Just Because You're Paranoid Does Not Mean Someone Isn't Out To Spy On You

Extra! Extra! Read all about it: the new federal law sanctioned by no less than the U.S. Supreme Court which requires your boss, your Internet service provider (ISP), and perhaps your loved one to keep all manner of potentially incriminating information about you. This includes email, instant messages and - who knows - maybe comments on blogs.

Waterboard weekend, anyone?

Got Polonium?

If you smoke, you certainly do.

Yes, boys and girls: the same nasty Polonium 210 isotope used to very effectively and painfully murder former KGB super spy Alexander Litvinenko - not to mention make dozens of places and people "hot" from exposure to him - is used in making cigarettes.

As With Bush And The Neocons, It's Hard For Israel To Pass Up A "Good" War

According to this in Ha'aretz, Israel expects yet another Middle East war sometime next year (which is just a month away).

Ah, but will it be another proxy war where the Israeli Defense Forces wage war in lieu of Bush?

The Old Bush In a China Shop Dilemma

Kindly supplied by the good folks at Wrapped in the Flag (tyvm, btw).

Calling All 'Roos: It's Time For Skippy's Annual Merry HanuKwanzaa Favorite Holiday Kitsch Contest

Skippy of Skippy International (the best hopper in all of blogtopia - and yes, Skippy coined that phrase right after he magnanimously allowed ee cummings to use his patented "no caps" posting formula) invites one and all to participate in the 4th Annual Skippy Favorite Christmas Carols/Movies/TV Shows Extravaganza.

Least favorite entries are also cheerfully accepted (but never capitalized!).

Some of my all-time personal faves include:

"I'll Have a Blue Christmas Without Diebold"
"It's Lovely Weather For A Waterboard Rendition On You!"
"The Twelve Ways of (Legalized) Christmas Torture"
"Dubya, The Red-Nosed Drunkard"
"Poppy Bush Got Run Over By A Reindeer"
"I Saw Dick Cheney Shooting Santa Claus!"
Mark Foley's "Little Drummer Boy" (talk about par-rum-pa-pum-hummmmm!)
"How The Rove Stole Christmas"
"Over Afghanis And Into Iraq, It's On To Iran We Go" (beats "Over the River and Thru the Woods"!)
"Oh Come All Ye GOP Felons"
"Go Tell It On O'Reilly That George W. Christ Was Born!"
"I Saw Ken Mehlman Blowing Santa Claus"
"It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Impeachment, Everywhere Bush Goes"
"Have a Holly Jolly No Bid Contract"
"All I Want For Christmas Is My Billion Dollar Tax Cut"
"Rockin' Around The Prison Christmas Tree" (as sung by Tom DeLay, Bob Ney, Randy "Duke" Cunningham, and the Mark Foley All Soprano, All Underage Boys Choir)
"Happy Macaca Socka" (is the way to say a merry George Allen Christmas Day)
"What (Man)Child Is This?" (yet another Mark Foley tune)
"Tingle Balls" (sung by Jeff Gannon)
"We Can Hardly Stand the Wait, Please 2008 Don't Be Late!"
"Silver Bells, Prison Cells, It's Justice Time In The Country"

[Ed. note: Do you see what happens when she doesn't sleep? Just watch: Bill O'Reilly will be boycotting her next! Oh, the humanity. Uh... wait: we're discussing Bush-Rove Republicans; they have no humanity.]

Iran's President Has Written to Us (As In American Citizens)

Read about the letter Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has written to us about Bush, Iraq, Iran, and trumped up war excuses.

Hey, I'm serious. I mean, our very own president can't even write a letter.

Has Colin Powell Learned His Lesson?

After taking a very active role in lying not just to Americans but to the entire U.N. Security Council to justify raping and buring Iraq (while demanding that Picasso's "Guernica" (see right) hanging in the Security Council chamber be covered because it was "too inflammatory"), Colin Powell now says the U.S. should talk rather than attack Iran.

Yet I'm sure Mr. Bush will just have Condi-kins Rice lie about mushroom clouds and how bicycle pumps can be used to blow up the world when she goes to the U.N. to lie us into Iran. Condi has zero problem lying. In fact, I believe it's all she has ever done.

Can't Lose: Support Democracy AND Enjoy Fine Music

Regular readers know I've recently "discovered" Leonard Cohen - ok, ok, I lust for his lyrics - so I'm thrilled to see the busy folks at Buzzflash have combined a very special offer on Cohen's latest, "I'm Your Man" with a premium that will help support the news Buzzflash delivers every hour of every day.

Go see. Better yet, buy it for someone you love.

World AIDS Day

While I missed it, the good people at Crooked Timber did not; they offered this thoughtful commentary:

Today is World Aids Day, and UN AIDS reports that another 14.000 children, women and men will become infected with HIV today. This year is 25 years ago that the first case was reported. In those 25 years, there has been a gigantic difference in the impact of HIV/AIDS on the affluent societies versus the poor societies, especially in sub-Saharan African. The life expectancy in some African countries such as Botswana and Swaziland is now well below 35 years. And even these statistics do not reveal the grim reality of children who are growing up without adults, in what social scientists now call ‘childheaded households’. How can a 12 year old girl feed her younger siblings? If there are no neighbours or organisations supporting them, it is likely that her only short-term survival option is prostitution. Long-term survival is something these children simply cannot contemplate.

The theme of this World Aids Day is accountability – not only of individuals who are having unsafe sex (especially those who are infecting others through unwanted sex), but also of religious leaders discouraging the use and promotion of condoms, political leaders of rich societies who don’t give enough money to fight the epidemic, and political leaders in severely HIV/AIDS-affected countries, such as Doctor Beetroot, who are misinforming the population.
Folks, just because we don't like to think about AIDS certain that it really doesn't "affect" us doesn't mean we can.

Just Because The Iraq Study Group Recommends Bringing Troops Home From Iraq Before the Start of 2008 Presidential Primary Season

... should in NO WAY whatsoever be perceived to mean that the ISG [ aka Baker-Hamilton Commission, aka More Ways To Funnel Big Checks To Bush Friends] is more interested in the Republican Party's chance to steal yet another presidential election than it is in recommending what is best for:

  • Iraq
  • The World
  • Our soldiers fighting and dying

I mean, it's simply coincidence that they happened to recommend a date that would help Rudy Giuliani or John McCain. A coincidence very much like Ronald Reagan just happening to arrange the American hostages being held in Iran got released in time for him to take office in 1980.
Honestly, Republicans only want what's best for themselves mankind (mankind is correct since it's clear they don't give a rat's aborted ass about womankind).

Secret Prisons of State Sanctioned Torture, Cooking Evidence to Brand The Innocent As "Terrorists", While Killing Habeas Corpus

Glenn Greenwald has a most thorough - and extremely important - post up about not simply the Bush Administration's decision to do away with habeas corpus (only around since the 1200s as the foundation of most sophisticated societies and democracies, but also it's embrace of torture for fun and profit and how easy it is to manufacture evidence to brand an innocent Muslim or a Bush-critical American citizen as a terrorist.

As the Christian Science Monitor stated in the weeks immediately following September 11th, one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter. Apt. So damned apt.

Go read Glenn.

Followup to Paul Krugman's Economic Storm Signals

[Ed. note: Yeah, well, I broke this into two posts so a single one does not go on endlessly like the Bush "presidency."]

Following up Krugman's 12/1 column (see here or in full there):

So that's:

  • bye bye housing boom
  • bye bye a strong value for your home
  • bye bye jobs (unless you want to greet folks who can still afford to shop at Wal-Mart or work at a restaurant where the most pressing question is, "Want fries with that?")
  • bye bye to what's left of the middle class
  • hello fuel prices climbing sharply post election (funny how that works with Bush in office)
  • hello to yet more tax cuts for billionaires
  • hello to advising your kids to enlist in the Army since Bush's wars at least make for that kind of job security
  • hello 29% interest on your rising credit card debt
  • hello depressing recession (it's hardly a receding depression, is it?)
And last, but hardly least:

Sayonara sucker (and yes, that is the correct spelling; imagine that!) to all the poor people who voted Republican against their own best interests; after all, who needs a place to live, health insurance, three meals a day, heat, or gas for the car you can't afford the monthly payments on anyway.

Oh yeah, one more thing: buy LOTS of red pens. You'll need the ink when balancing your checkbook in what remains of the Bush 43 hellish death sentence to everything we hold dear term. ::cough::

But hey, if you get too depressed, here's a cheery note: I read recently that it is not uncommon for the Bush twins to run up between $1,000 and $5,000 for a night out on the town for friends. Thankfully, these little "never held a job in their lives but can party every minute of everyday right through the same war killing lots of people their age" don't have to pay the bills. They expect bars and restaurants and resorts and such to simply write off the tab because they're ever so special.

Feel better? Me neither.

