Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Oh My Stars and Bars

If you're needing a little comic relief in your election week, check this out.

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


Look, America, you've had your fun. It was great to pretend that we all are just a nation of bootstrappy pioneer entrepreneurs who Built It All Ourselves. It made us feel all warm and tingly in our Chris Matthews parts when our favorite millionnaire radio hosts and TV stars told us what strong and independent people we are, what stalwart heirs to the best traditions of the Founders we are, and how absolutely spiffy we looked in our tricorns and knee breeches out there on the mall. It made us feel powerful when we elected a Congress full of loons and vandals. It was a tremendous, rolling good time to follow this year's Republican primary, in which, while the rest of the world likely looked on in horror, one of our two political parties allowed a veritable Wrestlemania of political dementia to produce the most singularly soulless and mendacious nominee since it allowed Richard Nixon to rise from moldy earth again. It was great good jolly fun to come right up to the edge of n-bombing the president and then, giggling like schoolboys caught wanking out a window, run away.

But, honestly, it's time to get real about things. Honestly, it's time for someone to politicize this storm for what it is.


[F]inally at the end of its tether, Irony washes down forty-five Xanax with a bottle of Kentucky Gentleman, and hurls itself off a cliff:

  Charlie Pierce

Former FEMA Director Michael Brown offered criticism of President Obama’s early responses to Hurricane Sandy yesterday .


“One thing he’s gonna be asked is, why did he jump on [the hurricane] so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in…Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas?”


Brown is not the only one making the insinuation that Obama and his administration are responding too quickly to Sandy only for political reasons. He’s joined in his accusations by such prominent right-wing commentators as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and columnist Charles Krauthammer.

However, Brown’s comments carry a special irony due to the role he played during the Hurricane Katrina debacle in 2005. As director of FEMA during the legendarily botched response, Brown, famously dubbed “Brownie” by President Bush, was in the center of criticism from both sides of the aisle that the Bush administration was too slow to respond. An internal review by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector-General following the disaster concluded, “Much of the criticism is warranted.” Brown resigned from his position as director less than two weeks after Katrina hit.

  Think Progress

You'd think, of all people, Brownie Brown, the literal horse trader with no experience appointed to run FEMA by George W. Bush in return for campaign contributions would keep quiet about the response to a national natural disaster, particularly a hurricane. Apparently, he hasn't gotten any smarter since Katrina.

[E]ven though the Republican half of it was an embarrassing clown show, this election has come down to a battle between two visions of the functions of the national government and, through that, a battle over whether the political commonwealth exists at all. It is not politicizing anything to point out the obvious fact that one side of these arguments is lying as a soggy pulpish object on the beaches of New Jersey, and the other one is out there trying to get the lights back on.


Willard Romney and Paul Ryan [...] are on record — and on audiotape, and on video, and all over the Intertoobz, and, for all I know, bellowing from the fillings in your teeth — as recommending that the federal government's responsibility for things like disaster relief be either handed back to the states, or privatized entirely. They have made this argument in public. They have made this argument as part of the reason why you should vote for them.


What they are saying now in an attempt to walk back their earlier arguments is almost assuredly nothing but a barrel full of lies. They'd be out there saying the very same things today if they hadn't gotten blindsided by this storm.

  Charlie Pierce

Yes, I wonder how the states of New York and New Jersey would be handling disaster relief right now if they were cut off from any Federal assistance.  (And, BTW, I think we all know who the Republicans will be running for the office in 2016 - we're looking at you, Governor Christie, as you know full well.  Nicely done.  No snark.)

Doesn't matter though. Abortion! Gay marriage!

I don't need to state explicitly that I am not endorsing Barack Obama, do I? There are other, better - far better - choices.

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


Happy Halloween

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Key Response Approval

“I spoke to the president three times yesterday,” [New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie] explained. “He called me for the last time at midnight last night asking what he could do. I said, if you can expedite designating New Jersey as a major disaster area that that would help us to get federal money and resources in here as quickly as possible to help clean up the damage here.”

“The president was great last night,” Christie continued. “He said he would get it done. At 2 a.m., I got a call from FEMA to answer a couple of final questions and then he signed the declaration this morning. So I have to give the president great credit. He’s been on the phone with me three times in the last 24 hours. He’s been very attentive, and anything that I’ve asked for, he’s gotten to me. So, I thank the president publicly for that. He’s done — as far as I’m concerned — a great job for New Jersey.”

  Raw Story

And, furthermore...

“Over the last couple of months, you have appeared throughout the country, Governor, on behalf of Mitt Romney,” [Fox News co-host Steve] Doocy remarked to Christie. “[W]e hear that perhaps Mr. Romney may do some storm-related events. Is there any possibility that Gov. Romney may go to New Jersey to tour some of the damage with you?”

“I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested,” Christie replied.


“I have a job to do,” he added. “I’ve got 2.4 million people out of power, I’ve got devastation on the shore, I’ve got floods in the northern part of my state. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics then you don’t know me.”

"Storm-related events." 

Let's hope that Rmoney's team isn't as clueless as Fox News host Steve Doocybag.  The smartest thing for Rmoney to do at this point is ask people to pitch in to help hurricane victims and also praise Obama's handling of the situation (as long as it's going well). 

1-800-JERSEY7  to volunteer to help out in New Jersey.

Poverty in America

Of course, it's their own damn fault, right?

Click the pic to take the quiz.


At Apple, Heads Will Roll

Has Apple gotten too big not to fail?  Two execs are on the chopping block over the recent failures of Apple products to live up to Steve Jobs' standards. 

If only apple had been following the Microsoft approach of fail often and keep churning out the crap, their recent failures would have gone by unremarkably.   Of course I don't know anything about the two booted execs nor the particulars of why those two were booted but I suspect that if you are particular about your product, you should limit company growth. The more people you have to bring into it, the more likely you are to get people with substandard standards, the more likely to bring on people whose only concern is the size of their paycheck, and the less likely you are to be able to keep it all closely monitored.

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

Monday, October 29, 2012

Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me

The ad-libbing Wait, Wait panel was having a good time at the iPad Mini's expense on the first panel round this weekend:

"Is the old iPad now called MaxiPad?"

"The iPad Mini is groundbreaking because it's bigger than an iPhone and slightly smaller than an iPad. It's the most exciting product launch since Fruit-of-the-Loom invented medium."

"It's for people who go to a diner and order half a sandwich; no – 6/8ths of a sandwich."

"It's not as small as the iPhone, but it's small enough that your dad will still probably try to wear it in a holster on his belt."

"The good thing about it is that new map program of theirs is only half as bad."

You Can't Say That Here

For years, Bush officials and their supporters equated opposition to their foreign policies with support for the terrorists and a general hatred of and desire to harm the US. During the Obama presidency, many Democratic partisans have adopted the same lowly tactic with vigor.


Imran Khan is, according to numerous polls, the most popular politician in Pakistan and may very well be that country's next Prime Minister. He is also a vehement critic of US drone attacks on his country, vowing to order them shot down if he is Prime Minister and leading an anti-drone protest march last month.

