Friday, July 31, 2009

Who Plans These Vacations?

The U.S. State Department said Friday it was investigating reports that three American tourists have been detained by Iranians while hiking near Iran's border with the self-ruled Kurdish region in northern Iraq.


According to a security official, a fourth American who stayed behind at a hotel because he was sick said the missing Americans were tourists hiking near Halabja and the border town of Ahmed Awaa.


....but hey, do what you will anyway.

What He Said

As these cases come before Federal judges, the government is being told to release Gitmo detainees who have not been charged and tried and against whom there is not enough evidence to justify continued detainment. It turns out that is 28 of the 33 cases brought so far.

If the members of Congress who voted for the MCA [Military Commissions Act] had their way -- and that includes all GOP (except Chafee) plus 12 Democratic Senators, as well as all GOP House members (except 7) and 34 Democratic House members -- then all of these detainees against whom there is virtually no evidence (including Jawad) would still be sitting in a cage, possibly forever, with no mechanism to secure their release. One should be hesitant to attribute bad motives to someone based on political disagreements, but some positions are so morally depraved and just plain tyrannical that a rational person has no choice but to do so. Voting to empower the President to imprison people for life with no charges and no judicial review -- particularly where the individuals were not captured on any "battlefield," thus ensuring a very high risk of error and/or abuse -- falls squarely into that category.

Every time a federal judge orders another Guantanamo detainee released on the grounds of insufficient evidence (and that does not mean "insufficient evidence to convict"; it merely means: "insufficient evidence even to justify their detention"), just remember that the vast majority of the current members of Congress voted to deny those detainees any opportunity to have a court review their imprisonment, the most basic and defining right of Western justice. Put simply, they knowingly voted to deny innocent people the right to have a court review their indefinite imprisonment. If that isn't morally depraved, what is?

Of course, the Military Commissions Act, like the FISA Amendment Acts, was one of those many Bush-era laws which Democrats were oh-so-sad to see enacted, and they vowed so solemnly that once they were in the majority, I mean: once they won the White House, I mean: once they had 60 Senate seats, then they would be fixing it for sure. I'm sure that'll happen any minute now.

  Glenn Greenwald

Yeah, me too. And…

Meanwhile, according to a new international poll from The Economist, the U.S. population is as willing or more willing to tolerate torture when compared to citizens in countries such as Egypt, Iran, Russia, Indonesia and China (citizens of the latter two countries are substantially more anti-torture than Americans). Among Americans, roughly 52% say that "all torture should be prohibited" while 43% say that "some degree of torture should be allowed." Only in Nigeria, India, Turkey and South Korea is there a substantially higher pro-torture sentiment than in the U.S.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

In Case You Have Forgotten, Chavez Is a Scoundrel

AP Headline: Venezuela: 'Freedom of expression must be limited'

Never mind that Venezuela didn't say that. A Venezuelan official did. And never mind that the sentiment has not been made into law. Anyway...

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuela's top prosecutor insisted Thursday that freedom of expression in Venezuela "must be limited" and proposed legislation that would slap additional restrictions on the country's news media.

The new law would punish the owners of radio stations, television channels and newspapers that have attempted to "cause panic" and "disturb social peace," Attorney General Luisa Ortega said.


Oh, so you mean they might enact a law against incitement to riot? Wow. We would never have anything like that here.

It also would punish media owners who "manipulate the news with the purpose of transmitting a false perception of the facts."

Now that we could use.

Just kidding. I’m no proponent of restrictions on freedom of speech. In fact, I don’t even think there should be laws against incitement to riot. I’m just trying to point out that the media here love to make Venezuela into a bogeyman.

Chavez's administration is slowly tightening its grip over the news media, raising concerns among watchdog and human rights groups that accuse the government of trying to stifle dissent.

Venezuela's telecommunications commission notified 50 radio stations earlier this week that their broadcast licenses could be revoked because they failed to update their registrations.

That sounds like a perfectly good reason to warn them their licenses could be revoked, and it only has tones of government attempts to stifle if you say that’s what it is. In fact, if a license is a requirement to broadcast, not having that license is a reason to relieve you of your privilege to broadcast. Now, if there’s any question about government attempts to stifle dissent, we’d need to know whether the licensing requirements are problematic. I don’t see any complaint about that.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.


Not a hurricane this time.

A fire at a chemical plant has forced the evacuation of [Bryan, Texas, pop. 72,000] after it released a massive plume of toxic orange smoke that could be seen for miles Thursday, officials said


Ten people were hospitalized with respiratory problems, local media reported. Texas A&M University, headquartered in neighboring College Station, was also shut down, area news said.


The evacuation is not mandatory and officials are not preventing people from going home but officials asked people to “use good judgment.”

  Raw Story

Hey, this is Texas, okay?

....but hey, ask what you will anyway.

Bankster Fraud

A Senate panel seeking evidence of fraud tied to last year’s mortgage crisis has issued subpoenas to financial companies including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., said U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma.


Yeah, let’s see how far that goes. After all Treasury and the Fed were the ones who paved the way for Goldman and Morgan-Chase. Do we really think they’re not protected?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Whatever Happened to 'You Broke It, You Fix It'?

President Obama, who pledged to close the camp by January, has urged other countries to help by taking detainees for resettlement. But the idea has proved to be unpopular with America’s European allies, including those who called for the camp to be closed. In April, President Nicolas Sarkozy said France would accept one prisoner. Mr. Obama said last month that Italy agreed to take three.


And Ireland will take two.

How nice. We start a war. We round up innocent people and imprison them for years, torture some of them, kill some of them. And then, when we’re ready to let the (rightfully angry and possibly vengeful) survivors go, we insist other countries take them, because….well, we won’t.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Constitutional Rights: Death Throes

Usually they just claim taxpayer status, but the other day there was a guy on a rant in the library insisting it was his “Constitutional right” to use the facilities. He was most likely one of the many homeless we have here who often have mental health issues. But what can we say about our politicians, even our President, when they don’t understand the Constitution?

By the design of the Founders, most American political issues are driven by the vicissitudes of political realities, shaped by practicalities and resolved by horse-trading compromises among competing factions. But not all political questions were to be subject to that process. Some were intended to be immunized from those influences. Those were called "principles," or "rights," or "guarantees" -- and what distinguishes them from garden-variety political disputes is precisely that they were intended to be both absolute and adhered to regardless of [...] "the practical considerations policymakers must contend with."

