Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rally Signs

There were some good ones - spelled correctly! Some made me laugh. But I am kinda partial to this one:

It's Sunday

And it's Halloween!

But that fun fact aside, here's a message from the "Third Eagle of the Apocalypse" ("Co-Prophet of the End Times and Retired Furniture Engineer"), and a response video from Jesus' General.

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

It's Sunday

And here's another Spiritual for you Rylanders.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Anthem for the Rally to Restore Sanity

I'm Sure She Deserved It

And we know it's okay. He was just following his leaders' example. It was all a part of the enhanced interrogation.

After accusing his girlfriend of cheating on him, a Nebraska man allegedly tied the woman to a couch in their apartment and waterboarded her, according to police.

  The Smoking gun

Mob Mentality Is Always Easily Manipulated

Which, I guess, is why televangelism is so profitable. Now somebody else has found a way to separate the non-thinkers from their money. (But that's okay, as long as it isn't THE GOVERNMENT getting it!)

According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosure forms, took in approximately $469,000 in donations this year and spent roughly half its budget on marketing, with the rest going to distinctly non-political avenues.

In fact, according to CBS 5 in Phoenix, there's no evidence the group spent so much as a dime to promote tea party candidates or related events.


The domain is owned by Todd Cefaratti, an Arizona businessman with a background in data collection. His other business specializes in mining contact information and reselling the leads to clients in the reverse mortgage industry.

"Thousands" of donors have given their personal contact information and credit card numbers to the tea party site, according to CBS.

  Raw Story

Hard to feel sorry for the suckers, but this manipulator needs to go to jail with the thugs.

More Right-Wing Violence Against Leftists

The incident occurred outside GOP headquarters in Walla Walla County where the demonstrator, Christie Stordeur, was "one of five protesters standing about 40 feet from the entrance of the office," according to the Tri-City Herald.

Stordeur and the other protesters "were wearing bags over their heads and holding a sign that looked like a check." That's when Victor Phillips, according to a Sheriff's deputy on scene, walked over to Stordeur to "lift her bag off her head." When Stordeur "lifted her arm in defense," Phillips hit it "with 'force.'"


Because, he says, he wanted to get her picture. As if that's a justifiable reason to strike her. Like the head-stomping thug at the Rand Paul appearance, this guy, encouraged by GOP and TP leaders, believes violence against the left is acceptable and warranted.

And the three incidents which I've come across and posted are just the ones I've come across - not necessarily, and not even likely, the only ones that have occurred.

Things are not getting out of control. Things are out of control.

Is it just coincidental that both physical attacks reported were men on women?

Post-Daily Show Analysis

“Jon Stewart is right,” [Progressive Change Campaign Committee founder Adam ] Green says. “President Obama could have fought for and passed the public option, a more effective stimulus, and… he refused to step on Republican toes, pre-emptively caved to senators with no mandate to oppose him, and refuses to acknowledge his mistakes as Democratic candidates across the country face an uninspired electorate as a result. Democrats need to learn the right lesson from this year's election, which is voters will show up if you fight harder for a popular progressive agenda."


I don’t think Democratic politicians spend much time studying real life lessons.

“I think Jon Stewart is about as good an interviewer as there is in the public domain right now,”[ White House Press Secretary Robert] Gibbs told reporters. “I certainly -- we didn’t walk into that interview with -- thinking that we were going to get asked a bunch of softball questions and somebody was going to hand us a list of jokes that -- and they’d hit the laugh machine and it would sound like a bunch of people -- we didn’t expect that to happen.”

Does Gibbs have a mouse in his pocket? Can he get his head through a door these days? “We” indeed.

Gibbs suggested that Stewart and other liberal critics don’t reflect the wider views of the party base.

“I think this overall notion of huge disappointment among Democratic voters is -- it is not matched in any of the empirical data,” he said.

Wasn’t he the guy who was just shaking a finger at Democrats and Progressives – “the professional left” – for being crybabies?

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

Welcome to Houston

Talk about sign of the times.

Raging Elephants is right.

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

Thursday, October 28, 2010



If Glenn Beck hasn’t met a half-man-half-monkey yet, he didn’t get out much during his rally. There was more knuckle dragging on the National Mall that day than the National Zoo.

  Margaret & Helen

Maybe It's Just Me

Maybe I just can't give the guy a break, but I was much more impressed with Jon Stewart than I expected to be, and not so impressed with Barack Obama on the Daily Show last night. Watch it for yourself here if you didn't see it last night, but just one instance that simply affirmed my impression of Obama as a clever, (very) slick opportunist:

Stewart asks him how hiring Larry Summers fulfilled the campaign promise to root out corruption by getting rid of the people who were currently messing things up, and Obama, without a blink, goes into the politician's "let me first tell you how much good I've done" song and dance, and then says, "Larry Summers did a heckuva job." At that point, Jon Stewart says, as the audience laughs, "You don't want to use that phrase, Dude." Obama missed a couple of beats before he said seriously, "Pun intended." It was quite obvious that it was not an intentional pun, but that he is quick enough that he caught himself before he hit the floor full face.

It's not that he doesn't make logical sense about the process that is involved in presidential politics, nor that he is a blithering idiot like his predecessor, it's that he talks his way around every point (and what would we expect him to do?) with an arrogance that, I think, is undeserved. He also went on about how we are asking too much when we ask for change..."inch by inch" progress should be sufficient, and that is definitely not what he wanted you to believe back in '08.

Sadly, Jon did not ask about civil liberties and Guantanamo.

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

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Always Read the Fine Print

Obama on the Daily Show Wednesday:

"When we promised during the campaign 'change you can believe in,' it wasn't change you can believe in 18 months."

  Raw Story

I Told You

Often it does seem a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat. --Mark Twain

Tim Profitt -- the former Rand Paul volunteer who stomped on the head of a MoveOn activist -- told local CBS station WKYT that he wants an apology from the woman he stomped and that she started the whole thing.

"I don't think it's that big of a deal," Profitt said. "I would like for her to apologize to me to be honest with you."

"She's a professional at what she does," Profitt added, "and I think when all the facts come out, I think people will see that she was the one that initiated the whole thing."


