Saturday, December 31, 2011

Another Nail in theAmerican Coffin of Democracy

President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law today. The statute contains a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision. While President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration would use the authorities granted by the NDAA, and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations.

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

Friday, December 30, 2011

Since It's the Holidays

Well, that is since it's the American holidays.  Or since it's the Christian and western holidays.

You know that nothing happens that needs to be reported.  The media are in holiday mode, so unless there's another 9/11, don't expect much in the way of "news".

Personally, I am catching up on the Harry Bosch novels.  I started with the Micky Haller ones, which introduced me to Michael Connelly, which I guess is kind of backwards.  Anyway, I have the latest Bosch novel and an earlier one currently in progress, and then I'll have four left to catch up the whole series.  I wonder when Harry will retire for good.....

Haller, of course, being a lawyer, will never have to stop.  On the other hand, I suppose Harry can always become a PI.  Again. 


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

PS:  Michael Connelly.   Do not sell any more rights for movies, if "Lincoln Lawyer" is any indication of what will become of them.

PS: Readers.  Do not waste your money on the movie "Lincoln Lawyer" - it was highly doubtful to perform to the standards of the book, which makes it no different than any book-to-movie film, but particularly when somebody who obviously didn't read the book (mis)cast Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller.  But it really wasn't even any good without considering that inexcusable faux pas.  I watched the entire thing only because I liked the book so much and kept hoping it would get better.

Or, I could be wrong:
[Author Michael Connelly:]    ”The casting and acting is really superb.


[...]


I saw an unfinished cut of it and could not be happier. I thought it was very loyal to the story and the character of Mickey Haller. Matthew McConaughey nails him. Those who loved the book will love the movie, I think.”


  Wikipedia
Nobody I talked to. Which either means Connelly hasn’t managed to describe the man in his head very well in his book, or he just really wants the movie to be a financial success. Which is understandable of course.  Interestingly, his latest Bosch novel doesn't even have "A Harry Bosch Book" or anything mentioning Harry Bosch on the cover.  It does have, however, this:  Author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller "The Lincoln Lawyer."  A book which was written after at least 10 Harry Bosch novels.

(Okay, I didn't talk to THAT many people about it.)
The film received very positive reviews, scoring an 83% "certified fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 156 reviews with an average rating of 6.6/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "It doesn't offer any twists on the predictable courtroom thriller formula, but with a charming Matthew McConaughey leading its solid cast, The Lincoln Lawyer offers briskly enjoyable entertainment."
Well, there you go. Briskly enjoyable entertainment.
Lionsgate Vice Chairman, Michael Burns, has expressed his interest to bring back McConaughey for a sequel to the film.
For those of you who are okay with being enjoyably entertained by your crime and courtroom drama movies.   Briskly.

And with only an 83% approval rating?  Whatever.  Maybe that's good in movie land.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tell Me Again How Great Free Market Capitalism Is

DUBAI - The Ministry of Health has warned against using breast implants made of silicon and produced by Poly Prothese PIP, a French manufacturing company.

[...]

These implants have been withdrawn by the French Agency for the Safety of Health Products after receiving reports of damage to the silicone packages they contain.

[...]

France has offered to remove the implants from an estimated 30,000 wearers there free of charge while Britain, where a similar number of women are affected, has advised them to contact surgeons when they had a specific concern.

  Khaleej Times
The tycoon at the heart of the breast implants scandal that has affected hundreds of thousands of women has admitted his company deliberately used inferior silicone gel.

The owner of bankrupt company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) Jean-Claude Mas revealed that PIP sold protheses with industrial-grade silicone that had not been approved by health authorities to be sold at discounted prices.

But wealthier clients were sold implants with high-quality gel, The Times newspaper reported.

  Daily Mail
Around 1,000 Dutch women have breast implants of the suspect kind made by a French company but sold under a different name, a Netherlands health official has said, broadening a scandal that could affect 300,000 or more women worldwide.

Health authority spokeswoman Diane Bouhuijs said a Dutch company had bought implants made by Poly Implant Prothese, which went bankrupt in 2010 after French authorities shut its doors. It is now under investigation. They were sold rebranded as "M-implants".

  UK Guardian
Venezuela is offering free surgeries for women to remove faulty French-made breast implants.

The health minister, Eugenia Sader, said women with implants made by the now-defunct French company, Poly Implant Prothese, can go to hospitals that carry out plastic surgery to have the implants removed, the state-run Venezuelan news agency reported.

  UK Guardian
Rebranded and sold elsewhere.

Oh, that's right.  The fault isn't greedy capitalists, it's poor people again.  Ladies, if you can't afford high quality breast implants, do without.  It's your own fault for trying to get a bargain.

Mission Accomplished

Create a hornet's nest and then sell ‘em arms.
The United States is pushing ahead with a weapons deal with Iraq despite the near breakdown of the coalition government.

Reports suggest the deal is worth nearly $11bn and includes advanced fighter jets and tanks.

  alJazeera
Of course, it's not really the "United States" that's getting the benefit of the arms sales, is it?  

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

And a Happy New Year

Most of our media is mesmerised by the antics of individuals, not the impact of institutions, Most media outlets are parochial, unwilling to see the economy as globalised force, with the US playing a major role.

Just as many outlets did not warn us about the coming market meltdown, most are not warning us today about what will happen if the depression we are already sinking into deepens.

The military is making contingency plans as things get worse; reports the Telegraph, "The military planning work has come to light after The Daily Telegraph disclosed last month that British embassies in the eurozone have been told to prepare emergency plans for the demise of the euro and the possible civil disorder that could follow."

This could be one reason for the passage of the new NDAA defence authorisation bill that provides for rounding up dissidents branded as terrorists while suspending legal protections.

Already, a European economic think-tank called LEAP, with a history of credible projections, warns soberly, "Already insolvent (the US) will become ungovernable bringing about, for Americans and those who depend on the United States, violent and destructive economic, financial, monetary, geopolitical and social shocks."

Does anyone really believe that our political leaders in both parties know what to do? Along with the Fed, they have been pumping trillions into the economy to mostly no avail. The promised recovery has yet to show its head.

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

The Power of Money

You don't have it.
The biggest political movement of the last year, Occupy Wall Street, has been devoted almost exclusively to addressing the gap between rich and poor, but it's hard to see how any change becomes possible when that gap is greatest among those in a position to do something about it.

[...]

Both The New York Times and The Washington Post have separate reports [this week] about the widening wealth gap between members of Congress and the people they represent. Almost half of all Congresspeople are millionaires and their median net worth has climbed to $913,000, compared to $100,000 for the rest of America households. According to the Post, that number drops to $725,000 when excluding home equity (and adjusting for inflation), but the same median figure for American families is just $20,500. And that gap has only grown wider in recent years.

[...]

The Net Worth of Congress Rose 23.6% Since 2008.

