Recently in US Policy and Politics Category

From Larry

This site hosts this video to explain the launch of two exploratory projects -- first, a Change Congress movement, and second, my own decision whether to run for Congress in the California 12th.

I have decided I want to give as much energy as I can to the Change Congress movement. I will decide in the next week or so whether it makes sense to advance that movement by running for Congress.

Many friends have weighed in on that decision -- both strongly in favor and strongly opposed. Many more have joined draftlessig.org and a Facebook group asking me to consider it.

Watch or listen and you will understand some of my reasoning. Feel free to send your thoughts or advice to lessig@lessig08.org (though please excuse any slowness in my response).

-- Larry Lessig, February 19, 2008

See Lessig08 for more information.

Go Larry!

UPDATE: Why Larry is not running.

I'm a Japanese citizen/resident. I use the Visa Waiver program to get into the US which is a green form that gives you a 90 day visa for entry into the US. The US DHS officer will staple the departure card half of the visa form into your passport that they collect when you leave the country.

When I was leaving LA for Toronto a few days ago, the agent looked at the visa and said, "OK. You have a visa and it is valid through your return." She didn't take the card and sent me to a 1 hour wait security screening line... anyway.

I just past through pre-sreening in Toronto on my way to the US. With Canada to US flights, they do customs and immigration when you leave Canada. A US officer frowned when he looked at my passport.

"You need to return this visa waiver when you leave the US."

"The gate agent didn't take it when I left."

"It is YOUR responsibility to return your visa card. The airlines do it out of courtesy to you, but it is YOUR responsibility."

"But... where..."

"It is YOUR responsibility. Although it visa SAYS you have 90 days, you must return the card and get a new one each time."

"But..."

"It is YOUR responsibility, not the gate agent."

(stern look from officer)

"Yes sir.. no sir.. yes sir... OK..."

I've had gate agents not take my card when I exited in the past. I don't know what the penalty is, but for anyone traveling on Air Canada to Canada from the US. If they don't take your thingie from your passport, I recommend you insist that they do.

UPDATE: Although... according to the FAQ it says that you can travel and come back when you are on the Visa Waiver Program to Canada or Mexico. So if you have to give your stub back, I wonder what you give back when you're leaving the second time. I doesn't say. Hmm...

Q: Can a VWP applicant for Admission Be Readmitted To the United States Follwing a Short Trip To an Adjacent Island, Canada, or Mexico?
A:

* Generally, VWP applicants admitted under the VWP may be readmitted to the United States after a departure to Canada or Mexico or adjacent islands for the balance of their original admission period. This is provided they are otherwise admissible and meet all the conditions of the VWP, with the exception of arrival on a signatory carrier, in which case the inspecting officers have the discretion to grant the applicants entirely new periods of admission.
* The VWP applicant is admissible and may be readmitted to the United States under the VWP after a departure to Canada or Mexico or adjacent islands provided the person:

1. Can identify an authorized period of admission that has not expired,
2. Plans to depart the United States prior to the expiration date of their period of admission,
3. Presents valid, unexpired passports which reflect admission to the United States under the VWP, and
4. Continues to meet all criteria set forth in 8 CFR 217 and section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (Act), with the exception of arrival on a signatory carrier.

I've seen a number of posts about AOL giving access to information about its customers to the Department of Homeland Security. The posts seem to be citing an article from October 3 by Martin McKinney in "The Financial Reporter (U.K.)". The quote refers to a Department of Commerce report. I can't find the original Martin McKinney post or the DoC report. Does anyone have the original sources? Also, is AOL giving the DHS any MORE information than other consumer Internet companies in the US of that size? It seems to me that we should ASSUME that everyone is giving "unfettered access" to DHS when/if requested.

Most of the blog posts seem to lead to this post on TBRNews.org.

via Scott via kellee's blog

BBC
US teens 'reject' key freedoms

A significant number of US high-school students regard their constitutional right to freedom of speech as excessive, according to a new survey.

Over a third of the 100,000 students questioned felt the First Amendment went "too far" in guaranteeing freedom of speech, press, worship and assembly.

Only half felt newspapers should be allowed to publish stories that did not have the government's approval.

It's a bit scary when "normal" shifts like this.

Here is an old Encyclopedia Britannica Films video clip from 1946 (I think) about despotism that they showed to children in schools. Amazing how things have changed. I wonder what kids would think now watching this clip.

Via Greg Elin

I've been reading all of the news about Katrina and feeling more and more guilty about not being able to do anything to help and not blogging about it at all. I think Xeni and others who have been tirelessly blogging about and doing something about it are doing an amazing job.

Each morning, I've been just choking up reading the front page of the newspaper, not even being able to make it past the first page. I really don't know what to say... so I haven't said anything.

However, chatting with some people and reading some of the blogs, I am beginning to wonder if the government is really doing everything possible. I wonder about the allegations of treating the underprivileged victims as more "expendable". I realize this is quite a harsh allegation, but something that I wonder about none the less. How much airplay is this opinion getting in the US and what is the public sentiment about this?

UPDATE: ("not being able to do anything to help" other than giving to the Red Cross which I have done.)

UPDATE 2: Xeni reports that "An article on the Army Times web page is referring to American citizens in New Orleans as 'the insurgency'."

Andystern-1
I recently had the opportunity to meet Andy Stern [WP] and and hear him speak. Andy is the president of the Service Employees International Union, the largest and fastest-growing union in the United States and Canada. He recently walked out from the AFL-CIO and Matt Miller in Fortune Magazine recently commented that, "Stern's move is possibly the most significant economic event of the year."

Andy's speech was passionate and compelling and made me think that he should be leading a political party. I wish we had people like him in Japan.

He fielded a number of tough questions about the failings of unions and his response was that unions have their problems and they need to be addressed, but that there were many issues that would never be resolved without unions. When presented with some examples of dysfunctional unions, he said that you had to blow up the bad unions before incrementally fixing them.

He said that "there is enough money. It is just not distributed properly." "I love philanthropy, but I want to allow people to be independent and provide for themselves." He made a solid attack at the notion of CEOs walking away with millions of dollars while cutting benefits for workers, and then turning around and setting up foundations to "give to the poor."

One person in the audience gave the example of a company which was picketed for using an un-unionized contractor. The person complained that they had a good relationship with the contractor and didn't want to switch just because these unions were picketing. Andy pointed out that the contractor would probably walk down the street and jump up and down if the company told them to. Why not tell the contractor to get unionized. It is the responsibility of the company to help the workers in the contractor and encourage them to become unionized.

I grew up in a fairly liberal environment and I heard a lot of war stories from union organizers. I've also seen union organizers abusing their power. Like Andy, I believe that their benefits outweigh their cost and that we should be thinking about how to reinvent them. They have developed a tainted image over the years and hopefully Andy can help change that. I support Andy in his efforts and believe that people like him may be able to save the Democratic party of the US by talking to the concerns of the working class instead of alienating them.

Hrosen
Hilary Rosen [WP], the former president and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is guest blogging over at Lawrence Lessig's blog.

She follows Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, on the slate of excellent guest bloggers during Larry's summer vacation.

Full transcript of press conference where the press batter McClellan about the Rove/Plame link. 41 questions about one issue in 35 minutes.

via Lessig

Dennis Howlett brings up a good point. Do US visa requirements for journalists cover bloggers? Foreign journalists visiting the US, even from friendly countries, have to obtain a special "I visa". This is a rule from 1952 (according to Slate) which hadn't been enforced until the Department of Homeland Security took over INS in March 2003. According to the same Slate article, "at least 15 journalists from friendly countries have been forcibly detained, interrogated, fingerprinted, and held in cells overnight—with most denied access to phones, pens, lawyers, or their consular officials."

This is something to consider before declaring ourselves journalists or having others do so. I have a basic question for anyone who understands this policy better than me - why is the US singling out journalists for special visas? Maybe the answer to this question will help shed light on whether DHS would consider a blogger a journalist.

via Loic

UPDATE:

From the US State Department web site:

Travel.State.Gov
Overview

A citizen of a foreign country, who wishes to enter the United States, generally must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. The type of visa you must have is defined by immigration law, and relates to the purpose of your travel. The "media (I)" visa is a nonimmigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily who are representatives of the foreign media traveling to the United States, engaging in their profession, having the home office in a foreign country. Some procedures and fees under immigration law, relate to policies of the travelers home country, and in turn, the U.S. follows a similar practice, which we call “reciprocity”. Procedures for providing media visas to foreign media representatives of a particular country, consider whether the visa applicants own government grants similar privileges or is reciprocal, to representatives of the media or press from the United States.

[...]

Under immigration law, media visas are for “representatives of the foreign media,” including members of the press, radio, film or print industries, whose activities are essential to the foreign media function, such as reporters, film crews, editors and persons in similar occupations, traveling to the U.S. to engage in their profession.

[...]

Other examples include, but are not limited to, the following media related kinds of activities:

* Primary employees of foreign information media engaged in filming a news event or documentary.
* Members of the media engaged in the production or distribution of film will only qualify for a media visa if the material being filmed will be used to disseminate information or news. Additionally, the primary source and distribution of funding must be outside the United States
* Journalists working under contract- Persons holding a credential issued by a professional journalistic organization, if working under contract on a product to be used abroad by an information or cultural medium to disseminate information or news not primarily intended for commercial entertainment or advertising. Please note that a valid employment contract is required.
* Employees of independent production companies when those employees hold a credential issued by a professional journalistic association.
* Foreign journalists working for an overseas branch office or subsidiary of a U.S. network, newspaper or other media outlet if the journalist is going to the United States to report on U.S. events solely for a foreign audience.
* Accredited representatives of tourist bureaus, controlled, operated, or subsidized in whole or in part by a foreign government, who engage primarily in disseminating factual tourist information about that country, and who are not entitled to A-2 visa classification.
* Technical industrial information- Employees in the United States offices of organizations, which distribute technical industrial information.

When I enter the US with my Japanese passport, I use a visa waiver that asks me if I am coming to the US on business or as a tourist. Even if I am a businessman, if the purpose of my trip is for tourism, I am supposed to check the tourism box. So I would assume that even if bloggers are considered journalists, if the nature of your trip is not to engage in "news gathering" then you're probably OK. On the other hand, I suppose if you're going to the US to cover the President's speech, maybe you're getting close. I also wonder if bloggers who are not professionals would be considered "news media representatives/employees". Does anyone have a more informed opinion?

UPDATE: From a friend of a friend in the US State Department

The "I" visa category for journalists is really an employment-related category - it allows professional journalists to pursue their work as "representatives" of foreign media while in the U.S. I don't know that we have yet addressed the issue of bloggers. I think the key question is whether they would be receiving pay for their work in the U.S. or not. A blogger who represented an e-journal, for instance, might fit this description. Otherwise, they would travel on regular B-1/B-2 visas.

As Wendy says... Grokster...

EFF: MGM v. Grokster

Technorati Tags:

Us-Visit Logo Sm2
I'm sure many people who have been traveling in the US have noticed the US-VISIT kiosks. The exit kiosks are scattered around various airports. When you go to an exit kiosk, it asks you to insert your passport and it takes your fingerprint. Then it spits outs a "receipt". These exit kiosks appear to be placed randomly and are not in any critical path between you and your gate. If you look carefully at the signs, it says you "must" go through exit procedures.

I was curious about why they were saying that it is mandatory, but not enforcing it so I looked in the DHS page. It appears that they are rolling the system out across the country now and that eventually, they will check your receipt when you board your flight. So it's not REALLY mandatory yet. However:

What happens if a visitor checks in at an airport where the entry procedures are operational, then tries to leave the United States from an airport where the exit processing is not yet in place?

Checking out of the country using the US-VISIT exit procedure is mandatory where an exit solution is in place at the port of departure. If visitors fail to check out through these facilities, it could affect their ability to re-enter the country.

I wonder what "affect their ability to re-enter the country" means. When I leave, they take the visa stub from my passport that confirms that I have left the country. Although US-VISIT maybe more efficient, it seems redundant with the data they are collecting from the visa forms. I suppose the US Government doesn't have to have much legal or logical requirement to explain what "affect their ability to re-enter the country" means.

When I asked a DHS officer what I should do with the receipt, he said, "Keep it. You may need it later." I'm not sure what that meant, but I didn't probe further.

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In the May 30, 2005 issue of New York Magazine there is a story that included details about Lawrence Lessig being repeatedly molested by the choir director when he was a choirboy. The article covers the history and the current lawsuit where another former choirboy, John Hardwicke is suing the school with Lessig's help. As a friend of Larry's, it was painful to read the article and it was even more painful trying to figure out what to say to him.

Larry blogged about it initially a few days ago and there were a stream of supportive comments. Today, he posted about what we should do to prevent this kind of thing in the future, and I believe this is a critical message to get out. He writes about the law in New Jersey that immunizes charitable institutions from "negligence" in the hiring of a teacher. This is what the defense is using against the claims of responsibility for the abuse. There is a bill that has been introduced to remove that immunity, but leaders from the Catholic Church have opposed the change. I often get criticized for meddling in American politics, but I think this is an important issue. There are links on Larry's post to pages about what you can do. I think the Church should be ashamed.

I realize this is a bit old, but in the context of my post yesterday on "What would Gandhi do?"... I googled around and apparently this aired on Air America and a number of other places, but I can't find an audio or video file, just references to it. (If anyone has a link to the video or audio, let me know so I can update this post.)

President Bush explaining his Social Security plan - Tampa, Florida - Feb. 4, 2005

Woman in audience: I don't really understand. How is it the new [Social Security] plan is going to fix that problem?

President Bush: Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

I wonder if President Bush also feels he can't say exactly what he means when he knows that his words will end up on the Internet...

originally via Markoff

UPDATE: Transcript on Whitehouse site. Thanks Rod.

Blogger Jeremy Wright was denied entry to the United States and was strip searched by the US Department of Homeland Security. One of the reasons for the suspicion was that the officer didn't believe blogging was a profession. "Blogging ain’t a job," said the officer. (Maybe I should modify my last post about amateurs and blogging...) Jeremy has posted a followup entry which is sober and balanced. He quotes from memory part of the exchange with the DHS officer.

Him: Why would you visit someone in the states you’d never met (I mentioned I was planning to visit several people whilst down there)
Me: Well, I have met most of them, but I’ve talked to them dozens or hundreds of times online.
Him: Do you have any of their phone numbers?
Me: No, but I talk
Him: You can’t talk to someone without a phone number. Stop lying to me.
Me: No, really, I can talk from my computer to theirs
Him: Don’t be a smartass. If you don’t have their phone number, and you’ve never met them, how can you have ever talked to them.
Me: … (at this point I’ve learned that sarcasm doesn’t help, nor does answering questions he doesn’t want to hear the answer to)
Him: So, you’re trying to tell me that you’re going to visit someone who you’ve never met, never talked to and who knows nothing about you? And I’m supposed to believe this?
Good point about sarcasm. On my blog I talk tough about DHS and immigration, but in front of a DHS officer, I'm very polite and try to say "yes sir" a lot... Immigration is definitely not a good play to practice your sarcasm.

via NevOn via Politech.

It should be noted that as with fingerprinting, some countries MAY demand similar action from our citizens entering their country.

Dave

------ Forwarded Message
From: rose
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 08:49:32 -0800 (PST)
To: dave
Subject: "1984" has arrived! DHS demanding on site acccess to email accounts of selected incoming aliens

Hi Dave,

As an attorney, practicing in the areas of international business and immigration law, it has come to my attention through discussions with other attorneys, that DHS is pulling aside "selected" aliens at entry checkpoints and bringing them into a separate room which contains a DHS computer connected to the internet. The aliens are told to bring up their various email accounts on the screen and enter their passwords. DHS then reads the emails for information pertaining to possible unauthorized work or other matters and questions the aliens on these findings. Of course, no attorney can be present at these interrogations! People travelling to the U.S. should be aware that a possible search of them by DHS now also means a search of their email accounts!

Regards,

Rose Robbins, Esq.

This means that I should probably be careful not to have any suspicious looking email on my computer either. This also creates a vulnerability for aliens entering the US because someone could send them a bunch of sketchy email that would get them in trouble when they are about to enter the US...

