Sunday, December 07, 2008

[beauty] can be found even in the dystopic

There's speculation as to the origin of Blake's Dark Satanic Mills but methinks you need go no further than the road north from Guisborough, just before skirting Middlesborough on the elevated A19.

If you look down on the valley from that high point, there are your dark satanic mills or at least multiple smokestacks belching into the atmosphere and it's one of the most poignant images I think I ever beheld. Perhaps the high hillside elevation burned it into the memory all the more and maybe it was because I always seemed to get there just before dusk on a dull and gloomy day.


They seem to have cleaned up their act a bit now but the contrast between the exquisitely beautiful Britain and the dire, satanic is still stark as you travel up and down the country. Makes a person think how a people could ever let it get that way and yet the people didn't, did they? They were in thrall then, as they are now.

The way Britain is arranged, the contrasts within such short distances, the hills and the complexity of winding roads, the architectural styles, the sense of history and the ancient walls, these are complemented by the unique sense of dress which I quite like, especially in the north.

Most people here prefer beautiful places such as the stately home above and the majority of pics on blogs show the beautiful vignette or vista. However, there can be a terrible beauty in dystopic visions as well and if you want a contrast like that, you can do worse than go to the land of contrasts - Russia.

Whichever way you slice it, Russia is a harsh land and the picture below illustrates this. If you're caught out here, there are no beg pardons and you do die if you're silly enough not to be adequately rugged up, especially on the head and feet. Vodka does help cut the chill, as well as a companion but ultimately, you're on your own, with no support services.

Below is a fairly typical street scene in the back streets although the high street now has its shiny facades and boutique window shopping. If you want to get an idea of the contrast between beauty and dystopia, imagine chic women, dressed to the nines, picking there way gingerly along these tracks on their way home from work to their housing block.

In Russia, there is the raw beauty of nature, the vodka [or cognac] and the women and you can't avoid any of them. I don't particularly like vodka [preferring whisky] but if you're invited to your girlfriend's parents or grandparents, then you must have your snort of vodka when the grandfather brings out the two glasses and the bottle.

He's no alcoholic but it's the law of hospitality to splash your glass and his - it's a sign of acceptance and to refuse doesn't bear thinking about - it wouldn't compute in his brain. So I usually stuck to a three glass limit, as my mind was on the other part of the equation - my girlfriend.

Men and women live by extremes. If you are industrious, then you're a workaholic. If you're fond of the vodka, you can be an alcoholic but as so much is consumed, there's no hard and fast definition of this. Women demand their men to be men and the men expect the women to look fabulous, which they do. Everything is done hard - partying, shopping, sex, board games - it's all done at maximum velocity.

If you look at this pic above, you'll maybe notice the jar of pickled coleslaw. For a picnic in the forest, there'll be some sort of meat - often thick slices of whole fish pre-fried and tin-foiled up, there must be a salad or two and potato in some form, plus the drinks. someone will have brought the tea in a flask and there'll be plastic bags of sweets and some fruit.

Look at the stark scene behind as well. I think this is what distinguishes much of western Europe from Russia. In Europe, it is chic within a chic setting. In Russia, it is always beauty against this starkness and with the dystopic not so far away. It's intense and different.

[pseudonyms] a rose by any other name

For one point each:

1. Nikolaus Gunthar Nakazynski and Werner H. Stipetić had a tempestuous relationship which produced five classics. Name one of them.

2. Which hit did Joan Marie Larkin and Thomas Gregory Jackson both have separately?

3. Name one film with Betty Joan Perske in a leading role.

4. Eric Arthur Blair wrote a novel which is quite topical in this day and age. What was it?

5. Name one of
Marion Michael Morrison's classics.

For a second point each, what were their stage, musical or literary personae?

Some of the answers only

Saturday, December 06, 2008

[still sick] firing on one cylinder

Shall be back as soon as the ears and chest come up to 50%. First task - to visit you.

[mc cain] where does he stand on eligibility

A quote:

""United States Code
""Title 8 Aliens and Nationality
""Section 1403 - Persons born in the Canal Zone or Republic of Panama on or after February 26, 1904

(a) Any person born in the Canal Zone on or after February 26, 1904, and whether before or after the effective date of this chapter, whose father or mother or both at the time of the birth of such person was or is a citizen of the United States, is declared to be a citizen of the United States.

(b) Any person born in the Republic of Panama on or after February 26, 1904, and whether before or after the effective date of this chapter, whose father or mother or both at the time of the birth of such person was or is a citizen of the United States employed by the Government of the United States or by the Panama Railroad Company, or its successor in title, is declared to be a citizen of the United States.

A further comment:

I was born in Christobar Canal Zone, hospital. But, My Birth Certificate says I was born in Colon, Republic of Panama. Coco Solo Naval Base Hospital in the Canal Zone was not built when McCain was born in 1936, it was built during WWII. He was most likely born in the same Hospital that I was. If his parents did not go the the America Consult in Panama and register his birth using Form No.240a when he was born he is not US Citizen. There are a lot of "rules" covering US Citizen whos chrildren were born over seas. Which I will not cover here. Mark my words that if he win the election in 2008 then Democrates will take it to Court.

Using the same law source as the one which disqualified Obama, here is what it says about McCain's situation:

May 25, 1934 to January 12, 1941 If you were born between May 25, 1934 and January 12, 1941, you acquired U.S. citizenship at birth if both your parents were U.S. citizens and at least one lived in the United States before you were born. You didn't have to do anything special to keep your U.S. citizenship.
You could also get U.S. citizenship if only one of your parents was a U.S. citizen, as long as that parent lived in the United States at some time. If your U.S. citizenship came from only one parent, you would have been required to reside in the United States for at least two years between the ages of 14 and 28 in order to retain your citizenship. If the one U.S. citizen parent was your father and you were born outside of marriage, the same rules applied if your father legally legitimated you.

McCain was born in 1936. Now click on the fragment below for a clearer view of the law at the time:

and this section [click again]:

From that, it seems that McCain's parents did not have a pro-active obligation to register him in the Canal Zone, at that time, in order for him to be "natural born". The grounds were that both parents were U.S. citizens at the time. Let's look at if they were.

