Thursday, June 30, 2011

2nd Flotilla Sabotage

Activists on board an Irish ship that was set to participate in a planned flotilla to Gaza have said their propeller was sabotaged and could have caused the ship to sink if it had remained undiscovered.


Two Down, Four to Go

At least I read somewhere there were six idiots in the group.

US Federal Bureau of Investigation agents carried out a raid on the home of an Ohio man suspected of being a member of the Lulz Security hacker group, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

  Raw Story

"Man." I bet he isn't 20 years old.

Good Thing They're Getting Some Exposure to American Ways

Otherwise, stuff like this might just keep happening.

Afghan officials said on Thursday that they have arrested two former executives involved in the collapse of Kabul Bank.

  Glen Greenwald

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

WIIIAI Parses the Presser

First question: how do you get a “balanced approach” including tax increases, when Boehner says no way, no how? Obama says that “in Washington... a lot of people say a lot of things to satisfy their base or to get on cable news, but that hopefully, leaders at a certain point rise to the occasion and they do the right thing for the American people.” Oh dear God, we’re doomed.


I don’t suppose he noticed how he brought up that hope thing, nor how the hope people placed in him to “do the right thing” has been dashed after he said a lot of things in his 2008 campaigning to satisfy them. Do you suppose they’ve caught on this time around? He’s giving them fair warning here.

He says Qaddafi committed war crimes, which is odd because he just got through saying that this isn’t a war.

If you’re president of the United States, you actually can have your cake and eat it to.

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

Trust Us

The head of the African Union has expressed concern over the flow of weapons into Libya after France revealed it had dropped arms into rebel-held areas of the conflict-stricken country earlier this month.

AU Commissioner Jean Ping, who chairs a meeting of African leaders in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on Thursday, said that weapons distributed in Libya would contribute to the "destabilisation" of African states.

"What worries us is not who is giving what, but simply that weapons are being distributed by all parties and to all parties. We already have proof that these weapons are in the hands of al-Qaeda, of traffickers," said Ping.


Not to worry. Great minds are at work here.

They Really Are Pressing Their Luck

Pakistan has stopped the United States from using an air base in the southwest of the country to launch drone strikes against militant groups, according to the country's defence minister.

Ahmed Mukhtar told journalists on Wednesday that US officials had been told to leave the Shamsi base in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, Pakistani state media reported.


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

Miami Vice

It was 4am on May 30 when [Narces] Benoit and his girlfriend Erika Davis saw officers firing dozens of bullets into a car driven by Raymond Herisse, a suspect who hit a police officer and other vehicles while driving recklessly. Herisse died in the hail of lead, and four bystanders also suffered gunshot wounds, the Miami Herald newspaper reported.

Police noticed [Benoit] filming the shooting and an officer jumped into his truck, and put a pistol to his head, Benoit said.


"My phone was smashed, he stepped on it, handcuffed me," the 35-year-old car stereo technician told CNN.

Despite his phone being destroyed, Benoit was able to save the footage by taking the memory card out of the device and putting it in his mouth before handing it over to police.


Now that was some quick, clear thinking under pressure, not to mention daring. What if they'd caught him doing it? I wonder how he managed it.

Speaking about the recent case in Florida, Police Chief Carlos Noriega told the Miami Herald that the couple's allegations were the first he'd heard of officers allegedly threatening people or destroying cameras or mobile phones.

Oh, no doubt this is the only time it’s happened. I’m sure.

"It was quite a chaotic scene," the chief said of the late night shooting. "We were trying to figure out who was who and it was a difficult process. Not once did I see cameras being taken or smashed," he said, adding that Benoit's video is evidence which could help investigators.

Which would explain why they would want to smash it, eh? I guess they'd figured out who was who in the vehicle they opened fire on. Those bystanders, well they had to be sorted out later. It was a very difficult process.

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

Meanwhile in England

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union said "hundreds and hundreds of thousands" were expected to take part in Thursday's strikes because the government was "failing to compromise" over pension reforms that he claimed were unfair and politically motivated.


Union leaders said early indications were that the 24-hour walkout by the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), University and College Union and the PCS, which between them cover 750,000 public sector workers, was being strongly supported.

A third of schools are expected to close and two-thirds of universities have cancelled lectures. Benefits will go unpaid, court cases will be postponed, police leave has been cancelled in London and airports are bracing themselves for backlogs at immigration.


"More are turning up for work and we are maintaining a much better service than we expected to be able to," [Francis Maude, cabinet office minister,] told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

  UK Guardian

What a useful positive spin quote that is. It’s not as bad as we expected.

Speaking of England...our Imperial Mother must be very proud of us today, all grown up and crashing about the globe taking everything we can. We have probably exceeded her expectations.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Who's This Koh Fella Anyway?

Harvard's Jack Goldsmith notes that "for a quarter century before heading up State-Legal, [State Department adviser Harold Koh]was the leading and most vocal academic critic of presidential unilateralism in war." On the strength of that reputation, Koh rose to the deanship of Yale Law School in 2004.


Yet the implications of Koh's position today are that the president can rain down destruction via cruise missiles and robot death kites anywhere in the world, and unless an American soldier might get hurt, neither the Constitution nor the War Powers Resolution are offended.


Koh was in his mid-50s when he joined the administration, coming off a distinguished career built on opposition to the Imperial Presidency. Yet the lure of being "in the room" when the big decisions are made seems to have turned him into the Gollum of Foggy Bottom.

It's the kind of story you hear again and again in D.C. -- on the right and the left -- of principles sold out for the dubious rewards of "access" and "relevance." This town is "Hollywood for the Ugly" in more ways than one.

  Washington Examiner

And a bit of a digression...because the beer is making me do it....Foggy Bottom. I love that name. And Foggy Bottom makes me think of Langley. And Langley makes me think of a young woman with whom I work, recently from the DC area, who has a very funny story of how she and some girl friends had their Halloween spoiled one year while trying to get to a corn field maze, but taking a wrong turn and ending up on a one-way no turn-around road to CIA headquarters. They were stopped and questioned for a long time, after which they didn't much feel like going to a corn field maze, and during which time they were informed that their names were now recorded, and they should be very careful not to ever trespass on federal property again unless prepared to spend time in the pokey. She says they were really scared, but it was impossible not to laugh when she told it. I keep forgetting to ask, but I hope they were in costume.

