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June 30, 2007

The War Reporting Of The MSM: Still Stenographers

MSM dutifully reports, in the words of a commentator, a "horrific massacre of Iraqi civilians" as another victory against Al-Qaeda when prompted by the military. Glenn Greenwald details the atrocity.

Farfur, R.I.P

Bad news everybody, Farfur, that Mickey Mouse doppelganger dreamed up by Hamas and broadcast on their TV station in order to indoctrinate children, has met his untimely death at the hands of fictional Israeli agents:

In the final broadcast an actor said to be an Israeli agent tries to buy the land of the squeaky-voiced Mickey Mouse lookalike.

Farfur brands the Israeli a "terrorist" and is beaten to death.

"You and I are laying the foundation for a world led by Islamists. We will return the Islamic community to its former greatness, and liberate Jerusalem, God willing, liberate Iraq, God willing, and liberate all the countries of the Muslims invaded by the murderers."

If only Barney would meet a similar fate.

Commander Guy Commands 27 Percent Approval Rating

Loser.

I think this is the first time Bush is actually rated lower than Dick Cheney.

Similarly, the moderate Dems who capitulated to the warmongers in passing the blank check war-funding bill don't even make good weathervanes, since the approval rating of Congress matches that of WorstPresidentEver and 66 percent of the public want reduction or complete withdrawal of the troops, nearly a veto-proof majority. Still, they know what's good for the country [/sarcasm]

June 28, 2007

Every Other Country In The World Thinks The U.S. Is Too Supportive Of Israel

And that includes Israel, according to the new Pew report and highlighted by Richard Silverstein.

Even in Israel, a slim 42% plurality says America is too supportive of their country, while 13% say the U.S. favors the Palestinians too much and 37% say U.S. policies are fair.

Too bad the Israeli hawks have hired the right lobbyists, and according to that other Silverstein, the lobbyists can do pretty much anything.

New FAUX Nooze Push Poll

And the question du jour is: who do you trust more to wage a war between this country and Islamofascists, those Democrats or Republicans (because you know how all wars are partisan efforts):

If there is an all-out war between the United States and various radical Muslim groups worldwide, who would you rather have in charge — Democrats or Republicans?

Democrats 41%

Republicans 38%

Both the same(not listed) 9%

Don't know (not listed) 12%

Well, if Eye-Rack was any indication, what would you expect.

Update: WorstPresidentEver also falls to a new low of 31% in the same poll.

U.S. Deliberately Killed Children And Civilians

Because, just like the "Al-Qaeda types" who blew up the Mansour Hotel in Baghdad this week, they really wanted to go after "high value targets":

NEW YORK - The U.S. special operations forces attack June 17 that resulted in the death of seven Afghan children likely missed its primary target, U.S. officials tell NBC News.

Abu Laith al Libi — one of al-Qaida's top commanders — was the primary target of the attack against a compound in the Paktika province of eastern Afghanistan. According to several officials, and contrary to previous statements, the U.S. military knew there were children at the compound but considered Abu Laith of such high value it was worth the risk of potential collateral damage.

Those same officials now tell NBC News that although six sets of remains besides those of the seven children were recovered, it's not clear whether Abu Laith is among those killed.

I'm sure we'll just blame the kids for being "human shields".

June 27, 2007

High Class Nuttery

Johan Hari writing in The New Republican went undercover at the cruise hosted by the National Review. As Digby explains, what he heard aboard that cruise is not far removed what is heard in a random Klan gathering.

The animating idea behind all of this is, as one would expect, racism. Arabs ("Muslims") and Mexicans will have to suffice since hating Jews and Blacks is temporarily inconvenient, but it's all the same.
Several days later, the nautical counter-revolution has docked in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where passengers will clamber overboard into a nation they want to wall off behind a 1,000-mile fence. One expresses horror at my intention to find a local street kid to show me around, exclaiming, "Do you want to die?" D'Souza summarizes the prevailing sentiment by unveiling what he modestly calls "D'Souza's law of immigration": An immigrant's quality is "proportional to the distance traveled to get to the United States." In other words: Asians trump Latinos.

. . .The table nods solemnly before marching onward to Topic A: the billion-strong swarm of Muslims who are poised to take over the world. The idea that Europe is being "taken over" is the unifying theme of this cruise. Some people go on singles' cruises, some on ballroom-dancing cruises. This is the Muslims Are Coming cruise. Everyone thinks it. Everyone knows it. And the man most responsible for this insight is sitting only a few tables down: Mark Steyn. He is wearing sunglasses on top of his head and a bright shirt. Steyn's thesis in his new book, America Alone, is simple: The "European races"--i.e., white people--"are too self-absorbed to breed," but the Muslims are multiplying quickly. The inevitable result will be "large-scale evacuation operations circa 2015" as Europe is ceded to Al Qaeda and "Greater France remorselessly evolve[s] into Greater Bosnia." He offers a light smearing of dubious demographic figures--he needs to turn 20 million European Muslims into more than 150 million in nine years, which is a lot of humping--to "prove" his case.

But facts, figures, and doubt are not on the itinerary of this cruise. With one or two exceptions, the passengers discuss "the Muslims" as a homogenous, sharia-seeking block--already with near-total control of Europe. Over the week, I am asked nine times--I counted--when I am fleeing Europe's encroaching Muslim population for the safety of the United States.

Gee, that "D'Souza's law of immigration" is certainly convenient for Dinesh D'Souza, right?

A Very Slow News Day

My first and only post on Paris Hilton's incarceration and release from jail will be written in regards to the fact that CNN filled their newstime covering details surrounding her exclusive post-imprisonment interview with. . .CNN:

Talk about milking the story: Just a few minutes ago at 5:45 pm, CNN covered Paris Hilton arriving at CNN studios for her interview with Larry King. Tracking her from her car into the building — with two cameras, so no angle was missed — CNN ran a full segment catching viewers up with what Hilton had been doing since getting out of jail yesterday (holing up at home; giving an exclusive interview to People for $300,000 undisclosed terms, if any — a magazine which also happens to be owned by Time Warner, just like CNN. Oops, they didn't mention that.) Looking like he wished he could be anywhere else, Wolf Blitzer cut his interview with Bill Cosby about inner city poverty to throw over to Carol Costello who was "watching another story" — the story being the live shot of Paris Hilton getting out of her car, aka the Most Important Story of the Day for which all other stories are totally cut off.

I'm going to go throw up now.

(via ThinkProgress)

Ann Coulter Makes A New Video

Digby watched Hardball with Ann Coulter so I don't have to, and really what she has to say about A-rabs is no different than what Bin Laden and his allies has to say about their chosen enemies:

"We need to be less concerned about civilian casualties...we bombed more people in Hamburg in two days ... I'd rather have their civilians die than our civilians... we should kill their people."

And why is she on Chis Matthew's show again? It's because she wrote some books.


Jackholes.

June 26, 2007

Take Two Rolaids And Call Us In Six Months

Yes, according to a letter submitted to Ezra Klein, someone was denied health care coverage because he had HEARTBURN!!

I am a very active 28 year old male, who exercises regularly (4-6 days a week), does not use any tobacco products, eats organic foods whenever possible, takes vitamins, gets enough sleep, rarely even catches a cold and has absolutely no history of disease. I recently applied for one of your "Tonik" health plans because it was finally affordable to me. I have been without health care for over 5 years and felt that the time had come for me to make a financial commitment to my health. However, as a young, perfectly healthy average male, I am appalled that you would deny my claim for health insurance. After speaking with a representative over the phone, I was told in a very polite tone and with no hint of sarcasm that I was ineligible due to the fact that I had had Heartburn in the last 6 months; and furthermore that I could reapply in 6 months (again with no hint of sarcasm or acknowledgment of the fact that I clearly wouldn't state I'd ever had Heartburn if it meant no health care).

Needless to say, I find it insulting and ludicrous that such a benign
symptom as Heartburn can deem me uninsurable by even just one of your plans
Not to mention that I received an email stating that I should apply to the
California Major Risk Program. Major risk of what I ask you? (rhetorically)
Not only are you compelling applicants to lie about seemingly innocuous
symptoms that nearly everyone experiences from time to time (I challenge you
to find any member of society who doesn't experience Heartburn occasionally
from spicy foods or even minor food allergies), but you are standing
hypocritically against the very reason that we are forced have health
insurance in this country. If I can't get health care without insurance
(alas I am not a millionaire), and I can't get insurance to obtain health
care if I need it, then to whom and for what does said insurance serve it's
purpose?

All in all, it's kind of cute how this individual thinks corporate leeches such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield exists to help peons like him instead of making sure their pockets are kept lined with green. This is part of the reason Michael Moore's Sicko is going to be such a phenomenon, because it will hit very, very close to home.