On Saturday, Khan boarded a flight from Canada to New York in order to appear at a fundraising lunch and other events. But before the flight could take off, US immigration officials removed him from the plane and detained him for two hours, causing him to miss the flight. On Twitter, Khan reported that he was "interrogated on [his] views on drones" and then added: "My stance is known. Drone attacks must stop." He then defiantly noted: "Missed flight and sad to miss the Fundraising lunch in NY but nothing will change my stance."

The State Department acknowledged Khan's detention and said: "The issue was resolved. Mr Khan is welcome in the United States."

  Glenn Greewald

After we jerk him around enough to show everybody who's boss.

Customs and immigration officials refused to comment except to note that "our dual mission is to facilitate travel in the United States while we secure our borders, our people, and our visitors from those that would do us harm like terrorists and terrorist weapons, criminals, and contraband," and added that the burden is on the visitor "to demonstrate that they are admissible" and "the applicant must overcome all grounds of inadmissibility."

Apparently, being opposed to our drone strikes in your country makes you suspect.

Greenwald also points out that a similar fate was met by Shahzad Akbar - a Pakistani lawyer who represents drone victims in lawsuits against the US. He was initiallly denied entry but an international backlash pressured the US into reversing that decision. Muhammad Danish Qasim, a Pakistani student who created a film about the effects of drone strikes on the Pakistani people, won the Audience Award for Best International Film at the 2012 National Film Festival For Talented Youth but could not go to Seattle to receive that award because he was denied permission to enter the US.

These folks ought to be very careful. We have two words for them: disposition matrix.

PS: Read here a thoughtful response to Obama's drone joke:

And Blah, Blah, Blah

“Our first order of business is going to be to get our deficits and debt under control,” the president explained. “And the good thing is is that there’s a forcing mechanism. The Bush tax cuts end at the end of the year. We know that we’ve got the sequester looming that wouldn’t be the right way to do things, that’s taking a machete to something as opposed to a scalpel.” “And after the election, I think that both Democrats and Republicans have to step back and say, ‘You know what? This is something that the country wants to solve.’ If I’ve won, then I believe that’s a mandate for doing it in a balanced way.”

  Raw Story

Not that he jumped into the sack with banksters and corporate CEOs to deepen the burden, or anything, immediately upon winning in 2008.

And you can be assured he'll respond to a mandate, because the mandate he had for ending the way Washington does business both at home and around the globe upon winning in 2008 has been so well answered.

Maybe he's been working with a scalpel when he should have used a machete.

Brings to mind the 1992 Democratic primary debates when Jerry Brown was angling toward the presidency.  In one round, after the other potential candidates (including Bill Clinton) had made some mealy-mouthed response to a question about the then current state of affairs and what they'd do about it, Brown nearly shouted, “These guys are talking about tweaking this and that, when what we need to do is take a machete in there.” (Please, that's not an exact quote, I'm sure.) Of course, he was right, and the forest of corruption and bad policy has only thickened for lack of that machete.

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

A Pedophile Honored by the Catholic Church?!

The Vatican said Sunday it regretted conferring a papal knighthood on Jimmy Savile in 1990, but said there was no way to revoke the honour despite revelations of child sex crimes committed by the disgraced British television star.

The Vatican is “deeply saddened that someone who has been defiled in this way could have been, in his lifetime, put forward for an honour awarded by the Holy See, which, in the light of recent information, should certainly not have been conferred,” said Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi.

  Raw Story

Oh, too bad. Too bad they were “in bed with” a pedophile outside their ranks in 1990 – someone whose ass they couldn't cover.  Too harsh?  How about, too bad they don't investigate proposed honorees as intensely as they investigate supposed miracles before offering their stamp of approval?

Asked about the possible withdrawal of the honour, Lombardi said that the Vatican “strongly condemned horrible sexual abuse crimes committed against minors.”

Yes, we've noticed.

And here's the nonsensical explanation for not withdrawing his honored award:

“Given there is no permanent and official list of people who have received papal honours in the past, it is not possible to strike out anyone from a list that does not exist.”

Yeah.  I'm thinking my first characterization of the situation was not too harsh at all.

Savile's family, however, had no problem revoking any honor:

On 9 October 2012, minutes after a police press conference, relatives stated that by request of the family, the headstone of Savile's grave would be removed, the inscriptions ground away, then destroyed and sent to landfill. The family later cited their sorrow for the "anguish" of the victims and "respect [for] public opinion", and a statement by a nephew that: "We recognise that even our own despair and sadness does not compare to that felt by the victims ... How could the person we thought we knew and loved do such a thing? ... Our thoughts and our prayers are with those who have suffered from every kind of abuse over so many years and we offer our deepest sympathy in what must have been a terrible time for all of them ... We can understand their reluctance to say anything earlier and can appreciate the courage it has taken to speak out now."


Now, that is the kind of response that should be coming from the Vatican. (And even moreso considering it should have made that response countless times already for the heinous crimes of its priests over many centuries.)

In October 2012, almost a year after his death, an ITV documentary examining claims of sexual abuse against Savile led to broad media coverage and a substantial and rapidly growing body of witness statements and sexual abuse claims, including accusations against public bodies for covering up or failure of duty. Scotland Yard launched a criminal investigation into allegations of child sex abuse by Savile over six decades, describing him as a "predatory sex offender", and later stated that they were pursuing over 400 lines of inquiry based on the testimony of 300 potential victims via fourteen police forces across the UK.


It was alleged that rumours of Savile's activities had circulated at the BBC in the 1960s and 1970s, but no action had been taken.

Rebutting the Case for Voting for Obama

You may desperately not want Mitt Rmoney as president, but, if you have any need for a clear conscience, you clearly cannot vote for Barack Obama.  Click the excellent banner graphic below to be reminded why.

Until we refuse to support either of the two anti-democratic parties in power, we'll always be saddled with them.

 ...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Pull Out

A few days ago, I participated in a debate with the legendary antiwar dissident Daniel Ellsberg on Huffington Post live on the merits of the Obama administration, and what progressives should do on Election Day. Ellsberg had written a blog post arguing that, though Obama deserves tremendous criticism, voters in swing states ought to vote for him, lest they operate as dupes for a far more malevolent Republican Party. This attitude is relatively pervasive among Democrats, and it deserves a genuine response. As the election is fast approaching, this piece is an attempt at laying out the progressive case for why one should not vote for Barack Obama for reelection, even if you are in a swing state.


The civil liberties/antiwar case was made eloquently a few weeks ago by libertarian Conor Friedersdorf, who wrote a well-cited blog post on why he could not, in good conscience, vote for Obama. While his arguments have tremendous merit, there is an equally powerful case against Obama on the grounds of economic and social equity.


