Wish There Was An Alternative To The Giggling Morons Passing Themselves Off As "Newspeople" On Cable And Network -- Oh Wait, There Is...
At least, they're trying a different approach. It's called TheRealNews.
Here's their intro:
At least, they're trying a different approach. It's called TheRealNews.
Here's their intro:
We Can't Make It Here Anymore - by James Mcmurtry
To all candidates for national office in 2008:
Fuck pro life and pro choice.
Fuck gay marriage debates.
Fuck family values.
Fuck The Global War on Terror.
Fuck Iraq and Afghanistan.
Fuck Creationism and Flag Burning.
Fuck debates on religion.
Fuck gun control and the 2nd Amendment crap.
Fuck who's the most macho on foreign policy.
Fuck what an asshole your opponent is.
Fuck knee-jerk praise for our screw-the-pooch troops.
Fuck waving the bloody 9/11 flag.
Should a practicing Mormon be excluded from high political office because of his religious beliefs?
Frankly, the question had never occurred to me before I read a recent article on the Huffington Post.
Mark Kleiman, Professor of Public Policy in the UCLA School of Public Affairs, in a recent rendering on the Huffington Post, spotlighted an excoriation of a Fr. Richard John Neuhaus for his article regarding Mitt Romney and Mormonism at the First Things website. First Things is a website and organization headed by Fr. Neuhaus and is generally credited with being fairly right-wing in the political sense, not the KFC sense.
Mr. Kleiman, one of the good Friar's many nemeses, headlined his brief contribution, "As JFK spins in his grave ..." a backhanded reference to the anti-Catholicism that JFK overcame in his successful bid for the Presidency in 1960 and, by inference, equating the religious bigotry JFK overcame with Fr. Neuhaus's reservations regarding Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's religious affiliation with the Mormon Church.
My immediate reaction was that, although Fr. Neuhaus may be many things, even a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while. Apart from that, it prompted a few memories.
I've known a few Mormons, even spent a year in Salt Lake City, capitol of the faith. Those I've known impressed me as, if tending toward rigidity and naivete, admirable in their devotion to high moral values in everyday dealings.
Side note: in the service I once had a young Mormon sailor working for me. He was industrious, devoted, and patriotic. When he left he called me aside and spent 30 minutes telling me what a bastard I was for my coffee-drinking, cigarette-smoking, beer-swilling, and womanizing ways, all behaviors I'd thought up to then were required of a healthy, active duty sailor. I'm still thankful I didn't advise him that I'd spent the better part of the past year shielding him and his fellow strikers from a sexual predator who was our mutual superior, a warrant officer whom I'd first crossed paths with during a stint in a criminal investigations unit. Better he didn't know, better I didn't puncture his comfortable innocence. I'm still a coffee-drinking, cigarette-smoking, beer-swilling reprobate, by the way, but passage of time, hair and tooth loss have cut down on the womanizing considerably.
And it's also true, that as a beneficiary of a gentle but insistent proselytizing by Mormon missionaries at one point, I confess that I found many of their beliefs -- there is no kind way to put it -- pretty loony. I still take strong exception to their demonization of Black Africans and African-Americans, even though more recent "revelations" to church leaders prompt the claim that the Mormon scriptures on this particular topic don't actually mean what they say.
True that many ex-Mormons decry Mormonism as a vicious cult, embodying the worst aspects of Scientology and televangelism and worse.
Despite all that, and after reading the rants on both sides of the argument, I find myself not really giving a damn what Mitt Romney's personal religious beliefs are. Like most hypocrites running for elective office, what's important is their degree of hypocrisy and self-delusion regarding their archaic and destructive political beliefs.
Romney isn't responsible for the religious system he was born into. But like all the rest of us, he is responsible for his intentions toward the rest of us.
Didn't get around to the "Devil's Manchurian Candidate" issue, did I. So it goes.
Also at Daily Kos
The transformation of Richard B. Cheney, current Vice-President of the United States, from his widely perceived persona as a reasonable, pragmatic, and effective realist while serving as President George H. W. Bush's Secretary of Defense in the 1980's, to his current position as perhaps the most excoriated political figure since disgraced President Richard M. Nixon, is -- as they say -- a cautionary tale.
Cheney, his public popularity even lower than the current President Bush -- technically his boss -- is today a remote and unapproachable figure scornful of the press, dismissive of his critics, contemptuous of reality, and single-minded in his pursuit of what seems to many a vision of empire and power so extreme as to verge on madness.
What accounts for this remarkable transformation?
It may be something so mundane as simply ascending to his position of extraordinary power as Vice-President, according to Stanford Business School social psychologist Deborah Gurenfeld.