Paul Krugman: "Economic Storm Signals"

Well, our crusading Krugman has returned from vacation with the news that, if your financial status is seeing red, it's not because it's the happy holiday season. Another month or two of the Bush Administration running things (into the the ninth circle of hell) and the U.S. will qualify for third world country status.

Here's a (bitter) taste; read the rest here:

“It’s tough to make predictions,” Yogi Berra is supposed to have said, “especially about the future.” Actually, his remark makes perfect sense to economists, who sometimes have trouble making predictions about the present. And this is one of those times.

We’re now two-thirds of the way through the fourth quarter of 2006, so you might think we’d already know how the quarter is going. Yet, economists’ assessments of the current state of the U.S. economy, never mind the future, are all over the place.

And here’s the bad news: this kind of confusion about what’s going on is what typically happens when the economy is at a turning point, when an economic expansion is about to turn into a recession (or vice versa). At turning points, the various indicators that usually tell us which way the economic wind is blowing often point in different directions, so that both optimists and pessimists can find data to support their position.

The last time things were this confused was early in 2001, when most economists failed to realize that the United States was sliding into recession. If that sounds ominous, it should: the bond market, which has a pretty good record of forecasting recessions, is pointing toward a serious economic slowdown next year.

Before I explain what the bond market is telling us, let’s talk about why the economy may be at a turning point.

Between mid-2003 and mid-2006, economic growth in the United States was fueled mainly by a huge housing boom, which created jobs directly and made it easy for consumers to spend freely by borrowing against their rising home equity.

That housing boom has now gone bust. But the optimists and pessimists disagree both about how bad the bust will get and about how much damage the housing slump will do to the economy as a whole.

The optimists include Alan Greenspan, whom some accuse of letting the housing bubble get out of hand in the first place. On Tuesday, he told investors at a conference that the worst of the housing slump is over, saying that “it looks as though sales figures have stabilized.”
See this post for my follow-up (and yes, it's sarcastic).

Peter Lance's "Triple Cross" And How It Is That Osama Bin Laden's Master Spy Lives Among Us, Supported With Our Tax Dollars

The previous note about email reminded me that one of those I answered but the server won't take is a response to Peter Lance, a journalist and the author of "Triple Cross". Peter saw my post here the other day and kindly emailed me. Hopefully, I'll be able to get that reply out later today too but here's what is important.

If you didn't happen to catch the synopsis of Ali Mohamed, please do so (my previous post is here). Mohamed is the super spy recruited by bin Laden's #2, Al Zawahiri, to assassinate Sadat in 1981 only to be snuck into the U.S. by the CIA (if not also the NSA) where Mohamed then worked his way through a number of hush hush security organizations - all while still loyal to Osama - before he helped plan both the first (1993)and then the second (and most fatal) attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001.

Our punishment to him? Why, we're apparently paying him well to reside in the greater New York City metro area in the federal witness protection program, and with many of the people who should have been able to stop Mohammed now holding sweet positions in the Bush 43 Administration.

Something smell there? Oh, you betcha.

Mohamed is the subject of Peter Lance's "Triple Cross" and I have to say it sounds like a must-read. Near the top right sidebar of this blog you'll find a link to order a copy (or just click here). You can also check out Peter's Web site here. This is a story that not only should be known, it really MUST be known.

If anyone has had the chance to read it already, I'd love to hear your comments.

Email A GoGo

I owe email to several people including my favorite Pottersvillian. The good news is that I've written the replies to most of those; the bad news is that (for whatever reason), the mail just sits in my outbox, refused by not one but three different servers. Grrrrrowl.

I'll try to dynamite it out of there in the morning.

(Oh, and if MissM is reading, I just found an email from you from months back that I never saw until I had to recover some old mail tonight. A reply to that is also sitting in my outbox - better late than... uh... um... mea culpa.)


Ignoring Opportunities: Israel and Palestine

This is a few days' old, but if you happen to blissfully believe we can ignore what's going on in the Palestinian land because Iraq is such a mess, think again. All of this mess is far more tangled together than any 10 sets of your old Christmas light sets (oh hell, for Bill O'Reilly's sake, let me say "holiday" instead). As long as Palestinians are always left as outcasts, there will be no peace anywhere... not in the Middle East and not for us either.

Posted by Steve Clemons at the Washington Note:

This is a fascinating, sober piece by Harvard University's Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou on Israel-Palestine problems that looks at Hamas as an evolving, "astute" political player that needs to be engaged one way or another in any new effort at regional deal-making in the Middle East.

Here's one section:
    Ignoring the general disposition of Hamas and its dogged political determination merely tells a story of intransigence feeding intransigence.

    For the insistence on treating this organization as a terrorist group obscures the central fact of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

    In that context, a militant group that emerges as a resistance movement; grows into a social-support organization efficiently operating schools, health-care centers and welfare services; suspends its resort to force; and agrees to abide by the rules of democratic contest cannot be termed terrorist.

    As it is, Hamas has unilaterally declared since March 2005 a self-imposed cease-fire (tahdiya), which it respected for 15 months until the Israeli killing of the picnicking seven-member Ghalya family, following which the group's armed wing led a commando operation on an Israeli army base.

    On Nov. 9, Israeli forces again killed 17 individuals also members of a same family, the Althamna of Beit Hanoun.

    All along, the Israeli government failed to reciprocate the cease-fire declaration and multiplied near-daily military incursions invariably resulting in casualties.

    Since June, close to 300 Palestinians have been killed, 30 of them children.

    Regarding the other two demands of the international community, Hamas had offered in January 2004 -- and reiterated as late as Nov. 1 -- to enter into political negotiations leading to a 10-year truce (hudna), and the movement has been part to discussions, in September, on a draft document for a program that would "respect previous agreements in a manner that protects and safeguards the higher interests and the rights of the Palestinian people."

George Allen's Campaign Staff: Treat Bloggers Nicely Then Beat The Crap Out Of Them

You know how sometimes, you read or hear something very good only to realize later that it's happy horse crap? Well, here's this I just read at Think Progress (not TP's fault, as you'll see) which truly sounds just darling:

“To appeal to bloggers, you must figure out what they want – on an individual level — and become a service to them,” said Jon Henke, the official blogger for Sen. George Allen’s unsuccessful reelection campaign. “As the old ESPN saying went, you cannot stop them…you can only hope to contain them. Treat bloggers as the enemy, and you will be rewarded with an enemy; treat bloggers as valuable constituents — with individual interests — and you may be rewarded with allies.”
If you're a blogger or someone who reads blogs, it sounds all too good and reasonable, correct?

But it was at George Allen's various talks and press ops that the blogger Mike Stark, who operates Calling All Wingnuts, was rather viciously assaulted; his head all but shoved into a large plate glass window after being wrestled to the floor. The video was clear: Stark, a constituent of Allen's, merely tried to ask questions. He was pushed away and then, without raising his hands at all, had two old jock wannabes tackle him. I saw a couple of episodes like this.

I guess Mr. Henke never heard anything about that. Plus it seems that Republican (especially really rabid righties) bloggers tend to be paid better; after all, if you're going to sell your soul, you want more than pocket change.


Did The CIA And Bushies Send Terrorism/Torture Subjects To Secret Prisons In Poland, Too?

The European Union (EU) says so.

ABC News: "American Involvement In The Iraq War Is Over"

Say what?

Also from Think Progress:

The self-fashioned political swamis at ABC’s political unit write today:
    We think it was The Note that once wrote “politically, American involvement in the Iraq war is over.” That is more true today than it was yesterday, and it will be even more true next week when the Iraq Study Group dog-and-pony-with-a-purpose turns on the TV lights, and even more so when the Democratic majority rules the roost come January.
American political involvement in the Iraq war is over? That may be the conclusion of a publication that does not need to source its opinions, but all evidence indicates that the debate over Iraq will intensify, not wane.

President Bush has claimed the actual American involvement in Iraq will not be over any time soon. “We’re not leaving [Iraq] so long as I’m the president,” he said.
Perhaps we could help him by removing him as president? Hint hint.

Of Police And Emptying Guns Into Unarmed Americans

As Bob Herbert tells us in the case of New York groom, Sean Bell, shot to death in NY in a hail of gunfire from cops, lethal barrages against unarmed citizens - particularly ones of color such as blacks and Hispanics - is hardly the exception.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Proponent of Torture, Can't Think of a Mistake He's Made

Grrrrrr.... while he's "quieter" than John Ashcroft in the same job, I think "Bush's favorite lawyer" has made plenty of mistakes (I call them acts of terror, if not full treason), including that of routinely terrorizing American citizens.

From Think Progress:

Today on CNN’s Situation Room, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was asked if he could think of a single mistake he’s made during his service to President Bush during the last six years. He couldn’t do it.

