Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010

You stayed too long anyway.

Yes We Can

...laugh at the grotesque and disgusting business of war...

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

TSA Insanity - Part Whatever

Police say a man stripped to his underwear at a Virginia airport checkpoint in a protest against security procedures.

Airport police said the man took off his shirt and pants at Richmond International Airport on Thursday. He had scrawled across his chest a reference to the Constitution's 4th Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

Police identified the man as 21-year-old Aaron B. Tobey of Charlottesville, Va. He told police he was a student at the University of Cincinnati.

Tobey was interviewed by airport police and federal authorities, issued a citation for disorderly conduct and released. He is scheduled for arraignment on Jan. 10.

  Raw Story

Disorderly conduct. Officially sanctioned visual undressing of him (and/or groping) by someone else - that’s okay.

Just Give Up Already

There's no such thing as security.

A powerful banking association tried -- and failed -- to censor a Cambridge University student's thesis that exposed a flaw in electronic card security.

Chip and PIN is a smartcard payment system in the United Kingdom that requires customers to enter a personal identification number (PIN) when making a transaction. Secure as the industry would like this system to seem, it isn't, as a lone student proved earlier this year with the construction of an inexpensive device that eliminates the PIN requirement.


The UK Cards Association (UKCA) sent a letter to the university requesting they remove the thesis, which describes how a hand-held device could allow a thief to make transactions with a stolen bank card using any PIN.

  Raw Story

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

Speaking of Cyber Futures...This Just In....

The Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu-PF) website, Zimbabwean government website and Zimbabwean Finance Ministry website were the target of cyber attacks on Thursday by a loose-knit group of online hacktivists known as "Anonymous."

The websites were hit with distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's wife, Grace Mugabe, sued a newspaper for publishing a WikiLeaks cable that alleged she was connected with illicit diamond trade.

All three websites targeted by "Anonymous" were knocked offline and the Finance Ministry website was also defaced with messages saying "We are Anonymous" and "The world hates us, we kill our own people, we have no control of the economy, we repress free speech, we kill and rape for fun, we are Zanu-PF."

  Raw Story

Fighting Big Brother

In striking down evidence obtained through warrantless GPS tracking, Delaware Judge Jan R. Jurden wrote that "an Orwellian state is now technologically feasible," adding that "without adequate judicial preservation of privacy, there is nothing to protect our citizens from being tracked 24/7."


The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling last August effectively allowing the use of GPS tracking without a warrant. Law enforcement agencies in the nine western US states covered by the Ninth Circuit now have the ability to use GPS without a warrant.


Unless there are special circumstances, "the warrantless placement of a GPS device to track a suspect 24 hours a day constitutes an unlawful search," Judge Jurden wrote in her ruling.

  Raw Story

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

Ratt in a Trap

US watchdogs accused Steven Rattner of participating in a widespread kickback scheme to get investments from the New York State Common Retirement Fund, the city's biggest pension fund.

"Mr. Rattner will pay $10 million in restitution to the State of New York and be banned from appearing in any capacity before any public pension fund within the State of New York for five years," a statement from New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo said.

Rattner had earlier agreed to settle similar charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission, by paying $6.2 million, without admitting or denying guilt.

  Raw Story

Of course, most of us are going to take that huge payment as an admission of guilt, aren’t we?

Does the name Steven Rattner sound familiar? He’s the billionaire who was Obama’s “car czar” back when we bailed out the auto industries, for a very short while in early 2009. And Obama knew about the investigations into his schemes when he appointed him.

Time April 2009:

Steve Rattner had never focused on the auto industry before. So yes, he was an odd choice to be a special adviser to the Treasury Department on its dealings with Detroit car manufacturers. And even though he was known mostly for his work as a journalist and as an investor in various media companies, Rattner got right to work, reportedly helping to engineer the ouster of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner just weeks after joining the Administration.

But now, the private equity firm Rattner co-founded is the focus of pay-to-play accusations made by the New York State Attorney General and Securities and Exchange Commission. While Rattner has not been charged with anything, he was an executive at the firm during the time the alleged misdeeds took place and reportedly may have met with those accused of criminal activity. Details remain scant, but the case involves payments to people who helped make business connections between Rattner's firm and the New York State pension fund. The Obama Administration claims it was aware of the pending investigation when it appointed Rattner.


Newsweek 2008:

Even some of his admirers accuse him of being a hypercareerist with the journalistic savvy to promote himself above all else (none would say so on the record, for fear of incurring Rattner's ire). For example, some point accusingly to Rattner's newfound support of Obama—he and White have been trying to bring Hillary holdouts to the fold, and they are looking to raise at least $1 million for him. "I think he and [wife] Maureen want to be in a position to have something out of it," says one Clinton fund-raiser on Wall Street.


And they got it.

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

Cyber Crime & the Future of the Internet

With the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) treating successful cyber attacks by "Operation Payback" as criminal offenses, a new level of ambiguity is being introduced into the enforcement of cyber crime laws.


[A]ccording to a recent chat held by the Chaos Communications Congress, an annual conference of hackers now in its 27th year [...] with a tracker-less torrent and a single "malicious node," "anyone with a moderate bandwidth connection can induce DDoS attacks with the BitTorrent cloud."


The exploit would appear to be a new innovation in the formation of what are known as "botnets," or computers with malicious software that are at least partially under the control of a remote operator, in many cases a cyber criminal who uses the distributed computer power for nefarious purposes.


Utilization of such technology to attack the web operations of companies like MasterCard Worldwide or PayPal -- both of which, among others, were brought down earlier this month by "Operation Payback" for their refusal to do business with secrets outlet WikiLeaks -- would likely be classified a serious crime.

The FBI has already raided a Dallas-based hosting company and copied the contents of two hard drives in connections with attacks on PayPal, and a 16-year-old Dutch teen was arrested for allegedly running a chat room connected to "Anonymous." It is reasonable to expect more raids soon.

  Raw Story

But here’s the part of the article that intrigued me:

Researchers found that between August 2009 and September 2010, a collection of just 280 sites run by human rights organizations were hit with 140 different distributed DDoS attacks. There were likely many others that went unnoticed

So who is it doing the attacking? That seems like an inordinate amount of attacks on human rights websites.