She's a professional at what she does? Making you look like a complete fucktard? You don't need a pro for that, slick. You's doin' just fine on your own. All what facts will come out? That she paid you $100 to throw her down and stomp on her head? Because unless she did exactly that, there's pretty much no way you come out of this NOT looking like a total douchecanoe.

  First Draft

Me, I’ve got nothing better to say. I’m sure there are tens of thousands out there who are cheering this fucknozzle on. These are the people I told you torture because they WANT to torture. I’ve lived amongst people like this all my life, and after nearly 60 years, I am not encouraged that it can ever be any different. And these are the ones who believe in God and think they’re going to be chosen to live with him in heaven. The rapture simply can’t come too soon in my opinion. These are the people who make me wish God really did exist and that he would come and take them back. Now.


TPM commenter:

The message that has been drilled into the Tea Party supporters and others for more than a decade by right-wing radio and Fox News is that Democrats are anti--American, Marxists, and communists and are trying to destroy this country. Many Republican office holders and candidates - Palin, Angle, Bachmann and others - calling for 2nd amendment solutions have suggested violence to "take THEIR country back". Think about what Profitt has been hearing from fellow Tea Partiers in the last 24 hours that would prompt him to ask for an apology from the woman. That crowd was fully behind what happened to her and that Profitt's actions were totally justified. This is the new GOP.

Sadly, I concur. And I might add, not just drilled into them by media fascists, but personified and made publicly acceptable by George W. Bush, and codified by White House council and military/intelligence tactics law. I would lay odds that if another terrorist attack on American soil happens any time soon, there will be hyped-up goons in the streets attacking foreigners and liberal Americans alike. Wear protective clothing. They are rabid.

And this is precisely why this trend toward violence against people with opposing political views cannot be tolerated. And it must be stopped now.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's the Muslims Who Are Evil, Right?

[British military] training manuals describe a number of interrogation techniques used to "pressure" detainees.


One manual, prepared in April of 2008, informs interrogators to keep prisoners in conditions of physical discomfort and encourages enforced nakedness.

"Get them naked," as another manual says. "Keep them naked if they do not follow commands."


Another teaches interrogators to "search" behind prisoners' foreskin and spread prisoners' buttocks.

The manuals also advise interrogators to conduct their interrogations in "nasty" locations that are "out of hearing" and "away from the media."

  Raw Story

There is no animal lower than a human being. God’s crowning achievement, indeed.

Are You Ready?

Thirty-nine-year-old Ilario Pantano, who is running for North Carolina's 7th congressional district as a Republican, was charged with the premeditated murder of two Iraqi civilians in 2005 while serving as a second lieutenant with the US Marines.


"I believed that by firing the number of rounds that I did, I was sending a message," Pantano told the New York magazine.

  Raw Story

And, on the heels of a GOP candidate's use of soldiers to arrest a journalist...

Click for video

Life in prison, I think would be appropriate for the stomper, who has been identified. And I am entirely and truly serious about that. This is not just wingnutery. This is Nazi/Gestapo action, and it's what we're looking at for the future of this country.

Rand Paul’s response:

"There was a bit of a crowd control problem," Paul told Fox News' Martha MacCallum. "I don't want anybody though to be involved in things that aren't civil."

"And it is an unusual situation to have so many people so passionate on both sides jockeying back and forth," he continued.

"It wasn’t something that I liked or anybody liked about that situation. So I hope in the future it is going to be better," Paul said.

  Raw Story

And Another Thing

Barack Obama campaigned for President on a platform of repealing DOMA, and when he was running for the Senate in 2004, he wrote a letter to a gay Chicago newspaper calling DOMA "abhorrent" and its repeal "essential." Despite those stated positions, and despite large (and growing) American majorities in favor of granting legal rights to same-sex couples on a fully equal basis, a repeal of DOMA was never even brought up for a vote during the last two years, and it's now very difficult to envision legislative repeal of this ban. Nor was a separate bill to provide same-sex couples with the same immigration rights as opposite-sex couples considered. Additionally -- just as is true for Don't Ask/Don't Tell -- because the Obama DOJ defended the constitutionality of DOMA in court and then obtained a stay of the court's ruling striking down the law while the DOJ appeals, DOMA continues to be enforced as the law of the land, resulting in the active, ongoing denial of a whole slew of vital federal legal rights to same-sex couples in the U.S.

  Glenn Greenwald

Blue Dog Blues

Far from hastening the dawn of a post-partisan utopia, President Obama’s election has led to near-absolute polarization.


Since the passage of health care reform, few major bills have passed the Senate. Although the Democrats have a 59-vote majority, party leaders can barely find the votes for something as benign as extending unemployment benefits.


Since President Obama’s election, more than 420 bills have cleared the House but have sat dormant in the Senate. It’s easy to forget that George W. Bush passed his controversial 2003 tax cut legislation with only 50 votes, plus Vice President Dick Cheney’s. Eternal gridlock is not inevitable unless Democrats allow it to be.


In 2005, Howard Dean, who was then the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, carried out a campaign to elect as many Democrats as possible. In long-ignored red states, both Mr. Dean and Rahm Emanuel, then the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, backed conservative Democrats who broke with the party’s leadership on core issues like gun control and abortion rights. [...] The party leaders did not give much thought to how a Democratic majority that included such conservative members could ever effectively govern.


As a result, the activists who were so inspired by Mr. Dean in 2006 and Mr. Obama in 2008 are now feeling buyer’s remorse.

Margaret Johnson, a former party chairwoman in Polk County, N.C., helped elect Representative Shuler but now believes the party would be better off without him. “I’d rather have a real Republican than a fake Democrat,” she said. “A real Republican motivates us to work. A fake Democrat de-motivates us.”


[What] incentive do conservative Democratic senators have to work with the rest of the party? They know Harry Reid is never going to have the stones to push things through on reconciliation, because then Republicans will say that he is mean. They know he's never going to make Republicans actually filibuster anything, as in stand there for 10 hours reading the phone book, because then Republicans would say that he is mean. They're certainly not afraid of Obama calling them into the Oval Office and bitchslapping them, or endorsing challengers primary or otherwise, or taking their perks away, because they know Republicans would say Obama is mean.