John S. McCain Jr
Roberta McCain

The only question mark here is whether a Mexican wedding constitutes marriage under U.S. law and whether John McCain, their son, was therefore legitimate:

In Mexico, only civil marriage is recognized as legal. Persons wishing to do so may also have a religious ceremony, but this is without legal effect and in no way replaces the obligatory civil marriage. A civil wedding in Mexico is fully valid for legal purposes in the U.S., but a religious ceremony without the civil ceremony is not, as U.S. law only recognizes marriages which are valid in the country in which they take place. This point is an especially important one for couples planning on applying for an immigrant visa for one of them who is not a U.S. citizen. Without the civil ceremony, an application for a visa on the basis of the religious marriage will not be accepted.

That seems to be that.

What next?

As Obama, by any definition, is ineligible, my feeling is that they will bludgeon him through to January, as they did with Nixon and he will, in fact, become the President. The parallels with 1972-4 are striking and I'll go into those further down the page.

When he is finally forced to stand down, an unprecedented situation on this count, then the question is whether the election itself is also invalidated. As this will come down to opinion, it will be the Reps and Senate who would surely decide that, under advice from the judiciary.

As they are overwhelmingly Democrat, even given a number of moral Dems who might cross the floor, it would probably be voted in that Biden be the President for the remainder of that term. I can't see it going to the situation where the GOP and Dems each put up candidates [along with some independents] who are voted for in the house.

The question then becomes whether Obama would be eligible for Vice-President. Even the Dems couldn't do that, surely, and would approve a third candidate.


The GOP would argue, of course, that as McCain is legit and Obama not, that the election go to McCain by default. That would take some fighting.


I was young at the time and remember the Watergate break-in coming on the radio. For two days it dominated the airwaves and then seemed to fade from the MSM. Even at that point it seemed to me that that must disqualify Nixon from re-election.

Not a bit of it.

Just like the Blair/Brown hoodwinking of the British people later, the Americans were enthralled by Nixon and he had a landslide win, ably assisted by the dirty tricks of Segretti and others but more in the choice of the Democrat opponent.

I was stunned at the American people at that time, wondering how they could be so blind. The issue eventually became: "How much did Nixon know and when did he know it?"

Here's the smoking gun transcript. Note the date.

So, Woodstein made their moves and as the only things you heard and read were what the MSM let you hear and read in those days, it seemed that they were the great unveilers.

Actually, the shovel work had been done by the FBI and though Deep Throat was one factor, for sure, the FBI itself had the goods on Nixon. The only question, with Obama, is whether the FBI coughs up and breaks the people from their deep slumber or whether they don't.

In 1997 when Smith died of a "heart attack" and Blairown took power in a tidal wave of blandishments, it was clear that corruption was about to grip the British people. Same when Nixon was re=elected. Same now if the Dark Lord gets bludgeoned through, regardless.

[obama] or soetoro or dunham or whoever he is


The Supreme Court held off Friday on deciding whether to grant a hearing in a long-shot lawsuit that would decide whether Barack Obama can constitutionally become president as a "natural born" U.S. citizen.

The Friday list of court orders that denies or grants hearings did not mention the lawsuit, which says Mr. Obama should be disqualified from the presidency because he purportedly acquired the same British citizenship that his father had when he was born.

A spokesman for the court said the decision on whether to hear the suit brought by retired New Jersey lawyer Leo Donofrio is likely to be announced next week.

That it even got to the Supreme Court is a surprise, given all the other suits, based on his not being born in Hawaii, being blocked on the grounds that the plaintiffs could not show "harm" that Obama's non-citizenship would cause.

Harm? WTF?

This lawsuit concedes Obama born in Hawaii [not in the least proven, given all the material below] but as such lawsuits disputing this never made it past first base, this one has a small chance. What stuns me is that Obama ignored a direct SCOTUS order to produce the original, plus there was a 60 000 signature petition to them.

That certificate

Wiki says:

Long forms, also known as certified photocopies, book copies, and photostat copies, are exact photocopies of the original birth record that was prepared by the hospital or attending physician at the time of the child's birth.

The long form usually includes parents' information (address of residence, race, birth place, date of birth, etc.), additional information on the child's birthplace, and information on the doctors that assisted in the birth of the child. The long form also usually includes the signature of the doctor involved and at least one of the parents.

What Obama’s camp produced, electronically, was a “computer copy”, a short extract, minus all the details including:

1. hospital where born;
2. signatures of the long form.


Israelinsider, written by Reuven Koret. claims:

Janice Okubo, Director of Communications of the State of Hawaii Department of Health made clear that no birth certification, or certification of live birth is transmitted electronically, and that all certificates of live birth contain an embossed seal and registrar’s signature on the back of the document.

He [an quoted investigator] then compares the 1961 Certification of Live Birth, presented as authentic on the Obama website, to one certifying the Hawaiian birth of a Patricia Decosta. The similarities and differences are quite noticeable.

Both contain a green bamboo background, though one is noticeably darker. Both contain borders that are noticeably different. Obama’s is green, and Decosta’s is black.

Of note are the lack of an embossed seal and the registrar’s signature, on the copy being presented by Obama. Decosta’s seal, even faded with time is quite prominent, as is the registrar’s signature that bleeds through to the front of the document. The lack of these two items makes it clear that the copy presented by Obama may in fact be a fake.

Missing details

Of more concern to SCOTUS is that, whereas ordinarily, the court would automatically accept a statement by the Hawaiian registrar that this was a true extract from the original, Justice Souter decided that sufficient cause existed for them to demand that Obama produce the original by December 1st.

WND added:

The governor's communication with WND also left ambiguous whether the Obama birth certificate on file with the Department of Health was originally generated by a Hawaii doctor after giving birth to Obama in Hawaii, or generated in Kenya and subsequently registered by the Obama family in Hawaii.

Obama failed to meet the December 1st deadline and his camp threw its weight behind the extract as being tantamount to a “birth certificate”, something their justices do not accept. On a website Fight the Smears, the Obama camp re-states that what they are showing is his birth certificate.

