Tuesday, May 31, 2011

About That Replacement...

"From this moment, air strikes on the houses of people are not allowed," [Afghan president Hamid] Karzai told reporters in Kabul.

Nato says it never conducts such strikes without Afghan government co-ordination and approval. A spokesman for Nato forces in Afghanistan said they will review their procedures for air strikes given Karzai's statement but did not say that it would force any immediate change in tactics.

  UK Guardian

Who does he think he is?

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

Boots on the Ground in Libya

April 19: At least ten senior officers will be sent to Benghazi to try to forge the rebels trying to oust Colonel Muammar Gaddafi into a credible fighting force.

Ministers insisted that deploying the “military liaison advisory team” was not a sign of mission creep, but MPs of all parties said the move showed Britain is being dragged ever deeper into a Libyan civil war.

  UK Telegraph

May 30: “Evidence for the first time of allied boots on the ground,” Al Jazeera English’s Tony Birtley noted in his video report. “Here a group of armed foreigners — possibly British — liaising with the fighters. It could be to facilitate forthcoming helicopter attacks. The men left hurriedly when they spotted us.”

  Raw Story

I guess you could consider yourselves lucky they didn’t “accidentally” shoot you. But don’t get comfortable.

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

Advances for the Pre-Crime Law Enforcement Unit

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has begun field testing new technology designed to identify people who intend to commit a terrorist act.

Nature reported that the DHS has been conducting tests of Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) in the past few months at an undisclosed location in the northeast.The technology uses remote sensors to measure physiological properties, such as heart rate and eye movement, which can be used to infer a person's current mindset.

  Raw Story

What could possibly go wrong?

And you thought I was going to say something about Stalin, Hitler and the Thought Police.

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

Too Much Sympathy for Brad Manning? - Part 2

They're rolling it out now, beginning with that report that he was mentally unfit for service. Here's a TV interview with his father that is edited (or maybe that's all there was) to couch all questions with the slant that Brad Manning is guilty of treason.

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

Monday, May 30, 2011

Nixon on Mt. Rushmore!

He is NOT a crook.

What Are You Remembering Today?

[H]ow many recall their President’s recent statement that US participation in the NATO attacks on Libya would last for “days, not weeks”?


And what about those promises made by the current occupant of the White House, clearly articulated during the last presidential campaign, that he’d get us out of Iraq and put an end to a war that – he and his supporters maintained – was fought under false pretenses? That these promises go unfulfilled, even as the President begins his campaign for a second term, is not even noted by his Republican enemies, let alone his Democratic supporters.

  Justin Raimondo

Of course, he believes he DID end the war in Iraq – we only have support personnel there now – no combat troops. See the difference?

Going further back in our time machine, we revisit older conflicts whose legacies have faded into near imperceptibility, like portraits left out in the rain: El Salvador, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Korea – all names that conjure visions of a world divided between East and West, the “Free World” and the Soviet bloc, the Bad Guys and the Good. Yet the memory loses its distinctiveness, for– long after the Bad Guys of yesteryear are but entries in some dusty encyclopedia — we are still trapped in that world. The specifics have changed – the Bad Guys are Muslims, now, not commies – but the general principle remains fully operative, and it is this: we are always the Good Guys.

Three cheers for the Good Guys and their dead heroes.

The Cassandras of the present era can be heard, and, even if they’re not always heeded, the evidence of their prescience is recorded and preserved by the great god Google, whose sacred algorithms have given us the modern equivalent of the sibyl’s oracular power. We can connect to the past with a few strokes of the keyboard, and not just call up the Official History but all versions of history as recorded by both the victors and the vanquished, the Court Historians and the Cassandras – and, in the process, glean some hint of what the future holds. The invention of the Internet augurs, perhaps, the reinvention of historical memory.

Until they finish tightening regulations on the internet.

Next up...

I didn't fight for your freedoms. In the six years I was in, I never once defended your right to vote, or to carry a gun, or to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure (that one doesn't really apply anymore, anyway), or any of the other things you enjoy as a citizen of this country. I just didn't. Neither did anyone who went to Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Vietnam.


The military hasn't actually deployed en masse to defend your freedom in a long, long time. Unless you call rich people fucking over the world's poor and powerless a form of freedom.


I don't mind honoring sacrifice, but the military doesn't have a monopoly on that, now does it? I also don't mind remembering military dead and wounded. But we do it all wrong. We just fetishize the suffering (like good Catholics, no?) without wondering why it ever happened in the first place. Remembrance and memorial, it would seem, also involve reflection and assessment.


A real Memorial Day would involve commitments to cease sacrifices that don't actually, you know, do anything in the name of freedom. Losing your legs so that Chevron can see higher profit margins is not noble. It's a god damned shame. Dying in the service of defense contractors doesn't bestow sainthood on the deceased. It just means that a life got snuffed out for no good reason. Reflexive military worship is a cancer on society. Unscrupulous people use it to justify their actions and avoid any criticism.

  First Draft

And for those of us who can’t pretend, here’s a great “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” flashback.

NPR’s best clips

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

Another Strike on Japan

Officials from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) are apologizing in advance for the fact that the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant is not ready for the high winds and heavy rain of Typhoon Songda, a massive storm that could make landfall in Japan as early as Monday.

The BBC quotes a TEPCO official as saying, "We have made utmost efforts, but we have not completed covering the damaged reactor buildings. We apologize for the lack of significant measures against wind and rain."

  Raw Story

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What Will We Do?

FOR many years now, we've heard American commentators bemoan the violence of the Palestinian national movement. If only Palestinians had learned the lessons of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, we hear, they'd have had their state long ago. Surely no Israeli government would have violently suppressed a non-violent Palestinian movement of national liberation seeking only the universally recognised right of self-determination.


In any case, if you're among those who have made the argument that Israelis would give Palestinians a state if only the Palestinians would learn to employ Ghandhian tactics of non-violent protest, it appears your moment of truth has arrived. As my colleague writes, what happened on Nakba Day was Israel's "nightmare scenario: masses of Palestinians marching, unarmed, towards the borders of the Jewish state, demanding the redress of their decades-old national grievance." Peter Beinart writes that this represents "Israel's Palestinian Arab Spring": the tactics of mass non-violent protest that brought down the governments of Tunisia and Egypt, and are threatening to bring down those of Libya, Yemen and Syria, are now being used in the Palestinian cause.


