March 10th, 2003


Ebay to Feds - "Bust our customers... we'll help you!"

An article on how far Ebay is willing to bend over backwards for law enforcement. Over and over, there have been clear signs that eBay is incapable of policing its own site, so their "solution" is to actively encourage the police to do it for them, using your taxes to pay for their site's policing, and violating their user's privacy rights in the process.

Joseph Sullivan, eBay's Director of Law Enforcement and Compliance, lectures to a crowded audience representing numerous law-enforcement agencies:

"We don't make you show a subpoena, except in exceptional cases. When someone uses our site and clicks on the `I Agree' button, it is as if he agrees to let us submit all of his data to the legal authorities. Which means that if you are a law-enforcement officer, all you have to do is send us a fax with a request for information, and ask about the person behind the seller's identity number, and we will provide you with his name, address, sales history and other details - all without having to produce a court order."

... oh, and they also own PayPal, so they know what you're spending your money on, too. Somehow, I don't think I'm going to buy anything through eBay again anytime soon.

US plan to rule Baghdad? Antagonize the Iraqis...

Wesley Clark, originally tapped to run the whole show, has supposedly been "untapped", quite possibly because of an internal probe into his abuse of his office. Instead, the government is opting to put a friendlier face on a post-war Iraq by appointing two generals and one former ambassador to run the country.

Now, the bad news... the Iraqis will see this as a threat to Iraq, in that it might lead to a divided country, thereby arrousing those who believe in a united Iraq. More complicated than this, however, is that the center region of Iraq (including Baghdad) will be lead by Barbara Bodine, former Ambassador to Yemen.

Now, I'm all for women holding public office and would love to see women at the highest levels of office in our country, but the last time I heard, our country actually *elected* its officials. Foisting leaders on other people is a precarious business, but foisting leaders that could further antagonize the occupied people and potentially lead to greater unrest and loss of life is not what I would call a wise decision.

Here's a quote from Raed, an Iraqi with a weblog:

"General reactions? You can imagine the fear of castration the Iraqi males are going thru at the moment, don�t expect this to be swallowed very easily, and to divert this unease they would just say something along the lines: "She doesn�t look very pretty, does she?". One person who doesn't actually work here but was dragged by a colleague to see the picture said: "You know it is their intention to destroy the pride of the muslim man." Tread carefully is what I say; change shouldn't be plunked on people's heads like this, especially when there already is an atmosphere of mistrust and unfriendliness."

So, how will this kind of rule play out? I suspect that Barbara Bodine was chosen for this position because of how well she'll play over here, rather than over in Iraq. The idea seems to be to give a softer, gentler image to post-war Iraq that will play well with women in the States (who make up the majority of the anti-war sentiment) and make people feel like the military aren't running the show.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, the people who oppose Iraq being divided, being ruled by Westerners, or the males who oppose being "humiliated" very well might come out of the woodwork and attack us.

Frankly, this might be part of the plan. Humiliate the Arab world, especially Arab males. Provoke those who oppose our policies to attack us. When they do, we'll have justification to hunt down bands of "terrorists"... say the words "al-Qaeda" repeatedly, and use these attacks as justification for additional conflicts with neighbors to Iraq who are "supporting these terrorists". (i.e. Syria and Iran.)

...and if this plan just happens to get a lot of people killed, well, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette.

yes, yet another Bush broken promise...

This one, however, may be a record, in that it only took Bush four days to break it.

Reporter: "As you said, the Security Council faces a vote next week on a resolution implicitly authorizing an attack on Iraq. Will you call for a vote on that resolution, even if you aren't sure you have the votes?"

Bush: "Well, first, I don't think -- it basically says that he is in defiance of 1441. That's what the resolution says.

And it's hard to believe anybody saying he isn't in defiance of 1441 because 1441 said he must disarm.

And yes, we'll call for a vote."

He obviously forgot the qualifiers.

"Uh... unless people don't like our policies, or they find out we're spying on their diplomats, or we'd look like big losers with only a quarter of the Security Council supporting our position... whatever happens though, we're going to war. Mr. Cheney said I could stay up late and watch it, too!"

This Tuesday's gathering - the swing party.

Just to let people know, we are having yet another weekly Tuesday gathering at our house in Santa Clara tomorrow evening from 7 - 'round midnight. Most of the crowd tends to fall into the category of "openminded LiveJournalers with bohemian lifestyles", but all types and ages are welcome...