  First Draft

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

Speaking of Trash

Russia's space command Tuesday ordered the International Space Station to change its orbit slightly to avoid collision with a piece of floating debris that could cause serious damage, officials said.


Astronauts briefly evacuated the station last year because of the threat posed by a piece of debris only a centimeter (half an inch) long. Experts say tiny objects could seriously damage a spacecraft as they travel at around 7.5 kilometres a second.

The United States says it has catalogued more than 15,000 items such as jettisoned rockets, shuttle detritus, and bits of destroyed satellites floating in space.


Soon we’ll have an impenetrable shell around the earth. I hope we have some replacement for the sun by then.

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

And There Goes Harry

An aide for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) covered up an illegal seven-year marriage to a Lebanese national who was the subject of an Oklahoma City Joint Terror Task Force investigation, Jana Winter reported Monday night for Fox News.


Tejada reportedly admitted to receiving payment in exchange for fraudulently marrying Bassam Mahmoud Tarhini in 2003 so he could attain permanent U.S. residency. She also reportedly lied to federal immigration and FBI agents and submitted false federal documents to the Department of Homeland Security.


Reid's office told Fox on Monday night that Reid had not known of the sham and that the aide, Hispanic-media press secretary Diana Tejada, is no longer with the campaign.


Reid spokesman Jim Manley also noted that the alleged conduct took place several years before Tejada had worked for Reid.


Too late. Doesn’t matter. Damage done. So long, Harry.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wikileaks: Torture

One might be forgiven for thinking that “the war is over.” Certainly the midterm elections are filling up the news and leaving no room for our action in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other places. But since the latest Wikileaks release has made some splash, we are reminded that we have not actually dealt with the issue of torture. We have been encouraged by our leader to quit looking back and move on. Damned Wikileaks.

So, with the inevitable torture justification about to reappear just around the corner (Dick Cheney is still alive, after all), let me offer this.

[In] the real world, the "ticking bomb" situation never arises. It is never the case that we know we can automatically avert mass slaughter by torturing someone. Reality is not that neat. Guilt and knowledge are not established in advance. Those whom we torture may or may not be planning nefarious deeds. As the British political scientist Henry Shue pointed out in his classic 1978 essay "Torture," "Notice how unlike the circumstances of an actual choice about torture the philosopher's example is. The proposed victim of our torture is not someone we suspect of planting the device: he is the perpetrator. He is not some pitiful psychotic making one last play for attention: He did plant the device. The wiring is not backwards, the mechanism is not jammed: the device will destroy the city if not deactivated." Shue concludes that "The distance between the situations which must be concocted in order to have a plausible case of morally permissible torture and the situations which actually occur is, if anything, further reason why the existing prohibitions against torture should remain and should be strengthened by making torture an international crime.”


The Chilean writer and human rights activist Ariel Dorfman wrote, "Torture is, of course, a crime committed against a body. It is also a crime committed against the imagination. Or rather, it presupposes, it requires, it craves the abrogation of our capacity to imagine others' suffering, dehumanizing them so much that their pain is not our pain." Torture shatters the lives of those subjected to it, Dorfman writes. It corrupts not only the torturer, but all of society. "Torture obliges us to be deaf and blind and mute."


As Shue suggests, the "ticking bomb" situation should be left in the classroom, for ethicists and philosophers to ponder. It has nothing to do with the real world.


Sadly, in the real world, we have people who just want torture. For whatever reason, they WANT to. They’re not moralizing or philosophizing or making incredibly difficult decisions. They WANT to torture other human beings. In the words of Barry Eisler’s character, Colonel Scott Horton:

”Look, if they really just wanted the tapes, I already told them their best course of action. The problem is, they don’t just want the tapes…They’re scared and they’re angry, and even though they don’t know it and won't admit it, part of what’s driving them is the urge to subdue the author of their pain and strap him to a table and exercise dominion over his body, mind, and soul. They need to feel like they’re in control again…I want you to remember something, son. Remember it and never forget….There are going to be times when you will be tempted to use what the New York Times in their chickenshit way calls ‘harsh interrogation techniques.’ You can call it whatever you want, you and I know what it means, and so does everybody else…A good ops man understands his real objectives, knows the right objectives, and chooses his means accordingly. So, when you feel that temptation, you never forget that when you resort to those tactics, your motives are at least as much about the means as they are about the ends…People always say they’re torturing to get the information. But there are a lot of ways better than torture to get information…You torture because you want to torture.”-- Inside Out, page 181-182

Incidentally, Eisler (a former CIA covert operative) dedicates this book to “the bloggers.” He has a character named Taibbi, one named Juan Cole, and there’s Marcy Wheeler. His main character takes an alias as an FBI agent named Dan Froomkin. He mentions Jonathan Turley, and he utilizes lots of Glenn Greenwald’s reporting for story background.

Government Wants to Destroy American Families

"First it was school lunches, then school breakfasts. Now, school dinners?" Fox on Forbes host David Asman said as he introduced the segment. "A new nanny state plan that some say won't only destroy American tax dollars, it'll destroy American families too."

Strangely, none of the Forbes editors and reporters on the panel went on to make the argument that both American tax dollars and American families would be destroyed by a program launched in Washington, DC, to provide dinner to 10,000 schoolkids in one of the country's poorest school districts.


Forbes associate editor Victoria Barret pointed out that children who participate in schools' after-care programs may be in school as late as 6:30 p.m., and "if they're there until [then] we should give them a meal. A lot of them weren't getting a meal when they got home. We're talking about really poor areas in Washington, DC. So I don't think in this situation that you punish the kids for their parents' flaws."

  Raw Story

You know, the flaws that make them poor.

Surely this is not the Christian Right. Surely.

Article comments (click to enlarge):

Infighting on Both Sides of the Aisle

As it developed Sunday, there will be no presidential shout-out for [Democratic candidate Frank] Caprio — at least not one with an explicit endorsement. After days of speculation about the possibility that Mr. Obama might give the Chafee candidacy a boost by denying his blessing to fellow-Democrat Caprio, White House Deputy Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a conference call with reporters Sunday, “He will not be making an endorsement in the race tomorrow.”