No, it is not, not under U.S. law.

This therefore, depending on further SCOTUS action, means that there will be either executive/judiciary collusion or else an executive/judiciary stand-off. There is no middle ground.

Michelle Obama’s statement

By telephone to API:

“My husband was born in Hawaii and adopted by his stepfather. Does that make him unpatriotic? The important thing here is where my husband’s heart is at the moment. I can tell the American people that my husband loves this country and his adoption never changed his love for this country. He was born in Hawaii, yes, and that gives him all the right to be an American citizen, even though he was adopted by a foreigner.”

If this was so and his name was therefore Barry Soetoro, which gained him an Indonesian identity document, which each school child required in those days, then that supports his trip to Pakistan in 1980, when it was under military rule and closed to U.S. travellers. As an Indonesian, he could have travelled there though.

Now, if his name is Barry Soetoro, then his original birth certificate, according to U.S. law, must be “sealed” in the vault, along with the names of the original parent. This is one explanation as to why the vault copy has not been released but does not explain why he is Barack Obama and not Barry Soetoro.

That interview with the ambassador

On Nov. 6, only two days after the election, Detroit radio talk-show hosts Mike Clark, Trudi Daniels and Marc Fellhauer on WRIF’s “Mike In The Morning” called the Embassy of Kenya in Washington, D.C., to speak with Ambassador Ogego. The radio hosts were surprised when their light-hearted interview with Ogego reignited suspicions that Obama may have been born in Kenya.

Clark: “We want to congratulate you on Barack Obama, our new president, and you must be very proud.”

Ogego: “We are. We are. We are also proud of the U.S. for having made history as well.”

Fellhauer: “One more quick question, President-elect Obama’s birthplace over in Kenya, is that going to be a national spot to go visit, where he was born?”

Ogego: “It’s already an attraction. His paternal grandmother is still alive.”

Fellhauer: “His birthplace, they’ll put up a marker there?”

Ogego: “It would depend on the government. It’s already well known.”

At first, the importance of the statement seemed to elude two of the admittedly light-headed radio presenters but the third realized the import and put the question in a different way and then, in the next section of the programme, where they rang someone else in Kenya, the insinuation was slipped in again, again with no denial or correction.

Here is the whole interview by the radio station. Look for "Play Now"

When it became clear that a faux pas had been made, an assistant to the ambassador, referring to herself only as “Trudy,” confirmed that Ogego had indeed participated in the radio interview. But she said the show made leading statements and took the comments out of context. Ogego’s assistant insisted he was speaking about Barack Obama Sr., and not President-elect Obama, per se.

WND asked her, “Is Obama’s birthplace in Kenya?”

The woman replied firmly, “No.” She said she could not say why Ogego responded the way he did, and she promised to have the ambassador call and explain his own comments. The ambassador never returned requests for comment.


To date, the only witness to the original birth who has come forward is the paternal grandmother who said she was present at the Coast Provincial Hospital for the live birth and no one has debunked her story. In fact, there has been support for it, in the section Washington State Claim below.

On Oct. 31, 2008, Hawaii officials Fukino and Onaka said that they had seen Obama's original long form and that it was genuine. Right, so what was the hospital and who was the delivering doctor/nurse?


Obama and his half sister claim he was born in a Honolulu hospital but which one?

* The Queen’s Medical Center - Honolulu, Hawaii Obama claims as his birth hospital
* Kapi’ olani Medical Center Obama’s sister claims Barack Obama born here

Where neither mother nor son were ever patients include:

* Honolulu Shriners Hospital
* Straub Clinic & Hospital
* Hawaii Health Systems Corporation - Honolulu, Hawaii
* Cancer Institute of Maui - Wailuku, Hawaii
* Kuakini Hospital - Honolulu, Hawaii
* Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific - Honolulu, Hawaii
* St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii - Hawaii
* Straub Heatlh - Honolulu, Hawaii
* Tripler Medical Center - Honolulu, Hawaii
* Wahiawa General Hospital - Wahiawa, Hawaii
* Wilcox Memorial Hospital - Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii

His birth extract claims it was on the island of Oahu. Judge for yourself.

The Washington State claim

The case that was brought stated, amongst other things:

"Wayne Madsen, Journalist with Online Journal as a contributing writer and published an article on June 9, 2008, stating that a research team went to Mombassa, Kenya, and located a Certificate Registering the birth of Barack Obama, Jr. at a Kenya Maternity Hospital, to his father, a Kenyan citizen and his mother, a U.S. citizen.

"If in fact Obama was born in Kenya, the laws on the books in the United States at the time of his birth stated if a child is born abroad and one parent was a U.S. Citizen, which would have been his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, Obama's mother would have had to live ten (10) years in the United States, five (5) of which were after the age of fourteen (14). At the time of Obama's birth, his mother was only eighteen (18) and therefore did not meet the residency requirements under the law to give her son (Obama) U.S. Citizenship much less the status of 'natural born.'"

The Indonesian Connection

Attorney Berg states:

When Obama later returned to Hawaii, within the United States, there should have been a government document affirming his citizenship, but that also cannot be found. If that was not processed properly, Berg said, Obama would be in a situation even worse than not being a natural-born citizen.

Clause 46 of the Berg petition stated:

Since Obama’s birth was legally acknowledged by Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian citizen, and/or Obama was adopted by Lolo Soetoro, which the evidence supports, Obama became an Indonesian citizen and bears the status as an Indonesia natural child (natural-born).

For this reason, Obama would have been required to file applications with the U. S. State Department and follow the legal procedures to become a naturalized citizen in the United States, when he returned from Indonesia. If Obama and/or his family failed to follow these procedures, then Obama is an illegal alien.

Clauses 48 and 49 stated:

The Indonesian citizenship law was designed to prevent apatride (stateless) or bipatride (dual citizenship). Indonesian regulations recognize neither apatride nor bipatride citizenship. In addition, since Indonesia did not allow dual citizenship, neither did the United States, Hague Convention of 1930.