UPDATE:

From: Kevin Murphy
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 12:38:08 -0500
To: dave
Subject: RE: [IP] comments "1984" has arrived! DHS demanding on site access to email accounts of selected incoming aliens

I find this very difficult to believe.

How many people can remember the hostname, IP address or URL used to access their email, without the benefit of bookmarks or an preconfigured mail client? How many can even remember their password? For most people, their account and client would be set up by their employer or their ISP. They boot up Outlook and it just works. I know I couldn't provide this information, particularly after a long-haul flight, nicotine withdrawal, and standing in line at passport control for an hour.

And how would DHS know what email accounts you have, anyway?

Kevin Murphy

US Bureau Chief
ComputerWire
San Francisco, CA 94103

In case you missed it - the new Jib Jab...

Barlow blogs about his day in court trying to defend his 4th Amendment rights. The judge ruled against him, but it's just the first step in a much longer process. Good luck Barlow.

EFF's staff technologist Seth David Schoen, danah boyd and Rob Kiser and also posted their accounts.

Kuro5hin
The glass is half empty: Americans and Civil Rights for Muslims

The Media and Society Research Group of Cornell University conducted a survey in November of Americans with respect to their attitudes towards Muslims. Nearly half (44%) of respondents favored restricting the civil rights of Muslims in some way. The press release, with links to the report, is available at [link]

My next question is, of the 56% of the people who didn't favor restricting the civil rights of Muslims, what percentage are going to do anything about trying to stop this trend?

U.S. Constitution: Fourth Amendment
Fourth Amendment - Search and Seizure

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Barlow has gone public with his fight for his 4th Amendment rights. Please read the story on his blog. I commend Barlow for discussing this in public and for fighting for his rights since you lose rights that you don't fight for, even if it's embarrassing or painful. It is generally true of all forms of fighting for privacy related rights. It's often very difficult since you get cast as someone who might "need privacy more than others." You also lose your privacy when you fight for it in public. You may not agree with Barlow's judgement if he was indeed carrying drugs, but Americans should be worried if they lose their 4th amendment rights.

UPDATE/CLARIFICATION : He doesn't say that the allegations are necessarily true.

UPI via The Washington Times

Tenet calls for Internet security

[...]

The way the Internet was built might be part of the problem, he said. Its open architecture allows Web surfing, but that openness makes the system vulnerable, Mr. Tenet said.

Access to networks like the World Wide Web might need to be limited to those who can show they take security seriously, he said.

If the Internet were not open, it would no longer be the Internet. it is exactly the "vulnerabilities" that Tenet refers to that allows the Internet to promote free speech, innovation and growth without asking permission, getting licenses or being controlled by governments and monopolies. Shutting down or closing the open Internet in the name of fear and terror would do more damage to global democracy and innovation than any real damage it would have on terrorists. Of course terrorists use the Internet, but so does everyone else. I think people underestimate how much damage certain types of "control" can have on the future of the Internet. Either Tenet was ignorant of the nature of the Internet or it is yet another calculated push towards turning the Internet into another version of the telephone networks or cable TV...

Does Tenet have any influence on policy anymore?

Susan Crawford mentioned this during her remarks at the public forum at ICANN. Are there any other news agencies reporting this story?

American direct intervention in the Muslim World has paradoxically elevated the stature of and support for radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single-digits in some Arab societies.

[...]

What was a marginal network is now an Ummah-wide movement of fighting groups. Not only has there been a proliferation of “terrorist” groups: the unifying context of a shared cause creates a sense of affiliation across the many cultural and sectarian boundaries that divide Islam.
We knew this would be true, but this comes from a US Defense Science Board under the US Secretary of Defense. The report also explains that it is not America's freedoms that they hate (as many Americans believe), but America's foreign policy.

via rojisan via The Guardian

Homeland-S
Photo by Paul Saffo
via Dvorak
Dvorak
Photo sent in by the ever-travelling Paul Saffo with this note: “I encountered these machines on a recent trip, and couldn’t help but note that their message says it all. And no, it is not retouched or photoshopped.”

I’m thinking of the Tom Hanks movie, Terminal, where Hanks is told the country is “closed.”

I watched The Terminal on the flight to Paris because I knew it was about Merhan Karimi Nasseri stuck in Charles de Gaulle Airport. I didn't realize that the movie was set in the US and the story totally "rebuilt". I enjoyed the movie, but it was definitely Hollywoodified and wasn't based on the Merhan Karimi Nasseri story, but rather just inspired by it.

Found on Craigslist by Kelly Sue -- "Straight male seeks Bush supporter for fair, physical fight - m4m":

I would like to fight a Bush supporter to vent my anger. If you are one, have a fiery streek, please contact me so we can meet and physically fight. I would like to beat the shit out of you.

via die puny humans

David Weinberger expresses his grief with some images. ;-)

John Perry Barlow has the best liberal post-election post I've read so far...

I really don't believe in IQ quizzes and I know this is really mean, but it's just too interesting/funny not to blog. IQ vs. Votes. Read and click the links in the text for more interesting comparisons.

via Jason

UPDATE: This is not true. Here is the story debunking it. Thanks Richard.

jluster.org
OK, this is so going to blow up...

Go to CNN to find this page:

http://cnn.netscape.cnn.com/news/election2004.jsp?feature=ne_election5

once there, you'll find a page like the one below. Snapshot archived for posterity after CNN wises up.

Snapshot Cnn1-1

now right-click, control-click or whatever on the Bush/Laura image. Select "Open Image" or the equivalent. And observe the image name.

Snapshot2Bush
Yes, this is not a fake. As of right now, November 3rd, 2004, 21:23 PST this is the frontpage. My world just got a little brighter. Pizza, Canadian beer, and watching "Strange Brew" contribute, too.

The name of the image file is asshole.jpg. Nice catch Jonas.

UPDATE Sean blogs that The Register ripped off the article without giving credit to Jonas. Schmucks.

UPDATE2 Now WorldNetDaily is writing as if they found it.

UPDATE3 derStandard.at has also just ripped off the images without attribution.

UPDATE4 Jonas had an attribution-ShareAlike license on his blog...

Harper's Magazine
Electing to Leave A reader’s guide to expatriating on November 3

So the wrong candidate has won, and you want to leave the country. Let us consider your options.

;-)

Saw this in a few placing including metafilter

People should start investing money in independent record labels who have bands that sing about "sticking it to the man". The only upside I see is that people get quite creative when they are oppressed. I predict a rise in counter-culture.

As Larry says, "It's over. Let it go." Jon is saying, "Don't complain - organize!" Although the previous post about the wacky voting system is interesting, it's unlikely that any sort of recount or technicality will change the fact that today, the people of the United States of America have voted for George Bush. It was close, but the Americans have chosen Bush. It's a sad day, but in a democracy, you get the politicians you deserve/vote for. This was their chance to change their leader and they have failed. For awhile, many of us thought that they had been conned into voting for Bush - that they didn't know he wanted to be a War President. Many people didn't equate the US policies with the people of America. We thought they had made a mistake. Now US policies = US Citizens. You Americans have my sympathies, but it's still your fault.

Thomas Crampton (International Herald Tribune)
Not a simple election, global vote monitors say

The global implications of the U.S. election are undeniable, but international monitors at a polling station in southern Florida said Tuesday that voting procedures being used in the extremely close contest fell short in many ways of the best global practices.

The observers said they had less access to polls than in Kazakhstan, that the electronic voting had fewer fail-safes than in Venezuela, that the ballots were not so simple as in the Republic of Georgia and that no other country had such a complex national election system.
.
"To be honest, monitoring elections in Serbia a few months ago was much simpler," said Konrad Olszewski, an election observer stationed in Miami by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

[...]


"The United States has long been a model for the world," said Richard Williams, a poll watcher officially designated by the Democratic party. "If we allow international observers, we will continue to have a leading role."

Not everyone agrees. Jeff Miller, a Republican congressman from Florida, considers the monitors an insult and has publicly urged them to leave. "Get on the next plane out of the United States to go monitor an election somewhere else, like Afghanistan," he said.

I think the past two paragraphs sum up the Democrat and Republican outlook on transparency, foreign policy and this election quite well. Sigh.

Jay Rosen
The Coming Apart of An Ordered World: Bloggers Notebook, Election Eve

"About the performance of journalists in 2004 it will be asked, post-election: How good a job did the press do? But Big Journalism was in a different situation in politics and the world during this campaign. The post-mortems should be about that. Also: will the press even have this job in 08?"

I can't vote in the US election, but I can at least say I oppose Bush on my blog. Technorati is now counting votes on blogs using Vote Links.

We now have evidence that certainly looks like altering a computerized voting system during a real election, and it happened just six weeks ago.

MONDAY Nov 1 2004: New information indicates that hackers may be targeting the central computers counting our votes tomorrow. All county elections officials who use modems to transfer votes from polling places to the central vote-counting server should disconnect the modems now.

There is no down side to removing the modems. Simply drive the vote cartridges from each polling place in to the central vote-counting location by car, instead of transmitting by modem. “Turning off” the modems may not be sufficient. Disconnect the central vote counting server from all modems, INCLUDING PHONE LINES, not just Internet.

In a very large county, this will add at most one hour to the vote-counting time, while offering significant protection from outside intrusion.

It appears that such an attack may already have taken place, in a primary election 6 weeks ago in King County, Washington -- a large jurisdiction with over one million registered voters. Documents, including internal audit logs for the central vote-counting computer, along with modem “trouble slips” consistent with hacker activity, show that the system may have been hacked on Sept. 14, 2004. Three hours is now missing from the vote-counting computer's "audit log," an automatically generated record, similar to the black box in an airplane, which registers certain kinds of events.

I wonder who would launch such an attack and what the motivation would be? Would it be, "because I can" sort of hacking or someone hired or with more purpose. In any event, this is clearly a risk. Take a look at the other stuff going on on the Black Box Voting site. I think it's quite important.

via David Weinberger

Why are they going to run WMD drills on election day? Some strong allegations on the Citizens for Legitimate Government page with links to a variety of sources.

Nasa-1
Salon reports that a NASA photo analyst believes Bush wore a device during the debate.

via Lessig

Speaking of unreachable sites... George Bush's official site used to time out when you tried to access it from Japan, Australia, New Zealand and a few other places I think. I blogged this back in August. Now it tells you formally:

www.georgewbush.com
Access Denied

You don't have permission to access "http://www.georgewbush.com/" on this server.

Much more formal than just timing out on us. But it's more clear now that it is intentional. Why would the Bush campaign want to block access from Japan?

via Jim

Atmvis
Diebold ATM
Looping Windows Media Player

original image on
Midnight Spaghetti
Midnight Spaghetti & The Chocolate G-Strings
Diebold ATM Media Player

March 17, 2004

Midnight Spaghetti causing a ruckus as always.

The Scene: Carnegie Mellon University

The Event: A newly installed Diebold Opteva 520 ATM crashes, then reboots. Suprizingly, it's vanilla-style Windows XP operating system initialized without the actual ATM software.

The Result: A desktop computer with only a touch screen interface is left wide open for the amusement of the most wired university in the U.S.

Take a look at the site for details, but you can imagine how much fun they had. The picture above is Windows Media Player running on the ATM. As they point out, the scary thing is that Diebold are also making the voting machines.

via Meta-Roji

MSNBC: Columnist Coulter hit with custard pies
The Smoking Gun: "Al Pieda" Targets Ann Coulter

According to a copy of the police report from the University of Arizona Police Department on The Smoking Gun, the "Al Pieda" were involved.

UAPD report
Search incident to arrest I located on both Wolff and Smith pieces of paper (propaganda) involving Coulter's name and the explanation of "Al Pieda".

via Markoff

Idebate
This image may be copyrighted. I don't know the origin of the image. If someone knows, please let me know.

UPDATE:

Larry Angell via Email
Hi Joi,
I was the original poster of the iDebate image. I posted it on my blog
back on Wednesday, the 13th. It was an original work done by one of our
MacMinute.com readers (I'm the editor over there) who let me post it.
Thanks for any possible link :-)

http://www.happygolarry.com/2004/10/13/bulge

Cheers,

Larry Angell
Editor-in-Chief, MacMinute
http://www.macminute.com


Cory Doctorow @ Boing Boing
Jon Stewart on his Crossfire appearance

Here's a clip form Jon Stewart's Daily Show monologue following on his now-legendary Crossfire appearance in which he post-mortems his performance. Very good stuff.

Link, Crossfire's response

(via Waxy!)

Jon Stewart
They said I wasn't being funny. And I said to them, "I know that, but tomorrow I will go back to being funny, and your show will still blow."

Thanks Cory and Waxy!

The Guardian had an interesting project to try to get readers to send email to people in Clark County and influence the US vote.

The Guardian

Operation Clark County

[...]

It works like this. By typing your email address into the box on this page, you will receive the name and address of a voter in Clark County, Ohio. You may not have heard of it, but it's one of the most marginal areas in one of the most marginal states: at the last election, just 324 votes separated Democrats from Republicans. It's a place where a change of mind among just a few voters could make a real difference.

Writing to a Clark County voter is a chance to explain how US policies effect you personally, and the rest of the world more generally, and who you hope they will send to the White House. It may even persuade someone to use their vote at all.

They got some feedback from Americans.
KEEP YOUR FUCKIN' LIMEY HANDS OFF OUR ELECTION. HEY, SHITHEADS, REMEMBER THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR? REMEMBER THE WAR OF 1812? WE DIDN'T WANT YOU, OR YOUR POLITICS HERE, THAT'S WHY WE KICKED YOUR ASSES OUT. FOR THE 47% OF YOU WHO DON'T WANT PRESIDENT BUSH, I SAY THIS ... TOUGH SHIT!
PROUD AMERICAN VOTING FOR BUSH!

via Metafilter here and here

UPDATE: They actually got the idea from a blogger. See here and here.

p2p-Politics.org is a cool new site that lists video ads supporting Kerry, Bush and Nader. Although the site was launched by known Kerry supporters and currently there are only ads from the Kerry campaign and some of MoveOn.org's Bush in 30 Seconds ads, there is a tab for Bush and Nader and are soliciting ads from them. They also ask people to submit their own ads. The idea is that the site would be a non-partisan site that allows you to view ads of the candidates and email links to the ads to friends. The ads are hosted by the Internet Archive and licensed under a Creative Commons license. The "p2p" here stands for people-to-people or peer-to-peer but is not p2p as in the file sharing protocol. This site is a volunteer effort by J Christopher Garcia and Aaron Swartz, "with some ideas by Lawrence Lessig" and support from the Internet Archive.

I was just watching the debates and Kerry was making a comment about tax cuts for "Small Business Owners". Kerry mentioned that Bush's ownership in a timber company would qualify him as a small business owner under the Republican definition. Bush said, he didn't own a timber company and made a joke about it. It looked for a moment like Kerry had gotten factchecked by Bush. The FactCheck.org page seems to be down, but from the Goggle cache:

FactCheck.org
President Bush himself would have qualified as a "small business owner" under the Republican definition, based on his 2001 federal income tax returns. He reported $84 of business income from his part ownership of a timber-growing enterprise. However, 99.99% of Bush's total income came from other sources that year. (Bush also qualified as a "small business owner" in 2000 based on $314 of "business income," but not in 2002 and 2003 when he reported his timber income as "royalties" on a different tax schedule.)
Nice try President.

Thanks to Jess' for the link

UPDATE: ABC just picked up this story from FactCheck.org too. ;-)

Warren Ellis
A peace activist who once fasted for...

A peace activist who once fasted for 63 days to protest movie violence and war toys is launching another hunger strike to persuade Ralph Nader to abandon his presidential bid.

Jerry Rubin, 60, said he plans to consume only liquids from Saturday until Nov. 2 if Nader doesn't take a meeting with him. "I know Ralph Nader and I don't think he's doing the right thing," Rubin said Saturday. He said the consumer advocate's campaign is dividing the progressive political movement.

Rubin is often confused with now-deceased "Chicago Seven" defendant Jerry Rubin. He legally changed his name to Jerry Peace Activist Rubin to avoid confusion with the 60s radical...

I wonder what Ralph Nader is going to do...