We Need to Let the Past Go

Those attempting to defend President Obama's claimed legal power to involve the military in the Libya War without Congressional approval have numerous problems; none is more significant than candidate Obama's own clear statement to the Boston Globe's Charlie Savage in late 2007 on this matter. In response to being asked whether "the president ha[s] constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress" -- "specifically . . . the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites" -- Obama replied: "the President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

  Glen Greenwald

Well, that was then. I wonder why no one asks him about that statement these days? And of course, technically, he didn't say which nation.

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

It's All About the Footwear

[In] today's remarks, [Obama] suggested that the NATO coalition now coordinating the action should seek to remove Muammar Gadhafi from power because of his brutal authoritarian track record, and his past sponsorship of terrorism.

  Yahoo 6/29/11

Seems like only yesterday he was promising that we weren’t interested in “regime change” in Libya.

"A lot of this fuss is politics," Obama said from the White House East Room at his first news conference since March.

This fuss. And the Constitution is politics, too.

In response to recent criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who say that the Libya action is in violation of the War Powers Act, Obama stressed that he had consulted with Congress repeatedly.

Leaving out the mere detail that although he may have consulted with Congress, they never said okay.

Meantime, Obama got a show of support from the Senate yesterday. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 14-5 yesterday to pass a bipartisan resolution approving the U.S. role in international Libya military operations for one year.

Of course they did.

[March 19] Advisor Denis McDonough held a conference call with top Congressional staffers on Friday afternoon where he emphasized Obama’s “deep respect for Congress in all of these matters,” and gave a read out of the White House meeting. A recording of the call was provided to The Cable. “ The president expects the preponderance of our involvement to last a matter of days, not weeks ,” McDonough said.


Deep respect and Great expectations. Yes, that really was just a month ago. And now they’re authorizing a year. At the end of which, they’ll authorize another if they haven’t killed Qadafi and set up another puppet by that time.

"We have not seen a single U.S. casualty," Obama said. "The operation is limited in both time and in scope. ... We have not put any boots on the ground."

  Yahoo 6/29/11

Apparently CIA wear sneakers.

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

Maybe No Ban - But Certainly Some Risk

Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel group, has been detained in London while on a speaking tour, the UK Home Office has confirmed.

Salah was detained late on Tuesday night for allegedly entering the country illegally, despite his organisation's insistence that he entered through formal and legal channels and had no knowledge of any travel ban.

Theresa May, Britain's home secretary, said in a statement to Al Jazeera that an investigation was under way into how Salah had been able to enter the country.

"We do not normally comment on individual cases but in this case I think it is important to do so.

"I can confirm he was excluded and that he managed to enter the UK. He has now been detained and the UK Border Agency is now making arrangements to remove him."

But Salah's solicitor, Farooq Bajwa, quoted by the Guardian newspaper, said that his client had "no knowledge" of a travel ban and had made "no attempt" to conceal his identity when he entered Britain.


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

Remember Egypt?

Only by today's standards is the uprising ancient history.

Cracker Christ: It's Not a War

In the last few days, Obama administration officials have frequently faced the question: Is the fighting in Libya a war? From military officers to White House spokesmen up to the president himself, the answer is no


In a briefing on board Air Force One Wednesday, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes took a crack at an answer. "I think what we are doing is enforcing a resolution that has a very clear set of goals, which is protecting the Libyan people, averting a humanitarian crisis, and setting up a no-fly zone," Rhodes said. "Obviously that involves kinetic military action, particularly on the front end."

  Washington Examiner

Kinetic military action. That's a new one on me. "Today in the non-kinetic military action in Libya...." Expect it in the nooze.

"As we are successful in suppressing the [Libyan] air defenses, the level of kinetic activity should decline," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a meeting with reporters in Moscow Tuesday. In a briefing with reporters the same day from on board the USS Mount Whitney, Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, said, "The coalition brings together a wide array of capabilities that allow us to minimize the collateral damage when we have to take kinetic operations." [...] And unnamed sources use it too. "In terms of the heavy kinetic portion of this military action, the president envisions it as lasting days, not weeks," an unnamed senior official told CNN Saturday.


Rhodes' words echoed a description by national security adviser Tom Donilon in a briefing with reporters two weeks ago as the administration contemplated action in Libya. "Military steps -- and they can be kinetic and non-kinetic, obviously the full range -- are not the only method by which we and the international community are pressuring Gadhafi," Donilon said.

Okay, I guess for a while we’re all going to call it kinetic military action. But just what is non-kinetic military action – I mean steps?

Harold Koh, the State Department’s lawyer-in-chief, explained to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that since there was no back-and-forth firing between American and Libyan forces, the Libyan intervention isn’t a real war – and therefore the President is not in violation of the War Powers Act.

  Justin Raimondo

So, by that measure, we could drop a nuclear bomb on Libya and it still wouldn’t be war, because there would be no “back-and-forth firing between American and Libyan forces.”

This, by the way, is the same Harold Hongju Koh who once authored a legal brief [...] challenging George Herbert Walker Bush’s authority to fight the first Iraq war, on the grounds that “the Constitution requires the president to consult with Congress and receive its affirmative authorization – not merely present it with faits accomplis – before engaging in war.”

That makes it very clear that the man is indeed a lawyer. He’ll argue either side, just tell him which side he’s on today.

As Koh explained to the befuddled solons in his opening statement: the word “hostilities,” which “triggers” the 60-day time line imposed by the War Powers Act, is “an ambiguous term of art.”

No, no it’s not. Have a look at Merriam-Webster:

This obviously isn’t just an idea, since there have been actual drone attacks by US military, so that leaves definition number 1 - and in particular, 1b2 which defines the plural of the word, which is exactly the case of it used in the War Powers Act: hostilities.

After all, Koh argued, the word wasn’t defined in the legislation, and there is no legislative precedent that would define it for us.

So now the legislation has to have every word defined? I really did think that was the job of a dictionary. Herman Cain’s three-page limit to new laws would put a crimp on things for sure if each term requires a written definition.

[A]fter all, this administration is all about “change” – and yet they didn’t tell us they were changing the language and the clear meaning of words.