Psaki was asked specifically whether Mr. Obama was staying neutral because of Chafee’s assistance for Mr. Obama in 2008. She did not give a direct reply. She said, “He isn’t planning on making an endorsement in the race tomorrow. He’s obviously been campaigning across the country for a number of candidates. He is going to Rhode Island tomorrow because he has been campaigning for and raising money for a variety of campaigns, and this is one of the places the DNC (Democratic National Committee) felt it was important for him to visit.”

Was there no feeling that the race is razor-thin and his endorsement could make a difference for Democrat Caprio? Psaki was asked. “He’s not planning on making an endorsement in the race tomorrow,” she replied.


Nathan Daschle, the executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, tells POLITICO that President Obama's decision not to endorse Frank Caprio in Rhode Island "sends a bad message."


"This is disappointing,” Daschle said. “Frank Caprio has spent his career fighting for the values of the Democratic Party, and I think he deserves the full support of our party and its leaders. While this might not be what the White House intended, the president’s refusal to endorse a fellow Democrat in the worst environment since 1994 sends a bad message to everyone who’s working to get Democrats elected this year."


Yes, yes it does. But I can’t feel sorry for the Democrats. They’re their own downfall. They didn’t need Obama to help them, but it does seem like he’s been putting the last nails in the coffin. He’ll be decades, maybe centuries (should the world last so long) worth of material for historians. And Bill Clinton may well go down in the books as the last Democratic president.

I guess "go down" isn't the best phrase to use when talking about Bill Clinton. Or maybe it is.

Anyway, "disappointing" is a rather mild term considering he could have simply not gone to Rhode Island and the non-endorsement might have been overlookable. But to go there and not endorse the man...

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

Everybody's So Angry These Days

Frank Caprio's campaign last week said he would welcome the president's endorsement. But on Monday, the same day Obama was set to make his first visit to Rhode Island as president and a day after the White House said Obama would not endorse anyone, Caprio angrily told WPRO-AM that Obama can "take his endorsement and really shove it."


Whatever happened to class?

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

Sunday, October 24, 2010

H.R. 1586

As we noted here before, this is a “shell bill.” It was introduced as one thing (TARP taxes), became another thing (an aviation bill), and is now a batch of spending policies. (Cost: about $125 per family)

The most recent version of the bill was produced when the Senate passed a “substitute amendment.” That’s an amendment that clips out everything in the bill and puts in all new text.

In the House and Senate, they often publish amendments ahead of time, and it looks like someone was in a rush to get the amendment together, because they left blank lines where the new name of the bill should have been.


[In] the Congressional Record, it says, “SECTION 1. This Act may be cited as the “_______Act of______”.


Well, THAT’s the amendment they brought up and passed, so the new name of the bill is the “_______Act of______.”

  Washington Watch

So the bill actually deals with Medicaid and taxes and creates an Education Jobs Fund and it's very specific stuff. But Congress rushed it through so quickly that apparently no one had time to fill in the title field at the top of the Microsoft Word bill template.


And unless they wanted to start all over again, the House had to sign it in the exact same form, not changing a thing. And now that Obama has signed the bill, it is called the Blank Act of Blank.

  Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me

I don't remember anything like this being involved in my "How a Bill Becomes a Law" lesson in elementary school.

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

Killing the Gulf

I am dealing with about 3 or 4 autopsies right now.

I know of people with 4.75% of lung capacity and with an enlarged heart.

I know people who’s esophaguses are dissolving and disintegrating.

All these people have oil in their bodies, upper 95th percentile.

  Florida Oil Spill Law

We May Have to Settle for Poetic Justice

In an interview published online Tuesday, [Karl] Rove told Der Spiegel that the Tea Party lacks sophistication and is not a "well-organized, coherent, ideologically motivated and conservative revolution."

"Why would Karl be saying this, Rush?" a listener asked [Rush] Limbaugh Wednesday. "Why doesn't Karl learn to keep his mouth shut?"

"It's not easy for me say here, folks, it really isn't," explained Limbaugh. "But it's what ought to be a euphoric period still indicates that on the Republican side there are divisions and jealousies and egos and competition."

  Raw Story


Of course Rove is not left without a cover.

What [Limbaugh] took out of context was a comment that I made in an interview with a bunch of hostile German reporters where I said, 'The Tea Party is not sophisticated.' And my definition of the word sophisticated -- I was using the one about pretentiously or superficially wise.


"I consider it to be wholesome, patriotic, and incredibly positive for the country," he said.

Riiiiiight. He may need to do better than that. He may need to apologize. Or at least kiss Rush Limbaugh’s substantial ass.

"In this instance [Rush] didn't -- he may have commented before he saw the entire interview. Look, he's a friend of mine and he almost more than anybody else is responsible for encouraging people to educate themselves about the impact of the spending, the deficit and Obamacare so that they have become politically active," Rove replied.

It’s a start.

It's not the first time Limbaugh has gone after Rove on the air. Just recently, Limbaugh lashed out at Rove's comments about the Republican Senate candidate from Delaware, Christine O'Donnell.

"I've never heard ... Karl so animated against a Democrat as he was against Christine O'Donnell last night," Limbaugh complained following O'Donnell's nomination.

The next day, Rove reversed himself. "She's got a shot to win," he told Fox News.

Karl Rove kissing Rush Limbaugh’s ass. Poetic.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee today broadened the assault on the Republican Party establishment — and former Bush adviser Karl Rove in particular — levied recently by Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh, blasting the "elitism" and "country club attitude exhibited by Rove and others who dismissed Delaware Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell.

"I was very disappointed in some, particularly Karl and others, who were so dismissive of Christine O'Donnell," Huckabee told Aaron Klein on the latter's WABC radio show Sunday.


Serves Rove, et al., right. Monster creation has always eventually backfired. They never seem to catch on to that. But maybe that’s because the rewards for manipulation tend to outweigh the personal downside. And there’s always a fall-guy. I assume they all figure it will always be someone else.