If crowds of tens of thousands of non-violent Palestinian protestors continue to march, and if Israel continues to shoot at them, what will we do?


I think I know.

This past weekend, some of the protesters at the Israeli frontiers with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza crossed border fences, whereupon Israel troops opened fire. Twelve people were killed and hundreds injured, all of them Palestinians. And yet, almost universally, news media described the Nakba-related events in terms that suggest the Israeli response was proportional to the Palestinian threat. From CNN, the New York Times and the Christian Science Monitor to the San Francisco Chronicle and Salon.com, outlets depicted the events as "clashes." By contrast, when the Syrian government used overwhelming force to suppress dissent, the most common descriptor employed was "crack-down." Journalists, of all people, should know that words matter. Thus they should acknowledge that this difference in word-choice makes a difference.


While uprisings against repressive regimes in North Africa and other parts of the Middle East have been framed as an "awakening," Palestinian protests have been left out in the cold during the "Arab Spring."


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

And Speaking of Chris Floyd

A Brief Primer on the Recent Supreme Court Decision in Kentucky v. King

Chris Floyd Said It For Me

In the last few days, Barack Obama has delivered two “major,” “landmark,” even “historic” speeches, which apparently have “reset” American policy in the Middle East, reaffirmed the overwhelming importance of “the West” (i.e., Britain and America) to the proper functioning of the world, and, we are told, “squarely” put the United States on the side of the dissidents and rebels of the Arab Spring. All of these claims, put forth in reams of earnest analysis and paeans of praise, call to mind the immortal words of Brick Pollitt: “Wouldn’t that be funny if that was true?”


The phrase “hot air” falls cosmically short of capturing the vacuous insubstantiality of these weighty addresses.

However, there was some real news in the Middle East this week, a development that will actually have a far greater impact on the labyrinthine power plays in the Middle East than any rhetorical “reset” in Washington. The Egyptian government announced that it is lifting the hideous blockade of Gaza imposed by the Mubarak regime in collaboration with Israel – a move which turned Gaza into a Warsaw Ghetto writ large, the “world’s largest open-air prison,” and subjected multitudes of innocent people to horrible suffering, grinding poverty, declining health, hopelessness, despair and rage. All of this was imposed on the Palestinians in Gaza for their heinous crime of ... voting for the wrong party in a free, fair, open democratic election. So much for the great Western commitment to “democracy” limned so nimbly by Obama this week.


Most importantly, of course, it means that the old, the sick, the vulnerable and the young in Gaza will have a chance to have a little more food, a little more health care, a little more hope that their life will not always be a grinding hell of deprivation and enclosure.

  Chris Floyd

No Banker Left Behind

Ry Cooder - the best, in many ways.

OK, they’re on the train, the train’s leaving. Why? Because it’s a rich train for only bankers. They’ve got all the money, they get on the train, the train pulls out, and the rest of us all stand there watching and saying, where’d it all go? You know, how did they make off with all this loot? And then it was a matter of telling a little story of going to the White House, what they’re going to eat when they get on the train.

FUBAR in Afghanistan (Still)

At least 14 civilians, including women and children, have been killed in a NATO air raid in the Afghan southern province of Helmand, local authorities say.

US Marines in Helmand's Nawzad district called in air support after their base came under attack from small arms fire, the provincial government said in a statement.

"During the air strike, two civilian houses were targeted which killed 14 civilians and six others were wounded," it said.

The statement said the dead included five girls, seven boys and two women.


Aslam, a local elder of Nawzad district, said he "lost 12 relatives while 10 others including children were injured" in the air strike.

He said some shots were fired at ISAF helicopters which flew into the area, adding that the choppers returned after 10 to 20 minutes and fired rockets, killing the "innocent civilians".


We like to punish severely.

Helmland...isn't that the area where we had such an ingenious and sterling plan to turn into a model for future projects? (Yes, it is.) But wait…there’s more…

Afghan authorities said on Sunday NATO had killed 52 people, mostly civilians, in air strikes against fighters, as violence picked up in recent weeks with the start of the fighting season.

Separately, the governor of Nuristan on Sunday said that 18 civilians and 20 police were killed by "friendly fire" during recent US-led air strikes against al-Qaeda-linked fighters in his troubled northeastern province.


The police and civilians were targeted on Wednesday after they were mistaken for al-Qaeda-linked fighters, Jamaluddin Badr said.


"Civilians were killed because the Taliban ... [who] ran out of ammunition fled into the civilians' houses and then the civilians were mistaken with the Taliban and fired upon," the governor said.

Mistaken for Taliban – as though we’re gullible enough to think that they weren’t simply “collateral damage.”

Major James of ISAF said those allegations were also being investigated.


"Our initial reporting does not indicate civilian casualties in that air strike," he added.

No doubt.

Karzai on Saturday ordered his defence minister, Abdul Rahim Wardak, to take over control of night raids from the NATO forces.

Karzai's administration says most civilian casualties occur during such operations and that night raids of civilian homes drive war-weary Afghans against his already-fragile administration.

Reacting to the alleged deaths of 10 children, two women and two men in an air strike on Saturday in the southern province of Helmand, Karzai said such incidents were "murdering of Afghanistan's children and women."


"The president said that US and NATO troops have been repeatedly told that their arbitrary and unnecessary operations cause the deaths of innocent Afghans and such operations violate human and moral values but it appears that (we) are not listened to," the statement said.


"The president called this incident a great mistake and the murdering of Afghanistan's children and women, and on behalf of the Afghan people gives his last warning to the US troops and US officials in this regard," his office said, adding that he "strongly condemned" the killings.

  Raw Story

We may have to replace Karzai soon.

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

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Isn't It Always?

The bellicose speech delivered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before Congress earlier this week was received with multiple standing ovations from members of both parties, raising many questions about the politics in play.

Larry Wilkerson, a former chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, appeared on The Real News to discuss Congress’s reaction.

“Even the obsequiousness of the United States Congress from time to time during States of the Union or other type speeches doesn’t come anywhere near this” Wilkerson marveled. “This was a refutation, really, of the standing policy position of the sitting president of the United States by the separate and equal branch of government, the Congress, with a foreign leader being the center pole around which they coalesced this opposition. It’s really quite remarkable.”