Gonzales told Wolf Blitzer, “I think that you and I would — I’d have to spend some time thinking about that.” He added, “Obviously I’ve made some recommendations to my client. Some of those recommendations have not been supported in the courts. In hindsight, you sometimes wonder, well, perhaps, perhaps the recommendation should have been something different.”

What The Bushies Complained About In Iraqi Prime Minister More Than Applies To Bush

As I have ranted to others in (voice) conversations today, and as Keith Olbermann said on Countdown on MSNBC tonight, the nasty complaints "slipped" to the press by NSA chief (as well as neoconservative and Condi Rice's bad elf) about the Bush Administration "serious" concerns with al Maliki, the current "puppet" head of Iraq seems FAR more application to President Bush and his Administration as well about - but not exclusive to - Iraq.

Maureen Dowd in a column I just cited says it:

Mr. Hadley bluntly mused about Mr. Malaki: “His intentions seem good when he talks with Americans, and sensitive reporting suggests he is trying to stand up to the Shi’a hierarchy and force positive change. But the reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action.”

It’s bad enough to say that about the Iraqi puppet. But what about when the same is true of the American president?
Bush talks one thing, does another, can't stand up to any scrutiny (although he bulls through it), and his capabilities are not yet sufficient to do any good. This isn't just sad. It's not a mistake (because they've been told it's a mistake for years now and they won't change).

As Jurassic Park says at Welcome to Pottersville when he says, "Impeach The Cheerleader [Bush], And Save The World", I said a bit more strongly Tuesday when I indicated that the Bush actions in so many different areas - chiefly in wars, but there is also the economy, homeland security, ad infinitum - rises to the occasion of acts of treason.




Not a word to be said lightly, even though the Bushies have bandied it about to describe and try to terrorize (terrorize - no hyperbole there either - an administration which has made a standard and continuous practice of terrorizing its own citizens) every patriot and every citizen who stood up and said, "What you do is not right; it is not the American way as we think our forefathers intended."

Treason, ladies and gentlemen.

Nothing less.

Maureen Dowd: "Turning On The Puppet"

If you can't guess, the subject (in full here) is Iraq:

The pictures show a handsome blond kid. Nick Rapavi’s family and friends described him as a tough guy with a selfless streak. He’d wanted to be a marine since high school, and his dress uniform had a parade of medals for heroism in Afghanistan and Iraq, including a Purple Heart. He was on his third overseas deployment, and planned to go to college when he finished this stint in the spring.

The 22-year-old corporal, the oldest son of a dentist, grew up in Northern Virginia in the shadow of the Pentagon. The kid described as being “full of life” died Friday in Anbar Province, the heartless heart of darkness in western Iraq, the hole-in-the-desert stronghold of the Sunni insurgency and Al Qaeda fighters.

His mother told The Washington Post that her son’s squad had approached a gate on patrol, and Nick told his men to “stay back while he went through.”
He was shot in the neck by a spectral enemy that melted away, one of 2,874 brave Americans to die fighting in Iraq.

In Latvia, President Bush vowed yesterday that “I’m not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete.” But his words about Iraq long ago lost their meaning. Especially the words “mission” and “complete.”

At least in Anbar, the Pentagon may be about to pull troops off the battlefield. In another article yesterday, The Post, reporting on a classified Marine Corps intelligence report, said that “the U.S. military is no longer able to defeat a bloody insurgency in western Iraq or counter Al Qaeda’s rising popularity there.”

The Post went on: “The report describes Iraq’s Sunni minority as ‘embroiled in a daily fight for survival,’ fearful of ‘pogroms’ by the Shiite majority and increasingly dependent on Al Qaeda in Iraq as its only hope against growing Iranian dominance across the capital.”

ABC Nightly News went even further last night, reporting that the Pentagon is “writing off” Anbar and will send the 30,000 marines stationed there to Baghdad. “If we are not going to do a better job doing what we are doing out there,” a military official told Jonathan Karl, “what’s the point of having them out there?”

...“The memo suggests that if Mr. Maliki fails to carry out a series of specified steps,” he writes, “it may ultimately be necessary to press him to reconfigure his parliamentary bloc, a step the United States could support by providing ‘monetary support to moderate groups,’ and by sending thousands of additional American troops into Baghdad to make up for what the document suggests is current shortage of Iraqi forces.”

Just what the election said Americans want: More kids at risk in Baghdad. (W.’s kids, of course, are running their own risks, partying their way through Argentina.)

Mr. Hadley bluntly mused about Mr. Malaki: “His intentions seem good when he talks with Americans, and sensitive reporting suggests he is trying to stand up to the Shi’a hierarchy and force positive change. But the reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action.”

It’s bad enough to say that about the Iraqi puppet. But what about when the same is true of the American president?

Bob Herbert: Americans Shop "While Iraq Burns"

I've been working on a post on this subject but just found that Bob Herbert said it all (more here).

Americans are shopping while Iraq burns.

The competing television news images on the morning after Thanksgiving were of the unspeakable carnage in Sadr City — where more than 200 Iraqi civilians were killed by a series of coordinated car bombs — and the long lines of cars filled with holiday shopping zealots that jammed the highway approaches to American malls that had opened for business at midnight.

A Wal-Mart in Union, N.J., was besieged by customers even before it opened its doors at 5 a.m. on Friday. “All I can tell you,” said a Wal-Mart employee, “is that they were fired up and ready to spend money.”

There is something terribly wrong with this juxtaposition of gleeful Americans with fistfuls of dollars storming the department store barricades and the slaughter by the thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, including old people, children and babies. The war was started by the U.S., but most Americans feel absolutely no sense of personal responsibility for it.

Representative Charles Rangel recently proposed that the draft be reinstated, suggesting that politicians would be more reluctant to take the country to war if they understood that their constituents might be called up to fight. What struck me was not the uniform opposition to the congressman’s proposal — it has long been clear that there is zero sentiment in favor of a draft in the U.S. — but the fact that it never provoked even the briefest discussion of the responsibilities and obligations of ordinary Americans in a time of war.

With no obvious personal stake in the war in Iraq, most Americans are indifferent to its consequences. In an interview last week, Alex Racheotes, a 19-year-old history major at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, said: “I definitely don’t know anyone who would want to fight in Iraq. But beyond that, I get the feeling that most people at school don’t even think about the war. They’re more concerned with what grade they got on yesterday’s test.”

...This indifference is widespread. It enables most Americans to go about their daily lives completely unconcerned about the atrocities resulting from a war being waged in their name. While shoppers here are scrambling to put the perfect touch to their holidays with the purchase of a giant flat-screen TV or a PlayStation 3, the news out of Baghdad is of a society in the midst of a meltdown.

According to the United Nations, more than 7,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in September and October. Nearly 5,000 of those killings occurred in Baghdad, a staggering figure...
What the hell is wrong with us? And no, this is not entirely a rhetorical question.

Mel Gibson Of Post-Hecklers Michael Richards: "I Like Him!"

I keep wondering if Mel Gibson's immediate, "I like him!" reaction to Michael Richards in the aftermath of the much-publicized racial N-word incident after hecklers irritated Richards at the Laugh Factory:

Did Mel decide he liked Richards for giving Mel a pass (as some conservatives have said, "Mel at least had an excuse since he was drunk when he raged at Jews, but Richards has no excuse" huh? say what? Mel's excused for his possibly more hateful tirade because he can't stop drinking?) OR because there was a report the other day that perhaps Richards is not technically Jewish by birth?

::muttering::shaking head::

Jim Webb And George Bush: Spirited Conversation

Much has been made about the "conversation" which took place between Virginia's senator-elect Jim Webb (a Republican turn Democrat with a son fighting in Iraq) and President Bush at a lunch-reception for new senators. Glenn Greenwald discusses this here.

I, for one, am very pleased Webb refused for the "glamour" shot posed with Bush and for telling Bush he wanted his son home (as well as Webb saying he was tempted, yet did not, slug the president for his nasty "I didn't ask you that!").

While America's Young Men and Women Ship To War In Large Numbers...

The U.S. Embassy in Argentina may have gone so far as to ask the Bush Twins to leave because (depending on which report you read) they were often inebriated (aka drunk for the Budweiser crowd), using drugs, and running nude or near naked down corridors in public buildings.

Now, am I the only one who finds their behavior - again and again - so obscene considering how aggressively recruiters are going after young men and women the same age as Barbara and Jenna but who - unlike the twins - must work to eat, trying to convince them to go to Iraq or Afghanistan or (possibly soon) Iran or Syria?

For All This Talk Of "Hurry Up And Send In The Iraqi Troops", Bear In Mind These May Be The Death Squads

While Bush wrested from Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki words that Iraqi forces would be ready to take over by June (what year, you ask? 2007), understand that again and again, we hear that the death squads responsible for huge numbers of deaths in Iraq are identified as Iraqi Army soldiers and Iraq police. And those who aren't part of the death squads are targeted themselves - and killed in huge numbers compared to U.S. soldiers - or risk death of their families for "helping" the U.S.