Obama returned to the U.S. at age 10 without his mother who did come back some time later to complete a university degree. This is where the story diverges:

1. If he had never been naturalized as Indonesian, then how could he join an Indonesian school of the time and travel where U.S. citizens couldn't? On the other hand, his U.S. citizenship would have been in order in that situation.

2. If he had been accepted by Indonesia as a citizen, Barry Soetoro, which his school ID card affirmed, then upon his return to the U.S., he would have to have become naturalized again. There is no suggestion he ever applied for that. Also, it's all well and fine him "preferring" to be called Barack Obama but what did the law have him listed as?

3. There is a third possibility, that there was an awful lot of "accommodation" given to young Barry/Barack in official circles in two separate countries. He seemed to travel without hindrance to flashpoint areas Pakistan and India at the time and all of that cost money. He was a child of a student, with estranged father[s]. Who was forking out for the bill?

This puts the non-production of his vault certificate in context. It's not that he won't produce it. He simply can't.

4. There is a fourth possibility put up by my friend - that Barack Obama and Barry Soetoro are not one and the same person. Therefore, one could well have been born in Hawaii and the other able to gain Indonesian citizenship. One assumed the identity of the other somewhere along the line.

The bottom line though is that
someone in this matter did not follow procedure upon his return from Indonesia. Eitehr it was him or else it was the authorities.

Immigration law

One last problem in this matter:

December 24, 1952 to November 13, 1986

If, at the time of your birth, both your parents were U.S. citizens and at least one had a prior residence in the United States, you automatically acquired U.S. citizenship with no conditions for retaining it.

If only one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth, that parent must have resided in the United States for at least ten years, at least five of which had to be after the age of 16. There are no conditions placed on retaining this type of citizenship.

Obama's mother was eighteen when she had him. Ipso facto, Obama was not a natural born citizen, on these grounds alone.

Full Circle

There are sufficient grounds for speculation to empower SCOTUS to investigate this and so they have:

Berg, who appealed his case of Americas highest court, was told by Justice David Souter’s Clerk that his petition for an injunction to stay the November 4th election was denied. The Clerk also required the defendants (Obama, the DNC, and FEC) to respond to the Writ of Certiorari by December 1. At that time, Obama must present an authentic birth certificate to the Court, which has been sealed by Hawaii governor Linda Lingle.

Obama has failed to do that and the second case, the Donofrio petition, has been deferred, as stated at the beginning of the article.

World reaction

This falls into three types:

1. Those 60 000 petitioners and many bloggers, such as this one, who call for Obama simply to produce the long version or else explain why he cannot;

2. Pro-Obama people who say, “Well, the man’s been elected anyway and what’s it matter if he’s natural born American or not? Anyway, the constitution is out of date,” neatly avoiding the question of Obama's eligibility;

3. Those too bored to read this far and who couldn’t care less, even though a snow job is being done. They would say to me, “Just let it go. You’ll never win on this one.”

Am I the only one who finds reactions 2 and 3 astounding, given what has been presented above, which is no less than a reasonable assertion that there has been a miscarriage of justice? Shouldn't such a matter be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and other arms of government, in the same rigorous manner as a British CRB check?

Friday, December 05, 2008

[sick] back some time soon

Retching cough, splutter, earache - you too?

Update, Saturday morning - there seems to be a throat going round in this neck of the woods and many have come down with it. With me, the ears are the main worry and it's hard to focus so I'll check comments and leave it at that for now.

Hope to be back soon. I left comments off as you've probably got far worse where you are. If you're feeling poorly, get well soon please.

[bitchiness] the new entertainment?

Is it a truism that we show our generation by the music we listen to and maybe the TV shows we choose to watch? If so, then it might define our national identity as well.

Having been out of the country for so long, I never had the necessity to witness the excrescence in the picture to the left here but this evening it happened.

Not knowing anything about her whatsoever and never having been a TV type person anyway, certainly as a viewer of that type of show, the eyes were popping as I saw her stand stock still, some sort of spindly, reptilian school ma'am and spit venom at a woman for no discernible reason.

In a cackling voice, she stared straight at the woman and asked if she sold cottages in France or something like that. Then she asked where she came from, before observing, "Why would anyone want to go to Preston to get a place in France? A smile vaguely played on the reptile's face all the while.

Firstly, is this entertainment and if you say yes, then what possible pleasure do you derive from making people feel small [unless they deserve it, I hastily add]?

I'd dearly like to meet up with her for fifteen minutes and see how she survives my observations of her. I think they call her Anne Robinson and she's reportedly made millions from this sort of thing.

[memories] can't bring them back

Arthur's Seat and Dromana

Whenever I'd visit Australia, to see my parents, one of the jobs was to take my aging mum down the peninsular and up across the ridge to Arthur's Seat, which had a restaurant complex and a concrete outdoors area called, I seem to remember, the Garden of the Moon.

The purpose was to have tea and scones, with jam and clotted cream, then it would be down the winding, hairpin road, underneath the chairlift at every pass, to the foot of the hill and thus down to Rosebud, Rye, Blairgowrie and Sorrento, where there was a fabulous ice cream parlour in the main street.

Actually, any trip would have done, as long as it had icecream somewhere along the way.

The last time I saw my mother alive was at Tullamarine Airport and I told her, "Just a few months, mum and I'll be back again." She smiled weakly, as if to say, "Right, well that remains to be seen." That was one of her favourite expressions. She didn't get out of the car and come in to see me off because the previous year she'd wandered from us and we'd had a job trying to locate where she'd gone.

I write here about the latter days but should dwell on the earlier era, when she was well, fit and as sharp as a tack. Nothing got past her - she'd listen to someone's story and make no comment but it was clear to all what she was thinking. In my case, I make comment, which gets me into all sorts of trouble.

The thing was - she was a phenomenon, she had to be negotiated around, she was loyal to friends to a fault and I don't recall one instance when she ever let me down, as distinct from the reverse. I think I was spoilt. When my friend's mum comes in these days, goes upstairs to change the bedding, comes down for a cup of tea and explains how they found a bargain over at this store but not at this one and what do I think of these cushion covers she found and they're going out later to dinner with friends and so on and so on ... I see much of my own mother in there.

