HERSH: There was a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build — we in our shipyard — build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up.
Might cost some lives. And it was rejected because you can’t have Americans killing Americans. That’s the kind of — that’s the level of stuff we’re talking about. Provocation. But that was rejected.
I thought, "why does that sound so familiar?" Then I remembered the Manning Memo:
Manning records that both Bush and Blair were uptight that the WMDs were not going to be found, so George W offered another fabrication to give them an excuse to attack. He suggested that the U.S. would paint one of our own surveillance planes in the colors of the United Nations and fly it over Iraq, hoping that Saddam would be provoked into shooting it down. Then the U.S. and Brits could invade, claiming that they were retaliating for Saddam's attack on the UN.
posted by The Vidiot @ 2:54 PM Permalink
I like Adbusters. They put out a great magazine and they do some interesting advocacy work. But it's considered radical, and it's really not.
In one of their articles, the writer goes to great lengths to establish Roberto Mongabeira Unger's radical cred:
Unger wrote prodigiously, churning out an endless stream of ideas about philosophy, politics, economics and social theory. He was, and he remains, a committed, radical leftist; he embraces the very idea of radicalism as a central pillar of his political philosophy.
OK. So he's a radical leftist. So I read on:
Unger is more than just another academic-turned-politician, or another radical given a taste of power. His success or failure may very well determine the future of leftist movements around the world. His ideas represent some of the most novel approaches to dealing with the world’s problems: how to reduce poverty, promote economic growth and strengthen democracy. So his appointment will test whether a leftist movement still has the power to transform the world.
OK. So my interest is piqued. But, towards the end, there's this:
But Unger doesn’t think Brazil should compete against the likes of China by giving its workers ever-lower wages. And he rejects the neo-Korean model because he wants to start an economic revolution from the ground up, not top down. Instead, Unger proposes that the government both tax and invest heavily. Voting should be made mandatory, as should savings. These measures would buffer the economy from the influence of international investors. This flies against the textbooks that say governments should prostrate themselves to foreign investment. Growth would not come from big business then, but from Brazil’s small enterprises.
He's no radical. Far from it. He's still working within the established construct. A radical wants to break that construct. Destroy it. Not play with it in different ways.
Yet another example of why the left isn't really the left at all.
The American economy expanded at a weaker-than-expected 1.9 percent annual rate between April and June, the Commerce Department announced Thursday, while numbers for the last three months of 2007 were revised downward to show a contraction — the first dip since the recession of 2001.[…]
“We already knew the economy was weak, and now you have both a negative growth number coupled with job losses,” said Dean Baker, a director of the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research. “There’s a lot of real bad times to come.”
President Bush zeroed in on the positive growth rate in the second quarter as a sign of resilience, dismissing the characterizations of professional economists.
“We got some positive news today,” the president said…
In what country does bush live and how could anyone be so disconnected from reality?
The U.S. economy grew at a solid pace in the second quarter, the government said today, despite being buffeted by a financial crisis, a deep housing slump, high fuel prices and a weak job market.
Gross domestic product rose at a 1.9 percent inflation-adjusted annual rate in the April through June period, the department said, far above what forecasters would have expected just a few months ago but below their more recent projections. It was boosted by strong exports resulting from the lower value of the dollar and rising consumer spending by Americans, who benefited from the stimulus checks.
That represents an improvement over the 0.9 percent growth rate of the first quarter and an economy that shrank 0.2 percent, according to the newly revised data, in the final months of 2007.
Other sources of strength were in the building of offices, hotels and other commercial construction, and spending by the government.…
I have repeatedly noted in the past that any bushco economic figures cannot ever be trusted as the figures released are inevitably revised downward within a couple of months.
I certainly understand that different people may look at figures such as these differently, the old 'glass is half full or the glass is half empty' thing, but it appears that the White House's water is being carried by the WaPo in a rather transparent manner.
Maybe the WaPo, like Faux Noise, receives their talking points directly from bushco.
posted by The Vidiot @ 10:29 AM Permalink
I sometimes frequent the conspiracy boards, mostly for entertainment. Anyway, one of the better ones, Above Top Secret, has a thread on the Air Force officer in Alaska that committed suicide. The officer had been associated with one of the commanders that had been dismissed over the missing nukes story from last August. Besides the fact that a lot of the fellas associated, even peripherally, with that incident are dead, there are other reasons to look sideways at the suspected suicide. But that's not my reason for mentioning it. My reason for mentioning it is this HIGHLY entertaining comment from one of the posters:
Everything is suspect. It does not sound like a suicide, but he could have known something and wasn't going to play hardball. Anyone could have ordered the kill. Dick Cheney is a powerful man, but so is Elton John...they are both annoying.
posted by The Vidiot @ 7:40 PM Permalink
This year hasn't been so bad (knock on wood, spit three times) as far as the heat goes anyway. The Mr. Softee Ice Cream van has changed its tune though. The last twp years has been some unrecognizable thing that really sticks with you. This year, they've changed the tune. This year, it's "I'm a little teapot" which just makes me laugh.
When I was a kid, my mom had this crazy gay friend, Chris. He was a little nuts and he sang like Ethel Merman. Anyway, when we first met him, he did this schtick for me and my sister. He did the "I'm a little teapot" song with the arms. You know, "this is my handle" and you put your hand on your waist and "this is my spout" and you hold out your other arm like it's a spout. Well, Chris, like the first time we met him, did the Teapot song in his best Ethel Merman voice, but when it came to "this is my spout," instead of putting his arm out like a spout, he put it on his waist. Then he stopped, looked down at his hands resting on his hips and said, "Shit. I'm a sugar bowl." Me and my sister thought that was so funny.
I recently showed it to Mr. Vidiot. I don't think the joke works on grownups.
Ooop, here it comes around the block again. "I'm a little teapot, short and stout..."
Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the U.S. Senate and one of the chamber's most powerful members, was indicted Tuesday in Washington, a result of a year-long investigation into corruption in Alaska politics.
The indictment comes nearly one year after federal agents raided Stevens' home in Girdwood, a resort town about 40 miles south of Anchorage.
I'm pretty sure that home in Girdwood is the one that Stevens had lifted from the ground, completely and literally, and allowed a crony contractor to build Stevens an entirely new first floor to the home, then setting the original first floor on top for an instant two-story home.
What a deal!
There is still no official word on whether or not Stevens sought to have a bridge built to the second floor.
When Stephanopoulos asked, "Are you a 'read my lips' candidate, no new taxes, no matter what?" McCain responded affirmatively: "No new taxes."
Fast forward to July 2008:
McCain told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview on "This Week." "I think that’s the way that Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill did it -- and that's what we have to do again."
When asked if that includes a possible hike in the payroll tax, McCain reiterated that nothing -- including such a tax hike -- is "off the table."
WTF! McCain's equating Reagan, a republican president who was responsible for the 3rd worst deficit in American history, (before Bush I and Bush II), with Tip O'Neill, the Democratic Speaker of the House who called Reagan "Herbert Hoover with a smile" and "a cheerleader for selfishness" and "am amiable dunce."
Maybe it's just me, but I think that hiring a person who's firing elevated HP's stock 7.5% would be a bad economic adviser, (tho she's vying for Phil Gramm for absolute worst economic adviser ever), especially one who thinks raising taxes will lead to a depression on the same day that her boss and republican presidential contender says raising payroll taxes could be a good idea.
The McCain campaign yesterday unveiled its latest TV ad, which hits Obama for -- among other things -- cancelling a visit to meet with wounded US soldiers at Landstuhl. "He made time to go to the gym, but cancelled a visit with wounded troops," the ad goes. "Seems the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras. John McCain is always there for our troops. McCain. Country first."