UPDATE Via Warren: "We're sending him some carrot juice," Nader said Sunday...

Lawrence Lessig
faces of frustration

This is the impression I got from the debate. Click on the video here for a wonderful remix of the debate.

Another funny video.
Andrea Harner
Terizm, Terizm, Terizm...
Hey congrats to all who have said 'terrorism', '9/11', etc ad nauseum because now it all sounds like blah, blah, blah!

I think I'm supposed to be scared into voting for Bush.

Well Mr. 'Not Such A Good Debater' Bush....BOO! I'M VOTING FOR KERRY.

Check out this short video:

KeepingAmericaScared.jpg


I mirrored the the movie in case the source above gets overloaded.

Apologies to my Republican readers, but although I already declared that I'm a partisan blogger, I'm going to start leaning into it a bit harder as you can see from my recent posts. Since I can't vote, it's the least I can do. Feel free to comment though. ;-)

Frank Boosman
"These People"

I've talked with two citizens of foreign countries about the presidential debate -- one from Australia, the other from Germany -- and interestingly, both of them found the following statement by President Bush extremely offensive:

I know how these people [world leaders] think. I deal with them all the time. I sit down with the world leaders frequently and talk to them on the phone frequently.
I like to think I'm sensitive to international points of view, but honestly, I wouldn't have predicted that reaction. Apparently it's the phrase "these people". On reflection, I think I can see why someone from outside the US would find it condescending -- and misguided as well, since it seems to imply that "world leaders" all think similarly.
Interesting. I find the term "these people" annoying because it is a "us and them" sort of word and also makes "them" sound like enemies or maybe a nuisance. "Leave it up to me. I know how to deal with these people," sounds like some intermediary negotiating with Native Americans in an old Western movie to me. He should have said, "I know the other world leaders and know how they think." Or something like that... although Frank's right in that it does make it sound like that they all think in the same way which is silly, but not really insulting - just stupid.

Salon
Operation American Repression?

An Army officer in Iraq who wrote a highly critical article on the administration's conduct of the war is being investigated for disloyalty -- if charged and convicted, he could get 20 years.

Sept. 29, 2004 | An Army Reserve staff sergeant who last week wrote a critical analysis of the United States' prospects in Iraq now faces possible disciplinary action for disloyalty and insubordination. If charges are bought and the officer is found guilty, he could face 20 years in prison. It would be the first such disloyalty prosecution since the Vietnam War.

The essay that sparked the military investigation is titled "Why We Cannot Win" and was posted Sept. 20 on the conservative antiwar Web site LewRockwell.com. Written by Al Lorentz, a non-commissioned officer from Texas with nearly 20 years in the Army who is serving in Iraq, the essay offers a bleak assessment of America's chances for success in Iraq.

The Essay, Why We Cannot Win is still on the LewRockwell.com.

I don't understand. How can writing an essay like this send you to jail for 20 years?

Cory @ Boing Boing
ACLU and EFF strike down part of PATRIOT Act

EFF has helped the ACLU overturn one of the worst elements of the USA PATRIOT Act, the "National Security Letters," which were secret warrants that the Justice Department could write for itself without judicial oversight and then bind the recipients to indefinite silence. That's right: secret, no-oversight warrants with perpetual gag-orders. The ACLU brought suit against the DoJ on this one, and we filed briefs on their side, and today, a federal court struck down this part of PATRIOT as unconstitutional. BooYAH.

"Today's ruling is an important victory for the Bill of Rights, and a critical step toward reigning in the unconstitutional reach of the Patriot Act," said Kurt
Opsahl, EFF staff attorney. "The Court recognized that judicial oversight and the freedom to discuss our government's activities both online and offline are fundamental safeguards to civil liberties, and should not be thrown aside."
Link
Once again I wish we had the EFF and the ACLU in Japan. Or rather, the kind of people and government that would encourage the creation such organizations. The US government is capable of insanity like the US PATRIOT Act, but it also has corrective mechanisms which work. Anyway, good going folks!

USA Today
Fliers face tighter screening for explosives

WASHINGTON — Starting Monday, the government will intensify airport screening...

More discretion. TSA screeners will be given greater authority to refer passengers for extra scrutiny if clothing looks bulky, misshapen or otherwise suspicious. Some passengers also will receive expanded pat-downs when screeners consider it warranted. Currently, they concentrate mostly on arms and legs. Now, they'll be able to pat other areas if they look suspicious. TSA spokeswoman Yolanda Clark would not elaborate, citing security.

...Critics say additional pat-downs could make some people, especially young women, feel uncomfortable.

Just in time for my trip to the US next week...

via Cory @ Boing Boing

Pres04_WTA.png
Graph of Bush vs Kerry on Iowa Electronic Markets
The Iowa Electronic Markets are real-money futures markets in which contract payoffs depend on economic and political events such as elections. These markets are operated by faculty at the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business as part of our research and teaching mission.
Jimbo told me about IEM when I met him in Linz. A paper (PDF) describes the past elections and how the markets have been amazingly good at predicting their outcomes. IEM has a current market quote which is updated every 15 minutes. As of this posting, it is 40.6%/59.4% Kerry/Bush.

On IRC, crw, just pointed out a blog post on The SaltwaterPizza that used Google to see how many people said they were voting for one candidate or the other. The sample size was 104,789. This gave 46.8%/53.2% Kerry/Bush.

The results are disappointing for those of us who are hoping Kerry will win, but these alternatives to traditional polls are very interesting none the less.

torrentocracy - blog
Outfoxed Torrent (torrentocracy exclusive)

In working with Lawrence Lessig, Robert Greenwald has agreed to release the interviews within Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism under a Creative Commons non-commercial license (press release). This means that among the rights now granted, interviews balancing out the fair journalism of Fox News can freely be used as anyone sees fit. To see the full movie, you can purchase the Outfoxed DVD or check it out in theaters.

Torrentocracy (along with archive.org) has exclusive initial access to distribute these interviews in their digital form due to the work undertaken to promote a TV-connected, public domain, internet based media distribution network. The torrent file to start your Outfoxed download can be found at http://www.torrentocracy.com/files/torrents/outfoxed_interviews.torrent. For more information on how to use bit torrent peer-to-peer filesharing to download this, go here. If you were a Torrentocracy user, you could already be downloading Outfoxed to your television.

Here's some serious substantial non-infringing use of P2P. I bought the DVD and watched Outfoxed. Definitely worth buying the DVD, but being able to download and use the interviews from the documentary is a great contribution to the commons. It will be interesting to see how people remix this stuff.

aproval_vs_alert_chart_NEW.gif
Interesting chart showing how terror alerts in the US seems to coincide with drops in Bush's approval ratings.

via JuliusBlog

I reported back in September 2003 that an Indian newspaper reported a local company receiving an outsourcing contract from the Republicans for fund-raising calls. The Republicans denied this at the time. Dvorak has an update.

The Telegraph - Calcutta
Indian voices in Bush pitch - Geography error blows lid off campaign outsourcing

The Texas outfit may have actually got away with its outsourcing exercise if it had not been for the poor training given to Indian telemarketers who handled the job. Sources here said the India-based operation was exposed when one American who received a fund-raising phone call on behalf of the Republican Victory Committee wanted to know where the call was coming from.

“The Washington DC of Virginia,” the caller answered. Washington, the US capital, is actually in DC, short for District of Columbia, and Virginia is its neighbouring state.

I personally have nothing against outsourcing to India, but it probably looks bad for the RNC.

The NYC police are reported to have a weapon-like acoustic device called an LRAD at the RNC protests.

lrad2.jpg
Here is a picture from Indymedia.

Earlier this month, the New York Police Department showed off a machine called the Long Range Acoustic Device, developed for the military and capable of blasting at an earsplitting 150 decibels -- as loud as a firecracker, a jet engine taking off or artillery fire at 500 feet, according to the Noise Center at the League for the Hard of Hearing. The NYPD said it would use the machine to direct crowds to safety if there's a terrorist attack or remind protesters where they're allowed to march. Police said they wouldn't use the earsplitting screeching noise feature at the convention. "It's only to communicate in large crowds," Inspector Thomas Graham of the police department's crowd control unit said.

via Xeni @ Boing Boing - more on Boing Boing

John Perry Barlow promised to organize dancemobs to disrupt the RNC and he has. He sends a quick update from the dancemob front lines.

kerryrocks.net, a video of a Kerry kigurumi performance on the guitar. Pretty neat, but not sure if this will really convince people to vote for Kerry. ;-)

George Soros responds to Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert's insinuation that Soros received funding from drug money.

via New York Daily News
You know, I don't know where George Soros gets his money. I don't know where -- if it comes overseas or from drug groups or where it comes from," Hastert mused. An astonished Chris Wallace asked: "Excuse me?" The Speaker went on: "Well, that's what he's been for a number years -- George Soros has been for legalizing drugs in this country. So, I mean, he's got a lot of ancillary interests out there." Wallace: "You think he may be getting money from the drug cartel?" Hastert: "I'm saying I don't know where groups - could be people who support this type of thing. I'm saying we don't know."
George Soros
You do a discredit to yourself and to the dignity of your office by engaging in these dishonest smear tactics. You should be ashamed.

For the Speaker of the House of Representatives, even in the midst of an election season, to descend to a level of political discourse where innuendo and slander replace reason, truth and argument is unacceptable.

This past Sunday, on national television, you suggested that I might be a criminal simply because I have exercised my First Amendment rights to dissent from the policies of the Bush administration...

I must respectfully insist that you either substantiate these claims -- which you cannot do because they are false -- or publicly apologize for attempting to defame my character and damage my reputation.


PDF of Letter from Soros


via Cory @ Boing Boing

UPDATE: Video of the show on The Daily Recycler via Talking Points Memo.

Warning to conservative readers: partisan thoughts below

I don't think I'm going to have the fortitude to watch the Republican Convention. I know that makes me a small person, but I just can't take it.
I'm getting some blow-by-blow commentary from Mitch via IM right now and I can understand David's feelings.
Mitch on IM
Mitch: sorry, distracted by the glaring whiteness of the RNconvention. no people with any color while Rudy talks
Mitch: pretty wretched talk -- it is ugly in several dimensions, suggesting anyone who disagrees with Bush is an appeaser
Mitch: he literally just said "either you are with us or with the terrorists"
Mitch: and followed by comparing Bush to Churchill
Mitch: Rudy is sure he's Churchillian
Regarding David's post, Mitch says, "too many years as a reporter -- I can watch anything."

We've updated politics.technorati.com. Lots of new features and a new look. More info on Dave's site.

Xeni Jardin @ Boing Boing
RNC protests: Bikes Against Bush organizer arrested

A post on an indymedia website says activist Joshua Kinberg -- inventor of a wireless, bike-mounted, dot-matrix printer for spraying protest messages in the street -- was arrested yesterday at the RNC in NYC. At the time, he was reportedly being interviewed by Ron Reagan, covering the convention for MNSBC.


Kinberg's invention allows users to spray messages transmitted to the bike-printer by way of the 'Net or SMS. They're painted in a water-soluble chalk solution that washes away with water (not spray-paint, as misreported elsewhere). Link to indymedia post, Link to previous BB post about Bikes Against Bush, Link to August 02 Wired News story with background on Kinberg's invention, Link to yesterday's NYT piece on Bikes Against Bush, and link to a torrent identified as video coverage of the incident, via DV Guide. (Thanks, Patricia and el norm)

I think I saw this device at Ars Electronica a few years ago. I have a feeling that at the time it wasn't mounted on a bike. I remember thinking, "What a cool idea. I wonder if it will ever be used for something useful." I love it when political art projects/proposals get put into real world action. It's too bad that they confiscated the bike before it was used "in the wild." I wonder whether this bogus arrest will end up getting this project more press than if they hadn't arrested him...

AP via CNN
9/11 toy found inside candy bags

Wholesaler recalls 14,000 bags it bought from Miami import firm

MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- Small toys showing an airplane flying into the World Trade Center were packed inside more than 14,000 bags of candy and sent to small groceries around the country before being recalled.

First NROjr and now this. For some reason, all of my posts today are about the US government and the last two are very weird messages to kids...

via Adam

Since I can't get onto the GW site, I guess I have to settle for the NROjr.gov site. The NRO?

National Reconnaissance Office
The NRO designs, builds and operates the nation's reconnaissance satellites. NRO products, provided to an expanding list of customers like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Department of Defense (DoD), can warn of potential trouble spots around the world, help plan military operations, and monitor the environment.

As part of the 14-member Intelligence Community, the NRO plays a primary role in achieving information superiority for the U. S. Government and Armed Forces.

So what is NROjr? It's a "A fun site to engage children in the wonders of science, math and space in a fun and interactive manner," brought to you by the NRO. (Make sure you have your sound turned on to enjoy the full experience. And all this time I thought Ernie actually worked for Sesame Street... although I guess he was recently heard singing Orkutworld.)

via Karl

The US Transporation Security Administration (TSA) announced that CAPPS II, the controversial passenger profiling system is back looking a bit more shy and sporting a new name, "Secure Flight." It still sounds bad and they'll start testing it within the next 30-60 days.

via Kevin @ EFF: Deep Links

I still can't see the George W Bush site from Japan. I wonder if the Japanese are blocking Bush or Bush is blocking Japan... ;-)

via Jim

CNN has invited Technorati back to provide real time analysis of bloggers blogging about the Republican National Convention. Thanks CNN! More on Sifry's Alerts.

David Weinberger blogs about George Bush denouncing 527 groups. David links to Roji pointing out that this is a serious flip-flop from his original position.

David's point is that on the one hand, the 527 groups represent a way to buy influence. On the other hand, limiting the ability for a 527 group to be formed and express a point of view is limiting free speech.

I think the reason we have this conflict is the nature of media today. It shouldn't cost millions of dollars to get your message out; the system should be transparent enough so we know who is behind those messages; and most importantly, those messages should spark dialog and lies and stupidity should be smacked down as fast as urban legends on snopes. The problem with allowing money to buy "free speech" is that the speech is asymmetrical and not deliberative. ...yet.

Donna Wentworth @ EFF Deep Links
Army Okays Computer Spying

JetBlue ignited a huge privacy scandal when the news broke that the airline secretly provided more than 5 million passenger records to Torch Concepts, a military contractor. Yet the Army Inspector General Agency concluded [PDF] that JetBlue did not violate the Privacy Act. The reason: Torch never looked up individuals by name, but instead used a computer to dig through and analyze their private information.

This is quite disturbing. I guess this means that taking massive amounts of data and crunching through them to create "profiles" is OK. I wonder how small the clusters can be? Can they, for instance, profile companies, race, occupation, address or other kind of groupings for profiling?

There was a case in Japan where the Japanese government kept a list of Freedom of Information Act requesters in a list on a network with their backgrounds and this was found to be "legal".

I don't know enough about the JetBlue case to make a judgment on just how bad I think it is, but it seems to be part of a larger trend pushing the limits of the law.

UPI via The Washington Times reports that the Weather Underground are planning some action during the RNC. UPI says:

United Press International
"These people are trained in kidnapping techniques, bombmaking and building improvised munitions," the source said. "They're very bad people..."
Someone who asked not to be named emailed me and says that they heard that, "it's planned on being a nonviolent action. Something about leaflets and random covert protesters." If this is indeed the case, there is a pretty high likelihood of some really wound up police running into some pretty innocent people. If you are at risk of looking like a risk to the police, make sure you read about your rights. (344k ZIPped PDF on cryptome.org) via Boing Boing
UPDATE: An anonymous tipster sez "this pamphlet was done by the wonderful Katya Komisaruk over at the Just Cause Law Collective. At her site, lawcollective.org, there's the pamphlet and tons of other info about how to not lose your rights when dealing with the po. (Including Komsiaruk's book, set up much like the pamphlet, 'Beat the Heat.' Komisaruk applied and was accepted to Harvard Law School while in federal prison for anti-nuke demonstrations. She went to HLS while on parole and graduated with honors. Now she's one of the most active anarchist lawyers in the U.S."

UPDATE: Anonymous old media journalist who thinks the UPI story is bunk: "my theory is that the republicans are going to have their own anarchists there a la the reichstag fire...."