Quoted in an article titled "Power is not only an aphrodisiac, it does weird things to some of us" in the San Francisco Chronicle on November 19, 2006, Professor Gurenfeld makes this telling observation:
Research documents the following characteristics of people with power: They tend to be more oblivious to what others think, more likely to pursue the satisfaction of their own appetites, poorer judges of other people's reactions, more likely to hold stereotypes, overly optimistic and more likely to take risks.The article quotes one of Gruenfeld's main conclusions:
Disinhibition is the very root of power," said Stanford Professor Deborah Gruenfeld, a social psychologist who focuses on the study of power. "For most people, what we think of as 'power plays' aren't calculated and Machiavellian -- they happen at the subconscious level. Many of those internal regulators that hold most of us back from bold or bad behavior diminish or disappear. When people feel powerful, they stop trying to 'control themselves.'Similar research points to the corrosive effects of power. For example, a study Dr. Gruenfeld and three other researchers carried out, "Power and Perspectives Not Taken", (summary at U.S. News and World Report) found that "...the more power leaders have, the harder it is for them to grasp just what the world looks like to the people under them."
Everyone from the guy ringing up your McBurger to the richest corporate CEO in the land agrees that, by God, they're just paying too much in taxes, period. It's just not fair.
The two people who sometimes accidentally visit this blog might be aware that I am somewhat psychic so that I am peculiarly qualified to solve this vexing problem.
The problem, as I realized this morning in a blinding flash of psychic insight, is that taxes are based on that most illogical and grindingly unfair measurement known as "income."
That's right, even though we are a supposedly free and democratic nation that extols the virtues of hard work and savings, the harder we work, the more money we make, the more we must pay in taxes.
It's not only unfair, its insane.
Obviously, some newer, fairer standard of equitable taxation must be found and enacted into law before this crushingly undemocratic burden mashes us all flatter than a cockroach trying to skitter across a dance floor populated by hundreds of steroid-crazed tap dancers.
Nearly immediately following this blinding psychic flash of insight, I experienced -- fortunately for all of us -- a thunderclap of inspiration. Weight! We all get taxed by the pound!
For every pound over our ideal weight, we pay X-dollars in tax. For every pound under our ideal weight, we receive the heartfelt thanks of a grateful nation unable to figure out how to manage health care at any level.
Think how this would work out. Great big fat people would have to pay a premium. If they couldn't come up with the cash, they could easily beat up someone smaller and extract enough bucks to toe the mark with the taxperson. Those of a more petite persuasion would pay nothing and by spending less time stuffing their gobs would have more time to hide from desperate, overweight thugs.
Business taxes would be the same, only different. Everyone employed by a business would be weighed and that would be added to the weight of the paperwork required to return its defective products. If a business came up short on its taxes, it could just cut pay or outsource all their labor to India. Win, win.
I don't expect the Nobel Prize for this stunning revamp of the oppressive tax code, but a Medal of Freedom would be nice.
Diego Garcia, the island base in the Indian Ocean used as a stationary aircraft carrier by US forces operating in Afghanistan and Iraq may be reverting to the indigenous people who actually own it, according to a story in British newspaper, The Guardian.
"An estimated 2,000 Chagossians were driven from their homes between 1967 and 1971 after Britain made a secret deal to lease the island of Diego Garcia to the US for use as an airbase. They were tricked out of their homes, encouraged to leave on temporary trips, and not allowed back.Forcibly removing people from their homes and transporting them to another country is defined as "ethnic cleansing" in international treaties the US is party to and is classified as a war crime by those treaties. It is also a war crime under Title 18, Part I, Chapter 118, Paragraph 2441 of the United States Criminal Code.
"Later, the islanders were subjected to intimidation. At one point US soldiers rounded up their dogs and gassed them. The departing Chagossians were loaded on to boats, allowed to take only one bag with them, and deposited in Mauritius, where most have lived in poverty ever since. The base has served as a refuelling stop and base for air raids in a succession of wars, most recently in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"Yesterday's ruling was greeted by silence from the Chagossians in court, who have seen hopes of a return dashed several times in their four-decade exile. But Olivier Bancoult, their leader in exile who took the foreign office to court, emerged smiling holding his fingers up in a victory sign. 'I'm very happy for my people,' Mr Bancoult told a crowd of supporters and journalists. 'We will go back and make Chagos great.'"
Also posted at Daily Kos
Conservative pundit William S. Lind, an expert on military affairs and Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation, is privately advising unit commanders in Iraq to prepare their own versions of 5th century B.C. Greek general Xenophon's classic retreat north from Persia (present day Iraq and Iran) through Kurdish Iraq and Turkey.
"Higher headquarters are unlikely to develop such a plan, because if it leaked there would be political hell to pay in Washington. I would therefore strongly advise every American battalion and company in Iraq to have its own Operation Anabasis plan, a plan which relies only on its own resources and whatever it thinks it could scrounge locally. Do not, repeat, do not expect the Air Force to come in and pick you up."What prompts this doomsday advice?