Next a quote, (follow the link to video), from NBC's Andrea Mitchell, who definitely can't be called an Obama supporter, but she was actually there:
Let me play a bit of Robert Gibbs, Obama's spokesman reacting to that today… The point is he had no intention of bringing cameras. I was there, I can vouch for it. Why put up an ad claiming that's why he didn't visit the troops?" [MSNBC, 7/28/08]
BS! See, "United States National Debt (1938 to Present) An Analysis of the Presidents Who Are Responsible for the Borrowing," which contains an excellent chart, which I lack the know-how to post here, showing the steady increase in our debt, the deficit, and that points out the parties responsible for the increases in text which I can quote:
The chart below, Figure 1, shows the United States national debt (per Microsoft’s Encarta Encyclopedia and US Government data) with the various Presidents’ terms marked by vertical lines. Under President Clinton the growth in debt ceased, but note the radical change in direction since George W. Bush entered office. There is no question and a lot of mathematical proof that the steepest upward rises in debt since the end of World War II, started with President Reagan and continued with other so called Neo-Conservatives.[…]
Prior to the Neo-Conservative takeover of the Republican Party there was not much difference between the two parties’ debt philosophy. They both worked together to minimize it. However the debt has been on a steady incline ever since the Reagan presidency. The only exception to the steep increase over the last 25 years was during the Clinton presidency, when he brought spending under control and the debt growth down to almost zero.
Comparing the borrowing habits of the two parties since 1981, when the Neo-Conservative movement really took hold and government spending raced out of control, it is extremely obvious that the big spenders in Washington are Republicans and their party’s presidents. The only Democratic president since then, Mr. Clinton raised the national debt an average of 4.3% per year. The Republican presidents (Reagan, Bush, and Bush II) raised the debt an average of 10.8% per year. That is, for every dollar a Democratic President has raised the national debt in the past 25 years, Republican presidents have raised the debt by $2.53. Any way you look at it Neo-Conservative Republican presidents cannot or will not control government spending.
It's not only clear that the headline is wrong, it is so wrong as to defy credulity and again demonstrates a media bias favorable to Rethug Neocons.
No wonder newspapers are suffering such dismal sales when it can be so hard to find any truth within them anymore.
INTERESTING NOTE: Somebody with some commonsense has changed that headline while I was composing this. It now reads:
Deficit to Grow to Record
Maybe the former headline was just a tad too dishonest for even the washingtonpost.com? Nope, when you link to the article it repeats the garbage headline and flushes it out with obviously bad information as the deficit has increased every single year bush has been in office.
Get yer politician here! Get yer politician here…CHEAP!
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:50 PM Permalink
I know my memory doesn't function as well as it used to, but I seem to remember an old saying that, "It is just as important to avoid the appearance of impropriety as it is to actually avoid improprieties."
Another John McPain failure.
Excerpts from a washingtonpost.com article regarding McInsane's newfound partners in crime, as it would appear, eh?:
Industry Gushed Money After Reversal on Drilling
Campaign contributions from oil industry executives to Sen. John McCain rose dramatically in the last half of June, after the senator from Arizona made a high-profile split with environmentalists and reversed his opposition to the federal ban on offshore drilling.
Oil and gas industry executives and employees donated $1.1 million to McCain last month -- three-quarters of which came after his June 16 speech calling for an end to the ban -- compared with $116,000 in March, $283,000 in April and $208,000 in May.[…]
McCain delivered the speech before heading to Texas for a series of fundraisers with energy industry executives, and the day after the speech he raised $1.3 million at a private luncheon and reception at the San Antonio Country Club, according to local news accounts.
"The timing was significant," said David Donnelly, the national campaigns director of the Public Campaign Action Fund, a nonpartisan campaign finance reform group that conducted the analysis of McCain's oil industry contributions. "This is a case study of how a candidate can change a policy position in the interest of raising money."
Brian Rogers, a McCain campaign spokesman, said he considers any suggestion that McCain weighed fundraising into his calculation on drilling policy "completely absurd."
And I say that anytime a group or organization suddenly makes ten-fold increases, millions of dollars, in donations to a candidate it is "completely absurd" to not believe that a candidate has been bought, paid for, gift wrapped, and delivered on a silver platter to that special interest group, don't you?
From $208,000 in oil money in May to $2.3 MILLION in June/July? Oh sure there's no collusion going on here, yeah, yeah, that's the ticket!
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:30 PM Permalink
…only find two Harvard educated people in all of Europe who were at all excited by Obama's European tour, even though she had to have noticed the 200,000 or so applauding and cheering Germans waving American flags and NOT burning him in effigy, waving posters of Obama with horns on his head and blood dripping from his mouth, and not a single sign calling Obama or America the biggest terror sponsors in the world or calling him the Great Satan as European protesters routinely do in ANY European country bush visits.
I won't link to her BS op-ed in the NYT to spare her the embarrassment of even more people reading her sad tribute to her ability to find only two Europeans out of the probably one million or so total viewers and listeners to Obama, nor will I embarrass her by giving her name (her initials are Susan Neiman) that is attached to a piece of garbage that reads like a hit piece article for bushco by a writer who attended the Armstrong William's School of Propagandistic Writing.
It is truly remarkable for anyone but a GOP shill to claim Obama wasn't a big hit in Europe. I wonder if the two people she found that liked him were Chancellor Merkel of Germany and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France (who called Obama his "pal")?
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama scrubbed a planned visit to see wounded American servicemen and women in Germany because of concerns raised by the Pentagon that the stop at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center could be seen as a political event, according to Obama's campaign.[…]
"The senator decided out of respect for these servicemen and women that it would be inappropriate to make a stop to visit troops at a U.S. military facility as part of a trip funded by the campaign," senior adviser Robert Gibbs said in a statement.
The campaign of Obama's GOP rival, Sen. John S. McCain, was quick to criticize the decision. "Barack Obama is wrong," McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said. "It is never 'inappropriate' to visit our men and women in the military."
So now Obama is wrong and by implication unpatriotic for honoring a Pentagon request and the McSlain campaign criticizes him.
How much more apparent can the collusion between bush, the Pentagon, and McPlain be in light of nonsense such as this BS.
"It is never 'inappropriate' to visit our men and women in the military." Except possibly when the Pentagon asks you not to do so? I guess it's obvious that McSame the insane clown killer would have ignored the Pentagon's reasonable request and would have been delighted to have photo ops with wounded soldiers whether the soldiers/Pentagon wanted it or not.
Not only is McSame seemingly senile, but his campaign staff are all enablers.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:33 PM Permalink
…IMHO Barack Obama has acquitted himself well as a future president and statesman.
His speech yesterday before over 200,000 people in Germany is helping restore my pride in our once great country, and some portions of the speech sent shivers down my spine and a tear to my eye (I REALLY love my country).
And I could not help contrasting that appearance with those of bush who, when visiting other countries, was invariably greeted by only several thousand protesters burning him in effigy, carrying signs with devil horns and blood dripping from bush's mouth, and many signs naming bush as the world's number one terrorist.
But what was this shite about condi and bush ordering state department and embassy personnel to have no contact or not assist an AMERICAN traveling abroad, which is one of the main functions of their jobs. Would that have meant that if Obama had lost his passport he wouldn't have been able to go to the Embassy for assistance?
It's only ONE more of the acts of george bush has undertaken that shames our country.
January 20, 2009, just can't get here fast enough!
SIDE NOTE: Chancellor Merkel, after assuring bush she would not meet with a mere "candidate" did indeed meet with Obama to also bask in the warm glow of his rock star reception. I'D BET HARD MONEY THAT REALLY CHAPPED BUSH'S ASS and has triggered all sorts of "ominous" calls to Merkel from bush and condi with lots of not-so-veiled-threats about aid, future dealings with bushco, etc., as everyone knows what a lying, cowardly, bullying, war criminal bush is now so I can see that his threats are starting to be ignored by the world.
posted by The Vidiot @ 8:55 AM Permalink
If you're interested in seeing the farcical "impeachment hearings", they start at 10am today. There will be 13 witnesses of varying importance and relevance. You can watch it on CSPAN here if you're trapped at the office. It looks like it's CSPAN 1.