BTW, the myth about socialized medicine having long wait lines is just that, a myth:

There is no systemized, nationwide collection of data on wait times in the U.S., making it difficult to compare delays to those in countries with national health systems, who typically track and publish data on wait times. But a 2005 survey conducted by the Commonwealth Fund of sicker adults in six highly industrialized countries found that only Canada was worse than the U.S. when it came to waiting six days or longer to schedule a doctor's appointment for a medical problem.

Of the countries surveyed, 81% of patients in New Zealand got a same or next-day appointment for a nonroutine visit, 71% in Britain, 69% in Germany, 66% in Australia, 47% in the U.S., and 36% in Canada. Those lengthy wait times in the U.S. explain why 26% of Americans reported going to an emergency room for a condition that could have been treated by a regular doctor if available, higher than every other country surveyed.

No. 1 in Foregone Care

The Commonwealth survey did find that patients in the U.S. had shorter wait times than every country except Germany when it came to getting an appointment with a specialist for nonemergency elective surgery, such as hip replacements, cataract surgery, or knee repair. But Gerard Anderson, a health-policy expert at Johns Hopkins University, says most doctors know how to "game the system" in those countries where there are queues for elective surgery, by putting at-risk patients on the list long before their need is critical. "Their wait might be uncomfortable, but it makes very little clinical difference."

The Commonwealth survey found one area in which the U.S. assumed first place—by a wide margin: 51% of U.S. adults surveyed did not visit a doctor, get a needed test, or fill a prescription within the past two years because of cost. No other country came close to that percentage.

June 25, 2007

When You're In School, You Have No Rights

And apparently, according to the Alito Court, when you are out of school you also have no rights:

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court tightened limits on student speech Monday, ruling against a high school student and his 14-foot-long "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner.

Schools may prohibit student expression that can be interpreted as
advocating drug use, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court
in a 5-4 ruling.

Joseph Frederick unfurled his homemade sign on a winter morning in 2002,
as the Olympic torch made its way through Juneau, Alaska, en route to
the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Frederick said the banner was a nonsensical message that he first saw
on a snowboard. He intended the banner to proclaim his right to say
anything at all.

Gee, I wonder who those five justices were [/sarcasm]

God what a bullshit decision. The kid did his act when the school was dismissed so that the students could watch the Olympic torch pass. So now kids can be prosecuted for normally constitutional acts outside school hours? That's conservative, Constitution-trampling logic for you, and the last paragraph just made me grin a little:

Conservative groups that often are allied with the administration are backing Frederick out of concern that a ruling for Morse would let schools clamp down on religious expression, including speech that might oppose homosexuality or abortion.

Yep, in their zeal to put women's wombs under federal control and to reclassify gays as second-class citizens, they shot their own selves in the foot. Yes, let's round up all the hatemongering students of all stripes and expell them under this new empowerment of the public schools. They certainly deserve no less than what Fredricks had to go through because of their hard-on for authoritorianism.

Update:

It is also apparent, according to the Alito Court, that there is simply no First Amendment provision that they like:

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled Monday that ordinary taxpayers cannot challenge a White House initiative that helps religious charities get a share of federal money.

The 5-4 decision blocks a lawsuit by a group of atheists and agnostics against eight Bush administration officials including the head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

The taxpayers' group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation Inc., objected to government conferences in which administration officials encourage religious charities to apply for federal grants.

White House Don't Want Their Lies Exposed

Hmm, is this just another token opposition from an administration obsessed with secrecy, or is this the real deal, the shitstorm we've been waiting for?

WASHINGTON (Map, News) - The White House is resisting a move by both Republicans and Democrats to fully declassify a Senate report on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

Republicans say the public disclosure would help show that the CIA made honest mistakes in its 2002 assessment that Iraq owned stockpiles of WMDs, when in fact it no longer did.

But the White House believes the declassification would trigger another round of negative news media coverage and Democratic-led congressional hearings, said a Senate Republican, who asked to remain anonymous because of ongoing private discussions.

The dispute revolves around an obscure federal panel, the nine-member Public Interest Declassification Board.

Last November, incoming Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and the outgoing chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., signed a letter to the board asking for a review of two committee reports.

America, Still A Nation Of Idiots

This is part of the reason why I don't trust the public NOT to turn against Democrats if and when they pull the plug on the war:

Even today, more than four years into the war in Iraq, as many as four in ten Americans (41 percent) still believe Saddam Hussein’s regime was directly involved in financing, planning or carrying out the terrorist attacks on 9/11, even though no evidence has surfaced to support a connection. A majority of Americans were similarly unable to pick Saudi Arabia in a multiple-choice question about the country where most of the 9/11 hijackers were born. Just 43 percent got it right — and a full 20 percent thought most came from Iraq.

As Steve Benen says, the number of people who thought Saddam was directly involved in the September 11 attacks has actually gone up in three years. So even though now most of the people think the war is wrong and unwinnable, how long do you think they are going to change their minds and blame the assortments of Democrats, liberals and dirty, fucking hippies for denying this great nation victory over the Arab scum?

June 23, 2007

Like Deja Vu All Over Again, All Over Again

Kagro X of The Daily Kos adds another entry to an increasingly long string of empty promises:

Today

US may reduce forces in Iraq by spring

By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer Fri Jun 22, 6:52 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The U.S. may be able to reduce combat forces in Iraq by next spring if Iraq's own security forces continue to grow and improve, a senior American commander said Friday. He denied reports the U.S. is arming Sunni insurgent groups to help in the fight against al-Qaida.

Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the top day-to-day commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, did not predict any reductions in U.S. forces but said such redeployments may be feasible by spring. There are currently 156,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

A year ago:

U.S. general in Iraq outlines troop cuts Michael R. Gordon The New York Times

Published: June 25, 2006

WASHINGTON The top American commander in Iraq has drafted a plan that projects sharp reductions in the United States military presence there by the end of 2007, with the first cuts coming this September, American officials say.

. . .American officials emphasized that any withdrawals would depend on continued progress, including the development of competent Iraqi security forces, a reduction in Sunni Arab hostility toward the new Iraqi government and the assumption that the insurgency will not expand beyond Iraq's six central provinces. Even so, the projected troop withdrawals in 2007 are more significant than many experts had expected.

. . .Two years ago:

U.S. Signals Spring Start for Pullout General Restates Position, Noting Contingencies, During Rumsfeld Visit to Baghdad

By Ann Scott Tyson and Ellen Knickmeyer
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, July 28, 2005; Page A18

BAGHDAD, July 27 -- The top U.S. military leader in Iraq said Wednesday there could be substantial withdrawals of some of the 135,000 U.S. troops in the country as early as next spring.

. . ."If the political process continues to go positively, and if the development of the security forces continues to go as it is going, I do believe we'll still be able to take some fairly substantial reductions after these elections in the spring and summer," Casey said before meeting with Jafari.

. . .Three years ago:

Building Iraqi Security Forces Must Continue, Sanchez Says By John D. Banusiewicz American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 11, 2004 – The commander of coalition forces in Iraq said today that continuing to build Iraqi security forces is key to a successful transfer of sovereignty.

. . .Handing over security to the Iraqi people will depend upon the coalition's ability to quickly stand up Iraqi security forces, especially the police, the army and the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps.

. . .This involves building the security forces in small units and police stations to provide the law and order in the cities, he said, and also giving Iraq the external security capacity it will need over the next couple of years. "I think it's going to take us awhile," he said, "but we're committed to it, and we'll be here until that's done."

Sanchez said the 129,000 U.S. service members currently in Iraq are an adequate number, "and we'll manage their redeployment as the operational and tactical situation dictates."


They are missing one entry:

Four years ago:

U.S. Plans to Reduce Forces In Iraq, With Help of Allies

By MICHAEL R. GORDON WITH ERIC SCHMITT

Published: May 3, 2003

The Bush administration is planning to withdraw most United States combat forces from Iraq over the next several months and wants to shrink the American military presence to less than two divisions by the fall, senior allied officials said today.

The United States currently has more than five divisions in Iraq, troops that fought their way into the country and units that were added in an attempt to stabilize it. But the Bush administration is trying to establish a new military structure in which American troops would continue to secure Baghdad while the majority of the forces in Iraq would be from other nations.

. . .The administration does not want substantial numbers of American forces to be tied down in Iraq. It is eager to avoid the specter of American occupation, and it is hoping to shift much of the peacekeeping burden of stabilizing Iraq to other governments.

If the administration plan is carried out, the effect would be to reduce the number of American troops in Iraq from over 130,000 soldiers and marines at present to 30,000 troops or fewer by the fall.

June 22, 2007

Gitmo Metastasis

A lot of people seemed excited over the speculation that the Bushies will close down the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp - I mean prison. Any veteran watcher of the Worst Administration Ever would figure out their angle instead of granting kudos. Sadly, here they do not fail to disappoint. It turns out that if they do indeed close down that prison, they will simply expand their extrajudicial archipelago of prisons so that their actions will be more spread out and obscured:

(AP) WASHINGTON The United States is helping build a prison in Afghanistan to take some prisoners now at Guantanamo Bay, but the White House said Friday it is not meant as an alternative to the detainee facility in Cuba.