When asked what he thought might explain the reaction, Wilkerson replied, “It’s a mystery to me, except money. That’s the only answer I can come up with. … Congressmen and women … understand what a powerful entity in America is the lobby group AIPAC for Israel, and that generates a lot of coin, a lot of money.”

  Raw Story

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

This Will Surprise You

With public and Congressional debate heating up over post-bin Laden US policy in South Asia, a think tank with close ties to the administration of President Barack Obama is calling for a strategy that will keep Washington deeply engaged in the region for a long time to come.

In a 40-page report released on Wednesday, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) said Washington should negotiate a long-term strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan that would keep 25,000 to 35,000 US troops in that country well beyond the 2014 date which the US and its allies have set for withdrawal.

  al Jazeera

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

Too Much Sympathy for Brad Manning?

Too much heat on the government over their treatment of Brad Manning? The UK Guardian headline tries to make the article at least put some blame on the US military, but the content is pretty much a picture of Brad Manning as a dangerous nutjob. US military knew Bradley Manning was 'mentally unfit' to serve in Iraq

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

Friday, May 27, 2011

Yo, Governor Perry

Are your peeps not praying? Everybody BUT us seems to be getting rain.

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

And the Ball Is Back in Walker's Court

MADISON, Wis. -- A Wisconsin judge has struck down a law taking away nearly all collective bargaining rights from most state workers.

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi ruled Thursday that Republican legislators violated Wisconsin's open meetings law during the run up to passage. She says that renders the law void.

  Channel 1300 via First Draft


In response to the growing recognition (in both parties) that the war in Libya is patently illegal, the White House has requested that Congress vote for a resolution supporting the war, but Congress thus far appears unwilling to do so. If we were a country that even pretended to believe that the President is bound by the law, that would be a serious problem.

  Glenn Greenwald

Which Way the Wind Blows

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden claims that abuses of the Patriot Act are far worse than is known; indeed, he claims that the way in which the executive Branch is interpreting the law is unknown to the public and far more vast than is widely understood (despite that, Wyden failed to join the 8 Senators -- 4 from each party -- to vote against cloture on the Reid/McConnell proposal to extend the Patriot Act for four years without a single reform…)

  Glenn Greenwald

That would be Harry Reid, who in December of 2005, boasted to a cheering crowd of Democrats that, “We killed the Patriot Act.” (On a vote attempting to prevent extending it.)

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Afghanistan: SNAFU

Britain's former ambassador to Afghanistan has attacked the conduct of the war by the US commander, General David Petraeus, describing the future CIA chief's tactics as counter-productive and "profoundly wrong".

Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, who also served as the UK's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, added that Petraeus should be "ashamed of himself" for making claims of the number of insurgent commanders his forces had killed.


"There is no doubt that Petraeus has hammered the Taliban extremely hard," he said. "I am sure that some of them are more willing to parlay. But, equally, for every dead Pashtun warrior, there will be 10 pledged to revenge.

"Of course it produces tactical success in cleansing insurgents out of particular areas, but it's essentially moving water around a puddle, and I think any general who boasts of the number of Pashtun insurgents he's killed should be ashamed of himself."


”He has increased the violence, trebled the number of special forces raids by British, American, Dutch and Australian special forces going out killing Taliban commanders, and there has been a lot more rather regrettable boasting from the military about the body count," said Cowper-Coles. He added that the use of statistics was reminiscent of the Vietnam war. "It is profoundly wrong and it's not conducive to a stable political settlement."

  UK Guardian

Yeah, Sir Shep hasn’t been read in to the plot, has he?

Cowper-Coles focused his efforts while UK special envoy on persuading the Obama administration to concentrate on a political settlement and start talking to the Taliban.

Some reports suggest that Washington has initiated such contacts. But British officials say that Marc Grossman, the US special envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan leading the outreach effort, is having trouble finding any credible Taliban representatives to engage in even talks about talks.

Situation Normal….

"Why would they negotiate?" asked Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA's Bin Laden unit and an expert on the Taliban. "They are winning…”


But Scheuer, the author of a new book on Bin Laden, said that Petraeus's "decapitation" approach was also unlikely to work."The Red Army tried that for 10 years, and they were far more ruthless and cruel about it than us, and it didn't work so well for them," Scheuer said.

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

Libya: Ramping Up

Ministers are to announce the deployment of Apache attack helicopters to Libya, a move seen as a significant escalation of Britain's role in the conflict despite government denials, according to well-placed Whitehall sources.


At a joint press conference with Barack Obama, Cameron all but confirmed Britain would send Apaches to Libya.


The heavily armed helicopters will be used to protect a 16-mile buffer zone around Misrata, defence officials said. They could also be used to attack Gaddafi forces' positions in the port city, despite possible vulnerability to rocket-propelled grenades and even rifle fire.

UK Guardian

Nato has carried out its heaviest air strikes against Libya's capital in more than two months of bombing, amid upbeat comments from France and the US on progress towards ending Muammar Gaddafi's rule.


Six loud explosions rocked Tripoli within 10 minutes late on Tuesday. These followed powerful strikes 24 hours earlier, including one on Gaddafi's compound, that Libyan officials said killed 19 people.


I’m pretty sure my president has assured me that we don’t fight aggressive wars for the purpose of regime change.

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

Speaking of Just Getting Worse

The personal data of millions of passengers who fly between the US and Europe, including credit card details, phone numbers and home addresses, may be stored by the US department of homeland security for 15 years, according to a draft agreement between Washington and Brussels leaked to the Guardian.

  UK Guardian

Good god! They’re going to need to use 15-year-old data against you some day?

Oh, yeah, sorry…..

Isn’t this a mark of a police state?

I don’t know. I have a feeling that all the data mining the US does is going to surpass the capability of anyone human to actually do anything about it in the end. Somebody is going to screw up, or the data is going to become so cumbersome to keep, backups are going to get lost. Whatever, you just can’t have enough machines and manpower to handle that much data efficiently. Maybe they’re figuring that in 15 years they’ll actually have robot Gestapo to handle it. What could go wrong?