Many Democrats are disappointed in Obama. Some feel he’s a good president with a bad Congress. Some feel he’s a good man, trying to do the right thing, but not bold enough. Others think it’s just the system, that anyone would do what he did. I will get to each of these sentiments, and pragmatic questions around the election, but I think it’s important to be grounded in policy outcomes. Not, what did Obama try to do, in his heart of hearts? But what kind of America has he actually delivered?


[A]fter the Obama inflection point, corporate profits recovered dramatically and surpassed previous highs, whereas home equity levels have remained static. That $5-7 trillion of lost savings did not come back, whereas financial assets and corporate profits did.


The foreclosure crisis, with its rampant criminality, predatory lending, and document forgeries, represents the flip side. Property rights for debtors simply increasingly exist solely at the pleasure of the powerful. The lack of prosecution of Wall Street executives, the ability of banks to borrow at 0 percent from the Federal Reserve while most of us face credit card rates of 15-30 percent, and the bailouts are all part of the re-creation of the American system of law around Obama’s oligarchy.


Look at the broken promises from the 2008 Democratic platform: a higher minimum wage, a ban on the replacement of striking workers, seven days of paid sick leave, a more diverse media ownership structure, renegotiation of NAFTA, letting bankruptcy judges write down mortgage debt, a ban on illegal wiretaps, an end to national security letters, stopping the war on whistle-blowers, passing the Employee Free Choice Act, restoring habeas corpus, and labor protections in the FAA bill. Each of these pledges would have tilted bargaining leverage to debtors, to labor, or to political dissidents. So Obama promised them to distinguish himself from Bush, and then went back on his word because these promises didn’t fit with the larger policy arc of shifting American society toward his vision.

  Salon – Matt Stoller

Well, to be fair (and accurate), it wasn't a matter of shifting society toward Obama's vision (although it seems apparent that this is his vision also.) This is not a new direction since Obama has been in the White House. This is not Obama or the Democrats coming up with an evil plan to destroy the middle class. It is simply a continuance and deepening of the system we have in place which is thoroughly grounded in corporate control of a pretense of democracy. Should Rmoney be the president in 2013, he will be equally as embedded in that system.

However, we're all aware of Obama's kill list - er, I mean, disposition matrix - and the drawdown of combat soldiers in favor of increasing drone strikes (and some of our liberal brethren may be secretly - or even publicly - in favor of those things).  So we can - should - hold Obama responsible on his own merits for some very bad policy, domestic included ....

[D]uring the [2009 presidential] transition itself, Bush’s Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson offered a deal to Barney Frank, to force banks to write down mortgages and stem foreclosures if Barney would speed up the release of TARP money. Paulson demanded, as a condition of the deal, that Obama sign off on it. Barney said fine, but to his surprise, the incoming president vetoed the deal.


It is not that Obama was stymied by Congress, or was up against a system, or faced a massive crisis, which led to the shape of the economy we see today. Rather, Obama had a handshake deal to help the middle class offered to him by Paulson, and Obama said no. He was not constrained by anything but his own policy instincts.

And furthermore...

Obama is the president who insisted that women under 17 shouldn’t have access to Plan B birth control, overruling scientists at the FDA, because of his position ”as a father of two daughters.” Girls, he said, shouldn’t be able to buy these drugs next to “bubble gum and batteries.” Aside from the obvious sexism, he left out the possibility that young women who need Plan B had been raped by their fathers, which anyone who works in the field knows happens all too often. In his healthcare bill, Obama made sure that government funds, including tax credits and Medicaid that are the key to expanding healthcare access to the poor, will be subject to the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits their use for abortion.

[...But] there is a lot more to women’s rights than abortion. Predatory lending and foreclosures disproportionately impact women. [...] Under Obama, 1.6 million more women are now in poverty. [...] The teacher layoffs from Obama’s stimulus being inadequate to the task disproportionately hit women’s economic opportunity.


There are only five or six states that matter in this election; in the other 44 or 45, your vote on the presidential level doesn’t matter. [...] So, unless you are in one of the few swing states that matters, a vote for Obama is simply an unabashed endorsement of his policies. But if you are in a swing state, then the question is, what should you do?

And so we come to another “election”.  Well, more of a statement of who we really don't want, as opposed to a vote for someone we really do.

As of 2012, the highest office in the land depends upon which warlord has better rigged the districts, the rules and perhaps the voting machines, and scared the most voters away from the opponent.  Let's hope we don't devolve further to the next point where it's a question of which warlord has killed the most opponent's voters. 

Even if you are in a swing state, and you vote for Barack Obama for any other reason than you support his destructive policies both foreign and domestic, or for Mitt Rmoney for any other reason than you truly believe that he'll actually do what he says he'll do (which day?) - and that's what you want done - you are, to borrow a phrase from Dylan, only a pawn in the game.  The game is rigged, and a vote for someone you don't want ensures that it will stay that way.  If you don't like either one, then vote for someone else. 

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

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Penn Has a Good Point

Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller):

It's Sunday

"With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion." – Steven Weinberg, physicist

It's Sunday

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

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I can believe it.  That's just the type of gift their god would give women.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Me Too?

The History Center at the Galveston public library has a display for the electoral season. Here's a picture of a couple of the bits of memorabilia from 1927 and 1928 they're showing, including an ad for fire and police commissioner:

See the Cat? See the Cradle?

"[B]elief in human rights law and civil liberties leads one to the uncomfortable conclusion that President Obama has violated his oath to uphold the Constitution. But that’s not the primary question for voters. It is less about him than it is [the voters]. They have an obligation to cast their vote in a principled fashion. It is, in my opinion, no excuse to vote for someone who has violated core constitutional rights and civil liberties simply because you believe the other side is no better. You cannot pretend that your vote does not constitute at least a tacit approval of the policies of the candidate..

"[...T]he question, I think, that people have got to ask themselves when they get into that booth is not what Obama has become, but what have we become? That is, what’s left of our values if we vote for a person that we believe has shielded war crimes or violated due process or implemented authoritarian powers. It’s not enough to say, “Yeah, he did all those things, but I really like what he did with the National Park System.” .

"[...] I think that people have to accept that they own this decision, that they can walk away. I realize that this is a tough decision for people but maybe, if enough people walked away, we could finally galvanize people into action to make serious changes. We have to recognize that our political system is fundamentally broken, it’s unresponsive. Only 11 percent of the public supports Congress, and yet nothing is changing — and so the question becomes, how do you jumpstart that system? How do you create an alternative? What we have learned from past elections is that you don’t create an alternative by yielding to this false dichotomy that only reinforces their monopoly on power."