Image from Gary Turner
OK He wasn't almost arrested, but he was told that he couldn't be use computer within range of the open wifi network of the public library by a policeman. The officer cites some law against it and describes all of the terrible things Reverend AKMA could be doing. When AKMA asks whether this was a state or federal law, the officer says, "It’s a federal law, sir; a Secret Service agent came and explained it to us.”

Anyway, it's worth reading his entire post. What law is this officer referring to and how can we undo damage that misinformed (if there is no such law) Secret Service agents are causing? If it were me or some other less pious person, I'm sure the policeman might not have been as nice.

meta-roji
teach your children well, at gunpoint
ap via abc news, august 20, 2004
Justice Says Guns-Drawn School Raid Legal

A guns-drawn raid at a high school last year did not violate civil rights laws and the case is closed, the U.S. Justice Department said.

...

Fifteen officers entered Stratford High School's main hallway and ordered 130 students to the floor Nov. 5 of last year. They used plastic ties to handcuff 18 students and school officials opened and searched 17 book bags using a drug dog.

Police found no drugs or weapons, but the raid frightened children, provoked marches and lawsuits and brought national media attention and the resignation of the school's longtime principal.

the original story is covered here with video. the memory hole has more, including an unidentified person in what appears to be a military uniform.

This is one incident that I can't imagine happening in Japan... at least not yet. I wonder what this sort of "police state" behavior does to children.

EFF Deeplinks
E-Voting Mistake Caught on Paper

In news at once frightening and reassuring, a Sequoia electronic voting machine suffered a very public failure last week during a live demo. The machine worked fine with an English-language ballot, but failed to record votes with the Spanish-language ballot.

I still think electronic voting is a bad idea. Here is yet another example of a failure.

Cryptome is one of my primary sources of documents that get released to the public through a variety of sources. I link to it quite often from my blog. ABC News questions the value of the public's right to know, vs the risk of "helping the enemy." I have a feeling that terrorists are pretty good at using the Internet and probably already have access to most of the stuff on Cryptome. I think that it could be argued that they are helping terrorists by making the information so easy to find, but I personally think that Cryptome and other sites like it are important in fighting against the natural tendency to hide behind secrecy.

AP @ San Jose Mercury News
Calif. Supreme Court voids gay marriages in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court on Thursday voided the nearly 4,000 same-sex marriages sanctioned in San Francisco this year and ruled unanimously that the mayor overstepped his authority by issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

In February I remember all of the happiness when the Mayor decided to allow same sex marriages in San Francisco. I had friends who were married that day and even saw the line of happy couples lined up at City Hall. At the time Dan Gillmor voiced concern that Mayor Newsom had overstepped his the bounds of his executive power when he declared a state law prohibiting same sex marriages unconstitutional. Larry Lessig chimed in and wrote that at times the executive must push those bounds if they believe something to be genuinely unconstitutional. The last paragraph in Lessig's post has an important caveat.
One critical caveat: The rule of law requires some coordination. So if a court decides that a law is constitutional, while an executive has the right to disagree, and even push to have the decision changed, it is important that the executive follow the law at least with respect to that case.
...Thus, if California courts decide the marriage law is not unconstitutional, then Newsom should then obey that law as ultimately interpreted.

Declan McCullagh
Sheriff misusing FBI computer can't be sued

A federal appeals court said this week that the sheriff of Shawnee County, Kan., could not be sued for snooping through an FBI database for dirt on political enemies.

Oh yay. The FBI's Interstate Identification Index (III) he abused has 50.5 million people. I wonder what happens when they have even better information on people. So much of the law protects the police and assumes they are "good". In Japan, when I talk about the possibility of cases like this, people laugh.

Information collected about people by the government is and will be increasingly used for political ends. We need to work on measures to investigate and punish such abuses and fundamentally reconsider the cost benefit of creating such databases prone to abuse.

via Dan Gillmor

President George W. Bush
President Signs Defense Bill REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT THE SIGNING OF H.R. 4613, THE DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2005

Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.

Ooops. A Freudian slip?

via George via IP

UPDATE: mp3 file of this from Lauren Weinstein's blog.

Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds has sent an open letter to Thomas Kean, the Chairman of the 9/11 Commission continuing to up the ante on allegations of a massive coverup.

August 1, 2004

[...]

Dear Chairman Kean:

[snip]
Unfortunately, I find your report seriously flawed in its failure to address serious intelligence issues that I am aware of, which have been confirmed, and which as a witness to the commission, I made you aware of. Thus, I must assume that other serious issues that I am not aware of were in the same manner omitted from your report.
[snip]

Considering what is at stake, our national security, we are entitled to demand answers to unanswered questions, and to ask for clarification of issues that were ignored and/or omitted from the report.

Thanks to Richard for the tip

Team America - World Police, from the creators of South Park. "Putting the 'F' back in freedom". Coming October 2004

via Juche

David Weinberger video blogs a reply to Charles Cooper's article at CNET.

Charles Cooper criticizes the credentialed DNC bloggers as bad journalists and David responds. If the text of his response had been in his post, I might not have watched the video, but after watching the video, I realized that it was worth it. I keep forgetting how funny David is in full motion. ;-)

I made a BitTorrent torrent of the 11MB Quicktime version of the post. The torrent is here. I'm still trying to debug my tracker so I'd appreciate comments about any success or failure you have with this torrent. Thanks!

John Perry Barlow, former Grateful Dead lyricist and Republican city council chairman has an interesting idea.

BarlowFriendz
Dancing in the Streets: Revolution with a Smile

...Maureen Dowd recently observed that the Republicans had become so obsessed with rejecting the 60's ethic of doing it if it feels good that they have taken up an ethic of doing it if it makes someone else feel bad. Moreover, the GOP strategy of basing their root-level organization on Hot Protestantism has infused their ranks with a lot of chilly Puritanism, which, as H.L. Mencken defined it, is "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, is having a good time."

...So, to that end, I propose the following: I want to organize a cadre of 20 to 50 of us. I want to dress us in suits and other plain pedestrian attire and salt us among the sidewalk multitudes in Republican-rich zones. At a predetermined moment, one of us will produce a boom-box and crank it up with something danceable. Suddenly, about a third of the people on the sidewalk, miscellaneously distributed in the general throng, will start dancing like crazy and continue to do so for for about a minute. Then we will stop, melt back into the pedestrian flow, and go to another location to erupt there.

As always, the full text of his essay is a great read, but this idea of discombobulation as protest is funny and seems appropriate as well. I wonder if we can map "I don't think it's funny" split. I wonder if this would constitute "terrorism". I guess it might depend on what they were dancing to.

Talking Points Memo
Just-in-time-production?

See CNN's Breaking News Alert: "Security forces have captured a high-level al Qaeda operative in a raid in central Pakistan, Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat said."

Then, after you see that, remember that we noted in May and then The New Republic reported out extensively early this month, that this White House has been telling the Pakistanis for months that they wanted to see a big-time al Qaida leader -- hopefully bin Laden -- produced during the Democratic convention.

Coincidence?

via Glenn

Lawrence Lessig
no potential for a substantial noninfringing use?

Here's a BitTorrent file that will get you, p2p, the video of the Hearings on the INDUCE Act, prepared by Tom Barger. Watch, and blog the substantial noninfringing use.

BitTorrent is one of the most efficient p2p systems and is great for distributing movies and other large files. The Induce act is trying to make illegal basic technologies such as p2p which "could induce" people to break copyright law.

With more powerful cameras and PCs, video and Flash have become important mediums for free speech. They are increasingly being used for political action. The integration of blogs and p2p technology for sharing these videos like the BitTorrent link above from Lessig are a good example. I believe this is substantial non-infringing use.

BitTorrent is very smart and allows you to download from multiple sources. Thus, the more people downloading/sharing, the faster the download becomes and the less stress it puts on any one person. Anyone who's posted a movie file to a blog knows what this is like. I'm downloading it now with 3 peers. Come on everyone, join in the BitTorrent p2p fun and help me make the download faster! (while it's still legal)

danah boyd has a good op ed on blogging and bloggers at the DNC on Salon. (Salon forces you to watch an ad to read it.)

Here is the first CNN/Technorati daily blog roundup for the DNC by our very own Dave Sifry.

Poor poor FOX.

Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO, Fox News Network
Any news organization that doesn’t support our position on copyright is crazy. Next week, we could take a month’s worth of video from CNN International and do a documentary “Why does CNN hate America?” You wouldn’t even have to do the hatchet job Outfoxed was. You damn well could run it without editing. CNN International, Al-Jazeera and BBC are the same in how they report-mostly that America is wrong and bad. Everybody should stand up and say these people don’t have the right to take our product anymore. They don’t have a right to take a year’s worth of Dan Rather or Ted Koppel and edit it any way they want. It puts journalism at risk.
If someone thinks CNN or Al-Jazeera is doing a bad job, they should say it. Using clips of news programming to criticize a network is totally game I think. Although news has become entertainment, I don't think it should be controlled in the same way that creative content should be. I think that fair use should be applied liberally. The press and the news media should encourage critical debate. I think that a network that has a monopoly on millions of eyeballs should be fair game for documentaries like Outfoxed.

Via Lessig

Lessig writes an open letter to Bill O'Reilly from the FOX News show The Factor. Lessig has been blogging a lot about OutFoxed, Richard Greenwald's film criticizing FOX News. Lessig links to a clip from the film, the original interview with Jeremy Glick and the offending anti-war ad. He takes on point by point the series of false accusations that O'Reilly has been making about Glick in an unfair smear campaign against his Glick.

Lawrence Lessig
Mr. O'Reilly, please just stop.

Mr. O'Reilly,

You have declared a "war" on the New York Times. That's good for you, good for them, and good for our democracy: Strong opinions deserve strong spokesmen. Your battle will help sharpen a debate about matters important to the Republic.

But in waging this "war," you are continuing to abuse a man whom you have wronged, and to whom you owe an apology.

On February 4, 2003, Jeremy Glick was your guest on THE FACTOR. Glick had lost his father in the attack of 9/11. He had also signed an ad criticizing the war in Iraq. You were "surprised" that one who had lost his father could oppose that war. And so you had him on your show, presumably to ask him why. (Here's a clip from Outfoxed putting this story together.)

You might not remember precisely what you said on that interview, or more importantly, what Jeremy Glick said. So here's a copy that you can watch. Nor may you remember precisely what the ad that Jeremy Glick signed said. Here's a copy that you can read. And when you've watched what was actually said, and read what was actually written, I'm sure you will see that the statements you continue to make about Jeremy Glick are just plain false. Not Bill Clinton "depends upon what is is" false, but false the way most Americans learned growing up: just not true.

Please read Lessig's entire post.

Sifry's Alerts
Technorati and CNN

A few minutes ago CNN announced that Technorati will be providing real-time analysis of the political blogosphere at next week's Democratic National Convention. I will be on-site in CNN's convention broadcast center, along with Mary Hodder, and I'll be providing regular on-air commentary on what bloggers are saying about politics and the convention. And on Sunday, July 25, we'll launch a new section of our site for political coverage: politics.technorati.com. This site will make it easy for bloggers, journalists, and anyone interested in politics to see the postings of the most linked-to political bloggers, to track the ideas with the fastest-growing buzz, and to monitor conversations in thousands of other political blogs. CNN.com will link to this site, and we'll be updating the CNN site with the latest from the blogosphere.

Great news for us at Technorati and hats-off to CNN for taking this leap. Hopefully this will help people view blogging as a more "legitimate" source of news.

It's interesting to note that it was CNN which broke the big 3 TV network monopoly on news editorial by feeding local TV the raw video feeds, allowing them to edit the news themselves. Similarly, CNN providing bloggers the ability to reach the public directly may have an impact on the way media edits their news.

Obviously, incentive to just be faster, isn't better. I think we're going to get a chance to see whether Technorati authority management and the ability for blogs to fact check and manage news will be able to provide viewers of CNN with additional insight.

UPDATE: Here's the press release from CNN.

I'm posting this because I've often been asked if I am offended by the word "Jap". The answer is, yes. I am.

'Jap Road' to Get Name Change

BEAUMONT, Texas (Reuters) - A decade-long fight over a quiet country lane called "Jap Road" ended on Monday when local officials voted to change the racially charged name.

[...]

"It's our history, it's our heritage. I can remember when it was a dirt road, now it's being portrayed as a racial divide between us and the Japanese-Americans," Earl Callahan, born and raised on Jap Road, told the commissioners.

[...]

"People believe in this country that we're a bunch of racists. There's not a soul here that would call anybody a Jap," he said.

First of all, I still hear people using the word "Jap" and can't imagine that "not a soul" in Beaumont would use the word "Jap". I for one am glad there is no longer a street in Beaumont, Texas called "Jap Road" named after a Japanese. I was often called a Jap when I was growing up in Michigan and it was usually accompanied by emotional and sometimes physical abuse. This childhood experience probably created a very negative association in my brain, and I assume that many Japanese-Americans have had a similar experience to me.

Now, even when they are referring to the "Jewish American Princess" I still wince when I hear the word Jap. It's hardwired in my brain. So that's why when I hear:

But road resident Jason Marshburn, 31, disagreed.

"It feels like we're in the middle of a George Orwell novel. It's like me suing Keebler or Nabisco because the word 'cracker' is offensive to us white people," he said.

I think he's missing the point. If the word "cracker" made him wince when he heard it, it would be a parallel, but I can't imagine anyone in the US getting flashbacks to abuse when they hear the word "cracker".

Via KS

Michael Eisner is on a panel now at Brainstorm 2004. He was asked if he regretted not distributing Fahrenheit 9/11. He said no. Disney is not partisan and the movie was clearly political. Disney is an entertainment company. He said Rupert Murdoch said no for a completely different reason. Murdoch said he hated Moore and liked Bush. That's not why Disney didn't distribute the film.

When asked whether he liked the movie, Eisner said he loved it. It was like going to a rock concert. It was entertaining, hilarious. He loved it in a non-political way.

Some good quotes from Wesley Clark...

Wesley Clark: The responsibility of Abu Ghraib does not lie in the men and women in the armed forces. It lies in with the commander and chief.

Q: Why isn't the administration being held accountable for this?

Wesley Clark: They will be held accountable in the elections.

--

Wesley Clark: You can't win the war on terror by killing terrorists. You have to cut of the recruitment. It doesn't involve killing people.

kerryapple
At least Kerry has good taste in computers.

via Markoff

Teresa Heinz Kerry: "If you leave children behind, it has been for naught." "People want America to be great again." The Republican party is totally different from the days of her late husband. Back then they used to even intermarry with Democrats. Back then they practiced the Socratic method.

Now is tutorial session: The decline in America's reputation - Keith Reinhard w/ Pattie Sellers - What imact does it have on the U.S. and American brands? Reinhard will speak about a major new study.

Here are my notes. They are rough notes and may be a bit inaccurate or unclear.

Most people associate America with American's brands. Interesting to note that Carly Fiorina said that she didn't think that she suffered from America's bad imaged in response to a question by Martin Varsavsky.

"If you must talk, can you at least lower the volume..." - advice by foreigner to American about their voice.

The presentation made it clear that people outside of America have many negative feelings towards America and that most American's didn't care. The question they are addressing is, what can businesses in America do?

Tools to help Americans behave seems to be one of the answers...

Singaporean participant : suggesting that it's not just behavior of individuals, but that financial and business decisions made in America impact people in other countries that also affects opinions about America.

It's not business that's the biggest problem, it's US policy. It's the people who can cause changes in US policy and the only way to get people to change is to get them to understand what people think of the US. Most people don't know.

Chinese participant : doing all this work to get US image back will never get the image back to the original big brother image of the US and maybe the goal should be to just become a global peer.

African participant : is there a way for cultural exchange that is less superficial than movies and brands. Maybe people are more similar than we think. How about exchange programs that allow people to live together.

Japanese participant : Q: To what extent does change of government affect how people hate America. A: Resentment has grown over a long period of time, not just during this administration. "Insensitive, arrogant and materialistic." These issues we can address without just government change. Business could address non-government issues and also influence government.

I just found this very funny clip from David Letterman on David Weinberger's blog. (You need Real Player) So David, you may be the last person in America to see this clip, but at least not the last in the world. It's very funny. It's like a new twist to Stealth Disco.

