March 01, 2014  

In the middle of all the blithering stupidity generated by conservatives about what's going on in Russia/Ukraine/Crimea (and apparently, it's no long "the" Crimea, just Crimea), I'd like to post the text of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances.  This treaty (non-ratified by the Senate, so technically not even a treaty) does not commit the U.S. or the U.K. to intervene militarily in case Ukraine's sovereignty is threatened.  Article 4 is the key part - it applies in the case of an attack on the Ukraine involving nuclear weapons as the trigger for signatory action.

Welcoming the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear-weapon State,
Taking into account the commitment of Ukraine to eliminate all nuclear weapons from its territory within a specified period of time,
Noting the changes in the world-wide security situation, including the end of the Cold War, which have brought about conditions for deep reductions in nuclear forces.
Confirm the following:

  1. The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act, to respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.
  2. The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defense or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
  3. The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act, to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind.
  4. The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used.
  5. The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm, in the case of the Ukraine, their commitment not to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, except in the case of an attack on themselves, their territories or dependent territories, their armed forces, or their allies, by such a state in association or alliance with a nuclear weapon state.
  6. The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will consult in the event a situation arises which raises a question concerning these commitments.
This Memorandum will become applicable upon signature.
Signed in four copies having equal validity in the English, Russian and Ukrainian languages.

posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 12:16 PM

September 22, 2011  

posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 12:46 PM

May 16, 2007  

Note to Boomer-aged conservatives:


Yes, we're back in another country full of funny-talking brown people busy with a civil war,
but this isn't a chance to start the game over and get better results. It's just fucking stupid, is all.

As well, if terrorists want to come to this country to kill Americans ... they're going to. These
hypothetical terrorists aren't going to say to themselves -"Gosh, so many soft targets in the
U.S., but instead of travelling there to kill Americans, I'm going to fight well armed and trained
soldiers here."

So who are these people killing Americans in Iraq? Iraqis. Who are these people who've attacked
us in the U.S.? Hate to break it to all of you six years later, but ... NOT Iraqis. Well, I'm sure that
will change soon, primarily because we're busy killing them in such large numbers. That tends to
piss people off.

It's not a matter of "If we don't fight them there, we'll fight them here." We're going to "fight"
(and I use that word loosely) them here anyways.

posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 5:31 PM

August 24, 2005  


Chester Wild West Rodeo 2005 photo gallery at Webshots.


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 7:47 PM

March 06, 2005  


It's usually kind of crass to say anything along the lines of "The Republican Party is comprised of Corporate Whores," but what the hell else are we supposed to think when we've got crap likeSantorum's Sweatshop Bill getting pushed?

I mean, I know Republican politicians are anti-labor (even while many Republican voters, strangely, belong to unions - licking the boot that kicks them, I suppose), but this sinks to a new low.


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 8:21 PM

January 05, 2005  


Sweet. The next logical step from using an inner-tube or an inflatable mattress on a sled hill: The Airboard.

Kinda pricey, though.


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 1:46 AM

January 02, 2005  


As usual, Fafblog says it best:

Some old dead guy once said that a year is a feast of days that we should savor one by one. If that's true then somebody already got to 2004 before Giblets did, probably a large foul-smelling barnyard animal, and it is now sitting in a steaming pile of crap on Giblets's front porch.


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 11:17 AM

November 02, 2004  


For those who think that Kerry wouldn't have fought as effective a War on Terror ...
this man would like to thank you.


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 10:56 PM


Well, Richard Nixon won a second term, too.

Of course, his misdeeds didn't come to light until afterwards, rather than being obvious
during the first term.


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 10:24 PM

October 31, 2004  


Ah, yes, another resounding success in foreign policy by the Bush administration:

Iran Parliament OKs Nuke Enrichment Bill
(But I'm sure that, somehow, this is Clinton's fault).


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 11:26 PM

October 25, 2004  


I always find it somewhat amusing, and more than somewhat frustrating, when Republicans I know talk about how the possibility of John Kerry running the War on Terror "scares them." Or how Bush is a real man, who would find his enemies and take them out, like John Wayne. How only Bush can be trusted with defending the country, not the "Jane Fonda" candidate.