"While dilettantes believe the attack is the most difficult military art, most soldiers know better. Carrying out a successful retreat is usually far harder.Lind then goes on to explain the vulnerability of US forces in Iraq, citing both their long supply lines through potentially hostile Shiite Iraq and the easily blocked exit through the Persian Gulf. Juan Cole, President of the Global Americana Institute, points out that the noose may already be tightening:
"One of history's most successful retreats, and certainly its most famous, is the "Retreat of the 10,000." In 401 B.C., 10,000 Greek hoplites hired themselves out as mercenaries to a Persian prince, Cyrus the Younger, who was making a grab for the Peacock Throne. Inconveniently, after the Greeks were deep in Persia, Cyrus was killed. The hoplites' leader, Xenophon, the first gentleman of war, led his men on an epic retreat through Kurdish country to the coast and home. Surprisingly, most of them made it. Safely back in Athens, Xenophon wrote up his army's story, cleverly titling it the Anabasis, which means the advance. It was not the last retreat so labeled."
"Someone in the Green Zone leaked the following memo, which shows that US personnel are now actually facing difficulties in getting food by convoy up from Kuwait. They avoid local food in the Baghdad region because of the danger guerrillas will poison it."Lind goes on to offer even more graphic advice:
Read the entire article here.
What might such company and battalion plans entail? I asked that question of Dave Danelo, a former Marine captain who now edits U.S. Cavalry's "On Point" website. Dave was recently in Iraq with U.S. units as a journalist, so his knowledge is current. His suggestions include:
Have a route plan. Know where the safe areas are and why they are safe. For the Marines in Al Anbar Province, this could be Al Asad or Al Taqaddum Air Base. For soldiers in Mosul, it's Kurdistan. For troops in Baghdad, it's either of the above, or possibly Tallil Air Base in the south. For British troops in Basrah, who knows?
Apply the Joseph Principle. In the Bible, Joseph advised the Egyptians to store away their goods during the seven years of feast. When seven years of famine hit, they were ready. Husband large stashes of everything at the company/battalion levels: MREs, water, ammunition, and, most of all, fuel.
Iraqis, American contractors and oil companies have each developed parallel and redundant distribution systems that push fuel outside the U.S. military umbrella. Depending on who controls what in which neighborhood, these systems might remain intact if military supply lines are cut. Be prepared to commandeer these resources.
Learn the black market fuel system and exploit it. Although black market fuel is horrible on humvee engines, it will get your unit out of Baghdad and into a safe zone.
Watched the Republican Presidential Debate on Fox the other day. All politicians are fiercely territorial. Republicans appear to mark their territory by crapping on all the best ideas.
The Directorate of Operations still employed a number of people involved in the JFK-aborted Bay of Pigs operation against Cuba who were reportedly still burning with resentment over JFK's roll in aborting it, and who had the technical skill to set up and do the deed.Considering the photographic evidence placing CIA direct and contract agents (including GHWB, then a senior CIA official according to Hoover) in Dallas on the fateful day, CIA involvement at some level, for whatever reason, can't be excluded. The revenge motivation seems the weakest of the two possibilities. Throughout its existence, the CIA has become inured to being thwarted, second-guessed, stopped and started arbitrarily by US presidents. It's part of their brief. Credible evidence of presidential mental instability might be another matter but, given the potential players, it's doubtful they would have acted on their own.
We now know that, because of his physical difficulties, JFK was on a heavy daily cocktail of uppers, downers, and painkillers which likely had adverse affects on his mental state. It may be that CIA (or someone else in government) had knowledge of and were frightened by JFK's potential mental instability owing to heavy drug use, concluding that an irrational moment might lead to nuclear war.
Cross-dressing balding paunchy raunchy politico w/several ex-wives and hateful kids seeks kinky female intern named "Monica"
Jerry Falwell, long-time pastor at the 24,000-member Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, passed away May 15, 2007. He was 73.
Like many prototypical American characters, the broad outlines of Reverend Falwell's public life could have been sketched by American novelist and social critic, Sinclair Lewis. In his 1922 novel, "Elmer Gantry," Lewis describes the rise of a midwest preacher who emerges triumphant from each crisis in his life to reach ever greater heights of social status.
In the Gantry tradition, Falwell's rise was punctuated by a series of seemingly career-ending public gaffes, most involving demonization of those he characterized as opponents, but which, in the end, served to rally his followers behind him and draw ever-increasing numbers of people to his ministry, confounding his many critics.
Unlike the fictional Gantry, Reverend Falwell's private life was exemplary. Together, he and his wife, the former Macel Pate, raised three children.
Falwell's early life and ministry were marked by his strong support of racial segregation and he often spoke out from the pulpit and elsewhere in support of what many criticized as racist views and racist figures. This was not unique for his place and time. In later life he reportedly changed his views; at least, he no longer publicly advocated legal segregation and seemed content in public in avoiding serious discussions about race.
