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Monthly Archives: January 2009

Convention I
For the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, Geneva, 12 August 1949

Preamble
The undersigned Plenipotentiaries of the Governments represented at the Diplomatic Conference held at Geneva from April 21 to August 12, 1949, for the purpose of revising the Geneva Convention for the Relief of the Wounded and Sick in Armies in the Field of July 27, 1929, have agreed as follows:

Chapter I. General Provisions
Art. 1. The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.

Art. 2. In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in peacetime, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.

The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance.

Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof.

Art. 3. In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions: (1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria. To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons: (a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; (b) taking of hostages; (c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment; (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples. (2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for. An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.

The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.

The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.

Chapter IX. Repression of Abuses and Infractions
Art. 49. The High Contracting Parties undertake to enact any legislation necessary to provide effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or ordering to be committed, any of the grave breaches of the present Convention defined in the following Article.

Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, arid shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts. It may also, if it prefers, and in accordance with the provisions of its own legislation, hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting Party concerned, provided such High Contracting Party has made out a prima facie case.

Each High Contracting Party shall take measures necessary for the suppression of all acts contrary to the provisions of the present Convention other than the grave breaches defined in the following Article.

In all circumstances, the accused persons shall benefit by safeguards of proper trial and defence, which shall not be less favourable than those provided by Article 105 and those following, of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of 12 August 1949.

Art. 50. Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons or property protected by the Convention: wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.

Art. 51. No High Contracting Party shall be allowed to absolve itself or any other High Contracting Party of any liability incurred by itself or by another High Contracting Party in respect of breaches referred to in the preceding Article.

 

Today, the United States of America begins the long road of rehabilitation.

 Social rehabilitation. Constitutional rehabilitation. International rehabilitation.

Those of us who have been to rehab or know someone who has, realise that facing up to past mistakes and being brutally honest is the most important step.
It is simply not possible to successfully “rehab” without doing so.

The following United States citizens are widely accused of having committed war crimes and crimes against humanity by violating the above sections of the Geneva Convention; George Walker Bush, Richard Bruce Cheney, Donald Henry Rumsffeld, Paul Dundes Wolfowitz and Alberto Gonzales.

Bush and Cheney bear principal resopnsibility for any crimes which may have occured as the respective 43rd President and 46th Vice-President of the United States.
As former U.S. President Harry Truman stated during his tenure, “the buck stops there.”

Alberto Gonzales, 80th U.S. Attorney General, bears particular responsibility for issuing an opinion during his tenure as White House Counsel, in which he called Article III of the Geneva Convention as “quaint.” This ruling abetted the “interrogations” at Abu Ghraib, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba by affixing the imprimatur of U.S. law.

I won’t bore you all with the titles of the remaining unindicted coconspirators (should they be so), for they are all in Wikipedia.

Post-War Japan became one of the greatest–if not the greatest–economic success stories of the twentieth century, and a major factor of that renaissance was comeing to terms with wartime atrocities.
We executed Japanese war criminals for “waterboarding,” among other crimes.

One of our staunchest allies and the heart of the European Union is Germany.
Germany fully faced its crimes in Britain’s Belsen Trials and the Allies’ Nuremberg Trials, which ended in scores of hangings.
In Germany, it is a crime to espouse Nazi ideology, glorify National Socialism or promote a Supremacist agenda.

In both cases, the nations recovered after facinging up to and atoning for their collective sins.

I did not personally torture anyone, my friend Pappyjoe didn’t, nor did my friends Kristi and Erica.
However, the United States–at least, in principal–is a democratic republic, and that means whatever its government did, we did.

We must clear our names.
The only way to do so is to arrest the aforementioned people–and possibly more–and try them for their crimes in the United States.

But, Eric! I hear you yelling as you lunge for your keyboards. There’s never been an American War Crimes Tribunal!

Wrong!
Following the U.S. Civil War–yes, the concept of war crimes already existed–the comanding officer of the Confederate States’ Andersonville prisoner of war camp was tried on such charges and hanged.
My family fought for the Confederacy, but I’ll be the first to admit it; Andersonville would have pleased Adolf Hitler. Its atrocities compared to any Stalag or possibly even Dachau.

We survived a civil war. We survived a war-crimes trial. We even survived the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, picked ourselves up, grew into a nuclear-armed superpower and went to the moon.

We’ll survive the trial of a former President.
To paraphrase President Obama; “the future of our nation lies not in red states, blue states or a state of denial, but in the United States.”