(Aside from the incompetent, half-assed way this War on Terror has been fought, I'd certainly like to point out real quick that only one of these men has actually fought America's enemies in combat. Voluntarily, no less.)

The primary argument against the notion that the White House, and Bush in particular, can be trusted to fight the War on Terror can be summed up simply as: Iraq. While there's a pretty lengthy argument to be made as to why the War in Iraq was and continues to be a mistake and a massive distraction, a more specific anecdote has been raised a few times, regarding Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, currently one of the two or three most prominent ringleaders of the insurgency in Iraq (and certainly the most prominent foreign insurgent). Joshua Marshall and Kevin Drum have been on this for a time now, but the Wall Street Journal has provided the most in-depth coverage to date with today's story:
"Senior Pentagon officials who were involved in planning the attack said that even by spring 2002 Mr. Zarqawi had been identified as a significant terrorist target, based in part on intelligence that the camp he earlier ran in Afghanistan had been attempting to make chemical weapons, and because he was known as the head of a group that was plotting, and training for, attacks against the West. He already was identified as the ringleader in several failed terrorist plots against Israeli and European targets. In addition, by late 2002, while the White House still was deliberating over attacking the camp, Mr. Zarqawi was known to have been behind the October 2002 assassination of a senior American diplomat in Amman, Jordan.

But the raid on Mr. Zarqawi didn't take place. Months passed with no approval of the plan from the White House, until word came down just weeks before the March 19, 2003, start of the Iraq war that Mr. Bush had rejected any strike on the camp until after an official outbreak of hostilities with Iraq. Ultimately, the camp was hit just after the invasion of Iraq began."

Again: The White House, that is George Bush, decided to not attack and attempt to eliminate a man already, at the time, known to be a major terrorist leader. To do so would have weakened the case for an invasion of Iraq, by removing a justification (ignoring the fact that al-Zarqawi was operating in the northern, Kurdish-controlled No-Fly-Zone, where we had more power than Hussein). Time Dunlop has lengthier excerpts from this article - recommended reading.

To date, Zarqawi has been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers- total U.S. military deaths are at 1105 as of today - by way of sponsoring, training, and leading insurgents; he's been directly responsible for a few civilian be- headings, including Nick Berg. He's operating in Iraq pretty much at will, and has recently proclaimed his loyalty to Osama bin-Laden; al-Zarqawi previously operated with his own terrorist organization (Jamaat al-Tawhid wa'l-Jihad), rather than as an extension of al-Qaeda.

A rather serious reprecussion, as well, of non-existent post-Invasion planning has been the looting of massive amounts of military-grade explosives by the insurgency.

From the New York Times (registration required):

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 24 - The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives - used to demolish buildings, make missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons - are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations.

From the Nelson Report, by way of Joshua Marshall:

The Bush Administration barred the IAEA from any participation in the Iraq invasion and occupation process, and blocked IAEA requests to help in the search for WMD and other dangerous materials. As part of the UN sanctions regime still in place when the US invaded, the IAEA had “under seal” 350 tons of RDX and HDX explosives, since singly, and in combination, these materials can be used in the triggering process for a nuclear weapon. However, the explosives were allowed to remain in Iraq due to their conventional use in construction, oil pipe lines, and the like. Since the explosives went missing last year, sources say DOD and other elements in the Administration sought to block the IAEA from officially reporting the problem, and also tried to stop the new Iraqi Interim Government from cooperating with the IAEA.

So terrorists like al-Zarqawi, and isurgents like Muqtada al-Sadr - mind that there's a difference between "insurgent" and "terrorist" - now have greater resources with which to kill American soldiers and, potentially, civilians. All of this due to failures, one after the other, of the Bush administration. An administration that cannot, will not, admit any mistakes whatsoever.

Can you really trust them? Even if you can trust them to make the right decisions - and I can't - do you really trust them to carry those decisions out with competence? Because the track record so far is one of a complete lack of success. And it's not likely to get better, because anyone who can't admit they've made mistakes simply won't learn from those mistakes.


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 4:43 PM

October 14, 2004  


George W. Bush, Oct. 13, 2004:
"I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations."

George W. Bush, March. 13, 2002:
"And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 5:00 AM

October 11, 2004  


Kevin Drum quantifies the deceptiveness of each candidate during the second Presidential Debate.
Shockingly enough, Bush doesn't come out look better than Kerry....