It's a place to meet people, make new friends, talk, play games, have snacks, drink beverages of all varieties (tea, italian sodas, cocoa, wine, beer, mixed drinks, etc.), roast marshmallows over a roaring fire, or whatever... Guests always welcome, especially if they bring anything yummy or otherwise useful. (We're always open to gifts of food, snacks, club soda, Torani, firewood, mixers, good hooch, paper plates, napkins, etc. )

This Tuesday will be special, however, as it will be our first swing party! That's right... we'll feature music from Duke Ellington, Louis Prima, Cab Calloway, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, and Benny Goodman! Extra points if you wear something appropriate!

email me at insomnia @ if you need directions.

Yet another pythonesque take on the Iraq situation...

I don't think that this is an accurate representation of the current situation, but it *is* amusing...

USA: (Knock)
Saddam Hussein: Come in.
USA: Ah, Is this the right place for disarmament?
Saddam Hussein: I told you once that I've disarmed.
USA: No you haven't.
Saddam Hussein: I've already disarmed.
USA: When?
Saddam Hussein: Just now.
USA: No you didn't.
Saddam Hussein: Yes I did.
USA: You didn't
Saddam Hussein: I did!
USA: You didn't!
Saddam Hussein: I'm telling you I did!
USA: You did not!!
Saddam Hussein: Oh, I'm sorry, just one moment. Do you mean full disarmament
or just a couple of missiles?
USA: Oh, full disarmament.
Saddam Hussein: Ah, thank you. Anyway, I did.
USA: You most certainly did not.
Saddam Hussein: Look, let's get this thing clear; I quite definitely disarmed.
USA: No you did not.
Saddam Hussein: Yes I did.
USA: No you didn't.
Saddam Hussein: Yes I did.
USA: No you didn't.
Saddam Hussein: Yes I did.
USA: No you didn't.
Saddam Hussein: Yes I did.
USA: You didn't.
Saddam Hussein: Did.
USA: Oh look, this isn't compliance with UN Resolution 1441.
Saddam Hussein: Yes it is.
USA: No it isn't. It's just defiance.
Saddam Hussein: No it isn't.
USA: It is!
Saddam Hussein: It is not.
USA: Look, you just contradicted me.
Saddam Hussein: I did not.
USA: Oh you did!!
Saddam Hussein: No, no, no.
USA: You did just then.
Saddam Hussein: Nonsense!
USA: Oh, this is futile!
Saddam Hussein: No it isn't.
USA: I came here for a full accounting for destruction of your weapons.
Saddam Hussein: No you didn't; no, you came here for compliance.
USA: Compliance isn't just saying "I've disarmed."
Saddam Hussein: It can be.
USA: No it can't. Compliance is revealing and destroying weapons of mass
destruction in full view of U.N. inspectors.
Saddam Hussein: No it isn't.
USA: Yes it is! It's not just empty statements.
Saddam Hussein: Look, if I comply with the UN, I must say I've disarmed.
USA: Yes, but full disarmament isn't just saying "I've disarmed."
Saddam Hussein: Yes it is!
USA: No it isn't!
USA: Disarmament is an open process. Declarations of de-weaponizing absent
records or hard evidence of actual destruction of WMDs is useless.


Saddam Hussein: No it isn't.
USA: It is.
Saddam Hussein: Not at all.
USA: Now look.
Saddam Hussein: (Rings bell) Good Morning.
USA: What?
Saddam Hussein: That's it. Good morning.
USA: I was just getting started.
Saddam Hussein: Sorry, the inspections are done.
USA: That was never disarmament!
Saddam Hussein: I'm afraid it was.
USA: It wasn't.


Saddam Hussein: I'm sorry, but I'm not allowing inspections anymore.
USA: What?!
Saddam Hussein: If you want me to allow inspections, you'll have to pass
another UN resolution.
USA: Yes, but that was never compliance, just now. Oh come on!
Saddam Hussein: (Hums)
USA: Look, this is ridiculous.
Saddam Hussein: I'm sorry, but I'm not allowed to argue unless you've passed
another U.N. resolution.
USA: Oh, all right. (passes 18th resolution against Iraq)
Saddam Hussein: Thank you.


USA: Well?
Saddam Hussein: Well what?
USA: That wasn't really compliance, just now.
Saddam Hussein: I told you, I'm not going to allow inspections unless you've
passed a UN resolution.
USA: I just did!
Saddam Hussein: No you didn't.
Saddam Hussein: No you didn't.