Europeans are going to stop flying here, aren’t they?

The Americans want to require airlines to supply passenger lists as near complete as possible 96 hours before takeoff, so names can be checked against terrorist and immigration watchlists.

Because the current no-fly list thing runs so smoothly, why not expand on that?

A leaked opinion from the EU council of ministers' legal advisers also warns that the EU's PNR scheme is disproportionate and not in line with privacy requirements under human rights law. The German constitutional court ruled last years that six months was the maximum appropriate period for retaining personal telecommunications data.


The agreement acknowledges that there will be occasions when people are delayed or prevented from flying because they are wrongly identified as a threat, and gives them the right to petition for judicial review in the US federal court.

Now I see the logic. The nightmare entanglement of all those suits attempting to be pressed in the legal system will create a need to keep records for 15 years, because it will be that long before your case comes before a judge.

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

I Would Have Saved This for Sunday...

But I just couldn’t wait.

Pope Benedict XVI has shut down a famous community in Rome that organised dances by a former nightclub dancer nun and hosted VIPs like Madonna, earning the disfavour of the Vatican.

Raw Story

A former nightclub dancer nun? Huh?

The closure of the monastery of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, which holds some of the Church's most prized relics, was reported by Italian dailies La Stampa and Il Foglio.

Wait. The “community” was a monastary?

The reports said the community of Cistercian monks based at the church for more than five centuries was being transferred to other churches in Italy.

Maybe they’ll just expand.

The basilica had become a hub for the "Friends of Santa Croce", an aristocratic group, and had been criticised for some unorthodox practices including dances in which nuns pranced around the altar.

Prancing nuns. What fun!

One of the nuns who performed at the church, a former disco dancer, can be seen in a YouTube video performing a modern dance with a crucifix.

Oh, lordy, lordy.

The basilica's longtime abbot, Simone Fioraso, a flamboyant former Milan fashion designer, was already moved out of the basilica two years ago.

God, the story just keeps getting better and better.

Pope Benedict, the leader of the world's 1.1 billion Catholics, is also the bishop of Rome, so the basilica is part of his diocese.

Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, built around a chapel dating to the fourth century, is one of Rome's oldest and most prestigious churches.

And don’t try telling me Herr Ratzo wasn’t a frequent veiled guest. Somebody was threatening to out him.

Ah, these guys are always good for a story. Always.

So anyway, here’s a little clearer reporting from the UK Guardian:

It sounds like something out of Father Ted: a renowned monastery in Rome where monks staged concerts featuring a lap-dancer-turned-nun and opened a hotel with a 24-hour limousine service has been shut down by the pope.

As part of Benedict XVI's crackdown on "loose living" within the Catholic church, 20 or so Cistercian monks are now being evicted from the monastery at the basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, which hosts some of the church's holiest relics.

"An inquiry found evidence of liturgical and financial irregularities as well as lifestyles that were probably not in keeping with that of a monk," said Father Ciro Benedettini, a Vatican spokesman.

To put it politely.

Reports saying the monks amassed large debts have also emerged.

Definitely not in keeping with the lifestyle of a monk.

In 2009 Anna Nobili, a nightclub dancer who became a nun, was invited to perform her "holy dance" before an audience including archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Vatican's cultural department. For her performance Nobili, who says she uses dance as a form of prayer, lies spread-eagled in front of the altar clutching a crucifix or twists and turns as in pole-dancing routines.

A favorite routine of the bishops.

The monks living there now had opened a shop selling organic produce from their kitchen garden, but this was shut down in 2009 amid accusations of their having secretly stocked the shelves from a neighbourhood grocery.

Like I said, the story just gets better and better.

The basilica was supported by the Friends of Santa Croce, a who's who of Roman society run by a Italian claiming descent from Charlemagne.

Italian press reports have speculated that the inspectors from the Vatican suspected homosexual relations between monks at the monastery.

Oh, surely not!

In 2008 Fioraso [the fashion designing abbot) hosted a week-long, televised, reading of the bible with religious figures, politicians and celebrities reading tracts, starting with Pope Benedict himself.

I’m telling you, he was a regular. Somebody has something on him.

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

Oh, What's the Use?

Even though Texas finally tried to do the right thing, we got stomped by the Feds.

A bill that would criminalize TSA agents who conduct airport patdown searches was scuttled last night after the federal government threatened to ground all flights out of Texas.


"If [the legislation] passes, the federal government would likely seek an emergency stay of the statute," a letter from the Department of Justice explained (PDF). "Unless or until a such a stay were granted, TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew."

As a result, the bill's co-sponsor in the Texas Senate withdrew the legislation. It had cleared the Texas House by unanimous vote.

  Raw Story

I don’t suppose Governor Good Hair will want to secede over that.

PS I know I've been drinking, but it appears to me after the last two Raw Story articles I've quoted that their reporter(s) are fully in their cups. Or the proofer has gone home sick.

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

Well, Here's a Surprise

The White House threatened Tuesday to veto the National Defense Authorization Act because of controversial provisions, such as section 1034, which would authorize the United States to use military force anywhere there are terrorism suspects, including within the U.S. itself.

“The Administration strongly objects to section 1034 which, in purporting to affirm the conflict, would effectively recharacterize its scope and would risk creating confusion regarding applicable standards," the White House said in a statement [PDF] to Congress. "At a minimum, this is an issue that merits more extensive consideration before possible inclusion.”

  Raw Story

Maybe they just don’t need any military force. They already have what they need to to tackle US citizens…disregard for the Constitution and executive privilege. It’s working for them so far.

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


Fealty to a foreign leader. We belong to Israel.

When it comes down to a contest between the chief executive of the most powerful nation in the world, and the Prime Minister of a country that would fall into the abyss without US support, the latter proved his superior potency.


The rapturous reception afforded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he ascended the dais to address a joint session of Congress was like the triumphs Roman generals were honored with as they returned from their wars of conquest. It’s true “Bibi” didn’t have President Obama trailing behind him in chains, as the Romans dragged Vercingetorix, the king of the Gauls, but then again, that wasn’t really necessary. Only hours before, Sen. Harry Reid had denied his own president and the leader of his party, distancing himself from the Obama administration’s Mideast peace plan, and reiterating his support for Netanyahu, while other Democrats ran for the hills. Netanyahu’s triumph – after 56 standing ovations – was complete.