And I do not even want to talk about Christine O’Donnell. I just can’t go there yet. That will be the day when I turn my attitude around and just accept that the whole world is just one big joke. Almost there. So close.

Wikileaks - Part 2

Wikileaks files released over the weekend showed that the US military gave a secret order not to investigate torture by Iraqi authorities.

But Sunday’s disclosure that the US forces actively handed over captives to known Iraqi torturers will increase calls for a full investigation.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, on Sunday backed calls for a possible investigation into the claims.

"I think anything that suggests that basic rules of war, conflict and engagement have been broken or that torture has been in any way condoned are extremely serious and need to be looked at," he said.

  UK Telegraph

Because what you saw at Abu Ghraib wasn’t torture, it was “enhanced interrogation.”

The United Nations' point man on torture is calling on the Obama administration to open a full investigation into newly-released documents that suggest the US may have turned a blind eye to torture in Iraq.

Manfred Nowak, the UN's special rapporteur on torture, told the BBC Saturday that the US has an "obligation" to look into reports of torture within the nearly 400,000 war documents released by WikiLeaks on Friday.

  Raw Story

Right. We’ll look into that.


This weekend, WikiLeaks released over 400,000 classified documents of the Iraq War detailing genuinely horrific facts about massive civilian death, U.S. complicity in widespread Iraqi torture, systematic government deceit over body counts, and the slaughter of civilians by American forces about which Daniel Ellsberg himself said, as the New York Times put it: "many of the civilian deaths there could be counted as murder."

Predictably, just as happened with [Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel] Ellsberg, there is now a major, coordinated effort underway to smear WikiLeaks' founder, Julian Assange, and to malign his mental health -- all as a means of distracting attention away from these highly disturbing revelations and to impede the ability of WikiLeaks to further expose government secrets and wrongdoing with its leaks. But now, the smear campaign is led not by Executive Branch officials, but by members of the establishment media.


Yesterday, Assange walked out of an interview with CNN, which he thought had been arranged to discuss the significance of the Iraq War revelations, because the CNN "reporter" seemed interested in asking only about petty, vapid rumors about Assange himself, not the substance of the leaks.


But the low point of this smear campaign was led by The New York Times' John Burns, who authored a sleazy hit piece on Assange -- filled with every tawdry, scurrilous tabloid rumor about him -- that was (and still is) prominently featured in the NYT, competing for attention with the stories about the leaked documents themselves, and often receiving more attention.


Apparently, faced with hundreds of thousands of documents vividly highlighting stomach-turning war crimes and abuses -- death squads and widespread torture and civilian slaughter all as part of a war he admired for years and which his newspaper did more than any other single media outlet to enable -- John Burns and his NYT editors decided that the most pressing question from this leak is this: what's Julian Assange really like?


Focusing on the tabloid aspects of Assange's personal life can have no effect -- and no purpose -- other than to distract public attention away from the heinous revelations about this war and America's role in it, and to cripple WikiLeaks' ability to secure and disseminate future leaks.

  Glenn Greenwald

And it will ever be thus. And in this manner, the real news, the important information, will never get major mainstream coverage. Welcome to the real New World Order.

Now, who wants that interview?

It's Sunday

Repent you heathen yoga practitioners.

[Seattle’s] Mars Hill Church pastor Mark Driscoll's statement that yoga is an agent of Hinduism, and hence demonic, has many yoga gurus seething and practitioners confused.


"Should Christians stay away from yoga because of its demonic roots?" Driscoll asked, before replying: "Totally. You sign up for a little yoga class, and you are signing up for a little demon class."

  Times of India

Confused practitioners? Let’s clear that up for you.

The Seattle Times newspaper last week quoted R Albert Mohler Jr, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky, as saying that yoga was against Christianity.

Thank God for the American Taliban. We’ll need them to guide us when hordes of stretching, meditating women in leotards attack.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Inside Out

I'm adding a new blog link in the sidebar: Barry Eisler's The Heart of the Matter. I picked up a book at the library, Inside Out, Eisler's latest, which is well-written and intelligent. It takes the fact of the CIA's destruction of torture tapes and creates a story behind it - a very plausible story.

From Eisler's blog:

Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA's Directorate of Operations, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center along the way. Eisler's bestselling thrillers have won the Barry Award and the Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of the Year, have been included in numerous "Best Of" lists, and have been translated into nearly twenty languages. Eisler lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and, when he's not writing novels, blogs about torture, civil liberties, and the rule of law.

Some of his blogging:

Progressives think government is too big and therefore want to reduce secrecy and prevent the president from imprisoning and assassinating American citizens without due process; Tea Partiers think government is too big and therefore want to prevent universal health care. Progressives think the national deficit and debt are out of control and therefore want to shrink the military; Tea Partiers think the national deficit and debt are out of control and therefore want to eliminate social security.


[A] reasonable rule of thumb for testing the seriousness of anyone’s claim to the role of underdog in the fight against vast, powerful forces, is this: what actual damage has the claimant sustained? Ask this question of Glenn Greenwald, or Michael Hastings, or Carol Rosenberg, or Jeremy Scahill, or Marcy Wheeler, or of any other real journalist, and you’ll learn of doors closed and financial opportunities lost. Ask it of Glenn Beck, and you’ll learn of multi-million dollar television contracts and book advances. Ah, the sacrifices this man has made in exposing the powerful forces who secretly control America.


Inside Out is dedicated to the bloggers—the independent sleuths who are after the truth, not a pat on the head from the White House; who have a passion for change, not "a vested interest in keeping things pretty much the way they are;" who serve the people, not the powerful. Much of the information and insight upon which Inside Out is based was developed by bloggers and other independents; it's fitting, therefore, that the Inside Out book tour thank them for what they do. So I'm proud to announce that my Bay Area, Los Angeles, DC, and New York City events are not just book signings, but also fundraisers for AlterNet, Firedoglake, GRITtv, and Truthout, three [sic] superb sources of independent political news and opinion. – Barry Eisler

  Barry Eisler

I'm sorry I didn't come across this book earlier, or at least start reading it a couple of weeks ago when I brought it home, because in that delay, I've missed being able to alert you to the book tour dates and locations (the last was in San Francisco on October 20). My apologies to those who might have been able to attend and talk to the author.