No, throwing unprepared, targeted or targeting Iraqi forces into the breech is really no answer either.

But don't expect American soldiers home anytime soon, anyway. Rumsfeld and Bush have ordered up an additional 60,000 troops to deploy there in the coming few months, with no plan to send many soldiers already there home anytime soon. Bush and Cheney keep indicating that our soldiers could be there - and getting killed themselves - well into 2008 or 2009, when Bush finally (oh please - sooner!) leaves office.

Keith Olbermann's Latest Special Comment: On Newt Gingrich And Destruction of Freedom

Keith Olbermann from MSNBC's Countdown is brilliant again in his Special Comments, this one focused on presidential hopeful and formerly disgraced Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's insistence that free speech must be curbed, starting with the Internet first. Big snip here, read it all there and likely, Crooks and Liars will post the video tonight.

...“It will lead us to learn,” Gingrich continued, “how to close down every Web site that is dangerous, and it will lead us to a very severe approach to people who advocate the killing of Americans and advocate the use of nuclear and biological weapons.”

That we have always had “a very severe approach” to these people is insufficient for Mr. Gingrich’s ends.

He wants to somehow ban the idea.

Even though everyone who has ever protested a movie or a piece of music or a book has learned the same lesson:

Try to suppress it, and you only validate it.

Make it illegal, and you make it the subject of curiosity.

Say it cannot be said, and it will instead be screamed.

And on top of the thundering danger in his eagerness to sell out freedom of speech, there is a sadder sound, still — the tinny crash of a garbage can lid on a sidewalk.

Whatever dreams of Internet censorship float like a miasma in Mr. Gingrich’s personal swamp, whatever hopes he has of an Iron Firewall, the simple fact is, technically they won’t work.
As of tomorrow they will have been defeated by a free computer download.

Mere hours after Gingrich’s speech in New Hampshire, the University of Toronto announced it had come up with a program called Psiphon to liberate those in countries in which the Internet is regulated.

Places like China and Iran, where political ideas are so barren, and political leaders so desperate that they put up computer firewalls to keep thought and freedom out.

The Psiphon device is a relay of sorts that can surreptitiously link a computer user in an imprisoned country to another in a free one.

The Chinese think the wall works, yet the ideas — good ideas, bad ideas, indifferent ideas — pass through anyway.

The same way the Soviet bloc was defeated by the images of Western material bounty.

If your hopes of thought control can be defeated, Mr. Gingrich, merely by one computer whiz staying up an extra half hour and devising a new “firewall hop,” what is all this apocalyptic hyperbole for?

What's That Greenish Glow? Russian Interim Prime Minister Also Sick From Polonium-210?

That's what is being reported; that he fell sick the day after former KGB Super Spy Alexander Litvinenko died last Thursday, only a few weeks after the latter started to investigate the death of a Russian Federation journalist who was herself both critical of and investigating the presidency of Vladimir Putin.

Meanwhile, the trail of Litvinenko's travels between the time he was contaminated and when he fell ill in early November is positively glowing. A full dozen sites where Litvinenko traveled show evidence of radioactivity.

Oh, yes, and there is the little matter of the fact that you can get your own Polonium-210 online. Yum yum. But don't plan to shop for an alternative to coal for someone's Christmas stocking: you'd need about $1 million to buy enough isotopes for a lethal dose.

President Numb Nuts?

So Danny DeVito actually called our belubbed president, George W. Bush, "numb nuts" on the air on "The View"?

See what I miss for never watching TV talk shows (well, Danny DeVito and Martha Stewart showing a complete how-to procedure for how to make your own festive holiday riding crop - of titanium - with which to beat the president's ass)!

Bush's Forgotten, Ignored, Abased and Abused Lapdog, Tony Blair

[Ed. note: George and Tony, in happier days, when the fresh blush of love (of money, power, of a desire to trash the Euro in favor of the American dollar which isn't doing so hot the last several years) yet seemed sweet and new.]

Well, Bush and the White House don't like "our bestest friend", the prime minister of Britain, Tony Blair, anymore either. Pointed out by Dedalus at Blah3:

A senior State Department analyst who specializes in British politics, and who also was probably involved in the discussions recorded in the Downing St. memo, made the mistake of stating the obvious in a talk yesterday:
    Kendall Myers, a senior State Department analyst, disclosed that for all Britain’s attempts to influence US policy in recent years, “we typically ignore them and take no notice — it’s a sad business”.

    He added that he felt “a little ashamed” at Mr Bush’s treatment of the Prime Minister, who had invested so much of his political capital in standing shoulder to shoulder with America after 9/11.
So all this famous "Bush family loyalty" only flows one way, to George and the Bushes; everyone else is just a potential shitting site.

Also, While We Discuss Iraq and Afghanistan Endlessly...

Please know that great atrocities are having to the good people of Darfur, where children and very young women are often raped and/or killed simply for going out to collect a few sticks of firewood or look for water for the family.

This holiday season, make a commitment to do something to help stem the deadly, dire situation in Darfur. One less package under the tree probably won't mean much even to the greediest child (or adult); but the money from even a small gift could help these desperate people.

To make a difference - or even simply to educate yourself - please visit Save Darfur.

We Won World War II In Less Time Than It's Taken Us To Fail Iraq - Let Alone Afghanistan and the Global War on Terror - Miserably

Also from Michael Moore which, although I know many do not always agree with him, makes some strong and telling points as well as makes it clear that this light-years-beyond-quagmire-status failure is not the fault of the troops.


Monday marked the day that we had been in Iraq longer than we were in all of World War II.

That's right. We were able to defeat all of Nazi Germany, Mussolini, and the entire Japanese empire in LESS time than it's taken the world's only superpower to secure the road from the airport to downtown Baghdad.

And we haven't even done THAT.

After 1,347 days, in the same time it took us to took us to sweep across North Africa, storm the beaches of Italy, conquer the South Pacific, and liberate all of Western Europe, we cannot, after over 3 and 1/2 years, even take over a single highway and protect ourselves from a homemade device of two tin cans placed in a pothole. No wonder the cab fare from the airport into Baghdad is now running around $35,000 for the 25-minute ride. And that doesn't even include a friggin' helmet.

Is this utter failure the fault of our troops? Hardly. That's because no amount of troops or choppers or democracy shot out of the barrel of a gun is ever going to "win" the war in Iraq. It is a lost war, lost because it never had a right to be won, lost because it was started by men who have never been to war, men who hide behind others sent to fight and die.

Let's listen to what the Iraqi people are saying, according to a recent poll conducted by the University of Maryland:

** 71% of all Iraqis now want the U.S. out of Iraq.
** 61% of all Iraqis SUPPORT insurgent attacks on U.S. troops.

Yes, the vast majority of Iraqi citizens believe that our soldiers should be killed and maimed! So what the hell are we still doing there? Talk about not getting the hint.

There are many ways to liberate a country. Usually the residents of that country rise up and liberate themselves. That's how we did it. You can also do it through nonviolent, mass civil disobedience. That's how India did it. You can get the world to boycott a regime until they are so ostracized they capitulate. That's how South Africa did it. Or you can just wait them out and, sooner or later, the king's legions simply leave (sometimes just because they're too cold). That's how Canada did it.

Thanks to Invictus at Blah3 for the pointer here and to the graphic at Buckfush as well.

New And Important Book: "Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace"

[Ed. note: The Chickenhawk Conservatives love to say they're patriotic and they're the ones to "support the troops" yet funny how it is that a few studies (how scientific, I'm not sure but I can say that I sampled a random mix of 150 "left" blogs vs. 150 "right" blogs and my results match this) have shown that more "progressive" or "left" or "peace-promoting" blogs discuss real ways to support troops than do the Hindrakers and Malkins and O'Reillys of the world.]

This book I found out about on MichaelMoore.com (no, really, that Michael Moore, rather than the great patriots like Cal Thomas or Sean Hannity or Annthrax Coulter):

Written by some 80 War veterans (spanning five (5) wars) as part of the Veteran's Writing Workshop edited by Maxine Hong Kingston and published by the good folks at KOA Books, this would be a much better purchase for people than Nascar crap or Wal-Mart super crap. Royalties from this book (more than 80%) will go to very, very worthwhile organizations, many of them to promote peace between America and other nations.

Jump here to learn more. To purchase now, go here!

Update Your Military History Books: The Bush Defeat Doctrine

From Constant at Constant's Pations which you can compare to all the ways Bush screwed up (5 fatal flaws) the Middle East, according to Time Magazine:

Summary of Bush Principles: The Defeat Doctrine
  • Obtain resources and land, not victory over the enemy.
  • Fail to destroy enemy
  • Move directly, without regard to the flanks.
  • Ignore negative information.
  • Oppose the locals.
  • Squander the gains.
Let's see.. that's check, check, check, check, check, and - oh yea - check.I'm sure these points will help military scholars and soldiers for nanoseconds to come - that is, if they want to lose everything.