The Bush administration wants to close Guantanamo Bay and move its terror suspects to prisons elsewhere and senior officials have told The Associated Press a consensus is building among the president's top advisers on how to do it.

However, a scheduled high-level Friday meeting on the matter was canceled after AP reported on it and the White House said no decision is imminent -- while repeating President Bush's stated desire to shutter Guantanamo Bay.

"America does not have any intention of being the world's jailer," White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino told reporters. She noted that the United States has announced plans to release about 80 of some 375 detainees, and hopes to transfer several dozen Afghans back to Afghanistan in the near future.

Worst Of The Worst, Cont.

Bush is right, life would be a lot easier if you were a dictator. You can declare someone guilty without having to mess around with bullshit such as evidence, judicial review, due process, etc:

An Army officer with a key role in the U.S. military hearings at Guantanamo Bay says they relied on vague and incomplete intelligence and were pressured to declare detainees ``enemy combatants,'' often without any specific evidence.

His affidavit, released Friday, is the first criticism by a member of the military panels that determine whether detainees will continue to be held.

Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham, a 26-year veteran of military intelligence who is an Army reserve officer and a California lawyer, said military prosecutors were provided with only ``generic'' material that didn't hold up to the most basic legal challenges.

Despite repeated requests, intelligence agencies arbitrarily refused to provide specific information that could have helped either side in the tribunals, according to Abraham, who said he served as a main liaison between the Combat Status Review Tribunals and those intelligence agencies.

``What were purported to be specific statements of fact lacked even the most fundamental earmarks of objectively credible evidence,'' Abraham said in the affidavit, filed in a Washington appeals court on behalf of a Kuwaiti detainee, Fawzi al-Odah, who is challenging his classification as an ``enemy combatant.''

The Pentagon had no immediate comment, but a spokesman said Defense Department officials were preparing a response to the affidavit.

(via ThinkProgess)

Health Care Is Expensive Because The Money Goes Into Research

Yeah, opposition research:

In his new movie SiCKO, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore exposes the deplorable practices of the major health insurance and pharmaceutical companies in working to deny coverage to individuals who are insured.

. . .For his damaging exposé of the health care industry, Moore is now under attack from front groups supported and funded by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. The New York Sun reports:

The pharmaceutical industry and think tanks it backs financially are readying a multifaceted counteroffensive against Michael Moore’s film about the health care industry.

. . .The drug companies and their allies have been on their toes ever since the movie was being filmed, when they warned personnel to watch out for film crews from the “Fahrenheit 9/11″ director. But in advance of the film’s release, they are upping the volume and the tempo of their activities.

Another Story More Important Than Eye-Rack

According to Oh'Really, we must watch out for roving gangs of gun-toting lesbians.

Yes, they get their news tips from Cinemax.

Kid Exposes O'Reilly's Hypocrisy, Gets Called A "Pinhead"

Looks like kids these days are all right. And the best part is that the FAUX fairies scrubbed the "pinhead" comment from later broadcasts. Oh well, at least a story about kids hearing cautionary speeches about sex and drugs is WAY more important than reporting the disaster in Eye-Rack.

McClatchy's New Motto

Joshua Micah Marshall says that the McClatchy newspaper chain deserves their motto for their new website, "Truth to Power", but I say they still have to answer for their insistence on printing drooling conservative codpieces in my newspaper, and later dumping one of their most outspoken newspaper to a heartless corporation that is now gutting that institution into a mere vestige of what it was.

(via Dover Bitch at Digby's Blog)

June 21, 2007

Another Feel-Good Story From Eye-Rack

Gotta grab em when you can:

BAGHDAD, June 20 -- U.S. and Iraqi troops discovered an orphanage with "24 severely malnourished and abused boys" 10 days ago in the al-Fajr neighborhood of northern Baghdad, the U.S. military said Wednesday. The boys, ages 3 to 15, "were found naked in a darkened room without any windows," the military said in a statement.

Photographs obtained by CBS News, which broke the story Monday, showed emaciated children lying naked on concrete floors in their own waste, some tied to their beds. Nearby, soldiers discovered a locked room with food and clothing.

. . .Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered an investigation, state television reported. The children have been taken to an orphanage where they are being better cared for, CBS said.

Video found here, however long it lasts. Transcript here.

June 20, 2007

"Are Ya Gonna Convict Jack Bauer?"

That's the workings of the Great Legal Mind currently sitting on the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia. Apparently, we now look to completely fictional and over-the top TV dramas that have lost audience share this season because of it's nonsensical story arcs in order to establish enduring constitutional principles:

Senior judges from North America and Europe were in the midst of a panel discussion about torture and terrorism law, when a Canadian judge's passing remark - "Thankfully, security agencies in all our countries do not subscribe to the mantra 'What would Jack Bauer do?' " - got the legal bulldog in Judge Scalia barking.

The conservative jurist stuck up for Agent Bauer, arguing that fictional or not, federal agents require latitude in times of great crisis. "Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles. ... He saved hundreds of thousands of lives," Judge Scalia said. Then, recalling Season 2, where the agent's rough interrogation tactics saved California from a terrorist nuke, the Supreme Court judge etched a line in the sand.

"Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?" Judge Scalia challenged his fellow judges. "Say that criminal law is against him? 'You have the right to a jury trial?' Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don't think so.

"So the question is really whether we believe in these absolutes. And ought we believe in these absolutes."

The other Canadian judges, in their own high-minded academic manner, told Scalia to go to hell, as they should. But why the hell is Scalia free to spout such nonsense in the first place? He and his kind can ever point to real-world situations where torture has saved people from an imminent threat, and since we are dealing with Islamic radicals, they would welcome such abuses - seeing it as the most holy martyrdom at the hands of their enemies. For the last time: torture doesn't work. The Abu Ghraib torture never helped us in Eye-Rack, torture is not helping us in Afghanistan, nor did it help in Vietnam or any other conflict. Our LACK of committing torure actually helped us defeat the Germans, whose squads would readily surrender to the Americans instead of to the Soviets whose prison camps they feared. So if Scalia thinks he's being a patriot, then he's dead wrong. He's just another man-child wanking off to cowboy movies.

I wonder how you can disbar a Supreme Court Justice?

Flypaper

We're in Eye-Rack so we can fight them over there so they won't fight us over here.

Apparently that's good enough for the bushbots, so the war without end or meaning continues. Yet ABC News learns that terrorists are still sending suicide bomb teams to several international locations, even to this country:

Large teams of newly trained suicide bombers are being sent to the United States and Europe, according to evidence contained on a new videotape obtained by the Blotter on ABCNews.com.

Teams assigned to carry out attacks in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Germany were introduced at an al Qaeda/Taliban training camp graduation ceremony held June 9.

A Pakistani journalist was invited to attend and take pictures as some 300 recruits, including boys as young as 12, were supposedly sent off on their suicide missions.

And take two guesses on how they are getting all these recruits:

The tape shows Taliban military commander Mansoor Dadullah, whose brother was killed by the U.S. last month, introducing and congratulating each team as they stood.

"These Americans, Canadians, British and Germans come here to Afghanistan from faraway places," Dadullah says on the tape. "Why shouldn't we go after them?"

Clash of civilizations indeed.

General Petraeus: Surge™ Is Going To Fail

Anybody versed in Bushian kremlinology couldn't interpret General David Petraeus's recent pronouncements on FAUX Nooze any other way:

June 17 (Bloomberg) -- The odds of building a stable Iraqi government by September are slim, even with the addition of 30,000 U.S. troops to give lawmakers in Baghdad security, said the top U.S. general in the Middle East country.

The ``aggregate level'' of violence has not diminished since the troop increase began five months ago, General David Petraeus said in an interview on ``Fox News Sunday.'' Asked whether he thought the strategy could succeed by early September when he's due to report to Congress, Petraeus was negative.

``I do not, no. I think we have a lot of heavy lifting to do,'' he said. ``This is a tough effort.''

So much for the "September deadline" failure at that time is just another excuse to continue the war. To the bushtards, trying something over and over again and expecting different results is not a sign of insanity, it is a practice that exceeds brilliance. Political brilliance, maybe.

Glenn Greenwald Uses Richard Cohen As A Metaphor For The Entire Meretricious Press

Yep. Copying and pasting a piece of this commentary would do a disservice to the rest of this masterpiece, so as they say, read the whole thing.

June 19, 2007

Fox Issues Henhouse Report

Fear not American taxpayers, you're NOT being as hosed as you think you are:

WASHINGTON - Fraud committed by government contractors in Iraq is a problem but isn't as severe as some critics have suggested, federal officials said Tuesday.

Some House Judiciary Committee Democrats questioned the assertions, saying they felt the Justice Department is dragging its feet in pursuing some cases of alleged fraud. They also said some federal judges appear too willing to seal records in such cases, making it impossible for the public to assess the merits of whistleblowers' accusations.