Critics of Falwell point to his seemingly uncanny ability to pinpoint and inflame socially divisive issues, profiting from the resulting publicity. Defenders argue he was merely expressing the strong moral viewpoints shared by his followers. Personal motivation aside, it can be accurately stated that he was adept at dividing people in the wider community on a range of controversial issues, rather than in bringing them together.
Whether it was his increasing moral fervor or the lure of power as the ultimate aphrodisiac, Falwell was drawn to expression of his controversial views in the political sphere, throwing his organization and burgeoning financial assets behind political candidacies and causes that paid at least lip service to his espoused moral agenda, encompassing such far flung issues as human reproductive freedom, sexual identity, church-state separation, scientific theory, and national security. Most often, his support went to the Republican party which, for some reason, seemed more attuned to his style and outspoken opinions. In return, he often adopted conservative Republican economic and business issues, adding their advocacy in exhortations to his followers.
It should be noted that Reverend Falwell was certainly not unique among American religious leaders for his political activism, a venerable tradition throughout American history, nor in his selection of divisive issues, nor in his cultivation of prominent politicians.
Reverend Falwell was a gifted, often mercurial public speaker who left no one who heard him in doubt about his stance on any issue he addressed. In public, he was also an engaging if formidable conversationalist, often displaying humility and stubbornness, kindness and accusation in the same sentence, something of a standard tour de force for him. He was seldom without a smile.
Reverend Falwell will be missed by friend and foe alike, probably for different reasons.
According to White House press spokesmodel, Tony Snow, the Russian Foreign Ministry has privately pointed out to the US Embassy in Moscow that Russian President Vladimar Putin's recent public remarks comparing the invasion and occupation of Iraq to actions of Adolph Hitler's Third Reich did not actually mention either President Bush or the United States by name.
User, "AwesomestNerd," writing from an undisclosed location, recently opined:
“One of the most basic laws in the universe is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This states that as time goes by, entropy in an environment will increase. Evolution argues differently against a law that is accepted EVERYWHERE BY EVERYONE. Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn’t possible: UNLESS there is a giant outside source of energy supplying the Earth with huge amounts of energy. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it."Er...AwesomestNerd, could you quit typing for a sec and check this out?
Why do prominent public figures such as George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Alberto Gonzalez, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, James Inhofe, and a host of others make public statements that are obviously either incomprehensible, inconsistent, or impossible?
French philosopher and 18th century wit Voltaire explains it:
“Formerly there were those who said: You believe things that are incomprehensible, inconsistent, impossible because we have commanded you to believe them; go then and do what is unjust because we command it. Such people show admirable reasoning. In truth whoever is able to make you believe in absurdities will also be able to make you commit atrocities. If the God-given understanding of your mind does not resist a demand to believe what is impossible, then you will not resist a demand to do wrong to that God-given sense of justice in your heart. As soon as one faculty of your soul has been dominated, other faculties will follow as well. And from this derives all those crimes of religion which have overrun the world.”
According to the European Union's Terrorism Situation and Trend Report for 2007, out of 498 documented terrorist incidents in the European Union in 2006, exactly one was attributable to Islamist extremists.
Some people worry that after 60 years of attacking neighboring countries, political assassinations, stealing land, burning crops, blowing up villages, shooting Palestinian men, women, and children, herding survivors into refugee camps and then blowing up the camps, Israel might be in danger of beginning to wear out its welcome in the Middle East.
"Looks like our ass is grass, Lieutenant."
"General, couldn't we just framoozle the meningroid with the happentrap?"
"By God, that just might work. Good thinking, Lieutenant. Sergeant Major, make it so."
"Sir! Alright you pathetic sacks of !@#$%, framoozle that &^%$# meningroid with the @#$%^& happentrap and be quick about it or you can kiss your *&^%$ goodbye because your ##@@!! will belong to me! Look out!"
"General, sir the happentrap just broke loose!"
"Alright, Sergeant Major, as you were. Well, Lieutenant, any more bright ideas?"
"Let's give this another six months, sir. You never know, it may work without the happentrap."
And the winner is: AOL news surfers.
Taken from latest poll results that asked about Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, the following percentage of respondents had never heard of her:
Posted by Sam Thornton at 10:41 AM
Test your attention span. Try to remember who made these statements about the Iraq War:
Whatever happened to the good guys? You know, the Americans in white hats who were going to eliminate war, starvation, poverty and disease from the world and make America a beacon of freedom?
The Bush administration's stubborn determination to prevail, whatever the costs, is evident not only in its reckless military venture in Iraq, but in its single-minded pursuit of new nuclear weapons.The History News Network has the complete story.
The U.S. government, of course, is supposed to be divesting itself of its nuclear weapons under the provisions of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which it signed in 1968. As recently as the NPT review conference of 2000, the U.S. government joined other signers of the NPT in promising an "unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals."