While The Middle East Implodes...

Steve at The Carpetbagger Report found this list of the five (5) fatal mistakes (or were they?) Bush committed with the Middle East.

Time magazine’s Scott MacLeod, reporting from the Middle East, recently spoke to a veteran Western diplomat who couldn’t muster any optimism about the future of the region. “The region is in as serious a mess as I have ever seen it,” he said. “There is an unprecedented number of interconnected conflicts and threats.”

It led MacLeod to compile a list of the president’s “five fatal mistakes” that contributed to the crisis in the Middle East. It’s a pretty solid list.

1. Bush ignored the Palestinians:
2. Bush invaded Iraq:
3. Bush misjudged Iran:
4. Bush hurt Israel:
5. Bush alienated Muslims
Always comes down to a burning Bush, doesn't it?

Ethics, Texas (Oxymoron) Style

Remind me to move to Texas if I ever want to sell my soul.

As reported by TPM Muckraker:

And the medal for most imaginative ethics ruling goes to... Texas! From The Houston Chronicle:
    A Texas official who receives any sum of cash as a gift can satisfy state disclosure laws by reporting the money simply as "currency," without specifying the amount, the Texas Ethics Commission reiterated Monday.

    The 5-3 decision outraged watchdog groups and some officials who unabashedly accused the commission of failing to enforce state campaign finance laws.

    "What the Ethics Commission has done is legalize bribery in the state of Texas. We call on the commission to resign en masse," said Tom "Smitty" Smith, who heads Texas Citizen, an Austin-based group that advocates for campaign finance reform.

    Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, a Democrat, said the "currency" interpretation would render it "perfectly legal to report the gift of 'a wheelbarrow' without reporting that the wheelbarrow was filled with cash."


New York's Charles Rangel: Why Is He Protecting Interests Of Rich Rather Than Middle And Lower Class?

[Yes, boys and girls: one of the big differences between so-called progressives and [whisper]liberals and Kool-Aid Conservative Red State Reactionaries is that the latter is happy to quote the GOP talking points while progressives and liberals are just as likely to rip a Democrat as a Republican.]

As the text below points out, Rangel truly does represent some very poor people (certainly compared to the rest of the greater NYC area, so why he's interesting in preserving fat cat tax breaks and Social Security benefit cuts, among other measures harmful to his own constituency is very bad. As for these so-called free trade pacts, tell me anyone best served by these who isn't already a billionaire.

From David Sirota, and I don't like it one bit:

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) represents one of the poorest congressional districts in New York City. He also chairs the House Ways and Means Committee - the panel that oversees taxes and entitlements.

This combination would lead the casual observer to think that Rangel, trying to represent his district, would be aggressively using his chairmanship to redirect President Bush’s tax cuts to lower-income people, strengthen and even expand Social Security and renegotiate trade deals to protect American jobs. But, no. That’s not what appears to be happening. In the weeks after the congressional election, Rangel has expressed interest in doing the exact opposite: preserving President Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy; considering Social Security benefit cuts and retirement age hikes; and supporting lobbyist-written trade pacts that have no wage, environmental or human rights protections in them. He has, in other words, moved to side firmly with the Money Party against the People Party.

Think this is hyperbole? Let’s let Rangel speak for himself. At the same time leading conservative Republican commentators like Ben Stein are saying it’s time to raise taxes on the rich to pay for the war and the deficit, here’s Rangel in the New York Observer yesterday, defending tax cuts to millionaires and falsely claiming Democrats never talked about repealing those tax cuts...


OK, I'm going off to pretend I'm a productive member of society (aka "work").

See you later.

Post 2 of 2: Why Is The Bush 43 Administration Protecting Ali Mohamed?

See my previous post (before the CentCom) statement for the lead-up to this. My information, in addition to some research in the past several hours, comes from Peter Lance, former ABC newsman, who appeared on this morning's "Democracy Now" to discuss material in what could be a shattering new book, "Triple Cross" (and if you wonder who was crossed, it's the American people and, by extension, the rest of the world). You can order "Triple Cross" here.

Among the information Lance shared today was:

  • that Mohammed was hand-picked by the man called Osama Bin Laden's #2 man in Al Qaeda, Dr. Al-Zawahiri, to be part of the assassin squad to kill Anwar Sadat in 1981
  • that although Mohamed's name was added to a "do not allow entry to U.S." terrorist watch list, the CIA (another source says the NSA may have helped) brought Mohamed into the U.S.
  • Mohamed was "fast tracked" into American citizenship, marrying a woman named Linda Sanchez in a drive-through wedding chapel in Reno, Nevada
  • Mohamed went to Fort Bragg where he infiltrated the elite Delta Force and the Green Berets
  • Mohamed also infiltrated top level CIA, FBI, and other federal organizations to have access to the most sensitive information possible re: national and global security and terrorism
  • Mohamed was intimately involved in plans to orchestrate the 1993 World Trade Center bombing as well as the September 11th terrorist attack on the now fallen World Trade Center in 2001
  • That the organization charged with going after Mohamed apparently did anything but - the Federal Southern office out of New York where Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald (remember Plamegate and how Karl Rove - aka Fat Rat Fuck - walked?) may have signed off on giving Mohamed witness protection status. Also at the office when the investigation began long before 2001 was none other than NY mayor for 9-11 Rudy (skinny rat fuck) Giuliani.
  • Mohamed is believed to be living right in the New York city metro area as we speak, on our tax dollar
  • Many of those involved in allowing Mohammed such access to this country and its "dearest" secrets hold lofty positions in the Bush 43 Administration (and Mohamed may have infiltrated the CIA, in a triple flip, when Bush 41 led the agency)
And yes, I'm giving an abbreviated version.

Post 1 of 2: CentCom: What Extremists Are Saying

Some of you may recall that I've gotten a tad of criticism (::clearing throat::) from CentCom for not posting their press releases in full. So I'm going to be a "good little American blogger" (although not exactly Little Green Footballs [LGF] and Michelle Malkin quality - oh please, how could I ever reach such lofty levels!) and give you a big chunk of today's CentCom special.

But what you can do for me is to be sure you read Post 2 in this two-part series; because you'll see that perhaps at least one other "extremist" is doing right here at home. This is purported to be a senior al Qaeda operative who perhaps was brought into this country by none other than the CIA or NSA after today's Al Qaeda #2 man Dr. Al Zawahiri drafted him to be part of the hit squad who killed Anwar Sadat in 1981. This man, Ali Mohammed, then infiltrated MAJOR security programs as well as the big Delta Force and the Green Berets while perhaps also helping blueprint the first World Trade Center attack AND September 11th (911) - has one very huge rabbi: the Bush 43 Administration.

So where is this so-called "one man 9-11 commission" (so named because he can name everyone in on 9-11)? Probably living in and around New York City in federal witness protection, having been made a proud American citizen back in the Reagan-Bush I years.

And who helped keep him from "paying" for his extremism? Well, besides Bush 41 and 43, the "elite" federal prosecutors of the Southern District out of New York, the names of which include Patrick Fitzgerald and Rudolph (Rudy) Giuliani. (wait... where have I heard Giuliani's name before... oh, right, America's "most" popular politician... the man who wants to be Bush 43's successor... the same man who led New York City for the "terrorist" attacks on the World Trade Center).

OK, now for CentCom:

First Issue of the Technical Mujahid, a New Periodic Magazine Related to Technology and Internet Security Published by al-Fajr Information Center

The first issue of what is indicated to be a period magazine, “Technical Mujahid” [Al-Mujahid al-Teqany], published by al-Fajr Information Center, was electronically distributed to password-protected jihadist forums Tuesday, November 28, 2006.

This edition, 64-pages in length, contains articles that primarily deal with computer and Internet security, in addition to other pieces explaining Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites and video types, editing, and encoding into different formats. The editors of the publication state that it was written to heed the directives of the Emir of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, and his call for technical support. Material

such as this, regarding anonymity on the Internet, concealing of personal files locally on a computer, and utilizing all schemes of encryption, is to serve as electronic jihad, and a virtual means of supporting the Mujahideen.

Like individual postings made by jihadist forum members concerning Internet security and protection of incriminating files, or manuals that were provided by the Global Islamic Media Front for the same, the “Technical Mujahid” demonstrates the technical acumen of the jihadists. Articles like, “The Technique of Concealing Files from View” and “How to Protect Your Files, Even if Your Device was Penetrated,” were written for the intermediate to advanced user, and describe a variety of methods and software that provide security. Links to download referenced software, such as the VMware virtual machine, and key generators to unlock features are also given by the editors. Another writer discusses PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) software and determines that its encryption is not adequate for the needs of the Mujahideen.