There’s a whole lot they didn’t tell us.

According to Koh, there are four factors that qualify the Libyan adventure as a “kinetic action” rather than a war, the first being that the action has “international support,” and – due to its multilateral character – transcends the need for congressional approval. That is the view taken by his boss, Hillary Clinton, who stated that the only authorization needed came from the United Nations.

Now that is the first I’ve heard that the Constitution and US Congress can be superceded by the United Nations. In fact, I’m pretty sure she would reverse that if the United Nations declared the US should get the hell out of Libya. And Koh! It doesn’t meet the standards for being called a war because it has “international support.” Do we really need to hear any more from this man?

You know, in an awful sordid way, this argument that if the Libyans don’t strike back, it’s not a war, actually has some merit. That would make it not so much a war as a slaughter. Perhaps we need to amend the Consitution to limit the president’s power to slaughter without Congressional authorization. (He’d still get it. He’s not really looking for authorization, he’s looking to solidify executive absolute power.)

This administration, armed with an ideology so far removed from American traditions and sheer common sense, is far more dangerous than its war-maddened predecessor. At least Bush spared us the verbal gymnastics and never denied he intended to take us to war. The current occupant of the Oval Office wants us to consider him a modern Gandhi while besting Bush at his own game. The pretentious doubletalk engaged in by this White House is an insult to the American people, and yet another measure of Obama’s monumental arrogance.

After all, he is a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lead Balloon

Republicans may be suffering politically for voting to phase out Medicare. But they moved the needle on the policy debate way to the right, and, as such, cutting Medicare now is basically a fait accompli.

The latest plan comes from Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT).


Of course that’s abbreviated…they mean Joe Lieberman (Idiot-CT).

The plan would cut Medicare spending in numerous ways, the most controversial of which is by increasing the retirement age to 67.

Sooner or later values voters are going to realize what they’ve been supporting. Personally, I can never afford to retire, but I have a feeling that those who can won’t be too happy if they think they have to wait another two years. Hell, they can hardly remember their names at 65. Not even Wal-Mart has enough greeter positions to cover all the otherwise unemployable folks who’ll be trying to hold down a job. Those tea partiers are going to be carrying pitchforks if this picks up any speed (which it won’t). They love their country a whole lot, but they love their possibility of retiring even more. (And they probably don’t stop to think it’s the liberals who are responsible for the fact that there’s such a thing as retirement benefits.)

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


A Swedish ship due to join an upcoming Gaza-bound aid flotilla has been sabotaged in the Greek port of Piraeus, organisers say.

In a statement, they said "hostile divers had destroyed the propeller house and cut the propeller shaft" of the vessel Juliano on Monday.

The ship is part of the 10-vessel Freedom Flotilla II that is expected to set sail from Greece and elsewhere for the Gaza Strip in the coming days in a bid to break Israel's blockade of the Palestinian territory.


Organisers of the flotilla, however, remain defiant and said the Juliano would be ready to sail within one or two days after being repaired. They said they had documented the sabotage with their own camera-equipped divers.


"We will not be frightened by Israel, and we are going to continue. Our friends from all around the world are with us, and we are all going to Gaza."

Mattias Gardell, a spokesperson for Ship to Gaza Sweden, also condemned the act of sabotage.

"It's one thing for a foreign power to press the Greek government to delay our voyage with red tape. It is quite another thing for enemy agents to operate on Greek territory.

"It is high time for the international community to put their foot down and say: Enough!"


I’m pretty sure that’s what the international community said last year when Israelis boarded the Turkish ship and killed nine people. Everyone in the community but the US, that is.

Speaking of the Taliban

One of the leading hotels in Kabul, the Afghan capital, is under attack, local police sources say.

They told Al Jazeera that six suicide bombers entered the hotel late on Tuesday. At least one of them detonated himself, they said.

"It's an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel. There are several gunmen shooting," Mohammad Zahir, the criminal investigations chief, said.


"There was shooting. The restaurant was full with guests."


Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in a telephone call to The Associated Press.

  al Jazeera

There goes the tourist trade.

Fire-Ant War Update

They have won. I have withdrawn to the caves, having sustained much injury. But, like the Taliban, I will return at a later date to fight again.

Let's Face the Reality

“At a time when the richest people and the largest corporations in our country are doing phenomenally well, and, in many cases, have never had it so good, while the middle class is disappearing and poverty is increasing, it is absolutely imperative that a deficit reduction package not include the disastrous cuts in programs for working families, the elderly, the sick, the children and the poor that the Republicans in Congress, dominated by the extreme right wing, are demanding,” [Vermont’s Bernie] Sanders said on the Senate floor Monday.

“Instead of yielding to the incessant, extreme Republican demands, as the President did during last December’s tax cut agreement and this year’s spending negotiations, the President has got to get out of the beltway and rally the American people who already believe that deficit reduction must be about shared sacrifice.”

  Raw Story

I respect Senator Sanders a gret deal, but in this case, he’s out in left field, pun somewhat intended. In fact, Obama is already getting out of the beltway to rally the American people using the very sorts of rhetoric that Bernie would like him to use. He's on the start of his 2012 campaign. The problem is that it’s only rhetoric. And if he can find enough people out there who still believe him, he may get the votes. But that doesn’t mean he’ll make any moves to back up the rhetoric. He’s just not a middle-and lower-class kind of guy. He should be ashamed and embarrassed to go out to the people with that kind of talk again after all he's done (and not done) in his time in office to date. He’s not yielding to Republican demands, he’s in agreement.

Sanders also called on Americans to send a letter to Obama, urging the President to end tax breaks for the wealthy and eliminate tax loopholes that benefit large corporations.

Well, there’s a waste of a stamp.

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

But Of Course

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down a law that "triggers" public funding of elections in Arizona in the event of a candidate being heavily outspent by an opponent awash with private funds.

The vote was split 5-4, with the conservative majority ultimately winning out. The ruling declared public financing of candidates to be a violation of free speech.

  Raw Story

Corporate financing is the embodiment of free speech, but public financing is a violation thereof.

Don’t even try to fix this huge fault. We like it just the way it is.

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

What's With the GOP Lineup?

Athenae has (have?) an explanation for why the Republicans don’t have an outstanding candidate for the presidency.