Stuart W. Bowen Jr., an inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, told lawmakers that anti-fraud efforts should be better coordinated, but they nonetheless have had an impact.

"Losses to American taxpayers from fraud within reconstruction programs will likely amount to relatively small components of the overall investments in Iraq, totaling in the tens of millions" of dollars and not in the "hundreds of millions or billions as is sometimes imagined," Bowen told the Judiciary subcommittee on crime, terrorism and homeland security.

That wouldn't be this Stuart Bowen who is under investigation himself, is it? Actually, it was launched by the Bushies, so it appears that Bowen has gotten the message: stop sniffing around, stop snitchin', stop lyin'.

Yet Another Disgruntled Retired General

The blog "Danger Room" hosted by Wired webstite has a bombshell of a preview from the upcoming Frontline piece "Endgame" in which retired General Jack Keane, nobodys liberal, nobody's pacifist, nobody's defeatist, says this about the Eye-Rack war:

"We never even considered an insurgency as a reasonable option. We took down the regime, and we thought what we had to do then was occupy then country, stabilize it, and in the mater of a few months we could reduce the force," says Keane, the former Army Vice Chief of Staff and intellectual co-author of the current troop "surge."

And while the President may have been "us terms like 'win,' 'we're going to defeat the insurgents,' 'victory,'" Keane adds, "we never had that as a mission in Iraq."

Keane later added that he was involved in a briefing with defense analysts who picked up intelligence showing that the Sunni insurgents believe they are winning the war, and the analysts said that the insurgents were "probably right."

That's right, kiddies. We aren't fighting in Eye-Rack to defeat the "terra-ists", oh no. We are fighting to save Bush's ego from being deflated, and to pass on this disaster to the next (Democratic) president.

June 18, 2007

The 50,0000 Solution

To be fair to Matthew Yglesias, Kevin Drum pointed out how full of shit "drawing down" the troops in Eye-Rack to around 50,000 way before Atrios did.

June 14, 2007

The Role Of The Media During The War

Bile O'Reilly placed in his two cents on the fact that FAUX Nooze is the number one network when it comes to NOT reporting the Eye-Rack war. Sure, his commentary is, per usual, over the top and demeaning, but it reflects a larger illness infecting most of the media. It's always mystifying that the news organization feels pressured to only report the good news coming from a war zone and not "embolden the enemy" or "undermine morale". If they think they are helping the republic by underreporting the war or sanitizing the coverage, they are dead wrong. If there are victories, then report the victories. But if there are losses - especially if there are losses - the media has a singular duty to expose those losses and why they occured, warts and all. The public has the right to know how the armed forces that is designed to protect them is performing so that they can pressure their elected officials to change tactics if things do not go well.

Imagine if we are in a real war and we are losing a lot of battles to the enemy, would our nation be served by a media that only spouts propaganda? The Germans who were able to flee the invasion of the Red Army knew they were losing because the "victories" they've heard on the propaganda broadcasts kept coming "closer and closer". The unfortunate Germans who swallowed the propaganda whole were left to fend for themselves while they were raped and pillaged. For now, we don't have to worry about an invasion by a foreign power, but just the same we are not well served by a media that refuses to report and detail the truth. The only time soldiers' lives are in danger is if we broadcast sensitive information like an army's position or battle plan. Nobody' gets killed by reporting the outcome, and in the end we might even learn from any mistakes that may have resulted. So that is why people like Bill Oh'Really are not reporters, just television personalities. They may be good for clownish entertainment, but when it comes to news that really matters, it is best to look for more honest sources.

Water Wet, Sky Blue, Sunrise East

Violence in Eye-Rack rising, despite Surge™:

WASHINGTON, June 13 — Violence increased throughout much of Iraq in recent months, despite a security crackdown in Baghdad that at least temporarily reduced sectarian killings there, according to a quarterly assessment of security conditions issued Wednesday by the Pentagon.

The report, which analyzed data from February through early May, said it was too early to say whether the security effort in Baghdad would achieve lasting security gains. And it described in more detail than officials had until now how security conditions in other parts of the country had worsened when American and Iraqi forces shifted in large numbers into the capital.

“The aggregate level of violence in Iraq remained relatively unchanged during this reporting period,? the report said. “Violence has decreased? in Baghdad and in Anbar Province, which have long been the country’s most violent areas, “but has increased in most provinces, particularly in outlying areas around Baghdad and in Nineva and Diyala Provinces.? Attacks have also increased in Basra Province in the south, because of fighting between rival Shiite militants, some of whom fled Baghdad because of the security crackdown, it added.

Although precise data are not included in the report, attacks on civilians and Iraqi and American troops increased by 2 percent from the previous quarter, the report said. The average number of attacks has exceeded 1,000 per week since the beginning of this year through early May, the highest level since the American invasion in 2003, it said.

Taxicab Confessions

Attywood documents a eye-rolling moment of journamalism courtesy of "The Most Trusted Name In News":

OK, you can't say that CNN and its diplomatic reporter, Richard Ross, don't care about the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. In fact, just seconds ago "Your Trusted Name in News" just aired one of the few full-length reports I've seen on the situation in Darfur, or more accurately the situation on 42nd Street in Manhattan, since the story was merely an interview with a cab driver who happens to have immigrated from Darfur.

Apparently Tom Friedman, the Pulitizer Prize winner of global cabbie journalism, is advising CNN now.

I kept waiting for the twist in the story, but there was no twist. That was the entire story. CNN found a guy from Darfur who now drives a cab in New York. (Although, as I learned from the story, there are apparently 100 others like him.)

I tried to capture some of the highlights of the interview -- here's one:

"Do you get bigger tips because you're from Darfur?" "...No."

A well-dressed woman enters the man's (unfortunately I didn't catch his name) taxi:

"When did you come here?"
"Eight years ago."

"Oh, before the genocide."

A-Oh-Hell/Time Warner gets billions of dollars in revenue, but can't afford a fucking plane ticket to the Sudan? And the wonder why less people bother to watch or read the American press nowadays?

(via Crooks and Liars)

Birth Pangs

You know what was wrong? Not enough purple fingers:

GAZA CITY (CNN) -- President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government and declared a state of emergency Thursday after four days of fighting that has left Hamas in control of much of Gaza.

In announcing the decision, Abbas aide Tayeb Abdel Rahim said Abbas' declaration also established a Fatah-led interim government.

The move comes after Hamas announced Thursday that Gaza is now under its Islamic rule, the first step to becoming an Islamic state.

Under the state of emergency, Abbas will have the authority replace the current Hamas Cabinet with his Fatah allies. The temporary Cabinet would have to be approved by the Palestinian Legislative Council after 30 days.

Currently, there is no government control in Gaza, according to Palestinian legislator Saeb Erakat.

"Gaza is now officially out of our control as the Palestinian Authority," said Erakat, who is aligned with the Fatah party.

He blamed a "renegade force" in Gaza for staging a "major coup d'etat."

"This is a coup against the president, against the Palestinian people, and against the Palestinian cause," Erakat told CNN.

He called the situation "very, very grave" and said the violence is "setting us back 50 years at least."

Meanwhile, Hamas continued to put pressure on Fatah fighters in Gaza after seizing key security installations across the Palestinian territory.

A Hamas representative Thursday told CNN that the group's goal is not to take control of the Palestinian territory but to control rogue Fatah forces in Gaza.

The escalating violence has prompted the European Union to suspend humanitarian aid to the region and could result in a dissolution of the Hamas-led Palestinian unity government.

June 13, 2007

The Connecticut For Lieberman Party: The Gift That Keeps On Gving

I know the less we speak of that thumbsucker, the better, but this is just too good to pass up:

(WTNH) _ The Connecticut for Lieberman Party is calling on Senator Joseph Lieberman to resign from the U.S. Senate following his remarks made Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation regarding military action against Iran.

Lieberman said on the national television program that, "we've got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians."

The Connecticut for Lieberman Chair, Dr. John Orman, called for Lieberman's resignation saying that he "crossed the line" and "no longer represents the views of the citizens of Connecticut."

Orman, a longtime critic of Lieberman, took control of the minority party back in January.

Yep, nothing says "fake party created for one's own political gain" than allowing your party to be taken over by anti-Lieberman activists. Good for John Orman.

How's That Surge Coming Along? Part XVII

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Blast at revered Shi'ite shrine in Iraq's Samarra
13 Jun 2007 06:54:07 GMT

BAGHDAD, June 13 (Reuters) - Militants blew up two minarets of a revered Shi'ite mosque in the Iraqi city of Samarra on Wednesday, targeting a shrine that had already been badly damaged in a 2006 attack, Shi'ite officials said.

One witness said the minarets at Samarra's Golden Mosque had been largely destroyed. The attack on the mosque last year was a turning point in Iraq, sparking a wave of sectarian violence that has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed the country to the brink of all-out civil war.