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

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

America's Drone Program

In sum: the President can kill whomever he wants anywhere in the world (including U.S. citizens) without a shred of check or oversight, and has massively escalated these killings since taking office (at the time of Obama’s inauguration, the U.S. used drone attacks in only one country (Pakistan); under Obama, these attacks have occurred in at least six Muslim countries). Because it’s a Democrat (rather than big, bad George W. Bush) doing this, virtually no members of that Party are willing to utter a peep of objection (a few are willing to express only the most tepid, abstract “concerns” about the possibility of future abuse). And even though the fact of these systematic, covert killings are widely known and discussed in newspapers all over the world — particularly in the places where they continue to extinguish the lives of innocent people by the dozens, including children — Obama designates even the existence of the entire program a secret, which means our democratic representatives and all of official Washington are barred by the force of law from commenting on it.

[...]

In other words: if you ask us about our systematic killing operation, we’ll refuse to answer or even acknowledge it exists and we will legally bar critics from talking about it in public; nobody in government can comment on our systematic killing operation except us, which we’ll do only by issuing anonymous decrees declaring it Good and Right.

  Glenn Greenwald
The only member of Obama’s team known to have formally raised objections to the expanding drone campaign is Dennis Blair, who served as director of national intelligence.

During a National Security Council meeting in November 2009, Blair sought to override the agenda and force a debate on the use of drones, according to two participants.

Blair has since articulated his concerns publicly, calling for a suspension of unilateral drone strikes in Pakistan, which he argues damage relations with that country and kill mainly mid-level militants. But he now speaks as a private citizen. His opinion contributed to his isolation from Obama’s inner circle, and he was fired last year.

[...]

[No] president has ever relied so extensively on the secret killing of individuals to advance the nation’s security goals.

The rapid expansion of the drone program has blurred long-standing boundaries between the CIA and the military. Lethal operations are increasingly assembled a la carte, piecing together personnel and equipment in ways that allow the White House to toggle between separate legal authorities that govern the use of lethal force.

[...]

[T]hey alternate taking the lead on strikes to exploit their separate authorities, and they maintain separate kill lists that overlap but don’t match.

[...]

The convergence of military and intelligence resources has created blind spots in congressional oversight.

  WaPo
#1)  Such as it is. 
#2)  Intentionally, of course.

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

Ball in Our Court

No oil will be allowed to pass through the Strait of Hormuz if the West applies sanctions on Iran's oil exports, Iranian Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi has warned.

[...]

"If sanctions are adopted against Iranian oil, not a drop of oil will pass through the Strait of Hormuz," Rahimi was quoted as saying.

  alJazeera
Then we really will have to bomb them.

First Chavez, Now Kirchner

The CIA is on the job. ;-)
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the Argentine president, has thyroid cancer and will undergo surgery next month, her spokesman says.

[...]

This kind of thyroid cancer is highly survivable, with more than 95 per cent of patients living at least 10 years after detection, according to the US National Institutes of Health.

  alJazeera
I wouldn’t call that “highly survivable”.

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

UPDATE 12/29

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speculated on Wednesday that the United States might have developed a way to give Latin American leaders cancer, after Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez joined the list of presidents diagnosed with the disease.

[...]

“It would not be strange if they had developed the technology to induce cancer and nobody knew about it until now … I don’t know. I’m just reflecting,” he said in a televised speech to troops at a military base.

  Raw Story
I’m sorry I gave him that idea. :-D

But wait, maybe it’s not really so crazy…
Chavez, Fernandez [Kirchner], Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo, Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff and former Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have all been diagnosed recently with cancer. All of them are leftists.

  Raw Story
The Church Committee is the common term for the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church in 1975. A precursor to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, this committee investigated intelligence-gathering by the CIA and FBI for illegality after certain activities had been revealed by the Watergate affair. The Committee uncovered, among many other things, that the CIA had violated its charter to perform only gathering of intelligence, through, for example, the assassinations of Allende in Chile and Mossadegh in Iran and assassinations of Central and South American leaders and revolutionaries, and assassinations in Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia. The list was tremendous. The committee even declassified a “Heart Attack Gun” the Agency had made for use in killing someone without detection. Cancer, car accidents, skiing accidents, suicide, boating accidents, heart attacks, and just plain shootings were common assassination methods. The committee's hearings, although recorded in full in congressional record, the mainstream media, and official policies, are still largely not taught in American schools on recent history. Most of the American public has not even heard of these revelations, let alone understood that their veracity has been confirmed. It is still common for people to refer to any of these assassinations as a joke or a baseless conspiracy hypothesis.

  NWOReport
In 1975, during the Church Committee hearings, the existence of a secret assassination weapon came to light. The CIA had developed a poison that caused the victim to have an immediate heart attack. This poison could be frozen into the shape of a dart and then fired at high speed from a pistol. The gun was capable of shooting the icy projectile with enough speed that the dart would go right through the clothes of the target and leave just a tiny red mark. Once in the body the poison would melt and be absorbed into the blood and cause a heart attack. The poison was developed to be undetectable by modern autopsy procedures.

[...]

In 1931, Cornelius Rhoads, a pathologist from the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, purposely infects human test subjects in Puerto Rico with cancer cells; 13 of them died. Though a Puerto Rican doctor later discovers that Rhoads purposely covered up some of the details of his experiment and Rhoads himself gives a written testimony stating he believes that all Puerto Ricans should be killed, he later goes on to establish the U.S. Army Biological Warfare facilities in Fort Detrick Maryland [...], Utah and Panama, and is named to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, where he begins a series of radiation exposure experiments on American soldiers and civilian hospital patients.

  Press
At the very least. You can be sure that if the CIA CAN do it, they WILL do it.  Click the image below...

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

The Greatest Military in the World

The number of sexual assaults reported at the country’s prestigious military academies rose sharply for the second year in a row, according to a Pentagon report issued Tuesday.

[...]

The Pentagon said it was unclear why the number of reported sexual assaults rose and that it was possible that due to recent initiatives, more victims were coming forward to notify authorities.

  Raw Story

Take the Money and Run

U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley will soon lay off 580 New York employees, according to an official US document, after earlier announcing plans to eliminate 1,600 jobs by the first quarter of 2012.

  Raw Story
Morgan Stanley bailout.

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Check!

Montana citizens have decided to try another approach given the non-responsive attitude of our leaders — they are moving to remove their two Senators from office over their votes in favor of indefinite detention powers.

  Jonathan Turley
Now you’re talking.
Montana is one of nine states with recall laws. The other states are Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wisconsin.
So, get with the program, you other guys.

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

We'll Show Them

We previously discussed the ignoble effort of the Obama Administration and U.S. airlines to claim an exemption to the European pollution taxes that applies to all other airlines. They have now lost their case before the European Court of Justice — and the Obama Administration is promising to retaliate.