Japan Today
Moore hopes 'Fahrenheit' will bring about regime change in Japan

NEW YORK — Controversial American filmmaker Michael Moore said Tuesday he hopes the global release of his documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" will usher in "regime changes" in countries like Japan and Australia.

In a press conference with foreign journalists in New York, Moore said his polemical movie should encourage people in all democratic countries that have supported the U.S.-led war in Iraq to vote their leaders out of office.

There is definitely less news and information in Japanese about the theories about why the US went to war. A lot of the stuff in the movie will be new to many Japanese. I'd be interested to see what the Japanese public reaction to the movie is. My sense is that we already have enough reasons to mistrust the government that people with probably sign numbly and not do anything. But I could be wrong.

From an aviation forum site.

John Kerry"s 757 was in hgr 4 pit tonight John Edwards vp decals were being put on engine cowlings and upper fuselage. :up:

via Metafilter

In an update on the new Induce Act that I blogged about earlier, Orlowski makes an interesting observation about why the IT lobby lost Hatch who is leading this bill and who used to be "on our side."

Orlowski - The Register
Dirty rotten inducers - the law the IT world deserves?

...Well, perhaps it's a combination of all these factors. Perhaps too, the brief flood of speculative capital into the technology industry in the 1980s and 1990s convinced IT people they didn't have an exalted place in society. For a time, they did, and even now many seem to think so. And underneath, there's the hunch that the market will sort everything out, or the belief that every problem can be solved with technology. Whatever the reasons, the fightback against the RIAA and the MPAA has been as effective as the proverbial one-legged man in a backsid- kicking competition. The entertainment industry should be thankful it has opponents so inept.

[...]

Opportunity knocked

We mention this only because the good Senator Hatch personifies the missed opportunity. He once shared the view of many involved in the technology sector today that the RIAA could not be trusted to clean up its act, and that alternative compensation systems that ended "piracy" could prove to be very popular. That was in 2000.

At around the same time, the EFF was campaigning for Napster to be legalized, without offering any suggestions as to how the artists might be paid - thus surrendering its moral authority on the issue. Meanwhile, the RIAA was courting and flattering Senator Hatch.

At a special gala awards dinner early in 2001 hosted by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Hatch was awarded a "Hero Award" and the diners heard Nashville star Natalie Grant perform one of his songs, "I Am Not Alone", Joe Menn reported in his book about Napster, All The Rave [Reg review]

If turning a Senator is this easy, why couldn't the techies do it?

I find Orlowski too negative sometimes and his critical view on blogs and Emergent Democracy have always bothered me, but I think he makes some good points about the weakness of the "Internet lobby" in this piece. Many of us are aware of this to varying degrees, but I think we need to keep reminding ourselves that much of the time, we're talking to ourselves. More importantly, we need to figure out how to become more effective. I think the EFF is doing great stuff, but how can we make it even better?

"On Tuesday, Cheney, serving in his role as president of the Senate, appeared in the chamber for a photo session. A chance meeting with Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, became an argument about Cheney's ties to Halliburton Co., an international energy services corporation, and President Bush's judicial nominees. The exchange ended when Cheney offered some crass advice.

'Fuck yourself,' said the man who is a heartbeat from the presidency."

...Even if the Senate were in session, the vice president, though constitutionally the president of the Senate, is an executive branch official and therefore free to use whatever language he likes."

And this is the administration that's trying to prevent you from saying "fuck" on TV.

I don't think I've ever told a business associate to "fuck yourself", but I guess I've never been accused of corruption by an associate either. On the other hand, I can't imagine ever calling my company a super-duper company...

Boing Boing via A Great Notion

UPDATE:

CHENEY: Well, I expressed myself rather forcefully, felt better after I had done it.

CAVUTO: All right. Now, did you use the "F" word?

[...]

CHENEY: Yes, that's not the kind of language I ordinarily use. But...

[...]

CAVUTO: Do you have any regrets?

CHENEY: No. I said it, and I felt that...

via Meta-Roj

AlterNet
AlterNet: EnviroHealth: Condom Wars

Lethal new regulations from President Bush's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, quietly issued with no fanfare last week, complete the right-wing Republicans' goal of gutting HIV-prevention education in the United States. In place of effective, disease-preventing safe-sex education, little will soon remain except failed programs that denounce condom use, while teaching abstinence as the only way to prevent the spread of AIDS. And those abstinence-only programs, researchers say, actually increase the risk of contracting AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Reminds me of this billboard.

via Bopuc

Dan Gillmor
Congress Goes After Peer to Peer

UPDATED

I hadn't been taking some proposed new copyright legislation very seriously, mainly because it's logically absurd on its face. But the "Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004" (PDF) seems to be moving so quickly that we have to pay attention now.

It's basically a bill that can make the creation of technology that could possibly be used for "piracy" illegal. More on Dan's blog. Please take a look. It's quite absurd and dangerous. If it's moving quickly, I think we need to mobilize against it as soon as possible. Japan always gets hand-me-downs of ugly US bills so please stop it!

UPDATE - a scenario of what would be illegal:

Here's EFF's hypothetical complaint against Apple (for making the iPod) C|Net (for reviewing the iPod), and Toshiba (for supplying hard drives for iPods).

A paper by Felix Oberholzer of Harvard Business School and Koleman Strumpf of UNC Chapel Hill shows strong evidence that file-sharing has "statistically indistinguishable from zero" effect on CD sales and the RIAA decides to sue 482 more people for sharing copyright music on peer-to-peer networks. This brings the number of people sued by the RIAA for file-sharing to 3,429. I guess that if you can't convince everyone, you can always try to scare people into submission.

But it looks like the RIAA will have event MORE reasons to sue people. They're trying to "criminalize the act of inducing another to commit a copyright violation."

Better late then never. The State Department announced Tuesday that their report that terror has been decreasing was in fact incorrect. Terror actually ROSE in 2003. However, they are still arguing that they are "winning the war on terror." (AP/NY Times - Amended Report Shows Terror Rose in 2003)

On our home front, the Japanese diet passed the controversial pension bill (the pension that 1/3 of the cabinet members have been shown to have evaded at some point). It is shown that an inflated fertility rate was used for the bill to show rosier numbers and lower, more accurate numbers that had been finalized for more than 2 weeks by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry were withheld. Public sentiment has already been very negative about the pension system. The government had been pushing this new bill, were paying commissions to retired bureaucrats to collect such pensions from normal citizens, and the politicians themselves not paying. Now this. (Japan Times -
Inflated fertility rate used for pension bills
)

What surprises me is the stupidity of these lies. Neither of these lies were likely to remain unchallenged. Did these people believe that they could just fudge numbers to make some false short-term point. Amazing.

Andrew is trying to draft Bruce Springsteen, an outspoken critic of war, to perform at Giants Stadium (which he has reserved) September 1, the day of the Republican National Convention. Andrew wants you to sign his petition.

Bush vs Bruce live would be definitely be something worth watching.

via ejovi

Bruce Schneier has written an interesting article discussing the accusation of Ahmed Chalabi of informing Iran that the US had broken its codes and when Iran knew that the NSA was cracking their codes. He digs into the history of Crypto AG, the NSA and Iran. He links to an article about Hans Buehler, the Crypto AG salesman who was arrested by Iran in 1992 on suspicion that Crypto AG had installed back doors in its encryption machines. There is no conclusion, but this story reminds me of Crytonomicon and the interesting world of information, misinformation and spying.

Xeni @ Boing Boing
More on blocked sites for .mil websurfers

Following up on this BoingBoing post about rumors that access to TheMemoryHole is being blocked on military computers in Iraq...

[John continues:]If the request was denied due to the Content Filter configuration is a sentence fragment, but with The content category reported is Gen. News. and If you feel this site was blocked in error, please contact the Help Desk the meaning is clear enough. For whatever reason, "General News" is not fit for our troops. I've been meaning to send her a list of links and ask her if she'd be willing to try to access them (Newsweek? New York Times? Common Dreams? Freerepublic.com [a conservative site]? townhall.com [another conservative site]?) I'm also curious what other kinds of sites she can't visit (geek news? music news? yahoo? wikipedia?) and whether she's prohibited from visiting these sites at work because she's /at work/, or if she's encouraged not to pursue the news in general.

Zaku, can you or anyone in the military in Iraq corroborate this or look into this?

In the comments on an earlier post on this blog about an artist suspected by the FBI of bioterrorism, there was a great deal of speculation about the incident and the facts. (Read the link above to my previous post for the background.) I emailed the artist, Steven Kurtz, asking him for the facts, and here is his reply.

Deleted by request.

Many people talked to me about this incident and strongly support the FBI's position on this. I still don't know enough details on the FBI's handling of the matter, but I DO think biotech as art is a legitimate form of art. At Ars Electronica, we did a whole festival on Life Science as art. Artists, including Steve, publish their works, talk about the impact, and often teach. Terrorists do not.

One famous example of biotech art is the bioluminescent rabbit created by genetic engineering, adding genes from a jellyfish to a rabbit to make it glow in the dark. This created a great deal of controversy and debate. It was the intention of the artist to cause this debate with an extremely tangible project.

I believe this form of expression is important and mistaking artistic expression for something else is a great risk to society. However, I suppose it would be prudent for artists to be aware of the risks involved in handling the "supplies" they use for their art.

SpiritofAmerica
Spirit of America is a somewhat grassroots, and quickly growing project to promote humanitarian aid in Iraq. It's interesting to note that both people for and against the war have signed on with their support. Dan Gillmor says, "Marc Danziger, a.k.a. the 'Armed Liberal' Web logger, supported the war in Iraq. Britt Blaser, a Howard Dean campaign adviser, did not." Both Marc and Britt are supporting this effort.

Dan also writes, "'It seemed if you could essentially aggregate requests and syndicate those to potential donors, mainly using the Net and electronic outreach, you could respond with speed and on a scale to really make a difference,' Hake said," in an interview with the founder. Jeff Jarvis says, "I have been wanting to bring more citizens' media to Iraq -- blogging tools translated into Arabic and free blog hosting, for example. I now hope we can accomplish this via SoA," which I think is interesting.

I think this is an excellent example of the use of technology and grass roots organization to see if we can do right, something that top-down methods seem to be failing at. It's also an interesting attempt at citizen-to-citizen communications. Lets hope it works better than leader-to-leader communications.

RTMark
FBI ABDUCTS ARTIST, SEIZES ART Feds Unable to Distinguish Art from Bioterrorism Grieving Artist Denied Access to Deceased Wife's Body DEFENSE FUND ESTABLISHED - HELP URGENTLY NEEDED

Steve Kurtz was already suffering from one tragedy when he called 911 early in the morning to tell them his wife had suffered a cardiac arrest and died in her sleep.  The police arrived and, cranked up on the rhetoric of the "War on Terror," decided Kurtz's art supplies were actually bioterrorism weapons.

Thus began an Orwellian stream of events in which FBI agents abducted Kurtz without charges, sealed off his entire block, and confiscated his computers, manuscripts, art supplies... and even his wife's body.

Like the case of Brandon Mayfield, the Muslim lawyer from Portland imprisoned for two weeks on the flimsiest of false evidence, Kurtz's case amply demonstrates the dangers posed by the USA PATRIOT Act coupled with government-nurtured terrorism hysteria.

Kurtz's case is ongoing, and, on top of everything else, Kurtz is facing a mountain of legal fees. Donations to his legal defense can be made at http://www.rtmark.com/CAEdefense/

It reminds me a bit of when the Secret Service came after etoy.

RTMark is nortorious for social hacking, but this story appears to have at least two supporting news stories.

WKBW Local News - Local Investigation Into Ub Artist Continues
WKBW Local News - Bio Hazard Or Art?

The weird thing is that these news articles are archived on RTMark's site and I can't seem to find them on the WKBW site. Having said that, a search on Google News shows an article about this, but it has "expired" and can't be accessed.

IF this is true, it's another example of patriotic stupidity, but it's often the role of artists to help us understand this stupidity.

Anyone else heard about this? Lately I'm becoming more wary of single source news stories. ;-) Any help in veting this story before I get really excited would be greatly appreciated.

via Scott

UPDATE: Email from artist, Steven Kurtz.

News24.com
Rumsfeld bans phone cameras

London - Cellphones fitted with digital cameras have been banned in US army installations in Iraq on orders from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, The Business newspaper reported on Sunday.

Quoting a Pentagon source, the paper said the US defence department believes that some of the damning photos of US soldiers abusing Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad were taken with camera phones.

"Digital cameras, camcorders and cellphones with cameras have been prohibited in military compounds in Iraq," it said, adding that a "total ban throughout the US military" is in the works.

via Smartmobs

The increasing reliance of this administration on secrecy is really disturbing. When your government starts to strip the people of their privacy and civil rights and consistently marches forward with a variety of efforts to hides its own movements, you know you're in real trouble.

I've worked on whistleblower protection bills and thought a lot about the importance of the ability for people to come forward outside of the chain of command. It is an essential protection measure against coverups and corruption. I can understand arguments about why allowing random photos could be bad, but I'm sure the importance of having "eyes on the ground" outside of the "main channel" out-weigh the risks.

UPDATE: There are many media sites and blogs running this story, but they all seem to quote the same source. We still have no corroborating original sources. Please see comments on this entry for more.

UPDATE2

This morning, I asked a Defense Department spokesperson whether or not the reports of a phonecam ban were true. This spokesperson said that these reports were technically inaccurate -- that the Pentagon is not issuing a new ban on camera phones per se, but that a Directive 8100.2 was issued on April 14 establishing new restrictions on wireless telecommunications equipment in general. The text of this directive is available online here in PDF format: Link. The intent of this April 14 directive, and how commanders in the field will be expected to enforce it, are matters I'll be reporting on in more detail for the NPR program "Day to Day," later this week.
Lauren Weinstein
Report: "Rumsfeld and Rice Approved; Bush Knew"

Greetings. Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker, who exposed so many aspects of the Iraqi prisoner abuse story, now reports that U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and national security advisor Condoleezza Rice secretly approved the expansion of a clandestine program that encouraged physical coercion, sexual humiliation, and blackmail of Iraqi prisoners, setting the stage for the abuses that these same officials have recently been condemning so publicly.

According to the report, President Bush was kept informed regarding this program. The Department of Defense called the accusations in the story "outlandish, conspiratorial, and filled with error and anonymous conjecture."

How accepted is this view in the US now?

I'm sure most people have seen it, but the full Red Cross report on Iraqi Prisoner Abuse is online on Cryptome.

Red Cross Report on Iraqi Prisoner Abuse

Kathryn Cramer
Halliburton Pulling the Plug on GI Communications

A week after a scandal broke involving photos of American troops torturing Iraqi prisoners, Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown, & Root is pulling the plug on private electronic communications with the folks back home, apparently at the request of the Department of Defense.

via Jim

Oh right! If it weren't for that pesky Internet...

I haven't seen this in mainstream media so I may be jumping the gun. Anyone who finds any other information about this, please let me know so I can update.

Congressional Hearing Called on Fair Use; 321 Studios President Asked to Testify

Now Is the Time for Consumers to Effect Change Through www.protectfairuse.org

WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- A Congressional Hearing for H.R. 107, the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act (DMCRA), has been set for Wednesday, May 12, at 10:00 AM Eastern. The DMCRA has been acknowledged and endorsed by major industry players like Intel Corp., Philips Consumer Electronics, Sun Microsystems, Bell South, Verizon, SBC, Qwest, Gateway, and the Consumer Electronics Association, among others, as a necessary balancing mechanism to restore consumers' fair use rights in the digital era. The hearing will take place before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection in Room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

The DMCRA, introduced by Reps. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and John Doolittle (R- CA) and co-sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX), would re-affirm consumer fair use rights and balance the otherwise one-sided protection afforded copyright owners under current interpretations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

321 Studios Founder and President Robert Moore has been asked to testify at this historic fair use Congressional hearing. 321 Studios is the developer of the award-winning DVDXCOPY series of DVD backup software -- a product now banned in the United States after a group of Hollywood studios sued the company, and two federal judges decided that DVDXCOPY was in violation of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

I've been a big fan of Rick Boucher ever since I first met him in Tokyo and he helped me understand how the US Congress worked on Internet issues. He's been one of the few US politicians I've met who understands the Internet and the variety of important issues including the problems with the DMCA. This bill that he and John Doolittle have introduced is a REALLY important push against the DMCA and all the might of Hollywood will be resist the new bill. If the DMCRA is successful, it will be an important blow against the insanity of the DMCA which will reverberate all the way to Japan and the EU. Americans. Contact your representatives and rally around this important issue. Please.