We don't have to guess what those principles are. The Founders created documents -- principally the Constitution -- which had as their purpose enumerating the principles that were to be immunized from such "practical considerations." All one has to do in order to understand their supreme status is to understand the core principle of Constitutional guarantees: no acts of Government can conflict with these principles or violate them for any reason. And all one has to do to appreciate their absolute, unyielding essence is to read how they're written: The President "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." "[A]ll Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land." "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech." "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause." "No person shall be . . . deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."


Instead of "the President shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed," we have: "Presidents should try to obey the law except when they decree there are good reasons to violate it." Instead of "in America the law is king," we have: "we can only apply the law when it won't undermine bipartisanship." Instead of "treaties shall be the supreme Law of the Land," we have: "we can't have torture prosecutions because they'll distract from health care." To "no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause" and "No person shall be . . . deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law," we have added: "unless there are Terrorists who want to harm us, in which case we spy without warrants and imprison people for life without charges."

  Glenn Greenwald

The founders set those rights into the Constitution for a good reason, which Thomas Jefferson stated:

The spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may commence persecutor, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is while our rulers are honest and ourselves united. From the conclusion of [their] war [for independence, a nation begins] going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of [that] war will remain on [them] long, will be made heavier and heavier, till [their] rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion." --Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XVII, 1782.

They don’t seem to be reviving. And the prophetic TJ must be spinning in his grave.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I hope you traded in your 14mpg Hummer for a new 16mpg one already. The 'Cash for Clunkers' program is broke.

Tortured Detainees

At the center of [former Guantanamo detainee Binyam] Mohamed's efforts lie the claims of high British government officials that the Obama administration has repeatedly threatened to cut off intelligence-sharing programs with the U.K. if the British High Court discloses information which British intelligence officials learned from the CIA about how Mohamed was tortured. New statements from the British Foreign Secretary yesterday -- claiming that Hillary Clinton personally re-iterated those threats in a May meeting -- highlight how extreme is this joint American/British effort to cover-up proof of Mohamed's torture.


The British government's claims about these threats led the British High Court to conclude that it could not disclose those facts in good conscience because the U.S. was, in essence, threatening to put the lives of British citizens at risk by terminating intelligence-sharing over terrorist threats.

  Glenn Greenwald

But wait, there’s more. And if this doesn’t scream through your brain, nothing will.

A judge ruled Thursday that one of the youngest detainees brought to Guantanamo Bay is being held illegally and must be released — 6 1/2 years after the detainee from Afghanistan says he was tortured into confessing at age 12.


Jawad's attorneys took their case for his release to the federal court in Washington, where they argued that he continued to be subjected to torture at Guantanamo and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. They say he's been isolated with only minimal contact with other inmates, subjected to sleep deprivation, and has tried to commit suicide.


The Justice Department said Friday it would no longer hold Jawad as a wartime prisoner. But officials wanted to keep him at Guantanamo while conducting a criminal investigation, saying the government had new eyewitness evidence and would speed up a grand jury investigation.


Yes, and to avoid bringing him to trial and having to further publicize what they’ve done to this young man. He doesn’t know exactly how old he is because where he’s from they didn’t keep birth records, but he says he was captured when he was about 12. The Pentagon claims a bone scan shows he was 17. How convenient. Seventeen – adult status. Either way, he was tortured into a confession.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

That's One Way to Do It

New York has found a way to get the homeless off its rolls.

New York is providing homeless families with one-way airline tickets out of town in an effort to keep them out of the city's shelter system, officials say.

Since 2007, the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg has paid for more than 550 families to leave the city, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

City officials say there is no limit to where a family can be sent.

So far, the program has provided flights to 24 states and five continents, most often to Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

One family with 10 children accepted an offer to go to Puerto Rico while another family moved to France with their three children.


I actually had that same idea for the University of Missouri's mental health hospital. It seemed to me that the inmates there were much saner than many of the homeless people walking the streets in San Francisco. A bus ticket would be cheaper than incarceration.

New York's solution is only slightly less heartless than another solution I read about some years ago. I can't remember what city, and it may well have been New York, but it was a northern area whose solution to the problem of homeless people gathering about steam vents in the sidewalks during freezing weather was to build cages around the vents.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Support Our Troops

Nearly three years after surviving the last of a series of explosions in Iraq, Retired Army Reserve Lt. Col. Raymond Trejo Rivas, 53, of New Braunfels, Texas, was buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. Rivas committed suicide after struggling with multiple traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that had been repeatedly misdiagnosed.


“TBI is caused by the supersonic shockwave produced by an explosion — often from an IED — which damages or destroys brain cells,’ says a report in Japan’s Mainichi Daily.


Rivas was sent back to the battlefield after each bomb blast until doctors realized that his brain was slowly being destroyed.

  Raw Story

A Secret Finally Uncovered?

We may soon be finding out what Rose Mary Woods erased.

A Little Racism in the Boston Police Dept?

The Fox affiliate in Boston has published the text of the email Boston police officer Justin Barrett sent in which he referred to Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., as a "banana-eating jungle monkey."

It now appears Barrett's email was a letter to the editor of the Boston Globe, complaining of the Globe's coverage of the Gates arrest on July 16.

Of Gates, Barrett wrote: "He is a suspect and will always be a suspect."

"If I was the officer [Gates] verbally assaulted like a banana-eating jungle monkey, I would have sprayed him in the face with OC [pepper spray] deserving of his belligerent non-compliance."

Barrett then went on to berate the author of the Globe article to which he objected.

"You are a hot little bird with minimal experiences in a harsh field," Barrett wrote. "You are a fool. An infidel. You have no business writing for a US newspaper nevermind detailing and analyzing half-truths."

  Raw Story

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

You Might Want to Read This

"Were Wolfowitz, Feith targets of FBI's Israel spy case?" --- at Raw Story

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

It took me two or three tries to get past the "WereWolfowitz" aspect of the headline.

Coming Home

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday he sees "some chance of a modest acceleration" in the pace of U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Gates, returning from a trip to Iraq, told reporters aboard his plane that perhaps one combat brigade would come out of Iraq ahead of schedule. He did not give a precise timetable.


I heard this from my son in Baghdad yesterday. Slightly ahead of schedule meaning about a month in his case. Fingers crossed that it manifests, and still watching what happens in Kurdistan.

Gates said Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. general in Iraq, told him the security situation is better than expected.

President Barack Obama has announced plans to withdraw American combat forces from Iraq by Aug. 31, 2010. The bulk of the current 138,000 U.S. troops are expected to remain until Iraq's national elections, scheduled for late this year. Maintaining security for the balloting is considered a top priority by Odierno and other high-ranking Pentagon officials.