[If] you spend all your time thinking about how much your ex sucks and you hate him and his hair and his ass face, and picturing all the slow horrible ways in which he needs to die, you don't have a lot of mental real estate available for crushing on the cutie barista around the corner.


RIght now the only thing they're jacked about is the chance to vote against the Kenyan socialist Muslim. Voting FOR someone else won't cross their minds until next year around, like, June, when whatever ignorant-ass neck they put up there will magically transform into Republican Voltron Jesus who will be the embodiment of all their dreams.

  First Draft

With the exception of all those who really, really want Sarah Palin to run, being sadly too ignorant (or something) to notice that she hasn’t got a snowball’s chance in hell of getting anywhere near that office again.

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

Monday, June 27, 2011

The New Joseph McCarthy

Radical Muslim-hunter Chairman of the House UnAmerican Activities Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Peter King is an IRA (you know, the Irish terrorist group) supporter.

King defended his support for the IRA, saying, “I understand why people who are misinformed might see a parallel. The fact is, the I.R.A. never attacked the United States. And my loyalty is to the United States.”

  Think Progress

He only hunts the bad terrorists.

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

We Haf Ways

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, his son and his spy chief, citing evidence of crimes against humanity committed against political opponents.


So, there you go, Mr. Peace Prize Winner. Now you have a "legitimate" reason to target Qadafi. Who'd you have to get on the phone for that one?

She stressed that the indictment and warrants for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and his military intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi were not proof of guilt, which must be proved at trial.

Yeah, sure. He’ll get a trial.

So, tell me. Why isn’t there an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir? Or Bashar al-Assad?

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

Clinton Weighs In

” There will be construction materials entering Gaza and we think that it's not helpful for there to be flotillas that try to provoke actions by entering into Israeli waters and creating a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves.” – Hillary Clinton

  Glenn Greenwald

”Defend” themselves? Against a flotilla of peaceful activists heading to Gaza to provide humanitarian aid? What is she saying?

What's most remarkable about all of this is that this flotilla (like the last one) has no intention of entering Israeli waters, nor is it delivering anything other than basic humanitarian supplies. It is, manifestly, a theatrical, non-threatening form of peaceful protest against the blockade. Yet Israeli and U.S. officials continue to bloviate about "self-defense," "entering into Israeli waters," and criminally aiding Hamas; all of that is nothing more than a by-product of the notion that they own the world, and anyone who fails to honor that claim is either a Terrorist-sympathizer or even a Terrorist.

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

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Movie Review

Oliver Stone's "JFK" is on TV tonight. I'm kind of surprised I hadn't ever gotten around to watching it before now, as it is a subject that I find compelling - perhaps marking the moment in history when the CIA took over the world. At any rate, it is much too long and could have been mightily improved if the editor had cut out all of Sissy Spacek's screeching scenes - which is essentially all of Sissy Spacek's scenes - and all the scenes of those poor little no-talent kids portraying New Orleans DA Jim Garrison's children. (Seriously, were these the casting director’s kids? They managed to come up with a big name star for the other roles in the movie - Kevin Costner, Ed Asner, Jack Lemmon, Vince D’Onofrio, Sissy Spacek, Kevin Bacon, Gary Oldman, Donald Sutherland, Walter Matthau, Tommy Lee Jones, John Candy, Joe Pesci - and they couldn’t locate a couple of kids who could act?)

I didn't make it past the arrest of Clay Shaw and the beginning of the subsequent smearing of Garrison via the government and its shills in the media, but what I did get through included some points about the Kennedy assassination that I had not been exposed to even though I've read a number of different books and articles about the ridiculous Warren Commission report (much like the 9/11 Commission - at least in credulity and value) and all the plots and characters involved who never made it into the report. I was curious enough about a couple of things to Google, and came upon this Wikipedia page listing the players involved in the Shaw trial. Just reading their names makes you think it must all be made up. (Garrison's name on his birth certificate was actually Earling Carothers Garrison - not Jim.)

And speaking of no talent - "The Black Swan" was very, very seriously overhyped, wasn't it? I watched that recently, and almost didn't make it through - but not because of its length.

Hope Floating - Again

Dozens of Americans, among them a Pulitzer Prize winner and a prominent social activist, are planning to board an American ship called The Audacity of Hope bound for the Gaza Strip.

They will be among an estimated 500 to 600 people taking part in Freedom Flotilla II. It will be the second attempt by activists to penetrate the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza and its organisers are under intense pressure to call it off.

The activists will sail on 10 ships and represent 22 countries. They are expected to sail from Greece tomorrow or Sunday. The ship The Audacity of Hope is named as a reference to the book by the US president, Barack Obama, written just before he stood for the presidency.

Israel said on Wednesday it has warned the UN that the flotilla could result in "dangerous consequences".

  The National

Like the attempt last year which resulted in 9 people killed by Israeli officers boarding their ship.

There weren't dozens of Americans on that trip, though, which sailed from Turkey. So this should be interesting.

UN and Israeli officials announced on Tuesday that Israel had approved the building of new homes and schools in Gaza worth $100 million. That means Israel will allow building materials to be imported, undercutting the need for a flotilla.

Yeah, that’s all they need! Homes and schools.

Israel’s blockade of Gaza prevents the export anything produced in the Strip by the Palestinians that live there (including the 40% of residents who are refugees from Israel’s 1948 ethnic cleansing campaign). It also steeply limits imports. Over half of Palestinians in Gaza are food insecure, and some die every year because Israel won’t let them get out in time for specialized medical care. Unemployment is estimated at 40 percent.

Numerous reports by Oxfam and others have detailed the unnecessary misery that the Israelis are inflicting on the Palestinians of Gaza. Wikileaks has released State Department cables detailing the Israeli plan to keep Palestinians there living on the edge of catastrophe, without quite allowing the situation to tip into a humanitarian disaster that would stir the world against the policy.

  Juan Cole

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

Besides, I Can't Even Listen That Fast

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

They Don't Give You a Computer in Jail

It just got even better.

A group of hackers claiming to have attacked websites around the world, including the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency and the US Senate, has disbanded, according to a message posted on its website.