A more egregious and obnoxious display of unmitigated chutzpah has never before been given a platform by the US Congress: naturally, it sent them into ecstasies of approbation.


The message Netanyahu sent Congress, the President, and the American people in his address is quite simple: there will be no negotiations. Period. And more: that this intransigence is backed by the leaders of both parties. While practically every Republican candidate for President took Netanyahu’s side against the administration, as could probably be expected, both Senator Reid and House Democratic whip Steny Hoyer went before AIPAC and declared that there must be no “preconditions” for negotiations, i.e. the Israelis can build all the “settlements” they want with our tax dollars, and safely ignore the President’s call to cease and desist. When it comes to a choice between their President – the leader of their party – and a foreign ruler, it’s not even a close contest: Bibi wins, hands down.

  Justin Raimondo

Fifty-six standing ovations.

Justin has it wrong, though. It's not like the Romans returning home from conquests. This would be like the Roman generals getting honors in the lands they conquered. Seriously bizarre. Our fierce nationalism is at least understandable on some gut level if not rational, but placing Israel above our own country can only be related to religious zealotry.

How long now before Obama backs down?

And furthermore...

CODEPINK activist Rae Abileah was arrested at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington D.C. after heckling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to the anti-war group.

The 28-year-old Jewish American woman was allegedly tackled by members of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) during Netanyahu's speech to Congress after she yelled, "stop Israeli war crimes."

  Raw Story

And put her in the hospital.

Abileah was taken to the George Washington University Hospital, where she was being treating for neck and shoulder injuries.

"You know I take it as a badge of honor, and so should you, that in our free societies that you can have protest," Netanyahu said after being interrupted by Abileah. "You can't have these protest in the farcical parliaments in Tehran or in Tripoli. This is real democracy."

Ha! If you’re willing to be beaten and arrested for opportunity to protest!

Speaking from her hospital bed, Abileah said she was in "great pain" but that it was nothing "compared to the pain and suffering that Palestinians go through on a regular basis."

“I have been to Gaza and the West Bank, I have seen Palestinians homes bombed and bulldozed, I have talked to mothers whose children have been killed during the invasion of Gaza, I have seen the Jewish-only roads leading to ever-expanding settlements in the West Bank."


"As a Jew and a U.S. citizen, I feel obligated to rise up and speak out against [...] these crimes being committed in my name and with my tax dollars.”

As always - WIIIAI does a smashing job of parsing the speech.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We May Have Our Differences

But we’re all patriotic!

Tonight, a cloture vote was taken in the Senate on the four-year extension [of the Patriot Act] and it passed by a vote of 74-8. The law that was once the symbolic shorthand for evil Bush/Cheney post-9/11 radicalism just received a vote in favor of its four-year, reform-free extension by a vote of 74-8: only resolutions to support Israel command more lopsided majorities.

As I've noted several times, I once thought that the greatest American political myth was "The Liberal Media," but I realized some time ago that it's actually the claim that "there is very little bipartisanship."


The 8 Senators voting against cloture were Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, Democrats Jeff Merkley, Mark Begich, Max Baucus, and John Tester, and GOP Senators Lisa Murkowski, Rand Paul, and Dean Heller (GOP Sen. Mike Lee announced he'd vote NO but missed the vote due to inclement weather). Sen. Paul, along with Sen. Tester, took the lead in speaking out against the excesses and abuses of the Patriot Act and the vital need for reforms.


Sen. Paul announced that he was considering using delaying tactics to hold up passage of the bill in order to extract some reforms.


So when they were out of power, the Democrats reviled the Patriot Act and constantly complained about fear-mongering tactics and exploitation of the Terrorist threat being used to stifle civil liberties and privacy concerns. Now that they're in power and a Democratic administration is arguing for extension of the Patriot Act, they use fear-mongering tactics and exploitation of the Terrorist threat to stifle civil liberties and privacy concerns ("If somebody wants to take on their shoulders not having provisions in place which are necessary to protect the United States at this time, that's a big, big weight to bear," warned Feinstein).

  Glenn Greenwald

All patriotic except maybe Ron and Rand Paul.

Senator Rand Paul: "We go week after week in the Senate and do nothing. I feel like sometimes I should return my check because I go up, they do no votes and no debate. Look at this horrendous debt crisis - we don't debate that either.

Anderson Cooper: "Really, you feel like that? You feel like you're not doing anything there?"

Paul: "Yes. I feel... Absolutely. We go up week to week and there's no debate in Congress. No debate in the Senate. We sit idly by. Some weeks we vote on two-three non-controversial judges and we go back home. It, really..."

Cooper: "Why is that?"

Paul: "I'm trying to get a vote on Libya. They say they don't have time. I was told, when I wanted to bring up my resolution on Libya - which I did force them to, but I had to kinda capture the floor..."

Cooper: "It got tabled like 90-10..."

Paul: "Yeah, and they weren't too happy with me because I used some parliamentary procedures to gain access to the floor, and they came running down to the floor. They were apoplectic that I had taken over the floor, and the thing is is that we should be having these debates on the floor - they don't want to have any debate. I'm asking right now to vote on Libya - I have a resolution saying we're in violation of the War Powers Act. It's hard for me to get the floor unless I somehow sneak on the floor when no one's looking to try to get a vote. Why would we not want to debate great Constitutional questions? When I ran for office, that's what I thought - there will be great and momentous debates on the floor. We don't have any because they prevent the debates from ever even beginning."


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

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Meanwhile in American-Liberated, Better Off Iraq

A series of explosions in and around Baghdad have killed 16 people, including 10 who died when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of police officers.

At least nine of the dead were police. It was the third major attack this month in which security personnel were targeted and took the most losses.

  UK Guardian

It's Sunday

And no Rapture. Perhaps the only thing more disappointing to non-believers than Barack Obama.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Yeah, Yeah, Still Here

And meanwhile in Iran...

The Iranian Intelligence Ministry announced Saturday that it had identified and dismantled a large spy network linked to the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), adding that 30 people have been arrested during the operation.

Thirty people suspected of spying for the U.S. have been arrested and 42 CIA operatives linked to the network have been identified, the ministry said in a statement released on Saturday.