–  Jonathan Turley, attorney, legal scholar, writer, commentator, broadcast and print legal analyst, Constitutional law professor at The George Washington University Law School, and very nice man

  Shannyn Moore
The candidate supported by progressives — President Obama — himself holds heinous views on a slew of critical issues and himself has done heinous things with the power he has been vested. He has slaughtered civilians — Muslim children by the dozens — not once or twice, but continuously in numerous nations with drones, cluster bombs and other forms of attack. He has sought to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs. He has institutionalized the power of Presidents — in secret and with no checks — to target American citizens for assassination-by-CIA, far from any battlefield. He has waged an unprecedented war against whistleblowers, the protection of which was once a liberal shibboleth. He rendered permanently irrelevant the War Powers Resolution, a crown jewel in the list of post-Vietnam liberal accomplishments, and thus enshrined the power of Presidents to wage war even in the face of a Congressional vote against it. His obsession with secrecy is so extreme that it has become darkly laughable in its manifestations, and he even worked to amend the Freedom of Information Act (another crown jewel of liberal legislative successes) when compliance became inconvenient.

He has entrenched for a generation the once-reviled, once-radical Bush/Cheney Terrorism powers of indefinite detention, military commissions, and the state secret privilege as a weapon to immunize political leaders from the rule of law. He has shielded Bush era criminals from every last form of accountability. He has vigorously prosecuted the cruel and supremely racist War on Drugs, including those parts he vowed during the campaign to relinquish — a war which devastates minority communities and encages and converts into felons huge numbers of minority youth for no good reason. He has empowered thieving bankers through the Wall Street bailout, Fed secrecy, efforts to shield mortgage defrauders from prosecution, and the appointment of an endless roster of former Goldman, Sachs executives and lobbyists. He’s brought the nation to a full-on Cold War and a covert hot war with Iran, on the brink of far greater hostilities. He has made the U.S. as subservient as ever to the destructive agenda of the right-wing Israeli government. His support for some of the Arab world’s most repressive regimes is as strong as ever.

America’s National Security State, its Surveillance State, and its posture of endless war is more robust than ever before. The nation suffers from what National Journal‘s Michael Hirsh just christened “Obama’s Romance with the CIA.” He has created what The Washington Post just dubbed “a vast drone/killing operation,” all behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy and without a shred of oversight. Obama’s steadfast devotion to what Dana Priest and William Arkin called “Top Secret America” has severe domestic repercussions as well, building up vast debt and deficits in the name of militarism that create the pretext for the “austerity” measures which the Washington class (including Obama) is plotting to impose on America’s middle and lower classes.


Also, President Obama [...] signed the NDAA and its indefinite detention provisions into law.

  Glenn Greenwald

There may not be anybody on your ballot who deserves your vote, but that doesn't mean you can't cast your vote for someone who does. It might be "wasted" - but only by the standard that forces us into voting for someone we don't want. How insane is that? Is that democracy? Are you participating in democracy by voting for one of two pre-selected (by wealthy corporate interests) tools or are you really simply aquiescing to a feature of oligarchical tyranny and convincing yourself you made a free choice? Campaign finance reform is certainly necessary, but the more urgent reform needed is to our voting system itself. Anyway, it will never happen, and so...

Good luck out there. I hope you're already wealthy.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Big Commercial

A film about the killing of Osama bin Laden which will air two nights before the US presidential election has been re-edited to feature more footage of Barack Obama.


Harvey Weinstein, a studio head and prominent Democrat who has contributed to the president’s campaign, tweaked the film, Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden, to broaden Obama’s role. The new version of the 90-minute feature [...] will debut in primetime on 4 November on the National Geographic Channel, and be available the next day on Nextflix

  Raw Story

Ha. I had read they were releasing it after the election because of complaints about it being a big commercial for Obama, but that the release of trailers before the election was their way of getting around that. Perhaps that wasn't true. Or perhaps it was and they've decided Obama might not be a shoe-in after all.

..but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Kill List" Sounded Wrong to So Many People

So we're going to substitute "kill" with "dispose" and have a "disposition list."   No...even that sounds too Stalinesque.  Let's call it a "disposition matrix."

Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the “disposition matrix.”

The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. U.S. officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the “disposition” of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.


What?!?  There are people beyond the reach of American drones?!?

Have you already taken the red pill?  Then, too late for you, Neo.  I guess you're stuck with "kill list."  Try to stay off it; that's my best advice.  No charity donations.  You can't be sure where the money will end up.

“We can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us,” a senior administration official said. “It’s a necessary part of what we do. . . . We’re not going to wind up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying, ‘We love America.’ ”

Third Party Debate

Four third-party candidates, who were not invited to the presidential debates between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, have faced each other in Chicago. Tuesday's debate was hosted by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, a group promoting a more open electoral process, and moderated by talk show host Larry King.

"It's a two-party system, but not a two-party system by law," King said. Obama and Romney were also invited, but declined to attend.


"The biggest threat to our national security is the fact that we're bankrupt." [Gary Johnson]


The debate was broadcast by Al Jazeera and Russia Today but on no major US cable news networks.


A second third-party match-up will be held on October 30.


[Video embedded at the site]

Monday, October 22, 2012


Why aren't people talking about the fact that maternal mortality in the U.S. has doubled in the past 25 years -- and that among 50 nations, the U.S. has the WORST rate of women dying in connection with pregnancy and childbirth?!

  Rocky Anderson

I guess I didn't know that. Seems strange, doesn't it? But then, our child mortality rate is very high, relative to other countries.

And what about growing poverty among women and children? Only Romania has a worse rate of child poverty in the developed world!


Even under Obamacare, which is essentially the same as Romneycare, there will be 30 million people in the U.S. without essential healthcare by 2022. Romney/Obamacare are sell-outs to the for-profit insurance industry. We're the only nation in the developed world where everyone is not covered by healthcare -- and the only nation where people take out bankruptcy because of medical bills.

We're Number One!

Want more of the same? Vote Democratic or Republican. If you want change, you might not support a winner in this election, but your vote will speak loudly and make a difference.

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

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Margaret's Voter Suppression


Margaret, tell Howard he is, in fact, correct. I have never met Mitt Romney. I have no idea what is in his heart. I am just a fat, old broad who speaks too much and probably should keep some of her opinions to herself. When Mitt says: I respect and will protect a woman’s right to choose… Roe v. Wade has gone too far… I am pro-choice… I am pro-life… I never really called myself pro-choice…When I am asked if I am pro-choice or pro-life, I say I refuse to accept either label…I assume he is a liar. But I actually don’t know for sure he is a liar. He could just be a dumb ass who is confused.


Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Ann Davies Romney:

“Mitt has always been a pro-life person, he governed, when he ran, uhmm, as pro-choice…”

That would be an exact quote. It gets a little complicated after that because Ann finds it hard to make that shit sound truthful, but basically she said that he was pro-life while he campaigned as pro-choice .



I relayed the message to Howard and he says that Ann Romney and those women on The View are a perfect example of why women shouldn’t be in politics. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go remind Howard that he doesn’t drive anymore and therefore will have a problem getting to the polls in a couple of weeks.

  Margaret and Helen


George McGovern

"The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one's country deep enough to call her to a higher plain."
George McGovern

It's Sunday

If the Christian-Jew-Muslims' God really exists and really does what they claim he does, then here's more proof that he's an SOB, and hates us; in fact, would like to see us kill ourselves, slowly and painfully: the food that tastes the best is the worst for us. If he indeed created us, taste buds included, and he created all the possible foodstuff as well, he did that intentionally.