Update: As I'm watching this stupid thing, it strikes me that they only argue semantics. The issue is rarely addressed and mostly skirted. One guy, I can't remember, some lawyer from Virginia I think, very eloquently and colloquially discussed how every war that has been conducted by this government was almost always later to have been found out to be based on bad information. He refused to acknowledge that the presidents at the time knew it was bad information, like, the USS Maine, Pearl Harbor and the Gulf of Tonkin. He thought it was insane to think that a president would attack another country for anything other the most noble reasons. He literally said, and I paraphrase, "Decisions were made on bad information, people died. It happens." Not only is he a heartless bastard, that man is a delusional fool. He either doesn't understand for whom the system functions, who he does and he's lying to protect aforementioned system.
The whole thing is just so much political theater. Popcorn doesn't even help. Hell, a stiff scotch won't help this mess.
Used to be the gas stations etc would charge a dollar to see if the card was valid and then let you purchase your gas.
NOW they are charging 100.00 to see if your card is valid.
And it is returned in about a week.
So this is becomming very common....I know others it has happened to as well. And if you are juggling, like I do and this is taken out without you knowing - it causes your automatic payments to bounce.
The Bush administration faced congressional criticism today for diverting funds from Pakistan's faltering fight against the Taliban and al-Qaida to pay for upgrades of the US-built F-16 combat planes.
The White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, today insisted the F-16s had a role in counterterrorism operations. "The F-16s that they have are used in counterterrorism operations," Perino said. "We made them available to the Pakistanis and they need to be maintained." [...] The move puts President George Bush at odds with Congress, which last year passed legislation specifying that the money be used for counter-terrorism or law enforcement. [...] A state department official said the timing was dictated by a need to make payment to Lockheed by the end of July.
Oh, well, that explains it, we needed to give the $$ to Pakistan so that they can give it to Lockheed ... wait, what!?
OK, let's get a few facts straight here: America didn't 'make available' the F-16s we sold them to Pakistan, and it's been controversial for over 20 years. F-16s don't 'target' terrorists, they target homes and villages, an F-16 can only kill a person by killing a lot of the people around them. Even 'smart bombs' are still bombs and they will always incur 'collateral damage' AKA innocent people. Combating terrorism is more about winning hearts and minds than achieving military victories. Every time you kill civilians you create more people who hate you.
Political appointees at the Department of Labor are moving with unusual speed to push through in the final months of the Bush administration a rule making it tougher to regulate workers' on-the-job exposure to chemicals and toxins.
The agency did not disclose the proposal, as required, in public notices of regulatory plans that it filed in December and May. Instead, Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao's intention to push for the rule first surfaced on July 7, when the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) posted on its Web site that it was reviewing the proposal, identified only by its nine-word title.
The text of the proposed rule has not been made public
OK, outrage fatigue has set in so I'd just like to mention that Bush's policies have killed more Americans than terrorism.
posted by The Sailor @ 6:51 PM Permalink
Someone please call the whaaambulance for the WATB rethuglicans who have mounted a campaign to whine that the NYT had the temerity to ask McCain to re-submit his obviously deficient article.
House Republicans Fire Off Letter To New York Times [...] "A national publication such as the Times has a clear obligation to provide equal access to its op-ed page to both candidates," the Republicans wrote, "to convey fairness by the paper and to help further the national debate."
Well, actually, no! Newspapers have never been obligated to provide equal access. Newspapers aren't 'broadcast', and even if they were it's the Republicans who successfully fought the "Fairness Doctrine." Ye shall reap what ye sow.
And here's the nuts:
House Republicans distributed a letter on Wednesday formally "urging" The New York Times to allow a third party to take out a full-page ad featuring a rejected opinion piece by their party's presidential candidate, Arizona Sen. John McCain.
Strawman anyone!? Aside from the fact that many media outlets have already trumpeted McCain's unedited piece, no one has even suggested that McCain couldn't buy an ad in the NYT. No one has said McCain's billionaire buddies can't buy an ad. But I have to wonder, is McSame's campaign so deficient of funds that they can buy millions of dollars of TV ads but they can't but a print ad!?
posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:16 PM Permalink
… when they put up a chyron reading (maybe slight paraphrasing, I had to log-in first. Bill):
90% of America's undiscovered oil is located in the Arctic Area
Pardon me? If it's UNDISCOVERED how the hell do they have any idea at all what lies under the Arctic?
Lies, liars, blatant snake oil salesmen are in charge at CNN. Years ago I just blocked Fox Noise and CNN Headline News so I wouldn't even accidently turn them on (too hard on my blood pressure levels). Maybe it's time to block CNN also.
After all, everyone knows that the most monstrous fields of undiscovered oil, DWARFING any other oil source in the known universe, are contained in the undiscovered oil fields of the moon.
And I'm just as qualified and can make that statement with all the certainty of our media, so there.
posted by The Vidiot @ 10:41 AM Permalink
As you may or may not have heard, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) recently got busted on having a sweetheart deal wherein he got to rent four rent stabilized apartments in a luxury building in NYC which are way below market rates AND very hard to find. Not only that, tenents were being evicted all around him -- a landlord trick to get an apartment empty, renovate and then charge market rates. While the fact that he had four apartments is reprehensible, considering the dearth of afforable apartments in NYC to begin with, and that rent-stabilized apartmensts, by law, must be a primary residence, it is also reprensible that he's using procedural maneuvering to cover his ass.
See, Rangel is asking the House to investigate him for violations of Congressional rules. While what he did may not TECHNICALLY be a violation of the rules, what he's doing is ethically wrong, and there's no way out of that. But, if/when he gets cleared by the rules committee, then he'll say, "See? There's nothing wrong with what I'm doing." And then he may or may not give up a few of the apartments, depending on how badly he feels he's being judged. All of this is just political theater.
They're all like that. Politicians. Why do we even need them? Can't we get rid of them? Just say, "We don't need your type anymore" and move on?
posted by The Vidiot @ 9:36 AM Permalink
There's a big bailout in the works for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that could be on the President's desk as early as next week. A deal has been struck.
The added provision, proposed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr., would give Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac access to government capital in the form of loans or equity purchases.
So, basically, the government is going to hand over money to the two entities, so that all of the owners of those restructured assets won't loose all of their money. This deal doesn't really help the homeowner who is facing foreclosure though. In fact, I suspect that if there's money for a bailout, the banks will foreclose on even more houses, knowing full well that there will be money for them from the government to cover their losses.
Though, here's the ironic part.
While the White House favors much of the bill, it has threatened to veto it over a provision that calls for almost $4 billion in grants to states and communities for buying and repairing foreclosed homes in distressed neighborhoods.
The White House opposes the measure because it says it helps lenders and not homeowners. Democrats backing the grants dispute this, saying that foreclosed homes drag down property values for surrounding homeowners.
The ENTIRE bill helps lenders and not homeowners. That $4 billion provision actually MIGHT help homeowners, so that's why the administration opposes it.
The crux of the matter is that the Illuminists know that if they cannot convince the US public to bail out these various bonds and derivatives and their various owners and counter-parties, the system will collapse and all those trillions in treasuries hanging around in the forex reserves of these nations will come back to roost with a vengeance as foreigners stampede to unload their treasuries and their remaining toxic waste in exchange for commodities and other tangible assets before they become worthless and/or to force the Illuminists to lobby for a public bailout of the tanking asset-backed bonds and derivatives under threat of a treasury boycott or hyperinflation-inducing treasury flood back to the US. That is their greatest fear, because such an event would destroy them and their precious system, especially the bond market, which is the main source of their power, a fact which we cannot overemphasize. They are trying to manage the dollar down gradually by use of a beggar-thy-neighbor policy, and the failure to win these public bailouts would collapse the system and take them all down with it before they have a chance to bail out of stocks, bonds and other paper assets through the dark pools of liquidity known as Project Turquoise and Baikal and into commodities and other tangible assets.
posted by The Vidiot @ 4:27 PM Permalink
But this guy's perspective on health care is worthy blogfodder. Poor guy tried to renew a heart drug prescription and had no luck:
Three hours later, the phone rang. It was the pharmacist, informing me that the doctor refused to refill the prescription because I hadn’t been in to see him in over a year.
