by definition, be pretty damn alien.

On the side of politics and ostriches, I work as a reporter in one of the few Republican-dominated regions in New Jersey, and just saw a classic example of the more competent, less corrupt and apparently more electable candidate losing just because he came from the wrong party. It's sad to see, especially since it's a place you can still find any number of old-school conservatives and relative moderates.

Stefan Jones said...

Joking aside, I'm more on the "keep quiet" side of the argument then the "Go on, holler!" side.

I don't think there's anyone out there, but if there is, and they're dangerous, it won't be because of the emotional characteristics of the critters they evolved from. It'll because they've gone through the skylight, and become post-whatevers, with possibly quite callous attitudes toward biological life.

There are fictional precedents. Greg Bear's Jarts, who scrub worlds clean but conscientiously upload the minds of their sapient victims. The "pervert" races of Olaf Stapledon's future history, who are advanced and utopian but try to force their own path toward perfection on others.

Anonymous said...

(Zorgon again. Merry christmas!)

Lots of folks have found themselves puzzled by the Demo congress' failure to do much of anything about the Repub depredations post-2006 election, and by the Repubs' even more baffling party loyalty even when it damages their own political self-interest. It's certainly a weird phenomenon to watch Repubs racing one another to see who can sprint off the cliff with the drunk-driving C student in the White House fastest of all. After all, with a president who has the lowest popularity rating in poll history, you'd think at least a few Repubs would try to distance themselves from him, wouldn't you?

Some excellent articles that make a stab at explaining this bizarre situation here and here.

Anonymous said...

Arnie, the Austrian Immigrant who largely rose to power by lying about the economic influence of a small ethnic minority, and blaming them for an economic downturn?

That's the guy that's going to come up with a "sane answer" to the Injun problem?

We've got these things called treaties, which, suprisingly, we're supposed to honor. These aren't treaties made between First Nations and the various States (which are prohibited from making treaties with Foreign Powers), but between First Nations and the Republic.

People of any ethnicity can open casinos in any State which allows them, but Reservations are governed by Tribal and Federal law, and States have absolutely no jurisdiction over them.

None. Got it?

Sovereign Nations.

Sinking in yet?

That these duel citizens receive benefits; tribal scholarships, or Casino revenue, or land-lease revenue; that people who are not duel citizens do not receive is no more under a States control than if a duel American-British Citizen receives a pension from the UK.

To what extent these First Nations share revenue with one another is no more under the control of a State than to what extent Sweden sends economic aid to Zimbabwe.

Whether or not American citizens elect to go throw their money away in Casinos on Soveriegn First Nation territory is no more a States business than if Americans elect to go throw their money away in Nevadas Casinos.

When should they shut their Casinos down? When and if they feel like it.

Maybe you should try adressing them about it, if you think it's a good idea for them to do so, instead encouraging yet another attempt to strip them of their treaty rights.

Nate said...

A couple of quick links.

Military lawyers stay unbridled from the Boston Globe, about how Bush's push to take over the JAG was abandoned. Which probably means they're just gonna try something more subtle. Or not, these guys aren't big on subtle.

On indian nations: THE Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the US.

Except, not really. "It's mostly about Russell Means ...

...doing something without tribal authority or more than minuscule support from the Lakota people. Not that the complaints aren't real enough. But this kind of action, by tradition, can only be taken with consent of the tribe. That has been the underlying foundation of legal action by the Lakotas since the first lawsuit was filed in 1921. Without consent, Means is no different that the "chiefs" who signed treaties in the 1850s and '60s without the OK of their people."

And now I have to go keep score for a girl's basketball scrimmage, so I'll post more later.

Hawker Hurricane SM1(SW) USN (ret) said...

I've got to agree with Anon here. The "First Nations" are sovereign nations inside the United States; and do not answer to state governments.
And Organized Crime does not follow LEGAL gambling, but to run a large scale ILLEGAL gambling requires organization.
Now, looking at anything involving crime and/or politics, always ask the question "Who Benefits?" (Quo Vidas?) Who benefits from driving Indian casinos in California out of business? Could it be casino owners in Reno and Las Vegas?

Back to the original subject... During my last months of active service (in early 2004), I spent a lot of time awaiting medical appointments. Such time was often spent in the base internet cafe. There I found that websites that were directly political were blocked; I had no access to the DNC or RNC websites. So, I went to a private site called "Democratic Underground"... and found it blocked also. "Free Republic" was not blocked, but any site with the words "Democratic" or "Republican" in the name were. Amazingly enough, the shipboard web server allowed me access to all of them. Seems it was a "Base" rule, not a "Shipboard" rule.

As for why you were banned, Dr. Brin... I'd say it wasn't for demanding that politicians respect the professionals, it was for requesting that the professionals ignore the politicians and do thier job! By saying "Ignore orders and do the right thing." You're encouraging disloyalty to the Regime, Dr. Brin! And this is a regime that (as you've pointed out) prefers LOYALTY to competence or honesty or doing the right thing.

Rob said...

@Stefan, I could be wrong, but I've seen people on this side of town behave consistent with that kind of attitude when it comes to changing school boundaries.

It's also possible they're far more worried about gangs than the ethnicity of their members.

Anonymous said...

Russel went of his nut years ago.

Jonathan said...

Well, Hawker (and Anon), while it's true that it's supposed to be Congress' responsibility to make treaties with the indigenous tribes in US territory, they voluntarily abdicated this responsibility to the states during the Reagan administration (IIRC). Each state was supposed to reach its own agreements with the reservations regarding gambling.

Yet these agreements had to be reached in accordance with Federal laws regarding gambling (basically nonexistent), rather than whatever laws the states had on the topic. Go fig.

Anonymous said...

(Zorgon the Extremely Depressed)

Disastrous FY 2008 budget for Fermilab.

Huge budget cuts. They're going to have to lay off 200 full-time scientists so we can continue the insanity in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

Well aware, Jonathan, but the way this remains Constitutional is that the Federal government is essentially just agreeing to endorse whatever the States and Tribes come up with, as long as it's within the parameters of the Bill.

The Federal Government is still the technical signatory.

Anything else would take an Ammendment.

In the interest of clarity, I'm not a huge fan of the Casinos, and see absolutely no problem with anyone arguing against them, but we're talking about here is not an "ethnic priviledge" but rather an issue of soveriegnty.

Arnie is popular right now because he's essentially stopped doing anything.

This time around, the CA tribes have done a far better job of making their case, using a small portion of that gaming revenue to buy air time to correct Arnies race baiting lies about how "Indians don't pay taxes".

As long as he just stays in his cigar tent most of the time and shows up to shake hands with firefighters, he'll remain popular.

David McCabe said...

So that's why they won't extend MAX a few miles across the river? I had no idea. May I ask what the evidence for this is? Any public statements? What's the official reason? I tried googling but couldn't get anything.

(Hails from across the river!)

I've long wondered why previous generations could build the interstates, but we can't even get any public transit out here (CTran definitely doesn't count). Also, why do they have bullet trains in other countries, but the MAX can't keep up with the cars on the freeway?

It's really hard to see the Singularity coming at this rate.

Sidereus said...

My daily commute on the MAX is actually faster (and more productive) than driving.

Rob, I agree. My experience is that the Dan Ryan in Chicago is just awful.

I took the Amtrak Cascades north of Seattle during the week. Quite enjoyable and scenic. Hope to take it to Vancouver, BC, in a few months.