So, here's my first week's menu for when creation is actually made for mankind:

Breakfast waffles w/maple syrup, link sausage
Snack chocolate milk
Lunch bacon & tomato sandwich, Klondike ice cream sandwich
Snack chocolate milk
Dinner grilled cheese sandwich, Klondike ice cream sandwich
Snack Klondike ice cream sandwich
Breakfast Round Rock doughnuts
Snack chocolate milk
Lunch pepperoni pizza, Klondike ice cream sandwich
Snack chocolate milk
Dinner scalloped potatoes, Klondike ice cream sandwich
Snack Flan
Breakfast waffles w/maple syrup, link sausage
Snack chocolate milk
Lunch bacon & tomato sandwich, Klondike ice cream sandwich
Snack chocolate milk
Dinner fettucini alfredo, Flan
Snack Klondike ice cream sandwich
Breakfast waffles w/maple syrup, bacon
Snack chocolate milk
Lunch grilled cheese sandwich, Klondike ice cream sandwich
Snack chocolate milk
Dinner scalloped potatoes, Klondike ice cream sandwich
Snack Flan
Breakfast waffles w/maple syrup, link sausage
Snack chocolate milk
Lunch bacon & tomato sandwich, Klondike ice cream sandwich
Snack chocolate milk
Dinner grilled cheese sandwich, Klondike ice cream sandwich
Snack Klondike ice cream sandwich
Breakfast Round Rock doughnuts
Snack chocolate milk
Lunch pepperoni pizza, Klondike ice cream sandwich
Snack chocolate milk
Dinner fettucini alfredo, Klondike ice cream sandwich
Snack Flan
Breakfast waffles w/maple syrup, link sausage
Snack chocolate milk
Lunch bacon & tomato sandwich, Klondike ice cream sandwich
Snack chocolate milk
Dinner scalloped potatoes, Klondike ice cream sandwich
Snack Klondike ice cream sandwich

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Jury Will Disregard Defendant's Statement

And the reporter will strike it from the record.

Ooops.  Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (the "9/11 mastermind") was allowed a statement before his trial begins.

"When the government feels sad for the death, the killing of 300 people killed on September 11th, we should also feel sorry that the American government represented by General Martins [chief prosecutor in the case against Mohammed] and others have killed thousands of people. Millions." 

Mohammed continued on to reference the April 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, saying, "Many can kill people under the name of national security, and to torture people under the name of national security and defame children under the name of national security - underage children - I don't want to be long but I can say that the President can take someone and throw him under the sea in the name of national security. And so he can also legislate assassinations under the name of national security for American nationals, American citizens."


He ended with a plea to the judge: "My only advice to you that you do not get affected by the crocodile tears.  Because your blood is not made out of gold and ours is not made out of water. We are all human beings."


Judge Pohl, too, appeared stunned, noting that while he didn't interrupt Mohammed, this sort of speech was a one-time occurrence not normal to the proceedings. He said: "I'm not going to again entertain personal comments of the accused of the way things are going. This is his personal thought; he has the right to that opinion but he doesn't have the right to interrupt proceedings. This is not to be interpreted as this is an acceptable procedure. This was a one-time thing for Mr. Mohammed.


What Do the Boy Scouts of America Have in Common with the Catholic Church?

Well, for one thing....

An array of US local authorities - police chiefs, prosecutors, pastors and town Boy Scout leaders among them - quietly shielded scoutmasters and others who allegedly molested children, according to a newly opened trove of confidential files compiled from 1959 to1985.

At the time, those authorities justified their actions as necessary to protect the good name and good works of scouting. But as detailed in 14,500 pages of secret "perversion files" released on Thursday by order of the Oregon Supreme Court, their maneuvers protected suspected sexual predators while victims suffered in silence.

The files document sex abuse allegations across the country, from a small town in the Adirondacks to downtown Los Angeles.


" protect the good name and good works..."
From itself?

With Ryan, Everybody Loses

A charity that operates a soup kitchen in northeastern Ohio has faced an exodus of donors ever since vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan staged a photo-op on the premises.

  Raw Story

Ryan's taking flak for the fact that the dishes he and his kids were supposedly washing weren't dirty, there were no clients at the soup kitchen at that time of day, and he didn't have permission from the soup kitchen proprietor. Now this.

Somebody Stop Me Before I Kill Again!!!

During an appearance on The Daily Show, President Barack Obama reaffirmed his belief that Guantanamo Bay should be shut down and said Congress needed to “rein in” presidential power.


“One of the things that we’ve got to do is put a legal architecture in place and we need congressional help to do that to make sure that not only am I reined in, but any president’s reined in, in terms of some of the decisions that we’re making,” he continued.

  Raw Story

Puhlease, bro.

He must be concerned he might actually lose the office. (If he gets scared enough, we might have to be treated to a national emergency.)

“When you look at our track record as to say we’ve ended the war in Iraq, we’re winding down the war in Afghanistan we’ve gone after Al Qaeda and it’s leadership, it’s true that Al Qaeda is still active at least remnants of it are staging in North Africa and the Middle East, and sometimes you’ve got to make some tough calls, but you can do so that is consistent with international law and American law,” Obama said.

Okay, So why don't you?

This guy has jumped the shark.

What the World Needs Now

The CIA is urging the White House to approve a significant expansion of the agency’s fleet of armed drones, a move that would extend the spy service’s decade-long transformation into a paramilitary force, U.S. officials said.


Win-win for the Obama administration.

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

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Start Up the Shredders

A US judge ordered prosecutors Wednesday to hand over hundreds of emails by officers overseeing the detention of WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning, who has alleged he suffered mistreatment at a Marine Corps brig.

Lawyers for Manning, a US Army private accused of passing a trove of secret government documents to the WikiLeaks website, had asked for the emails to bolster their argument that the soldier suffered illegal treatment when he was held at the Quantico Marine base in Virginia starting in 2010.

  Raw Story

Wish I'd Thought of That

...when I posted this, this, and this.

Like They Don't Already?

President Obama: "Governor Romney says he's got a five-point plan. Governor Romney doesn't have a five-point plan; he has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules."

Oh, I think somebody beat him to that. To quote WIIIAI: Obama hasn’t really been paying attention for a very long time now, has he?

And to quote Glenn Greenwald:

It would be terrible indeed if "folks at the top" were able to "play by a different set of rules". It might mean that Wall Street tycoons could perpetrate a massive fraud that virtually collapses the world economy and causes massive economic suffering, yet suffer no consequences of any kind thanks to a subservient Justice Department - all while ordinary Americans are subjected to the world's largest and one of its most unmerciful penal states. It might mean that the nation's largest telecoms could enable illegal spying on millions of their customers and then be retroactively immunized from all civil and criminal liability.

Such a state affairs could permit the nation's most powerful political officials would be able to institute a worldwide torture regime, and systematically spy on the conversations of Americans without the warrants required by the criminal law, only to be aggressively vested with full-scale immunity by the President. It could even send the rich-poor gap to heights not seen in the US in many decades.