  UK Guardian

"Attacked" - by which they mean, halted service to some serious agency PUBLIC websites for several minutes. You may have noticed that it wasn't until, in someone's brilliant moment of not-thinking-this-thing-through, when they "attacked" the CIA that things started going badly. Was it worth it, children?

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

UPDATE: BTW, here's the group's logo.

"Since 2011!" I bet they're not laughing now. The trial of the 19-year-old member busted in London is underway.


Lulz Security hacker group said that it has ended an Internet rampage that included cyberattacks on videogame companies, police, and even a US spy agency website.

  Raw Story

No doubt.

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

Greenwald With the Money Quote(s)

"The White House strongly denied Tuesday that regime change is part of its mission in Libya . . . . Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, issued a statement acknowledging that President Obama would like to see a democratic government in Libya, but explained that the aim of the U.S. military’s intervention there is not to enact regime change. 'We're clarifying, as we’ve said repeatedly, that the effort of our military operation is not regime change,' Rhodes said" -- The Hill, March 22, 2011.

"The top U.S. admiral involved in the Libya war admitted to a U.S. congressman that NATO forces are trying to kill Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi. The same admiral also said he anticipated the need for ground troops in Libya after Qaddafi falls" -- Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy, yesterday.

Would this be an example of a President misleading the nation into an (illegal) war? Or did the goal of the war radically change oh-so-unexpectedly?

  Glenn Greenwald 6/25/11

Hmmmmm…..let me think about that.

UPDATE 12:30pm: I wonder how long until we hear that a "top U.S. admiral involved in the Libya war" has "resigned."

The so-called "de-funding" bill the House rejected yesterday was not really a de-funding bill. It would have barred the spending of money for some war purposes, but explicitly authorized it for others. That's why, as Foreign Policy's Josh Rogin reports, dozens of anti-Libya-war members in both parties voted NO on the de-funding bill: not because, as [John] Cole and [Matt] Yglesias suggest, they were cowards who did not have the courage of their anti-war convictions; and not because the bill would have approved some spending for a war they oppose (though that is true), but rather because they were worried (appropriately so) that had that "de-funding" bill passed, Obama lawyers would have exploited it to argue that Congress, by appropriating some money for the war, had implicitly authorized Obama to wage it.

Well, maybe all three reasons apply.

[T]he Clinton administration -- after the House failed in 1999 to authorize bombing for the Kosovo war -- continued the bombing anyway by claiming the House had "implicitly" authorized that war by appropriating some funds for it, and Obama White House lawyers would have almost certainly made the same exploitative claim here.

As Ron Paul -- echoing the spokesperson for House progressives -- said in explaining his NO vote on "de-funding", the bill "masquerades as a limitation of funds for the president's war on Libya but is in fact an authorization for that very war. . . . instead of ending the war against Libya, this bill would legalize nearly everything the president is currently doing there."


As Rogin reports, "there were more than enough lawmakers to pass" a true de-funding bill, but GOP leaders -- who have been protecting Obama on Libya from the start -- did not bring that to the floor.

The vote failed 180-238 - but, in fact, there were more than enough lawmakers to pass the measure. Of the 149 Democrats who stuck with the president, up to 70 of them are totally opposed to the Libya intervention and want to see it completely defunded as soon as possible. They voted "no" on the Rooney's bill because they thought it was too weak, did not cut off all funds, and implicitly authorized the intervention. . . .

These 70 Democrats make up the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, whose leadership includes Reps. Mike Honda (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).

"Members of Congress voted no because the bill provided funding and legal authority for everything we're currently doing. It was back door authorization. Members didn't support authorizing what we're doing now in Libya," Michael Shank, Honda's spokesman, told The Cable. "The majority of the CPC voted no on the Rooney vote because of this."

  Josh Rogin via Glenn Greenwald

Hang in there CPC. Although I wouldn’t blame any of you for finding less difficult employment.

It is frequently asserted that Article II of the Constitution vests the President with the power and obligation to defend the nation, even though nothing in Article II (or any other provision of the Constitution) actually does that. But there is an obligation which Article II does explicitly impose on the President: "he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." That includes, by definition, the War Powers Resolution.

  Glenn Greenwald 6/25/11

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

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Let the Campaign Ads Begin

TPM asked the Obama campaign about the [anti-Obama television] ad, and Rove's new $20 million campaign. Spokesperson Ben LaBolt said people who have he the kind of political Rove does shouldn't throw stones when it comes to the economy.

"It's no surprise that Karl Rove would produce an ad that clouds over the failed economic policies that led us into the recession and ignores the President's efforts that have put us on a path to recovery," he said. "Maybe that's because the Republican candidates are proposing a return to those same failed policies of the past - rolling back Wall Street oversight, extending tax cuts for the richest Americans on the backs of middle class families and ending Medicare as we know it."


Friday, December 17, 2010; 5:05 PM

President Obama signed into law the most significant tax bill in nearly a decade Friday, a day after overcoming liberal resistance in Congress to continue for two more years tax breaks enacted under president George W. Bush.


Jeez, they just talk out their asses, don’t they? Who cares whether what they’re saying bears any resemblance to the truth? Not me. Campaign rhetoric is campaign rhetoric. Play on you sad excuses for human beings. Play on! P.S. What Wall Street oversight? Wasn’t it Obama who bailed all those bankers out? Yes, I believe that was him. And P.P.S. If TPM asked LaBolt about those inconsistencies with fact, they didn’t print the discussion in this post.

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

If He Can't Ever Change the Numbers

He can at least get creative with the pictures.

My 1930's flat hasn't been CLEAN since the first of May when we jumped straight into July weather down here, when it becomes too hot to move if you don't have central air, and if we don't get some hurricanes in the Gulf to cool things down, it won't get clean until November. At least I'm assuming it will cool down then. Who knew we'd get July in May and June?

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

Res Ipsa Loquitur

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives delivered a rare rebuke to Barack Obama over his involvement in the Libyan war on Friday by rejecting a resolution to authorise the US mission.

It is an embarrassment for the president to have a vote go against him in time of conflict and reflects the disenchantment in the US over yet another war. The vote is primarily symbolic but members of Congress sympathetic to Obama and the US role in Libya said the danger was that it could leave the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, with the impression that support for the war is collapsing.