"The explosion targeted the two golden minarets. They have been damaged ... This is a criminal act which aims at creating sectarian strife," Saleh al-Haidari, the head of the Shi'ite endowment in Iraq, a major religious body, told Reuters.

He blamed "extremists" for the attack. It was unclear exactly how the minarets had been blown up, but residents said there had been clashes between gunmen and police in the area before the explosion.

A senior Iraqi government official said the attack was "very bad news for Iraq".

Sunni mosque south of Baghdad blown up -police
13 Jun 2007 15:40:14 GMT Source: Reuters

BAGHDAD, June 13 (Reuters) - Gunmen blew up a major Sunni mosque in the Iraqi town of Iskandariya on Wednesday, police said, following an attack on a revered Shi'ite shrine that has stirred fears of a surge in sectarian bloodshed.

Police said Iskandariya's Grand Mosque had been totally destroyed. Witnesses said the town, which lies south of Baghdad, was tense in the wake of the bombing.

June 12, 2007

Correlation Does Not Equal Causation

But it sure disproves a bunch of bullshit arguments that low taxes equal more prosperity:

Minn. No Longer Among Top 10 Most-Taxed States

(AP) Minnesota has dropped out of the top 10 states in per capita tax rankings for the first time in about 25 years, according to an analysis by an arm of the nonpartisan Minnesota Taxpayers Association.

Minnesota now stands 12th in the nation in state and local taxes as well as in government spending, according to the report from the Minnesota Center for Public Finance Research.

And when taxes and spending are measured as a percentage of personal income, the numbers really plummet. By that measure, the state has fallen to 23rd in taxes and 31st in state and local government spending, said the report released Monday.

While the numbers reflect years of GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty's no-tax-increase policies and budget restraint, they also show that local governments appear to have reined themselves in as well.

Minnesota has long ranked in the top 10 in most measures of tax burden. This report marks the first time since 1979 that it has dropped below the top 10 in spending per person by state and local governments and the first time since 1981 that it has dropped from the top 10 in taxes per capita.

. . .Pawlenty said the new numbers show his administration escaped the ranks of the highest-taxed states "by holding government accountable and setting priorities.

"That's good news for taxpayers and a signal to those who want to grow jobs in Minnesota that we're open for business," the governor said in a statement.

Pay attention, because that last line is important:

Minnesota's Jobless Rate Tops National Rate In May

(AP) This is one national average Minnesota didn't want to top.

Minnesota's unemployment rate in May was higher than the national average for the first time since the state began tracking those numbers, the Department of Employment and Economic Development said Tuesday.

The state unemployment rate in May was 4.6 percent, up from 4.5 percent in April. Nationally the unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in both months.

But the state also said it added 41,500 jobs over the past year, and the number of Minnesota jobs grew slightly faster than the national average.

Toby Madden, regional economist for the Federal Reserve in Minneapolis, said the apparent discrepancy is probably explained by self-employed workers, especially those in the hard-hit construction industry. Hard times for them would show up in the unemployment number because it's gathered by a phone survey, while the number of jobs is reported by employers.

Minnesota has seen a "huge drop in housing starts last year, and we're continuing to see some deterioration in housing starts this year," he said. "The construction industry is obviously hurting the employment picture."

The Last Desperate Act That Betrays A Larger Failure

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Paul Waldman is right. Given the administration track record for fuckups upon fuckups upon spectactular fuckups in Eye-Rack, those who think this plan is NOT going to bite us in our collective asses needs to be locked up in rubber rooms:

BAGHDAD, June 10 — With the four-month-old increase in American troops showing only modest success in curbing insurgent attacks, American commanders are turning to another strategy that they acknowledge is fraught with risk: arming Sunni Arab groups that have promised to fight militants linked with Al Qaeda who have been their allies in the past.

American commanders say they have successfully tested the strategy in Anbar Province west of Baghdad and have held talks with Sunni groups in at least four areas of central and north-central Iraq where the insurgency has been strong. In some cases, the American commanders say, the Sunni groups are suspected of involvement in past attacks on American troops or of having links to such groups. Some of these groups, they say, have been provided, usually through Iraqi military units allied with the Americans, with arms, ammunition, cash, fuel and supplies.

American officers who have engaged in what they call outreach to the Sunni groups say many of them have had past links to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia but grew disillusioned with the Islamic militants’ extremist tactics, particularly suicide bombings that have killed thousands of Iraqi civilians. In exchange for American backing, these officials say, the Sunni groups have agreed to fight Al Qaeda and halt attacks on American units. Commanders who have undertaken these negotiations say that in some cases, Sunni groups have agreed to alert American troops to the location of roadside bombs and other lethal booby traps.

But critics of the strategy, including some American officers, say it could amount to the Americans’ arming both sides in a future civil war. The United States has spent more than $15 billion in building up Iraq’s army and police force, whose manpower of 350,000 is heavily Shiite. With an American troop drawdown increasingly likely in the next year, and little sign of a political accommodation between Shiite and Sunni politicians in Baghdad, the critics say, there is a risk that any weapons given to Sunni groups will eventually be used against Shiites. There is also the possibility the weapons could be used against the Americans themselves.

This new policy coming in the wake of a splintering in the so-called Anbar coalition, this screams giant fuck-up in the near future.

"We [Don't] Report, You Decide"

So what do you do if you are the media arm of the Bush-Republican agenda and Eye-Rack is such a shitstorm? Why ignore it, of course, because who needs to inform the 85% Republican audience of the reality of the situation?

NEW YORK - On a winter day when bomb blasts at an Iraqi university killed dozens and the United Nations estimated that 34,000 civilians in Iraq had died in 2006, MSNBC spent nearly nine minutes on the stories during the 1 p.m. hour. A CNN correspondent in Iraq did a three-minute report about the bombings. Neither story merited a mention on Fox News Channel that hour.

That wasn't unusual. Fox spent half as much time covering the Iraq war than MSNBC during the first three months of the year, and considerably less than CNN, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism. The difference was more stark during daytime news hours than in prime-time opinion shows. The Iraq war occupied 20 percent of CNN's daytime news hole and 18 percent of MSNBC's. On Fox, the war was talked about only 6 percent of the time.

The independent think tank's report freshens a debate over whether ideology drives news agendas, and it comes at a delicate time for Fox. Top Democratic presidential candidates have refused to appear at debates sponsored by Fox. Liberals find attacking Fox is a way to fire up their base. "It illustrates the danger of cheerleading for one particular point or another because they were obviously cheerleaders for the war," said Jon Klein, CNN U.S. president. "When the war went badly they had to dial back coverage because it didn't fit their preconceived story lines."

Fox wouldn't respond to repeated requests to make an executive available to talk about its war coverage.

That's Mighty White. . . Er. . . Blackface Of Them

Remember when the various commentators and political analysts refer to the "fundamentalist vote" or "Christian voters", they really mean white Christians since blacks Christians have no use for Republicans or their agenda. Hispanics might be a different story, but lately they've moved away from the radical right fueled by these bigots. From UrbanKnowledge:

2WMBF.jpg

Are Whites still putting on blackface? Yes, right in our back yard--Riverdale, CA. White men and women had 'brown faces' depicting slaves during the Civil War at Riverdale Christian Academy's Senior Prom & 2007 Graduation Celebration. The skits and characters were part of the entertainment.

. . .The really sad part about this situation is that characters were performed at a church-sponsored event as the Academy is under Riverdale Assembly of God. Just when we think the we have truly begun the reconciliation process between the Church of God in Christ-COGIC and The Assembly of God (Assembly of God member-churches were originally a part of COGIC until they broke off in 1914 to establish a predominately-White denomination), we see that many still need deliverance from racism and prejudice.

. . .This is not merely a theatrical production emulating fictional characters, but a purposeful demonstration of disregard for the seriousness of the black American slave experience. It trivializes slavery, it celebrates the ungodly and unfounded Biblical justification of this Era (similar reasoning used in stripping land for Native Americans and the encampment of Japanese-Americans during WW II), and further characterizes rural and small town America as unwelcoming to people of color.

More pictures at the blogpost, including my favorite, the one depicting a runaway slave being picked up by a bounty hunter:

Runaway.jpg

Classy folks, they are.

Nowhere's Safe

At least according to the UN:

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, under pressure from the United States to expand the U.N.'s role in Iraq, said Monday he would consider it but cited deteriorating security that has forced the U.N. to leave the southern city of Basra and temporarily move out of its living quarters in Baghdad's U.S.-protected Green Zone.

In a report to the U.N. Security Council, Ban said the United Nations is a major promoter of electoral, constitutional and political efforts to build a united, democratic Iraq but because of the "precarious" security situation it needs the speedy construction of a new residential compound in Baghdad that can withstand the impact of rockets and other high-caliber weapons.