Given the tactics of "Anonymous," answering each official escalation against WikiLeaks with increasingly larger attacks, it may be only a matter of time before torrents are used to attack a major bank or even the US government.

And that, you may rest assured, is what the government is going to use as an excuse to gag the internet.

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

2:00 pm UPDATE – JUST IN:

The Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu-PF) website, Zimbabwean government website and Zimbabwean Finance Ministry website were the target of cyber attacks on Thursday by a loose-knit group of online hacktivists known as "Anonymous."

The websites were hit with distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's wife, Grace Mugabe, sued a newspaper for publishing a WikiLeaks cable that alleged she was connected with illicit diamond trade.

All three websites targeted by "Anonymous" were knocked offline and the Finance Ministry website was also defaced with messages saying "We are Anonymous" and "The world hates us, we kill our own people, we have no control of the economy, we repress free speech, we kill and rape for fun, we are Zanu-PF."

  Raw Story

The Continuing Destruction of Falluja

Iraq's government has built a new hospital in Fallujah, but the city's obstetricians have complained that they are still overwhelmed by the sheer number of serious defects. The US military has long denied that it is responsible for any contaminant left behind in the city, or elsewhere in Iraq, as it continues its steady departure from the country it has occupied for almost eight years.


A study examining the causes of a dramatic spike in birth defects in the Iraqi city of Falluja has for the first time concluded that genetic damage could have been caused by weaponry used in US assaults that took place six years ago.

The research, which will be published next week, confirms earlier estimates revealed by the Guardian of a major, unexplained rise in cancers and chronic neural-tube, cardiac and skeletal defects in newborns. The authors found that malformations are close to 11 times higher than normal rates, and rose to unprecedented levels in the first half of this year – a period that had not been surveyed in earlier reports.

  UK Guardian

Of course, this isn’t the first time the subject has come up. It never caused much of a ripple in our part of the world, though.

The findings, which will be published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, come prior to a much-anticipated World Health Organisation study of Falluja's genetic health. They follow two alarming earlier studies, one of which found a distortion in the sex ratio of newborns since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 – a 15% drop in births of boys.

Now that sounds like something that might be welcomed by certain people in charge of TWOT; perhaps even a goal.

"We suspect that the population is chronically exposed to an environmental agent," said one of the report's authors, environmental toxicologist Mozhgan Savabieasfahani. "We don't know what that environmental factor is, but we are doing more tests to find out."

I’d think it would have had to been exposed very heavily and for some time to affect the birth rate, but then I’m not a chemical expert. Perhaps they’ve been blanketed with something airborne? Or something has been put in their water supply? I do know that even when I studied agricultural chemicals back in the early 90s, research showed a marked “feminization” of the environment – both in animals and humans – attributed to the use of a number of those chemicals, facts which didn’t seem to draw much concern outside environmentalist circles. That surprised me, since I figure anything threatening man’s “manliness” would be a very serious concern indeed in this country.

At any rate, as it has been argued that the atomic bomb was deployed at the end of WWII, not to end the war, which was already by many accounts about to be ended by a Japanese surrender, but to test our latest weaponry, and as it has been reported that we used something akin to the banned napalm - white phosphorus - on the people of Falluja, it occurs to me that there may even be other experimental weaponry unleashed on these people in the heat of a widely accepted retaliation.

The findings are likely to prompt further speculation that the defects were caused by depleted uranium rounds, which were heavily used in two large battles in the city in April and November 2004.

The WHO and NATO say DU is practically harmless. Others disagree: CADU; Gulf War Syndrome & DU; Contamination of Persian Gulf War Veterans and Others by Depleted Uranium

Iraq's government has built a new hospital in Fallujah, but the city's obstetricians have complained that they are still overwhelmed by the sheer number of serious defects. The US military has long denied that it is responsible for any contaminant left behind in the city, or elsewhere in Iraq, as it continues its steady departure from the country it has occupied for almost eight years.

Of course.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

TSA Insanity

You have to read the whole article to get the complete and utter ridiculousness. TSA bans bikini woman for ‘unusual contour’ around buttocks

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

Who's Driving the Bus That's Running Over Brad Manning & Julian Assange?

Wired's response to Glenn Greenwald...

The first part of Wired's response was from Editor-in-Chief Evan Hansen, and the second is from its Senior Editor Kevin Poulsen. Both predictably hurl all sorts of invective at me as a means of distracting attention from the central issue, the only issue that matters: their refusal to release or even comment on what is the central evidence in what is easily one of the most consequential political stories of this year, at least.


The bottom line from Hansen and Poulsen is that they still refuse to release any further chat excerpts or, more inexcusably, to comment at all on -- to verify or deny -- Lamo's public statements about what Manning said to him that do not appear in those excerpts. They thus continue to conceal from the public 75% of the Manning-Lamo chats. They refuse to say whether Lamo's numerous serious accusations about what Manning told him are actually found anywhere in the chat logs. Nor will they provide the evidence to resolve the glaring inconsistencies in Lamo's many public tales about the critical issues: how he came to speak to Manning, what Lamo did to induce these disclosures, and what Manning said about his relationship to WikiLeaks and his own actions. [...] Wired is hiding the key evidence about what took place here, thus allowing Lamo to spout all sorts of serious claims without any check and thus drive much of the reporting about WikiLeaks.

Glenn Greenwald

Greenwald’s full rebuttal and links to Wired’s responses are in that post, if you’re interested.

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

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's Not THAT Big a Tent, Eh?

WorldNetDaily reports that the inclusion of GOProud, a gay Republican — or, in WND parlance, a “homosexual activist” — organization, in the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) has caused the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America to announce they will skip the next conference, which will be held in Washington in February.


The genesis of this disagreement was a letter signed by GOProud and several local tea party groups asking conservatives to focus on economic issues as opposed to social issues.

  Washington Independent

No, they don't care whether the economy goes belly up and everyone, including themselves, starves to death - at least they won't be amongst homosexuals when they go.

No Change Here

[Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva] will step down from office to make way for his chosen successor, Dilma Rousseff, who was elected in October.

Speaking to reporters at a breakfast meeting in the capital Brasilia, Lula lamented that the election of President Barack Obama had brought little change to the "empire's" approach on Latin America.

"Nothing has changed in the US vision of Latin America, which makes me sad," he said.


It makes me sad, too.