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 5:25 PM

October 03, 2004  


As Joshua Marshall says, with the situation deteriorating, the President is left with making good news up about Iraq. This isn't semantics, this is outright lying.

It's also nothing new with regards to Iraq, they were lying well before the war.


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 7:14 PM

September 28, 2004  


You'd suppose that in an election year, Bush could count on a certain loyalty, a certain stolid conservative backing, from the town next to his campaign photo op ranch the heart of Texas.

Er, no.

From Crawford, TXs only newspaper:

"He let us down."


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 5:46 PM

September 27, 2004  


Thanks for everything, John York.



posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 7:46 PM

September 21, 2004  


Meet Ayad Allawi, our man in Baghdad.

Yeah, this guy's a real improvement over Ahmed Chalabi.


Charles Dodgeson on how Bush's so-called "courage" may not really exist. Well, no "may" about it.

One last note, to any Bush partisans reading this: why no, it does not take courage to order troops into battle -- not if you're going to suppress photos of the coffins, underreport the count of the wounded, and hustle their grieving mothers out of your campaign events, all so that you can pretend that nothing bad that you might be responsible for is actually happening.


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 6:42 PM

September 20, 2004  


As Fred Kaplan writes in Slate:

Let's Pretend Missile Defense Works


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 3:56 AM

September 19, 2004  


Don't bother being outraged, when it's staged.

(Great guy, getting the whole family involved!)


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 3:39 AM

September 07, 2004  


Matthew Yglesias gives a general breakdown of the President's specific lies,
general mendacity, and misdirection from Bush's RNC address; or at least
those as pertain to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the War on Terror.


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 4:35 AM

September 05, 2004  


For those of you who still believe, for whatever strange reason, that the Swift Boat
Veterans For Truth have any credibility or actual Truth to their varied, conflicting,
and evidence-free stories, should disabuse you of that


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 9:18 PM

September 01, 2004  


I'm planning to come up with ten of my own, but in the meantime, McSweeney's
has 105, with more to come:

McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Reasons to Dispatch Bush


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 5:13 AM

June 20, 2003  


Having stumbled across a number of beautiful landscapes done in what appeared to be an oil-photorealistic style,
I started browsing around, and after seeing reference to the "Giclees" method, looked into it.

I was extremely disappointed to discover that the "Giclées." method of painting ... isn't painting.

I don't dissaprove of the style, not in the least, but it seems to be misrepesented. It's not painting - it's
digital manipulation, followed by machine production. Brush-stroking some varnish or touch-ups on
after the machine is done is no more painting than the "daubings" done to Thomas Kinkaid's work.

It is, however, a great method for reproduction of original works, or the transference of good photographs
into a more ... artistic format, i.e., on canvas or watercolor paper. Which, fortunately, still seems
to be its primary purpose (although the marketing of these prints, starting with the use of a
near-meaningless word, seems to be generally misleading).


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 6:51 AM

May 21, 2003  


If anyone has California-centric links, send them my way - I'm going to start putting them together in a link section focused on the state, much like Jim Capozzola has done for Philadelphia at The Lighter Side of the Rittenhouse Review.

I may even pattern this blog after that form, just a modest bit of occasional commentary on things of local interest, or those matters that directly touch my life ...

(Beats the hell out of Yet Another Political Blog, I'd think.)


... Such as lids for paper coffee cups.

Note to International Paper, Sweetheart, and other manufacturers of not-so-fine consumer goods: The first to develop a plastic coffee-cup lid that doesn't condense hot coffee on the interior of the lip, where it then drips onto my hand, will receive the admittedly dubious bounty of my undying loyalty, at least as far as the purchase of whatever else they produce is concerned.

Of course, my theory is that I'm the only person in the world for whom the laws of physics and the physical properties of plastic coffee-cup lids so collude. It really wouldn't suprise me if this were true. At least, I haven't noticed anyone else walking around with napkins tucked against the lids of their coffee cups.


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 3:38 AM

May 20, 2003  


Recent upgrades can be seen to include a prominently displayed PayPal logo, in case anyone particularly charitable/philanthropic/mentally unbalanced should suddenly feel the urge to send me money.