I have a photo of her in the lucid days, sitting on a bench seat in the park, holding a picnic basket with the thermos flask poking out and two plastic cups inside under the tea towel. Everyone used to call her sweet and that comes out in the photo - she had a great many friends. We used to talk about plans for the future and she warned me about her memory then.

Quite matter-of-factly, she said not to argue but her memory was slowly fading - it was her bronchitis drugs, which she didn't hold with but had no choice. She said that if we were going to discuss important things, it would be better to do it now or the following year - she couldn't guarantee too much after that.

Now I have the start of bronchitis but that sort of thing is still far off, I hope.

One memory which sticks is her sitting at the dining table whilst I cooked an easy dinner for them, followed by fruit salad and ice-cream. She always thought that most amusing and never once mentioned the errors in preparation. She'd worry about me ending up alone and though I never was, I nevertheless was and still am, to make things as clear as mud. She never wanted to be alone and thank the Lord, it never turned out to be so - she was surrounded until the end, except by me, who was overseas.

So happy birthday, mum - I'm sure you'll pop down for a few minutes this evening and might even be reading this now. I'm sure they could spare you from running heaven for one day but no doubt there'll be a mess to clear up later when you get back. Say hello to the family for me.

Last year's post on this topic is here and glancing through the comments, how things have changed in one short year. Such is life.

Arthur's Seat at dusk

[obama] produce the vault copy and have done with it

Simple solution

The Chicago Tribune says:

The Obama campaign has maintained that he was born in Hawaii, has an authentic birth certificate, and is a "natural-born" U.S. citizen. Hawaiian officials agree.

The Obama camp can "maintain" all it likes. The fact is that there is a court order on them to have produced the vault copy, not the extract that they are basing it on and they have failed to do that relatively simple thing.

The extract seems pretty clear in itself - it certainly seems an authentic copy and has been viewed and checked by That would seem to be that until you discover that Factcheck is run by the Annenberg Foundation, for whom a former board member was ... Barack Obama.

All it takes to clear the whole thing up is:

Submit the vault copy to the USSC, as ordered by the court.

The instant that is done, all these lawsuits fall away. Instead of that, those who are asking the questions are being labelled "a small minority of anti-Obama people", indulging in "sour grapes' and "conspiracy theories".

Ad hominem attack has no weight in law and hardly constitutes evidence. Once again, the solution is simple - produce the vault copy and end this speculation:

Obama’s paternal grandmother still maintains that her grandson—Barack Hussein Obama (AKA Barry Sotero)—was born in Kenya and that she attended his birth. Obama’s half-brother and half-sister have confirmed the grandmother’s statement.

Another source.

By the way, does anyone remember a man named Richard Nixon and some tapes he refused to release? His opponents were called cranks and conspiracy theorists too.

Pots and kettles

So why aren't the Republicans up in arms about it? Perhaps this will answer the question:

"The analysis, by Prof. Gabriel J. Chin, focused on a 1937 law that has been largely overlooked in the debate over McCain's eligibility to be president. The law conferred citizenship on children of American parents born in the Canal Zone after 1904, and it made John McCain a citizen just before his first birthday. But the law came too late, Professor Chin argued, to make McCain a natural-born citizen.

"It's preposterous that a technicality like this can make a difference in an advanced democracy," Professor Chin said. "But this is the constitutional text that we have."

"No court will get close to it, and everyone else is on board, so there's a constitutional consensus, the merits of arguments such as this one aside," said Peter Spiro, an authority on the law of citizenship at Temple University."

There it is - the law and the constitution don't matter, as long as "everybody's on board about it. When a large number of people agree to suspend constitutional provisions, that's OK then, isn't it?

What happens next?

The first Presidential Succession Act, passed in 1792, provided that after the President and Vice President, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate would serve as President.

In July 2005, Senate Bill 442: "A bill to provide for the Secretary of Homeland Security to be included in the line of Presidential succession", sponsored by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio).

  1. Vice President Dick Cheney
  2. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.
  3. Senate President Pro Tem Ted Stevens, R-Alaska [1]
  4. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
So clearly it would be Bush and Cheney until January but if there had not been another election before then, then House Speaker Pelosi takes over, then Sen Pres pro Tem Robert Byrd, then Condi.

What's with Hillary?

Obama’s transition team gave the green light to Clinton’s nomination after lawyers worked out a remarkable agreement addressing potential conflicts of interest for former President Bill Clinton, who has extensive financial ties abroad.

There is also the Johnson/J Edgar Hoover maxim about having the bstd inside p---ing out. What did Clinton discover about Obama when they were at bitter loggerheads?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

[obama] already defaulting, fate decided tomorrow

All right, well now that that's over, we can concentrate on the next big issue:


December 1, writes attorney Thomas J. Latino, was “the deadline for the Obama legal team to file their response to the Berg Petition for a Writ of Certiorari.

There was nothing.

Mr. Obama has done what hasn't been done before…he has blatantly ignored a request from the Supreme Court of the United States – our highest and most revered legal institution. Mr. Obama, quite frankly, has thumbed his nose at the highest court in our land.”

On December 5, Leo Donofrio, a plaintiff in Donofrio v. Wells, is scheduled to have his case heard by the nine Justices of the Supreme Court, who have agreed to hold a “Rule of Four” Conference.

This means If four of the nine Justices agree that Donofrio’s case has merit, there is the potential for the Justices to issue a “stay” of the Electoral College vote on December 15, which would prevent the Electoral College members from casting their votes until this explosive issue has been resolved.

The greatest problem is that it is only the conservative and foreign press and blogosphere reporting this, so it's difficult to get a line on the actual truth here. I've read all I can and this is how I think it works - correct me if I'm wrong:

A Philadelphia lawyer filed a suit against Obama and McCain, alleging not "natural born citizens". His suits were overturned but Leo Donofrio then filed a stay of the election result, pending establishment of this citizenship matter. There seem two stories connected to this:

1. Obama was asked to produce his birth certificate by the USSC by December 1st gone and did not. This raises all sorts of questions about whether he was actually born in Hawaii and whether he was a dual citizen anyway.