And I wouln't put "empire" in quotes.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tell the Truth and Lose Your Job

Fifty-year old Chris Liu, who had gone by the pseudonym "The Patriot Pilot" and was deputized by the TSA, lost his federally-issued gun and badge after posting cell phone videos on YouTube critical of San Francisco International Airport security.


"Clearly, from the world-wide response my story has received, I have really made people at the TSA angry," he wrote. "I am sorry about that, as it was never my intent to piss people off. I only wanted to make aviation safer by pointing out what I though was a major security problem that was not getting properly addressed by the TSA, while the rest of us were getting screened, scanned, groped, x-rayed and generally treated pretty poorly; all at a cost of billions and billions of dollars."


A major problem with airport security is that ground crews can access the airport tarmac and any aircraft without having to be screened by security. The next major attack may not occur in the cabin of an aircraft, but on the tarmac of an airport, Liu warned.

  Raw Story

And about those x-ray machines:

“It’s not an explosive detector; it’s an anomaly detector,” Clark Ervin, who runs the Homeland Security Program at the Aspen Institute, told the Post. “Someone has to notice that there’s something out of order.”

Which means those security employees who stare at the screens have to be sharp enough and well-trained enough to detect things that are abnormal. (And some experts think that if the explosives are flat and pancake-shaped and taped to your stomach, they could not be detected anyway, because the picture would look too normal.)


That should be easy enough to determine. Surely that information is out there, and may explain some of the failure rate we've heard about for TSA airport security.

Citing an ABC report, [CNN’s Candy] Crowley said, “There are some major airports who had a 70 percent failure rate at detecting guns, knives, bombs, that they got through in your tests…. So how good can it be when you have major airports with a 70 percent fail rate?”


According to the Post, by New Year’s Day, there will be 500 such machines in use nationwide and 1,000 by the end of 2011, or roughly one machine for every two security lanes in every airport in the land.


The machines cost $130,000 to $170,000 each, and by 2014, the federal government will have spent $234 million to $300 million for them.

Which would be a bargain if they actually did something besides embarrass people. In May, a TSA screener at Miami International Airport who went through a full-body screening as part of his training was arrested for beating a co-worker with a police baton after co-workers made fun of the size of his private parts.

The solution for passengers? Get used to it.

Because heaven knows we’re not going to suddenly become a reasonable country.

[Secretary of homeland security Janet] Napolitano dismissed [the rate of failure information] as old and questionable and said, “Let’s set those aside.” One of the real successes of the machines and procedures, Napolitano said, is that they discourage terrorists from even trying to get on planes.

In other words, the machines keep us safe even if they don’t work at all.

“What we know is that you can’t measure [how] the devices … are deterring [terrorists] from going on a plane,” Napolitano said.

“Just people who just are discouraged, thinking they’d be found out,” said Crowley.

“Exactly,” said Napolitano.

In which case, we do not need machines that cost upward of $130,000 each.

I’m sure if the stockholders and manufacturers of the machinery weren’t connected with the lawmakers and bought by taxpayer money, airports would already be using the x-ray machine equivalent of the mannequin sitting in a patrol car on the street corner.

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

Perfecting the Lie

"Today we can be proud that there are fewer areas under Taliban control and more Afghans have a chance to build a more hopeful future," Mr. Obama told American troops during a visit to the Bagram Air Field northeast of Kabul earlier this month.


We can be. Even though that would be delusional and totally unfounded.

nternal United Nations maps show a marked deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan during this year's fighting season.


The U.N.'s October map upgraded to "high risk" 16 previously more secure districts in Badghis, Sar-e-Pul, Balkh, Parwan, Baghlan, Samangan, Faryab, Laghman and Takhar provinces; only two previously "high risk" districts, one in Kunduz and one in Herat province, received a safer rating.

A Pentagon report mandated by Congress drew similar conclusions when it was released last month. It said attacks were up 70% since 2009 and threefold since 2007.


The director of communications for the U.N. in Afghanistan, Kieran Dwyer, said [...] said, "in the course of 2010, the security situation in many parts of the country has become unstable where it previously had not been so. There is violence happening in more parts of the country, and this is making the delivery of humanitarian services more difficult for the U.N. and other organizations.


As the coalition focused on the south, the insurgents fanned out during the year to the north and the west. In recent months, the Taliban seized control in areas of dozens of districts in those previously secure parts of the country, taking advantage of the sparse international troop presence there.


"The country as a whole is dramatically worse off than a year ago, both in terms of the insurgency's geographical spread and its rate of attacks," said Nic Lee, director of the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office. "Vast amounts of the country remain insecure for the unarmed civilians, and more and more areas are becoming inaccessible."

The American Way

Thanks to congressional inaction, NASA must continue to fund its defunct Ares I rocket program until March — a requirement that will cost the agency nearly $500 million at a time when NASA is struggling with the expensive task of replacing the space shuttle.


But under a new NASA plan signed into law by President Barack Obama in October, there's no guarantee that the new rocket required by that plan will use solid-fuel propulsion. And, in fact, many in the agency say a liquid-fueled rocket would be cheaper, more powerful — and safer.

The money to ATK is part of the $1.2 billion NASA will spend on its canceled Constellation program from Oct. 1 through March.

Orlando Sentinel

Emphasis mine.

Any wonder we are crashing?

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

Hat tip Old American Century.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wikileaks & Bradley Manning

In late May, Adrian Lamo -- at the same time he was working with the FBI as a government informant against Manning -- gave Poulsen what he purported to be the full chat logs between Manning and Lamo in which the Army Private allegedly confessed to having been the source for the various cables, documents and video that WikiLeaks released throughout this year.


From the start, the strangest aspect of this whole story -- as I detailed back in June and won't repeat here -- has been the notion that one day, out of the blue, Manning suddenly contacted a total stranger over the Internet and, using unsecured chat lines, immediately confessed in detail to crimes that would likely send him to prison for decades.

More strangely still, it wasn't just any total stranger whom Manning contacted, but rather a convicted felon who is notorious in the hacking community for his dishonesty and compulsive self-promotion, and who had just been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital three weeks earlier [...] Add to all of that the central involvement of Lamo's long-time confidant, Poulsen, in exclusively reporting on this story and one has a series of events that are wildly improbable (which doesn't mean it didn't happen that way).