The Europeans have always sought to force internalization of pollution costs to encourage companies to reduce emissions or pay for the damage caused by their activities. The idea that the U.S. airlines should get a pass on such emissions has caused condemnations through the continent.

In response, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US “will be compelled to take appropriate action” if the EU goes ahead with the scheme. It appears that “appropriate action” does not involve committing to carbon reductions.

  Jonathan Turley
No. It doesn’t. Not here.

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

It's Hard to See It All If You're Only Using One Eye

Names you will see in Michael Moore's article decrying the detention and mistreatement of Bradley Manning: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. No prize for guessing which name you won't see.

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

I Suppose It Will Be Romney After All

The family values of Newt Gingrich

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

Monday, December 26, 2011

OWS Thanks You For Your Support

I Think They've Got That Backwards

From alJazeera...


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

Their Secret Is Out

The men and women who worked on the project can now tell the world about the ultra secret spy satellites they made during the cold war.
For more than a decade they toiled in the strange, boxy-looking building on the hill above the municipal airport, the building with no windows (except in the cafeteria), the building filled with secrets.

[...]

They spoke in code.

Few knew the true identity of "the customer" they met in a smoke-filled, wood-paneled conference room where the phone lines were scrambled. When they traveled, they sometimes used false names.

[...]

Clearance could take up to a year. During that time, employees worked on relatively minor tasks in a building dubbed "the mushroom tank" — so named because everyone was in the dark about what they had actually been hired for.

  AP via Windstream Business
I wonder about people who would take a job not knowing what they’re working on (as did those working on the A-bomb). Can’t be particularly moral. You could even be working on something that will be used to kill or enslave you or your family. An irony that wouldn’t be totally unmerited.
Waiting for clearance was a surreal experience as family members, neighbors and former employers were grilled by the FBI, and potential hires were questioned about everything from their gambling habits to their sexuality.

"They wanted to make sure we couldn't be bribed," Marra says.
You can’t be bribed, but you’ll work on a project about whose outcome you have no idea. You are a perfect government puppet. A citizen any despot would be thrilled to have.
Mark Boughton, only discovered that his father had worked on Hexagon when he was invited to speak at an October reunion ceremony on the grounds of the former plant.

[...]

"Learning about Hexagon makes me view him completely differently," Boughton says. "He was more than just my Dad with the hair-trigger temper and passionate opinions about everything. He was a Cold War warrior doing something incredibly important for our nation."

[...]

Standing in the grounds of her late husband's workplace, listening to the tributes, her son and daughter and grandchildren by her side, [Betty] Osterweis was overwhelmed by the enormity of it all — the sacrifice, the secrecy, the pride.

"To know that this was more than just a company selling widgets ... that he was negotiating contracts for our country's freedom and security," she said.

[...]

For employees at Perkin-Elmer, the vow of secrecy was considered a mark of honor.

"We were like the guys who worked on the first atom bomb," said Oscar Berendsohn, 87, who helped design the optics system. "It was more than a sworn oath. We had been entrusted with the security of the country. What greater trust is there?"
Oh, I don’t know…maybe the trust that you’ll investigate whether what you’re doing actually IS securing the country? The trust that you will analyze, investigate and assess the things you do before you do them, in case they might be harmful? The trust that you’ll think and consider rather than blindly follow anyone claiming to be doing something good?
"We were born into the World War II generation," says Linda Bronico, whose husband, Al, told her only that he was building test consoles and cables. "We all knew the slogan 'loose lips sink ships.'"
Good little citizens. Easily frightened. We believe whatever we’re told. We do whatever we’re told.
And Perkin-Elmer was considered a prized place to work, with good salaries and benefits, golf and softball leagues, lavish summer picnics (the company would hire an entire amusement park for employees and their families) and dazzling children's Christmas parties.

"We loved it," Marra says. "It was our life."
Did I forget to mention that, in spite of the intense clearance procedures, the truth is that we really ARE easily bribed?

 I don’t think involvement in something you have willingly gone into blindly is something to be bragging about.
 
...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Another Brutal Police Crackdown on Occupiers

A violent police raid on the Occupy Albany encampment on Thursday night ended with multiple injuries and arrests. According to Crooks and Liars, the attack was the culmination of an effort by the city of Albany to oust the protesters by obtaining an eviction order from a New York Supreme Court judge, a maneuver that protesters called a “legal ambush.”

The videos below are disturbing. Protesters are seen calling for an ambulance after being hit full-on in the face with pepper spray. One man has what appears to be a seizure, and was reportedly taken away by paramedics amid the violence. The raid resulted in “four arrests; two protesters, two police officers and a News 10 ABC cameraman suffering minor injuries,” and the pepper-spraying of a city councilman.

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

Friday, December 23, 2011

I Smell the CIA

Without directly naming the military, [Pakistan's prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani] said on Thursday that certain institutions were behaving like a state within a state and warned that everyone should obey the elected parliament.

[...]

Two weeks ago, Interior Minister Rehman Malik dismissed rumours that a coup could overthrow the government, but Gilani's remarks appeared to show that members of the administration believe their early departure is possible.

  alJazeera
On the other hand…
The Pakistani army has rejected a US investigation that concluded mistakes on both sides led to US air strikes last month that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and severely damaged the already strained relationship between the two countries.

The response indicates the report will do little to ease tensions, a worrying development for the US because Pakistan's co-operation is critical for its conduct of the Afghan war. The Pakistani army has said its troops did nothing wrong and claimed the attack was a deliberate act of aggression.

Pakistan has retaliated by closing its Afghan border to supplies meant for Nato troops in Afghanistan and kicking the US out of a base used by American drones.

  UK Guardian
But, on the first hand…….
Pakistan’s military denied that it’s plotting to stage a coup, a day after the nation’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani warned that there is a conspiracy to remove his government.

[...]

Pakistan’s Supreme Court, backed by military chiefs and the principal opposition party, is investigating claims that President Asif Ali Zardari’s envoy to the U.S. sought American help to prevent a possible coup following the killing of Osama bin Laden in May, an account that widened a rift between Gilani’s administration and the army.

The court’s probe into a memo requesting U.S. assistance was triggered by opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and has been supported by [military chief General Ashfaq Parvez] Kayani.

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

Color Me Jaded

” If you look at the lobbying effort that takes place it Washington it is beyond belief. When we look at what happened at Wall Street and the collapse of the Wall Street as a result of deregulation, we can never forget that Wall Street spent $5 billion over a ten year period lobbying for that deregulation.

“I don’t look at Congress having a personality defect, people can’t get along and all that stuff, that’s not the issue,” he continued. “The issue is Congress is dominated by people who have a whole lot of money and if you look at what has happened in recent years, in fact Congress has been working very, very well for the top 1 percent or the top 2 percent.”

[...]

Sanders has introduced the Saving American Democracy Amendment to the Senate. The constitutional amendment would state that corporations are not entitled to the same constitutional rights as people, ban corporate campaign donations to candidates, and give Congress and the states broad authority to regulate spending in elections.