I'm sure they're just innocent contractors.

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


The world really is ending for lots of folks.

At least six people have been killed and 23 injured in a suicide bombing at a surgery training session in a military hospital in the Afghan capital, Kabul.


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

Rapture Bumper Stickers

You can also print your own text.

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

Hallelujah, Praise Be to Brother Camping

American news outlets and bloggers are so tired of writing about war, civil liberties suspensions, and the tanking economy, that we're all devoting space today to some otherwise uninteresting old scam artist and the poor brainwashed dupes who've given up everything to go and preach the gospel according to Camping, and who will no doubt be wondering what went wrong and perhaps even wising up.

Apocalypse Now

A guide for those of us on the highway to hell.
Jamelle Bouie | May 20, 2011 | web only


Whether on foot or in the handbasket.


The UK's Daily Mail reports that Camping's Family Radio has raised more than $100 million with seven years of apocalyptic Bible-thumping.

This is a post from comments on that site. I haven’t fact-checked it.

Megan Carpenter Live Blogging the Rapture

5:38 am ET: For the New Yorkers in the crowd, Mayor Bloomberg has suspended alt-side parking restrictions due to the Rapture, fully expecting most New Yorkers to be around to have to pay the tickets if it does happen and hoping to curry some favor with either the voters or the as-yet-unnamed Antichrist.


6:05 am ET: A note of caution: both Reddit and Gizmodo are hosting posts calling for people to punk the rapture by leaving piles of clothes around their neighborhoods.

Raw Story

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

Friday, May 20, 2011

How Much Longer Can We Stay?

The way a republic is supposed to function is that there is transparency for those who wield public power and privacy for private citizens. The National Security State has reversed that dynamic completely, so that the Government (comprised of the consortium of public agencies and their private-sector "partners") knows virtually everything about what citizens do, but citizens know virtually nothing about what they do. [...]Fortified by always-growing secrecy weapons, everything they do is secret -- including even the "laws" they secretly invent to authorize their actions -- while everything you do is open to inspection, surveillance and monitoring.


Top congressional leaders agreed Thursday to a four-year extension of the anti-terrorist Patriot Act.


This will be the second time that the Democratic Congress -- with the support of President Obama (who once pretended to favor reforms) -- has extended the Patriot Act without any changes. And note the rationale for why it was done in secret bipartisan meetings: to ensure "as little debate as possible" and "to avoid a protracted and familiar argument over the expanded power the law gives to the government."



The Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual's Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation. The administration wants to add just four words -- "electronic communication transactional records" -- to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge's approval.


[And on] the very same day that we have an extension of the Patriot Act

The nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation alleges in a lawsuit filed Thursday that the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel violated federal open-records laws by refusing to release the memo [...explaining] its legal opinion that allows the FBI to obtain telephone records of international calls made from the U.S. without any formal legal process


What's extraordinary about the Obama DOJ's refusal to release this document is that it does not reveal the eavesdropping activities of the Government but only its legal rationale for why it is ostensibly permitted to engage in those activities.


[I]nclude in this list the Obama White House's September demands that all ISP's and manufacturers of electronic communication devices (such as Blackberries) provide "backdoors" for government surveillance.

  Glenn Greenwald

By what measure did the Jews fleeing their country ahead of Hitler’s crackdown know it was time to get out? When (and what) was the last measure that trapped those who hadn’t already fled?

No Fair

Apparently the local paper had an article this morning about the Rapture tomorrow group. At work I heard two snorting comments:

"Only God knows when that day will come."

"Unless you're a Catholic or a Baptist, you probably haven't heard anything about it." This coming from an Episcopalian as though Catholics and Baptists have anything in common other than an irrational belief in the ultimate bogeyman and a devil who opposes him.

If you believe in those things, no matter what religion you claim, you really have no right to scoff at anyone else's religious beliefs.

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

It's Gonna Be a Scorcher

via WT via Reddit.

The Speech

“failure to speak to the broader aspirations of ordinary people will only feed the suspicion that has festered for years that the United States pursues our own interests at their expense.”



As always, get your speech parsing at WIIIAI.

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

Of Empires and Ironies

It's extraordinary how rapidly and brazenly the initial claims about the war were discarded. The notion that we were simply going to establish a no-fly zone to protect civilians in Benghazi behind the leadership of the Arab League -- remember all that?


One of the questions often asked during the Bush years was why Bush/Cheney were so brazen in violating Congressional statutes given that the post-9/11 Congress would have given them whatever authority they wanted to do whatever they wanted; the answer was clear: because they wanted to establish the "principle" that they had the power to do anything without getting anyone's permission, including the American people's through their Congress or the courts ("These decisions, under our Constitution, are for the President alone to make," decreed John Yoo in his iconic September 25, 2001 memo).


The same is true of Obama here. There is little doubt that Congress would subserviently comply -- as it always does -- with presidential demands for war authorization. The Obama White House is simply choosing not to seek it because Obama officials want to bolster the unrestrained power of the imperial presidency entrenched by Dick Cheney, David Addington and John Yoo, and because that route avoids a messy debate about purpose, cost and exit strategy.


While the President, in his after-the-fact speech justifying the war, pledged that "broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake," it is now clear that is exactly what is happening. "Regime change" quickly became the explicit goal. NATO has repeatedly sought to kill Gadaffi with bombs; one attack killed his youngest son and three grandchildren and almost killed his whole family including his wife, forcing them to flee to Tunisia.


Friday will mark the 60th day of the war without Congress, and there are no plans for authorization to be provided. By all appearances, the White House isn't even bothering to pretend to seek one. A handful of GOP Senators -- ones who of course showed no interest whatsoever during the Bush years in demanding presidential adherence to the law -- are now demanding a vote on Libya, but it's highly likely that the Democrats who control the Senate won't allow one. Instead, the law will simply be ignored by the President who declared, when bashing George Bush on the campaign trail to throngs of cheering progressives: "No more ignoring the law when it's inconvenient. That is not who we are."


In his grand Middle East speech today, President Obama -- who has presided over lethal civilian-killing attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Pakistan and Somalia -- announced: "we will not tolerate aggression across borders." That instantly ranks among my favorite political statements ever.