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…because Obama’s become entangled in the CDR case.

To summarize:
1–In February, 2008–less than a month after President-Elect Obama’s Iowa-Caucus upset of upset of Hillary Clinton–David Rubin, CEO of Beverly Hills-based CDR Financial Products, gave Obama’s campaign $1,000.
2–At beginning of the post-convention rush toward the Presidency, Rubin gave the Democratic Party $26,200 on 19 September, 2008.
3–Eleven days later, on 30 September, he also gave Obama’s campaign $2,300.

These are small gifts, Eric! I hear you saying. Why do they matter?

Well…the Richardson brouhaha began with a November 2006 FBI raid of CDR’s California offices at the start of a bid rigging investigation spanning several states…not just New Mexico.
(In a completely unrelated development, then-Senator Obama announced his candidacy for President, roughly a month later.)

Anyone remember Whitewater and the Rose Law Firm?
Remember how Bill Clinton’s health-care reform and everything else was cockblocked?
That’s why it matters!
The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, U.S. Internal Revenue Service and Securities and Exchange Commission have been investigating CDR’s business dealings for some time. In fact, the IRS is reviewing more than twenty deals between 1996 and 2005, so there’s the potential for this mess to spread much, much farther.

Back to the donations…
On 17 September, two days before Mr. Rubin’s rather large donation to the DNC, he was on the guest list of an $11 million Obama fundraiser.
Hundreds of A-Listers–along with B, C and even D-Listers–were also on the list, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Remember the years of hearing knuckle-draggers, muckrakers and right-wing water-carriers piss and moan about the “Hollywood Elite?”

This plays right into every damn stereotype the Republicans have nurtured since Bill Clinton’s first term!  Jesus Christ!
That’s what the right-wingers are saying, you know? Oh, they probably phrase it as “Thank you, Jay-zus!”
This matters because it’s Manna from Heaven for the GOP and the right.  We’re in for four to eight years of cockblocking…change can be either better or worse.

They may end up sharing the same Federal prison cell.

That’s not a racist joke. It would be nice to say, “Love of country and family, respect for the rule of law and the desire to be the best men they can be.”

Unfortunately, when the Serbian politician is Milorad “Rod” Blagojević (Blagojevich) and the Hispanic politician is William Blaine “Bill” Richardson III, you have to go with the prison cell.

We all know what Governor Blagojević of Illinois is accused of doing–If you don’t, type his name into any search engine and come back here when you’re finished–so, I’ll skip straight to Governor Richardson of New Mexico…yes, the Land of Enchantment from whence I came.

First…the back-story:
During last year’s Presidential Primary season, I noticed Governor Richardson flagging a bit and asked my aunt what the hell was wrong.
“He has problems.” She replied over the phone. “He has serious shit in his closet.”
She didn’t explain what exactly the stuff or scandal was, but I knew to trust her. She was in former governor Bruce King’s administration, after all, and she’s lived in Santa Fé for thirty-seven years. She knows where some of the bodies are buried, ’cause she was one holding the coats when they went into the ground.

Time came for Barack Obama to choose a running-mate, nothing had been said about Bill Richardson and I placed another call to enquire about his veep chances.
“I told you, Eric!” She replied impatiently, as if talking to a mentally challenged person. “He has serious shit in his closet. The door just hasn’t yet been pulled open!”

The door opens:
On 17 December, after the election and at the beginning of Christmas Week, the Associated Press ran a story, which appeared in the Hobbs News-Sun
In summary:
1–It’s a pay for play case–if you want to play, you must first pay. A Federal grand-jury is investigating whether the pay took the form of campaign contributions from California-based CDR Financial Products to Governor Richardson, in exchange for play in the form of a lucrative contract with the New Mexico Finance Authority.

2–The grand jury investigation is the result of an FBI probe, in which the agency obtained documents from the NMFA and interviewed its employees, past and present, regarding a 2004 contract with CDR for a $1.6 billion transportation program.
  A–The documents show that CDR was paid $1.48 million in 2004 and 2005 for its work.
  B–CDR was part of an investment and financial-advising team selected by the NMFA to piece together an intricate bond-financing deal for a highway and transportation construction program, for which Richardson had won legislative approval in 2003.
  C–The NMFA is a twelve-person, semi-public agency that provides financing–through the issuance of bonds and other means–for New Mexico construction projects, ranging from buildings and highways to drinking-water and waste-water systems. Nine of its dozen members are either appointed by the governor or serve as his cabinet secretaries.
  D–The New Mexico Department of Transportation program in question was called GRIP, which stands for Governor Richardson’s Investment Partnership.