Via Juche

UPDATE: DMCRA EFF action center

The Register
FCC chairman hails VoIP
Michael Powell
If you're a big incumbent and you've sort of enjoyed a competitive advantage . . . you, in my opinion, ought to be terrified.

[...]

I think it's going to be the very, very best and biggest breakthrough in our ambitions and dreams about competition ever.

via Kevin Werbach

Exactly.

Reuters
Oxygen Media Inc. CEO and founder Geraldine Laybourne criticized the FCC's enforcement effort during the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn.'s (NCTA) annual trade show.

"I don't think we should use the word indecency; we should call it what it is: censorship," Laybourne said Tuesday during one of the show's panel discussions.

Laybourne's comments came after a Q&A session with FCC chairman Michael Powell and NCTA chief Robert Sachs.

"I don't agree with that," Powell told reporters after his dialogue. "For 70 years, the country has had limits on broadcast television. To me censorship is prior restraint, and I don't think anybody has been involved in that limitation on content."

via Jeff Jarvis

Umm... I don't think so.

I guess 1 out of 2 isn't bad.

In case anyone missed this, there is a detailed article on the torture at Abu Ghraib in The New Yorker. Unlike the sniper rumor, this one is pretty much documented fact. I realize that this is obviously not standard behavior, but it is not a single wacko, but a group of soldiers. It's really quite appalling. How can something like this happen? What is the mood like among American soldiers in Iraq? Is there a general hatred or is it really isolated behavior? I can't imagine an occupying force being very successful without some basic respect for the local citizens.

I remember hearing that the occupying forces in post-war Japan were selected from soldiers who had not served in combat against the Japanese. Most of the stories you hear about the soldiers occupying Japan are good stories. I suppose it's easier to be nice when there is no resistance, but still... (My sister has a nice post about the story of our family's first interaction with the US occupation of Japan.)

I also heard from a Spanish friend of mine that there is very little if no hatred towards Muslims after the 3/11 attack in Madrid. People realize that it is a splinter group and are not blaming the Muslims.

I don't want to over-generalize, but trying to link Al Qaeda to Iraq and the increased racism directed at Muslims in the US really highlights the lack of racial sympathy or understanding on the US's part. I think the US really needs to figure out how to deal with this racial intolerance and ignorance if it's going to try do any kind of nation building.

Before someone else says it, I think racism in Japan is also very bad, but we're not toppling regimes and trying to rebuild them. I wouldn't trust Japan with that either.

An interesting article in The Guardian about what we should do in Iraq. She argues that the UN should not support the US in Iraq and should join the mutiny against the US and force the US out of Iraq.

Naomi Klein, Saturday May 1, 2004, The Guardian
Mutiny is the only way out of Iraq's inferno

The UN betrayed Iraq by becoming the political arm of US occupation. Now it must redeem itself

Can we please stop calling it a quagmire? The United States isn't mired in a bog in Iraq, or a marsh; it is free-falling off a cliff. The only question now is: who will follow the Bush clan off this precipice, and who will refuse to jump?

More and more are, thankfully, choosing the second option. The last month of US aggression in Iraq has inspired what can only be described as a mutiny: waves of soldiers, workers and politicians under the command of the US occupation authority suddenly refusing to follow orders and abandoning their posts. First Spain announced that it would withdraw its troops, then Honduras, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Kazakhstan. South Korean and Bulgarian troops were pulled back to their bases, while New Zealand is withdrawing its engineers. El Salvador, Norway, the Netherlands and Thailand will likely be next.

[...]

There is a way that the UN can redeem itself in Iraq: it could choose to join the mutiny, further isolating the United States. This would help to force Washington to hand over real power - ultimately to Iraqis, but first to a multilateral coalition that did not participate in the invasion and occupation and would have the credibility to oversee direct elections. This could work, but only through a process that fiercely protects Iraq's sovereignty.

via Martin Varsavsky

MATTHEWS: Mr. Secretary, let me ask you about the war in Iraq and the boldest question I could put to you here in the Pentagon. Did you ever advise the president to go to war?
[...]
RUMSFELD: You ought to get a life. You could do something besides read those books.

MATTHEWS: This is my life. Let me ask you about something a little more...

RUMSFELD: Let me answer your question.

MATTHEWS: Did you advise the president to go to war?

RUMSFELD: Yes. He did not ask me, is the question. And to my knowledge, there are a number of people he did not ask.

Woodward said he found that the administration quietly shifted money around to pay for early preparations for war in Iraq, without the approval of Congress. He said those preparations included building landing strips and addressing other military needs in Kuwait.

The money, about $700 million, was taken in July 2002 from a budget item that had been approved for the war in Afghanistan, Woodward wrote.

"Some people are going to look at that document called the Constitution, which says that no money will be drawn from the Treasury unless appropriated by Congress," Woodward says in his CBS interview.

Does this mean that the President didn't consult the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Defense or Congress on the decision to go to war?

It appears he did consult God.

I'm in Europe so I have no idea how much coverage this is getting in the US, but isn't this an important issue?

There's a short interview in MIT's The Tech newpaper with Jack Valenti about DMCA. I'm glad that Jack is still willing to have discussions like this. This is what I meant when I said that I think Jack should be respected. Even if you don't agree with him, he's still willing to try to discuss his position with you.

via Creative Commons weblog

When I have posted particularly anti-Bush or partisan views, many people have complained in the comments or by email. Some of the most intelligent comments on my blog have come from conservatives and some of the most stupid from liberals. In order to keep some of the more intelligent conservatives involved in the dialog, I've tried to generally steer clear taking strong stands on the war in Iraq and on the presidential election.

I thought about it and I've decided that this is stupid. I don't want Bush to be re-elected and I think going into Iraq was wrong. I will try to be thoughtful about how I make my assertions, but I'm going to stop pretending that I'm non-partisan. I hope that Republicans or people who do not agree with me will continue to read this blog and disagree openly with me. I have just decided that it's getting too close to the election and there is too much at risk for me to just sit here and act neutral.

Mercury News
E-voting panel wants to dump troubled system

SACRAMENTO - Less than seven months before the presidential election, an advisory panel Thursday unanimously recommended an unprecedented ban of touch-screen election equipment used in four California counties.

The panel also urged Secretary of State Kevin Shelley to seek a criminal or civil investigation into the conduct of Diebold Election Systems, the Ohio-based firm that manufactured the troubled voting system.

Yes! We really need to get rid of e-voting. It's such a bad idea and until now, I thought we were losing the battle. We need to make sure this doesn't end with just Diebold.

via Dan Gillmor

The New York Times
U.S. Won't Let Company Test All Its Cattle for Mad Cow

The Department of Agriculture refused yesterday to allow a Kansas beef producer to test all of its cattle for mad cow disease, saying such sweeping tests were not scientifically warranted.

The producer, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, wanted to use recently approved rapid tests so it could resume selling its fat-marbled black Angus beef to Japan, which banned American beef after a cow slaughtered in Washington State last December tested positive for mad cow. The company has complained that the ban is costing it $40,000 a day and forced it to lay off 50 employees.

The department's under secretary for marketing and regulation, Bill Hawks, said in a statement yesterday that the rapid tests, which are used in Japan and Europe, were licensed for surveillance of animal health, while Creekstone's use would have "implied a consumer safety aspect that is not scientifically warranted."

I don't know whether I trust the Japanese or the Americans more on this issue. The Japanese say they're testing all of the cows, but frankly, I have my doubts. On the other hand, the Americans won't even LET them test all of the cows so obviously, they're not all being tested. On the other hand, more people are dying in Iraq than from Mad Cow in Japan or the US so we should keep this in perspective...

via Plastic

A good op-ed by Maureen Dowd in the New York Times about the situation in Iraq.

pseudorandom
Correct Me If I'm Wrong...

...but I can't remember any current high-ranking member of the Bush Administration ever saying anything like what Richard Clarke said today:

Mr. Clarke began his testimony before the bipartisan, 10-member panel, formally known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, with an apology to relatives of the 3,000 people killed on Sept. 11, 2001.

"Your government failed you," he said, his voice close to breaking. "Those entrusted with protecting you failed you, and I failed you."

"We tried hard," Mr. Clarke went on, "but that doesn't matter, because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask -- once all the facts are out -- for your understanding and your forgiveness."

If the President, any member of his Cabinet, or any other high-ranking political appointee of his has apologized for allowing the 9/11 attacks to take place on their watch, I'd like to know about it.

Xeni of Boing Boing writes in Wired News about Congress moving to criminalize P2P.
Xeni
Read the full text of Senator Hatch's remarks describing children as "human shields against copyright owners and law enforcement agencies," and the "piracy machine designed to tempt them to engage in copyright piracy or pornography distribution," here.

Human shields my ass. These kids are customers who are being treated like criminals. I know this is dead horse kicking, but I've learned about and subsequently purchased more music online since I started sharing music files. As a DJ, when I made mixed tapes, I was promoting these bands to people who didn't know about them. Music sharing is a natural and essential method of promoting new artists. It's a small number of very famous artists who feel gypped by how easy it is to copy music. For must artists, the ability to copy and share music should be as important as promoting their music on the radio and through DJs.

I personally think that Creative Commons can solve a lot of these problems by allowing artists to select what type of copyright they would like for their music and allow P2P services to mark content with the proper copyright notice. Remember that even though Jack Valenti endorsed Creative Commons, at an operational basis, we (Creative Commons) have received resistance from the legal departments of the record companies when their artists have tried to choose Creative Commons licenses.

60 Minutes
Did Bush Press For Iraq-9/11 Link?

"Rumsfeld was saying that we needed to bomb Iraq," Clarke said to Stahl. "And we all said ... no, no. Al-Qaeda is in Afghanistan. We need to bomb Afghanistan. And Rumsfeld said there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan. And there are lots of good targets in Iraq. I said, 'Well, there are lots of good targets in lots of places, but Iraq had nothing to do with it.

"Initially, I thought when he said, 'There aren't enough targets in-- in Afghanistan,' I thought he was joking.

via Dan Gillmor

Dishonest Dubya. Funny.

via Peggy

Video clip of Rumseld on Face The Nation

Face The Nation
SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you this. If they did not have these weapons of mass destruction, though, granted all of that is true, why then did they pose an immediate threat to us, to this country?

Sec. RUMSFELD: Well, you're the--you and a few other critics are the only people I've heard use the phrase "immediate threat." I didn't. The president didn't. And it's become kind of folklore that that's--that's what's happened. The president went...

SCHIEFFER: You're saying that nobody in the administration said that.

Sec. RUMSFELD: I--I can't speak for nobody--everybody in the administration and say nobody said that.

SCHIEFFER: Vice president didn't say that? The...

Sec. RUMSFELD: Not--if--if you have any citations, I'd like to see 'em.

Mr. FRIEDMAN: We have one here. It says "some have argued that the nu"--this is you speaking--"that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent, that Saddam is at least five to seven years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain."

Sec. RUMSFELD: And--and...

Mr. FRIEDMAN: It was close to imminent.

Sec. RUMSFELD: Well, I've--I've tried to be precise, and I've tried to be accurate. I'm s--

Mr. FRIEDMAN: "No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world and the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq."

Sec. RUMSFELD: Mm-hmm. It--my view of--of the situation was that he--he had--we--we believe, the best intelligence that we had and other countries had and that--that we believed and we still do not know--we will know.

via Steven Johnson via Center for American Progress

While I'm at it...

This reminds me that I was moved by Colin Powell's speech in Davos about WMD and he spoke convincingly about his belief in WMD. I was almost convinced about the need to go into Iraq based solely on the WMD argument.

Also...

Here is a trailer from The Truth Uncovered of a video they are making for distribution about this topic.

via Wirefarm

Administration sources tell TIME that employees at the Department of Homeland Security have been asked to keep their eyes open for opportunities to pose the President in settings that might highlight the Administration’s efforts to make the nation safer. The goal, they are being told, is to provide Bush with one homeland-security photo-op a month.
They should just give him a moblog and have him do it himself.

via bopnews via American Footprint

Wired News just ran an article by Xeni exposing a draft letter circulated by Bill Lockyer, California attorney general slamming P2P. The metadata on the Word document shows that it has been edited/reviewed by the Motion Picture Association of America. Another example of Hollywood using the US government to push its agenda to blame and limit technology which it views as a threat.

It is me, or is this pretty "smoking gun"?

Friends of mine who have been waiting for a long time were finally married as San Francisco allowed same-sex marriages. It was a day of joy. We drove by City Hall here and saw a huge line of people waiting to get married. This is a great thing. Dan Gillmor has sparked an interesting discussion about the legal ramifications of the Mayor's decision and Lawrence Lessig comments on this.

Lawrence Lessig
Presidents’ Day lesson: the mayor’s duty

The Mayor of San Francisco has decided that a state law is unconstitutional under the state constitution, and has therefore ordered city clerks to disobey the law and obey the constitution. This troubles my friend Dan Gillmor, who on last count was right about everything else. And it is an action by a mayor, who on last count was wrong about a bunch of very important things. So who’s right now? I try to answer that in the extended essay that follows.

asianmediawatch.net has started a campaign to petition the movie industry to vote against "Lost In Translation" for the Academy Awards.

My sister blogs about the negative depictions of Japanese in "Lost in Translation". She links to a UK Guardian and New York Times article that point out similar issues with the movie.

When I first saw the movie, I thought it was funny. After reading the articles and the asianmediawatch site and thinking about how much influence Hollywood has on the way the world views cultures, I can see their point.

Jim Moore blogs about the lessons that DeanforAmerica has learned and how it continues to evolve. He gives the example of MoveOn.org which started as a movement to "move on" from the Clinton impeachment, then broadened its mission to counter the selling of the Iraq war, and now is purchasing ads to get Americans to think. Obviously, Jim and everyone at DFA is still hoping for a Howard Dean victory, but Jim also muses about the idea of DFA continuing to gain momentum and power.

Jim Moore
DFA's role in American politics

DeanforAmerica will have powerful mission in American politics.  DFA will work out new and effective mechanisms for citizen invovlement.
[...]
But win or lose in any particular struggle, we have power.   This is the deepest lesson of MoveOn--win or lose in the Clinton impeachment, MoveOn had and has power.

WDFA - Radio Dean for America

Lots of stuff going on at the Dean campaign, but the Net team just keeps chugging along. Zack has been working on the idea of "happenings" for the Dean Campaign, combining chat and Internet radio. They just did the first trial run and it was great. Anyone who has any thoughts or ideas, please contact Zack directly.

Zack is uberzacker on AIM and his email is zrosen at deanforamerica dot com.

Bruce Schneier
Slouching toward Big Brother

Rarely do we discuss how little identification has to do with security, and how broad surveillance of everyone doesn't really prevent terrorism.

Bruce writes about how security is a trade-off and how what we're giving up is not worth what we're getting in the war on terror through surveillance in the United States.

David Isenberg blogs about the "Bellhead" background of Roy Neel, Howard Dean's new campaign manager.

Larry Lessig comments on Adam Thierer's latest missive from Cato.

David Weinberger describes how the Cato Institute's analysis of the Dean Net policy is wrong.

Michael Powell wants to crack down on profanity in the US and the Brazilians arrest this pilot (via antti) for flipping them the finger. "He made an internationally known obscene gesture when he was being photographed by the Federal Police," according to the article. With all of the increased reason for profanity directed against establishment, I can see how a global war on profanity is essential for the security interests of the civilized world. :-p

And even more racism...