Furthermore, when the Bush administration ignored these commitments and pressed Congress hard for funding to build new nuclear weapons—nuclear "bunker busters" and "mini-nukes"—Congress dug in and rejected them as totally unnecessary. With some 10,000 nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal, members of Congress, both Democrats and some Republicans, seemed to feel that enough was enough.
Here we go again. Russian strong man Vladimir Putin is put in the crosshairs by the Billionaire Boys Club:
Exiled Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky told British newspaper The Guardian on Friday that he is "plotting" a violent overthrow of Russian President Vladimir Putin from his home in Britain.The Finland Station in St. Petersburg, Russia "...is best remembered for the arrival of Vladimir Lenin by train on 3 April 1917 to start the October Revolution," according to WikiPedia. Lenin's revolution knocked Russia out of World War I and ultimately led to the deaths of millions of Russians.
One year after his arrest, an Associated Press photographer is still being held at a prison camp in Iraq by U.S. military officials who have neither formally charged him with a crime nor made public any evidence of wrongdoing.Editor & Publisher has the sordid story.
Bush appointed World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, formerly DOD number two, not only ordered promotions and an increase in pay for his girlfriend to nearly $200,000 a year for a no-show job, but apparently lied to the World Bank Board of Directors about it.
...newly released documents included an August 2005 memorandum in which Wolfowitz ordered the bank's human resources division to award [Wolfowitz flame] Riza the extraordinary pay increases.AFP has the story here and here.
Contrary to accounts given by Wolfowitz's office, the board also said that neither it nor the World Bank's ethics committee had approved the arrangement.
An Army officer speaks out:
I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority, because I believe that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it.Read entire letter.
I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that this war, upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation, has now become a war of aggression and conquest.
Investigative journalist Robert Parry gives some of the backstory on the refusal of three US generals to consider appointment as President Bush's new "War Czar":
Retired Marine Gen. John Sheehan was another four-star who rebuffed the White House. “The very fundamental issue is, they don’t know where the hell they’re going,” Sheehan told the Post. “So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, ‘No, thanks.’”See the full story here.
"I presented my credentials from the Marine Corps to a very polite clerk for American Airlines. One of the two people to whom I talked asked a question and offered a frightening comment: "Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that." I explained that I had not so marched but had, in September, 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the Web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the Constitution. "That'll do it," the man said. " -- Professor Walter F. MurphyLooks like I'll be riding the dog. Mark Graber has the complete story.
The once proud Washington Post continues its slide into the abyss of propaganda, lies, and deceit. Mark Thoma has the sordid story:
Once again, Robert Samuelson lumps all the social insurance programs together and foresees a dire future, in this case generational warfare. But as Dean Baker continually and correctly reminds us, Social Security is not the problem, and the programs themselves are not to blame - Medicare is not the cause of the growth in costs for health care:The Washington Post ... complained about ... "the coming crisis in Social Security and Medicare." The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office's most recent projections show that Social Security can pay all scheduled benefits, with no changes whatsoever, until 2046, and roughly 75 percent of scheduled benefits for many decades after that date, even if no changes are ever made. ...I think the last point is too often missed - it's not the Medicare program, it's the growth in health costs that is the source of the dire projections for rising budget deficits.
The Medicare story of course boils down to projections of exploding health care costs. If the health care system is not fixed, then "fixing" Medicare is irrelevant. We can zero out the program, but exploding health care costs would still devastate the economy. If the health care system is fixed, so that costs in the U.S. are in line with health care costs in other wealthy countries, then Medicare would be easily affordable. ...
Mike Whitney says he knows why:
The American people are in La-la land. If they had any idea of what the Federal Reserve was up to they'd be out on the streets waving fists and pitchforks. Instead, we go our business like nothing is wrong.Jury still out on the "stupid" part. For the full article: CounterPunch.
Are we really that stupid?
In this topsy-turvy world of color-coded terror alerts and increasingly muddled guidance from the powers on high charged with protecting this great nation of ours from those pesky terroristas, it becomes increasingly important to set forth some simple guidance on terrorist detection.
Although we are not an expert, we have determined the most effective rule in feretting out an actual terrorist in a crowd of mostly innocent civilians.
First, carefully scan the crowd using your eyes. Note the color of clothing of each individual and the general movement of the crowd. When one of the individuals in the crowd disappears in a blinding flash, accompanied by an ear-splitting, "kaboom!", that, ladies and gentlemen, would be your terrorist.
It's the Navy culture, stupid.
Bush's hand-picked leader of the
massive fuckup war on terror in the Middle East, Navy Admiral William J. Fallon, told CNN's Kyra Phillips today that:
...Iraq isn't in a civil war...but is driven by "small factions fighting each other." -- Admiral William J. Fallon, Commander, CENTCOMOops, isn't that the definition of a civil war?