  UK Guardian

Okay, I don’t care if he’s embarrassed. Let’s have a look at that traitorous business of leaving Qadafi “with the impression that support for the war is collapsing.”

The Democratic-controlled Senate is unlikely to mirror the House vote.

The House ignored pleas by the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, on Thursday against voting it down. Obama argues that he does not need congressional authorisation because the Libya mission is not a full-blown conflict.

If the Senate approves, the House vote is moot. Indeed, why would Qadafi even care if support for the war is collapsing? If the president doesn’t need congressional authorization, then it doesn't matter, now does it? Ooooh, boy, Americans don’t like the war, Congress won’t authorize it, so…’s going to stop? Not if the president doesn’t give a rat’s ass whether anyone likes it or “authorizes” it. The threat to Qadafi is not from the American people – nor apparently from Congress in this now lawless land. The threat to Qadafi is from Obama.

Now here’s the odd thing to me…

House speaker John Boehner said: "I support the removal of the Libyan regime. I support the president's authority as commander-in-chief, but when the president chooses to challenge the powers of the Congress, I, as speaker of the House, will defend the constitutional authority of the legislature."

Indeed, Obama could have all the “authorization” he could possibly want if only he would ask for it, permitting the Congress to still assume some authority. So, what’s really important to him here? Pressing the war in Libya or asserting executive power? The situation speaks for itself.

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

Friday, June 24, 2011


The United States said Thursday it was ready to provide hardware to modernize the military of the Philippines, which vowed to "stand up to aggressive action" amid rising tension at sea with China.

  Raw Story

Heaven knows we have plenty of hardware to provide. But I wonder…if the Philippines get into a shooting match with China, we will be forced to enter war on a 6th front won’t we? Historians talk about a factor in the destruction of the USSR being the cold war arms escalation bankrupting them. Apparently we are unconcerned about our own economic situation vis a vis escalating costs of war.

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

Has He Thought This Through?

Energy Secretary and Nobel Prize winner Stephen Chu dropped a little science on OPEC Thursday, announcing that America would try to devalue its pricey oil by unleashing 30 million barrels of its own via the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Adding to its oomph, the move was part of a coordinated effort with US allies in the International Energy Agency, who are contributing another 30 million barrels themselves.

Chu said in a statement that they were tapping the reserve "due to supply disruptions in Libya and other countries and their impact on the global economic recovery."


Some left-leaning wonks agree there might be some modest stimulative effect to the move: a group of fellows at the Center For American Progress quickly put out a report likening it to a "tax cut for American families" that could save them north of $100 million a day at the pump. An economist at Moody's predicted brief economic gains as well.

But many experts and analysts are far more skeptical. Charles Ebinger, a fellow at Brookings who helped craft the original Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the 1970s, dismissed the exercise as a distortion of its original purpose that would bear little economic fruit.

"Gas prices have already been going down and the expectation is they would go down 15 to 20 percent just because of market forces," he said. "I hate to say it because I'm a supporter of the president, but I cant see it as anything more than a brazen political act to convince people he's doing something about gas prices."


Well, when you’re campaigning, you grab whatever you can and run with it, never mind whether it’s real or not. On the other hand, if prices are actually going down anyway without using up “our” oil, I wonder what credit/blame he’ll actually be reaping in the long run, considering he’ll be depleting our oil stores when there’s still oil to be gotten from the Middle East. (My baby brother knew how that works – he once asked our father to buy him a toy, and when Dad said, “You’ve got your own money,” he piped, “But I’m saving mine.”) People might just want to blame him for not having control of that Mid-East oil by now.

Speaker Boehner said in a statement that "it is good that the Obama Administration is conceding that increased supply will lower those costs. But by tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the President is using a national security instrument to address his domestic political problems."

Uh-huh. National Security.

If it’s a purely political move, it may not be the wisest one.

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

Thursday, June 23, 2011

We Don't Practice That Nowadays

CBS News noted that more than 60,000 women in 32 states were sterilized from the 1920′s to the 1970s to keep down welfare costs. The practice is no longer in use.

  Raw Story

The “practice” is “no longer in use”???!! That makes it sound like an old-time herbal remedy that’s been replaced by modern medicine.

North Carolina is the first state to consider a $20,000 payment to victims of sterilizations, but it is doubtful that the Republican-controlled legislature will set aside the necessary funds.

Soon to Be Extinct Tribe Spotted for First Time

Government researchers in Brazil say they have found one of the world's last uncontacted tribes in a remote corner of the Amazon rainforest.

Aerial pictures revealed by the Brazilian government's agency of indigenous affairs (Funai) showed four large thatched huts fully surrounded by various crops in the Vale do Javari region.


Watch Your Back

The Obama DOJ's effort to force New York Times investigative journalist Jim Risen to testify in a whistleblower prosecution and reveal his source is really remarkable and revealing in several ways; it should be receiving much more attention than it is.


The subpoena to Risen was originally issued but then abandoned by the Bush administration, and then revitalized by Obama lawyers. It is part of the prosecution of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA agent whom the DOJ accuses of leaking to Risen the story of a severely botched agency plot -- from 11 years ago -- to infiltrate Iran's nuclear program, a story Risen wrote about six years after the fact in his 2006 best-selling book, State of War. The DOJ wants to force Risen to testify under oath about whether Sterling was his source.


What's particularly striking about this prosecution is that it involves digging deep into the ancient past (the Iran operation in question was begun under the Clinton administration): this from a President who insisted that Bush officials not be investigated for their crimes on the ground that we must "Look Forward, Not Backward." But it's not hard to see why Obama officials are so intent on doing so: few things are more effective in creating a Climate of Fear -- one that deters investigation and disclosure and stifles the exercise of basic rights -- than prosecuting prominent people for having challenged and undermined the government's agenda.


[The administration] has continuously harassed numerous WikiLeaks supporters, repeatedly detaining them at airports and seizing and copying their laptops, all without warrants, and subpoeaned their social networking records. It is seeking (and is likely to obtain) dramatically expanded domestic surveillance powers, physically and over the Internet. It has seized the power to target American citizens for assassination without a whiff of due process. It succeeded in convincing the Supreme Court to declare that one can "materially support Terrorism" -- a felony -- merely by talking to, or advocating on behalf of, designated Terrorist groups. In one of the most important stories I haven't written about (but should have), it has invasively investigated and threatened with prosecution a slew of domestic peace activists and those sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. And now the precedent has been bolstered that the prime circumstance that fuels and justifies all of these powers -- war -- can be unilaterally commenced by the President for any reason, for any length of time, without a pretense of democratic consent.