2. There is an opinion that:

As a citizen of the UKC who was born in Kenya, Obama's father automatically received Kenyan citizenship via subsection (1). So given that Obama qualified for citizen of the UKC status at birth and given that Obama's father became a Kenyan citizen via subsection (1), it follows that Obama did in fact have Kenyan citizenship after 1963.

He lost it when he reached age 21 because:

[T]he Kenyan Constitution prohibits dual citizenship for adults. Kenya recognizes dual citizenship for children, but Kenya's Constitution specifies that at age 21, Kenyan citizens who possesses citizenship in more than one country automatically lose their Kenyan citizenship unless they formally renounce any non-Kenyan citizenship and swear an oath of allegiance to Kenya.

Needless to say, this raises mindboggling issues because if doubt is expressed by four judges, then the Electoral College vote on December 15th must be stayed but this raises the question of the countdown to Inauguration Day. The delay would be unprecedented on this issue.

If the resolution of the matter is an eventual referral to the House of Reps, which is Democrat, then if Obama has been declared ineligible and struck off, whom would they select? Also, the question of fraud comes into it on a mammoth scale, let alone treason to the United States.

Tomorrow, it will be decided if Obama has a case to answer or not. Can you imagine the weight of the global community, the power within the U.S. and the entrenched positions having a word or two to the justices this evening?

[nuts and bolts of films] best, worst

The bad

When you see: 'Produced by Philip J. Roth, Directed by Philip J. Roth, Written by Philip J. Roth, you know you're in for trouble.

So it is with Total Reality and The Last Line of Defence. Rather than trash these movies with a thousand adjectives, better to mention a few of his other great works: Boa vs. Python, Locusts: The 8th Plague, Dragon Dynasty, Dragon Storm, Dragon Fighter, Phantom Force, Interceptor Force 2, Interceptors and so on.

The best way to describe these movies is with an analogy. Imagine you were shooting a film about basketball. Now, as every adolescent knows, you're only interested in the slam dunk [the finer details of how the ball made it to the net in the first place inconsequential] but even Philip J Roth knows he can't fill a movie with only that, so he inserts scintillating, connected dialogue like: "Pass me that ball." "Oh yeah, come and get it!" "Listen buddy, do you know who yer talking to?"

The woodenness of the cast in each of these films is a Roth trademark and makes Steven Segal look positively animated. The scenes seem to be ... well, they're difficult to describe. Imagine a clearly minor character who is never going to win the girl [Roth is nothing if not melodramatic]. This character puts his hand inside an erotic bomb which will destroy the universe, becomes all powerful, suddenly obeys stage directions to get angry and does so until told to switch it off and that's how it continues.

Now, some of you will see this as being in the genre of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, in other words, quite watchable in a macabre way and with a modicum of humour.

No, sorry, the Roth films are just plain bad, failing to engage the viewer in any significant way.

Not as bad though as my candidate for Worst Film of All Time: The Hottie and the Nottie, Executive Producer Paris Hilton, starring Paris Hilton. The tagline is "That's hot. That's not."

The plot is that there is a Hottie, Paris Hilton, who gets all the boys. Out of a sense of altruism, she refuses to go out and party unless her ugly ex-school chum, the Nottie, also gets a date but ... surprisingly, all the boys recoil from her.

Slant wrote:
[T]he film's disingenuousness is as transparent as executive producer Hilton's nightie, which she wears with more conviction than dialogue like, "A life without orgasms is like a world without flowers."

That's it.

With it's opening weekend smash takings of $27,696, for an overall outlay of $8 million, one can only surmise that Hilton was trying to undershadow Gigli, which set a record for the biggest second-weekend drop in box office gross of any film in wide release since that statistic was kept.

The good

Maybe we can agree, to an extent, on the most horrendous films but it's probably going to be tough to call the best movies ever. It completely depends, does it not, on what you see as a great movie.

For me it needs a blend of elements, no one element dominating - a bit of action [well, a lot really], believable and intelligent dialogue, wrily humorous moments, a romantic sub-plot which affects the main plot direction, actors who can act and who believe in what they're doing, great production values and with lines and scenes which remain with you ever afterwards, e.g. play it again, Sam.

Of the modern crop, I'd put Casino Royale right up there and from the olden day crop, perhaps The Third Man.

[canada] the governor general is now called in

Very interesting situation shaping up in Canada.

UPDATE: 19:05 - Steven Harper got his 7 weeks prorogue.

Steven Harper, on the back foot because of the alliance between all opposition parties, including the separatists, is tomorrow intending to put to the Governor-General, Michaëlle Jean, a proposal to prorogue parliament.

This sort of thing goes on in banana republics all the time but in one of the major western economies, it attracts more worldwide interest than would otherwise be so.

Michaëlle Jean has three real choices. To:

1. prorogue parliament;
2. let the alliance try to form a government;
3. call for another election.

N2 is quite a possibility, in order to avoid another election so close to the last one.

Against this is the GG's own feeling of what is best for Canada - allowing Quebec separatists into government, a move which would provoke a backlash across the nation, despite grumblings about Harper, may not be wise.

N3 would be deeply unpopular, so soon after Harper was elected. So it comes down to N1, a request from the PM himself and one which would defer the situation so that counsel could be taken, as well as maintaining some semblance of stability.

It is worth looking at Michaelle Jean herself for a clue as to where she comes from. She appears, if not to be particularly socialist, to at least support left liberal causes and at the same time, seems to wish to intervene if it's a social justice cause:

This notion of Jean overstepping conventional boundaries continued into 2007 when contents of her speech given at a ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms were seen by some as a thinly veiled criticism of her Cabinet's decision to end the Courts Challenges Program.

She has, in particular, tried to lay the separatist ghost:

Jean's father, Roger Anthony Jean, who moved his family from Haiti to Quebec four decades ago, clearly was offended by earlier suggestions that his daughter had sympathized with Quebec separatists. "That's a lie," he declared. She has never been a separatist. Never. Never. Never."