After the August 2010 deadline for withdrawal of combat forces, 30,000 to 50,000 U.S. troops will remain in advisory and training roles until the end of 2011.

That seems like a lot of troops for advice and training.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More Police Taser News

"Officers who used pepper spray and a Taser to remove a man from a store bathroom found out only later he was deaf and mentally disabled and didn't understand they wanted him to open the door, police said Tuesday," the Associated Press reports. "A spokesman for the Mobile Police Department said the officers' actions were justified because the man was armed with a potential weapon — an umbrella."

  Raw Story

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

This Is Why I Read WIIIAI

OH NO, HOW WILL WE OVERTHROW CASTRO NOW? The ticker the Bushies put in the building of the US interests section in Havana will no longer flash their messages of freedom to the enslaved Cuban masses. From the Guardian: “The ticker made little visible impact on Cubans but became a tourist attraction. Cumbersome technology, however, diminished its impact. The sign was slow-moving, difficult to read and lacked Spanish accents and tildes. For instance ‘año’, which means year, appeared as ‘ano’, which means anus.”


And in the comments from Phillip Allen:

One wonders how the Cubans felt when the US was wishing them a Happy New Year. Feliz ano nuevo, indeed.


Righting a Wrong (updated)

Closing down a prison where abuses occurred and bringing prisoners to swift trial or release. No, not Gitmo….

Iran's supreme leader ordered the closure of a prison where rights workers say protesters detained in the country's election turmoil have died, officials said Tuesday, as the head of the opposition sharply condemned the wave of arrests.


Besides the closure of Kahrizak prison, the head of Iran's judiciary, promised on Monday that the public prosecutor would review the situation of all the hundreds of postelection detainees within a week and decide whether to release or bring them to trial, the state news agency IRNA reported.



140 people were freed on Tuesday.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Just What We've Been Needing

Manufacturers of the Taser stun gun [...] unveiled a new handheld weapon on Monday which is capable of shocking three people without having to reload.

  Raw Story

Or one person three times quickly.

A video demonstration of YouTube showed three volunteers being floored by three successive shots before getting to their feet apparently unhurt.

Yeah, who volunteers for this?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Hooray for Quixote Holt

After years of examining CIA operations of dubious legality, an important member of the House intelligence committee is exploring an option that many in the intelligence community view with apprehension: a comprehensive investigation of all intelligence-community operations over years and perhaps even decades.


Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), a progressive who sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and chairs a special oversight panel that helps write the intelligence budget, has been increasingly comfortable talking about a new “Church committee.”


“I’d like to see something on the scope of the Church committee,” Holt told TWI in a Friday phone interview. The congressman said that it had been a “few decades” since Congress took a comprehensive inquiry into the intelligence community’s impact on “the relationship between the individual and her or his government, as well as the role that the U.S. plays in other countries around the world, outside of declared military activities.”


“An awful lot of people have not really thought about how many unanswered questions there are or unresolved issues there are out there about how we do intelligence in the United States.”

  Washington Independent

Nor do they want to.

I’m with you, Holt. Actually, I'm surprised a progressive politician still has a seat.

I don’t think enough of our fellow citizens would find illegal or immoral CIA activity a problem, nor get too exercised about either our government’s relation to us or the rest of the world, like we did in the 70’s.

I think it’s more likely in today’s climate that you are risking being the first one hauled up to answer to a committee more like one we had in the 50’s: the House UnAmerican Activities committee.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Is There Another Shoe to Drop in Iraq?

On Sunday, the Change List in the Kurdistan Regional Government elections made the startling claim that it had won in Sulaimaniya, a long time stronghold of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan of aging Iraqi president Jalal Talabani.


Analysts in China, which has recently had some ethnic violence itself, worry that Arab-Kurdish conflicts over places like Kirkuk in Iraq's north could destabilize the region. (Note to American readers: such a conflagration would be highly likely to draw the US military right back into Iraq on a large scale and derail Obama's withdrawal timeline.)


When the dust settles from the election, the issues left over regarding Kurdistan's constitution and its relationship with Arab Iraq will come to the fore.

  Juan Cole

Meanwhile in Mexico

Violence in Michoacan hit a new high after police arrested Arnoldo Rueda, an alleged top La Familia operative, on July 10.

Gang members responded by attacking eight police stations across the state with machine guns and grenades, killing at least four officers. Days later, authorities found the bodies of 12 other police officers.

Police say Rueda is a key cartel operative in charge of managing synthetic drug production and shipping marihuana and cocaine to the United States.


The state is home to La Familia Michoacana, a ruthless, pseudo Christian cult-like drug organization that made its appearance in dramatic fashion in 2006 when members rolled five decapitated heads onto a nightclub dance floor.

Violence has since been on the upswing, even after President Felipe Calderon deployed thousands of soldiers and federal police to this state -- his home state -- of 4.2 million residents.

  Raw Story

To all my Michoacan friends in Periban and Los Reyes: May you always be safe, and may a resolution to this situation (which involves us, your northern neighbors fueling the demand for drugs) be forthcoming pronto.

"The truth is we don't believe in anything [...]" said Rosalba Hernandez, who was at a federal police checkpoint outside the town. "Things get worse every day."

Several Michoacan communities have lived up to their unruly reputation: in late May federal police arrested 10 mayors, a judge and 16 other local officials for their alleged links with organized crime.

Those arrested included the mayor of Apatzingan, Genaro Guizar, whisked off to an out-of-state maximum security prison. Federal documents show that he testified to receiving regular payments of more than 15,000 dollars.

It's an impoverished area. We might start with that.

Michoacan, near Periban

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mr. Transparency Strikes Again

Last week, [Neil Barofsky, the chief watchdog over the $700 billion TARP bank bailout program] issued a report documenting that the actual amount of taxpayer money theoretically put at risk in the bank bailout -- once Federal Reserve, FDIC and other programs are counted -- is $23.7 trillion, not the widely cited figure of $700 billion, a report that prompted attacks from the White House and Treasury on his credibility. Separately, Barofsky has continuously disputed White House claims that it's impossible to account for what has been done by banks with the TARP funds. Barofsky wants to compel banks to account for those funds and then publicize that information, while the administration opposes such efforts, claiming that accounting for TARP monies is impossible due to the "fungibility" of those funds. To disprove that claim, Barofsky sent out voluntary surveys to the bank which proved that those funds could be tracked (and he found TARP funds were being used by receiving banks largely to acquire other institutions and/or create "capital cushions" rather than increase lending activity, the principal justification for TARP).