  Glenn Greenwald

Let me emphasize that: The Obama administration (taking what the Bush administration started to greater heights) is on a steamroller over anyone it deems to be hampering its progress toward total state power, using the “we’re at war” justification to do it, and at the same time making the case that it has the right and privilege to start these wars that justify its actions. Nice circle if you can close it.

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

The Math Doesn't Work for Me

The president said that he would, as promised, begin the US withdrawal this July and that 10,000 of the more than 30,000 troops he sent to war in an escalation of the conflict in 2009 would be home this year.

A further 23,000 surge troops will be withdrawn by next summer, and more yet-to-be announced drawdowns will continue, until Afghan forces assume security responsibility in 2014.


Though Obama said the tide of war was receding, there will still be more than 65,000 troops in Afghanistan when he asks Americans to give him a second term in November 2012.

  Raw Story

[Obama: December 2009] When I took office, we had just over 32,000 Americans serving in Afghanistan.

Believe Me, We're All Going to Need It

Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX) will introduce legislation on Thursday to the U.S. House of Representatives that ends the federal prohibition on marijuana.

  Raw Story

I worked in a law firm in SF years ago where one of the attorneys (name left unmentioned as he has a pretty high-profile reputation - you know who you are, Cliff) told me that my "problem" was that I just needed to smoke pot.

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

No? Seriously?

The State of Florida made $62,968,946 from the sale of Floridians driver's license information in the last fiscal year, a practice that has been occurring almost unknown for years.

I-Team investigator Michael George reported that the state's Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles sells drivers' license information, including Floridians full name, date of birth, address, and driver’s license number, to ten different companies.


The department said it only sells the information to companies that intend to use it for legal purposes, and not for marketing or advertising.

  Raw Story

I have two alternate responses to that:

1) So that’s okay, then; 2) What legal purposes would those be?

I wonder what other states are doing the same.

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

If You Can Believe It

A new Bloomberg poll shows a plurality of people say they're worse off today under President Obama than they were under President Bush.

That captures a key difficulty for President Obama, to put it mildly.


And to put it accurately – if that poll represents all of Americans, it spells the end of his reign.

It Looks Vaguely Familiar

What's that wet stuff coming down from the sky?

Whoomp, There It Is

Remember my recent (June 16) post about the group of hackers who thought it would be smart to hack the CIA public website? Remember me asking how old they were – 12, 15? Remember me advising them to prepare to have the rest of their lives screwed for such a stupid and juvenile act?

Investigators believe a teenager arrested at his family home in Essex may have been a "significant" figure in a computer hacking group alleged to have staged attacks against websites belonging to the US government, the electronics giant Sony, and an elite British crime unit.

Scotland Yard cybercrime detectives were questioning Ryan Cleary, 19, over the attacks carried out by the LulzSec group, which mostly targeted websites belonging to institutions and companies in the US.

  UK Guardian

A rogue member of hacker group LulzSec is suspected to have been responsible for a hack last weekend which resulted in the theft of $9m worth of online currency.


The attack – which could cost members of Anonymous and LulzSec thousands of dollars each – suggests other, more profit-focused hacking groups may be stepping up activity in response to the more high-profile politicised groups.


LulzSec has denied any involvement in the Bitcoin hack.

  UK Guardian

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

Worth Watching

I assume you know our governor is moving toward a presidential run in 2012.

Those celebrating [Texas Governor Rick Perry] as the architect of our low-tax state would be forced to acknowledge that this is nothing new, and that Texas is also an extreme low-services state, with serious consequences for Texas families.

Education? We’re 50th in the nation in kids with a high school diploma by age 25, and 43rd in high school graduation rates. We’re 42nd in the nation in high school graduates going to college, and of those, only half earn a degree within six years.

Health care? We’re first in the nation in folks without health insurance and 49th in our low-income population covered by Medicaid.

Relative wealth? We’re fourth in the nation on the percentage of our residents living below the poverty line.

The environment? We’re first in the nation in cancer-causing carcinogens released into the air, first on toxic chemicals released into the water and first in the amount of hazardous waste generated.

I could go on, but the Legislative Study Group already has.

  Texas Tribune

An alliance of Texas LGBT-rights and faith-based groups plans to take to the streets in August to protest Gov. Rick Perry’s affiliation with the American Family Association in hosting a controversial Christian prayer and fasting event.


Several groups, including the Texas chapter of The Secular Coalition of America and the Houston Clergy Council – who recently penned a letter condemning AFA’s involvement with the event – have plans including a ‘Pray the Hate Away’ event (a jab at ‘Pray the Gay Away’ conversion techniques promoted by anti-gay groups) and protest outside Reliant Stadium on Aug. 6, the day of Perry’s prayer/fast. Diviesti projects that 10-15 grassroots organizations and some 2,000 people will join together in shared disapproval against the event. GetEQUAL will provide caravans to Houston for attendees from cities across Texas.


AFA spokesperson and former Perry speechwriter Eric Bearse [...] told radio listeners that anyone “regardless of their faith tradition or background” is invited to [the] event to “seek out the living Christ” and feel the presence of Jesus.

  Washington Independent

Texas August heat and religion. What could go wrong?

Let Texan Molly Ivins (RIP) have the last word on this. Quoting a statement of hers regarding W Bush:

"Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention."

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

About That Afghan Withdrawal...

[E]ven under the most "aggressive" withdrawal plan the President is considering -- one that he and media outlets will undoubtedly tout as a "withdrawal plan" (the headline on the NYT front page today: "Obama to Announce Plans for Afghan Pullout") -- there will still be "twice the number" of American troops in that country as there were when George Bush left office and Obama was inaugurated. That's what "withdrawal" means in American political parlance: doubling the number of troops fighting a foreign war over the course of four years.

  Glenn Greenwald

But you knew that when he first announced he was going to get out of Afghanistan.

Now That You Mention It...

The advent of robotic drone aircraft makes it easier to wage war without suffering casualties. But without risk, can military action even be called war? Or is it really just slaughter?