By allowing the world to see only the fraction of the Manning-Lamo chats that he chose to release, [Wired’s Kevin] Poulsen has created a situation in which his long-time "source," Adrian Lamo, is the only source of information for what Manning supposedly said beyond those published exceprts. Journalists thus routinely print Lamo's assertions about Manning's statements even though -- as a result of Poulsen's concealment -- they are unable to verify whether Lamo is telling the truth. Due to Poulsen, Lamo is now the one driving many of the media stories about Manning and WikiLeaks even though Lamo (a) is a convicted felon, (b) was (as Poulsen strangely reported at the time) involuntarily hospitalized for severe psychiatric distress a mere three weeks before his chats with Manning, and (c) cannot keep his story straight about anything from one minute to the next.


Whether Manning actually said [certain] things to Lamo could be verified in one minute by "journalist" Kevin Poulsen. He could either say: (1) yes, the chats contain such statements by Manning, and here are the portions where he said these things, or (2) no, the chats contain no such statements by Manning, which means Lamo is either lying or suffers from a very impaired recollection about what Manning said. Poulsen could also provide Lamo -- who claims he is no longer in possession of them -- with a copy of the chat logs (which Lamo gave him) so that journalists quoting Lamo about Manning's statements could see the actual evidence rather than relying on Lamo's claims. Any true "journalist" -- or any person minimally interested in revealing the truth -- would do exactly that in response to Lamo's claims as published by The New York Times.


[B]ack in July, Lamo admitted to the New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller that he has "no direct evidence" that anyone helped Manning obtain the classified information:

Mr. Lamo acknowledged that he had no direct evidence that Private Manning had help. He said he based his belief on information from people who knew Private Manning, not on his contact with the soldier himself. Asked if Private Manning had ever told him of any WikiLeaks assistance, Mr. Lamo replied, "Not explicitly, no."
But now that Savage is reporting that the DOJ needs to prove that WikiLeaks actively helped Manning, Lamo pops up to make the exact opposite claim: namely, that Manning explicitly told him in these chats that he had help from Assange and from WikiLeaks "intermediaries" in Boston.


There is one person who could immediately confirm whether Lamo's claims are true: Kevin Poulsen of Wired. Yet he steadfastly refuses to do so.


But now there are new facts making all of this stranger still, and it all centers around a man named Mark Rasch. Who is Rasch? He's several things. He's the former chief of the DOJ's Computer Crimes Unit in the 1990s. He's a "regular contributor" to Wired. He's also the General Counsel of "Project Vigilant," the creepy and secretive vigilante group that claims to gather Internet communications and hand them over to the U.S. government. Rasch is also the person who prosecuted Kevin Poulsen back in the mid-1990s and put him in prison for more than three years. As detailed below, Rasch also has a long and varied history with both Poulsen and, to a lesser extent, Lamo. And -- most significantly of all -- Rasch is the person who put Lamo in touch with federal law authorities in order to inform on Manning.

  Glenn Greenwald

There’s a lot more interesting information raising lots of interesting questions in this Greenwald post. Poulsen is reputedly promising a response tomorrow.

To Your Health

JEFFREY SMITH, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology: Dr. Arpad Pusztai was actually working on a $3 million grant from the U.K. government to figure out how to test for the safety of GMOs. And what he discovered quite accidentally is that genetically modified organisms are inherently unsafe. Within 10 days, his supposedly harmless GMO potatoes caused massive damage to rats—smaller brains, livers and testicles, partial atrophy of the liver, damaged immune system, etc. And what he discovered was it was the process, the generic process of genetic engineering, that was likely the cause of the problem.


President Obama, while he was campaigning here in Iowa, promised that he would require labeling of genetically modified crops. And since most Americans say they would avoid GMOs if labeled, that would have eliminated it from the food supply. But, you see, he and the FDA have been promoting the biotechnology. And unfortunately, the Obama administration has not been better than the Bush administration, possibly worse.

For example, the person who was in charge of FDA policy in 1992, Monsanto’s former attorney, Michael Taylor, he allowed GMOs on the market without any safety studies and without labeling, and the policy claimed that the agency was not aware of any information showing that GMOs were significantly different. Seven years later, because of a lawsuit, 44,000 secret internal FDA memos revealed that that policy was a lie. Not only were the scientists at the FDA aware that GMOs were different, they had warned repeatedly that they might create allergies, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems. But they were ignored, and their warnings were even denied, and the policy went forth allowing the deployment GMOs into the food supply with virtually no safety studies. That person in charge is now the U.S. food safety czar in the Obama administration.


JUAN GONZALEZ: And what is your general assessment of the sweeping reform that the Obama administration pushed through of the FDA, considered one of the biggest reforms of that agency in decades? Your assessment of it?

JEFFREY SMITH: Well, if the FDA were absolutely dedicated to protecting public health, giving them more power makes sense. But investigation after investigation for years, it turns out that they often serve their, quote, "clients," which is industry. Even one-third of their own surveyed members in September revealed that they believe that corporate and special interests really dictates policy in the area of public health. So, my opinion is, giving them more power without first eliminating that bias towards corporations is a dangerous formula. In fact, they are officially mandated with promoting the biotech industry, which is obviously a conflict of interest.

Democracy Now

No matter how healthy a man's morals may be when he enters the White House, he comes out again with a pock-marked soul. --Mark Twain

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Here's One I Missed

Rich Hall standup:

It's Sunday

It's Sunday

"Ye shall know them by their fruits," motherfucker, says Jesus. And, goddamn, if that Middle Eastern Jew wasn't right in Matthew 7:16. In fact, a good bit of Book 7 of Matthew (King James, man, always King James) ought to be read to the alleged righteous Christians, Senators Jon "Looks Like W.C. Fields and Broderick Crawford Had a Big, Ugly Baby" Kyl and Jim "I Whip My Balls Bloody Every Night" DeMint. Whining like little bitches who were denied their evening Milk Bone, Kyl and DeMint announced that they want their Christmas vacation and they don't give a fuck about any damn reduction of weapons of mass destruction. That's right: no START treaty, no consideration of real and actual peace on Earth unless they get to sing songs about "Peace on Earth."