  Raw Story
Well, that won’t fly.

And thanks, Bernie, for waiting until people were in the streets before you put forth your proposal. You wouldn’t want to have done it before you knew it wasn’t popular to have Congress bought and paid for.

And speaking of people in the streets…
Anti-Wall Street protesters remained in a camp of about 20 tents in the Northern California college town of Berkeley on Thursday, a day after authorities threatened to stop overnight camping.

Rising tensions over a possible eviction in Berkeley came as authorities in Tuscon, Arizona, said they had shut down a similar camp at a park in that city.

[...]

Protesters had been at the park since November 3, and there were up to 10 of them at various times, but a high number of crimes at the site led to the decision to shut it down, said city spokesman Michael Graham.

  Raw Story
What’s a high number of crimes for 10 people in tents I wonder.

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

Thursday, December 22, 2011

At Salon.com


 In some alternate universe, I'm guessing. 


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

"Liberated" Iraq, Off to a Good Start - Part 2

At least 63 people died and 176 people were wounded in 12 bombings across the Iraqi capital [of Baghdad] on Thursday morning, health ministry sources told Al Jazeera.

The wave of bombings come amid renewed fears of sectarian strife following the withdrawal of US troops and a deepening political crisis over an arrest warrant issued for Tariq al-Hashimi, the country's vice president and most senior Sunni politician.

  alJazeera

Sorry Boys, But You Knew You Couldn't Stay

Officials have made much of “ending” the Iraq War and bringing the occupation forces home for the holidays, but they won’t be staying long, as many are now receiving new orders to deploy to Afghanistan.

[...]

[T]he statement [of redeployment] went on to say that the deployment of troops just out of Iraq to Afghanistan was a “sign of progress.”

[...]

The move was being couched in terms of a plan to withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of 2014, but privately officials have been negotiating to keep troops there through 2024, and commander Gen. John Allen conceded yesterday that the US would “probably” keep troops in Afghanistan long after 2014.

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

Strange? I Think Not

A strange thing happened Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill.

As Rep. Stenny Hoyer (D-MD) attempted to call for a vote to extend a payroll tax cut to middle class and working Americans, his Republican colleagues adjourned the House and walked out of the chamber. And if that weren’t odd enough, it got even stranger: As Hoyer railed against them for failing to help working Americans, footage from C-SPAN went silent, then cut away.

Moments later, C-SPAN took to the Internet to explain that it wasn’t their doing, but someone working for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

[S]omeone at C-SPAN took to Twitter and explained: “C-SPAN has no control over the U.S. House TV cameras – the Speaker of the House does.”

  Raw Story
Sadly, there's nothing strange about any of that.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ron Paul Can No Longer Be Ignored

The governor of Iowa says that if Ron Paul wins the GOP caucus, the best thing to do is to “ignore him” – and [...] you can see the “mainstream” media agrees.

  Justin Raimondo
They’re not going to keep ignoring him. They’re going to bring out those old racist pamphlets.
Roger Ailes and his wrecking crew hope to cash in on the “research” of one Jamie Kirchick, at the time a government employee who worked for the misnamed “Radio Free Europe,” whose piece in the New Republic last presidential election cycle cited a number of newsletters put out under Paul’s name that are supposedly “racist.”
Yeah, those.
Paul clearly did not write these newsletters, and – if I know him, and I do – in all likelihood didn’t even read them. He’s said so not once but several times over the years, and that should be the end of it – but not for bottom-feeders like Lowry, and his ilk, who thrive on dirt.
That is never "the end of it" in politics. And Paul certainly should have read them – they were going out under his name, and he knew that much.
The same scumbags who put out the Willie Horton ad, and who have gloried in describing President Obama’s “Kenyan anti-colonialist mentality,” are now launching an “anti-racist” campaign against Doctor Paul – the one Republican candidate who not only calls for ending a “drug war” that targets blacks but who also stood up against the Muslim-hating gay-bashing crazies on the stage at those Republican debates.
Yeah, that’s the way it works. Politics is dirty. And I assume Paul knows that, too.

The irony is that Republicans will spit on him for racism.

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

Criminal Barbering

Just thought you might want to see what they look like.


Click the pic to get a better look.

Ah religion. Ain't it grand?

Here’s the story.

What's With TPM?

UPDATE:  Guess what!  There were two guys calling him an asshole.  And one of them was the old guy in the camo  (see how wrong I can be?  I wonder why he thinks Newt is an asshole...):



ORIGINAL POST:

I don't get it. The headline at TPM, with picture, is this:

And the accompanying text on the home page is this:
When a man in a camouflage coat grabs your hand in an Iowa grocery store and calls you 'a fucking asshole' to your face, it might be time to take stock of your position in the state.

  TPM
But when you click the link to read the full story, while the picture is the same at the top of the page, if you scroll down the page to the actual video, it shows that this is the man who made the comments:



Unless two guys in Iowa just called him an asshole.  In which case, why not also give us the story behind the guy in camo?

My guess is: The guy in camo was sucking up to Newt.  Of course, I'm assuming on basis of an image I have about old guys in camo, which may not always hold true.  My question is: Why is TPM trying to plant a false image in your mind of the "type" of Iowan who calls out Newt Gingrich? I'm sure there'll be a correction, but you know how it is with first impressions and photographic evidence. So does TPM. That's how Fox News makes its bread and butter.

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

Okay, I'm being too hard on TPM. We all make mistakes. They'll fix it soon enough.

In case you’re wondering what happened next….
Newt Gingrich’s walk back tour reached its zenith Tuesday night, as Gingrich personally apologized to Paul Ryan for dismissing his Medicare plan as “right wing social engineering.” In an added twist, Gingrich claims that the merest mention of his extensive condemnation of Ryan’s budget from Sunday’s Meet The Press by Democrats is now out of bounds as a result.

“Any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood, because I have said publicly those words were inaccurate and unfortunate,” he told FOX’s Greta Van Susteren.

  TPM
Yes, Newt also knows the magic of public pronouncements and "the jury will disregard that" follow-ups.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Brad Manning Hearing - Day 3

U.S. government rests case against WikiLeaks suspect.

  Raw Story
Well that didn’t take long.
US Army Private Bradley Manning, accused of one of the most serious intelligence breaches in US history, came face-to-face on Tuesday with the man who turned him in to the authorities.

[...]

In [...] online conversations, which have been published by Wired.com, Manning talked about supplying classified US material to a “crazy white-haired Aussie,” an apparent reference to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

[...]

Asked why he contacted the US authorities after Manning got in touch with him, Lamo said: “What I saw in those chats was an admission of acts so egregious that it required that response.”

[...]

Under cross-examination from the defense, Lamo acknowledged he had suffered from drug issues in the past, been institutionalized for mental health problems and had pleaded guilty to computer fraud in 2004.

[...]