Inside Out is set around true facts and includes real names in real politics, as well as some fictional names and unnamed, but recognizable people in politics, to make a very believable and edifying story. Pick up a copy and read it.

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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Anything Goes

I think it's pretty obvious for some time that we are now a lawless third world country. Constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald asks:

If it's not completely intolerable to have active-duty soldiers handcuffing American journalists on U.S. soil while acting as private "guards" for Senate candidates, what would be?

Well, that. And many other things that Greenwald himself has written about, of course. But, here's the story.

And Speaking of Irony...

Until recently they thought monkeys can't recognize themselves in mirrors, but that's been disproven, which means they are more highly evolved than American conservatives.

  wial – comment at TPM


And if I weren't so attached to my blog title, with apologies to Irving Stone, I think an appropriate one for today's political climate might be: The Agony & the Irony

One of the fun aspects of Empire is how many ironies it creates. -- Glenn Greenwald.

And While I'm Off the Subject...

This just makes my head go all scrambly. In a disturbing sort of way. Not so much my head, perhaps, as my visceral organs. Maybe both.

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

Still Not Feeling Political

But I am trying to find a freeware version of the product "Deep Freeze." This can be frustrating, but it can also be humorous:

That's the one for us!

Click to enlarge, if you want to.

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

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

ahhh...That's Better

Lifted from Dependable Renegade.

Warning: audio not work-friendly, but precisely what makes the video funny.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Now We're Burning Books

On Sept. 20, the U.S. Department of Defense oversaw the systematic destruction of 9,500 copies of Lieut. Colonel Anthony Shaffer's Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan — and the Path to Victory, his account of a six-month stint as a "black ops" officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in Afghanistan. The Pentagon said it was the first time it has ever destroyed a printed book because it contained classified information — but it may not have been in time to keep the secrets from circulating.

The U.S. government purchased the entire print run of the book from St. Martin's Press for $47,000 a few weeks before its scheduled release.


Can’t the publisher just print more? That would be funny – they could eventually break the military budget.

Shaffer can claim best-seller status now – sold out overnight.

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

How Obvious Can You Get?

If anyone out there still thinks Glenn Beck is a sincere patriot, send them this information. After that, if they still believe, they're True Believers, and there's no logic that will penetrate that.

You may have heard about Beck's relationship with Goldline International, which urges people to buy gold and stay safe from the supposed inevitable devaluing of the dollar. Now meet Food Insurance, which sells survival kits of freeze-dried food and other items to help people live from two weeks to 12 months, depending on the plan purchased (and post-apocalyptic conditions). Beck has promoted the company's products, is featured prominently on the company's website, and a banner ad for the company, bearing Beck's image, was spotted on his website Monday.


"I want to talk to you about the changing world that we live in. I want to talk to you about a company that I found called Food Insurance," Beck says in a segment of his radio show featured on Food Insurance's website. "We have health insurance, this is real food insurance."

"I finished my food storage, and I couldn't believe how relieved I was," Beck continues. "I remember sitting down on the stairs of the basement and looking at it, and thinking 'I could lose my job, and my family will eat.' Sometimes guys don't realize how much pressure is on them."


"The Essentials" kit feeds one person, and comes in a sleek backpack, for when you have to survive on the move. On the high end, for $9,599.99, you can buy the plan that feeds a family of five for 12 months (plus they throw in a free drink mix combo, "Emergency Plus" kit and "Essentials" kit).

The company's website touts the many perks of food insurance, not least of which is the "gourmet quality" of the products.

"While your neighbors are struggling to find food, you will be dining on lasagna, beef stroganoff, and a variety of other delicious entrees. What's more, this food will retain its nutritional value and freshness for up to ten years."

  TPM – Eric Lach

Ten years! They must be 98% preservative and 2% food. And they’ll make a fortune for those people selling them to BeckHeads.

Talk about faith, hope and charity. Screw those starving, unprepared jerks next door.


The Food Insurance website also features a video of Beck talking about how this is a "crazy" world. He says his staff and family all have the backbacks, with "everything that you need in case the world goes to heck in a handbasket."

Glenn Beck is a sure sign that it already has.

And True Believers are going to Beck in a handbasket...I think it's the same one.

Next, Beck will be hawking guns to protect your food supply from the neighbors.

Monday, October 18, 2010

He Has Time for MythBusters

Because, frankly, he's not expecting to have a second term - and he won't have. He just blew in, made some high-sounding speeches, tried to make the Republicans like him, bought a dog, and in a couple of years, he'll go on home. Mission accomplished.

Appearing on “MythBusters”? It was President Obama’s idea.


Obama taped an appearance on “MythBusters” to test whether the sun can be reflected to form a death ray, a tactic rumored to be used by Archimedes. The show has tackled the project twice, but Obama will order the hosts to solve the mystery the way the Greek scientist originally described it: by setting fire to an invading Roman fleet using only polished shields and the reflected rays of the sun.


Is this part of his new plan for Afghanistan?

Can we get a president who doesn’t want to be a TV star? That’s too much to ask, any more, isn’t it?

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

Mystery Error

I encountered this fabulous error message the other day. I have no idea what it means, but I like it a lot.

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

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Speaking of Corporate Donations...

Rupert Murdoch jumped right on that SC ruling that corporations could donate freely to political ad campaigns.

In June, Fox News’ parent company News Corporation gave a $1 million donation to the Republican Governors Association. This evening, IRS disclosures reveal that News Corporation gave another check, time for $250,000, bringing his total donation amount to $1,250,000.

  Think Progress

Richard Nixon’s secretary, Rose Mary Woods, kept a secret list of illegal corporate donations, which was known as Rose Mary's baby, in her desk drawer. After it became public in the Watergate scandal, Congress passed a law requiring donors to at least be publicly listed. Poor Rupert. Wait. Law?

Since Watergate, the names of political donors have largely been disclosed, even by so-called independent groups. In 2004 and 2006, nearly all independent groups involved in politics revealed their donors, according to a report by Public Citizen, a group that has long supported campaign finance reform. In 2008, fewer than half of these groups disclosed donors, and so far this year, fewer than one-third.