In sum, we simply cannot afford as a nation to allow "folks at the top" to "play by a different set of rules". That would be a violent breach of everything America stands for.

  Glenn Greenwald

Slightly Extreme?

Update on Jill Stein's arrest:

  Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein said Wednesday police handcuffed her to a chair during her eight-hour imprisonment following her arrest outside the second presidential debate.

“For most of the time it was just [running mate] Cheri Honkala and myself,” Stein told Democracy Now anchor Amy Goodman. “Yet they felt the need to keep us in tight plastic restraints tightly secured to metal chairs.”

Stein and Honkala were arrested Tuesday while sitting in the street to protest their exclusion from this year’s presidential debates between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. They tried to enter the debate hall at the host site, Hofstra University, but were denied access because they lacked the necessary credentials.


She said a request for their release was denied because, she was told, authorities did not want them “wandering around.”

Stein also said she and Honkala were not released until about 30 minutes after the Obama-Romney debate, when they were told “their car” was waiting for them.

“It was actually a Secret Service car, apparently, that was waiting for us,” Stein said.


“They actually told our staff that they would be arrested if they continued to wait on site,” Stein said.

  Raw Story

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

The Other Third Party Debate

Okay, so Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! were just too leftist for you to watch third party debates. How about Larry King? Even Gary Johnson (supposedly leftist Libertarian) agreed to this one.

Larry King, the celebrated talk show host accustomed to A-list interview guests, has agreed to moderate a debate featuring a squad of minor-party presidential candidates. The former CNN giant will guide next Tuesday's debate in Chicago, which will be broadcast on the Internet. The candidates taking part are the Libertarian Party's Gary Johnson, the Green Party's Jill Stein, the Constitution Party's Virgil Goode and the Justice Party's Rocky Anderson.


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

What This Fire Needs Is a Little More Fuel

The United States and Israel are set to launch a major military exercise in a show of unity aimed at Iran, despite friction between American and Israeli leaders over how to counter Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

The air defence drills, dubbed "Austere Challenge 2012," will unfold later this month and last about three weeks, with 3,500 US troops and 1,000 Israeli forces taking part, officers said on Wednesday.

"This is the largest exercise in the history of the longstanding military relationship between the US and Israel," said Lieutenant General Craig Franklin, 3rd Air Force Commander, who is overseeing the drill along with his Israeli counterpart, Brigadier General Nitzan Nuriel.


The elaborate exercise takes place at a politically charged moment, amid speculation about a possible Israeli pre-emptive attack on Iran, a hotly contested US presidential election weeks away and parliamentary polls expected in Israel within a few months.

  al Jazeera

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Guess What?

The FBI foiled yet another plot to blow up something by someone they enticed and sold material to.

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

Or Else He Thinks We Haven't

Obama (re Benghazi): “While we were still dealing with our diplomats being threatened, Governor Romney put out a press release trying to make political points. And that’s not how a commander in chief operates. You don’t turn national security into a political issue”. Obama hasn’t really been paying attention for a very long time now, has he?


And While We're on the Subject

I hope someone has bought the rights to or .something and that their logo and banner has some configuration with the picture of George reading  America (!) upside down, and furthermore, that the home page features the shoe-throwing video.

And maybe just for fun, when the George W. Bush National Library (snicker) finally gets built, some nights - maybe special Bush anniversaries - someone shines a batman light, like the Occupiers did with the 99% light, projecting the America reading image in super size on the front of the building.  Or maybe project the one of him trying to leave via locked doors at that China press conference so that it creates that image of him at the front doors.

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

Reliving Past Moments

That previous post of Charlie's assessment of last night's debate gives us another chance to relive the best moment of the Bush presidency.

In video

In game format

Of coruse, what happened to the journalist who threw the shoe is no laughing matter.

You Won't Be Surprised

I didn’t watch the debate. I figured what was coming, and by all accounts, I was right. But this is what Charlie Pierce had to say. (I only quote Charlie Pierce rather than anyone else on this, because Charlie Pierce has a way with words that many others don’t.)

I thought that, given the roll he's been on, Romney would be able to keep both Snippy Willard and Dickhead Willard in check. I had no doubt that, because the nature of the event required that he mingle with actual carbon-based life forms, we undoubtedly would see English-as-a-Second-Language Willard. And we did. ("Binders full of women"?) And, because at least some of the questions were likely to be wild cards, there was a better than even chance that Zany Improv Willard would put in an appearance, as he did on the very first question of the night, when he told a young man named Jeremy that, "I want to make sure we keep our Pell Grant program going," when, in fact, one of the under-appreciated consequences of the overall zombie-eyed granny-starving onto which he signed when he picked his running mate is the fact that his running mate's "budget" would utterly devastate... wait for it... Pell Grants!

(I have to admit it: When the president let that fat, hanging curveball go by, I thought he was in for another long evening.)

But not even I expected Romney to let his entitled, Lord-of-the-Manor freak flag fly as proudly as he did on Tuesday night. […] That moment when he was hectoring the president about the president's pension made him look like someone to whom the valet has brought the wrong Mercedes.

"You'll get your chance in a moment. I'm still speaking."


It was a look at the real Willard Romney, the Bain cutthroat who could get rich ruining lives and not lose a moment's sleep. But those people are merely the anonymous Help. The guy he was speaking to on Tuesday night is a man of considerable international influence. Outside of street protestors, and that Iraqi guy who threw a shoe at George W. Bush, I have never seen a more lucid example of manifest public disrespect for a sitting president than the hair-curling contempt with which Romney invested those words. (I've certainly never seen one from another candidate.) He's lucky Barack Obama prizes cool over everything else. LBJ would have taken out his heart with a pair of salad tongs and Harry Truman would have bitten off his nose.


Romney bitched endlessly — endlessly — about the rules, and why this uppity fellow on the other stool was allowed to speak before he was spoken to, and why he didn't get to speak at length on whatever he wanted to speak on because, after all, he is the CEO of the stage.


The one thing nobody can ever say now is that they didn't know the exact character of Willard Romney, and exactly how he feels about The Help, including that member of The Help who currently holds the job that Romney believes should have been his by virtue of his god-kissed, golden life.


Those of us who lived under the barely distinguishable leadership of Willard Romney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (God save it!) know very well that the emotional membrane separating Lofty Willard from Snippy Willard is thin indeed, and that the membrane separating Snippy Willard from Dickhead Willard is well-nigh translucent. Both of those membranes were tested fully here on Tuesday night […and] both of those membranes failed like rotting levees in a storm.

  Charlie Pierce

But, as he cautions Obama elsewhere…

And, no, "stabilizing the race" is not winning. Not when you've managed to fritter away a perfectly good working margin, thereby throwing several states well into the heart of the Margin of Chicanery.

  Charlie Pierce

The Hoodwinking of the American Public

Green Party candidates Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala got themselves arrested outside the debate hall in a protest against not being allowed in.