“That’s true,” I told the pharmacist. Then I explained that I hadn’t been in to see him for the simple fact that I had no job and no insurance, and so couldn’t afford it.
“What are we going to do about this, then?” she asked.
“I . . . don’t know,” I admitted. “It’s quite a pickle—they put me on this medicine, tell me I’ll die if I stop taking it, and now won’t give it to me because I can’t afford an appointment. Way I see it, it’s a particularly vicious form of blackmail.”
“After reviewing 517 of the Guantánamo detainees’ cases in depth,” [Jane Mayer of The New Yorker] said, “they concluded that only 8 percent were alleged to have associated with Al Qaeda. Fifty-five percent were not alleged to have engaged in any hostile act against the United States at all, and the remainder were charged with dubious wrongdoing, including having tried to flee U.S. bombs. The overwhelming majority — all but 5 percent — had been captured by non-U.S. players, many of whom were bounty hunters.”
We have war criminals running this country that beg prosecution and prison or execution.
The U.S. shamed itself on George W. Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s watch, and David Addington and others like him were willing to manipulate the law like Silly Putty to give them the legal cover they desired. Ms. Mayer noted that Arthur Schlesinger Jr., the late historian, believed that “the Bush administration’s extralegal counterterrorism program presented the most dramatic, sustained and radical challenge to the rule of law in American history.”
This simply takes my breath away.
This column today should be required reading for every citizen, please click on that link and do so.
posted by The Sailor @ 6:07 PM PermalinkBump & Update: It was obvious that once Iraqi PM Maliki made the comment the Bush WH would take Maliki to the woodshed and 'clarify' his remarks, and away we go:
Scott M. Stanzel, a White House spokesman with President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., said that embassy officials explained to the Iraqis how the interview in Der Spiegel was being interpreted, given that it came just a day after the two governments announced an agreement over American troops.
“The Iraqis were not aware and wanted to correct it,” he said. [...] Diplomats from the United States Embassy in Baghdad spoke to Mr. Maliki’s advisers on Saturday, said an American official, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss what he called diplomatic communications. After that, the government’s spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, issued a statement casting doubt on the magazine’s rendering of the interview.
The statement, which was distributed to media organizations by the American military early on Sunday, said Mr. Maliki’s words had been “misunderstood and mistranslated,” but it failed to cite specifics.
“Unfortunately, Der Spiegel was not accurate,” Mr. Dabbagh said Sunday by telephone. “I have the recording of the voice of Mr. Maliki. We even listened to the translation.”
Yeah, there's just a couple of problems with their spin:
But the interpreter for the interview works for Mr. Maliki’s office, not the magazine. And in an audio recording of Mr. Maliki’s interview that Der Spiegel provided to The New York Times, Mr. Maliki seemed to state a clear affinity for Mr. Obama’s position, bringing it up on his own in an answer to a general question on troop presence.
The following is a direct translation from the Arabic of Mr. Maliki’s comments by The Times: “Obama’s remarks that — if he takes office — in 16 months he would withdraw the forces, we think that this period could increase or decrease a little, but that it could be suitable to end the presence of the forces in Iraq.”
He continued: “Who wants to exit in a quicker way has a better assessment of the situation in Iraq.”
Ali al-Dabbagh made the comments following a meeting in Baghdad on Monday between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama, who arrived in Iraq earlier in the day.
Umm, so the same Iraqi gov't spokesman who said the remarks were mis-translated, (they weren't), now confirms that Maliki and Obama both want US troops out of Iraq by 2010. Hey, you say 16 months, I say 2010, let's call the whole thing off.
"We do know the foreign fighter flow into Iraq has been reduced very substantially," he said. From a peak of 80 to 100 foreign fighters entering Iraq each month, the total has dropped as low as 20 per month, he said.
Is he telling us that it has been the efforts of fewer than 1.200 foreign fighters, now down to about 240 a year, that has bogged America down in a war we cannot win and forcing us to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in this stupid war? That these foreign fighters, in such small numbers, have stymied the efforts of the formerly most powerful armed forces on the planet?
I could not disagree more strongly with the dismay…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:57 AM Permalink
…being expressed by Rachel Sklar from the Huffington Post in her article titled, "Obama's Revenge: New Yorker Banned From Press Plane For Overseas Trip," where she reports:
Forty journalists, including such leading correspondents as Dan Balz of The Washington Post, will be aboard his plane for next week's swing through Jordan, Israel, Germany, France and England. The campaign received 200 requests for press seats on the plane.
Among those for whom there was no room was Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent of The New Yorker. The campaign, which was furious about the magazine's satirical cover this week, cited space constraints in turning him away.
Wow. So it's gonna be like that, is it? Retribution for unfavorable coverage is a chilling thing to contemplate — literally, as in, it carries with it the very real risk of chilling bold, outspoken coverage. Whatever one thinks of the New Yorker cover — that it was clear satire that clearly lampooned ridiculous rumors, that it went way overboard, that it was a comedic misfire — a robust press can't operate under threat of reprisal for unwelcome items.
Why should future president Obama NOT be fully able to pick and choose which news outlets and magazine reporters can board his plane and join him in his travels?
John McCain just recently had an elderly woman, a librarian, arrested for trespassing simply because she carried a sign saying, "McCain=Bush." Bush himself is notoriously well-known for screening any entrants to events where he appeared when running for president, in some cases requiring the signing of loyalty oaths for everyone entering such an event.
So, although I have nothing but the utmost respect for Rachel Sklar (I'm a big fan), I just think her criticism of Obama in this instance is grossly unfair to Obama given the way Rethugs run campaigns and shut out anyone and everyone they choose without facing retribution or criticism from the press.
posted by The Vidiot @ 10:18 AM Permalink
When Russia signed its energy deal with Iran, I thought, "Great. Iran just got Russia as its wing-man. Nobody will screw with them now." I mean, whomever bombs Iran at this point is, for all intents and purposes, bombing Russia and THAT'S a bad idea no matter how you look at it.
Also, when they set up those high-level talks and said they were going to put an 'interest' section in Tehran (like they have for Cuba), I thought, "Heh. Russia scared them into talking."
Crystal clear evidence of an anti-Obama bias from the WaPo.com…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:33 AM Permalink
…in an editorial complaining that Obama is not doing something that McPain isn't doing either. Talk of wearing your prejudices like your favorite shirt!
IT WASN'T so long ago -- last September, to be specific -- that a senator with a particular interest in campaign finance reform introduced a bill to provide important transparency in presidential campaigns. The measure, S. 2030, would require presidential campaigns to report the names of fundraisers who bring in "bundles" of individual contributions totaling $50,000 or more. The campaigns would have to report the occupations of the bundlers and the specific amounts they are credited with raising. This was a terrific idea. It's too bad that the bill's sponsor, Barack Obama, is failing to follow the rules he set out.[…]
John McCain, whose disclosure of bundlers had been sketchier than Mr. Obama's, told the campaign finance groups it would add employer and occupational information to his list of bundlers, promising monthly updates and saying he would include in the totals the amounts bundlers raised for the Republican National Committee to benefit the McCain campaign. The Obama campaign did not reply to the groups' letter.
The biggest flaw with both candidates' disclosures is that they stop being specific at what is a relatively low amount: $200,000 for Mr. Obama and $250,000 for Mr. McCain.[…]
Mr. McCain's recent additions are welcome but insufficient. How far Mr. Obama's performance falls short can be measured by his own legislation.
So why is the lede specifically critical of Obama and the criticism of McLame minimized? And didn't McBlame totally renege on the public financing bill he cosponsored with Russ Feingold, making him so much bigger a liar than Obama? And isn't McInsane operating unlawfully under the public campaign financing laws?
MEDIA BIAS. Don't leave home without it.
Just what we need, another scofflaw president like McSame replacing the war criminal bush.