  Glenn Greenwald


Are You Ready?

According to some believers, this is their last day on earth. I'm certainly ready. Trouble is, it's still going to leave us with the politicians.

The sky does look strange down here this morning.

Keep an eye on your friends.

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

Thursday, May 19, 2011

And Where Is This Money Coming From?

Time for a speech.

Barack Obama is to announce that the United States and the west will pour billions of dollars into the Middle East in support of Egypt, Tunisia and other countries embracing democracy, a move the White House portrayed as being on the scale of aid to former communist countries after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Speaking in Washington, the president will attempt to reposition the US as a champion of the newly-emerging Arab democracies. His speech comes amid criticism that the US has been too slow to support the uprisings, and has adopted contradictory approaches in its dealings with different countries.

  UK Guardian

If there’s one thing he can’t ignore, it’s criticism.

The speech will deal mainly with the Arab spring, hailing the benefits of democracy and respect for human rights, in spite of America's long-time support for authoritarian regimes in the region.

You just had to bring that up.

Senior Obama administration officials, briefing on the speech, said he will take a fresh look at the Middle East after a decade of tension and division. With the winding down of the Iraq war and the death of Osama bin Laden, "we are turning a page", one official said, adding that the democracy movements reinforced this.

Winning the future. Turning a page. In other words, just what you expected – another pretty speech with little or no consideration of reality. The man should take up watercolor.

Obama's speech comes after intensive debate within the White House between those arguing that the US should be at the forefront of the democracy movement, and those whose concern is US national security and protection of oil supplies.

Gee, I wonder who wins out.

The speech is expected to last 45 minutes, a long one by Obama's standards. He is to devote a big portion to castigating countries such as Iran and Syria.

Oh yeah, that, too.


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

Wait a Minute. What?

He’s a fan of democratic uprisings?

A tape recorded by Osama bin Laden before his death in a US special forces raid earlier this month has been released posthumously onto Islamist militant websites.

The message, recorded some time in the 10 weeks before the 54-year-old al-Qaida leader was killed in Pakistan on 2 May, praises the Arab spring protest movements across the Middle East and predicts that revolutions will spread.

"I think that the winds of change will blow over the entire Muslim world, God willing," Bin Laden said in the 12-minute clip.


Bin Laden, who is thought to have been living in a three-storey house in the northern Pakistani town of Abbottabad for up to five years, spoke in highly rhetorical language and avoided the more violent or apocalyptic language of many previous statements.

A full transcript of the tape is yet to be made available but Bin Laden appears not to have threatened the west directly as has previously often been the case.


"The light of the revolution came from Tunisia. It has given the nation tranquillity and made the faces of the people happy," al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based TV channel reported Bin Laden saying in the tape.


"Tunisia was the first but swiftly the knights of Egypt have taken a spark from the free people of Tunisia to Tahrir Square. This wasn't a revolution of starving and pain, but a revolution of giving and peace," the Saudi-born fugitive said.


The recording was widely expected. It was released to jihadist websites by al-Qaida's media arm, al-Sahab.

Scores of recordings were found in the home in Abbottabad where Bin Laden lived.

  UK Guardian

Maybe we can find one that suits our story line better. If not, we’ll be forced to use the excuse that his focus was:

…the uprisings as opening the door to radical Islam.

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

No Comment

An Afghan detainee at the US prison facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba has died in an apparent suicide, the US military said.


Inayatullah is the eighth prisoner to die at the detention centre since the United States began sending foreign captives with alleged al-Qaeda or Taliban links to Guantanamo Bay in January 2002.

Five others died of apparent suicides and two died of natural causes.


Okay, one comment. If they really are killing themselves, that seems like a rational action to me, given the circumstances.


"Had to monitor Fox for a story. Can't. Deal. With. The. Blathering," the tweet said, before being deleted almost immediately, according to the Huffington Post.

"An employee with access to the Secret Service's Twitter account, who mistakenly believed they were on their personal account, posted an unapproved and inappropriate tweet," Secret Service Spokesman Edwin M. Donovan told CBS News.

  Raw Story

Of course, that may have been the same assessment having to monitor any TV news outlet.

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Dr. Cornel West is shedding some light on why he has been so tough on President Barack Obama recently.


"I used to call my dear brother [Obama] every two weeks," he explained. "I said a prayer on the phone for him, especially before a debate. And I never got a call back."


"[I]t became very clear when I looked at the neoliberal economic team. The first announcement of Summers and Geithner I went ballistic. I said, 'Oh, my God, I have really been misled at a very deep level,'" West lamented.


In interviews with Russia Today and MSNBC last month, West said that Obama had sold out and become a "puppet" of powerful interests.

West echoed those remarks in his latest interview, telling Hedges that he believes Obama is "a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it."


West recalled that Obama "cussed me out" after a speech about charter schools at the Urban League in 2010. It was the last time they had personal contact.

"He just lets me have it. He says, 'You ought to be ashamed of yourself, saying I'm not a progressive. Is that the best you can do? Who do you think you are?' I smiled. I shook his hand... I wanted to slap him on the side of his head."

  Raw Story

You may have to get in line.

Peter Fonda launched a four-letter attack on US President Barack Obama at the Cannes film festival on Wednesday, calling him a traitor over the handling of the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill.


"I sent an email to President Obama saying, 'You are a f(expletive) traitor,' using those words... 'You're a traitor, you allowed foreign boots on our soil telling our military -- in this case the coastguard -- what they can and could not do, and telling us, the citizens of the United States, what we could or could not do'."

  Raw Story

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

New al Qa'ida Chief

Al-Qaeda has chosen a former Egyptian Special Forces officer as interim leader of the violent extremist group in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death earlier this month, CNN reported Tuesday.

Saif al-Adel, a top Al-Qaeda strategist and senior military leader, has been tapped as "caretaker" chief of the group.

  Raw Story

I don’t know if we’re going to have time to care, considering the ever-widening situation in the Middle East, but he’s there in case we need him.

Good One, George

Via Buzzfeed via WT

Gossip Break

I don’t understand why Maria Shriver is suddenly divorcing Arnie due to an admittedly strange affair with child. Except if she were privy to it, contrary to what they’re now saying, and didn’t want to give up the seat of California Governor’s Wife any more than he wanted to give up the seat of California Governor.