"The intelligence community judges that the term "civil war" does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict in Iraq, which includes extensive Shiite-on-Shiite violence, al-Qaida and Sunni insurgent attacks on Coalition forces, and widespread criminally motivated violence," an unclassified summary of the new NIE released Friday said.By all reports, Admiral Fallon is "...doon a heckuva job."
"Nonetheless, the term 'civil war' accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict, including the hardening of ethno-sectarian identities, a sea change in the character of the violence, ethno-sectarian mobilization, and population displacements," the NIE summary said.
Nearly three years after the controversial February 29, 2004 US-backed coup that ousted Haiti's democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the interests of ending what outside powers claimed was uncontrolled violence and corruption, the US State Department has this to say about travel to Haiti:
U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Haiti are reminded that there is a chronic and growing danger of kidnappings. Most kidnappings are criminal in nature, and the kidnappers make no distinctions of nationality, race, gender or age; all are vulnerable. Over 60 Americans were kidnapped in 2006, most in Port-au-Prince. Many abductions are the result of carjacking or home invasions. Past kidnappings have been marked by deaths, sexual assault, shooting and physical assault of Americans. The lack of civil protections in Haiti, as well as the limited capability of local law enforcement to resolve kidnapping cases, further compounds the element of danger surrounding this trend.If the ongoing violence in Haiti sounds distressingly like the ongoing meltdowns in the Middle-East, just be thankful that Haiti's resistance to occupation hasn't discovered the attention-getting power of roadside IEDs. At least, not yet.
U.S. citizens are also reminded of the potential for spontaneous protests and public demonstrations that can occur at any time, day or night, and may result in violence. While the nation-wide elections for municipal and other local positions on December 3rd, 2006, were conducted peacefully, political violence can occur at any time.
-- emphasis added
The easiest way for any journalist to express his own bias is through the use of sources. By using some sources and not others, selecting quotes that support a bias and presenting those quotes first, the journalist speaks through his sources. In the articles examined, Aristide’s opponents are always quoted first, allowing them to make outrageous charges such as this one: “He burns children in their homes; he destroys human rights; he must go!” Through the uncritical repetition of charges, the authors accuse Aristide of corruption no less than 14 times, and political assassination twice. They quote unnamed “critics” accusing Aristide of drug trafficking a total of four times: “Human rights groups accused him of ordering killings of political opponents and of involvement in drug trafficking, charges that Aristide denied” (Mar. 1, Newsday). Deibert’s preferred source is millionaire sweatshop owner Andy Apaid, followed by sweatshop owner Charles Baker, never identified as such in the press. Deibert uncritically quotes U.S.-trained paramilitary leader Guy Philippe (see photo), who claimed that “Aristide supporters were conducting alleged massacres in towns they hold.” (Notice Philippe’s use of transference—Aristide supporters and the Haitian police “hold” towns, as if they are the invaders and not Philippe’s men.)Beyond the insult and injury to Haitians, the parallels in coverage of the runnup to the Iraq War, as well as in current press coverage of our potential dustup with Iran, are striking.
All of these allegations are libelous; they would never have been published if they had been about a U.S. citizen. A journalist who quotes a person making an unsubstantiated charge is just as responsible for the libel as the person quoted—you don’t get out of it by saying that the object of the allegation denies it, or by using the word, “alleged.” Only in foreign reporting do reporters get away with these journalistic crimes.
Most of us find polling information interesting, sometimes startling, sometimes frustrating.
I'd guess that most of Washington's beltway politicians pay at least as much attention, and perhaps more, to national polls than they do to their constituent communications.
National polling organizations take remarkable measures to ensure their polls are as accurate as possible, while a typical Senator or Representative is bombarded by email and letter campaigns which may or may not reflect actual voter sentiment.
Of course, if the national polls aren't asking the right questions, who's to say what voters really think about a particular thorny issue.
A recent example of not asking a pertinent question is the degree to which national polling organizations have avoided direct questions on the radioactive issue of Presidential impeachment.
While there is some evidence that there is a growing desire for a quick end to the Bush/Cheney control of the White House based in large part on a spreading perception that the pair seem to be engaged in grossly unconstitutional activities, the new Congress has flatly ruled out even a hint of starting the impeachment process that would resolve this issue.
Maybe the pollsters aren't asking the right questions.
If you have a spare 30 minutes, below is a list of contacts for the major news outlets and polling organizations. They will be grateful for your input as to what questions you'd like to see appear in their polls. After all, you are the ultimate consumer of the information.
Posted by Sam Thornton at 5:00 PM
Today is my birthday, no. 65. Now officially an Old Fart (no longer just in name), additional duties are involved. Here goes.
On this day in history, the Auschwitz Death Camp was liberated by the Red Army after evidence of its existence was systematically ignored for years by the Allies. Guess the Commies were good for something in WWII besides breaking the back of the German Army. Today is also the second "International Holocaust Remembrance Day". Note this is not a Federal holiday.