"The security situation in Iraq remains complex and unpredictable and is a major limiting factor for the United Nations presence and activities in Iraq," Ban said in the report covering the period from early March to early June.

. . .Ban said "the overall security environment presents a major challenge for the United Nations, particularly for its staff in the International Zone in Baghdad," also known as the Green Zone. He said an increase in mortar and rocket attacks in the Green Zone — from 17 in March to 30 in April and 39 by May 22 — was exacerbated by the increase in car bombings at entry checkpoints.

Hmm, he don't say?

June 11, 2007

More Success In Anbar

It was great for the coupla months that it lasted:

BAGHDAD, June 10 -- A tribal coalition formed to oppose the extremist group al-Qaeda in Iraq, a development that U.S. officials say has reduced violence in Iraq's troubled Anbar province, is beginning to splinter, according to an Anbar tribal leader and a U.S. military official familiar with tribal politics.

In an interview in his Baghdad office, Ali Hatem Ali Suleiman, 35, a leader of the Dulaim confederation, the largest tribal organization in Anbar, said that the Anbar Salvation Council would be dissolved because of growing internal dissatisfaction over its cooperation with U.S. soldiers and the behavior of the council's most prominent member, Abdul Sattar Abu Risha. Suleiman called Abu Risha a "traitor" who "sells his beliefs, his religion and his people for money."

Abu Risha, who enjoys the support of U.S. military commanders, denied the allegations and said the council is not at risk of breaking apart. "There is no such thing going on," he said in a telephone interview from Jordan.

Lt. Col. Richard D. Welch, a U.S. military official who works closely with the tribal leaders in Iraq, said that relations inside the group were strained and that he expected a complete overhaul of the coalition in coming days.

U.S. military leaders hailed the creation of the nearly nine-month-old Anbar Salvation Council, first known as the Awakening, as one of the most important developments in the four-year war, signaling that insurgents and the local population in Anbar, which is overwhelmingly Sunni, have begun to see al-Qaeda in Iraq as their worst enemy, rather than the United States and its allies.

June 8, 2007

And It Begins

I hope the anti-choicers are happy now:


PITTSBURGH — A woman who put her miscarried fetus in her freezer will not be tried on one of the charges against her, according to a spokesman for the prosecutor.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. has decided to drop a charge of abuse of a corpse against Christine Hutchinson, 22, of Pittsburgh, Zappala’s spokesman Mike Manko said Tuesday.

Last month, a district judge ordered Hutchinson to stand trial on that charge, as well as concealing the death of a child.

Abuse of a corpse “will not be on the [court] documents when they are filed during formal arraignment,? Manko said.

Defense attorney Lawrence Fisher said prosecutors will withdraw the remaining charge once Hutchinson agrees to continue treatment for depression.

Yes, you read that right. A woman who had a miscarriage through no fault of her own is being charged with "concealing the death of a child." There is so many things wrong with this picture, like how exactly is one supposed to handle a miscarriage, don't people routinely put dead bodies in freezers anyway, and why is the government compounding a woman's grief, but it all boils down to what kind of agenda the anti-choicers are setting down. These are the same crowd who do not mind seeing more women dying if their protect-the-fetus campaign can continue steamrolling over women's rights. They love to see more teenaged mothers who cannot take care of their babies because allowing these girls a choice in the matter would get in their way of controlling the uterus.

In the end, I will guarantee that those who have abortions will face the death penalty or the equivalent, all miscarriages will be cause for murder investigations, and all zygotes will be issued birth certificates if the anti-choicers have their way.

(via Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon)

June 7, 2007

Ron Paul Is A Republican

Seems like every time Republican candidates debate, there is no shortage of liberals who should know better that heap praises upon Ron Paul for his admittedly sensible positions on foreign policy.

But Ron Paul is NOT one of us. His views on domestic policies paint him as a Republican, and not the stern but reasonable Eisenhower Republicanism, but the Nixonian, Lee Atwater-like "Southern Strategy" Republicanism that has defined much of the modern era:

Texas congressional candidate Ron Paul's 1992 political newsletter highlighted portrayals of blacks as inclined toward crime and lacking sense about top political issues.

Under the headline of "Terrorist Update," for instance, Paul reported on gang crime in Los Angeles and commented, "If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be."

. . .Paul, writing in his independent political newsletter in 1992, reported about unspecified surveys of blacks.

"Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty and the end of welfare and affirmative action,"Paul wrote.

Paul continued that politically sensible blacks are outnumbered "as decent people." Citing reports that 85 percent of all black men in the District of Columbia are arrested, Paul wrote:

"Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the `criminal justice system,' I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal," Paul said.

Paul also wrote that although "we are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers."

Writing in the same 1992 edition, Paul expressed the popular idea that government should lower the age at which accused juvenile criminals can be prosecuted as adults.

He added, "We don't think a child of 13 should be held responsible as a man of 23. That's true for most people, but black males age 13 who have been raised on the streets and who have joined criminal gangs are as big, strong, tough, scary and culpable as any adult and should be treated as such."

Yes, let's vote in David Duke as president. Sixty percent of white Louisianans can't be wrong.

June 6, 2007

The Real Eye-Rack Surge

Again via First Draft, it seems like Turkey is expanding their Waronterra into our backyard:

ANKARA, Turkey - Several thousand Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq early Wednesday to chase Kurdish guerrillas who operate from bases there, Turkish security officials told The Associated Press.

Two senior security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said the raid was limited in scope and that it did not constitute the kind of large incursion that Turkish leaders have been discussing in recent weeks.

“It is not a major offensive and the number of troops is not in the tens of thousands,? one of the officials told the AP by telephone. The official is based in southeast Turkey, where the military has been battling separatist Kurdish rebels since they took up arms in 1984.

Like Holden says, shit meet fan.

Baghdad's Apartheid Wall Completed

The real question is, are they safer yet?

Construction of a controversial, three-mile blast wall in one of Baghdad’s most troubled neighborhoods was completed recently, following three months of grueling labor and heated protests from Iraqi residents and government officials.

The barrier, which consists of thousands of 12-foot-high concrete slabs, or T-walls, rings much of Adhamiyah — an island of Sunni families in Baghdad’s predominantly Shiite east side.

Engineers with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team lowered the final 7-ton slab into place in the early morning darkness of May 28, according to a U.S. military statement issued Tuesday.

U.S. commanders say the barrier will make Adhamiyah a safer neighborhood by restricting incoming and outgoing vehicle traffic to several guarded checkpoints. The project is part of an overall attempt by U.S. forces to quell sectarian violence in the embattled capital.

The plan triggered harsh criticism from both Sunnis and Shiites, who saw darker motives in the wall’s construction. While some compared it to Israel’s West Bank security wall, others insisted the project was part of a larger plan to divide the city into a maze of “gated communities.?

(via First Draft)

June 5, 2007

QOTD

John Stewart just now on The Daily Show commenting on the indictment of Louisiana congressman William Jefferson:

"Now we know what it takes for the federal government to pay attention to a black guy from New Orleans."

Charges Dismissed Against Former Child Soldier And Driver, Both Still In The Concentration Camp.

Worst of the worst indeed:

GUANT?NAMO BAY, Cuba, June 4 — The government’s new system for trying Guantánamo detainees was thrown into turmoil Monday, when military judges in separate decisions dismissed war crimes charges against two of the detainees.

The rulings, the latest legal setbacks for the government’s effort to bring war crimes charges against detainees, could stall the military’s prosecutions here.

The decisions did not turn on the guilt or innocence of the detainees, but rather made essentially the same determination that the military had not followed procedures to declare the detainees “unlawful enemy combatants,? which is required for the military commission to hear the cases.

Pentagon officials described the rulings as raising technical and semantic issues, and said that they were considering appeals. If appeals failed, they said, they could go through the process of redesignating the detainees.

But military lawyers said the rulings exposed a flaw that would affect every other potential war-crimes case here. And the rulings brought immediate calls, including from some on Capitol Hill, for Congress to re-examine the system it set up last year for military commission trials and, perhaps, to consider other changes in the legal treatment of Guantánamo detainees.

. . .The military judges said Congress authorized the bringing of war-crimes charges against detainees who had been declared by military tribunals to be “unlawful enemy combatants.? But they said the tribunals held at Guantánamo, known as combatant status review tribunals, or C.S.R.T.’s, had determined only that the detainees were enemy combatants, without making the added determination that their participation was “unlawful.?

The international law of war defines unlawful combatants as fighters who, for example, do not wear military uniforms and conceal their weapons.

Monday’s rulings came in the cases of the only Canadian detainee, Omar Ahmed Khadr, and a Yemeni detainee, Salim Ahmed Hamdan. Mr. Hamdan’s appeal of a prior effort to prosecute him led to a Supreme Court decision last June in which the justices struck down the administration’s first system for war-crimes trials.

The military judge in Mr. Hamdan’s case, Capt. Keith Allred of the Navy, said the Pentagon had failed to obtain the necessary enemy combatant classification of Mr. Hamdan, who is accused of being the Qaeda driver for Osama bin Laden.