[Fred Wertheimer, the lawyer who got the Nixon donor list revealed] predicts that the groups will, one day, have to disclose their contributors. “I don’t believe secretly funding our elections can be sustained,” said Mr. Wertheimer, who now runs Democracy 21, which pushes for campaign finance reform. “It won’t hold up. The public won’t stand for it. This is guaranteed corruption.”

With so many different Republican groups spending so much, he said, no desk drawer is big enough to hold the 2010 list of secret donors, like the one that held his hard-fought-for Rose Mary’s Baby.


Yes, the public will indeed stand for it. The public secretly loves corruption.

And who is the big money donor for the Democrats? George Soros.

George Soros, the billionaire financier who was an energetic Democratic donor in the last several election cycles [...] is sitting this one out.


”I’m basically not a party man. I’d just been forced into that situation by what I considered the excesses of the Bush administration.”


Asked if the prospect of Republican control of one or both houses of Congress concerned him, he said: “It does, because I think they are pushing the wrong policies, but I’m not in a position to stop it. I don’t believe in standing in the way of an avalanche.”

  The Caucus

Smart man.

Waah Waah Waah

Obama said something unflattering about the Supreme Court in the last address, so Alito is going to retaliate...he's not going to the next one.

Grow up, asshat.

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

It's Not the Illegal Aliens, It's the Alien Robots

Last April, the MIT economist David Autor published a report that looked at the shifting employment landscape in America. He came to this scary conclusion: Our workforce is splitting in two. The number of high-skill, high-income jobs (think lawyers or research scientists or managers) is growing. So is the number of low-skill, low-income jobs (think food preparation or security guards). Those jobs in the middle? They’re disappearing. Autor calls it “the polarization of job opportunities.”


The erosion of the middle class is a phenomenon that’s bigger than the Great Recession. Middle-range jobs have been getting scarcer since the late 1970s, and wages for the ones that are still around have remained stagnant.


People say America doesn’t make anything anymore, but that’s not true. With the exception of a few short lapses, manufacturing output has been on the rise since the 1980s. What is true is that industrial robots have been carrying ever more of the manufacturing burden on their steely shoulders since they appeared in the 1950s.


It’s not just manufacturing, either. Automated call centers are replacing customer-service agents. Automated checkout stations are replacing grocery-store clerks.


The hard truth—and you don’t see it addressed in news reports—is that the middle class is disappearing in large part because technology is rendering middle-class skills obsolete.


No, you don’t see it addressed. What you see is: Mexicans are taking Americans’ jobs.

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

Shrinking a Behemoth Debt

It ain't easy.

The US deficit shrank nine percent last fiscal year but still topped one trillion dollars, the government said Friday in a report seized on by Democrats' rivals weeks ahead of mid-term elections.

  Raw Story

"We may have been the ones who broke it, but you’re fixing it too slowly."

Face it, Democrats, you are LOOZERS. No matter what.

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

Too Big to Fail - Again: Part 2

A CNBC editor comments:

The put-back crisis is not driven by economics. It is driven by legal rights. And there’s simply zero probability that the politicians in Washington are going to let Bank of America or Citigroup or JP Morgan Chase fail because of a legal issue.


Politicians will not let the financial stability of the largest bank in the nation be threatened by contractual rights.


All the screwed up paperwork, lost notes, unassigned security interests will be forgiven by a legislative act.


If you’re skeptical about the possibility that this will happen, you have greater faith than I do in the ability of the political system to resist doing favors for bankers.


Not me.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

I started to do a search yesterday about the latest from Wikileaks. After the mini-scandal involving the founder and then the resignation post-spat of one of his top staff, I was wondering if the promised new release of Pentagon papers was scuttled.

(CBS) The Pentagon is bracing for the possible release of as many as 400,000 potentially explosive secret military documents on the U.S.-Iraq war by WikiLeaks.

The self-described whistleblower website could release the files as early as Sunday.


Braced for what? They suffered nothing but a moment’s embarrassment from the last round.

Killing the Gulf - There Is No Justice

The Obama administration announced today it is lifting the moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico that was imposed in the aftermath of the BP oil spill. But Interior Secretary Ken Salazar gave few details about how soon drilling would resume in the Gulf.

Salazar said he believes it is “appropriate” to allow drilling again in the Gulf now that the Interior Department has reviewed offshore drilling safety and issued new rules on the practice. But he noted that drilling will be allowed only for “those operators to clear the higher bar that we have set.”

  Washington Independent

Yes, they really set some high bars. Like they “bar” they set with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990:

The law stated that companies must have a "plan to prevent spills that may occur" and have a "detailed containment and cleanup plan" for oil spills.


The U.S. Constitution, as interpreted in Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), gives Congress the sole authority to regulate navigable waters.


The [1990] bill was introduced to the House by Walter B. Jones, Sr., a Democratic congressman from North Carolina's 1st congressional district, along with 79 cosponsors following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, which at the time was the largest oil spill in U.S. history. It enjoyed widespread support, passing the House 375-5 and the Senate by voice vote before conference, and unanimously in both chambers after conference.


So Congress, in its fired-up glory after the Valdez disaster, with this law put a cap on the amount an oil company could be liable for in such a disaster at $75 million. That’s it. Do you think BP is jumping for joy over that? If you do, you’re right. Seventy-five million is a drop in the proverbial bucket to the amount of damage they’ve caused in the Gulf. And, guess what?

[Y]esterday in federal court, an attorney for the oil giant sent shockwaves throughout the Gulf region by suggesting that BP may seek shelter under the $75 million liability cap polluters can invoke under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.


Frankly, I don’t know who was shocked by that.

U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier, who's presiding over the more than 300 consolidated lawsuits against the company, was taken aback when BP attorney Don Haycraft floated the idea of the liability cap. Barbier replied simply that "BP said it would pay whatever [is] necessary."

”Whatever is necessary.” Anyone paying attention should have known that didn’t mean whatever is necessary for the benefit of the damaged.

Haycraft did not dispute BP's oft-repeated stance [that it would “make this right”] -- but he also noted that the company has already forked over "lots and lots" of money.