Among others, I share the same birthday with Lewis Carroll of "Alice In Wonderland" fame, and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, whom Carroll, as well as Alice, would probably have been able to figure out pretty quickly. Too bad they weren't Senators.
Other notable events on this date:
My sign is Aquarius. According to the WikiPedia entry, people born under this sign are:
...associated with future ideas and the unusual. Individuals born under this sign are thought to have a creative, challenging, entertaining, progressive, stimulating, and independent character, but one which is also prone to rebelliousness, coldness, erraticism, cowardice, and impracticality.Astrologically speaking, the Age of Aquarius will not start until the 27th century. For me and other Aquarians, this explains a lot.
I once researched and wrote a computer program that produced a detailed, lifetime horoscope based on answers to a few simple questions. It was completely bogus. Ditto for an I Ching program. I chuckle whenever I think of it.
Purely for the good of mankind, I'm now working on a program that predicts winning PowerBall numbers.
I hate it when people remember my birthday, but when they don't, I usually manage to slip it into the conversation someplace. I think I plagarized this from Andy Rooney.
Posted by Sam Thornton at 12:17 PM
White House spokesman Tony Snow today announced that, based on reliable reports, former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein is still dead.
"This is absolute proof of the wisdom of the President's 'New Way Forward' strategy," Snow advised astonished reporters.
Asked how the Administration came by the extraordinary information, Snow demurred. "We can't simply divulge our sources and methods to the public," Snow said. "If that happens, then the terrorists win."
"Just shows to go you what a piece of rope and a little imagination can do," Snow quipped, later commenting that the approach might well be tried in this country, depending on how the left-wing media spun this latest piece of good news.
Posted by Sam Thornton at 1:53 PM
Is this country great, or what?
Not only are we a nation where you don't have to be smart to be President, honest to handle other people's money, or have high moral standards to be a preacher, you can actually be paid handsomely for being a raving lunatic.
Case in point for the latter assertion: Dinesh D'Souza, the Conservative darling who's moved so far to the right he's fallen over the edge into the camp of Those Who Would Destroy This Nation (TWWDTN™).
In his recent diatribe, "The Enemy at Home", Random House, $26.95, D'Souza makes Osama bin Laden's case that America has become corrupt due to the machinations of their common enemy, the "Left".
I am saying that the cultural left and its allies in Congress, the media, Hollywood, the nonprofit sector, and the universities are the primary cause of the volcano of anger toward America that is erupting from the Islamic world. -- Dinesh D'SouzaIf only we could somehow rid ourselves of these troublesome imps, Dinesh seems to beg, then all would be well and Osama would become our buddy again, just like he was when he was busy thumping the Soviet Union during their own truly awsome Afghani adventure.
Posted by Sam Thornton at 12:15 PM
ALERT TO TRAVELERS: HANDLE YOUR MONKEY LIKE WE SAY, OR ELSE
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the same folks who make your life a living hell when you attempt to board a flight to grandmother's house, have now thoughtfully supplied regulations detailing how TSA storm troopers should weed out your terrorist monkeys from your friendlies:
Presumably, violation of any of these regulations will be punished immediately by tasering. Of your monkey or your monkey's handler, not the TSO.
- When a monkey is being transported in a carrier, the monkey must be removed from the carrier by the handler prior to screening,
- The monkey must be controlled by the handler throughout the screening process.
- The monkey handler should carry the monkey through the WTMD while the monkey remains on a leash.
- When the handler and monkey go through the WTMD and the WTMD alarms, both the handler and the monkey must undergo additional screening.
- Since monkeys may likely draw attention, the handler will be escorted to the physical inspection area where a table is available for the monkey to sit on. Only the handler will touch or interact with the monkey.
- TSOs have been trained to not touch the monkey during the screening process.
- TSOs will conduct a visual inspection on the monkey and will coach the handler on how to hold the monkey during the visual inspection.
- The inspection process may require that the handler take off the monkey’s diaper as part of the visual inspection.
Posted by Sam Thornton at 2:13 PM
You must report to the Imperial Mars Traffic Court at noon on the Firbust of Qualdon or your vehicle will be impounded and we will be at bartlebutt!Now what?
Posted by Sam Thornton at 10:46 AM
Remember legendary game show host Jack Bailey's historic cry, "You - could - be - QUEEN FOR A DAY!!!"
Turns out, it - could - ACTUALLY HAPPEN!!!
English Heritage, the UK's "...statutory adviser to the British government on the historic environment", has launched an international quest for claimants to the English throne.
They're looking for those who can trace their heritage to Anglo Saxon or Danish nobles before 1066. On their website they're politely requesting you to...
Please send a summary of your claim with copies of any supporting documents and stating your most likely gateway ancestor to:They neglect to say what first prize will be, but anything's possible. Use your imagination. Think PowerBall.