[The] Obama administration is now attempting to induce the Justice Department to issue a ruling that Barofsky's office is not independent at all -- but rather, is subject to, and under the supervision of, the authority of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.


No matter one's views of the wisdom of the bailout and related programs, transparency, accountability and independent oversight are absolutely vital, and that is what Barosksy's office was created to ensure (though it's unlikely -- given how Washington works -- that Congress actually expected that the person in charge of that office would take those duties seriously and be willing to fight with senior administration officials to protect his independence).



Speaking of Professor Gates...

Here’s another story in the news about police busting a man in his own home.

A Boise, Idaho, police officer who pushed a Taser inside a man’s buttocks and threatened to “Taser his balls” violated use-of-force policy, but didn’t break the law, an ombudsman has found.

  Raw Story

But for the benefit of all Iraqis, that’s not the way we do things in America. Right?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

There They Go

The building will look more like it did in 1904 when it was built, but the island is losing a lot of beauty and charm, not to mention the heat factor without these trees. The crews are just going down the street slicing one off after the next.

Thanks, Ike.

"Defamed" Cop Picture

Officer Crowley may not want to pursue that defamation case while one of his fellow officers is driving a car with the license plate WHY-TEE.

Better view at Gawker.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Like cockroaches that were only hiding when the lights were on, bank execs are back out and collecting their obscene "compensation" again. That didn't last long, did it?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

7/25 Tom Toles Update:

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

You'd have to be in your bubble not to know by now that Obama publicly called the arrest of a Cambridge professor for forcing his way into his own home a stupid action on the part of the police. It wasn't a swift move by the police, to be sure, but you know what's stupid, don't you? That's right. And the police officer in question is considering filing a defamation lawsuit. Not that he'll get very far suing the president, but he should never have had any cause to even think about it. And the fodder for Fox? Really stupid, O-man. Really.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Poo Throwing: Plame Blame

Time says Libby went to jail to cover Cheney's ass (no newsflash there). Cheney says that Libby deserved a pardon and that Armitage leaked Valerie Plame's ID. I say the three of them pulled that treasonous stunt and Cheney and Armitage let Libby take the fall. And Big Dick pushed Little Georgie too far for once by not telling him what they were doing and making him look like the fool he is, so on his way out the door, he withheld the pardon to spite them.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Loose Change

Even though [Gil] Kerlikowske’s former city is famously tolerant of marijuana — which is less harmful and less addictive than America’s most popular, legal intoxicant, alcohol — that did not stop America’s new drug czar from demeaning the president’s position on medicinal use, telling a crowd in Fresno, California on Wednesday that marijuana is “dangerous” and “has no medical benefit,” according to The Fresno Bee.

He has no medical training and did not qualify his statements with any opinions from medical professionals.

  Raw Story

Obama’s appointments are beginning to smell a little like Bush’s.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Support Our Troops (The American Guest) - Part 5

According to NBC’s top Pentagon correspondent, the Department of Defense is furious with Fox News analyst Ralph Peters, who said on July 19 that the Taliban should murder 23-year-old Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, captured after he strayed from his post, to save the Army “legal hassles and legal bills.”


Wednesday night MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow fired back, interviewing Jim Miklaszewski, NBC’s top Pentagon correspondent, who said the Department of Defense is furious with Peters and Fox News, adding there is no evidence that Bergdahl is a deserter.


Peters’ and O’Reilly’s insidious comments drew a sharp reaction from a bipartisan group of 22 veteran members of Congress, who all signed a letter demanding Fox News CEO Roger Ailes apologize to Bergdahl’s family for allowing a guest on his network to provide “aid and comfort” to America’s enemies.

  Raw Story

Provide aid and comfort to America’s enemies? How about apologizing for labeling their son a deserter without evidence, much less charges and a trial?

Congressman Eric Massa (D-NY), a former Navy commander who joined the 22 members of Congress in signing the letter, went a step further and called on Fox News to fire both O’Reilly and Peters.


Jim Miklaszewski, NBC’s Pentagon correspondent, told Maddow on Wednesday night that Bergdahl “came off patrol on June 30th, dropped off his weapon, his body armor, grabbed up a bottle of water, a compass and a knife and took off out on his own. It was sometime after that, apparently, that some local militants grabbed him and turned him over to the Taliban.”

“Should he have left the post alone?” Miklaszewski asked. “Of course not. But that doesn’t make him a deserter.”


“I suspect my fellow Americans might really bail out of the FOX viewership over this one,” opined former war reporter and photographer Tim King, who edits Oregon-based Web site Salem-News.

If only.

A Fortunate Reversal

President Obama noted this in his press conference, but, after the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington threatened to file suit, he's released a list of executives who've attended White House health care meetings.


The initial call not to release the information came from the Secret Service, but Obama quickly reversed their decision


Hmmmm…wise move, but can we believe the WH letter listing the execs? Perhaps, but they are still litigating to be allowed to keep the official logs from public view. Why's that?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

And Speaking of Insanity in Politics

The gun amendment has gone down on a 58-39 vote in the Senate, the first real blow to the gun lobby in some time and a victory for Democrats who decided that federalizing conceal and carry laws was one step too far.

What's remarkable about the vote is that it wasn't Democrats who stopped it two votes short of passage -- virtually every pro-gun Democrat voted for this proposal -- but two Republicans, George Voinovich of Ohio and Dick Lugar of Indiana both voted no. If those two would have voted yes it would have hit the 60 required to pass.

  Glenn Thrush

So Congress is holding on to a thread of sanity. I don’t know how long they can hold out.

Obama, Health Care & Speeches

WIIIAI has what will have to be one of the best summaries of the health care speech given by Obama, and asks at the end, "So why did he want to hold a prime-time press conference anyway?"

And why do we watch or read these things any more? The absurdity factor in politics these days - and I'm talking globally - has outstripped anything I could have ever imagined. Never mind the absurdity - the insanity.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Speaking of Eric Holder - Part 2

In comments to Glenn Greenwald’s post about DOJ investigations of torture:

Investigating only those who went beyond Yoo's memos affirms, as legal basis, Bush's detention and torture policies as the backdrop to be measured against; in effect establishing those practices listed in the memo as the legal standard.


This is far worse than Obama's previous "look forward, not backward" stance. This is looking backward and establishing crimes and indignities against humanity as solid legal footing.

  Glenn Greenwald

I’m sure Eric Holder knows that.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Handouts for Hummers

When good ideas go bad.