3–Campaign finance records show that the contributions by CDR and its CEO, David Rubin were somewhat substantial, totaling $110,000 and dispersed between three political committees formed by Governor Richardson.
  A–The largest portion–a June 2004 payment of $75,000–came only a few months after the financing arrangement won approval and went to a political committee established by Richardson prior to that year’s Democratic National Convention.
The committee, Si Se Puede Boston 2004 Inc, helped cover the convention expenses of Richardson’s staff and supporters.
The committee reported the donation as coming from Chambers, Dunhill, Rubin and Co., a former name for CDR.
  B–The next largest amount–an October 2003 payment of $25,000 from David Rubin to another Richardson committee, Moving America Forward–came as the New Mexico Legislature was debating the transportation project.
  C–The remaining $10,000–also from Mr. Rubin–took the form of a 2005 contribution to Governor Richardson’s re-election campaign.

In a nutshell:
Campaign finance records show that David Rubin, CEO of CDR Financial Products contributed to a Richardson Committee at a time the transportation project was under legislative consideration.
After the project was approved and CDR was selected to be part of its financing plan, the company donated $75,000 to a committee to finance Richardson and company’s activities at the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston, Massachusetts.
At a period roughly concurrent with the final payment to CDR, David Rubin contributed $10,000 to Governor Richardson’s re-election campaign.

A spokesman for CDR insists that the company was selected for the financing contract through “a rigourous and thoroughly vetted” competitive bidding process, calling allegations of impropriety “ridiculous and offensive.”
The spokesman insists David Rubin is merely politically active and liberal, having given millions of dollars to Jewish and liberal causes over the years.

It remains to be seen what, if any, charges will be laid and what sentences will be handed down, should either or both be convicted.

It is almost certain that Governor Richardson’s announcement, two days ago, that he was withdrawing himself from consideration was a façade, allowing Governor Richardson a modicum of honor after Barack Obama told him to hit the bricks.
That’s how it’s done in politics. That’s exactly how my aunt explained it to me, Sunday.

The future of New Mexico will take one of two major paths, neither good for Governor Richardson.
1–Richardson will resign and Lieutenant Governor, Diane Denish will become the state’s first female governor.
2–He’ll stick his term out and take a royal ass-whipping from Diane Denish.

Ms. Denish had already appointed members of a transition-team and has a lot of backing.
She’s from my county. She talks like me and thinks a lot like me. Under Governor Denish, pay-for-playtime will be over.

With the economies of many nations taking Icarusian falls, the answer is most likely, “yes, but I can’t afford one.”
My answer would be, “true, but building one may be fiscally possible.”

It’s possible to build a much better computer than you can afford “from the box.”  So much so, that, even if you can afford a “from the box” computer, I would recommend building one…a much better one.

If you’re willing to open your mind, take a chance and have a few hours, I’ll walk you through the process.

I’ll cover purchasing the supplies, assembling the machine and loading the operating system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supplies and Price:
1) Antec 900 mid-tower case ($150) The case is with a 20cm top fan, 10cm back fan, two of the same on the front,  a huge window on the side, where yet another may be attached, and a fan holder on the back of the drive bay. Take my advice and get the optional side and drive bay fans. When running, the fans will emit a very pleasing blue glow.

2) Two Antec Tricool 120mm blue fans. ($30) These are the two optional fans which I urged you to get, as $30 in fans beats the hell out of a cooked CPU.

3) A SATA interface 500GB hard drive with a 16MB buffer. ($150) Do not buy an off brand. Stick to Maxtor, Western Digital, Seagate or something else mainstream. (If you buy an EIDE or IDE interface drive, you’ll just have to return it for the correct one.)

4) A Creative X-Fi XtremeGame 7.1 HD audio sound card ($100.00) You’re building for the future. Right now, I have two speakers and a subwoofer connected to mine, but when I buy a 7.1 stereo, it’ll be ready to plug-in.

5) EVGA GeForce 8800GTS ($300.00) You can find a cheaper graphics/video card, but those won’t support DirectX 10. The 8800 will. Get it. (One note; the outputs on the card are HDMI x2 and an S-Video. If you don’t have an HDTV, you really need to get one before PAL, SECAM or NTSC run out-18 February in US and Canada-but if you’re cash-strapped, the 8800 comes with two HDMI to SVGA adapters, meaning that your present monitor will work.)