Add your own expletives. I'll wait.

Following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, numerous U.S. Senators attempted to pass a bill to raise the $75 million cap limit to $10 billion, retroactive to before the spill occurred. Senators of both Republican Party and Democratic Party blocked efforts for new legislation on multiple occasions due to the potential unintended consequences that a new law could have. Democratic Party senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana was quoted in saying “We want to be careful before we change any of these laws that we don’t jeopardize the operations of an ongoing industry, because there are 4,000 other wells in the Gulf that have to go on.” [The ironically – or satirically - named Oil Pollution Act of 1990] limits BP's monetary damages to $75 million for losses to private parties, although it still remains liable for all cleanup costs under the law.


Yeah. They already “cleaned up.” If you haven’t read about that, please do a search of this website. Or go check out Dahr Jamail's posts.

Too Big to Fail - Round 2


[On Wednesday] all 50 state attorneys general announced a probe into systemic problems with mortgage documentation.


The pending mortgage problems resemble those that caused the failure of Lehman Brothers, the credit crunch and the ensuing financial crisis in October 2008: Every bank has problematic mortgage holdings on its books, and each bank is interconnected with every other.


At least one mortgage analyst, Josh Rosner, a managing director at Graham Fisher & Co., has said that if investors force banks to take back the $1.3 trillion of mortgage-backed securities in question, it could create a kind of doomsday scenario pitching the markets back into crisis.


The mortgage-documentation scandal, housing experts warn, runs far and deep — involving not just foreclosure papers, but titles and rights and fiduciary contracts. And it has analysts on Wall Street and politicians on the Hill wondering whether the worst-case scenario might involve not just losses, but bank failures or government bailouts.

  Washington Independent

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

Friday, October 15, 2010

If You Know a Gay Teen in Crisis...

Tell that teen to ignore the title on this video, and watch it.

Guess What? It's Not Our Freedoms They Hate

Robert Pape, a University of Chicago political science professor and former Air Force lecturer, will present findings on Capitol Hill on Tuesday that argue that the majority of suicide terrorism around the world since 1980 has had a common cause: military occupation.


"We have lots of evidence now that when you put the foreign military presence in, it triggers suicide terrorism campaigns, ... and that when the foreign forces leave, it takes away almost 100 percent of the terrorist campaign," Pape said in an interview last week on his findings.


Six years for that study (which corroborates a 2004 study commissioned by none other than Ronald Rumsfeld)...a long time to "find" out those things when everybody not willfully ignorant already knew or at least suspected.

Six years for us to continue bombing and killing while pretending we're just fighting people who hate us because we're free and want to kill us because they're crazy. And Islamic.

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

You're Not in Kansas Any More

Since I am, for the moment, tired of doing the griping, I offer you Athenae at First Draft:

The world is FUCKED, and Bush had eight years to break everything. Obama had about ten minutes to fix it before everybody went sadly and predictably nuts because there was a black man in the White House and also a socialist Marxist Muslim. He had about ten minutes, and he took a nap, and while I sympathize because DAMN, maybe it wasn't the best use of that time. Even so, boyfriend had a tough job coming in, so I've tried to be patient.

That all being said, what the fucking fuck, already?

Read on: You’re Arguing With a Martian About His Homework

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

Take the Pledge

With Margaret and Helen.

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

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rich Whitey Running for Illinois Governor

I’ll jump on this story like everyone else. We could all use a little real political humor.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the name of Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney is misspelled "Rich Whitey" on electronic-voting machines in 23 wards -- "about half in predominantly African-American areas."


"I don't want to be identified as 'Whitey.' If this is happening in primarily African-American wards, that's an even bigger concern," Whitney told the Sun-Times.


Not only ‘Whitey,’ but RICH Whitey. Sometimes mistakes are funny. But not to Rich Whitey, I suppose.

At any rate, he’s only got 2% of the vote estimated, he’ll sue and make some money, and his name appears that way only after a voter has cast his vote and is reviewing his choices. How many people would have even noticed it? They will now.

The story continues that it’s too late to change his name before the election. I don’t know about you, but I’m not buying that. It’s a computerized system. If there’s five minutes, there ought to be time enough. I bet they could drag any number of teenage nerds off the streets of Chicago to fix that problem.

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

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Still Trying

A federal judge ordered an immediate halt Tuesday to discharges of openly gay and lesbian soldiers under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, rejecting the Obama administration's request to wait until Congress acts on the issue.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips of Riverside ruled the 1993 law unconstitutional on Sept. 9, saying it intrudes on service members' personal lives and freedom of expression and reduces military effectiveness by needlessly excluding qualified personnel.


As of Tuesday, her order applies to all U.S. military forces worldwide.


Log Cabin Republicans, the 19,000-member gay-rights group that sued to overturn the law in 2004, applauded Phillips' injunction but advised "caution by service members considering coming out" because a higher court could reinstate the law.


[B]ased on its actions it has already taken in the lawsuit, the administration is likely to appeal the ruling and seek a temporary stay.


The House voted to repeal the law in May, but a Republican-led filibuster has blocked a Senate vote.


Spouting on about damned activist judges, no doubt.

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

Monday, October 11, 2010

In the Handbasket Headed for Hell

Just to underscore the rapidity of the decline [of the American Empire], as recently as 1999, the U.S. was ranked by the World Health Organization as 24th in life expectancy. It's now 49th. There are other similarly potent indicators. In 2009, the National Center for Health Statistics ranked the U.S. in 30th place in global infant mortality rates. Out of 20 "rich countries" measured by UNICEF, the U.S. ranks 19th in "child well-being." Out of 33 nations measured by the OECD, the U.S. ranks 27th for student math literacy and 22nd for student science literacy. In 2009, the World Economic Forum ranked 133 nations in terms of "soundness" of their banks, and the U.S. was ranked in 108th place, just behind Tanzania and just ahead of Venezuela.


There is, however, some good news: the U.S. is now in fifth place in total number of executions, behind only China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and comfortably ahead of Yemen and Sudan.

  Glenn Greenwald

Also, we are at the top for arms exports (by far) and population in prison.

Go us!