Earlier Tuesday, the court heard from a former supervisor of Manning, ex-army specialist Jihrleah Showman, who said she had repeatedly recommended that he not be deployed to Iraq with the rest of the unit in November 2009.

She recounted several emotional outbursts involving Manning and said she had suggested that he receive behavioral health treatment, that his access to classified information be revoked and that he not be deployed to Iraq.
Hmmmm….that sounds like a witness for the defense, not the prosecution. And Lamo (great name) doesn't make them look very good. 
You felt he had a very elevated level of paranoia?” defense attorney David Coombs asked.

“Correct,” Showman replied.

Asked if she had any idea whether Manning’s “paranoia” was due to “gender identity disorder,” Showman said there was “no indication of that.”
And why was this person on the stand during the prosecution’s turn when the prosecution is trying to claim Manning's "gender identity disorder" is the root of all evil?
Prosecutors also asked Showman about a fight with Manning some three weeks before his arrest, an incident which led to his removal from their workspace.

“He was removed because he attacked, he punched me in the face, unprovoked, and displayed an uncontrollable behavior that was deemed untrustworthy at the time,” she said.
Oh.

Perhaps the prosecution should have spent a little more time with her before trial, anyway.

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

Now There's a Headline You Don't See Every Day

I'm not going to read it. I already have all the image I want. If you'd like to, then here: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/12/20/arrested-man-dies-from-eating-cocaine-hidden-in-brothers-butt/

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

Till Our Rights Expire

The Obama administration and The New York Times are teaming up to expose and combat the grave threat posed by a Twitter account, purportedly operated by the Somali group Shabab. [...] This latest tale of Dark Terrorist Evil began on December 14 when the NYT‘s Jeffrey Gettleman directed intrepid journalistic light on the Twitter account maintained under the name “HSMPress” [...]
But terrorism experts say that Twitter terrorism is part of an emerging trend and that several other Qaeda franchises — a few years ago the Shabab pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda — are increasingly using social media like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter.

[...]
That has to be the single most amusing phrase ever to appear unironically in the Paper of Record: Twitter terrorism.

  Glenn Greenwald
Our government leaders will not be happy until they have blocked every path of dissent or, what’s worse for them, exposure.
Toward the end of the article, Gettleman tacked on what he and his editors apparently considered to be an unimportant afterthought: “Of course, it is impossible to know who exactly is operating the Twitter account.” Of course: but there’s no reason to let that small fact deter anyone.

[...]

Gettleman is back today with a new article detailing the response of the U.S. Government to his exposé. Headlined “U.S. Considers Combating Somali Militants’ Twitter Use,” the article reports:
The United States government is increasingly concerned about the Twitter account of the Shabab militant group of Somalia, with American officials saying Monday that they were “looking closely” at the militants’ use of Twitter and the possible measures to take in response. . .

[S]ome American officials said the government was exploring legal options to shut down the Shabab’s new Twitter account, potentially opening a debate over the line between free speech and support for terrorism. . . .

American officials say they may have the legal authority to demand that Twitter close the Shabab’s account, @HSMPress, which had more than 4,600 followers as of Monday night.


[...]

Presumably, the Obama administration could consider Twitter’s providing of a forum to a designated Terrorist organization to constitute the crime of “material support of Terrorism.”

[...]

What is more likely than compulsory action is thuggish extra-legal intimidation aimed at Twitter to “voluntarily” close the account. That path is less overt but just as insidious, if not more so. That is how government officials such as Joe Lieberman succeeded in cutting off all of WikiLeaks’ funding sources and web hosting options without the bother of charging that group with a crime: by demanding that Amazon, Master Card, Visa, Paypal and others “on their own accord” terminate WikiLeaks’ accounts and refuse to provide the group with any services. As EFF’s Trevor Timm asked today: “How fast does Joe Lieberman release a statement today saying we should censor the Net in the name of national security? I bet before noon.”

[...]

Having the government shut down social media accounts is laughably ineffective — it would take Shabab about 30 seconds to open a new one — but the theories embraced to justify that power are purely tyrannical.
And the only effective logical step would be for the government to crack down on the internet altogether. China is leading the way.
Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may commence persecutor, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated, that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is while our rulers are honest, and ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war we shall be going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long, will be made heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion.

~~ Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 17, 1781–1782
...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Monday, December 19, 2011

He Coulda Been a Hero

US army prosecutors claim to have found email correspondence between alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, the founder of the whistleblowing website.

Manning is said to have expressed hope in an email to Assange that publishing a file of hundreds of thousands of classified reports on Iraq and Afghanistan would prove "one of the more significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetrical warfare".

  UK Guardian
And since this is coming from the prosecution, apparently that's a bad thing.

Also, the report says Daniel Ellsberg tried to introduce himself to Manning and got booted from the courtroom.

Meanwhile in Egypt

I don't know if you've seen any of the videos of the Egyptian police in their latest impersonation of NYC and LA cops, but they're in danger of outdoing our nasties.  I don't even want to post links to the one where they're clubbing and stomping people, including a woman whose clothes they nearly rip off her before one military thug stomps her chest.  Just brutal.  One is shown actually jumping in the air to get a two-footed stomp on a man lying on the ground in the fetal position.  I'm pretty sure that one woman knocked to the ground was clubbed so hard in the head so many times that she is either dead or severely brain damaged.


Auditions for the New Godzilla Invades Pyongyang Movie






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

There Are No Mirrors in the White House

“We’re concerned about the [Venezuelan] government’s actions, which have restricted the universal rights of the Venezuelan people, threatened basic democratic values, and failed to contribute to the security in the region,” Obama said in an interview with the Venezuelan daily El Universal.

[...]

Obama said that most Latin American countries “have gone from living under dictatorships to living in democracies” but that in Venezuela, “we have been deeply concerned to see action taken to restrict the freedom of the press and to erode the separation of powers that is necessary for democracy to thrive.”

[...]

Obama said Washington “does not pretend to dictate” foreign policy to sovereign nations.

  Raw Story
No pretense about it. 
Obama said Cuba’s future “must be freely determined by the Cuban people. Sadly, that has not been the case for decades, and it is not the case today.”
No shit, Sherlock. They can barely get enough to stay alive with the decades-old US blockade.

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

"Liberated" Iraq - Off to a Good Start

Only a couple days after US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta declared the Iraq War over and turned the last US base in Iraq over to the Iraqi military, Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has struck against a Sunni Arab vice President, Tariq al-Hashimi. Iraqi police have issued an arrest warrant for Hashimi, a member of the now Sunni-dominated Iraqiya Party.

[...]

The announcement of the warrant came just after the Iraqiya Party walked out of parliament (according to al-Hayat writing in Arabic), announcing a legislators’ boycott. Iraqiya holds 91 of 320 seats and is the single largest party in that body.

[...]