Another article, The Last Card: We Need it in their Homeland, written by a member of the information office of the Islamic Army in Iraq, like the editorial contained in the magazine and an introductory message, emphasizes the great purpose of jihad in the information sector. This front is determined by the author to be “a main pillar in the battle of Islam against the Crusaders and the polytheist belief”. To this end, advertisements for the most recent Juba sniper video from the Islamic Army in Iraq and a news caption about its release on DVDs in Iraq, is used as an example.

For future issues, the editors urge members of the jihadist Internet community to submit articles in the field of technology for publishing. They write: “My kind, technical Mujahid brother, the magnitude of responsibility which is placed upon you is equal to what you know in the regard of information. Do not underestimate anything that you know; perhaps a small article that you write and publish can benefit one Mujahid in the Cause of Allah or can protect a brother of yours in Allah. This way you will gain the great reward with the permission of Allah”.

Saudi Arabia To Cheney: "Ho, Get Yo Ass Down Here Now!"

Remember the wonderful little tale we were told last week about how Dick Cheney (aka Prince of Darkness) went down to see the Crown Prince of the Saud Royal family to ask his help for "peace" with Iraq? Well, funny story there, because it didn't quite happen like that apparently.

In fact, as Nico at Think Progress points out, how nice it is that our "elected" officials quiver at the hands of the capricious Sauds (as in "Dick, you're my bitch!):

Last weekend, Vice President Cheney traveled to Saudi Arabia in a visit that “was originally portrayed as U.S. outreach to its oil-rich Arab ally.” Cheney made the trip purportedly to discuss a “range of regional issues,” Cheney’s spokeswoman said. The Associated Press reported that Cheney was “seen as a US diplomatic push to stem surging violence in Iraq.”

But today’s Washington Post reports that the push for the meeting came from the Saudis, not the other way around:
    Saudi Arabia is so concerned about the damage that the conflict in Iraq is doing across the region that it basically summoned Vice President Cheney for talks over the weekend, according to U.S. officials and foreign diplomats.
What does it say about the nature of U.S.-Saudi relations when the Vice President can be “summoned” by the Saudi Crown Prince?

Only Bush Fails to Realize That Help From Henry Kissinger Is No Help At All

Driftglass points us to this from Asia Times:

Iraq: Kissinger's 'decent interval', take two

By Marc Erikson

At age 83, Henry Kissinger aims to recapture former glory - or ignominy as it were. Thirty-three years after being honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing peace to Vietnam (he didn't), he is insinuating himself into the row over US Iraq policy. The prospect of seeing Kissingerian principles and methods of realpolitik applied to the mess in the Middle East makes one shudder.
Crap. Bush should just give up and ask the Bush Twats Twins what to do in Iraq.

Really, those silly, drunken, drugged up pieces of flotsam he (I assume) sired really couldn't be any worse than what has been proposed by the likes of Cliff May, Jim Baker, Lee Hamilton, Bechtel, Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, and my former neighbor (and still the war criminal I would most like tried), Henry Kissinger.

Why Does Bill O'Reilly Hate Both Christmas And America So Very Much?

You know, someday, perhaps very soon, ol' Bill's conflated head's gonna explode. I only hope that Roger Ailes and Chris Wallace and Shepherd Smith are there to get splattered when it happens.

From Think Progress and of course, Bill got it ALL wrong go to the link to read it all:

Last night, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly took aim at the retailer Crate & Barrel in his latest “War on Christmas” segment. O’Reilly cited a recent article in which Crate & Barrel spokeswoman Betty Kahn is quoted saying, “We would definitely not say Merry Christmas.”

O’Reilly claimed to have “confirmed” the quote was accurate. As a result, he said he would no longer shop at the store, and alleged that the six Muslim imams removed last week from a US Airways flight “wouldn’t get handcuffed in Crate & Barrel if they started chanting and stuff.”
Oh boy, I wonder how much Crate & Barrel's stock shot up on news that customers wouldn't have to cope with Bill there.

[Postscript: Bill's head isn't anywhere near as conflated and under pressure as his ego. Both are packed with falafel goo.]


Not a Joke Here: Is It Time To Ask If The Bush Administration Has Committed Treason?

I've been reading up on treason as it is cited in case law and I'm thinking there are some real reasons to believe Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and The Beaver...er... Condi Rice and company have engaged in acts that deliberately sabotaged this nation (and others) and laid us wide open to further damage.


Speaking Of Thallium, Another Great Reason NOT To Take Up Crystal Methamphetamines

Metal Thallium, once believed to be responsible for the desperately ill and now dead former KGB spy Alexander Kitvinenko, is used in the manufacture of crystal meth, along with other just yummy, good-for-you ingredients like household caustic agents, battery acid, and other crap you can probably get real cheap at Wal-Mart.

Like I said, Thallium's a hell of a way to die (and the reason it's no longer used in rodent and ant killer).

So's crystal meth.

OK, Maybe It's 118 Years Too Late, But Here's Jack The Ripper

Or rather, scientists best reconstruction of what "Jack" looked like based on supposed eyewitness accounts.

Interestingly, the widow of one of the major suspects in the London-based killing of prostitutes happened to move to my home town long before I was born. My grandmother knew her but she was something of a local celebrity (not related to the murders).

Only much later did I realize the woman I'd heard about in old stories was the same woman discussed in an (I believe) ABC profile of the case.

Nothing But Bad News in Bush's Economy

Let's see, American home values have taken their biggest drop ever, the money czar Bernanke threatens even worse financial times, and the American dollar has hit a new 20-month low (low-low-low) against the Euro.

A Crime Likely To Get Little Attention

Serial killers usually stay successful (by their definition) by targeting those who are less likely to be missed or reported missing or won't likely call a cop or who engage in so-called "high risk" behavior. The Green River Killer from Seattle took a couple decades to catch, with a minimum of 46 women to his kill count.

So yeah, I think New Jersey does have a serial killer on its hands.

The third of four women found face down in a drainage ditch outside of Atlantic City, N.J., has been identified by New Jersey authorities as a prostitute, leading police to fear that a serial killer is on a murderous rampage targeting hookers at the low end of the city's thriving underground service industry.

Last week, the bodies of four women were found in a watery ditch along "Black Horse Pike," a seedy, destitute strip of cheap motels along Route 40 in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., located a few miles from Atlantic City.

The bodies were found within a few hundred feet of each other, all face down in several inches of water, heads turned east, wearing clothes but no shoes or socks.

At least one of the victims died of strangulation; another, officials said, died by asphyxia "by unspecified means."

Based on the decomposition of their bodies, authorities believe the women died on different days, from two days to up to a month before their bodies were discovered.

The three identified victims had worked as prostitutes. Atlantic County prosecutor Jeffrey S. Blitz said dental records had identified the third victim as Barbara V. Breidor, 42.
Unfortunately, at any given time, between 2,500 and 5,000 serial killers may operate within the U.S. Now there's a statistic.

Of the estimated 8,000 people who go missing each day, there is simply no way to tell how many end up ... well... our interstate system and the problems still inherent between communicating information between different jurisdictions continues to make it very tough if a live person taken from one city ends up dead in a different city... all the Jerry Bruckheimer/CSI shit aside.

NYPD "Deserves Justice" In 50-Shot Firing At Unarmed Black Men

You know, I'd feel more inclined to agree with this opinion piece stating that the NYPD deserves "justice" in the case where they fired 50 (count 'em) shots (one cop had to reload) at a vehicle with three unarmed black men, killing one EXCEPT...

Amadou Diallo still comes to mind. And there have been more Diallos. Where was the justice there?

And why, days after this incident, have the police officers NOT been interviewed? Oh, I know why. The cops' union keeps this from happening.

You shoot somebody, and you answer up right then unless you're very rich (think Sean Combs and Jennifer Lopez in that club shooting years back). But if you're a cop who shoots in cities like NY, no one can interview that cop until the union agrees.

Weeks can pass.

So yeah, bring on justice. But justice for all. Not just for five cops.

Mother May Have Microwaved Baby Daughter

Uh.... holy herded cats.

This move is even too stupid for the Bush Twins (who may have gotten thrown out of Argentina) and the new Bush Twins, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.

Let's Just Forget A Whole Iraq Province Since It's Inconvenient

Yes, this is the Bush Administration-Pentagon's apparent way of dealing with a whole Iraqi province: pretend it no longer exists. This is their way of fucking er.. fixing the al-Anbar province which they mishandled so atrociously that the province's citizens decided it would be better to join Al Qaeda just to get some protection from the U.S. Except Al Qaeda wasn't really there and the province just calls itself Al Qaeda affiliated.

Only in Bush's Global War on Terrorism.