One comment:

I think Michaëlle Jean is part of that group of the majority of Québeckers who haven’t taken (and don’t want to take) an absolute position on the question. I think that for this reason, and also because she is a pretty well known journalist here, many people in Québec identify themselves with her. To find here at an important federal position, even if it is only honorific, can only help Canada’s cause in Québec.

She connects with the young very well - here is her personal website, Citizen Voices, where you can contact her. Moving on, there's apparently something called the Travers column in Canada which said this:

"Michaëlle Jean once joked that Paul Martin chose her as governor general because she's "hot". It's not so funny now that Stephen Harper has her on ice."

That seems as pratty as John Lennon's quip about the Beatles being more popular than Jesus Christ. The Travers column further debated PM Harper's less than warm relations with the GG:

At most, it suggests that the Conservatives do not respect the GG because she lacks qualifications other than being a good looking woman and an immigrant. The article does emphasize that the GG is treading on thin constitutional ice with her meddling in political affairs.

So, not everyone appears to love her. The Globe & Mail invited reader comments and here is one by Thomas Baxter:

First and foremost, the Governor-General is not the head-of-state of Canada, nor the "queen" of Canada, but only the representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The out-going Governor-General often usurped her role, and also the one she was supposed to represent.

Adrienne Clarkson went on tours masquerading as the head-of-state. She was seen in public, captured on camera, upstaging the Queen, and failing to meet protocol.

When the official papers were prepared for former N.B. premier, Frank McKenna, to report as Canada's Ambassador to the United States, the Queen's name was removed and the papers were sent on behalf of the Governor-General. The government has no such power. The Opposition parties should have screamed loudly. The Governor-General should have sent these papers back to be re-written before she signed them.

I checked out Adrienne Clarkson and she does seem to have been pretty appalling, apart from being a "devout Anglican". She seems to have been a spendthrift to boot.

Here is another comment about Michaëlle Jean:

Another woman, another media person, and another who was not born in Canada. Surely, there must be some Canadian born person that could represent the Queen? [Susan Marsh]

Rideau Hall has today therefore assumed an importance not intended for it and not unlike the exercising of his GG powers by Sir John Kerr in the Australian coup 'etat of 1975:

Kerr had made a study of the reserve powers through his earlier professional relationship with Evatt, the author of the standard work on the reserve powers as they applied to the British Dominions, The King and His Dominion Governors (1936).

Kerr was familiar with this book, and re-read it before accepting Whitlam's offer of the Governor-Generalship. Kerr took an activist and highly unusual view of the role of Governor-General. Neither temperamentally nor politically was he inclined to accept that the Governor-General was a mere cypher, bound always to act on the Prime Minister's advice.

He unwisely saw the office of Governor-General as a central player in Australian political life, and so it proved to be.

Will Michaelle Jean, now someway into her GGship, feel she has the requisite experience to go her own way on this issue; will she go with her left-liberal leanings and her dislike for Harper or will she try to gauge the mood of the average Canadian?

Let's wait till tomorrow to see.

[Here is how the issue arose last year.]

[new sovereignty] obama and the nau

Matt writes:

Unless USSC takes this up in five days time, says yes to hearing oral arguments, and rules favorably setting a precedent that will make Obama ineligible on all the Electoral College's ballots nationwide, we'll have a non-citizen as president.

This is of concern too:

I originally found this via VA again. Now, I don't agree much with what this Russian says but he did mention the amero ... My truthful opinion is most Americans would accept the NAU if it meant they could keep their money (despite the fact it would be in ameros, not dollars).

I commented:

That's most certainly how it will be sold to the public. I'm not convinced they'll "declare" anything beyond what is absolutely necessary and what has to be declared will be sugar coated for the hip pocket.

Ian Parker Joseph states:

The question is: how will the elite, the corporate rulers and the government leaders ‘sell’ this bill of goods to the electorate? Traditionally, instilling a climate of fear and using the tried and true, ‘problem-reaction solution’ method achieves this.

Whether it be a thoughtful, well planned and executed economic crash, or whether some tragic and unforeseen ‘event’ happens, a frightened population will always react to the problem and demand a solution from its government.

A CFR taskforce recommended that by 2010, a North American Union be created, not as a sovereign state but in charge of:

# single economic zone,
# single area of free movements of people,
# single education system,
# single defense and security system,
# single social benefits system,

... within the three countries. The NA Advisory Council would oversee this.You'll note that taxation is not mentioned in that and I don't know the current proposals, having not looked at this for some time. It might be good to read the document itself [pdf], plus this one on the genesis of the organization, to get the "feel" of it.

Obama's take on it all?

Under George W. Bush, the United States has not lived up to its historic role as a leader in the Western Hemisphere. As president, I will restore that leadership by working to advance the common prosperity and security of all of the people of the Americas. That work must begin with a renewed strategic partnership with Mexico.

Our relationship with Mexico should serve as a bridge to greater security and prosperity in North America and to better relations with Latin America.

I don't feel that his remarks, in total, amount to the NAU as such but if it were the plan, it would hardly be conceded in an up front speech like that. Actually, he did say, in answer to a gimme question:

"I know some people have been hearing rumors about it. But as far as I can tell that's just not something that's happening. We would never give up our sovereignty in that way. Any other questions?"

Not in what way? To concede sovereignty openly? As mentioned above, that has never been the tactic. So all that Americans can do, for now, is watch vigilantly and wait. Obama is obviously au fait with the naughty words he must never say - Amero, SPPNA, NAU, CFR - and he is treading carefully.

[housekeeping] communication channels

There are a few communication problems just now.

Both emails are down or erratic so for my Russian and Australian friends whom I know check this blog – I’ve set up a new email account [not web-based] on another computer and will send a letter to each of you. Expect it from that new address.

For blogfriends, I’m setting up a second email account and will send a message to you. Please don’t provide that address to anyone, as it won’t be listed.

For the blogosphere in general, I’ll need to set up a default email, a third and that will happen some time soon but I need to think that one through and set up security devices which will shut out the unwanted. Much real life action just now is soaking up the time, such as shifting house.