UPDATE: I checked and S. 2030 was introduced only as an amendment to 1971 legislation and no action has taken place on it. See, GovTrack.us where they state:
This bill is in the first step in the legislative process. Introduced bills go first to committees that deliberate, investigate, and revise them before they go to general debate. The majority of bills never make it out of committee. Keep in mind that sometimes the text of one bill is incorporated into another bill, and in those cases the original bill, as it would appear here, would seem to be abandoned. [Last Updated: Jul 5, 2008] Last Action: Sep 6, 2007: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration. NO VOTES HAVE BEEN HAD ON THIS AMENDMENT.
Kinda makes the WaPo.com look like prejudiced idiots, doesn't it?
Ledger is great. Though, it was quite annoying to see it in the movie theater in his 'hood in Brooklyn. The stupid yuppies all acted like he was god and they were clapping nearly every time he came on screen in a sort of "hey! that's our neighbor! we sort of knew him 'cause he lived down the street from us, even though we never saw him or talked to him....ummmm.... HE'S ONE OF US!" kind of way.
But, he was good, really creepy, I just never understood why people applaud at movie showings.
It has everything; explosions, chases, fight scenes and propaganda.
posted by The Vidiot @ 11:46 AM Permalink Fascinating. Look at that headline from my yahoo mail page. See? It says that even though Obama raised $52 million in June, he still trails McCain and the GOP. And even if you read the little paragraph they included, there's no indication as to WHY he trails McCain. So, I click over to the story and here's why he trails:
Last week, McCain reported raising more than $22 million in June, which was his best month of the year. Together, the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee began July with about $95 million in the bank.
The reason for the discrepancy — greater fundraising by Obama and the DNC but less money in the bank than McCain and the GOP — is because until now the DNC had spent much of its money, leaving little cash on hand.
So, what we have here is a failure to communicate. Basically, there's less cash because the DNC has had to spend on a primary. The GOP primaries have been over for months. It doesn't really say that in the article though. Honestly, read the whole thing. It's either poorly written, poorly edited or both.
Journalism school: where idiots go to become bad communicators.
Is there some kind of self-imposed news ban on Afghanistan…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:21 AM Permalink
…of which I am unaware, or is the BBC just better and faster at getting and reporting the news?
It has been all over the papers the last couple of days that an American base in Afghanistan was overrun by Taliban elements which have forced the closing and abandonment of that facility.
Today the BBC reports some very significant bombing by the U.S. that killed dozens:
Dozens of Afghan civilians have been killed during aerial bombing by US forces in the western province of Herat, tribal elders say.
They said an important tribal elder was among the dead in Shindand district.
A Nato spokesman said a number of insurgents had been killed and there were no reports of civilian casualties.
Earlier, US forces admitted killing eight civilians in a neighbouring province - the latest in a series of bombing incidents involving civilians.[…]
News of the fighting in Shindand district came from tribal elders who reported dozens of casualties in the Zerkoh Valley.
They said a large number of civilians had been killed in aerial attacks from midnight until 1000 local time.[…]
Haji Nasrullah Khan, a hugely influential tribal leader, and three other men had been targeted and killed and four civilians injured, the local police chief for Shindand said.
A Nato spokesman confirmed there had been an operation in the region of Parmagan village and said: "All indicators were that it had been successful with a number of insurgents killed and no reports of any civilian casualties."[…]
In a separate area of neighbouring Farah province, US forces said they had killed eight civilians after they were attacked from a number of houses in Bakwa district.
Their statement said a routine patrol came under sustained attack from machine-gun fire on Tuesday from houses adjacent to the road.
"The coalition returned fire and called for close air support on the enemy positions," the statement said.
"A house was hit - eight civilians were killed, two others injured. Coalition forces never intentionally target non-combatants, and deeply regret any occurrence such as this where civilians are killed and injured as a result of insurgent activity and actions."
Calling for 'close air support' and bombing the houses of alleged insurgents is so indiscriminate as to border on murder in my mind. 500 to 2,000 pound bombs are weapons of mass destruction that kill everybody within their blast range, man, woman, child, 'insurgent' and/or total innocents.
Further proof of this comes later in the article:
The issue of civilian casualties has again come up as there have been a number of incidents over the last couple of weeks.
On Thursday President Hamid Karzai visited families of those killed in the eastern province of Nangahar who had reported that more than 50 people from a wedding party died after being bombed by American aircraft.
President Karzai offered them his condolences and some financial assistance.
This is yet another report of the bombing of wedding parties that must look like large gatherings of terrorists dressed in festive garb with music, dancing, plenty of food and drink, and quite obviously posing a threat to the American Forces indiscriminately bombing innocent people on what should rightfully be one of their happiest days.
I'm sure that the condolences and 'some financial assistance' to the families of the fifty dead were a great comfort and totally makes up for wiping out entire families.
This is neither the way to win a war nor the hearts and minds of the populace.
Any system that allows an old man to rot in the streets like that or creates an environment where a young woman hooks to eat, or where young children walk around barefoot, selling crap nobody needs, or an entire family sitting on the street, the father playing an accordion while his wife and children sit next to him begging for money, any system that allows any of this to happen is evil.
Mr. Vidiot wishes me to correct and clarify. The word "allows" is incorrect. It should be "Any system that produces old men that rot in the streets..." and "any system that produces any of this behavior is evil."
See, capitalism produces poverty. It produces as much poverty as it does wealth. Using the word "allows" was done out of habit.
Gusanos (worms) with guacamole and blue corn tortillas (not shown). (Also not shown, the tequila I needed to wash it all down.)
Let me just preface this post with saying that I loved Mexico. The people, the country, the pyramids are all amazing and interesting. We had a lot of fun going to Mexico City and seeing Frieda Kahlo’s house and Leon Trotsky’s house, going to Teotihoucan, drinking Pulque and tequila, strolling around the zocala in Puebla, visiting the ruins in Cholula, taking the scariest bus ride everrrrrr to Oaxaca and seeing the mercado there and pretty much buying everything in sight, seeing the ruins of Monte Alban, and then stopping off in Vera Cruz City for a day (after an interesting over-night bus ride where the bus was stopped by the military so they could search and examine all of our luggage) and then back to Mexico City. But Mexico has many faces, and while as an American tourist we got to see a lot of the shiny bits, being thinking people, we were also aware of, and in some cases sought out, its less appealing aspects.
Let’s just say there’s no better way to describe Mexico City but that it’s a sort of bizarro Paris, though I’m not implying that Paris is automatically better. Paris is clean, Mexico is dirty. Paris has pristine buildings with interesting architecture, Mexico has interesting architecture, but it all seems a bit run down. Paris is all about style. In Mexico City, if you saw a woman wearing something other than jeans or sweatpants, you did a double take. Everyone is thin in Paris. In Mexico City, mostly everyone, except for some of the men, had jelly rolls. Additionally, the women had absolutely no shame about those aforementioned jelly rolls -- the tighter and shorter the polyester top, the better. Paris is snooty. There is absolutely no snoot in Mexico City. I mean none. The folks there are just plain folks -- no high-falootin’ attitudes there. They both have excellent subways and they both have excellent food, but Paris does food with style and drinkable water, and Mexico City does not. And that was the biggest difference between Mexico and not only Paris, but NYC and the US as well: the food safety issues. (Oh, BTW, the best beer to drink in Mexico is Indio.)
In Mexico City, and throughout Mexico really, there seems to be little or no food regulation, or if there is, the inspectors are adequately paid off. There are these sidewalk stands everywhere you look. The food is cooked right there on the street, the containers are all open, the food is handled with bare hands and the car fumes just flood the entire area. Some of it looks delicious, but to me and my sensitive stomach, well, I just viewed it all as a source of WMDs. That’s not to say I didn’t eat. Oh, I ate a lot. But we mostly went to the most expensive restaurants or Mexican chains like VIPS. The only food I ate off the street was some cookie gallettas things and even those, I just tried one or two of them and then threw them away. (They were delicious, but oddly sucked the spit right out of my mouth.) Those Mexicans must have some hearty flora in their digestive tracts. And by hearty I mean Genghis Khan hearty, ready to kill any hapless invader the moment the invader arrives on the scene. I managed to try a lot of the local delicacies before Montezuma began to exact his revenge. For one thing, I ate worms in Mexico City! (Oh, yes I did.) (Honestly, they were tasty, but psychologically, it was difficult.) I ate corn fungus in Puebla and I ate Mole Poblano in Oaxaca. I wanted to eat the roasted grasshoppers that Oaxaca is famous for, but Mr. Montezuma was far too busy to let me try. The food in Mexico is definitely not for the faint of heart but worth the danger.
