Blackout for New Zealand

New Zealand's new Copyright Law presumes 'Guilt Upon Accusation' and will Cut Off Internet Connections without a trial. Join the black out protest against it!

There isn’t a whole hell of a lot that Marty and I agree on politically.  On this particular travesty from New Zealand, however, I think we’re at the barricades shoulder to shoulder:

A “copyright holder” can get you kicked off an ISP without having to provide any evidence of an actual infringement. Having to [provide evidence] is apparently “impractical” and “ridiculous” in the words of RIANZ chief executive Campbell Smith. What happens when the “you” above is a public library, or a school? Or if the “copyright holder” makes a mistake or a malicious accusation?

This is the kind of Draconian ready-fire-aim stuff that powerful organizations like the MPAA and RIAA would love to shove down our throats here in the United States if they could.  So it’s important not to let it get a toehold, even halfway around the world.  Because I don’t care if it’s the USA or New Zealand or bloody Rwanda, I get the heebie-jeebies when I read a former member of the government say:

It is easier for ISPs, Internet Service Providers, to cut off anyone who might be breaking the law.

So.  Moose Droppings is as blacked out as I can get it (considering I don’t actually have any graphics to black out, I did all that I could by changing the theme color).  Stand up for “Guilt Upon Accusation” for New Zealand.

This just in: Groundhogs have teeth

That is a fact which New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems to have forgotten this morning:

Perhaps lashing out against budget cuts for local zoos, or perhaps just because he wasn’t ready to be awakened from his winter nap, Staten Island Chuck took a nibble out of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s hand during this morning’s Groundhog Day festivities at the Staten Island Zoo.

“His hand was nicked,” a Bloomberg spokesman said. The mayor is up to date on his Tetanus shot, so he simply washed his wounded finger and put on a bandage.

(Video of the shocking groundhog attack is available at the link.)

Word is coming down that in response, Mayor Bloomberg is going to propose new taxes on groundhogs, groundhog food, people who own groundhogs, everybody who lives on Staten Island, and teeth.

Pay attention, GOP

Attention Republicans.  Should the American people ever let you back into control of Congress and the White House, instead of “reaching across the aisle” and fawning over Democrats so you won’t get bad press from the New York Times or disinvited to K Street cocktail parties, take a note from Barack Obama about how to handle things:

President Obama listened to Republican gripes about his stimulus package during a meeting with congressional leaders Friday morning – but he also left no doubt about who’s in charge of these negotiations. “I won,” Obama noted matter-of-factly, according to sources familiar with the conversation.
The exchange arose as top House and Senate Republicans expressed concern to the president about the amount of spending in the package. They also raised red flags about a refundable tax credit that returns money to those who don’t pay income taxes, the sources said.

“I won.”  He did.  Convincingly.  Therefore, he and his party get to set the tone and move their agenda forward.  And if you Congressional Republicans think for one second that Obama, Pelosi, or Reid give a flying damn about what you want, you’re sorely mistaken.  They’re not in this to be “bipartisan.”  “Bipartisanship” only cuts one way to them.  To them, “reaching across the aisle” means that you come to them, not that you meet each other halfway.

When the wheel turns, as it usually does, and you get back on top?  Remember this.  And learn well.  Have a clear, cogent agenda, articulate it to the American electorate, and if they give you the chance, enact it.  In other words, lead.  Say what you will about Barack Obama, he doesn’t look to be scared of actually leading…unlike most of the Republican leadership since about 1996.

Wasting no time

Well, our new President wasted no time in getting down to some of the business he promised during the campaign:  Obama issues directive on detainees, interrogation, Guantanamo.

The national security orders mandate that interrogation techniques in the Army Field Manual be used by all intelligence and law enforcement services; call for a task force to look at closing the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within the year; and order a strategy be developed for handling detainees in the future. The presidential directive also orders a stay in the case of Ali Al-Marri, the only person being held by the military as an enemy combatant on U.S. soil.

(snip)

The executive order says everyone in custody should be questioned under the Army Field Manual, which is intended for honorable combatants, meaning POWs in a military conflict. The rule would prevent trained interrogators at the CIA from using lawful interrogation techniques against terrorists who have been trained to withstand Army Field Manual techniques.

(snip)

According to sources in the law enforcement community, the executive order on interrogation does not declare “enhanced interrogation techniques” to be torture; the order is silent on that.

“This allows for a lot of flexibility, a lot of wiggle room,” said one source.

(snip)

Administration officials indicated they do not want detainees outside of the U.S. to get habeas corpus rights or rights similar to those enjoyed by U.S. citizens. The Obama administration will likely go to Congress for what it wants to accomplish.

This was expected, really.  He’d said he was going to make closing Gitmo a priority.  But that begs the question of what to do with the residents.  That last paragraph above tends to indicate to me that really, not all that much is going to change, and that’s confirmed by the rest of the article (yes, it’s Fox News, go read it anyway, you won’t catch Murdoch cooties if your anti-virus and firewall are up to date).  If they don’t get habeus corpus rights, that sounds like they won’t be tried in US courts.  So what’s different from the military tribunals, and if they’re removed, what replaces them?  They’re still working on that part.  It’s going to take a while to unravel it all.  And it’s made more complicated by the fact that even if Obama wanted Gitmo closed tomorrow and all the detainees released, many of them can’t be.  Nobody will take them back, or they’re very likely to get tortured in their home countries.