In January, we joined with Sen. Charles Schumer to introduce a bill that would allow Americans to trade in gas-guzzling cars in exchange for vouchers worth up to $4,500 toward the purchase of vehicles with greatly improved fuel economy.


Our “Cash for Clunkers” proposal was a win-win for the environment and the economy. Then Detroit auto industry lobbyists got involved. Soon a rival bill emerged in the House, tailored perfectly to the auto industry’s specifications.


On Tuesday, the House approved this legislation, which would subsidize the purchase of a new Hummer H3T (16 mpg) or a new Dodge Ram 1500 4×4 truck (15 mpg), but not a two-year-old Ford Focus (27 mpg) or used Chevy Colorado (20 mpg). A companion bill is pending in the Senate.


These bills are expertly designed to provide Detroit one last windfall in selling off gas guzzlers currently sitting on dealer lots because they’re not a smart buy.


So Americans need to make their voices heard, before Congress spends billions of dollars to put more gas guzzlers on the road at the behest of the auto industry.

  Climate Progress

So you can get a federal subsidy to trade in your 14mpg Hummer for a new 16mpg one. As long as the price of gasoline is kept below $4 - or some other number - per gallon, people will still buy Hummers. And the government and oil industries will most certainly find that magic number and find ways to make sure gas prices conform. And, call me pessimistic, but I don’t think “American voices” are going to be heard in Washington over the voices of auto industry lobbyists.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Speaking of Eric Holder

Here is his idea of what an investigation into prisoner torture would look like, should he decide to bring one.

Mr. Holder has told associates he is weighing a narrow investigation, focusing only on C.I.A. interrogators and contract employees who clearly crossed the line and violated the Bush administration’s guidelines and engaged in flagrantly abusive acts.


Mr. Holder is said to have rejected the idea of naming an outside prosecutor and is considering candidates from inside the Justice Department.

The limited inquiry, at least initially, would review more than 20 abuse cases, including some involving prisoner deaths, which were referred to federal prosecutors in Virginia but did not result in prosecutions.


In addition, an inquiry would probably examine whether the C.I.A. operatives who questioned high-level Qaeda detainees at secret prisons exceeded the Justice Department’s legal guidance. A footnote in a recently released 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum said that the C.I.A. inspector general had found in the 2004 report that interrogators used waterboarding with greater frequency and a larger volume of water than seemed to be approved by the Justice Department.

NY Times

Glenn Greenwald comments:

If low-level CIA interrogators -- and only them -- end up as the targets of investigations because they used m0re water than John Yoo allowed, or turned the thermostat lower than the hypothermic levels which the DOJ permitted, or waterboarded with more frequency than Jay Bybee approved, I wouldn't blame the CIA for being furious. It was the regime itself, implemented at the highest levels of our government, that was criminal. Prosecuting only low-level interrogators who followed the torturing spirit of those policies but transgressed some bureaucratic guidelines would be a travesty on par with what happened with the Abu Ghraib "investigations."

But Glenn, that travesty of justice has been relegated to the past in the new Obama era. They would be very happy to do the same with this, I’m sure.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.


Better Late Than Never

“Congressional Democrats warned President Barack Obama on Tuesday that he sounded too much like George W. Bush when he declared this summer that the White House can ignore legislation he thinks oversteps the Constitution,” the Associated Press reports.

The AP adds, “In a letter to the president, four senior House members said they were ’surprised’ and ‘chagrined’ by Obama’s statement in June accompanying a war spending bill that he would ignore restrictions placed on aid provided to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.”


“The letter was signed by Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wisc.) and Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), as well as Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), who chairs the foreign operations appropriations subcommittee, and Greg Meeks (D-N.Y.), who chairs a Financial Services subcommittee that deals with IMF funding,” Politico notes.

  Raw Story

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

More Change You Can Believe In

Mr. Transparency pulls another one from the Bush playbook.

Invoking an argument used by President George W. Bush, the Obama administration has turned down a request from a watchdog group for a list of health industry executives who have visited the White House to discuss the massive healthcare overhaul.

  LA Times

David Kurtz comments.

Cheney Obama refuses to release visitor logs showing which energy health care company executives visited the White House.

Late Update: It's an especially painful continuation of Bush policies since candidate Obama promised to let CSPAN in to cover the creation of a health care bill and his campaign website still promises transparency in meetings between White House staff and outside interests.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

By the Way

This may fit somewhere in a review of Eric Holder's ethics.

Between 1997 and February of 2004, Chiquita made $1.7 million in payments to a right-wing paramilitary group, the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), in regions where it had banana-growing operations. During that period, AUC conducted a “dirty war” against Colombia’s left-wing FARC guerrillas, marked by widespread murders of union leaders and farmers, as well as trafficking in cocaine and heroin.


AUC was established as an umbrella organization for about a dozen right-wing paramilitary groups in 1997, the same year that Chiquita’s payments began. Its founder, Carlos Castaño was a death squad leader who freely admitted to numerous murders and massacres both in interviews and in his 2001 autobiography. AUC’s victims ranged from a prominent left-wing politician, to a leading Colombian journalist – for whose murder Castaño was convicted in absentia in 2004 – to peasant farmers suspected of supporting the left-wing FARC guerrillas.

Chiquita has never been accused of direct involvement in any of AUC’s crimes and has consistently maintained that it was the victim of extortion. But Chiquita continued making the payments for almost seven years, went to elaborate pains to conceal them, and terminated them only when under threat of federal indictment.


AUC had been designated by the US government as a foreign terrorist organization. Although the designation was widely publicized in both the US and Colombia, Chiquita officials allege that they were not aware of it until an employee brought it to their attention in February 2003.

They then consulted an outside lawyer, who advised them that the payments were illegal, since any claims of extortion had long since been invalidated by their “decision to stay in harm’s way,” and that they should be stopped immediately.

Instead of following this advice, a group of Chiquita executives paid a visit to the Department of Justice to explain the situation. There they were also informed that “the payments were illegal and could not continue.”


According to the Los Angeles Times, Justice Department professionals were “incensed” by Chiquita’s continued payments but were told to back off by political appointees in the department.


No charges were ever brought against any individual Chiquita executives, since the firm’s lawyer, Eric Holder – now the Obama administration’s attorney general – successfully argued that they had been the victims of extortion by AUC.

  Raw Story

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Delivering Freedom and Democracy

In what could turn out to be the greatest fraud in US history, American authorities have started to investigate the alleged role of senior military officers in the misuse of $125bn (£88bn) in a US -directed effort to reconstruct Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. The exact sum missing may never be clear, but a report by the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) suggests it may exceed $50bn, making it an even bigger theft than Bernard Madoff's notorious Ponzi scheme.