The other big thing about Mexico City was the noise. NYC is noisy too, but it’s actually quite quiet and calm when compared to Mexico City. It felt like that scene from “The Grinch” where he goes “all that Noise Noise Noise!” Almost every store blasted some sort of music onto the street. The traffic is erratic and incessant; there are 22 million people in that city, (that’s nearly 3 times more than NYC) and about 25% of them have cars and use them. There are also a lot of different taxi services and only a few are State sanctioned. Getting into a cab is like playing roulette. You could get into the wrong one if you’re not careful. The worst thing is they’ll force you to empty your ATM card and then drop you in the middle of nowhere. The least worst thing is they’ll really overcharge you. The subways are great (and at about 20 cents per ride a great bargain) but they’re almost always packed. They aren’t air conditioned and every few minutes, someone will try to sell you something, be it candy or music CDs or movie DVDs. For the candy, there were two methods: one was to just bark out what you had and walk through the train and the other is to quietly go from end of the train to the other, placing the item on the a few laps and then walking back through the train and either picking up the items or taking cash for them. For the CDs and DVDs, they’ll carry a player with them and play the soundtrack through a separate speaker so loudly that you can’t hear yourself think AND THEN they’ll bark out whatever it is and how much it is while describing how special it is and why you should want it. Additionally, I guess the men in Mexico City are rabid ass-grabbers so, during rush hours, they segregate the trains. The police make this big noise and pull out this barricade and men aren’t allowed to cross it. Women can ride with the men if they so choose, but the front two cars are for women only, no exceptions. Additionally, the food smells and oddly, tons of perfumeries, soaked the air with their odors, adding to the thick and constant car and bus gas fumes. It was an aural and olfactory cacophony to be sure. The rest of Mexico, at least the part we saw, also had a lot of traffic, but since there were no subways, just walking to the zocala or into a church will extract you from the din.
But the third big difference between Mexico and the US is the poverty. The poverty is laid bare in Mexico. Women, children, families, old and young, were poor and on the streets. Sure, we have poverty here, but for the most part, you don’t see homeless children. That’s one thing the US won’t tolerate. One day, we ventured off the beaten path in the city and ended up in a crazy part of the town that had one shop after another of what we here in the states would just consider 99 cent stores. One after another, all selling the same crap, all blasting loud music onto the streets. There were homeless people just sitting on the filthy sidewalks with their hands out, and people just ignored them. There was one old man, dressed in rags, with one leg that was extremely swollen and he was picking at several open sores on it, to the point that it looked like parts of his leg had been scooped out. It was horrifying. Our Spanish wasn’t good enough to ask him if he needed help or ask anybody to help him. We were both pretty shaken up by it and the image of him sitting there in the grime on the street with people stepping over him or walking past him will haunt us for a long time to come. Our privileged little lives have never exposed us to anything even remotely like that. And don’t even get me started on the hookers, one after the other, like pigeons on a power line, evenly distributed along the street, each younger than than the next. We don’t see that much poverty in the US. It’s pretty well hidden from the majority of us. We catch glimpses of it at the most. Or maybe, I just didn’t want to see it and I didn’t. I don’t know.
But it’s what I saw in Mexico that really clarified things for me: all that diatribble of Mr. Vidiot’s, about the nations states and capitalism and all that, he must be holding back because I think it’s a lot worse than he says. Any system that allows an old man to rot in the streets like that or creates an environment where a young woman hooks to eat, or where young children walk around barefoot, selling crap nobody needs, or an entire family sitting on the street, the father playing an accordion while his wife and children sit next to him begging for money, any system that allows any of this to happen is evil. And though we only saw a few poor people (though it seemed like a lot), I know that old man wasn’t just one old man; he’s one of millions, maybe hundreds of millions of old men out there, all sitting in filth, picking at sores and begging for money. Seeing that kind of poverty didn’t make me pity any of them necessarily, but what it really did is make me angry as hell. Angry with a system where so few profit and so many suffer. Angry where resources are destroyed and wasted in one place while so much is needed elsewhere. Angry with so much complacence, a result of so much perceived comfort. Just. Plain. Angry.
And you should be angry too.
And don’t think for a moment that Barry Obama is going to save anyone from anything.
But that’s a whole ‘nuther post.
Oh, and if you lasted through this entire boring post, I'd like to give a big SHOUT OUT to Bill for holding down the fort while us lallygags were out lallygagging.
I am not an "ageist" and therefore don't care how old McSlay-'em-all…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:16 AM Permalink
…is, but the way he constantly changes his positions, denies he has changed positions, and then swears that he hasn't changed positions even with video-graphic proof showing beyond doubt that he has flip-flopped, does cause me to question his mental competency.
That's all we need, another Ronnie Raygun rubber-stamping any position placed before him by his handlers.
There should be extensive mental health examinations, with public release of the results, before any candidate is allowed to be elected to public office.
And the WaPo.com wins the award today for the most ignorant and inane editorial…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 10:01 AM Permalink
…in this editorial slamming Obama for holding firm to his position that troops must be withdrawn from Iraq, as if bushco has done such a stellar job, one that would continue under John McInsane.
BARACK OBAMA yesterday accused President Bush and Sen. John McCain of rigidity on Iraq: "They said we couldn't leave when violence was up, they say we can't leave when violence is down." Mr. Obama then confirmed his own foolish consistency. Early last year, when the war was at its peak, the Democratic candidate proposed a timetable for withdrawing all U.S. combat forces in slightly more than a year. Yesterday, with bloodshed at its lowest level since the war began, Mr. Obama endorsed the same plan. After hinting earlier this month that he might "refine" his Iraq strategy after visiting the country and listening to commanders, Mr. Obama appears to have decided that sticking to his arbitrary, 16-month timetable is more important than adjusting to the dramatic changes in Iraq.
There have been no stunning new developments in Iraq that would call for American troops to keep dying in Iraq when it is crystal clear, looking back, that the only reason America ever attacked Iraq in the first place was for their oil.
It is also becoming equally clear that the Iraqi's wish to surrender neither their sovereignty, as McCain and bush would have them do, nor control of their major natural resource, oil, of course, to American Big Oil.
Given these seemingly intransigent positions between our governments it seems that it is way past time for America to prove that we actually do honor democracy and allow the Iraqi's their right to determine their own future without the input of a foreign invader which has no regard for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's killed and the 4.5-5 million Iraqis displaced during the attempt to commit the greatest theft of natural resources in history.
The immediately above paragraph encapsulates the desires of bush and McSame for a forever dependent state and the eternal war offered by such a state fighting for the sovereignty that is lawfully theirs.
Any plan offered by Obama could certainly be no worse than the abject failure of the necon republican's failure at world dominance through military might as they have so decimated the military that America is nothing more than a paper tiger that just happens to possess lots of nuclear weapons with which to try to intimidate the world.
America will be much less likely to use those weapons under Democratic rule or to provoke the use of such weapons against us by Russia and China, countries quickly tiring of American hegemony.
Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 10:37 AM Permalink
…seems to be what the Iraqi's are now saying regarding bush's latest attempts to circumvent the law, and get a long term treaty that he won't call a treaty, signed before July 31st guaranteeing a l-o-o-o-o-o-n-n-n-g term American presence in Iraq. bush has been desperate to get this phony "non-treaty that therefore wouldn't have to be approved by Congress," signed, making bush's the sole signature necessary to commit American forces for decades and decades and tie the hands of the next president to prevent the withdrawal of American troops.
I think bush is criminally stupid to believe he can again play king and sign a binding agreement for after all, isn't he the actual king of breaking and ignoring treaties himself? Does he really think Congress and the new president would not be entitled and fully able to negate any agreement by which he obligates America, its citizens, our lives and treasure based upon the sole signature of a war criminal like himself?