Said Kyl, Harry Reid is "disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians and the families of all of the Senate, not just the senators themselves but all of the staff." Said DeMint, "It’s sacrilegious and disrespectful...This is the most sacred holiday for Christians. They did the same thing last year - they kept everybody here until [Christmas Eve] to force something down everybody's throat. I think Americans are sick of this." In a Waffle House outside Charleston, South Carolina, a 60 year-old waitress, who just got the early shift on the 25th because she was working the late shift at Wal-Mart on the 24th, heard this on the radio and died a little more inside.

So, hey, yeah, these cockmongers talk the Jeebus-lovin' talk so that they can head home and play Wii tennis with the grandkids and drink egg nog next to the banquet nativity. But let's see if they walk the walk, no? Let's check out some of their fruits:

Continue reading at The Rude Pundit.

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

Mission Accomplished

The latest exodus [of Iraqi Christians] follows a massacre led by al-Qaida at a Chaldean Catholic church in central Baghdad on 31 October, which left about 60 people dead, almost 100 maimed and an already apprehensive community terrified. Since then, the terrorist group has targeted Christians in their homes, including family members of those who survived the attack.


It has been the worst of years for the country's Christians, with thousands fleeing in the past month and more leaving the country during 2010 than at any time since the invasion nearly eight years ago. Christian leaders say there have been few more defining years in their 2,000-year history in central Arabia.

  Guardian UK

Mission Accomplished. Wasn’t it God who told Bush to invade Iraq? And all those American Christians who cheered him on?

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

It's Sunday

A blog post on [Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips’] page says that on Friday he walked by the United Methodist Building in Washington D.C., which had a sign that said, "Pass the DREAM Act." Phillips wrote: " I have a DREAM. That is, no more United Methodist Church."


Phillips explains that he was formerly a member of the church, but he left because it's "the first Church of Karl Marx," and "little more than the "religious" arm of socialism."


"In short, if you hate America, you have a great future in the Methodist church," he says.

Phillips has recently argued that it's a "wise idea" to only let property owners vote. He's also defended an email he wrote calling for supporters to help "retire" Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) because "he is the only Muslim member of congress."


It's Sunday

The past week alone has seen a string of passionate protests targeting "fraternization" between Arab men and Jewish women and criticizing the rising number of African migrants.

Also this week, Jerusalem police said they had arrested a gang of young Jews accused of multiple hate crime attacks against Arabs, shortly after the publication of a letter signed by dozens of Israeli rabbis, many of them state employees, calling on Jews not to rent or sell property to non-Jews.

And on Thursday night, some 10,000 people gathered in Jerusalem to protest against any freeze on Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem and to support the rabbis.

  Raw Story

Religion is the root of all evil.

On Wednesday,[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu took the unusual step of addressing the incidents in a video message posted on his YouTube and Facebook pages.

"We are a country run by the rule of law, we respect all peoples, whoever they are," he said.

Who are you going to believe, Bibi, or your lying eyes?

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

Statement from Bradley Manning

"I greatly appreciate everyone’s support and well wishes during this time," [accused leaker Bradley Manning] said in a Christmas Eve statement released by his lawyer.

"I'm also thankful for everything that has been done to aid in my defense," Manning continued. "I ask that everyone takes the time to remember those who are separated from their loved ones at this time due to deployment and important missions.

  Raw Story

Click here to sign a letter demanding decent treatment for Bradley Manning:

And while we're talking about soldiers and their loved ones...

Around twenty soldiers have committed suicide at Fort Hood this year, surpassing the record fourteen in 2008. Time magazine recently reported that multiple deployments increase the risk for post-traumatic stress disorder, making veterans six times more likely to commit suicide.

To mark this ninth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Against the War [recently marched] in Washington, DC [...] to launch the first veteran-led campaign to stop the deployment of soldiers traumatized by multiple tours of duty.


ETHAN McCORD: There’s—I know many soldiers who suffered from PTSD and TBI and who are being ignored. This problem—this systematic problem is being ignored. And they’re being redeployed. The unit that I was with, they just got back from Iraq a few months ago. You know, one of the soldiers who was there, they kicked him out, knowing he had PTSD. They kicked me out, knowing I had PTSD, TBI and had metal rods and pins in my back. And they kicked me out on what’s called a Chapter 517, which states that all of my conditions were pre-existing. They’ve done this to over 250,000 soldiers. And it’s time to stop. It’s said between—twenty percent, at the minimum, of troops are suffering from some sort of trauma, whether it be TBI, PTSD or military sexual trauma. That’s an extreme amount of soldiers who are suffering. And they’re being denied their basic human rights to heal. And we’re trying to put a stop to that. It needs to end now. And we need to—we need to stop the redeployment of these troops.

  Democracy Now

Ethan McCord is one of the soldiers who was on the ground during the infamous Apache helicopter attack (the one Bradley Manning allegedly leaked video of) that killed two Reuters employees. He was berated by his platoon leader for trying to save two Iraqi children rather than “finding other people to kill,” denied military mental health access afterward, and told he would be charged with malingering if he continued to try to seek it. He eventually tried to commit suicide.

Click here to sign a petition/pledge of support for traumatized soldiers:

Click here to read more about “Operation Recovery”:

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Left Behind

Forgotten: PFC Bowe Bergdahl. Captured by the Taliban June 2009 in Afghanistan.

Christmas Is Alive and Well in America

Thanks, Jean. Love to the family.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Your President on Crack

The president is studying how to maximize the power of the executive branch, advisers said, seeking insight from veterans of previous administrations and fresh advice from business leaders to guide the second half of his term.

He is reviewing the restructuring plan during the holidays, aides said, and intends to make the first announcements in the opening days of January.


Yeah, that's what we need. MORE power for the executive. MORE input from corporations.

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

A Reminder This Shopping Season

The richest 1% of U.S. households had a net worth 225 times greater than that of the average American household in 2009, according to analysis conducted by the Economic Policy Institute [...] That's up from the previous record of 190 times greater, which was set in 2004.


I wonder how many times greater the average American household is than that of the Third World.

Trying to Post Unequivocal Good News Out of This Administration

Just ain't easy.

The Interior Department reversed a Bush-era policy on wilderness on Thursday, restoring the authority of its Bureau of Land Management to identify and recommend new areas for protection.


The rules for managing areas that come under the new designation “wild lands” are not yet clear and will be decided after a 60-day comment period, the Interior Department said.


Oh, yeah. Always a catch.