Three members of the VP’s security detail had been under investigation in recent days, charged with engineering a car bombing inside Iraq’s Green Zone on November 28, allegedly in hopes of assassinating al-Maliki.

[...]

If the country’s vice president really is a terrorist, it is a sad commentary on the state of Iraqi politics. If he isn’t, then al-Maliki is deploying ‘war on terror’ accusations to grab complete power for his coalition of Shiite parties.

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

They'll Gladly Go Home

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich explained on Sunday that his policies would require up to 9 million undocumented immigrants to return to their home nations — and he predicted that they would do it voluntarily

  Raw Story
Meaning there must be a terrible incentive.
For those that have come here illegally, they might have a transition time to allow them to set [their] affairs in order, and then go back home and get in line with everybody else,” [presidential campaigner Mitt] Romney told supporters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa earlier this month. “They start in the back of the line, not at the front of the line.”
I had to forgive my elder son for making a similar comment…but Romney must know better. In my son’s case, he claimed to be all for legal immigration, but – and we are talking Mexicans here – would not abide illegals. If they would just come here legally, he insisted, there would be no problem.

When I was in Mexico, I talked to numerous Mexicans who had tried to come here legally and were all denied visas. Unless you are a wealthy Mexican with lots of reason to stay in Mexico, it’s almost impossible (particularly since 9/11) to get a visa. A small percentage are permitted entry to work in agriculture and other manual labor, but those seats are taken by Mexicans who have a connection to people already working in those jobs. Even a young man I knew in a small central Mexico town who had a steady job with the city government and worked for the presidential campaign of Santiago Creel during the last elections was denied a visa to enter the U.S. And his parents and family live in Southern California – his father having gotten his U.S. citizenship many years ago.

Keep Your Fingers Crossed

After 10 months of secret dialogue with Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents, senior U.S. officials say the talks have reached a critical juncture and they will soon know whether a breakthrough is possible, leading to peace talks whose ultimate goal is to end the Afghan war.

  Raw Story
Not a moment too soon. We need the troops in other places, such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, to name a few.

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

Raw Story Is Now Completely Under

They have been succumbing to mainstream flaws for quite a while, but I think they're there now. At least judging from this Raw Story headline's wild understatement vis-a-vis the picture.


Indeed.

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

Sunday, December 18, 2011

You're Welcome

Which Side Are You On?



Brad Manning's Lousy Defense

(Updated below)
In cross-examination, defense attorneys for Manning, who was spending his 24th birthday in court, questioned the witnesses about whether they had come across any evidence that the US Army private had “gender identity disorder.”

The line of questioning appeared to be an apparent bid by Manning’s defense team to establish that he may have been suffering from mental health issues at the time of his arrest over 18 months ago.

  Raw Story
Well, I hope not. “Gender identity disorder?” What’s that got to do with the issue of leaked military info and diplomatic cables? Mental health issues? If we’re going to claim gender identity to be a mental health issue, we’re back in the dark ages and not doing currently serving gays any favors. I hope the defense has an alternate reason for bringing this up.
When prosecutors objected to the line of questioning, Kemkes said it was relevant because it goes to Manning’s “state of mind.”

“If the accused is facing gender identity disorder and is maintaining medical articles and pamphlets in his (housing unit), then that’s relevant to his state of mind,” he said.
Well, that doesn’t look very hopeful.

I was looking forward to a defense on the grounds that the young man was acting out of morality and the desire to halt war crimes. Not – he’s obviously a mental case, after all he’s gay!
Another lawyer for Manning, Captain Paul Bouchard, sought to establish that other soldiers could have had access to the machines apparently used to send the files to Wikileaks.
He didn’t do it. Only a little better.
Robertson, who examined Manning’s personal laptop and other devices following his arrest, was asked by Bouchard whether he had “come across any evidence that PFC Manning suffers from gender identity disorder,” was “trying to create an alter ego called Breanna Manning” or was “emotionally troubled.”
OK, well there you go. And I’m very, very disappointed.

UPDATE:

What I can't know is whether this is Brad Manning's choice of defense, in which case he's no hero at all.  And it could be that the defense knows this about him.  Still, very disappointing.

In addition to the "gay sickness" defense, it appears that we are going to be blaming lax security for Manning’s actions.

This whole thing is taking a nose dive: Gender identification issues and the lack of even stricter security are causing the country harm.
[M]emorandums gave details of an email that Manning had sent Atkins in April that year in which the soldier confessed that he was suffering severe psychological problems including gender identification disorder that was making it difficult for him to do his job, to interact with other people or even to think.

[...]

In December 2010 he had to be restrained after he flipped over a table and made to grab a gun from a gun rack. In another incident he was found curled up in a foetal position on the floor of the unit.

[...]

Questioned by Manning's defence lawyer, David Coombs, Lim admitted that the incident with the gun rack was not a "minor" disciplinary matter as earlier suggested by the prosecution. Had he known about it at the time, Lim said, he would have recommended that Manning be issued with a "derog" – a disciplinary complaint that would probably have seen him removed from the intelligence unit and stripped of his security clearance.

That in turn, Lim admitted, would have meant that Manning would no longer have had access to the huge databases of state secrets from which he allegedly made his WikiLeaks downloads.

Because of his dereliction of duty in failing to pass on crucial information about Manning's state of mind to his superiors – at a key time in the soldier's alleged leaking to WikiLeaks – Atkins was demoted earlier this year to the rank of sergeant first class.

[...]

Under cross-examination by Manning's defence team, the head of the intelligence unit at the military base in Iraq where Manning was posted painted a picture of staggeringly loose controls. Soldiers were allowed to store movies on secure computer databases, were permitted to bring in commercial music CDs to areas where secure computers were in operation, DVDs were left strewn about and there was no system for checking that classified information was not removed from the building.

  UK Guardian
Could they not have claimed that the stress of being a part of the war crimes he allegedly leaked drove him to the outbursts on his record?

No. This is the defense: Brad Manning is a sick person, i.e. gay, and we need to tighten up the ship.

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

That's What I Thought

The former House Speaker and current Republican presidential front-runner [Newt Gingrich] convened a conference call with reporters on Saturday to expand on his call for Congress to subpoena judges or even abolish courts altogether if they make wrong-headed decisions. Those arguments from Gingrich at Thursday's debate in Iowa drew scrutiny and criticism from his rivals. Gingrich argued that the judicial branch has grown far more powerful than the nation’s founders ever intended and said it would be well within the president’s authority as commander in chief to ignore a Supreme Court ruling that he believed was incorrectly decided.

  The Hill
Not sure I follow that argument. Commander in chief of the armed forces has authority over the judiciary? I must have missed something back in school.
He said the principle applied most recently to the 2008 Supreme Court decision finding that the Bush administration had exceeded its constitutional authority in handling suspected terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“A commander in chief could simply issue instructions to ignore it, and say it’s null and void and I do not accept it because it infringes on my duties as commander in chief to protect the country,” Gingrich said of the Guantanamo ruling.
I see.