Anyway, even the Iraqi's have finally figured out that America is becoming a paper tiger unable to back up threats made against Iraqi politicians that they surrender their sovereignty to America forever?:
U.S. and Iraqi negotiators have abandoned efforts to conclude a comprehensive agreement governing the long-term status of U.S troops in Iraq before the end of the Bush presidency, according to senior U.S. officials, effectively leaving talks over an extended U.S. military presence there to the next administration.
In place of the formal status-of-forces agreement negotiators had hoped to complete by July 31, the two governments are now working on a "bridge" document, more limited in both time and scope, that would allow basic U.S. military operations to continue beyond the expiration of a U.N. mandate at the end of the year.
The failure of months of negotiations over the more detailed accord -- blamed on both the Iraqi refusal to accept U.S. terms and the complexity of the task -- deals a blow to the Bush administration's plans to leave in place a formal military architecture in Iraq that could last for years.
Hurrah for some good sense for a change and stopping the wanna-be bully boy bush from dictating commands to other countries when he himself is merely a common criminal guilty of many war crimes.
This isn't the stupid part yet. He walked off with a cracker that was put in his mouth, and people in the church fought with him to get it back. It is just a cracker!
Catholics worldwide became furious.
Would you believe this isn't hyperbole? People around the world are actually extremely angry about this — Webster Cook has been sent death threats over his cracker. Those are just kooks, you might say, but here is the considered, measured response of the local diocese:
"We don't know 100% what Mr. Cooks motivation was," said Susan Fani a spokesperson with the local Catholic diocese. "However, if anything were to qualify as a hate crime, to us this seems like this might be it."
We just expect the University to take this seriously," she added "To send a message to not just Mr. Cook but the whole community that this kind of really complete sacrilege will not be tolerated."
Wait, what? Holding a cracker hostage is now a hate crime? The murder of Matthew Shephard was a hate crime. The murder of James Byrd Jr. was a hate crime. This is a goddamned cracker. Can you possibly diminish the abuse of real human beings any further?
It seems like the uproar is about the cracker actually being the body of Jesus once the cracker is consecrated. I'm pretty sure cannibalism is illegal in this country.
Of course, I thought necrophilia was illegal too ... and in that case Wisconsin agrees with me:
Wisconsin law bans sex with dead bodies, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in reinstating charges against three men accused of digging up a corpse so one of them could have sex with it.
The court waded into the grisly case after lower court judges ruled nothing in state law banned necrophilia.
Well, I guess I was only 1/2 right, you can eat dead bodies, but you can't have intercourse with them ... or it's OK to eat live bodies, but you can't have sex with them? I'm so confused.
Continuing my confusion: Longtime readers, (yes, I'm talking to both of you), know I'm a fan of Justice Bedsworth's online column. What is there not to like about a judge who titles his column "A Criminal Waste of Space"? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you
Red Cross investigators concluded last year in a secret report that the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation methods for high-level Qaeda prisoners constituted torture and could make the Bush administration officials who approved them guilty of war crimes, according to a new book on counterterrorism efforts since 2001.
The book says that the International Committee of the Red Cross declared in the report, given to the C.I.A. last year, that the methods used on Abu Zubaydah, the first major Qaeda figure the United States captured, were “categorically” torture, which is illegal under both American and international law.
The evidence of the use of torture and the commission of other war crimes by bush and cohorts has become so overwhelming that they should all be immediately arrested upon leaving office and turned over to the Hague for prosecution.
Failure to do so would itself make America and its citizens complicit in the crimes of this maladministration and prove with finality that this country can never again reclaim the mantle of its former greatness, claim to be a benevolent power, or able to make any serious claim to being a country of laws and not men.
Jackson Incident Revives Some Blacks' Concerns About Obama
It is way the hell and gone outrightly ridiculous to even print articles and make assumptions about a candidate's character and capabilities and support based upon an off-the-cuff-stupidly-inane-comment made by a political has-been of ever diminishing importance (but still a legend in his own mind, as it were).
No wonder the world looks at America as a bunch of uncouth clowns in a country still in its political infancy and laugh at us.
Isn't this entire brouhaha just too silly to be addressed by "national news outlets" while McLame goes around proving that he may no longer be mentally competent or qualified to be a president everyday?
No wonder the MSM newspapers are dying ugly deaths.
Ya just gotta make sure you bet (or try to fix the race) for the right horse…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 8:50 AM Permalink
…which I am sure many in our government recognize, everybody but bush, of course.
This NYT editorial does sum up our Afghanistan, Taliban, Pakistani problem nicely, but with the expectation of bush diplomacy (an oxymoron of the first class I think) resolving the problem:
Both countries have a common and increasingly urgent interest in rolling back the power of Al Qaeda and the Taliban and working together to promote democracy and development in Pakistan. President Bush needs to persuade Pakistan’s leaders of that — and he needs to do it now, before Al Qaeda and the Taliban get any stronger.
Counting on bush in a situation such as this is equivalent to wishing with one hand and stacking horse excrement in the other to see which fills up first.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 8:14 AM Permalink
…my apologies to any readers wondering what happened to me and why I have haven't been posting lately.
For the last three days it has been soaring to searing triple digit temperatures that were quite hard on me.
This ancient house in which I live had a magnificent 120 ft. tall elm tree with a 49" trunk when my family and I moved in, the canopy of which covered almost all my house and my neighbor's home, providing much relief on hot days.
Unfortunately, about three years ago the tree, as most California elms have, succumbed to disease and a 1,500 lb. branch broke off, somehow managing to miraculously miss the house, all five dogs, and we humans who live here. It posed such a danger that a crew spent days cutting down and making that tree disappear, taking the heat relief it provided with them.
So while I ridicule the GOP non-believers in global warming I have been hot to the point of literally feeling ill, which surprises me since I went to high school in Las Vegas and used to absolutely love the desert and the heat. I guess those days are gone for good 'cause of my military service-connected maladies.
Anywho, it's only supposed to be in the low 90's today so I thought I would get an early start.
Thank goodness there is no such thing as global warming (although all my S.F. friends sweltering in high 90 temps would argue that point vociferously).
China plans to conduct its first spacewalk in October. The European Space Agency is building a roving robot to land on Mars. India recently launched a record 10 satellites into space on a single rocket.
Space, like Earth below, is globalizing. And as it does, America's long-held superiority in exploring, exploiting and commercializing "the final frontier" is slipping away, many experts believe.
Although the United States remains dominant in most space-related fields -- and owns half the military satellites currently orbiting Earth -- experts say the nation's superiority is diminishing, and many other nations are expanding their civilian and commercial space capabilities at a far faster pace.
"We spent many tens of billions of dollars during the Apollo era to purchase a commanding lead in space over all nations on Earth," said NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin, who said his agency's budget is down by 20 percent in inflation-adjusted terms since 1992.
"We've been living off the fruit of that purchase for 40 years and have not . . . chosen to invest at a level that would preserve that commanding lead."
Well, what do you expect from a country that now borrows more money at a faster pace than any nation EVER has? And that spends the money borrowed faster, better, more poorly, and the least effectively of any country in the known or unknown universe(s)?
It is a tad difference between being the most powerful nation on earth able to do as we please, as opposed to being the greatest debtor nation on earth that can't, "gladly repay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!"
Krugman seems confused about how our economy got so abused…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:37 PM Permalink
…which is very strange to me, Krugman being such a respected economist and all. I'll have to rethink that "respected" part after his column in which, though he does lay the blame for our lousy economy at the feet of Republicans, he seems to be trying to give bush himself a pass.
He also ignores the one factor that has affected every singled aspect of todays crunch by utterly ignoring, not even mentioning the black hole of the bush oil war in Iraq that is sucking the oxygen out of our economy so fast the maybe he was just hallucinating when he neglected to mention it.
By huge margins, Americans think the economy is in lousy shape — and they blame President Bush. This fact, more than anything else, makes it hard to see how the Democrats can lose this election.