Kevin Marks
RIAA's fake cops harrass based on racial stereotypes

'A large percentage [of the vendors] are of a Hispanic nature,' Langley said. 'Today hes Jose Rodriguez, tomorrow hes Raul something or other, and tomorrow after that hes something else. These people change their identity all the time. A pictures worth a thousand words.'
Langley is Western regional coordinator for the RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit.
I feel sorry for Sir Howard Stringer. I'm glad I don't have to hang out with people like the RIAA. (tech dirt on how Sir Howard might save Sony Music)

I wonder just how much racism in the name of "profiling" will be tolerated. Since the RIAA links piracy to terrorism, I suppose they'll expect us to tolerate a lot.

rolling_stone
Salon article on media pushed by Republicans and anonymous Democrats to paint a bad picture of Dean. (via metafilter) In the mean time, Dean rocks our world on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine. Here's the CNN synopsis of the interview. (via Rick Klau)

The Bush in 30 seconds winners have just been posted.

UPDATE: ad may not pass CBS's "standards". Hmm... via Dan Gillmor

Tim Oren cites a poll by the Washington Post showing that the Internet has not helped Dean close the popularity gap with Bush. He says:

But those who think the removal of big media means the newly empowered wil start singing 'Kumbaya' and turn into anti-Bush, anti-war 'emergent democracy' citizens are indulging in wishful thinking, and we now have evidence to that effect. (Yes, I'm looking at you, Joi.) These newly empowered participants actually have to be persuaded. And that's a very good thing, too.
I agree. There is still a lot we need to do. I think we have to look at our successes and try to repeat them and amplify them. We have to acknowledge our failures and try not to repeat them. I never said this was going to be easy. Also, "emergence" sounds a bit lazy, as if it will "just happen." I never asserted this. Emergence is much harder. It is about creating technical and social systems that allow emergence and these can not be designed literally like most hierarchical system, but require active feedback, architectural tweaking and lots and lots of iterations before emergence really happens. I'm excited by the progress and not surprised that we haven't hit mainstream yet.

I would also like to add that I think big media still has a huge role and figuring out the role of blogs in the context of big media is one of the things that I am actively thinking about right now.

Fifteen "bush in 30 second" ads on MoveOn.Org. "a political advertising contest sponsored by moveon.org voter fund."

Lest anyone lull themselves into the belief that the left has taken an uncontested lead in the bad-mouthing-the-oppostion derby, I submit the following from an Iowa anti-Dean ad being run by The Club for Growth, a PAC which describes itself as "one of the nation’s leading free-market political advocacy organizations."

In a current press release on their web site, they announce an ad that began running today on Des Moines, Iowa broadcast stations and on cable news channels, for which they have budgeted over $100,000 during this phase of the campaign. For for those who can't stream the ad from here, it goes like this:

"A dignified older couple walks out of a barber shop. An off-screen announcer asks what they think of Howard Dean’s plan to raise taxes on a typical family by $1,900.

"Without hesitation, the husband responds: 'What do I think? Well, I think Howard Dean should take his tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading…'

"His wife continues: '…body piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont where it belongs.'"

For those of you who continue to argue that most blogs and links between blogs are an echo chamber, go to Barlow's blog and take a look. Barlow has stepped out of his Barlowfriendz mailing list into a community which includes the Barlowenemiez. Barlow eloquently discusses the experience of stepping out of the echo chamber.

Halley, can #joiito come to your Dean New Year Party? Can you like project us on the wall or something?

Good idea Lisa

Suppose Gov. Dean were to record a message like the following and make it available for download on the campaign Web site:

[...]

Hello. ____[suitably long pause]_____ have agreed to let me answer their phone. I'm Howard Dean and if you elect me president, I'll answer your phone, too. Now, here's the beep.

Knowing David, who IS the Campaign's Senior Internet Advisor, he'll probably suggest this to Howard Dean. ;-)

The Gary Wolf article, "How the Internet Invented Howard Dean" in Wired Magazine that I blogged about earlier just came online. As David Weinberger says, it's a covers the theoretical side of the campaign and is a good addition to Ed Cone's article on the operations and the NY Times Magazine article about the spirit of the campaign.

The Dean for Iowa Game just went online. It's cute and fun and captures the spirit of being a supporter. I'm glad to have played my own little part in making this happen. The game was developed by Ian Bogost and his team at Persuasive Games. Ian contacted me through LinkedIn. LinkedIn routed his request for contact via a mutual friend, Ian McCarthy who vouched for Ian Bogost. I took that request and forwarded it to Britt Blaser who is working with the Dean campaign. Britt is "Mr. Execution" and before I knew it, The Dean for Iowa Game happened. Congratulations to all involved!

Dan Gillmor blogs about Al Gore's endorsement of Dean and explains why it makes so much sense. Nice one Dan. I hadn't thought about it that way, but it makes total sense.

If you go to google and search for "miserable failure" you get bio of George W Bush. This is a bloggers' google bomb.

Newsday article on the topic

Thanks Kev for the clarification

danah boyd
compelling environmental movie

Say whatever you want about Leonardo. But global warming movie is a really beautiful and compelling little reminder to the masses in a non-aggressive way. WATCH IT.

Yup. Great movie. Watch it.

Interesting multi-author pseudonymous political/US-election-related blog called "What's At Stake?". Reminds me of Locke and Demosthenes from Ender's Game.

I just received an email from one of my best friends urging me to stop fueling disinformation and anti-Americanism. He also urged me to stop comparing the US to Nazi Germany. I've also had some private email exchanges with some conservatives about some of the issues I've written about lately. I've started feeling like a politician trying to keep my liberal and conservative friend happy by mostly posting questions, posting notes of other people's comments and quoting people. Now that I'm being urged from both sides, I guess I should clarify my own position.

Here is where I stand. What I'm mainly against is the conservative media in the US and the right wing one-liners like "bomb Iraq to democracy" which I saw on a lot of conservative web sites before the invasion of Iraq. I remember very clearly Colin Powell's speech at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. I was moved by the speech. He made me feel like maybe it was the right decision to go into Iraq... but he hung his whole argument on WMD. I still have not been convinced that the invasion on Iraq was the right decision, but I'm probably willing to hear arguments more than my more liberal friends.

What disturbs me the most about this administration is the drift towards secrecy, the Patriot Act and profiling with the assistance of advanced technology. I think that is REALLY BAD and I am not convinced that profiling really works.

Regarding my quote of Pastor Martin Niemöller... I'm not comparing the US to Nazi Germany. It's an eloquent statement about the necessity to look out for human rights, even those of people who are not in your tribe. I think human rights are at risk globally. It's easy to see abuses and say things about human rights abuses in other countries, but I'm just urging American to watch out for the stuff happening right under your noses.

Although I am a liberal, I find some of the anti-American stuff a bit over-board and I find some of the conservatives arguing convincingly on many issues. I may become emotional at times, but I'm trying to keep my thinking above the emotional level. I will try to present what I believe is a balanced view here and I want to thank all of the people who have posted here and sent me thoughtful disagreements and urgings. (Although some of the disagreements have been not-so-thoughtful.)

Yesterday's discussions opened with a speech by Murata-sensei about the US. Here are some of my notes.

His main point was that the Japanese do not understand the US and should study more before making assumptions and decisions about the US.

There are notes that I took during the talk. Some of the figures and statements may have been misheard. If anyone has better stats or knows the sources of these stats, please let me know.

There are basically three ways to look at the strength of a nation. It's military force, the economy and the values. Values include information and culture. The US clearly the military leader, is 1/4 of the world economy, 80-90% of the Net is still in English and Hollywood is 75% of the world cinema market.

Bush has shifted a great deal from his original position of focused alliances and not sending troops to a "coalition of the willing and able" and sending troops.

Before Bush there was a great deal of focus on the Blue Team/Red Team (Anti-China/Pro-China). You rarely hear these terms these days.

The Japanese talk a lot about American Neo-Conservatism without really understanding it. The Japanese don't realize that it's specific term referring to people like Leo Strauss.

US nationalism, unlike most any other country is focused on the political system and system of government which makes it quite unique.

The US is quite religious. (not sure if I got these numbers right) 72% of Muslims polled think religion is "important" whereas 85% of Americans thought religion was "important".

18% of people in a poll thought they they were "Religious Right Wing". 12% of Americans are African-Americans. Approximately 9% of Japanese are Soka Gakkai which back the Komeito Party. His point was that even at 9% the Komeito Party is able to exert a great deal of influence over policy in Japan and this shows how powerful a force religion is in US politics.

Some people clump the neo-cons together with the religious right, but that's not very accurate. The neo-con's are rather elitist and focused on foreign policy and military issues. Most religious right are populist and more concerned with guns, religion and domestic issues.

There are approximately 6 million Jews in the US, approximately the same as the population of Israel. However, most Japanese over-estimate the influence that Jews have on US politics.

There are around 5 million Muslims in France and Germany compared to 60 million total population putting them at around 6-7% of the population. This affects their differences in opinion about the Middle East.

The US thinks there is a great deal of anti-semitism, whereas the EU and Japan feel that the US is too pro-Israel.

In a recent European poll about who was the greatest threat to world peace, 59% said Israel. Second place was a tie between the US, Iraq and Iran.

He felt that the Bush administration was changing in a positive way to adapt to the current issues.

Many well known people in Europe predicted that such a diverse country as the US would never be able to conduct global diplomacy or become a super-power because of the lack of culture, diplomatic tradition and diversity. They were obviously wrong.

If Japan today at the power that the US had, would Japan be as humble as the US is today? Historically, military might was abused during WWII and during the bubble, Japan abused its economic power. Therefore, the US is handling its power better than Japan would. China is still not ready to wield super-power. The only other country that MIGHT be able to handle itself is the UK.

Regarding the US/Japan relationship. it is asymmetrical and regardless of what the Japanese think they are not equal. There is nothing in Japan's power that will reverse the relationship regardless how well Japan does. The only chance that it would change is if there is an internal failure in the US system. This asymmetry is understood logically by Japan, but not emotionally and causes a great deal of frustration. One risk is that even if Bush stays for another term, Powell will probably leave, taking Armitage. There will be no obvious Japan expert on the team. Also, there is no obvious Japan expert on the Democratic side either. This could hurt relations between the two countries.

The Japanese understanding of the US is shallow. Most Japanese law students haven't even read the US constitution. Most of Japan's understanding of the US is economic or cultural.

"People who know only one country could not even understand their own country."

Japan is maybe lucky because the bubble burst at the end of the cold war. There was a risk that Japan could be cast as the next enemy, but the new weaker Japan did not become a target.

People complain that the US has too much power, but if it had total power, it would also be able to control the UN, which it does not.

The EU looks at the US and Middle East as immature nations which have not been able to separate the Church and the State. Europe had many bloody years of history to achieve this and the US and Islam are still coming to terms with this.

One thing that I am struck by, having been at several conferences lately where we have had discussions about US foreign policy is the inability for foreigners to affect US foreign policy. The US seems ready to ignore the UN and the rest of the world when they disagree with it.

So let me get this right. The US is going to become the world's policeman and will bomb the bad guys into democracy. The US will become so rich and powerful that there will no longer be hatred and wars? The US will become the one nation to rule them all and American culture bind them?

In this scenario the US is kind of like a super state, but only American citizens can vote, right? Only American citizens have rights. What does this mean exactly?

I think that the US needs to seriously consider the consequences of alienating the rest of the world and trying to become a super-class global citizen and ruler of the world without a significant change in its attitude towards other nations and other cultures. We are in an integrated world where it is impossible to isolate yourself economically, culturally or even militarily.

I'm not (yet) asking to be allowed to participate in the US elections, but I do think it is important to understand just how important it is for the US to get along with its neighbors. The only way to get along with people is to understand them and talk to them. The tragedy of the human psychological tendency to not care about cultures and people who you don't know or are different from you is something we can no longer tolerate.

I think the US is going down the slippery slope of becoming one of the most hated nations in the world when it still possible for it to be one of the most loved nation if only it learned to listen to, respect and understand the rest of us.

I guess my point is that we need some sort of global democracy that is inclusive of everyone which embraces diversity. I know I'm oversimplifying the issues, but I've been quiet the last few days so I felt like a rant. ;-)

The lack of activity in the US in protesting the treatment of foreign national at the borders, the extradition of foreign nationals to countries known to torture and disinterest in the the profiling and secret arrests of Americans of Middle Eastern descent is disconcerting.

Remember, some day they may come looking for you.

Pastor Martin Niemöller

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

November 5, 2003 - Wednesday

The following is from Information Clearing House today.

"Note: Unconfirmed Report"
Can any of our Scottish readers verify the following report:

Since Saturday, people in the Highlands of Scotland have been witnessing large movements of US warplanes overhead. Experienced observers say the large numbers are reminiscent of those that preceded the bombing of Iraq in 1998 and military strikes against Libya in the 1980's, as well as the first Gulf War.

It is thought that the planes have flown on a route over the North Pole to bases in Europe and the Mediterranean. The size and scale of the movement suggests that the US may be preparing to strike against a country in the Middle East in the next week to ten days. I have been getting a lot of email referring to this report. If you have information in relation to the above, please email me at email@cox.net"

Has anyone seen this or know of any other information about this? Is the US about to attack someone else?

Via Markoff

The session on the second day of the Japan Society roundtable was amazing. It was so full of interesting opinions by so many experts that I really had very little to add. I uncharacteristically just sat there and took notes.

Here are some of the notes.

It appears that there are two risk scenarios for the ascension of China as a super-power. One risk is that it doesn't happen and a failure in the Chinese economy would cause a global crisis. The other risk is that China is so successful that it becomes so powerful that it is a threat to the region. It appears that the Chinese are much more worried of failing whereas the rest of the world is more afraid of their success.

Regarding US/Japan relations. There was an interesting opinion raised that some Japanese believe that the Chinese reaction to the Prime Minister visiting Yasukuni shrine is an over-reaction. They believe that the Chinese are intentionally difficult about historical issues to keep a rift between Japan and China for political and other purposes. The LDP which is based on economic grown and a strong relationship with the US has failed on the economy so is working very hard to deliver a good relationship with the US in light of the difficulty with China. Other people opined that relations between China and Japan have never been better in the last 100 years.

It was pointed out that 60% of people in Japan are against sending Japanese troops to Iraq. Koizumi has stated that he will definitely send troops to Iraq. Still, 60% of people support Koizumi.

Japanese people are generally supportive of the strong personal relationship between Bush and Koizumi.

Another interesting observation was that when Japan was confident and economically strong, many people were afraid of any addition expansion of the Japanese military. Now with Japan weaker and less confident, people seem to be positive of expanding Japan's role in security.

The issue of why Japan was so different from Germany in acknowledging history and deploy troops in peacekeeping operations was raised. The paradox of Japanese not feeling guilty for the war, yet being pacifist or negative about sending troops was raised. It was noted that this is an old discussion. There were arguments that Japan and Germany were actually very similar and other arguments that they were not. The regional difference of neighboring countries in in Europe urging Germany to participate in peacekeeping in Europe vs. most Asian countries relatively negative about the idea of rearming Japan also played a role.

One opinion about why the Japanese people do not want to expand the military was that the Japanese people did not feel that they could trust the government with addition power and did not like the image of the police state. In fact, they remember the pre-war Japanese police state and also the military being out of control. They feel that politicians and civilians can not control the bureaucracy. I personally feel this way.

The issue of the revisionist right wing text books was raised. One opinion was that these right wing revisionists were actually not the main stream, but a reaction. Only 0.3% of school actually ended up using the revised texts and the movement is considered a failure.

The issue of whether the strong US/Japan alliance was actually a good thing. Several people opined that allowing Japan to have more multilateral relationships might allow it to become more "normal." Everyone had difficulty defining "normal" but someone observed that "normal" usually meant countries willing to use force. Having said that, there were negative opinions about the UN as a multilateral relationship vehicle and the idea of a Pacific NATO like security organization was raised. Several people said that it was difficult since NATO was based on a very specific threat, the Soviet Union, which countries rallied under. There is really not a very strong trigger for such an organization now. Others disagreed. They felt that if the US was a referee and supported this in the way Clinton supported the formation of APEC, it might happen, but that the US didn't seem very interested.