The Obama administration likes that 60-days buffer, don’t they? In 60 days, the news will have long faded from the public mind, and whatever is “decided” will be overshadowed by some other news.

Quelle Suprise

It was billed, in part, as a forum for the 2012 Republican presidential field to speak directly to Hispanics — a replica of the vaunted Conservative Political Action Conference, but tailored to the fastest-growing slice of the electorate.

Yet, when former Gov. Jeb Bush, former Sen. Norm Coleman and former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez open the first Hispanic Leadership Network conference next month in Miami, the only potential presidential candidate confirmed to attend — so far — is Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney declined the invite. So did South Dakota Sen. John Thune, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Texas Gov Rick Perry.

Newt Gingrich is “amenable” to attending but hasn’t committed yet, his spokesman said.

And others in the group, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, didn’t respond to inquiries from POLITICO.


[A] number of presumed 2012 GOP hopefuls are not attending an inaugural conference by a new group of Hispanic Republicans that co-chair Jeb Bush termed “an exciting new opportunity to engage with an important and fast-growing community”:

  Washington Independent

Apparently not important to the GOP.

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

Military Rape & DADT

Kira Mountjoy-Pepka of Pack Parachute, a non-profit organisation which assists sexually abused veterans, explains that the military system favours the perpetrator. "What we're seeing now, and what we’ve seen for decades, is when someone is assaulted, the military investigators create false or misleading crime reports. Then the case is dismissed, and the command persecutes the victim for false reporting."

She cites the Feres Doctrine (Feres v. United States, 340 US 135 [1950]) that made it impossible for the survivor to sue the investigators since it, "essentially prohibits people from suing the military and/or petitioning any non-military legal authority for interdiction without the military’s prior and explicit agreement and consent."

"If you're a victim and you report this crime and the military mishandles the investigation, you can't sue them," she explains.


According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the rate of sexual assault on women in the military is twice that in the civilian population.


Compared with a 40 per cent arrest rate for sex crimes among civilians, only eight per cent of investigated cases in the military lead to prosecution.


Faced with the threat of possible persecution and losing their jobs and professional credibility, most soldiers prefer to remain silent about their traumas. Not that silence helps, because records reveal that less than one-third of the women have been able to maintain their careers in the military after having been assaulted.

  Dahr Jamail

Last week the Pentagon released its “annual report on sexual harassment and violence at the military service academies”. At its three academies, the number of reports of sexual assault and harassment has risen a staggering 64 percent from last year.

The report attributes the huge increase to better reporting of incidents due to increased training and education about sexual assault and harassment. Veteran’s Administration (VA) statistics show that more than 50 percent of the veterans who screen positive for MST are men.


Sexual assault within the ranks of the military is not a new problem. It is a systemic problem that has necessitated that the military conduct its own annual reporting on the crisis.


Military sexual trauma (MST) survivor Susan Avila-Smith is director of the veteran’s advocacy group Women Organizing Women. She has been serving female and scores of male clients in various stages of recovery from MST for 15 years and knows of its devastating effects up close.

“People cannot conceive how badly wounded these people are,” she told Al Jazeera, “Of the 3,000 I’ve worked with, only one is employed. Combat trauma is bad enough, but with MST it’s not the enemy, it’s our guys who are doing it. You’re fighting your friends, your peers, people you’ve been told have your back. That betrayal, then the betrayal from the command is, they say, worse than the sexual assault itself.”


The Pentagon has consistently refused to release records that fully document the problem and how it is handled. Sexual assaults on women in the US military have claimed some degree of visibility, but about male victims there is absolute silence.

  Dahr Jamail

Considering the way the military treats rape and rape victims, it may perhaps be better for the individuals that DADT is still in effect, never mind that it has been” repealed.”

Factoid: Did you know that Jeffrey Dahmer ‘s beginnings as a sexual predator and torturer of young men were in the US Army?

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

Bradley Manning

[Alleged whistleblower Bradley] Manning's lawyer, former U.S. Army Major and Iraq War veteran David Coombs, [...] announced two days ago that efforts to persuade brig officials to allow more humane conditions have failed, meaning it is likely that Manning will languish under [...] repressive restraints for many more months to come, at least.

In addition to confirming the facts I reported, Maj. Coombs added several disturbing new ones, including the paltry, isolated terms of Manning's one-hour-a-day so-called "exercise" time (he's "taken to an empty room and only allowed to walk," "normally just walks figure eights in the room," "if he indicates that he no long feels like walking, he is immediately returned to his cell"); the bizarre requirement that, despite not being on suicide watch, Manning respond to guards all day, every day, by saying "yes" every 5 minutes (even though guards cannot and "do not engage in conversation with" him); and various sleep-disruptive measures (he is barred from sleeping at any time from 5:00 am - 8:00 pm, and, during the night, "if the guards cannot see PFC Manning clearly, because he has a blanket over his head or is curled up towards the wall, they will wake him").


As is true for so much of what it does, the U.S. Government routinely condemns similar acts -- the use of prolonged solitary confinement in its most extreme forms and lengthy pretrial detention -- when used by other countries.


Both The Guardian and the Associated Press are reporting that the U.N.'s top official in charge of torture is now formally investigating the conditions under which the U.S. is detaining accused WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning.

  Glenn Greenwald

Sooner or later the UN is going to be run out of New York.

As revealing as the disclosures themselves are, the reactions to them have been equally revealing. The vast bulk of the outrage has been devoted not to the crimes that have been exposed but rather to those who exposed them: WikiLeaks and (allegedly) Bradley Manning. A consensus quickly emerged in the political and media class that they are Evil Villains who must be severely punished, while those responsible for the acts they revealed are guilty of nothing. That reaction has not been weakened at all even by the Pentagon's own admission that, in stark contrast to its own actions, there is no evidence -- zero -- that any of WikiLeaks' actions has caused even a single death. Meanwhile, the American establishment media -- even in the face of all these revelations -- continues to insist on the contradictory, Orwellian platitudes that (a) there is Nothing New™ in anything disclosed by WikiLeaks and (b) WikiLeaks has done Grave Harm to American National Security™ through its disclosures.


In light of what WikiLeaks has revealed to the world about numerous governments, just fathom the authoritarian mindset that would lead a citizen -- and especially a "journalist" -- to react with anger that these things have been revealed; to insist that these facts should have been kept concealed and it'd be better if we didn't know; and, most of all, to demand that those who made us aware of it all be punished (the True Criminals) while those who did these things (The Good Authorities) be shielded.