But is the public right to be so disgusted with Mr. Bush’s economic leadership? Not exactly. We really do have a lousy economy, a fact of which Mr. Bush seems spectacularly unaware. But that’s not the same thing as saying that the bad economy is Mr. Bush’s fault.[…]
Yet even liberal economists have a hard time arguing that Mr. Bush’s cluelessness actually caused the poor economic performance on his watch. Tax cuts didn’t work, but they didn’t create the Bush bust. So what did?
At the top of my list of causes for the lousy economy are three factors: the housing bubble and its aftermath, rising health care costs and soaring raw materials prices. I’ve written a lot about housing, so today let’s talk about the others.
Most public discussion of health care focuses on the problems of the uninsured and underinsured. But insurance premiums are also a major business expense: auto makers famously spend more on health care than they do on steel.[…]
What about raw materials prices? During the Clinton years basic commodities stayed cheap by historical standards. Since then, however, food and energy prices have exploded, directly lopping about 5 percent off the typical American family’s real income, and raising business costs throughout the economy.[…]
If Bill Clinton’s attempt to reform health care had succeeded, the U.S. economy would be in much better shape today. But the attempt failed — and let’s remember why. Yes, the Clinton administration botched the politics. But it was Republicans in Congress who blocked reform, as Newt Gingrich pursued a strategy of “coagulation” designed to “clot everyone away” from Mr. Clinton.
As for high food and fuel prices, they’re mainly the result of growing demand from China and other emerging economies. But oil prices wouldn’t be as high as they are, and the United States would have been much less vulnerable to the current price spike, if we had taken steps in the past to limit our oil consumption.[…]
So here’s the bottom line: Mr. Bush deserves some blame for the poor performance of the economy on his watch, but much of the blame lies with other, earlier political figures, who squandered chances for reform. As it happens, however, most though not all of the politicians responsible for our current economic difficulties were Republicans.
And bear in mind that John McCain has gone to great lengths to affirm his support for Republican economic orthodoxy. So he’ll have no reason to complain if, as seems likely, the economy costs him the election.
Not a single word in the entire column about the illegal wars in which bush has engaged America, the hugh increases in defense spending, the trillions of dollars it will cost to straighten out this country's finances to care for the wounded and infirm that will result from bush's oil wars and that will last a very long time into the future.
As I have said before, I am no economist, and Mr. Krugman does raise many absolutely correct points of the measures taken or not by past Republican congresses, but to fail to even mention the bush oil wars as a MAJOR source of our financial failure is short-sighted beyond belief.
He thinks China and other emerging countries are responsible for $140+ barrels of oil, over $4.00 per gallon gas at the pump, and that strikes me as sheer sophistry that ignores the real source of a large portion of our financial collapse.
War and the trillions siphoned out of our economy to fight unjust wars that we are losing on two fronts already, and on a third front we will lose if bush gets his favorite wet dream and attacks Iran to continue his genocidal, murderous intentions that serve no purpose but needless killing.
But, then again, any country that spends more money on unnecessary defense expenditures than all of the other countries in the world COMBINED is slowly but steadily working towards the destruction of the empire bush seems determined to establish even if every American has to starve, go without health insurance, experience recessions, and finally a full financial collapse that will remove America from the list of world superpowers.
The military trainers who came to Guantánamo Bay in December 2002 based an entire interrogation class on a chart showing the effects of “coercive management techniques” for possible use on prisoners, including “sleep deprivation,” “prolonged constraint,” and “exposure.”
What the trainers did not say, and may not have known, was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American prisoners.
The recycled chart is the latest and most vivid evidence of the way Communist interrogation methods that the United States long described as torture became the basis for interrogations both by the military at the base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and by the Central Intelligence Agency.
Some methods were used against a small number of prisoners at Guantánamo before 2005, when Congress banned the use of coercion by the military. The C.I.A. is still authorized by President Bush to use a number of secret “alternative” interrogation methods.
These techniques were designed to break torture victims and get them to say anything that a corrupt regime wanted them to say.
Just ask John McCain. He not only made a video confessing war crimes for his captors, the torture he experienced drove him to attempt suicide. (He wrote a book about it.) And while McClain admits to his capitulation to torture, he also alleges he refused early release. (We have only his word that this happened. It requires a suspension of disbelief to think that a broken, tortured, powerless prisoner can dictate the terms of his release to his captors.)
So when lunatic wrongwingers send a viral email that Senator Obama is the "Manchurian Candidate," maybe they should look closer to home. Maybe they should look at John McCain, who actually was tortured, broken, and then sent back home by the communists.
The same John McClain who shortly after being released by his captors cheated on his wife, and then divorced her while she was permanently disfigured from a car accident.
The same John McCain that cheated on this faithful wife? Yeah, he did it with Cindy, a 20 year younger multimillionaire heiress, (heiress, drug addict and thief). But John did the right maverick thing, he dumped his crippled wife and married his mistress, who just happened to have $100 million. And that's when he began his political career.
If you wanted to write a script about a hero who'd been tortured & brainwashed, cut himself off from those who knew him best, suddenly had unlimited financing and decided to run for president ... oh, wait a minute, George Axelrod already wrote that script. Hmmm, what was it called?
If you want some fun, go to Disneyland with your gun…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 10:26 AM Permalink
…articles such as this used to infuriate me to no end, but the Republicans, GOP, Compassionate Conservative, neocons and their newly stacked SCOTUS have surely taught me a lesson.
Disney is on its way to a head-on collision with the NRA after continuing the ban on employees bringing guns onto Disney property and leaving the weapon locked in the glove box or their car.
And by golly, the NRA makes sense to me on this one: however is a Disney employee supposed to handle unruly children and out-of-control parents armed with stuffed animals, cotton candy, and those little blower horn things that drive everyone mad, especially without their guns to respond with lethal force? if they cannot bring their AK-47, M-4s, Browning Automatic rifles, and M-16s with the underslung 40 mm high explosive grenade launcher just what are they to do?
My god, they would be defenseless! And it would totally wipe out the job market in Florida which everyone knows is based around brainwashing children and their parents as to the vital necessity of packing a .44 Automag, percussion grenades, and those flashy-bangy things to keep those mobs in control.
Just think of it, police and NRA luminaries in a desperate fire-fight against kids who don't know that if you hold your hand with index finger extended and make firing motions with your thumb they can legally blow you away, even if you are checked into the Disney Hotel for the weekend. Besides, next week they'll have the snipers with the b-i-g 50 calibre sniper rifles on rooftop patrol every night.
Is Disney just ignorantly unaware that they just can't keep guns out of their amusement park anymore? So SCOTUS has Spake, and Therefore it Shall be so for all Eternity.
1.(sometimes capital letters 'V' and 'S' with no space) a style of writing or saying something using emotion and/or logic and snark, esp. in order to elucidate the obvious while pretending to be objective.
2. anything written by The Vidiot, The Sailor, Mr. Vidiot and anyone else they allow to post on the blog “vidiotspeak”
[Origin: loosely based on new + speak, coined by George Orwell in his novel, 1984 (1949)]
And for godsakes, stay away from FOX, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC.
It's ALL CRAP!!!
Watch the BBC news or ITN news instead.
"POSSE COMITATUS ACT" (18 USC 1385)
A Reconstruction Era criminal law proscribing use of Army (later, Air Force) to "execute the laws" except where expressly authorized by Constitution or Congress. Limit on use of military for civilian law enforcement also applies to Navy by regulation. Dec '81 additional laws were enacted (codified 10 USC 371-78) clarifying permissible military assistance to civilian law enforcement agencies--including the Coast Guard--especially in combating drug smuggling into the United States. Posse Comitatus clarifications emphasize supportive and technical assistance (e.g., use of facilities, vessels, aircraft, intelligence, tech aid, surveillance, etc.) while generally prohibiting direct participation of DoD personnel in law enforcement (e.g., search, seizure, and arrests). For example, Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDETS) serve aboard Navy vessels and perform the actual boardings of interdicted suspect drug smuggling vessels and, if needed, arrest their crews). Positive results have been realized especially from Navy ship/aircraft involvement.