The debate rules specify that to be included, candidates must receive at least 15 percent in a major poll. Most major polls do not even list Stein and Johnson as an option. Televised presidential debates date back to 1960, and have been a regular event since the 1976 election. Originally administered by the League of Women Voters, they’ve been jointly organized by the Democratic and Republican parties through the Commission on Presidential Debates—a group the two parties jointly formed—since 1987.

  Raw Story

Looks like Ralph Nader was wrong.

Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2000; 10:09 p.m. EDT

ST. LOUIS –– Ralph Nader was barred from the presidential debate here Tuesday, hours after he sued the commission organizing the debates because he was excluded from the first one. "Mark my words, this is the debate commission's last hurrah," Nader said after police turned him away from Washington University where Al Gore and George W. Bush appeared for the third and final debate. "Its power will be broken."


Not now that the Commission on Presidential Debates has it. What happened to the League of Women Voters? Let me guess. Not enough money to compete. Nope. I'm wrong.

The formats of the debates have varied, with questions sometimes posed from one or more journalist moderators and in other cases members of the audience. Between 1988 and 2000, the formats have been governed in detail by secret memoranda of understanding (MOU) between the two major candidates.


In 1987, the LWV withdrew from debate sponsorship, in protest of the major party candidates attempting to dictate nearly every aspect of how the debates were conducted. On October 2, 1988, the LWV's 14 trustees voted unanimously to pull out of the debates.


Most objectionable to the League...were conditions in the agreement that gave the campaigns unprecedented control over the proceedings.... [including] control the selection of questioners, the composition of the audience, hall access for the press and other issues."


” The League of Women Voters is withdrawing sponsorship of the presidential debates...because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. It has become clear to us that the candidates' organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions. The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.”


So you see, women voters have known for a long time that the debates are just an extension of a rigged system of governance.

The Obama-Romney MOU

They aren't permitted to ask each other questions, propose pledges to each other, or walk outside a "predesignated area." And for the town-hall-style debate tomorrow night, the audience members posing questions aren't allowed to ask follow-ups (their mics will be cut off as soon as they get their questions out). Nor will moderator Candy Crowley.


UPDATE on Stein's arrest

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Democracy Now! Expands the Debate

Tuesday, October 16. 8–11 p.m. EDT: Live broadcast from Hofstra University, the site of the second presidential debate. From 8–9 p.m., we’ll host a community roundtable with several guests from Long Island. From 9–10:30 p.m., we will air the full, uninterrupted debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney. From 10:30–11 p.m. we’ll air post-debate analysis.

Wednesday, October 17. 8–10 a.m. EDT: Our "Expanding the Debate" series continues with highlights from the second presidential debate. Green Party nominee Jill Stein, Justice Party nominee Rocky Anderson, and Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode will join us live on the show to offer responses to the same questions asked to President Obama and Mitt Romney. [We have extended an invitation to Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson.]

  Democracy Now!

I don't get Gary Johnson, and I wonder how his Libertarian Pary advisers excuse it. Aside from acting like an arrogant asshat in some clips I've seen of him, and having a few unworkable ideas (in my opinion) regarding Medicare, etc., why doesn't he participate in these Democracy Now! series? Democracy Now! doesn't get enough audience to make it worthwhile? Too good, too important, to be lumped in with the other non-contender contenders? Well, unfortunately, he's not good enough to be allowed into the Big Show with the officially sanctioned contenders, so I don't see him as really even wanting to contend.

 So maybe I do get him - perhaps he's like me and doesn't want to do any of the hard work.

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


Disgusting: "Under Israeli pressure, US canceled a two-year-old scholarship program for students in the Gaza Strip" [...]  What does "under Israeli pressure" mean? Did they threaten not to accept billions more in aid?

  Glenn Geenwald Tweets

After allowing the scholarship program to proceed in 2010, Israel this year refused to give permits for the Gaza students to travel to the West Bank.


Israeli officials claim that West Bank universities are breeding grounds for militant groups like Hamas. Last month, Israel's Supreme Court upheld this travel ban on students.


In a statement, the American consulate in Jerusalem said it decided not to grant the scholarships over the summer after Israel said it would not permit the students to travel. "Because of the timing and risk of losing funding, available scholarships were awarded to other applicants," it said. "We hope to include Gazan students in future programs."


Israeli military spokesman Guy Inbar said the policy is part of Israel's struggle against Hamas, an Iranian-backed group committed to Israel's destruction.


Israeli officials claim that West Bank universities are breeding grounds for militant groups like Hamas. Last month, Israel's Supreme Court upheld this travel ban on students. Israeli military spokesman Guy Inbar said the policy is part of Israel's struggle against Hamas, an Iranian-backed group committed to Israel's destruction.


And here's the important catch: some of the students, who previously could attend a US sponsored university are now going to an Islamic Hamas sponsored University. Is that really what Israel is hoping to achieve?
Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. --Mark Twain
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

God's Chosen Take a Hit

The Westboro Baptist Church believes that God is punishing the United States because of America’s acceptance of homosexuality, and has gained infamy for picketing the funerals of public figures and military members.


Hundreds of Patriot Guard Riders and others formed a line between the Westboro Baptist Church members and the funeral service [of  Army Staff Sgt. Donna Johnson in North Carolina].


“So at the funeral today for Fallen Soldier Sgt. Johnson a Westboro member decided it would be smart to stomp on the American flag,” the blog Guardian of Valor explained. “A Soldier did not take kindly to that and broke through the line, hitting one of the protesters that was disgracing Old Glory. As he was being arrested, two other Soldiers rescued the flag.”

  Raw Story

What? They don't like football either??

Saturday, October 13, 2012

US vs. Journalism

On February 2, 2011, President Obama called Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The two discussed counterterrorism cooperation and the battle against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. At the end of the call, according to a White House read-out, Obama “expressed concern” over the release of a man named Abdulelah Haider Shaye, whom Obama said “had been sentenced to five years in prison for his association with AQAP.” It turned out that Shaye had not yet been released at the time of the call, but Saleh did have a pardon for him prepared and was ready to sign it. […] Abdulelah Haider Shaye is not an Islamist militant or an Al Qaeda operative. He is a journalist.


While Shaye, 35, had long been known as a brave, independent-minded journalist in Yemen, his collision course with the US government appears to have been set in December 2009. On December 17, the Yemeni government announced that it had conducted a series of strikes against an Al Qaeda training camp in the village of al Majala in Yemen’s southern Abyan province, killing a number of Al Qaeda militants. As the story spread across the world, Shaye traveled to al Majala. What he discovered were the remnants of Tomahawk cruise missiles and cluster bombs, neither of which are in the Yemeni military’s arsenal. He photographed the missile parts, some of them bearing the label “Made in the USA,” and distributed the photos to international media outlets. He revealed that among the victims of the strike were women, children and the elderly. To be exact, fourteen women and twenty-one children were killed. Whether anyone actually active in Al Qaeda was killed remains hotly contested. After conducting his own investigation, Shaye determined that it was a US strike. The Pentagon would not comment on the strike and the Yemeni government repeatedly denied US involvement. But Shaye was later vindicated when Wikileaks released a US diplomatic cable that featured Yemeni officials joking about how they lied to their own parliament about the US role, while President Saleh assured Gen. David Petraeus that his government would continue to lie and say “the bombs are ours, not yours.”


