Porto Alegre Talk

by Miguel de Icaza

Update: My talk today in Porto Alegre will be at:

Audit├│rio do Serpro:
Av. Augusto de Carvalho 1133 / 4┬║ andar
Porto Alegre RS
Time: 18:30

Posted on 22 Dec 2005


Funny Quote

by Miguel de Icaza

On the ongoing debate over spying, Molli Ivins writes:

Here is a curious fact about the government of this country spying on its citizens: It always goes wrong immediately. For some reason, it's not as though we start with people anyone would regard as suspicious and then somehow slip gradually into spying on the Girl Scouts. We get it wrong from the beginning every time. Never seem to be able to distinguish between a terrorist and a vegetarian.

And then am sure it will be used against the political enemies. On an ironic twist, she continues:

Bush defended his actions Monday by saying it was part of "connecting the dots." A painful moment, since the 9/11 Commission just finished giving this administration grades of D and F in terms of preventing another terrorist attack --- and it has jack-all to do with wiretapping. This administration has cried wolf so many times using the national security excuse it has lost all credibility.

Posted on 22 Dec 2005


Wednesday Links

by Miguel de Icaza

The Jesus General has a funny graphic, reminds me of Jack London's Iron Heel.

The Release of Mrs. Anthrax: So it turns out that the story on Mrs Anthrax was not what the occupation forces told us. Shocking. At the time of detention there was an article that raised the same questions.

The P.U.-Litzer Awards awarded to the foulest media performance in 2005. Funny.

Here I am George, Come and Get me: A Christian peace activist has a few words for the emperor. This is obvious, but I have been thinking about it: isn't it funny that those pitching the sanctity of Christmas are none other than the war-mongering Fox? Am I missing something?

Editorials on the new emperor powers that George has vested himself with: Bush Must be Held Accountable; on his attempts to stop publishing the news and keep it a secret; Republican Jesus weights in; Jesus General open letter: Defending our Values Brutally; Bush as Nixon; Fafblog's There is no War in Warrant.

ElBaradei's Nobel lecture transcript is now online.

Jamie has a bunch of great articles on his "Today in Treason News". Pay special attention to why impeaching Bush is a bad idea.

Posted on 21 Dec 2005


Building a Rationale for a Dictatorship

by Miguel de Icaza

Nat pointed me to Bruce Schneier weights in on the new administration self-appointed rights:

This is indefinite dictatorial power. And I don't use that term lightly; the very definition of a dictatorship is a system that puts a ruler above the law. In the weeks after 9/11, while America and the world were grieving, Bush built a legal rationale for a dictatorship. Then he immediately started using it to avoid the law.

This is, fundamentally, why this issue crossed political lines in Congress. If the president can ignore laws regulating surveillance and wiretapping, why is Congress bothering to debate reauthorizing certain provisions of the Patriot Act? Any debate over laws is predicated on the belief that the executive branch will follow the law.

This is not a partisan issue between Democrats and Republicans; it's a president unilaterally overriding the Fourth Amendment, Congress and the Supreme Court. Unchecked presidential power has nothing to do with how much you either love or hate George W. Bush. You have to imagine this power in the hands of the person you most don't want to see as president, whether it be Dick Cheney or Hillary Rodham Clinton, Michael Moore or Ann Coulter.

Bruce has a blog with more data on the subject.

Posted on 21 Dec 2005


Robert Fisk on Iraq

by Miguel de Icaza

More on the fascinating chapter on Iraq, which gets better every page. The following quote appears after Robert describes the torture practices employed by the Saddam Hussein government and the routine elimination of his critics. He describes how various states preferred to ignore Iraq's human rights record and continued to supply weapons and funding:

Throughout the early years of Saddam's rule, there were journalists who told the truth about his regime while governments -- for financial, trade and economic reasons-- preferred to remain largely silent. Yet those of us who opposed the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003 were quickly accused of being Saddam's "spokesmen" or, in my case, "supporting the maintenance of Baathist regime"-- this from, of all people, Richard Perle, one of the prime instigators of the whole disastrous war, whose friend Donald Rumsfeld was befriending Saddam in 1983. Two years after Rumsfeld's initial approach to the Iraqi leader -- followed up within months by a meeting with Tariq Aziz -- I was reporting on Saddam's gang-rape and torture in Iraqi prisons. On 31 July 1985, Wahbi al-Qaraghuli, the Iraqi ambassador in London, complained to William Rees-Mogg, the Times editor that:
Robert Fisk's extremely one-sided article ignores the tremendous advances made by Iraq in the fields of social welfare, education, agricultural development, urban improvement and women's suffrage; and he claims without presenting any evidence to support such an accusation, that "Saddam himself imposes a truly terroristic regime on his own people." Especially outrageous is the statement that: "Suspected critics of the regime have been imprisoned at Abu Ghoraib [sic] jail and forced to watch their wives being gang-raped by Saddam's security men. Some prisoners have had to witness their children being tortured in front of them". It is utterly reprehensible that some journalists are quite prepared, without any supporting corroboration, to repeat wild, unfounded allegations about countries such as Iraq...

I picked this quote because it resembles what people always say about Robert Fisk on his coverage. The amateur psychologist in me knows that this is because Robert's reporting causes cognitive dissonance problems to some people.

Anyways, back to read, I just wanted to share this with those who are still reading. This book is fascinating.

Posted on 21 Dec 2005


Porto Alegre

by Miguel de Icaza

We decided to escape the sordid Boston winter and are currently refugees in the southern hemisphere.

Am doing a Linux Desktop/Mono talk on Thursday at 5pm. I have no idea where it is yet though.

Posted on 20 Dec 2005


Iraq in Robert Fisk's book

by Miguel de Icaza

Doug pointed me to an online copy of Robert Fisk's chapter on Iraq that I mentioned last night.

The online copy is limited to the 1917 invasion. It is part of the various teasers that the Independent published in advance of the release of Robert's book. I strongly recommend folks to get the book for the rest of the goods.

Posted on 19 Dec 2005


Iraq's Past

by Miguel de Icaza

I bought my copy of Robert Fisk's The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East his latest book on the various conflicts in the middle-east. I will likely talk more about the book in the future as it is packed with gems.

I have been savoring this book for a while, not wanting to read it very quickly, I have paced myself and allowing myself sometime to research some of the stories and compare notes with other texts on the various events he describes.

Anyways, tonight I reached the chapter on the formation of modern Iraq. The stories, the anecdotes and the background information in here justify getting the book, even if you only read this chapter.

Iraq is a hot topic of debate and has been covered non-stop for the last couple of years but the information I found on this chapter is all fresh.

The chapter begins with the liberation of Iraq by the British troops in 1917; the proclamations of "we come here as liberators"; the early mistakes of the British invaders which would lead to an insurgency that they would not be able to control. The similarities with the current invasion are striking, down to 'we can not leave Iraq now, have to finish the job'.

It gets better and better on every page. I won't spoil the rest, but its a great educational read.

Posted on 19 Dec 2005


Christmas Fun

by Miguel de Icaza

This is pretty fun: http://fuckchristmas.org/:

Some background for those not living in the US: for the past few months Fox News has managed a great campaign about how Christmas is under siege. The debate over water coolers across the United States revolves around important matters like what is more appropriate `Happy Holidays' vs `Merry Christmas'. Am not kidding.

Seriously.

Posted on 17 Dec 2005


Mono Debugger

by Miguel de Icaza

Martin has announced a new release of the Mono Debugger.

This is the first time that I have been able to use the debugger for a real application. It still has a few rough edges, but at least its working.

The documentation for the command line interface can be found here.

Posted on 16 Dec 2005


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