"After leaving the governor's office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago," said Schwarzenegger, 63, "I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family.

"There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry," he said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.

  Raw Story

Yeah, yeah, full responsibility. Of course he didn’t bring it up until AFTER leaving office.

It was not known how the Austrian-born actor managed to keep the child secret, while the woman remained on their joint staff -- and while he continued to support the child financially, according to the LA Times.

Yeah, good question. I think we know the answer.

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

Well Of Course They Did

The US Senate defeated a bill taking aim at some $2 billion in annual subsidies to some of the world's largest and most profitable oil companies amid deep voter anger at high gasoline prices.

  Raw Story

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

Imagine That!

This year's big spending cut bill that prevented a government shutdown by slashing the federal budget and allowing Republicans to make good on their campaign promises actually -- wait for it -- increased federal spending by $3 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

You read that right. Had the federal budget for the remainder of 2011 remained untouched, the government would have spent $3 billion less through September than it will now spend under the Republican-driven course "correction."

David Kurtz

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

Blackballed: Progressives Are Today's Commies

NEW YORK--After they called the presidency for Obama, emails poured in. "You must be relieved now that the Democrats are taking over," an old college buddy told me. "There will be less pressure on you."

That would have been nice.

  Ted Rall

A missed left turn on the road to “winning the future.”

It was tempting, when Obama's Democrats swept into office in 2008, to think that the bad old days were coming to an end. I wasn't looking for any favors, just a swing of the political pendulum back to the Clinton years when it was still OK to be a liberal.

This, you have no doubt correctly guessed, is the part where I tell you I was wrong.


It feels a little weird to write this, like I'm telling tales out of school and ratting out the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy. But it's true: there's less room for a leftie during the Age of Obama than there was under Bush.

I didn't realize how besotted progressives were by Mr. Hopey Changey.

Obama lost me before Inauguration Day, when he announced cabinet appointments that didn't include a single liberal.


It got worse after that: Obama extended and expanded Bush's TARP giveaway to the banks; continued Bush's spying on our phone calls; ignored the foreclosure crisis; refused to investigate, much less prosecute, Bush's torturers; his healthcare plan was a sellout to Big Pharma; he kept Gitmo open; expanded the war against Afghanistan; dispatched more drone bombers; used weasel words to redefine the troops in Iraq as "non-combat"; extended the Bush tax cuts for the rich; claiming the right to assassinate U.S. citizens; most recently, there was the forced nudity torture of PFC Bradley Manning and expanding oil drilling offshore and on national lands.


The Obama Administration doesn't need journalists or pundits to carry its water. That's what press secretaries and PR flacks are for.


But that's what "liberal" media outlets want in the age of Obama.


The Nation and Mother Jones and Harper's, liberal magazines that gave me freelance work under Clinton and Bush, now ignore my queries. Even when I offered them first-person, unembedded war reporting from Afghanistan.


In the past, editorial rejections had numerous causes: low budgets, lack of space, an editor who simply preferred another creator's work over yours.

Now there' s a new cause for refusal: Too tough on the president.

I've heard that from enough "liberal" websites and print publications to consider it a significant trend.

A sample of recent rejections, each from editors at different left-of-center media outlets:

• "I am familiar with and enjoy your cartoons. However the readers of our site would not be comfortable with your (admittedly on point) criticism of Obama."

• "Don't be such a hater on O and we could use your stuff. Can't you focus more on the GOP?"

• "Our first African-American president deserves a chance to clean up Bush's mess without being attacked by us."

I have many more like that.


Obama is the one they ought to be blackballing. He has been a terrible disappointment to the American left. He has forsaken liberals at every turn. Yet they continue to stand by him.


So I don't care about Obama. Or the Democrats. I care about America and the world and the people who live in them.

Hey, Obamabots: when the man you support betrays your principles, he has to go--not your principles.

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

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chalk One Up for Texas

A bill that would criminalize the infamous "pat-down" at airport security checkpoints has made its way to the Texas Senate after clearing a key vote in the House on Friday evening.


The bill would amend a Texas statute pertaining to "the offensive touching of persons," extending it to security personnel who conduct a search "without probable cause."


It defines an offender as someone who "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly: (A) Searches another person without probable cause to believe the person committed an offense; and (B) Touches the anus, sexual organ, or breasts of the other person, including touching through clothing, or touches the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person."


"We're not against national defense; we're not against security," Texas Rep. David Simpson (R) told Raw Story in March. "We just don't want to do it at the expense of our liberties. The terrorists want to take away our liberties and here we have our very own government terrorizing innocent travelers. Traveling is not a criminal act."

  Raw Story

Good for Texas (for a change), but I do believe that there’s already a federal law prohibiting searches without probable cause, and is one that should simply be enforced even in airports.

The TSA did not appear moved, noting that even if the Texas Senate passes the bill and Gov. Rick Perry signs it into law, it will remain purely symbolic.

Because our government agencies are immune and protected from the law. You know, 9/11 changed everything.

I hope he does sign it into law, and I hope somebody from the TSA goes to jail if they break that law. Wait and see.

You Won't Have Donald to Kick Around Any More

Donald Trump has announced that he is not running for president in 2012. "This decision does not come easily or without regret," Trump said in a statement, "especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country."


Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. Sure it does, Don What. Sure it does.

"I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run," he said, "I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election."

But you’re dropping out, why?

Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.


Even The Donald can recognize when he’s being laughed at.

I want to personally thank the millions of Americans who have joined the various Trump grassroots movements and written me letters and e-mails encouraging me to run.


I make you this promise: that I will continue to voice my opinions loudly and help to shape our politician's [ed: I think they meant to type politicians', but I could be wrong] thoughts. My ability to bring important economic and foreign policy issues to the forefront of the national dialogue is perhaps my greatest asset and one of the most valuable services I can provide to this country.

Important economic and foreign policy issues like whether the sitting president has a birth certificate from the US. I have a feeling Don Gone will go back to his TV show and leave politics alone. Happily for everyone.

I will also continue to push for job creation, an initiative that should be this country's top priority and something that I know a lot about.

Because he creates so many, many jobs with his show “The Apprentice.”

Captain Combover, over and out.