The JonBenet Ramsey Murder Mystery: Coming Up On A Decade

[I don't have to mention that asshole, John Mark Karr, here, do I? But I'm not in love with so-called great college professor/book author in this story either.]

In the "I Don't Know Why You - Much Less I - Bother" Department comes this interview with John Ramsey, father of the obligatorily named "beauty queen", speaking for the first time since the [asshole] story and the death of his wife, Patsy, earlier this year.

Osama Bin Forgotten: Closing In On 2,000 Days

As Bob Geiger reminds us, it's been 1,898 days since President George W. Bush said he was going to get Osama bin Laden "dead or alive".

I know. You're sitting there thinking, "Oh, what's the rush?"

[Why has it taken so long? Well, to be fair, if we take the 1,898 days and subtract from that total the actual number of days Mr. Bush has been on vacation since he issued that proclamation, we're only talking about 3 weeks, tops!]

Sad Tale From Another War: Vietnam

Posted by Carnicki at Skippy International (the only Bush Kangaroo in Blogtopia!):

Story in WaPo about the remains of a pilot in the Vietnam War being identified and the different reactions of the pilot's widow and sister.
    For two women, so much comes down to this: a fragment of bone and the lick of a love letter.

    Military scientists recently compared the bone recovered in a North Vietnamese jungle where an Air Force pilot's plane went down 40 years ago to saliva on letters he had sent his wife. It was a DNA match, they announced. At last, they said, the remains of Col. Charles J. Scharf had been found.

    What they couldn't have known, however, was how differently that announcement would affect two women he left behind.

    His widow, Patricia Scharf, 72, of Northern Virginia, has never remarried, has never had children and still considers the Vietnam War officer the love of her life. For her, the announcement was the gentle rub across the shoulder she had waited four decades to feel, one that let her know it was all right to let go.

    For Barbara Scharf Lowerison, 72, his sister in California, the announcement was a slap. It meant she was losing -- if she had not already lost -- her fight to convince officials that her brother is alive, a prisoner of war.
I am not joking when I say I'm choking back tears here.

Impeachment For Shits & Giggles, Bad

From Skippy and yes, I agree wholeheartedly with him and Christy at FDL:

christy harden smith at fdl opines that impeachment for impeachment's sake is not good; investigations into the administration's shenanigans to find real impeachable offences is good
But I decided that, with Bush's comments about Al Qaeda today, enough is enough.

I'm not thinking impeachment.

I'm talking treason.

See the graphic topping this page.

Newt Gingrich: Kill Free Speech To Save America

As Jonathan Turley (Professor of Constitutional Law at George Washington University) just put it so aptly to refer to what Newt Gingrich, who wants to cut First Amendment protections of free speech, wants to do:

You cannot save the U.S. Constitution by shredding it.

Why Experts Put The Lie To Bush's New Claim That All Iraq Violence Is Fault of Al Qaeda

As NBC News nicely detailed tonight, Bush's claim today that Al Qaeda - the choice bogeyman of this administration since Year 2000 - is responsible for the violence in Iraq and not civil war simply is not true. His own people prove it.

First up is General John Abizaid who told Congress about two weeks ago that Al Qaeda had no significant presence in Iraq, amounting to no more than 2% or so of all activity or about 1,300 "fighters". Did Abizaid lie?

Next, on November 20, William Caldwell (I believe) of CentCom said in a press op that American forces had arrested almost all true Al Qaeda forces in Iraq, rendering them incapable of any significant efforts there whatsoever. Did Caldwell and CentCom lie?

Many terrorism experts have told us again and again that Al Qaeda had virtually NO base in Iraq before we invaded the country and only minimal activity in there since. Are they lying?

Or, more likely, did George Bush simply decide today to pull out that ever so convenient bogeyman: formerly Osama Bin Laden (except we didn't get him IF we ever tried since the Bushies and the bin Ladens are ever soooo close) and now Al Qaeda?

In other words, did our president lie?

Through his ugly teeth.

Funny, When Tracy Morgan Gets Arrested For DUI, It's BIG News...

But when Bush operates the country under the influence of ... whatever the hell drugs and alcohol he's been using to cause this degree of brain-and-root-rot, we (s)elect him to a second term.

Americans. We're so damned special!

What White House Calls "Stunt By NBC News", American Public Says Is Correct: Iraq Is In Civil War

Right now, 85% of respondents agree Iraq is in civil war.

Mind you, only for the Bush White House is "civil war" a wussy, shifting, "political" stunt. A civil war is rather clearly, inambiguously defined.

Perhaps we can send Tony Snow a dictionary... and Bush a new brain.

Kristof: Iraq - "The Cowards Turned Out To Be Right"

To read it all:

For several years, the White House and its Dobermans helpfully pointed out the real enemy in Iraq: those lazy, wimpish foreign correspondents who were so foolish and unpatriotic that they reported that we faced grave difficulties in Iraq.

To Paul Wolfowitz, the essential problem was that journalists were cowards. “Part of our problem is a lot of the press are afraid to travel very much, so they sit in Baghdad and they publish rumors,” Mr. Wolfowitz said in 2004. He later added, “The story isn’t being described accurately.”

Don Rumsfeld agreed but suggested that the problem was treason: “Interestingly, all of the exaggerations seem to be on one side. It isn’t as though there simply have been a series of random errors on both sides of issues. On the contrary, the steady stream of errors all seem to be of a nature to inflame the situation and to give heart to the terrorists and to discourage those who hope for success in Iraq.”As for Dick Cheney, he saw the flaw in journalists as indolence.

“The press is, with all due respect — there are exceptions — oftentimes lazy, often simply reports what someone else in the press says without doing their homework.”

Mr. Cheney and the others might have better spent their time reading the coverage of Iraq rather than insulting it, because in retrospect those brave reporters based in Baghdad got the downward spiral right.

“Many correspondents feel a sense of vindication that the administration finally accepts what we were screaming two years ago,” notes Farnaz Fassihi, who provided excellent Iraq coverage for The Wall Street Journal. Now Ms. Fassihi wonders how long it will take for the administration to acknowledge the reality of 2006 that Iraq correspondents are writing about: the incipient civil war.

Dexter Filkins, who covered Iraq brilliantly for this newspaper until his departure this summer to take up a fellowship at Harvard, says he was constantly accused of reporting only the bad news, of being unpatriotic, and of getting Americans killed.

“I don’t think it ever affected our reporting,” he said. “But I did find it demoralizing, the idea that the truth — the reality on the ground that we were seeing every day — did not matter, that these overfed people sitting in TV studios and in their living rooms could just turn up the volume on what they wanted to be happening in Iraq and that that could overwhelm the reality.”

...So how about if the administration devotes itself less to managing the news and more to trying to manage Iraq?
I second that notion!

Be Worried: "The Next Two Years"

From Glenn Greenwald on Jeffrey Toobin's lastest article:

In an excellent new New Yorker article, Jeffrey Toobin documents how Arlen Specter lambasted the Military Commissions Act as a tyrannical, unconstitutional, profoundly unjust atrocity, only to then, like the good boy that he is, cast his vote in favor of it. After his habeas corpus amendment failed, "Specter, visibly angry, left the Senate chamber. He told reporters that he thought the habeas ban was 'patently unconstitutional' and vowed to vote against the detainee bill." The next day -- the next day -- he voted in favor of it. That's just sad.But one of the most glorious results of the midterm elections is that it has relegated former-Chairman Specter (such a nice-sounding phrase) to an inconsequential afterthought. The more important aspect of Toobin's article is that it provides an important and potent reminder that while it is nice that Democrats, rather than Bush-loyal Republicans, now control Congress, the people who occupy the White House don't think that matters because they believe -- literally -- that Congress has no power to restrain what they do.

One episode which Toobin recounts is that Lindsey Graham travelled with Dick Cheney's counsel, John-Yoo-copycat David Addington, to Guantanamo in 2002, and on the way back, Graham tried to convince Addington to "allow" Congress to enact legislation legalizing the administration's detention and interrogation practices (which, as of that time, had no legal authorization whatsoever). In other words, just like they wanted to do with the President's illegal warrantless eavesdropping program, Congress pleaded with the Bush administration after the fact to be permitted to pass legislation approving of what the President had ordered.

But the administration refused to allow Congress to authorize what they were doing because the administration wanted it to be as clear as could be that they could do whatever they wanted in the national security area (defined as broadly as possible) and that Congress had no role whatsoever to play -- even to rubber-stamp the Leader's Will...

...On Sunday, the Boston Globe's Charlie Savage -- one of the country's few real "journalists" in the meaningful sense of that term -- documented Dick Cheney's decades-long obsession with vesting all power in a single authoritarian leader and rendering Congress almost completely impotent, nothing more than a symbolic body. One of the incidents which Savage described, one of which I was not previously aware, is that Cheney actually urged the first President Bush not to seek Congressional approval for the Persian Gulf War, arguing that the President had the power to start whatever wars he wanted regardless of whether Congress approved or not:
    "I was not enthusiastic about going to Congress for an additional grant of authority," Cheney recalled in a 1996 PBS "Frontline" documentary. "I was concerned that they might well vote 'no' and that would make life more difficult for us."