6) The internal version of LG’s 18X multi-format DVD/CD Drive ($60) This drive supports DVD RW/ R/ RAM. The RAM type DVD can be used 50,000 to 100,000 times, so this is very important. A package of five discs will almost certainly outlast you, even if you’re a teen-ager. I picked this drive because of the RAM factor, and because it’s SATA.

7) Antec SmartPower 500w (500 joules/second) power supply ($60) Better cases don’t come with power supplies. This is the one for the case. A 650w is offered for an additional $100, but you don’t need it.

8) Intel Core2 Duo E6750 ($150-$300…will explain below) This is the fastest dual-core chipset Intel makes, but if you’re just throwing money at the project, you may go with a quad-core chipset.

9) ECS G33T-M2 motherboard (about $75, but while in Houston, I found it and the chipset at Fry’s Electronics for $220 combined, whereas the chipset can go up to $300 alone) Better boards by ASUS can be had, and many gamers buy the set I purchased, trash the board, and use the chipset in an ASUS board. I’ve no complaints about the ECS board.

10) Two Kingston DDR2 1MB PC6400 memory cards or chips, I call them cards. ($100) It is extremely important that you verify at the store that the cards run at 800MHz, rather than 667 MHz, as the slower speed will hobble your system.

11) A small tube of silicone grease ($3-$7, depending on what you can find.)

12) A copy of Windows Vista ($300-$450) Ultimate comes with 64-bit and 32-bit discs. The intermediate version requires logging onto Microsoft.com, and ordering the 64-bit disc for $10. Never get the basic version. If you’re going to do that, put your supplies back. We’re not building a 32-bit machine.

13) Automotive or electronic plastic wire-ties ($5-$10) I already had some. If you’re a police officer or in a police family, FlexCufs will also work to secure the wiring, just not as well.



ASSEMBLY: This will take 3-6 hours, if it’s your first.
DON’T HURRY! As my father told me, growing up…there may not be time to do it right, but there’ll always be time to do it again.
1a) Remove the case from its box, remove the black thumbscrews from the back of each side, carefully remove the sides, and place them somewhere nearby, but safe.
1b) Afterward, unsnap the fan holder form the back of the lower drive holder assembly, place it in a safe location, use a Philips screwdriver to loosen the thumbscrews on each side of the case, remove them, and push the drive-holder assemblies free from the back. Set them aside and lay the case, open side up, on a piece of plywood or cardboard placed on the floor or a secure surface such as a table.

2a) place the boxes containing the motherboard and chipset on the solid end of the case (you’ll know, so don’t ask) after clipping the white packing bands from around them.
2b) Fasten the stripped end of a copper wire to a grounded point, such as a cold-water pipe or a metal window frame, then fasten the other stripped end of the wire around one wrist to eliminate any static charge. If you don’t have a wire, go to the store, buy a length of copper antenna wire, and resume after performing above step! Failure to do this will destroy the chipset and possibly the board!
2c) Knock out the output template from the back of the case. (It won’t work with the board), and replace it with the template found with the motherboard’s documentation. (No, it won’t want to stay, but you can get it to do so for a moment or two) 
2d)Carefully remove the board from the box and anti-static envelope, ease it into position atop the brass stand-offs, make note of which stand-offs must be repositioned so every hole has a stand-off under it, place the board back atop the Mylar envelope, and reposition the stand-offs
2e) Ease the board into position again, trying not to dislodge the output template (it may be necessary to bend dome of the template tabs to make it fit properly; don’t worry, my board wasn’t in to stay until the third try.) and fasten it with the screws and red insulated washers provided in the case’s hardware box. (you’ll know)

3a) The board is in, so unbox the chipset, carefully pry the plastic sheathing apart, and set the huge fan/heat sink assembly aside in a clean place.
3b) pull the socket cover from the board, unhook the latch and finesse the chip-cover up with your fingernail. You must not touch the socket.
3c) carefully remove the plastic sheathing from around the chip, grasp the chip by the edges (don’t drop!), pull the contact cover loose from the bottom and gently drop the chip into the socket, making certain that the two notches in the right of the chip are aligned with the corresponding plastic protrusions on the socket. Very gently try to move the chip side to side. It shouldn’t move.
3d) Gently close the chip cover, slowly bringing the metal bar down, hooking it under the catch to secure the chip. (Moderate force will be required.)
3e) Place a pea-sized (about 2mm across) bit of silicone grease atop the chip, and carefully ease the fan/heat sink onto the chip.
3f) You’re not done. After taking care to ensure the fan pins are aligned with the corresponding board-holes, and that the arrows on the flatted screws point toward away from the fan, hold the fan with one hand, and use a flat-screwdriver to turn the screws ninety degrees. (You will need to press down fairly hard on the screw prior to turning, but not so hard the screwdriver slips and gouges the board.) You are pressing a wedge fastener in, and locking it to secure the heat sink to the chip.