I’m pretty sure that, while he can certainly ignore a ruling, I don’t believe he can void it. It’s not “within the president’s authority,” it’s simply within his character. Or lack thereof.
When pressed as to whether a president could ignore any court decision he didn’t like, such as if President Obama ignored a ruling overturning his healthcare law, Gingrich said the standard should be “the rule of two of three,” in which the outcome would be determined by whichever side two of the three branches of government were on.
Oh. Now it’s a different story.

It's Sunday

The Roman Catholic church in the Netherlands was shamed on Friday when a comprehensive investigation of sexual abuse of children by clergy over 40 years found one in five vulnerable children had been molested.

An 1,100-page report from a commission led by a former education minister and Christian Democrat leader said it could identify 800 Catholic clergy and other church employees guilty of sexually abusing children in the 40 years from 1945 and that more than 100 perpetrators were still alive.

  UK Guardian
And I’m sure they will be behind bars in short order, and the Catholic Church will pay the victims millions in damages and provide lifetime counseling for what remains of their damaged lives.
With the Catholic church embroiled in child abuse scandals from Ireland to Austria and lay Catholics mobilising against the Vatican for root-and-branch reform of canon law to end celibacy in the priesthood and facilitate female ordination, the Dutch report was the latest damning verdict of serial abuse accompanied by persistent cover-ups.
It’s not that I don’t believe that celibacy laws and denial of female ordination are archaic and oppressive functions, but truly, I hope we are not supposed to believe that those are the causes of child sexual predation in the Catholic Church, and if changed will end the issue. It seems much more reasonable to believe that, at least in relatively modern times, the Catholic Church is a pedophiliac sexual predator organization fronted by and masquerading as a religious organization.
Klokk, an abuse victims' organisation in the Netherlands, said the disclosures by the Deetman inquiry went much further than it had expected and cast doubt on the Dutch church's alleged efforts to come clean. [...]Dutch cardinal, Ads Simonis, last year insisted that the church hierarchy was not involved in any cover-up.
Evidence on my side of the argument.
The Dutch church recently launched a compensation fund for victims and last week the church in Belgium did the same following a parallel scandal that reached to the very apex of the Catholic hierarchy.
More evidence. And of course, that’s not all, by a long shot. And just recently, Ireland was embroiled in the scandal. I’m guessing there isn’t a place on the globe where the church (and the power it weilds) exists without child sex abuse.



Speaking of child molestation…
Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary has said he believes he saw former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually molesting a boy – but didn't call police because he was sure "the act was over".

  UK Guardian
So that’s okay? He finished.
He said he peeked into the shower several times and that the last time he looked in, Sandusky and the boy had separated. He said he didn't say anything, but "I know they saw me. They looked directly in my eye, both of them."
Oh. And you were watching until they finished?
Paterno told a grand jury earlier this year that he was told Sandusky had done something inappropriate with a child but that he didn't press for details because McQueary was very upset.
So that’s okay? The witness was upset? Oh. Very upset.
[McQueary] said Paterno told him he'd "done the right thing" by coming to him.
Indeed. Rather than going to the police. All three of these SOBs should be behind bars.
Nine or 10 days later, McQueary said he met with school administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz and told them he'd seen Sandusky and a boy, both naked, in the shower after hearing skin-on-skin slapping sounds.

[...]

[He] referenced Shultz's position as a vice-president at the university who had overseen the campus police.
Add two more for the cage.

McQueary. The universe is not without a sense of humor.

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

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It Gets Funnier Every Time I Watch It



Of course, I may be easily amused.

h/t Stephen

Surprise!

Data on sales of previously owned U.S. homes from 2007 through October this year will be revised down next week because of double counting, indicating a much weaker housing market than previously thought.

[...]

The depressed housing market is one of the key obstacles to strong economic growth and an oversupply of unsold homes on the market continues to stifle the sector.

  CNBC
Yes, and thanks to all those banksters who foreclosed on so many people, leaving empty houses, depressing neighborhood property values to boot.

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

And CNBC has ranked the “10 most vacant cities.”

10. Kansas City, Missouri
9. Houston, Texas
8. Detroit, Michigan
7. Dayton, Ohio
6. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
5. Atlanta, Georgia
4. Memphis, Tennessee
3. Toledo, Ohio
2. Indianapolis, Indiana
1. Tucson, Arizona

Of course, Tucson has recently had all its immigrants kicked out. Or is that not right?

Today Is Brad Manning's 24th Birthday

Yesterday, he attended a hearing to determine whether he should be court-martialed.
His lawyer, David Coombs, demanded that the investigating officer, Lt Colonel Paul Almanza, recuse himself from the case on the grounds that he works as a prosecutor for the US department of justice [which is currently seeking to indict Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange].

[...]

Almanza ruled that he would not remove himself from the case and that proceedings would continue on Saturday.

[...]

Coombs presented a vigorous case to the court that Manning was being denied a fair hearing, decrying the fact that while the prosecution had been allowed all 10 of its requested witnesses, only two of the 48 defence witnesses that Coombs had asked for were being allowed (other than the 10 shared with the prosecution).

[...]

The full charge sheet was released for the first time. There are a total of 23 counts, including that Manning knowingly gave "intelligence to the enemy, through indirect means". The idea that WikiLeaks constitutes a conduit to an enemy of the US state will in itself be subject of much debate and legal argument.

[...]

At the end of the process, Almanza will make a recommendation to the commander of the military district of Washington as to what should happen next.

The commander will have the final say over Manning's fate.

[...]

As the courtroom emptied at the end of the day's proceedings, a man shouted from the public gallery: "Bradley Manning, you're a hero"; the soldier made no reaction.

  UK Guardian

There Goes Another One

A Republican mayor in Mississippi admitted this week that he was gay after an audit revealed that he spent taxpayer money at a gay adult store in Canada.

  Raw Story
I still haven't figured out why gays join the GOP in the first place.  Do they think it's the ultimate hiding place? 

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

Scary Perry - Just Another Leech on Society

Texas Governor and current Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry appears to have pulled something of a fast one on his state’s taxpayers by officially “retiring” earlier this year so that he could begin collecting an annual pension of $92,376 at the same time as he continues to draw his $150,000 a year salary as governor.

[...]

Perry was asked about the payments during a campaign stop in Iowa on Friday and replied, “That’s been in place for decades … I don’t find that to be out of the ordinary. [The Employee Retirement System] called me and said, ‘Listen you’re eligible to access your retirement now with your military time and your time and service, and I think you would be rather foolish to not access what you’ve earned.’”

[...]

The payments certainly appear to be legal but could prove embarrassing for the governor, who has complained about entitlement programs and has proposed a partial privatization of Social Security as part of his presidential campaign.

  Raw Story
No, it won't. People who support these yahoos don’t see any problem with collecting welfare for themselves. It’s just welfare for the undeserving, truly unentitled – generally brown - people  they object to.  It will be used by his GOP opponents, however.