  Glenn Greenwald

Difficult to fathom. I keep trying to shake the sleep from my head and wake up to a sensible reality.

In that post, Greenwald lists some of the headlines from Wikileaks’ disclosures, and it does make your head spin to realize that the perpetrators are paying no price, while those revealing the crimes are being destroyed.

Interview with David House, who has visited Bradley Manning:

Note that Manning is held in solitary confinement 23+ hours per day. It sounds to me like House actually misspoke, saying three hours, at one point in this interview.

Yes, Virginia, There Is Sanity

Just not much...but we'll celebrate it where we find it.

Bolivia's ambassador to the UN explains why his country stood alone in opposing the final document at the Cancun climate talks:
The text replaces binding mechanisms for reducing greenhouse gas emissions with voluntary pledges that are wholly insufficient. These pledges contradict the stated goal of capping the rise in temperature at 2C, instead guiding us to 4C or more. The text is full of loopholes for polluters, opportunities for expanding carbon markets and similar mechanisms – like the forestry scheme Redd – that reduce the obligation of developed countries to act.


Some claim the best thing is to be realistic and recognise that at the very least the agreement saved the UN process from collapse. [...] But we face an unprecedented crisis, and false victories won't save the planet. False agreements will not guarantee a future for our children. We all must stand up and demand a climate agreement strong enough to match the crisis we confront.

Good lord, don't these people understand the critical importance of reaching an agreement to continue attempting to reach an agreement to consider adopting a non-binding framework for an eventual partial voluntary reduction in some emissions?

  The Distant Ocean


If today is Christmas Eve, tomorrow must be Christmas Adam.

UPDATE: correct response: "No, that was yesterday." Adam came before Eve.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Different Wikileak

This CIA "Red Cell" report from February 2, 2010, looks at what will happen if it is internationally understood that the United States is an exporter of terrorism. [...] The report looks at a number cases of US exported terrorism, including attacks by US based or financed Jewish, Muslim and Irish-nationalism terrorists. It concludes that foreign perceptions of the US as an "Exporter of Terrorism" together with US double standards in international law, may lead to noncooperation in renditions (including the arrest of CIA officers) and the decision to not share terrorism related intelligence with the United States.


What to do. What to do.

Corporate Friendlier

[The U.S. Chamber of Commerce] , which is largely funded and run by a handful of America's biggest corporations, has become the most powerful lobbying force in Washington – and one of the richest front groups funneling secret corporate cash into our elections. Indeed, it poured tens of millions of those dollars into campaign ads this fall to demonize the President and turn the U.S. house over to anti-Obama Republicans.

Yet, the day after the election, the chamber found itself being wooed by the White House. The President even dispatched his treasury secretary to the chamber's opulent headquarters to eat crow and promise that henceforth, Obama and Team would be more corporate friendly.

Good grief! Friendlier than Obama's Wall Street reform that coddled the big banksters, or his health care reform that further entrenches profiteering insurance giants inside the system? Or the tax bill cave-in that needlessly awards billions of dollars in special breaks for corporations and rich CEOs?

Yes. So friendly that Obama is now holding an ongoing series of closed-door policy meetings with assorted CEOs. So friendly that he's already delayed regulations to strengthen anti-pollution rules. So friendly that his deficit-reduction panel proposes cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 26 percent. So friendly that he's planning to put a high-powered CEO right inside the White House with him, as demanded by the whining corporate powers who say they're not getting enough love from the President.

  Jim Hightower

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

Torture Tapes

As many as 92 tapes of terror war captives being tortured by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives were allegedly destroyed. Officials suggested these recordings depicted torture sessions with terrorism suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Nashiri.

Along with the tapes, detailed records of the CIA's so-called "torture flights," showing the planes, destinations and even the passengers, were also said destroyed


The destruction of these records was revealed by then-CIA Director Michael Hayden in Dec. 2007, who said the decision was made because the videos posed "a serious security risk" to the agency.

Two stray video tapes, depicting the interrogation of Ramzi Binalshibh in a secret CIA black site prison, were later uncovered in 2007, but the revelation did not make news until August of this year.


The ultimate decision to destroy the torture tapes was made by Jose Rodriguez Jr., the former Director of the National Clandestine Service. Though it is a crime to destroy public records, after a probe of the issue the US Department of Justice said in Nov. that Rodriguez would not face charges.

The collection of public interest groups said they were "profoundly disappointed" by the decision.

  Raw Story

Ooooh, I bet they won’t do it again.

In a recent letter to the Archivist of the United States, a collection of public interest groups demanded a renewed investigation into the destruction of federal records pertaining to the Bush administration's torture program.

Yeah, good luck with that.

Like I Said...Indefinitely

Despite President Barack Obama's signing of a law repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, Defense Secretary Robert Gates sent a memo to troops warning them that it remains in effect until 60 days after the government certifies that the military is ready for implementation. The Pentagon says it does not know how long the certification process may take.


Stop the Leaks! WTF?

The CIA [is] naming its effort the “Wikileaks Task Force” or WTF.


The agency will now have WTF staffers working overtime to deal with Assange and those who want to get this material to the public.

  Jonathan Turley

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

Meanwhile in Iowa

For Republican legislators in Iowa, it was not enough that three state supreme court justices who voted to strike down a ban on gay marriage were recently defeated in their reelection bids after being targeted by conservatives. Now, legislators want to impeach the remaining four justices from the unanimous decision.

Former gubernatorial contender (and campaign chair for Mike Huckabee) Bob Vander Plaats led the effort to strip the Court of justices voting to recognize the civil liberties of homosexual couples.


Removal on the basis of a particular ruling would be a monstrous abuse of impeachment power and an attack on the very foundations of an independent judiciary.

  Jonathan Turley

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

Back in the Bush League

Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the incoming chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, is coming under fire from liberal groups for suggesting that federal lawmakers and regulators exist to "serve the banks."

Bachus, who is poised to oversee the implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul, made the comment in an interview with The Birmingham News.

"In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks," he said.

  The Hill

That’s the view from here, too!

The Aptly Named Representative Frank

Lays it out, as Barney always does.