Mr. Hamdan’s longtime military lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift said that, though his client was unlikely to obtain freedom because of the decision, “It was once again a victory for the rule of law.?

The judge in Mr. Khadr’s case, Peter E. Brownback III, an Army colonel, said since the detainee had not been declared an unlawful enemy combatant, the military court did not have jurisdiction over the case and the proceedings could not continue. “A person has a right to be tried only by a court which he knows has jurisdiction over him,? Judge Brownback said from the bench in the military courtroom here.

Mr. Khadr, who was 15 when he was captured in Afghanistan, is charged with killing an American soldier, spying, supporting terrorism and other charges.

Steve Gilliard Gets An NYT Obit

Sure, NOW they notice him now that he's dead:

Steven Gilliard Jr., 42, Dies; Founder of Liberal Political Blog

By NOAM COHEN
Published: June 6, 2007

Steven Gilliard Jr., a political journalist who found his calling as a combative and influential blogger on the left, died on Saturday in Manhattan. He was 42.

He died after having been hospitalized at Lenox Hill Hospital since February because of heart and kidney failure, said his cousin Francine Smith, a spokeswoman for the family.

From his perch at The News Blog, whose advertisements and donations paid for his modest living expenses, Mr. Gilliard offered his powerful readership a blunt and passionate take on the events of the day. He was one of fewer than a dozen liberal political bloggers to make a living from his blog, said Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, the founder of the Daily Kos Web site, to which Mr. Gilliard had been an early contributor.

Mr. Gilliard was born in Harlem and attended Hunter College Elementary School and Hunter College High School before graduating with a degree in journalism from New York University.

After working in print journalism, Mr. Gilliard migrated online, working for a Web site, Net Slaves, that chronicled the lot of the tech worker during the dot-com boom. His involvement in online political writing received a critical boost when Mr. Moulitsas chose Mr. Gilliard to help create material for the Daily Kos site at a time when it had 4,000 visitors a day; it now has 500,000 a day.

Mr. Gilliard eventually left Daily Kos to create The News Blog.

Mr. Gilliard’s survivors include his parents, Steven Gilliard Sr. and Evelyn Lillian Gilliard of Manhattan, and two sisters, Valerie Gilliard and Roberta Smalls, both of Massachusetts.

In what is a now-familiar story among Internet collaborators, many of the thousands who posted online reactions to Mr. Gilliard’s death wrote that they had known little about him, even the fact that he was black. Others, though, mourned the loss of an African-American voice in the liberal blogging world. Those closest to him offline similarly knew next to nothing about his life as blogger.

“Most of the family didn’t know what he was doing on the Web site,? said his cousin, Ms. Smith, who said his parents did not own computers.

Everybody Swears Cuz Everybody Does It

An appeals court finally brought some level of sanity surrounding the austere censorship being meted out by the FCC, and the best part is that the TV companies have Bush and Cheney's foul mouths to thank for the ruling:

WASHINGTON: If President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney can blurt out vulgar language, then the government cannot punish broadcast television stations for broadcasting the same words in similarly fleeting contexts.

That, in essence, was the decision Monday, when a U.S. federal appeals court struck down a government policy allowing stations and networks to be fined if they broadcast shows containing profanities.

Although the case was primarily concerned with what is known as "fleeting expletives," or blurted profanities, on television, both network executives and top officials at the Federal Communications Commission said the opinion could gut the commission's ability to regulate any speech on television or radio.

. . .The decision, by a divided panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, was a sharp rebuke to the FCC and to the Bush administration. For the four television networks that filed the lawsuit - Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC - it was a major victory in a legal and cultural battle they are waging with the commission and its supporters.

More Success In Anbar

Because opening up a whole new can of worms is considered a "success":

Car bomb near Iraq's Falluja kills 19: police

Tue Jun 5, 6:58 PM ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - At least 19 people were killed and 25 others
were wounded when a suicide bomber blew up his car in a market
just outside Iraq's western city of Falluja on Tuesday, police said.

Hospital sources said most of the victims were women and children.

. . .Some Sunni Arab tribes in Anbar have been engaged in a war over
control in Anbar against al-Qaeda militants. The tribes have joined
forces with the police to the militants who are targeting tribes
who cooperate with authorities in Anbar.

June 4, 2007

File This Under "No Shit"

The on-the-ground commander, General David Petraeus, wrote in his own counterinsurgency manual that 120,000 troops are required to pacify Baghdad alone. Right now there will be only 30,000 troops during the Surge™, with an additional 30,000 Eye-Rackee Army troops and 21,000 police officers.

So if we are, at best, short 40,000 COIN personnel, how does the math add up?

BAGHDAD, June 3 — Three months after the start of the Baghdad security plan that has added thousands of American and Iraqi troops to the capital, they control fewer than one-third of the city’s neighborhoods, far short of the initial goal for the operation, according to some commanders and an internal military assessment.

The American assessment, completed in late May, found that American and Iraqi forces were able to “protect the population? and “maintain physical influence over? only 146 of the 457 Baghdad neighborhoods.

In the remaining 311 neighborhoods, troops have either not begun operations aimed at rooting out insurgents or still face “resistance,? according to the one-page assessment, which was provided to The New York Times and summarized reports from brigade and battalion commanders in Baghdad.

The assessment offers the first comprehensive look at the progress of the effort to stabilize Baghdad with the heavy influx of additional troops. The last remaining American units in the troop increase are just now arriving.

Violence has diminished in many areas, but it is especially chronic in mixed Shiite-Sunni neighborhoods in western Baghdad, several senior officers said. Over all, improvements have not yet been as widespread or lasting across Baghdad, they acknowledged.

That's what happens when the new strategery is only a delaying tactic devised to dump the whole mess on the next, hopefully Democratic president.

Update: According to CNN, the deputy commanding general said only 1/4 of Baghdad is under control. Since the Green Zone is 4 square miles out of 78 square miles of Baghdad, that means they actually control less than a fifth of what they actually need to control.

June 3, 2007

The Surge Is Working!

If you watched any of the Sunday-morning talk shows, you might get that sort of impression. Let's set the record straight, shall we?

Number of Unidentified Bodies Found in Baghdad Rose Sharply in May

By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.
Published: June 2, 2007

BAGHDAD, June 1 — The number of unidentified corpses discovered in Baghdad soared more than 70 percent during May, according to new statistics from the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, an indication that sectarian killings are rising sharply as militias return to the streets after lying low during the first few months of the troop “surge.?

In May, 726 unidentified bodies were found in Baghdad, many bound and shot in the head or showing signs of torture and execution, compared with 411 during April, according to figures provided by a ministry official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

The Bush administration and military have cited a decline in sectarian killings as proof that the troop escalation is working. And despite May’s increase in corpses, the numbers remain far below the peak of sectarian executions last year. In July and August, for example, a total of 5,106 people died violent deaths in Baghdad alone, according to the United Nations, including 3,391 reported by the city’s morgue.

The new figures also show a decline in the number of deaths of identifiable victims in Baghdad to 344 in May from 495 in April. While victims of car bombs, homemade bombs and mortar strikes can usually be identified, those who are kidnapped, tortured and executed are normally stripped of identification before their bodies are dumped.

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Civilian death toll in Iraq spikes in May
By Mussab Al-Khairalla
02 Jun 2007 13:58:30 GMT

BAGHDAD, June 2 (Reuters) - The number of civilians killed in Iraq jumped to nearly 2,000 in May, the highest monthly toll since the start of a U.S.-backed security crackdown in February, according to figures released on Saturday.

Militants blew up a strategic bridge that links Baghdad to the northern cities of Kirkuk and Arbil, and a mortar barrage on the Sunni enclave of Fadhil in mainly Shi'ite eastern Baghdad, killed 10 people and wounded 30, police said.

In Arbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Masoud Barzani, president of Kurdistan, urged Turkey not to send troops into the region to crush Kurdish separatist rebels believed to be hiding there.

An Interior Ministry official, who did not want to be named because he was not authorised to release the figures, said 1,944 civilians were killed in May, a 29 percent hike over April. At least 174 soldiers and policemen were killed in the same period.

The death toll was based on statistics compiled by Iraq's ministries of interior, defence and health on the number of people killed and wounded in attacks in Iraq.

After three months of declines, there has been a sharp rise in the number of sectarian murders in Baghdad. Mortar attacks in the capital are becoming deadlier and car bombs remain common.

At least 20 people were killed and dozens injured in two mortar attacks on Shi'ite and Sunni neighbourhoods in Baghdad in the past 48 hours. In Saturday's attack, 10 people were killed in a barrage on the Sunni Fadhil district

Police, who reported fewer than 10 sectarian murders a day in the first weeks of the security crackdown, are now typically reporting 30 or more.

U.S. military commanders says this is a spike, not a trend, and the full impact of the crackdown will not be known for months.