As for the interrogation changes…no problems here.  I’m not comfortable with waterboarding or some of the other techniques being used, except in the direst Jack Bauer-esque circumstances.  Again, this was expected.

And finally, for those of us that are pro-life like me and Wife Unit, a taste of what we (and the unborn) can expect from the Obama administration:

Separately, the administration issued a reversal of a ban on federal funding for non-governmental organizations working outside the U.S. that offer abortions or abortion counseling.

Obama signed the executive order on the 36th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in all 50 states.

Success versus failure

It’s been a common refrain the past couple of months, and it’s intensified now that Barack Obama has moved into his new digs at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.  People wondering if those of us of the conservative persuasion “want Obama to succeed.”

It’s a loaded question…sort of the 2009 version of Groucho Marx’s old “when did you stop beating your wife?”  If we say “yes, we want him to succeed,” we’re acquiescing to his left-wing socialist-lite agenda.  If we say “no,” we open ourselves up to the old “how dare you, do you want your country to fail?!?!”

As an answer to this, I found a pretty good summation from an odd source–Ann Coulter.  Yes, that Ann Coulter.  Put down the pitchfork, take a Valerian, and just read this little passage from her latest column; if you can get by the usual Coulteresque barbs, I think she sums it up pretty well:

When will the first reporter ask President Obama to admit that he has made mistakes? Try: Never.

No, that question will disappear for the next four years. It will be replaced by the new question for conservatives on every liberal’s lips these days: Do you want Obama to succeed as president?

Answer: Of course we do. We live here, too.

But merely to ask the question is to imply that the 60 million Americans who did not vote for Obama are being unpatriotic if they do not wholeheartedly endorse his liberal agenda.

I guess it depends on the meaning of “succeed.” If Obama “succeeds” in pushing through big-government, terrorist-appeasing policies, he will not have “succeeded” at being a good president. If we didn’t think conservative principles of small government and strong national defense weren’t better for the country, we wouldn’t be conservatives.

As a conservative, basically, I don’t believe in a lot of what Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress have said they want to do.  I don’t buy their arguments about stimulus packages.  I don’t trust what they want to do on many social issues.  I think his public statements on Iran sound squishy.  I believe in free markets and small government, and looking at the people in the Obama administration, I don’t think we’re going to get either of those.  So in that respect, no, I don’t want him to succeed.  I want him to fail spectacularly like Bill and Hillary failed in 1993-1994 when their pseudo-nationalized health care strategy went down in flames.

I want us as a country to succeed–just like 99% of Americans do.  I don’t want Jimmy Carter II:  Electric Boogaloo.  Whatever happens, I want America and Americans to be prosperous, free, strong, and still the beacon that the rest of the world can look up to–Reagan’s “shining city on the hill.”  To some, that means Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid skipping arm-in-arm down the Yellow Brick Road of hopey-changey rainbows, leading us toward a brighter tomorrow.  To me, it means hanging on as best we can until we can convince the people of this country to wake up out of their deluded dream and get back to the conservative principles that made us the greatest nation in the world.

That’s the beauty of opinions.  Even in a new era of Hope and Change, we all still get to have our own.

I couldn’t have said it any better

Andrew Breitbart rightfully slams the Hollywood gliteratti for their eight-year case of Bush Derangement Syndrome…and then turning around and expecting us conservatives to make nice and become good little Obamabots.

This video illustrates that the current celebrity class are not citizens but serfs. They need a leader to put their minds in the right place to do the right thing. They are not heroic individualists seeking to extend America’s promise but conformists who chose to sit out and complain during the tough years in order to ensure their guy got in the next go-around.

The celebrity decadence during the “oppressive” Bush years was world class. The clubs raged. The boutique hotels rocked. The private jet industry at Van Nuys airport flourished. The party never stopped. And only a precious few (Thank you, dearly!!!) stepped up to support the American troops who have been valiantly fighting for Hollywood’s right to do lines off of each others’ buttocks at $10 million Hollywood Hills mansions.

They never spoke up against the movies that demonized our military.

They never made movies to counter the libel.

They took the easy route. And blamed Bush for everything.

Well, as a famous Bush-basher once said…some of us “aren’t ready to make nice.”

First the banks, then the automakers, and now…

…say it ain’t so, Santa.  Say it ain’t so.

WASHINGTON – Flanked by officials from the United Elf Toytinkerers union, SantaCorp CEO Kris Kringle today told the House Ways and Means Committee that without immediate government financial help, his firm would be forced to declare bankruptcy, lay off thousands of elves and reindeer, and potentially cancel its annual worldwide Christmas Eve toy delivery.

“These are grim economic times for everyone, but even more so for non-profit toy manufacturers in the Snow Belt,” said Kringle. “Our accountants have indicated that we are on track to exhaust our reserves of cash and magical pixie fairydust by December 23. Oh deary me.”