  UK Independent

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Support Our Troops - Part 4

Fox News analyst says the captured soldier is a deserter and the Taliban should do us a favor...

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

DC Doing Its Part

Jobs for the homeless.

Cold Day in Hell Arrives

Down here in Galveston, Texas, we have had no rain since I don't remember how long, and unrelenting, oppressive heat (but not as hot as Baghdad, Sara!) since the second week in June. Finally! It's raining, raining, raining! Could it be because Governor 'We'll Secede Before We Accept Stimulus Dollars' Perry has decided to seek those Federal funds after all? Maru comments.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Support Our Troops - Part 3

Video of the captured soldier American guest, Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, 23, of Ketchum, Idaho. The US military has issued a statement condemning the video as "public humiliation" of the captive man. They prefer private humiliation as we have noted before in their condemnation of releasing photos of Abu Ghraib treatment. AP report.

Meanwhile in Honduras

The temporary toppling of [Venezuelan President Hugo] Chavez was welcomed by the Bush administration, the Blair government and the International Monetary Fund. This weekend, the US seems destined for a replay of 2002's Operation Chaotic Coup. Amid a stream of contradictory messages it is clear that last month's putsch against [democratically elected Honduran President Manuel] Zelaya was brewed up in Washington by a group of extreme conservatives from Venezuela, Honduras and the US. They appear to have hidden their plans from the White House, but hoped eventually to bounce President Obama into backing them and supporting the "interim president". They are making much of Mr Zelaya's alliance with Mr Chavez, whose sense of nationalism challenges US hegemony.


Financial backing for the coup is identified by some as coming from the pharmaceutical industry, which fears Mr Zelaya's plans to produce generic drugs and distribute them cheaply to the impoverished majority in Honduras, who lack all but the most primitive health facilities. Others point to big companies in the telecommunications industry opposed to Hondutel, Honduras's state-owned provider. Parallels are being made with ITT, the US telecommunications company that offered the Nixon government funds for the successful overthrow of President Salvador Allende of Chile in 1973.


A key figure is Robert Carmona-Borjas, a Venezuelan active against Mr Chavez in 2002, who later fled to the US. He runs the Washington-based Arcadia, which calls itself "an innovative 'next generation' anti-corruption organisation". Its website carries three video clips alleging, without evidence, that Mr Zelaya, his associates and Hondutel are deeply corrupt. Behind Arcadia are the US-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), the well-funded overseas arm of the Republican Party.


The focus of attention in the campaign against Mr Zelaya is now on the office of Senator John McCain [...] who is chairman of the IRI, takes an interest in telecoms affairs in the US Congress and has benefited handsomely from campaign contributions from US telecoms companies – which are said to have funded the abortive 2002 coup against Mr Chavez.


The conservative-minded [Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton retains John Negroponte, an ambassador to Honduras under Ronald Reagan, as an adviser. He also represented George W Bush at the UN and in Baghdad. Democratic Senator Chris Dodd attacked Mr Negroponte in 2001 for drawing a veil over atrocities committed in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, by military forces trained by the US. Mr Dodd claimed that the forces had been "linked to death squad activities such as killings, disappearances and other human rights abuses".

During his time in Tegucigalpa, Mr Negroponte directed funds to the US-supported Contra terrorists seeking to overthrow the government of Nicaragua. He assured them of arms and supplies from the Palmerola airstrip, the main US base in Central America. [...] For their part, Hondurans have noted that when Mr Zelaya tried to return on 6 July, and his plane was refused permission to land at Tegucigalpa airport, no room was found at Palmerola.


Now Washington's strategy is to minimise the role of the pan-continent Organisation of American States which, under the leadership of the independent-minded Chilean José Miguel Insulza, took a strong line against the "interim president".

Washington is now relying on Mr Arias, a firm friend in Central America, to soften the line against Mr Micheletti.

  UK Independent

Mr. Micheletti being the coup leader against President Zelaya.

Ah yes, US involvement in Latin America. No change here.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

That's Treason Isn't It?

Why does Exxon hate America?

ExxonMobil’s sabotage of some 100 Texas oil wells in the past 17 years — going so far as to plug up some wells with explosives — means the world’s largest oil company could be liable for penalties of up to $1 billion, the Texas General Land Office says.


The allegations stem from a lease the company signed with a Texas family, the O’Connors, back in the 1950s to exploit oil fields on the family’s land. When the relationship “went sour,” Patterson states, the energy giant had the oil wells plugged up in such a way that no one else could use them.


Under Texas state rules, ExxonMobil could be fined as much as $10,000 per sabotaged oil well, or some $1 billion in all.

“The allegations paint a false and misleading picture of Exxon Mobil’s involvement in the O’Connor oil and gas leases,” ExxonMobil spokeswoman Margaret Ross stated in a Bloomberg article. “The area in which the wells are located has a water table very close to the surface. It was critical that Exxon protect the groundwater by plugging the wells solidly and thoroughly.”

  Raw Story

Yeah, that's why some of the junk they plugged the wells with included contaminated oil tank sludge and explosives.

I'm sorry, but sabotaging the nation's oil supply should be enough to put Exxon out of business and Exxon execs behind bars. That's where you'd be if you tried that trick.

Trickle Down News

Not that you weren't expecting something...

BAGHDAD, July 17 -- The Iraqi government has moved to sharply restrict the movement and activities of U.S. forces in a new reading of a six-month-old U.S.-Iraqi security agreement that has startled American commanders and raised concerns about the safety of their troops.

In a curt missive issued by the Baghdad Operations Command on July 2 -- the day after Iraqis celebrated the withdrawal of U.S. troops to bases outside city centers -- Iraq's top commanders told their U.S. counterparts to "stop all joint patrols" in Baghdad. It said U.S. resupply convoys could travel only at night and ordered the Americans to "notify us immediately of any violations of the agreement."

The strict application of the agreement coincides with what U.S. military officials in Washington say has been an escalation of attacks against their forces by Iranian-backed Shiite extremist groups, to which they have been unable to fully respond.


....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Science in the Post-Bush Era

In a new study, researchers say there is a dramatic loss of genes from the human Y chromosome that eventually could lead to its complete disappearance -- in the next few millennia.


Although geneticists and evolutionary biologists agree that the Y chromosome is degenerating -- and far more rapidly than its X counterpart -- they reject the idea of a world far in the future where men are obsolete.


Yeah, I bet. Let’s see the figures on the percentage of geneticists and evolutionary biologists who are male, please.