4a) The drive holder assembly with the fans is the lower; place your hard-drive in the bottom slot, and use the provided screws to secure it. One this is done, slide the assembly back into the case, taking care not to tangle the fan-wiring.
4b) You will see a long purple socket with another two white sockets below it. These are expansion slots. Remove the screws securing the metal expansion cover (the metal slats at the back of the case) above the purple socket and the cover below it (This will be used to exhaust air from the 8800’s fan.)
4c) Carefully press the 8800 into place until you hear the catch snap shut, then use the screws to secure it to the case.
4d) In the same manner, remove the cover corresponding to the bottom expansion slot (never block the 8800’s intake air!) press the sound-card into place, and secure it with the screw.

5a) Place the power supply into the computer (the location is self-evident) label-side legible, and secure it with the four screws provided.
5b) retrieve the fan holder you removed, place one of the optional fans into it, and carefully refasten the fan onto the lower drive assembly.
5c) The power-supply comes with a variety of jumper types. Choose the one that ends with a six wire socket, plug it into the lower port of the supply, and connect to the front underside of the 8800.
5d) Choose the jumper that contains three wide four pronged sockets, and plug it into the next power port. Plug two fans into the top and bottom sockets, and the last into the middle. (The side fan will also go onto that later.)
5e) you will find two jumpers with narrow (almost USB-like) sockets on them. Plug these into the remaining two ports. Immediately plug on of them into the back of the hard disc, and secure the excess to the extent possible.

6a) Use a screwdriver to remove the bottom front plate on the upper drive assembly, and install the DVD drive with the provided screws.
6b) slide the drive assembly back into the case, secure it with the thumbscrews, and plug the other power jumper into the back of the DVD drive.

7) You will have noticed two reddish-orange cables with the drives. These are SATA cables, which take the place of the familiar wide grey IDE cables. Plug the cables into two of the six SATA ports on the board, and into the backs of the drives.
8) You’ve been wondering about the thick main cable from the power supply? The wide one goes at the front of the board (after you remove the yellow sticker), the four prong goes into a socket in the middle of the board, and ignore the other connector.

9a) Cover your ass and bat clean-up: Check to make certain that the blue and white wires from the CPU fan have been plugged into the adjacent socket (not to be confused with the fan-speed socket…this is toward the front of the board, relative to the CPU)
9b) the little black things on the fan-wires aren’t connectors…they’re switches. Set them to “3” or “high”. Take the white wire from the optional fan, and plug it into the fan speed socket.
9c) carefully untangle the wires coming from the top of the case. Plug the USB into the USB2 socket, ignore the 1394, as there is no connector on this board (which has an onboard Ethernet connection), and faint not at the seemingly incompatible array of pins and the three remaining plugs. Referring to the motherboard, you will find a diagram explaining the assignment of the pins. Make notes on this page with a pin, and plug accordingly.

10) After making certain all wires are secured away from hungry fan-blades, install the second optional fanon the Plexiglas window, set the switch to high, and peel the plastic from the window. (You may now remove that grounding wire from your wrist) Plug the fan into the other fan (You’ve already found they snap together, right?)

11) Carefully slide each side of the case into place, securing them with the black thumbscrews

12) connect the monitor, plug the cord into the power supply and wall-outlet, and pray to whatever deity you worship before starting the computer.

STARTING A COMPUTER FROM DEAD STOP
Here’s where you benefit from my mistakes, providing your machine has run for longer than five seconds and no smoke is coming from it:

Absolutely new computers look dead. There is nothing on the screen, and if you don’t know better, you will think it’s a failure. Fear Not!

1) Hit the Esc key, and then perform a warm boot by hitting Ctrl-Alt-Delete.

2) After a few seconds to half a minute, a cursor will appear, followed a few more seconds to a half minute later (maybe it just seemed that way) by a prompt to select or insert a boot disc.

3) Immediately load the 64-bit Vista disc into the DVD drive (it will not auto run) and hit enter.

Enjoy your new computer, and go smoke a cigarette or have a beer when Vista finishes loading…you’ve earned it.

 

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