Claimants to the English Throne
1 Waterhouse Square
London EC1N 2ST
Posted by Sam Thornton at 8:21 AM
From the Iraq Slogger, this wickedly morbid joke is making the rounds in Baghdad:
A driver is stuck in a traffic jam on the highway. Suddenly a man knocks on his window. The driver rolls down his window and asks, "What's going on?"
"Terrorists down the road have kidnapped George W. Bush and Dick Cheney," the man says, "They're asking $100 million ransom. Otherwise they're going to douse them with gasoline and set them on fire. We're going from car to car taking up a collection."
The driver asks, "How much is everyone giving on average?"
The man responds: "Most people are giving about a gallon."
Posted by Sam Thornton at 6:24 PM
I knew Al-Jazeera TV must be good for something. Check out this transcript of a January 2, 2007 debate between Saddam Loyalist Mish'an Al-Jabouri and Shiite Iraqi Journalist Sadeq Al-Musawi, courtesy of the MEMRI TV Monitor Project.
Sadeq Al-Musawi: You are a thief... You are a thief. You've been convicted for theft..Borat needs to hire these guys for his sequel. Click here for the video with English subtitles.
Mish'an Al-Jabouri : Get out. Saddam Hussein is your master and the master of your parents...
Posted by Sam Thornton at 10:36 AM
In the intelligence business, "blowback" is what happens when you secretly publish misinformation in an enemy's media or to their intelligence service, then that same misinformation accidently "blows back" into your own media or intelligence service and you wind up confusing your own people.
In years past, blowback was usually considered a bad thing. There were rules against letting it happen, because when it happened it usually created more problems on your side than the original propaganda against the enemy solved. There were actually laws against it. Actual laws. Of course, these days, who knows what the laws are. Most of them are secret and most of us don't have the "need to know".
Anyway, looks like blowback is now the law of the land and we've cut out the middle man. Newsweek has published a copy of a document they received titled, "Strategic Communications Plan - US Mission Iraq - December 2006", which details how the US Embassy in Iraq is planning to propagandize us here in the US, as well as the rest of the world, with diabolically crafted "news stories" designed to convince us that war is peace, freedom is slavery, etc. The usual things.
The Newsweek copy of the document is
available on the internet, however, it's fairly huge and cumbersome to display. I downloaded it, pulled all the images out, and present it here for your viewing pleasure.
Posted by Sam Thornton at 8:30 PM
Good news from Israel, they've discovered that good, old "let's you and them fight" strategy.
Offered Dec. 30, 2006 by Brigadier General Oded Tira of the Israeli Self Defense force writing on the y-net news website (emphasis added).
Well, shucks, pilgrim. Guess y'all just have to do it by your own damn selves, then.
President Bush lacks the political power to attack Iran. As an American strike in Iran is essential for our existence, we must help him pave the way by lobbying the Democratic Party (which is conducting itself foolishly) and US newspaper editors. We need to do this in order to turn the Iranian issue to a bipartisan one and unrelated to the Iraq failure.
We must clandestinely cooperate with Saudi Arabia so that it also persuades the US to strike Iran. For our part, we must prepare an independent military strike by coordinating flights in Iraqi airspace with the US. We should also coordinate with Azerbaijan the use of airbases in its territory and also enlist the support of the Azeri minority in Iran. In addition, we must immediately start preparing for an Iranian response to an attack.
The Americans must act. Yet if they don't, we'll do it ourselves, because there are no free rides and our existence isn't guaranteed. Addressing Iran would have positive implications for us in terms of the strategic balance in our region and when it comes to Hizbullah, stability in Lebanon, and Syria's power.
Posted by Sam Thornton at 9:57 AM
All of us have heard of the dread Neoconservative boogeymen, but where do they actually want to go and how to they propose getting us there?
Personally, I have problems with their direction, logic, and funding (mostly mad millionaires), but what do I know? I'm not an expert and they claim to be.
Many of the Neoconservatives have the academic credentials and work experience to back up their claims to special expertise. I almost feel too unworthy to disagree with them, since I possess neither, but I usually just sort of buzz over that and focus on their logic and goals, or lack thereof.
Also, I also don't like the term, "Neoconservative". Too fuzzy, doesn't tell you anything. I prefer the term, "Goldwinger," as in "Goldfinger" and "Winger", hence the title of this post.
Perhaps the most concise and detailed statement of Goldwinger foreign policy objectives has been produced in the 96 page, September 7, 2006 final report of The Princeton Project on National Security (requires free PDF viewer) sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (WWS) at Princeton University.
Of great interest in the final report of The Princeton Project on National Security is its Executive Summary which starts on page 10 of the PDF file (page 5 of the document) laying out Goldwinger objectives, which include:
Posted by Sam Thornton at 6:42 PM