Save The Children, Indeed

Also from Levi at Jews Sans Frontieres comes this (a post entitled "Save the Children... from Israel"), at a time when some 900 Palestinian children have died in the last few years from Israeli weaponry, much more than the equally tragic but far more extensively publicized deaths of children in Israel from Palestinian suicide bombers (strange, a teenager with a rigged suicide belt just never has quite the destructive efficacy of a U.S.-manufactured-and-donated-to-Israel helicopter gunship shooting "fish in the barrel" of a locked-in Palestinian community or refugee camp):

    The end of the [Lebanon] war has not meant the end of suffering for children. Unexploded bombs are a real and present danger for children. Towards the end of the war some 4,000 explosive items were dropped daily on southern Lebanon; with a failure rate estimated by the mine action group to be at least 10%. These included cluster bombs, which have a much higher failure rate.

    Often brightly coloured and the size of drinks cans, children can mistake these deadly weapons for toys or pick them up for souvenirs. Unexploded bombs are expected to be found under destroyed buildings. As families clear the rubble – often with the help of children – further casualties are expected.

    The risk of accidents for children is now very high. Villages that have been flattened by intense bombings have become a highly dangerous environment for children to live and play in. This increased risk of physical injury is at a time when health centres are struggling with shortages of medicines, fuel and water, which increases the threat to children’s safety even more.
There's also a link to a page that shows what Save the Children is doing to protect children from these racist war criminals of the State of Israel.
And the U.S. does the same in Iraq; we encircle Sadr City and Fallujah, permit no one to leave, and then bring in our airborne gunships to shoot randomly. Some who die are troublemakers... but many are innocent civilians, among them so, so, so very many children.

Let's Not Forget Who Besides The United States Also Armed Iran: Israel

From Levi at Jews Sans Frontieres who reminds me of a statement by Shimon Peres (a man I have at times revered for his honesty and who now - sadly - serves Israeli PM Olmert) I have heard and read before:

Hell it was only yesterday! Well 20 years ago yesterday. It was on 26th November 1986 that the then Israeli Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, owned up to Israel's arms dealing to Iran in what became known as the Iran-Contra Affair. This is from the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs:
    In September, when the Israeli government radio accused Iranian troops of training Lebanese Shiite guerrillas for attacks on the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army, and said that Iranians themselves might also have been among those who attacked Israeli positions in Lebanon, the US media reported those charges in great detail. None found the time or space, however, to note how ironic it was for Israel to complain about Iranian military activities.

    Iran might have been hard put to continue its costly six-year-old war with Iraq—not to mention simultaneously stirring up followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini in Lebanon—if Israel had not been willing to sell the Khomeini government great quantities of the weapons Iran desperately needed to keep its army in the field. That is only one of the anomalies of Israel's booming arms trade. US law and US policy also come in for some stretching and twisting. Over the course of the Gulf war, Iran's quest for weapons has become legendary, with many countries and hordes of private arms dealers eager to conclude arms deals and reap the premium commissions Iran offers.

    Israel, with standing access to the same models of US-made arms upon which the Shah based Iran's arsenal, and with its desire to build up an indigenous arms industry, has led the pack. The London Observer estimated that Israel's arms sales to Iran total $500 million annually.
The WRMEA is well worth a regular look at. I should try it some time.

Blogger Lawyer Glenn Greenwald To Appear On "Democracy Now!" Tomorrow

Glenn Greenwald of the most excellent Unclaimed Territory informs us he'll be a guest on Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now!" tomorrow (Wednesday, 11-29-06).

You can catch this on a number of TV and radio stations (including some of the NPR stations plus Central Vermont's own community radio station WGDR) as well as on satellite TV stations FreeSpeech TV and Link-TV, and also, streaming on the 'net at Democracy Now!

More On Death of Russia Spy And Critic Alexander Litvinenko: Why It Matters

Here's this addition to my previous post:

Scaramella has said that he met Litvinenko at a London sushi restaurant on Nov. 1, the day the former spy reported falling ill. Scaramella said he showed Litvinenko e-mails from a confidential source identifying the possible killers of Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya and listing other potential targets for assassination — including himself and Litvinenko.
This explains why Scaramella needs protection.

But is the UK - with Tony Blair as Putin and Bush's comrade - the protector or... worse? We know how filthy dirty Italy's Berlusconi is and Italy seems to factor into this mess as well.

I have to admit this situation haunts me. Since the day before Thanksgiving when I saw Litvinenko staring out from his death bed as if to challenge us, I've wondered if the challenge means, "I tried to investigate for us all but I will die soon. Can you carry the torch? I do not know. I fear you won't."

Sadly, I don't know either - not when the U.S. media is far more interested with how well Wal-Mart is doing this holiday shopping season. Yet this case has to matter to us all.

Putin. Bush. Blair. Berlusconi.

All have become enemies of democracy, of peace, of truth, of the people.

What will we do?

I Agree With Bush This Much: We Can't Just Pull Troops From Iraq

However, to have President Bush insist "we can't leave until victory" is achieved begs the questions: whose victory and how is victory defined?

I do not believe that we can in any good faith just walk out of Iraq after all we have done to hurt this country; we've basically abandoned Afghanistan making it far worse than before Bush sent troops in there to "catch Osama bin Laden dead or alive" on October 8, 2001 (I remember where I was at the moment).

But if this was a fucking football team, we'd fire the manager. No? Well, we're having more than just a couple losing seasons here, folks.

So keep troops there, but can (impeach and try for treason) Bush and Cheney, and then bring back in those military men who told us even before we landed in Iraq what the Bushies planned was wrong to figure out how to fix it.

Then we need investigations into all the money filtered to Halliburton (run by Cheney before 2001) and Bechtel (run by Rumsfeld and company before 2001) and others and probably not only force these companies into receivership and take all assets to reimburse the people of Afghanistan and Iraq first, and then the taxpayers of the U.S. I would think seizing Bush and Cheney family assets until trials (note: plural) can determine culpability.

Oh, and then Mr. Popular Politician, Rudy Giuliani and his "sudden" Giuliani & Associates needs truly serious scrutiny for how he got all these no-bid sweetheart contracts ONLY after 9-11. I think he might need to cut a multi-million dollar check back to American taxpayers and the people of Iraq as well.

Thallium Makes For A Hell Of A Way To Die

[Update: CBS News says the dead spy implicated Putin in his sickness just before his death.]

[Ed. note: Doctors now say it's unlikely Alexander Litvinenko died from Metal Thallium but instead the radioactive Polonium 210. Either way, this man, someone who came up through KGB ranks with Putin who turned into a potent critic and investigator of Kremlin and KGB nefarious activities, died a hellish death. We need more, not less, Litvinenkos and, at the very least, I have to wonder whether whoever killed him didn't at least have the partial goal to silence not just critics but those who uncover excesses of any state.]

So why is Tony Blair's U.K. being so careful with the dead-from-Thallium former KGB colonel's lunch date from around the time the spy got ill? From CBS News:

One of the last people to see former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko before he fell fatally ill is being held under tight security and protection. Meanwhile, five more people were sent to a clinic for radioactive contamination testing.
To protect the lunch date from such poisoning is one thing; to keep that person in a bubble to be sure he/she is never investigated for complicity is an entirely different matter.

I keep wondering about the spy's last case: the one of the Russian Federation journalist who made such a "pest" of herself to Bush and Blair's favored Putin. The one killed herself under highly questionable circumstances just weeks before Litvinenko.

Seems like both Litvinenko and the journalist might have had a great deal more to tell us about Bush's other bestest friend, Vladimir Putin.

The Bullshit Baker Commission And The "Centrist" Position on Iraq

I meant to steer folks over to Glenn Greenwald's analysis of the much heralded (no frickin' idea why, IMHO) James Baker Commission study on Iraq. It's well worth your time if just for the links offered and to imagine how much the neocons keep whining that they are sadly misunderstood and were really, really right to want to invade Iraq and take over the world, one Bush invasion at a time.

Glenn also points us to this list of Baker Commission elves from energy groups (heh), mega financiers, and the likes of a corporate security guy from Bechtel, and wait.. Clifford May?

Clifford May? That asshole???? And frankly, an anus is ever much more useful than Cliff May because you need your ass at least once a day to keep your body in good working order. Cliff May hasn't been useful once in his frickin' life!

As I recall, the last time I looked at the roster and agenda for the "U.S. Institute for Peace" (more of the Bush-Baker Iraq elves), its name was NOT apt. This is more appropriately called the U.S. War Machine Propaganda Corporation.