In which case, perhaps the War Powers Act would indeed not apply?

(As so often happens with American points of view, the "no casualties" phrase dismisses countless foreign citizens.)

Thank you, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Obama.

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

And for Future Not Wars

Yet even as the Nobel Peace Laureate and Constitutional law scholar continues a war in Libya that his own top legal advisers tell him is patently unlawful and unconstitutional, he is racheting up yet another illegal war that has already reaped a rich harvest of civilian deaths: in Yemen.

As Jason Ditz notes, the Peace Laureate is using the increasingly violent civil strife in Yemen as a cover for a vast expansion of his drone missile assassination program in that country.


[W]ith that wise, far-seeing, 11th-dimensional chess brain that the Peace Laureate is famed for, he is already looking to the future. Now that the government upheaval in Yemen has deprived him of a reliable dictator to assist his illegal war of mass assassination, Obama has decided to build yet another secret base somewhere in the volatile region – at a cost of unknown secret billions.

  Chris Floyd

Military ethicists concede that drones can turn war into a video game, inflict civilian casualties and, with no Americans directly at risk, more easily draw the United States into conflicts.


As though it isn’t easy enough already.

The Pentagon has asked Congress for nearly $5 billion for drones next year.


From blimps to bugs, an explosion in aerial drones is transforming the way America fights and thinks about its wars. Predator drones, the Cessna-sized workhorses that have dominated unmanned flight since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, are by now a brand name, known and feared around the world. But far less widely known are the sheer size, variety and audaciousness of a rapidly expanding drone universe, along with the dilemmas that come with it.


The Pentagon now has some 7,000 aerial drones, compared with fewer than 50 a decade ago. Within the next decade the Air Force anticipates a decrease in manned aircraft but expects its number of “multirole” aerial drones like the Reaper — the ones that spy as well as strike — to nearly quadruple, to 536.

The average cost for one of Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk drone aircraft has risen more than 25 percent because the U.S. Air Force cut the order by about 14 percent in its 2012 budget request, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said in a letter to lawmakers. "The primary driver of this average procurement unit cost increase is the fiscal year 2012 budget decision to decrease the Global Hawk procurement quantities from 77 to 66 aircraft," he wrote.


When the government is your only customer, supply and demand take on a serious Catch-22 attribute. Clearly we will have to purchase more.

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

Not a War

“U.S. forces are playing a constrained and supporting role in a multinational coalition, whose operations are both legitimated by and limited to the terms of a United Nations Security Council Resolution that authorizes the use of force solely to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under attack or threat of attack and to enforce a no-fly zone and an arms embargo.

  President’s Report, June 15

[June 21:] The Libyan government says 19 civilians have been killed in a NATO air strike on the home of one of Muammar Gaddafi's top officials, a day after the Western military alliance admitted killing civilians in a separate attack.

Libyan officials took reporters to Surman, 70km west of Tripoli, to the site of what they said was a NATO air strike on the home of Khouildi Hamidi.

The officials said the attack on the home of Hamidi, a member of Libya's 12-strong Revolutionary Command Council, led by Gaddafi, took place on Monday morning.

Rescue teams were looking for survivors while reporters visited the site.


Hamidi is a longtime regime insider who took part in the 1969 coup that brought Gaddafi to power.

He reportedly commanded a battalion that crushed rebels in the nearby western city of Zawiyah in March, and his daughter is married to one of Gaddafi's sons, Saadi.

Gaddafi officials said he was inside a still-intact building at the time of the strike.


NATO said it had bombed a "legitimate military target, a command and control node" in the area, and it could not confirm whether civilians had been hurt.


NATO acknowledged on Sunday that a "weapons failure" had led to civilian casualties after a strike intended to hit a missile site erred and destroyed a house in Tripoli.


The Arab League, which in March asked the UN Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians, condemned Sunday's mission by NATO.

  al Jazeera

Obviously, there was a typo in the UN resolution approving NATO’s operations in Libya. It was widely reported that the resolution authorized the establishment of a “no-fly” zone in Libya to protect civilians from being killed by military attack. However, it’s clear now that what the international body really greenlighted was a “no-life” zone, designed to, er, kill people with, er, military attacks.

It’s an easy mistake to make, really, transposing the “f” and “l” like that; a UN transcriptionist probably misheard the original intention, then mentally “corrected” it with the “y” to make it read in the more accustomed manner. Happens all the time.

  Chris Floyd

I Ask You

72% of Americans believe the U.S. is fighting too many wars. [...] in what other country could that question -- are we fighting too many wars? -- even be meaningfully asked?

  Glenn Greenwald

The Season Catches Up to the Weather

Too hot for the lemonquat.

Happy Solstice.

Meteorologists consider summer to be the hottest three months of June, July and August, which in terms of weather for those of us down here on Earth is more realistic than mid-June to mid-September.

For example, don't tell the sun-baked residents of Laredo, Texas, that summer starts only today… They've already endured 33 consecutive days of temperatures of 100 degrees or higher, including a blistering 113 degrees last Friday. And that's without a drop of rain since May 16.

The Climate Prediction Center's latest forecast for the remainder of summer is for continued warmer-than-average temperatures for the southern tier of the USA, and slightly cooler-than-average temperatures for the northern Rockies and northern Plains.

  USA Today

That’s just great news.

We had a drop of rain around then, too, and another drop a few weeks before that. But we haven't had any helpful rain since the first of March. Today I wish for hurricanes in the Gulf. Lots and lots of hurricanes. Smallish ones.

The sky in the West looks dark and heavy, but it looked that way one day last week, too. I'm officially suspicious and have given up hope that it will ever rain again.

In fact, even as I speak - well, type - the sky is clearing. Ah, another sunny day in Paradise.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Democratic Sen. John Kerry said it is time to stop questioning the exact occurrences in Osama bin Laden’s house before his death in Abbottabad, Pakistan, at the hand of U.S. Navy SEALs.

“I thinks those SEALs did exactly what they should have done,” the senator from Massachusetts and 2004 presidential nominee said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “And we need to shut up and move on about, you know, the realities of what happened in that building.”

  Political Ticker

I missed that one back in May.

Just shut up. I guess that means I shouldn’t even ask what those realities are.