Bloghounds can communicate via regular channels as their business is not affected by all this.

I’m running comment moderation at the moment for posts older than 14 days but as it doesn’t connect with an email any more, I’m having to view Blogger’s dashboard near the blog name, which lists each comment as one line which I can’t get to expand. Sorry but I’m not prepared to approve publication of a comment on that basis, given the spam of late.

So the bottom line is – it will all get sorted soon and sorry for the inconvenience. I’ll post this below my main morning post of the day.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

[classic language quiz] five simple questions

1. Hoi polloi means what in Greek?

2. The expression vox populi, the voice of the people, is often followed by which other vox?

3. Paparazzo (played by Walter Santesso) was a character in a film by Federico Fellini. Which film? This is the origin of the term paparazzi.

4. Which Latin adjective is sometimes inserted in mea culpa to emphasize the point, so that it reads, roughly, as "my most grievous fault"?

5. Procrustean means an arbitrary standard to which exact conformity is forced. The name, referring to a character from Greek mythology, means the ________ .

Answers are here.

[canadian roulette] whither integrity

The Canadian situation illustrates that in politics, no blow is too low:

In the Commons, Mr. Dion attacked Mr. Harper for considering a move to prorogue Parliament – ending the session and starting another one in the New Year – portraying him as taking illegitimate steps to dodge defeat in a confidence vote on the economic update the Tories introduced last week.

So, rather than work in with Harper to get over this economic crisis and thrash out some sort of joint policy, Dion resorts to separatists to overthrow a recently elected government which requires stability to achieve anything at all. Is Dion providing Canada with that stability? Can he be trusted? Then again, Harper himself resorting to a tactic he did, say, in 2005, was outrageous.

What it all says to me is that party politics is the worst way to run a country when the chips are down.

[brit girls] are easy

There's been another one of those interminable studies. An Australian travel blog mentions a study saying that British girls are the most promiscuous in the world:

Basically, the Poms are up for one-night stands and casual sex. Far more so than Australians, if the study is to be believed.

Now, this might have come as a surprise to the older set, still pushing the "no sex please, we're British" stereotype. However, as any once-lonely Aussie backpacker will be able to tell you, it's pretty much the opposite that's true. Which is probably why we get on so well.

One commenter agreed with the study's findings:

Yep, found that English (and Irish) girls (outside of their own country) are always fun to meet. When they're back home I've found they can be a bit more conservative, but that's probably the same anywhere right?

I've always observed [in celibate and saintly manner, from a distance, of course] that most nations' ladies are not above a little international cooperation.

[libraries] always a place for the dead tree media

Blogger Xensen has almost finished rebuilding his library and that raises the question, in my mind, of whether we need physical libraries any more. Let me say up front that I feel we do.

Bryan Appleyard took on the might of the digitisphere in early 2007 with his article on the death of the book and replied to the flak thus:

I wrote an article in The Sunday Times about Google's digitisation of the world's libraries. Some - Google included - seemed to think I said this was about to destroy civilisation. This does not fill me with hope about the ability of these people - Google included - to read.

Commenter Mitar is an apostle of the new reading:

I just hope that there will be the day when information will be freely accessible and not limited only to the people who can afford it, which, I believe, will help more developing nations than care for their cultural well-being.

Overall it seems to me that very similar ideas were around when Gutenberg invented movable type. 500 years ago we got books which enabled us to share information and knowledge easier, more rapidly and to regions where this was not possible before.

Now we are at the similar point in our history, we are getting rid of the limits the material nature of the books have and we are going forward. This are steps forward. I think you should enjoy the ride.

I was interested in Mitar's "this are steps forward". Bit more than a typo, methinks. Commenter Jack covered my thoughts about literacy and reading here:

I can say, from the point of view of this librarian at a baccalaureate institution, that it's not the death of the book we should be worried about, it's the death of reading. Like the USA Today newspaper in America that shortened all journalism into two paragraphs, digitising a book gives it to a medium that does not encourage reading, is not designed for reading, and considers reading to be tedious.

It used to be called "sustained reading," a concept teachers promoted to encourage a lifelong appreciation for the written word, and the book was the ultimate device for delving into the understanding of the world. But now Google's push for digital copy will accelerate that death, by moving it to a medium that looks remarkably like a television, and by all accounts acts like one too. Is it any wonder we know so little about our world?

It seems to me that both have a point - the net has certainly freed up information but there are two points which need addressing straight away.

Firstly, commenter Devon said:

You seem to have an overarching assumption that when data is held digitally, it is of a lower form called information. Conversely, when touched by a human mind, this data is risen to a higher form called knowledge. Now, I am likely oversimplifying your views, and I don't wish to be condescending.

Even if we are to simply regard knowledge as either true or useful information, there is absolutely no reason to assume that a human is more likely than an algorithm to reference it until we know more about both the human and the algorithm.

Data held digitally is of no less quality than information on the dead-tree page but there is now a second issue - that the whole aim of the Google digitization, being to make information freely available across the globe, is undercut by the development of the ebook, DRM, the two-tier net and semi-governmental regulatory practices.

About ebooks, L'Ombre says:

Well mostly what we seem to have learned is that there is a demand for ebooks and that if the publisher doesn't meet that demand then others will do so. Furthermore there is probably a continuum. If no ebooks exist then many high quality free versions of popular books will show up, if the publisher sells the ebooks with DRM at high prices then some bootleg copies will occur and if the publisher makes the books available for low cost (and without DRM though it is hard to control for that) then very few if any bootleg copies will be made available.

So we are back to the same old story - that information will again be available for those willing to subscribe to it, i.e. those with the money. The only hope for the less affluent is the public library and for the slightly better off, the slow building of a real library in real space in a real room.

The danger in that, of course, was illustrated in Fahrenheit 451.

In the end, to Mitar's distinction between information and knowledge, can be added a third issue - simple literacy. I hate to say it but the syntactical, grammatical and spelling errors which abound today, even in publications intended for foreign learners of English [and that is mortifying] show how far literacy has slipped in two generations.

UPDATE: You might like to look at Angus Dei's take on the matter.