Any money contributed to this fund will be used for the noble purposes of buying art supplies, possibly a quality scanner, and seeing movies I can't currently afford the luxury of watching.

And probably a haircut, since I'm long overdue for that, as well.


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 1:41 AM


In lieu of writing anything useful, or even space- filler, I'm slowly upgrading/updating my links section.

Posting anything more would require thought - and I don't get paid to think. Of course, I don't get paid to read blogs, or for anything else I do on the computer ...


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 1:24 AM

April 09, 2003  


TBOGG notes that "This won't be another's going to be more like Russia's Afghanistan adventure."
And on that note, cue:

"When the highest political leaders of the USSR sent its forces into this war, they did not consider the historic, religious, and national particularities of Afghanistan. After the entry these particularities proved the most important factors as they foreordained the long and very difficult nature of the armed conflict. Now it is completely clear that is was an impetuous decision to send Soviet forces into this land. It is now clear that the Afghans, whose history included many centuries of warfare with various warring groups, could not see these armed strangers as anything but armed invaders. And since these strangers were not Muslim, a religious factor was added to the national enmity. Both of these factors were sufficient to trigger a large mass of resistance among the people, which various warriors throughout history had been unable to overcome and which the Soviet forces met when they arrived in Afghanistan."

- THE SOVIET-AFGHAN WAR, by The Russian General Staff,
translated by Lester W. Grau & Michael A. Gress

Replacing "USSR/Soviet" with American and "Afghan/Afghanistan" with "Iraq/Iraqi" looks uncomfortably close to a preview of things present, and possibly things to come. Not that the parallels are entirely direct, but the Soviets were very successful in their initial campaign to seize control, as we seem to be. It took a little time for things to break down, for outside intervention to take effect, for local groups to assert themselves both for (rarely) and against (most frequently) the invaders.

The problem with relying upon the locals is that as much as they hate Saddam, they also hate us. When Saddam is gone ...

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend" only works until the mutual enemy has been disposed of.
, for more on the possible future of the occupation of Iraq.


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 1:16 AM

March 30, 2003  


Sites for monitoring the war:

The Agonist
Daily Kos

I have enough of a knowledge of - though little experience in - military matters to make plenty of comments myself. There is, however, little point in doing so, given the wealth of news, commentary, and analysis (none to be often mistaken for the others) already taking up and/or wasting space.


I am an Insignificant Microbe.

I've known many a beautiful girl who could point this out, though none of them would have done so by way of blog. (Hand signals, maybe...)

posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 3:58 AM


Likely Presidential candidate Gary Hart has a blog.

I could vote for him for this alone.

(I probably won't, but it's still nice to see prominant public figures - beyond Dave Barry - get into the act).

He's even got a nice selection of blogging links.


Now abstract painting, is the art of not painting, but of selling nothing, and convincing people of its depth, insight, and meaning. Myself, I've always figured that if you have to explain the purpose of a painting, you've already failed ...


I don't particularly like to use other people's photography for my own purposes - painting, blogging, or Usenet - but here's at least one great shot that's better than an extremely similar photo I'd taken about seven years ago.

Painted Dunes, Lassen Volcanic National Park
As seen from Cinder Cone.

I'd show mine to contrast, but I've got a bit of a problem in that a.) My scanner is old and wretched, and b.) I never have the money to go out and pick up even a cheap, new scanner to digitalize the few hundred pictures I have that seem worthy. It's only been in the past year or two that I've selected the picture-on-CD option when getting my film processed, and not every time at that.

(Anyone who cares to send money for this noble cause is welcome to do so - the old fashioned way, as I don't currently have a Paypal account).

Here's one of mine, for the hell of it:

Lower Battle Creek Falls, Lassen National Forest

posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 3:47 AM

March 19, 2003  


To further clarify - oil painting is the art of mixing yellow and blue, and not getting green.

In fact, it is the art of mixing two colors, and not getting a third, but rather an amalgamation, where the eye can distinguish both colors as distinct.

It's also the art of cleaning your brush such that random colors don't suddenly unload in an inconvenient place - such as a blotch of prussian blue in the middle of a field of flake white.

It's an exercise in patience, before all else.


posted by kmmontandon (0) comments | 9:31 PM