It's been many years now since scientists have been finding evidence of what they used to call the "feminization of the planet." I think it's happening more rapidly than this study wants to acknowledge. It's not just in humans. Strong evidence and numerous cases exist in the animal world.

Here’s my theory: space aliens are really time aliens, they are future humans who have indeed lost chromosome Y and have returned to collect for reintroduction to their species before they go completely extinct, to reintroduce variation into their gene pool. Now that would explain just about everything concerning visits from those little gray “men”, wouldn’t it?

You’re welcome.

....and hey, do what you will anyway.

Conservative Politics At Its Finest

The American Conservative Union asked FedEx for a check for $2 million to $3 million in return for the group’s support in a bitter legislative dispute, then the group’s chairman flipped and sided with UPS after FedEx refused to pay.


The American Conservative Union, which calls itself “the nation's oldest and largest grass-roots conservative lobbying organization,” took UPS’s side on Wednesday as part of a conservative consortium that accused FedEx of “misleading the public and legislators.” ACU's logo is at the top of the letter, along with those of six other conservative groups.

Just two weeks earlier, ACU had offered its endorsement to FedEx, saying in a letter to the company: “We stand with FedEx in opposition to this legislation.”


Those good old conservative values always seem to be valued in dollars, don't they?

At issue is union contracts.

FedEx currently has one U.S. union contract for its entire express business. Under a change passed by the House and awaiting action in the Senate, FedEx — like UPS — would have to negotiate union contracts for individual locations, which FedEx claims would make it much more difficult to promise worldwide regularity for deliveries.

I’d be happy if FedEx could just offer reasonable service where it delivers now.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Support Our Troops - Part 2

One of Afghanistan's "guests" is missing.

The Americans have responded to the Taliban threat to kill the captured soldier with leaflets:

It says, "If you do not release the U.S. soldier then" on the front and "you will be hunted" on the back.

There's another flyer that's being released aimed at the civilian population. It says, "One of our American guests is missing" on the front and "Return the guest to his home" on the back.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Support Our Troops

Does anybody care about the soldier who was reported captured in Afghanistan a couple weeks ago? Google doesn't mention it since then.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

UPDATE: Ask and it shall be answered. NPR has an update. Still don't know who the soldier is.

The New CO

Hey, soldier...want to avoid deployment? Click here.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Remember Dr. David Kelly?

Refresh your memory.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.


There it is. The big bankers have it. You might have thought that an enormous red flag would have been the appointing of a treasury secretary who hadn't paid his income taxes.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Abandon Hope All Ye

Yesterday, I treated this new Newsweek report that Eric Holder is "leaning toward appointing a prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration's brutal interrogation practices" as something to celebrate. But new facts about what that investigation would entail and, more importantly, would exclude -- facts added by today's Washington Post -- strongly suggest it's the opposite. At least if that article is to be believed -- and it seems clear that Holder dispatched his allies to leak his plans in order to gauge reaction -- the investigation will only target "rogue" CIA interrogators who exceeded the limits of what John Yoo authorized, and would not include high-level policy makers who authorized the torture tactics and implemented America's torture regime:

  Glenn Greenwald

Frankly, I wouldn’t have pegged Glenn Greenwald for someone so naïve as to believe Holder would actually be a hero of democracy and justice. Anyone who would is not in a position to do anything about it.

Like Fox Mulder, apparently Greenwald wants to believe.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Yet Another Surprise

Scientists are not Republicans.

Ooh, Another Surprise

Dick Cheney was the driving force behind the decision to conceal an undisclosed CIA counter-terrorism program from Congress, according to a report published Sunday on the New York Times' website.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Too Stupid for Comment

The federal government's most secure prison has determined that two books written by President Barack Obama contain material "potentially detrimental to national security" and rejected an inmate's request to read them.

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali is serving a 30-year sentence at the federal supermax prison in Florence, Colo., for joining al-Qaida and plotting to assassinate then-President George W. Bush. Last year, Abu Ali requested two books written by Obama: "Dreams from My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope."

But prison officials, citing guidance from the FBI, determined that passages in both books contain information that could damage national security.

  Google News

....but hey, do what you will anyway.


Ever wonder why you never heard anything more about those truckloads of suffocated captives in Afghanistan way back at the Beginning of the End? I don't think you'll be surprised to find out why.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Again: There's More

A new internal government report says President George W. Bush authorized secret intelligence activities shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that went beyond wiretapping without court orders.

Details of those activities remain classified, but are referred to in the newly released report as the President's Surveillance Program.


Well, I can’t say I’m surprised, but I am certainly curious. Here’s the report should you desire to read it.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Together Again

Yeah, yeah, if I don't have time, why am I posting something so silly as this? I can't help myself. That's why.

When I saw a picture of Obama and Popeman together, the first thing that popped into my mind was - God and the Devil are reunited. While I never thought of Obama as God incarnate, I have always thought of Razzo as the Devil. So what's this? God, the Devil and the Witch of Endor? What is she wearing for Pete's God's sake?

(click to enlarge)

I found some other interesting things looking for a better picture.

So Little Time, So Much Crap

Jumping right over the ongoing Palin saga and the ubiquitous adulterous congressmen stories...

Leon Panetta says the CIA knowingly lied to Congress. (No!!!)

Active duty Army suicides still rising.

Gays in the military - no way; white supremicists - okay.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

It's Even Worse

Spencer Ackerman yesterday attended a Senate hearing at which the DOD's General Counsel, Jeh Johnson, testified. As Ackerman highlighted, Johnson actually said that even for those detainees to whom the Obama administration deigns to give a real trial in a real court, the President has the power to continue to imprison them indefinitely even if they are acquitted at their trial. About this assertion of "presidential post-acquittal detention power" -- an Orwellian term (and a Kafka-esque concept) that should send shivers down the spine of anyone who cares at all about the most basic liberties -- Ackerman wrote, with some understatement, that it "moved the Obama administration into new territory from a civil liberties perspective." Law professor Jonathan Turley was more blunt: "The Obama Administration continues its retention and expansion of abusive Bush policies — now clearly Obama policies on indefinite detention."

  Glenn Greenwald

Such a change we're getting.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Cyber Woes

You know things are bad when Microsoft is trying to draw attention to its latest security flaw. A new vulnerability is affecting Internet Explorer users who are running Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 (do the latter even exist anymore?), allowing hackers to take control of victims' PCs remotely.


The flaw lies in how Internet Explorer and its notorious ActiveX controls handle video playback. Microsoft is encouraging users to disable the vulnerable ActiveX controls -- even in versions of Windows not known to be affected by the security problem -- until it can release an emergency patch later this month.