Here's a little something you might not have known, speaking of gay rights: Houston has an openly gay mayor. And she's a woman, to boot. Who'd have thunk it?

'Tis the Season

And here's how it works.

What She Said

[Obama on] gay marriage: “As I’ve said, my feelings about this are constantly evolving. I struggle with this.”

It’s not about your “feelings.” It’s about equity. Your “feelings” about other people’s rights are irrelevant.


What We Need Is More Tax Cuts

Cities and states issue bonds to pay for public services. The trouble is that municipalities are no longer collecting enough in taxes to meet their budgetary needs. According to a 60 Minutes report Sunday -- which received almost no attention by the popular press -- US cities have spent nearly half a trillion more than they've collected in taxes, and face pension shortfalls of $1 trillion.


"There's not a doubt on my mind that you will see a spate of municipal bond defaults. You can see fifty to a hundred sizeable defaults – more," [financial analyst Meredith] Whitney added. "This will amount to hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of defaults."


The New York Times reported on the affluent New York county of Nassau, where a Republican county executive -- "who won one of the first upsets of the Tea Party era" -- came into office and promptly cut taxes without trimming public benefits or services. The county’s deficit now approaches nearly $350 million.


In June, New York state announced that they would borrow from the state's pension fund to make current payments to the fund .[...] "The maneuver would cost the state and local governments about $1.85 billion in interest payments, according to an estimate by the State Senate, though a number of factors could drive interest payments up or down."


[Detroit] does not generate enough wealth to maintain services for its 900,000 inhabitants."


[Illinois] has a 21% chance of default, more than any other [state], according to CMA Datavision, a derivatives information provider.


"California has raised state university tuition fees by 32%. Arizona has sold its state capitol and supreme court buildings to investors, and leases them back."


Some investors believe the default of a major city is low, arguing that states would be likely to bail out their beleaguered metropolises.

Raw Story

And if the states themselves haven’t got the money, Some?

If one of the wealthiest counties in the country – Nassau, NY – can be so indebted, how can we cover up the problem by claiming it’s just a matter of the underserving poor?

We don’t care! More tax cuts!

Wikileaks: How Things Work

But you already knew that.

A year before the United States and Colombia announced an enhanced military cooperation agreement, the US embassy in Bogotá was working with the administration of Colombian president Álvaro Uribe Vélez to dodge congressional approval of the deal, which saw US troops stationed in the nation and inflamed regional tensions.


Amid negotiations with US officials, the Colombian administration issued a counter-proposal which the US embassy in Bogotá analyzed to make recommendations for Washington strategists. The document it produced noted that the administration wanted to avoid "use of the word' base'" in describing US installations. They also insisted upon finding a way to "place the agreement under the umbrella of existing bilateral and multilateral accords to avoid the need for Colombian congressional approval."

In order to do that, Colombian officials engaged in wordplay, renaming a US proposal for a "Defense Cooperation Agreement" to the much-less descriptive "Supplemental Agreement for Cooperation and Technical Assistance." The rephrasing shows that both US and Colombian officials knew their deal would not fall within the boundaries of standing agreements without significant alterations to its framing.


"[Tying] the agreement to existing bilateral and multilateral agreements does not impact U.S. interests and is important to the GOC's capacity to conclude an accord. If we can get the access and authorities we need by changing the title, we recommend changing the title."

Sure enough, it worked: Colombia's defense minister said in July, 2009 that no congressional approval was needed for the administration to allow foreign troops.

  Raw Story

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

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Net Neutrality?

By a 3-2 vote Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed so-called "Net Neutrality" rules aimed at prohibiting internet service providers (ISPs) from discriminating between Internet traffic.


But the plan would also allow for a greater fractioning of the Internet and data rationing on mobile and wired networks, according to analysis of the policies. Major network stakeholders like Verizon and AT&T would be able to sell bandwidth in capped tiers, with overage charges for users who download too much information, and certain types of data traffic like peer-to-peer file transfers could be banned altogether.


"We are deeply disappointed that the chairman chose to ignore the overwhelming public support for real 'Net Neutrality,' instead moving forward with industry-written rules that will for the first time in Internet history allow discrimination online," Free Press Managing Director Craig Aaron said in a statement. "This proceeding was a squandered opportunity to enact clear, meaningful rules to safeguard the Internet's level playing field and protect consumers."

Republican Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell warned Tuesday that the new "Net Neutrality" rules would be used by President Barack Obama to take over the Internet.

  Raw Story

I am so confused by all this, I don’t know what to think about it. But I don’t think it’s Barack Obama who’s going to be taking over the internet.

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

MLK Rolling in His Grave

The White House is preparing an Executive Order on indefinite detention that will provide periodic reviews of evidence against dozens of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, according to several administration officials.


[T]he order establishes indefinite detention as a long-term Obama administration policy and makes clear that the White House alone will manage a review process for those it chooses to hold without charge or trial.

  Raw Story

Barack Obama benefits personally – and greatly - from the long ordeal of civil rights struggle in this country. How ironic that he personally denies civil rights to others.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Health Care for 9/11 First Responders

Fox's Shepherd Smith has been on Jon Stewart's coattails about the GOP refusal to deal with health care for 9/11 first responders until after they had their tax cuts taken care of - and good on him. Here he discusses the matter (with kudos from liberal bloggers at TPM and First Draft) with ex-governor George Pataki and calls out the list of Republican pols who wouldn't go on Fox to talk about it. But as I watch this, I have to point out that there really is no excuse for it. These two guys are talking about the timing of the issue "now is the right time" - as though it hasn't been NINE FUCKING YEARS!

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


This is the kind of leak I've been wanting to see.

SPEAKING OF LAND CONFISCATION: Take a look at this just-released cable from Wikileaks:
1. (S/NF) MFA Middle East Director (Assistant Secretary-equivalent) Patrice Paoli informed POL Minister Counselor June 18 that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told French officials in Paris June 15 that the Israelis have a "secret accord" with the USG to continue the "natural growth" of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
This would be why I so often use the phrase "kabuki theater" in reference to US pressure on Israel to stop settlement activity. While it was readily apparent from the facts on the ground, though, it's definitely useful to have it in black and white, so we can point to the hard evidence that Obama and the rest of his administration have been lying consistently about this. Thanks again, Wikileaks.

Distant Ocean