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

Barry and the Bill

Section 1021 [ of the defense bill codifying indefinite detention...] contains a disclaimer regarding an intention to expand detention powers for U.S. citizens, but does so only for the powers vested by that specific section. More important, the exclusion appears to extend only to U.S. citizens “captured or arrested in the United States” — meaning that the powers of indefinite detention vested by that section apply to U.S. citizens captured anywhere abroad (there is some grammatical vagueness on this point, but at the very least, there is a viable argument that the detention power in this section applies to U.S. citizens captured abroad).

[...]

[Section 1022 (a)] not only authorizes, but requires (absent a Presidential waiver), that [covered persons] be held “in military custody pending disposition under the law of war.”

[...]

[It] does not contain the broad disclaimer regarding U.S. citizens that 1021 contains. Instead, it simply says that the requirement of military detention does not apply to U.S. citizens, but it does not exclude U.S. citizens from the authority, the option, to hold them in military custody.
It wouldn’t take much for a room full of lawyers (which includes the House on the Hill) to see the vagueness and (intentional) loophole in that.
[The] Obama administration already argues that the original 2001 AUMF authorizes them to act against U.S. citizens (obviously, if they believe they have the power to target U.S. citizens for assassination, then they believe they have the power to detain U.S. citizens as enemy combatants).

[...]

The proof that this bill does not expressly exempt U.S. citizens or those captured on U.S. soil is that amendments offered by Sen. Feinstein providing expressly for those exemptions were rejected.
So there will be no veto. Obama needs this bill passed into law so that his lawyers don’t have to waste time defending what he’s already doing; so that it’s no longer something they have to argue – it’s a law in black and white for all to see.

In this fashion, the president can do whatever the hell he wants and get the law to cover it later. Pretty neat trick. He’s not above the law. He is the law.
[F]ormer White House counsel Greg Craig assured The New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer back in February, 2009 that it’s “hard to imagine Barack Obama as the first President of the United States to introduce a preventive-detention law.”
Apparently it wasn’t hard for Barack Obama to imagine it.
President George W. Bush [claimed] that his office had the inherent power to detain anyone he chose, for as long as he chose, without a trial; to authorize the torture of prisoners; and to spy on Americans without a warrant. President Obama came into office pledging his dedication to the rule of law and to reversing the Bush-era policies.

[...]

This week, he is poised to sign into law terrible new measures that will make indefinite detention and military trials a permanent part of American law.

The measures, contained in the annual military budget bill, will strip the F.B.I., federal prosecutors and federal courts of all or most of their power to arrest and prosecute terrorists and hand it off to the military, which has made clear that it doesn’t want the job. The legislation could also give future presidents the authority to throw American citizens into prison for life without charges or a trial.

  NYT Editorial
Future presidents?
This is a complete political cave-in, one that reinforces the impression of a fumbling presidency.

[...]

Mr. Obama, his spokesman said, is prepared to sign this law because it allows the executive to grant a waiver for a particular prisoner to be brought to trial in a civilian court. But the legislation’s ban on spending any money for civilian trials for any accused terrorist would make that waiver largely meaningless.
It’s Obama telling us once again what a good man he is. See how he demanded a provision that would allow him to commute someone’s military detention into a civil case? I don’t know that this is a cave-in (in fact I’m no longer certain any of Obama’s cave-ins are actually cave-ins), rather than a way to get what he wants while pretending to be “the good guy.” It could be simply a cave-in, but I have more of the sense that President #Compromise has been eager to gain and maintain executive power from day one in the White House. Whether he actually sees himself as the good king who needs that power to do good, I couldn’t say. But I’m not feeling it. To accept that, you’d have to believe that he also thinks Goldman Sachs is a benevolent force for good.

Or maybe Barry is the real life Manchurian Candidate.

Or maybe he’s had a plan all along.
[Chicago, 2006:] On November 3, 2004, the day after he was elected to the U.S. Senate with a record 70 percent of the Illinois vote, Barack Obama declared, "I can unequivocally say I will not be running for national office" in 2008. Sitting for an interview late last year in his Senate office on the 39th floor of the Loop's Kluczynski Federal Building, Obama pledges the same thing: his "game plan" on taking office, he says, included "not going national but staying focused on being an Illinois senator."

[...]

Obama has become a more or less conventional blue-state Democrat who often defers to party elders. In this posture, whatever his denials, he looks like a politician with ambitions for higher office.

[...]

Obama's fans are aware that he has what the trade calls a "leadership PAC," a personal political action committee set up to give money to other politicians, thereby earning their loyalty. Obama's PAC, Hopefund, also launched a "Yes We Can" training seminar for young campaign workers in January with another session scheduled for June. Thus, Obama is building up a nationwide network of donors and workers-the kind of thing that people do when they want to lay the groundwork for a presidential campaign.

[...]

In an appearance on Meet the Press in late January, Obama again vigorously denied he had plans to run.

[...]

Obama seems to be seeking a moderate record in the Senate. "He is making alliances with people like Sam Brownback and Tom Coburn," Republican senators from Kansas and Oklahoma, respectively, Ornstein observes.

[...]

"A couple of things help me maintain some perspective," Obama says. "My political success comes relatively late, although I'm young for a senator. . . . Politics is fickle and dependent on a lot of things that have nothing to do with the merits of the candidate."

  Chicago Magazine
Indeed.

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

Detention Bill Specifics

It simply cannot be any clearer within the confines of the English language that this bill codifies the power of indefinite detention. It expressly empowers the President — with regard to anyone accused of the acts in section (b) – to detain them “without trial until the end of the hostilities.” That is the very definition of “indefinite detention,” and the statute could not be clearer that it vests this power.

[...]

Indeed, as the ACLU and HRW both pointed out, it’s the first time such powers are being codified in a statute since the McCarthy era Internal Security Act of 1950.

[...]

Under the clear language of the 2001 AUMF, the President’s authorization to use force was explicitly confined to those who (a) helped perpetrate the 9/11 attack or (b) harbored the perpetrators. That’s it. Now look at how much broader the NDAA is with regard to who can be targeted:

  Glenn Greenwald


That’s how the Obama administration justifies its ongoing bombing of Yemen and Somalia and its killing of people based on the claim that they support groups that did not even exist at the time of 9/11 [...] But this is the first time that Congress has codified that wildly expanded definition of the Enemy in the War on Terror.
Greenwald doesn't highlight what looks like a very importantly broad and vague phrase in the bill:  "any person who has committed a belligerent act."  Even if your attorney can argue that the belligerent act does not include sitting in Occupy Wall Street protests, but must be linked to aiding "such enemy forces,"  we have heard our "leaders" innumerable times accuse even each other of giving "comfort" and "aid" to the enemy by mere speech or thought.

Joe McCarthy is dancing in Hell.

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