It was pointed out that since Japan is aging so quickly, it can not be motivated very strongly to grow its military. Most countries which expanded security forces were usually countries that had a lot of young people. It was noted that the Kim Jon Il said during his trip across Russia on the train, that he had "too many people." This is one reason why he might be happier to send troops to war than Japan where there are so few young people. Another point was that people-to-people contact and tourism has increased significantly. Visas to Korea from Japan have been dropped and many people are traveling to China. The third point was that the economies were becoming increasingly integrated. For these reasons, it was unlikely that Japan would become a military threat or that a war in Asia was likely (other than the North Korea risk.) In counterpoint, another person pointed out that there were no visas and there was a great deal of economic interdependence in Europe right before World War I.

It was also pointed out that until 10 or 20 years ago, the Japanese were always forced to choose between interest in Asia or interest in the West. Recently this is no longer the case. Japan can be close to Asia as well as a strong US partner. In fact, a strong China/US/Japan multilateral relationship could be truly win-win.

We talked a lot about FTA's. An opinion was raised that if Koizumi was able to win this coming election, that he would probably have enough political power to push back on agriculture to open FTA and would revise the constitution.

Maher Arar, a dual Canadian-Syrian citizen was arrested at a stopover in JFK in New York and deported to Syria by the US government. It seems to be unclear how they decided he was a "suspected terrorist" but it took close to a year in a prison in Syria and a lot of torture for them to decide that he was OK to be sent back to Canada. Obviously, it's probably easier for a Syrian national to get on a "list" than a Japanese, but this really scary. They say he had had a relationship with another suspected terrorist who is also being imprisoned and tortured now in Syria. He says he barely knew the guy.

So what does this mean for us? If we meet someone, we should not "become friendly" with them until we are certain that they are not a suspected terrorist. What does this mean? We need to make sure they don't hang out with other suspected terrorists. So if you believe in six degrees, it's likely at some point you will be a suspected terrorist.

How do they know if you hang out with someone? Friendster? LinkedIn? Your email? We need to be VERY careful about the privacy of not just the content of our communication, but the privacy of who we are in touch with, often called sigint, or signal intelligence.

Seriously though, this will cause a chilling effect on meeting, calling, emailing or otherwise "being in touch with" anyone who you don't know very well that could land you on the "suspected terrorist" list.

For articles about the Maher Arar case, just do a google news search. The article where he finally talks to the media directly is here.

The Dean campaign has an important choice to make. He has to either choose to accept US federal matching funds and have his spending capped at $45 million or waive the funds and be allowed to raise and spend more. Bush is raising $200 million from large companies. With the incredible grassroots fund raising so far, Dean should probably waive the matching funds and go for it, he is asking on his blog and via email to all 484,000 members of his campaign what THEY think he should do.

This decision is no longer mine to make. This is a campaign of the people, by the people and for the people. Your successful effort of raising a historic amount of money through small contributions has made this choice possible. This is why I am putting this decision in your hands.

I am asking you to vote on what kind of a campaign we will conduct from this point forward. No matter how well intentioned both our options are – the choice is difficult: do we choose option (a) to fund our campaign ourselves and decline matching funds, or do we choose option (b) and accept federal matching funds and the spending limits?

You will receive a ballot via email on Thursday and have until midnight Friday to vote. The results will be announced on Saturday.

This is really amazing. This is so grassroots and activating. Way to go folks!

Via Jim Moore who was in Burlington with Dean volunteers. Jim has a great entry about this.

Participated in an interesting roundtable discussion this morning organized by the Japan Society. I was told I could write about it but I couldn't attribute quotes without permission.

There were representatives from the US, China, Taiwan and Korea.

An interesting point that was raised was that the older generation conservatives in Japan were unrealistic because they had been protected by the US, whereas the conservatives in South Korea were realistic enough to deal with the unrealistic Japanese. On the other hand, the younger generation in South Korea were unrealistic because they had not experienced the Korea war and the threat of North Korea, whereas the Japanese younger generation seemed to be more realistic. The point was that when the South Korean younger generation became more realistic, a stronger tie to Japan might be realized.

I think it was the consensus of the group that the constitution of Japan should be revised to allow Japan to participate in peacekeeping operations, improve self-defense and improve the alliance with the US. Everyone agreed that the relationship with the US was in good shape right now, but that failure to deal with the North Korea situation could lead to a disagreement about whether Japan should go nuclear, the US should attack or a variety of issues on how to deal with North Korea. However, the North Korea crisis in any event is helping the US/Japan relationship for now and the trend is probably to push for strengthening the alliance and try to get Japan included in the US missile defense system. The other area where the relationship my become problematic is if the US is not supportive of Japan's efforts to help organize ASEAN+3 and other Asian economic trade organization that exclude the US. Both of these seemed to be manageable issues.

With respect to the "identity of Japan"... There was an opinion raised that Japan should push to democratize Asia as the leading democracy in Asia. There were some opinions that "democracy" was politically touchy since there were friendly non-democracies in ASEAN countries and words like "governance" or "open and tolerant societies" might be better. I argued (as usual) that Japan was not a democracy so it was strange for Japan to that democracy was Japan's identity. Also, democracy requires embracing diversity which we do not do at home. Until we embrace diversity at home, we will not be very convincing when going to try to promote democracy abroad. I said that we should focus on dealing with diversity and racism at home and become and example rather than trying to push it abroad. I said that I thought we shouldn't under-estimate the emotional rift between Japan and other Asian countries and that we needed to deal with this before trying to be an Asian leader.

I also pointed out that the baby boomers were still in power in Japan and the bureaucracy including the foreign ministry didn't represent the young people in Japan. I said that until the changing of the guard it was unlikely that things would really change much. I thought that social entrepreneurship, weblogs and other non-traditional foreign relations between young people was probably going to have a larger effect on reaching out to Asia. I asserted that I thought the grassroots movements and activating the voice of the people, not more bureaucratic deliberations about foreign policy were probably more important.

Also, the point of whether national identity should have anything to do with foreign policy was raised.

Senator John Edwards, a presidential candidate will start guest blogging on Lessig's blog Monday. The announcement is here. Very cool.

The Associated Press
U.S. Unveils ID System

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The public got its first look Tuesday at fingerprinting and photo equipment that will be installed at 115 airports and 14 seaports to check identities of millions of foreign visitors.

The equipment, which goes into use Jan. 5, will allow inspectors to check identities of visitors against those on terrorist watch lists.
[...]
The system consists of a small box that digitally scans fingerprints and a spherical computer camera that snaps pictures. It will be used for the estimated 24 million foreigners traveling on tourist, business and student visas who enter through an airport or seaport.

I wonder what they're going to use this data for? I wonder if they are going to "share" it with other governments. If they start putting these things all over the place, the risk to someone getting on some "list" will not be limited to just being harassed entering the US.

George Herbert Walker Bush
from his memoir, "A World Transformed" (1998)

Trying to eliminate Saddam...would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible.... We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq.... there was no viable "exit strategy" we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land.

I wonder if his son read this?

Via Markoff

I had a really interesting IM chat with Gary this morning. He's writing an article for Wired about the Internet side of the Dean campaign. He's blogging about it as well. Very cool. It looks like he's having a lot of interesting conversations. A must read blog entry, which will probably lead to a great article. Like Dan Gillmor and Jeff Jarvis, he is another journalists who seems to understand the value of blogging. And... free fact checking. ;-)

Cory and the EFF have been leading the charge to stop the broadcast flag proposal. Lessig chimes in. The broadcast flag is a bad thing which is anti-end-to-end. Fight for the Stupid Network!

If this entry is cryptic to you, you need to learn more about the broadcast flag and why it is bad. Click on the links.

schwarz4.jpgThe entry on Bopuc's blog about Japander.com reminded me of my blog entry about my favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger commercials in Japan for energy drinks. This is also relevant to the entry about Lost in Translation since Bill Murray's role is probably what Arnold had to go through. Anyway, definitely worth a look if you haven't seen these commercials already. They're great.

My original blog entry about Trevor's fiance Beate's treatment when trying to enter the US is starting to sink into my archives, but the dialog continues. Both Beate and Tervor have commented. Trevor's brother Dan has a blog. Dan Gillmor's blog and the British Expats blog also have extensive comments.

Both in my blog and Dan Gillmor's blog, people have made sort of insensitive comments about the couple before the couple commented. Important lesson: People you think about in third person can read blogs and have a voice. "They" are real people. I think it's great that we're able to have such an open dialog about stuff like this with the people who were actually involved. I know many people at the embassies read blogs. What do you folks think? You should chime in. ;-)

Dan
Turned Away at Border

The love story of Trevor Hughes and his fiancee began in an elementary school in the Himalayan foothills.

They were "global nomads." He was a diplomat's son. She the daughter of missionaries. They lived in Asia, attended school together, fell in love and want to get married in June.

But when Hughes' fiancee, a German national, tried to visit him on a six-month tourist visa Monday, she was detained in Atlanta, handcuffed, jailed--even stripped of her diamond engagement ring.

Then, after 20 hours without food, she was put on a plane and shipped back to Stuttgart.

Horrible story. I was also harassed at the border this time, much worse than I've ever been. I have a zillion stamps in my passport and it's obvious that I travel frequently to the US, but the questions were quite relentless. The Homeland Security officer was really tough on everyone and when it was turn for the Japanese woman in front of me to go up, she was so frightened, she was shaking and couldn't even speak. He kept asking her name and she opened her mouth and nothing came out. I haven't seen anyone so scared.

Anyway, for anyone traveling to the US... It's TOTALLY different now. I may have just hit a particularly tough guy, but the mood is totally different now. The questions are totally different now. Be prepared to explain everything about your trip, your history, your nationality and your job in great detail. My guy this trip didn't know what a venture capitalist was so I had to explain that too...

I think I'm going to start cutting back my travel to the US. I definitely don't want to end up in some jail with no food for 20 hours... The US might as well put up a sign saying, "your trip may be randomly terminated for security purposes..."

via Boing Boing

Ross Mayfield rants about the problems of direct democracy and the difference between emergent democracy and direct democracy. This was one of the points that I had difficulty making during the Harvard Law School class. Rojisan and I talked about it last night too. Emergent democracy IS NOT the same as using technology to scale direct democracy. Emergent democracy is about leadership through giving up control, activating the people to engage through deliberation and action, and allowing emergent order to grow from the grass roots. It's the difference between a couch potato clicking the vote button and a group of people starting their own Dean coalition group.

That's the difference between the Dean Campaign and what just happened in California. They may both be symptoms of people unhappy with the current regime, but they are very different types of democracy.

The FCC says it's OK to say "fuck" on TV. So it is OK to broadcast, "fucking USA" ?

Via MetaFilter and Boing Boing

The Dean campaign just announced Howard Dean's Internet Initiative.

I will be participating in the Net Advisory Net and I am in good company.

The Net Advisory Net

The Net Advisory Net will present to the Governor and his team diverse and highly-informed opinions concerning the Internet and its potential impact upon society. While many of the members support Dean, he is seeking advice, not endorsements, and the advisors do not necessary support the campaign. Learn more at http://www.deanforamerica.com/NAN.

The first NAN team will focus on how to bridge the "digital divide" by providing universal broadband access to the Internet. Initial members of the broadband committee include: Hal Abelson, Laura Breeden, DeWayne Hendricks, Joi Ito, Lawrence Lessig, Bob Lucky, David Reed, Richard Rowe and David Weinberger. Other working groups will be established to address the potential of e-government to increase our democracy, balancing the rights of artists and the public domain, protecting the privacy of customers and citizens, electronic voting, protecting children and vulnerable communities from Internet exploitation, and controlling spam without impeding the basic architecture of the Web. The goal of each working group will be to frame issues and hold conversations about public policies in order to prepare specific suggestions for the Governor to consider and proposals for addressing these issues in a Dean administration.

I think the Dean campaign's involvement of the Internet could revolutionize the way politics and democracy work. I'm excited to be part of the team and am very interested in how this ties into emergent democracy. I'm also looking forward to taking what we learn and bringing it back to Japan.

There is a less boastful and better post about this with a bunch of links on David Weinberger's blog.

Steven Johnson, the author of Emergence, (the book that inspired me to start thinking about Emergent Democracy) recently blogged about grassroots political ads created with desktop tools. He created a cool quicktime mock ad for the Clark campaign and later Sean created a version with music and voiceover. Steven created this with iPhoto and Keynote.

Very cool use of desktop technology and weblogs. I hope we see a lot more of this stuff. I particularly like the collaborative aspect. Steven, you should put a creative commons license on your ad. ;-)

A fascinating experiment

...in ideaviruses, permission marketing and cows.

Worth a look, regardless of your politics: whowillbeatbush.com

Very Seth. Very interesting. ;-)

A very important message from Cory Doctorow about the broken process at the IEEE on electronic voting machine standardization. If you are an IEEE member or have influence at the IEEE you should read this.

The IEEE, normally the sobersided epitome of integrity and accountability, has had one of its standards-committees jump the tracks. The people who are writing the IEEE standard for voting machines have been doing their best to rig their deliberative process ot exclude input from non-vendors who want the standard to include performance metrics that will guard against electoral malfeasance. This is heavy stuff: the standard this committee produces will likely form the basis of the US goverment's voting-machine purchases (as well as those of governments abroad), and if there are holes in the standard today, they will be biting our democracies on the ass for decades. There's never been a clearer demonstration that "architecture is politics."

IEEE is better than this. If you're a member of the organization, please take a moment to read up on this disaster-in-the-making and then use the form at the EFF's action-center to write to the IEEE and ask them to investigate this -- before it's too late.

..instead of using this opportunity to create a performance standard, setting benchmarks for e-voting machines to meet with regards to testing the security, reliability, accessibility and accuracy of these machines, P1583 created a design standard, describing how electronic voting machines should be configured (and following the basic plans of most current electronic voting machines). Even more problematic, the standard fails to require or even recommend that voting machines be truly voter verified or verifiable, a security measure that has broad support within the computer security community.

To make matters worse, EFF has received reports of serious procedural problems with the P1538 and SCC 38 Committee processes, including shifting roadblocks placed in front of those who wish to participate and vote, and failure to follow basic procedural requirements.We've heard claims that the working group and committee leadership is largely controlled by representatives of the electronic voting machine vendor companies and others with vested interests.

Link

Britt Blaser
I'm writing from Dean campaign headquarters in Burlington, VT with an urgent appeal.

The Howard Dean campaign is growing like a startup that's suddenly got hot. This IS a tech startup, and it needs 2 real pros yesterday.

I've attached descriptions from Harish Rao, IT Director.

If you know anyone qualified, or anyone who might find them, PLEASE contact Harish immediately. This campaign is at an inflection point. They may not pay much now, but there's a good chance it will turn into a VERY interesting 8 year gig.

They need a system administrator and a database administrator.

If you know someone qualified, contact Harish

Although the Republican National Committee denies it, The Business Standard in India reports that the Republicans are outsourcing campaign fund-raising to India. The new law in the US allows people to opt out of telemarketing from everyone except political parties and non-profits. If the RNC is outsourcing to India, I guess it leaves only the Democrats and non-profits for people who make a living in telemarketing. Bummer.

Jobs are created when the economy grows; the economy grows when Americans have more money to spend and invest; and the best and fairest way to make sure Americans have that money is not to tax it away in the first place.
I didn't realize that Bush was talking about jobs in India. (I personally don't have anything against creating jobs in India...)

Via David Weinberger Via Michael O'Connor Clarke

CNN
BREAKING NEWS

State Department warns of "increased indications" that al Qaeda is preparing attacks on U.S. interests to coincide with 9/11 anniversary. Details soon.

Ahh... OK. What do I? Run away?

Thanks for the link Gabe

UPDATE: More details on State Department warning on CNN.

Reuters
Report: Dean Asks Wesley Clark to Join Campaign

Thu September 11, 2003 01:47 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean has asked former NATO commander Wesley Clark to join his campaign if Clark does not run himself and the two have discussed the vice presidency, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

This is good news. I'd love to see this duo in the Whitehouse.

I saw Wesley Clark at Brainstorm and at FiRE and was really impressed by him. I wonder if he's going to accept the offer...

Thanks for the link Jerry

Doc links to a "Girl Blog from Iraq", Baghdad Burning by Salam's friend Riverbend.