After Shaye was convicted and sentenced, tribal leaders intensified their pressure on President Saleh to issue a pardon. “Some prominent Yemenis and tribal sheikhs visited the president to mediate in the issue and the president agreed to release and pardon him,” recalls Barman. “We were waiting for the release of the pardon—it was printed out and prepared in a file for the president to sign and announce the next day.” Word of the impending pardon leaked in the Yemeni press. “That same day,” Barman says, “the president [Saleh] received a phone call from Obama expressing US concerns over the release of Abdulelah Haider.” Saleh rescinded the pardon.

  Jeremy Scahill

Shaye was kidnapped, beaten and warned not to talk about the story, but he went back to work and talked about the story and his abduction. He was then abducted again, imprisoned and tortured. He was charged with working for al Qaeda, convicted and sentenced.

As the US ratcheted up its efforts to assassinate the radical cleric Anwar Awlaki, among the charges leveled against him was that he praised the actions of the alleged Fort Hood shooter, Maj. Nidal Hasan. A key source for those statements was an interview with Awlaki conducted by Shaye broadcast on Al Jazeera in December 2009. Far from coming off as sympathetic, Shaye’s interview was objective and seemed aimed at actually getting answers. Among the questions he asked Awlaki: How can you agree with what Nidal did as he betrayed his American nation? Why did you bless the acts of Nidal Hasan? Do you have any connection with the incident directly? Shaye also confronted Awlaki with inconsistencies from Awlaki’s previous interviews. If anything, Shaye’s interviews with Awlaki provided the US intelligence community and the politicians and pro-assassination punditry with ammunition to support their campaign to kill Awlaki.

And yet...

There is no doubt that Shaye was reporting facts that both the Yemeni and US government wanted to suppress. He was also interviewing people Washington was hunting. While the US and Yemeni governments alleged that he was a facilitator for Al Qaeda propaganda, close observers of Yemen disagree. “It is difficult to overestimate the importance of his work,” says Gregory Johnsen, a Yemen scholar at Princeton University who had communicated regularly with Shaye since 2008. “Without Shaye’s reports and interviews we would know much less about Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula than we do, and if one believes, as I do, that knowledge of the enemy is important to constructing a strategy to defeat them, then his arrest and continued detention has left a hole in our knowledge that has yet to be filled.” 


In February, Shaye began a brief hunger strike to protest his imprisonment, ending it after his family expressed serious concerns about his deteriorating health. While international media organizations, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists and Reporters Without Borders, have called for Shaye’s release, his case has received scant attention in the United States. Yemeni journalists, human rights activists and lawyers have said he remains in jail at the request of the White House. Some had hoped that when President Saleh stepped down earlier this year, Shaye might be released.

That seems unlikely if the US government has any say in the matter. “We are standing by [President Obama’s] comments from last February,” State Department spokesperson Beth Gosselin told The Nation. “We remain concerned about Shaye’s potential release due to his association with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. We stand by the president’s comments.” When asked whether the US government should present evidence to support its claims about Shaye’s association with AQAP, Gosselin said, “That is all we have to say about this case.”


For many journalists in Yemen, the publicly available “facts” about how Shaye was “assisting” AQAP indicate that simply interviewing Al Qaeda–associated figures, or reporting on civilian deaths caused by US strikes, is a crime in the view of the US government.

At least they get the message.

At the University of Missouri, Glenn Greenwald told of the response of many Americans to a request to aid Bradley Manning or the Hamoodi family of Columbia, Missouri. He said people express a desire to help but are afraid that if they do, they will suffer reprisal from the US government in some way. Indeed.  We get the message, too.

You say we're free? Think again.

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

support link:
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A Little Advice

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

At Least It Wasn't Lit Afire - Part 2

No.  Unlike dumping a pile of manure in front of the office, this one's bad.

Not much way to make use of that.  Other than as an anti-GOP campaign statement.

Denver police are investigating reports of gunfire directed toward a campaign field office for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign Friday.

According to The Denver Post, there were people inside the office when a shot was fired at the building, but no one was injured.

Police told KCNC-TV they do not know whether the shot was fired intentionally, or whether it was a stray bullet.

  Raw Story

A stray bullet from what?

"Sacred Life" Update

In his first public statements since he was accused of pressuring a woman with whom he’d had an affair into getting an abortion, U.S. Congressional Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) claimed that the woman turned out not to be pregnant.


“I don’t mind telling people that there was no pregnancy, and no abortion,” he said in an interview. “But I also don’t mind telling people that this was a protracted two-year divorce back in 1999 and 2000. There was some difficult times, for sure.”

The phone call transcript came to light in papers pertaining to the divorce in 2001 of DesJarlais, a former physician, and his then-wife, after the congressman admitted to affairs with at least four women. The woman in the phone recording was a former patient. The date of the call is unclear, but according to the transcript, DesJarlais can be heard admonishing the woman for not having taken steps to terminate her pregnancy.

“You told me you’d have an abortion, and now we’re getting too far along without one,” he said. “If we need to go to Atlanta, or whatever, to get this solved and get it over with so we can get on with our lives, then let’s do it.”

He also seemed to blame the woman for becoming pregnant, saying, “You lied to me about something that caused us to be in this situation, and that’s not my fault, that’s yours.”

“Well, it’s your fault for sleeping with your patient,” she replied.

DesJarlais’s campaign called the charges “old news.”

  Raw Story

Now they're bringing up more old news on the rep.

In 2010, allegations surfaced that the congressman threatened his ex-wife with a gun, and once spent three hours with a gun in his own mouth threatening suicide during a marital dispute. At first DesJarlais denied these allegations citing the lack of a police report. However, an off-duty officer who responded to the scene had filed a report, forcing the congressman to admit that he’d lied.

DesJarlais told the Nashville Scene, “I felt like I was being set up,” because the officer knew his ex-wife.  ”This is like ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ when the officer breaks out someone’s light and then writes him a ticket.’”

Exactly like that.

Really, it's his personal life and shouldn't be public.  Except that he got his political position by pandering to the anti-choice crowd on the grounds that all life is sacred. 

And really, I wouldn't be surprised if he is re-elected in spite of it.  Because the sacred life shit is just that.  What Tennessee GOP voters are really about is being pro-misogyny.  And this guy fits the bill.

Three hours with a gun in his mouth "threatening suicide?"  Really?  Three hours?  Let's phrase that correctly, " and once spent three hours with a gun in his own mouth holding his wife hostage to a violent, if empty, threat with a deadly weapon during a marital dispute."  "I'll kill myself if you don't do what I want."