Here’s where Vista users are happy for once. But the US Government isn’t quite so thrilled.

WASHINGTON – A widespread computer attack that began July 4 knocked out the Web sites of the Treasury Department, the Secret Service and other U.S. government agencies, according to officials inside and outside the government.


The U.S. government Web sites, which also included those of the Federal Trade Commission and the Transportation Department, were all down at varying points over the holiday weekend and into this week.


An initial investigation found that many personal computers were infected with a virus ordering them to visit major official Web sites in South Korea and the U.S. at the same time, Korea Information Security Agency official Shin Hwa-su said.


....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Sarah, Oh, Sarah

I’m convinced she lives by the motto that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Shannyn Moore held a press conference on Sunday in front of the governor’s mansion in Juneau to denounce Palin, who announced her resignation as Alaska governor on Friday, as a “coward and a bully.”

“On the Fourth of July, when Americans everywhere were celebrating our most sacred national holiday with parades and barbeques, Governor Sarah Palin was busy having me, Shannyn Moore, declared an Enemy of the State,” Moore told a press scrum. “In a rambling quasi-legal letter, the most powerful person in this state accused me of defaming her for pointing out the fact that there have been rumors — rumors — of corruption, rumors that have been around for years.”


“The governor’s massive overreaction … should make any reasonable person wonder what’s wrong with her. The Lady protests way too much. Eventually we’ll all find out why she really walked off the job.”

On Saturday, an attorney representing Palin threatened not only Moore, but Brad Friedman of BradBlog and a number of mainstream news sources with defamation suits if they continued to publish speculation that a corruption probe was behind Palin’s decision to resign as governor.

  Raw Story

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Support Our Ay-Yi-Yi

The LA Times has an article about a Marine whose recruiters knew he was autistic (he was recruited out of a group home for disturbed youths) and that he was legally barred from signing contracts. It didn’t work out very well.


No. No, I wouldn’t think so.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Your Sunday Sermon

With God on Our Side

Oh my name it is nothin'
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I was taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that the land that I live in
Has God on its side.

Oh the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh the country was young
With God on its side.


But now we've got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we're forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God's on your side.

So now as I'm leavin'
I'm weary as Hell
The confusion I'm feelin'
Ain't no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God's on our side
He'll stop the next war.

--Bob Dylan (1963)

No More Italian Shoes for Congress

Some 300 youths, wearing helmets and carrying plexiglass shields, pelted riot cops with rocks and bottles during the American Independence Day demo.


Demonstrators who have regularly cut their way through barbed wire guarding the site cried "No arms here" and "We won't be a rear base for the killing of Afghan kids."


A delegation from the organisers -- a coalition of Communists, Greens and far-left groups -- will travel to central L'Aquila on Sunday to protest at the scene of next week's G8 summit of world leaders including US President Barack Obama.

  Raw Story

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Palin Update

I hate it when they force me to post updates:

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is not under investigationby the FBI, the federal agency’s Alaska spokesperson has said.

“There is absolutely no truth to those rumors that we’re investigating her or getting ready to indict her,” Special Agent Eric Gonzalez told the Los Angeles Times Saturday. “It’s just not true.”

  Raw Story

I usually forego posts about rumors until the story’s been borne out. I thought that reports of an FBI investigation surely would be easily verified and therefore true. Well, who knows at this point? Do I trust FBI statements any more than any other?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

July 4: Support Our Troops

Taliban militants were nowhere in sight as the columns of U.S. Marines walked a third straight day across southern Afghanistan. But the desert heat proved an enemy in its own right, with several troops falling victim Saturday to temperatures topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Marines carry 50-100 pounds (23-45 kilograms) on their backs. But because they are marching through farmland on foot, they can't carry nearly as much water as their thirst demands.


July 4: Welcome to America

Our birthday present from France bears this inscription:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Could You Use a Laugh?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Support Our Troops

An American soldier is believed being held by the Taliban after he walked off his base in eastern Afghanistan without his body armor and weapon, officials said Thursday.


The military has intercepted communications in which insurgents said they had captured an American


The missing man is an enlisted soldier, and his family has been notified.


Two U.S. defense sources said the soldier "just walked off" post with three Afghans after he finished working. They said they had no explanation for why he left the base.


NBC News reported that the Taliban had claimed to have captured three U.S. soldiers in the eastern province of Khost. That claim could not be verified.


”Just walked off post with three Afghans.” Really?

Here Comes Another One

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin abruptly announced Friday she is resigning from office at the end of the month, a shocking move that rattled the Republican party but left open the possibility she would seek a run for the White House in 2012.


Yeah, right. More like: countdown to the latest Palin family scandal in 3..2..1..


BradBlog now suggests that Palin’s resignation was due to an upcoming Federal indictment for embezzlement. Max Blumenthal at The Daily Beast adds more details.


BradBlog is now reporting additional information received from Alaskans who follow Palin: “I’ve now been able to get independent information from multiple sources that all of this precedes what are said to be possible federal indictments against Palin, concerning an embezzlement scandal related to the building of Palin’s house and the Wasilla Sports Complex built during her tenure as Mayor. […] Federal investigators have been looking into this for some time, and indictments could be imminent, according to the Alaska sources.”


Max Blumenthal at The Daily Beast offers additional details:

One logical place to start looking is the affair that has Alaska political circles buzzing: an alleged scandal centered around a building contractor, Spenard Building Supplies, with close ties to Palin and her husband, Todd.


While serving as mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin blocked an initiative that would have required the public filing of building permits—thus momentarily preventing the revelation of such suspicious information.


Alaskan blogger Shannyn Moore suggested at Huffington Post that “rumors of an ‘iceberg scandal’ have been circulating” even before today’s announcement.


  Raw Story

That woman has been a crooked politician steeped in stinking ethics for a long time. She probably could have gotten away with it all had she been a little bit smart and stayed out of the McCainwreck.

Let’s just wait a few days and see what surfaces, shall we?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.


Thursday, July 02, 2009

Saddam Hussein's Last Interview

Released, with redactions. Have a look.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Our Favorite Child Acts Out Again

That would be Israel, of course.

A group of 21 peace activists sailing to Palestine were intercepted and arrested by Israeli authorities on Tuesday as they attempted to bring food and medical supplies to the war-torn city of Gaza. Israel said it plans to deport most of the people involved, including former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Mairead Maguire, a Nobel laureate.

  Raw Story

....but hey, do what you will anyway.