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U.S. Announces 14 Troop Deaths in Iraq

BAGHDAD (AP) - Fourteen American soldiers were killed in three deadly days in Iraq, the U.S. military said Sunday, including four in a single roadside bombing and one who was struck by a suicide bomber while on a foot patrol southwest of the capital.

The blast that killed the four soldiers occurred Sunday as the troops were conducting a cordon and search operation northwest of the Iraqi capital, according to a statement. Two other soldiers from Multi-National Division - Baghdad were killed and five were wounded along with an Iraqi interpreter in two separate roadside bombings on Sunday, the military said.

. . .Seven others troops were killed in a series of attacks across Iraq on Saturday.

The deaths raised to at least 3,493 members of the U.S. military who have died since the war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.


June 2, 2007

Looks Like I Didn't Pray Hard Enough

Steve Gilliard, founder of my favorite blogs The News Blog, has sadly passed away. From the very prehistory of the Eye-Rack war to the day he was taken to the hospital, he has been my number one go-to source, whether he was on the Daily Kos or his own site, for the real story on what's going on in Eye-Rack and the difficulties that are to come. Plus it was him who introduced me to that killer macaroni and cheese recipe that I have been using ever since. Hunter S. Thompson, Anne Richards, Molly Ivins, John Galbraith, now Steve Gilliard (yes, I'm putting him among those great people) the number of great liberal minds being taken away at the time we need them most is getting really, really depressing.

My heart goes out to his family, close friends and all his fans.

Life Under The Bush Era

Pretty much the same as life under the previous Bush era:

The number of violent crimes in the United States rose for a second straight year in 2006, marking the first sustained increase in homicides, robberies and other serious offenses since the early 1990s, according to an FBI report to be released Monday.

The FBI's Uniform Crime Report will show an increase of about 1.3 percent in violent offenses last year, including a 6 percent rise in robberies and a slight rise in homicides, according to law enforcement officials, who described key findings in advance of the report's release. That follows an increase of 2.3 percent in 2005, which was the first significant increase in violent crime in 15 years.

Much of the increase was concentrated in medium-size cities, including the District of Columbia, officials said. Criminologists and law enforcement officials offer varying theories for the upswing, including an increase in the juvenile population, growing numbers of released prison inmates and the rise of serious gang problems in smaller jurisdictions.

June 1, 2007

Iraqi Women Refugees, Including Girls, Forced Into Sex Trade

Gee, where are all the "value voters" when you need em to demand that Bush to fix this mess?

For anyone living in Damascus these days, the fact that some Iraqi refugees are selling sex or working in sex clubs is difficult to ignore.

Even in central Damascus, men freely talk of being approached by pimps trawling for customers outside juice shops and shawarma sandwich stalls, and of women walking up to passing men, an act unthinkable in Arab culture, and asking in Iraqi-accented Arabic if the men would like to “have a cup of tea.?

By day the road that leads from Damascus to the historic convent at Saidnaya is often choked with Christian and Muslim pilgrims hoping for one of the miracles attributed to a portrait of the Virgin Mary at the convent. But as any Damascene taxi driver can tell you, the Maraba section of this fabled pilgrim road is fast becoming better known for its brisk trade in Iraqi prostitutes.

Many of these women and girls, including some barely in their teens, are recent refugees. Some are tricked or forced into prostitution, but most say they have no other means of supporting their families. As a group they represent one of the most visible symptoms of an Iraqi refugee crisis that has exploded in Syria in recent months.

According to the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, about 1.2 million Iraqi refugees now live in Syria; the Syrian government puts the figure even higher.

Given the deteriorating economic situation of those refugees, a United Nations report found last year, many girls and women in “severe need? turn to prostitution, in secret or even with the knowledge or involvement of family members. In many cases, the report added, “the head of the family brings clients to the house.?

Aid workers say thousands of Iraqi women work as prostitutes in Syria, and point out that as violence in Iraq has increased, the refugee population has come to include more female-headed households and unaccompanied women.

“So many of the Iraqi women arriving now are living on their own with their children because the men in their families were killed or kidnapped,? said Sister Marie-Claude Naddaf, a Syrian nun at the Good Shepherd convent in Damascus, which helps Iraqi refugees.

You Have GOP To Be Kidding Me

Yes, Bush's nominee for Surgeon General is someone who runs a program to "cure" gays. Hopefully if enough Democrats pay attention, they will make this a fight that Bush is simply not going to win. Otherwise, they really are useless.

Only 17 Percent Of Americans Are Against The Commingling Of The Races

Well, at least now we don't have to worry about that old time classical racism anymore, unless those estimated 40 million whites who answered in the negative decide to go against the 35 million total blacks.

What's really surprising is that as recently as 1988, less than half of whites still disapprove of interracial dating. I knew the racial enviroment was pretty awful during that time, but I had no idea it was that bad.

Still FUBAR

Marine makes an order of more than half a billion dollars for supposedly IED proof vehicles that should protect soldiers from insurgent attacks. They've just found out that the insurgency has evolved more powerful explosives rendering the new MRAPs useless. The Marines still buy the million-dollar coffins.

And the clusterfuck continues.

The Nooner Dumps Bush

Former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan realizes what a spoiled brat WorstPresidentEver is:

For almost three years, arguably longer, conservative Bush supporters have felt like sufferers of battered wife syndrome. You don't like endless gushing spending, the kind that assumes a high and unstoppable affluence will always exist, and the tax receipts will always flow in? Too bad! You don't like expanding governmental authority and power? Too bad. You think the war was wrong or is wrong? Too bad.

But on immigration it has changed from "Too bad" to "You're bad."

The president has taken to suggesting that opponents of his immigration bill are unpatriotic--they "don't want to do what's right for America." His ally Sen. Lindsey Graham has said, "We're gonna tell the bigots to shut up." On Fox last weekend he vowed to "push back." Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff suggested opponents would prefer illegal immigrants be killed; Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said those who oppose the bill want "mass deportation." Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson said those who oppose the bill are "anti-immigrant" and suggested they suffer from "rage" and "national chauvinism."

Why would they speak so insultingly, with such hostility, of opponents who are concerned citizens? And often, though not exclusively, concerned conservatives? It is odd, but it is of a piece with, or a variation on, the "Too bad" governing style. And it is one that has, day by day for at least the past three years, been tearing apart the conservative movement.

Her and her kind have spent the entire stillborn presidency participating in or being active bystanders of the smearing of those who don't agree 100% with the bush or the conservative agenda as unpatriotic or worse. Now that man-or-monkey has resorted to directing that calumny towards his own base, and she's upset? Cry me a goddamn river.

Lieberman Goes To Eye-Rack To Give Troops Much Needed Stump Speech

Lieberman.jpg duckandcover_bert_the_turtle_6k_1.jpg

See any difference? Me neither.

Quid Pro Joe is back in Eye-Rack trying to convince people that everything is A-OK. But when it came to actually addressing the concerns of the troops on the ground, LIEberman was virtually AWOL:

The night before, 30 other soldiers crowded around him with questions for the senator. He wrote them all down. At the top of his note card was the question he got from nearly every one of his fellow soldiers: When are we going to get out of here??

The rest was a laundry list. When would they have upgraded Humvees that could withstand the armor-penetrating weapons that U.S. officials claim are from Iran? When could they have body armor that was better in hot weather? . . .

It isn’t clear whether Williams mentioned the last line on his note card, the one that had a star next to it. “We don’t feel like we’re making any progress,? it said.



The same post also mentions that the soldiers are getting pretty peeved about spending all their resources and energry forming human barricades around visiting politicians looking for a photo-op to support their obvious agendas, and that the biggest offender of all was Lieberman.

Update: Via Atrios, the Connecticut Post literally tells LIEberman to just, please, shut the fuck up.

Shorter Bill O'Reilly And John McCain: "Rahowa!"

Bill-O, once again, has been caught slipping over his apoplexy over the "immi-gants" and has revealed his true colors:

Bill O'Reilly: But do you understand what the New York Times wants, and the far-left want? They want to break down the white, Christian, male power structure, which you're a part, and so am I, and they want to bring in millions of foreign nationals to basically break down the structure that we have. In that regard, Pat Buchanan is right. So I say you've got to cap with a number.

John McCain: In America today we've got a very strong economy and low unemployment, so we need addition farm workers, including by the way agriculture, but there may come a time where we have an economic downturn, and we don't need so many.

[crosstalk]

O'Reilly: But in this bill, you guys have got to cap it. Because estimation is 12 million, there may be 20 [million]. You don't know, I don't know. We've got to cap it.

McCain: We do, we do. I agree with you.

Actually, he wasn't slipping, he actually believes in his crusade to protect the interests of the poor, oppressed white males. If this were the 1850's, I'll guarantee you my left eyeball that both O'Reilly and McCain would quickly change their tune concerning the immigration debates they had during that time.

You all can see it for yourself in all its glory: