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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 12/30/2007 - 01/06/2008
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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Questions for Iowa caucus winner Barack Obama

yep, yep, and yep...
Will you appoint an independent investigator to hunt down and expose the evidence of wrongdoing by your predecessor?

Will you roll back the Unitary Executive powers that Bush has claimed?

Will you take the necessary steps to restore Habeas Corpus?

Will you restore the Fourth Amendment so that citizens will be safe in their homes from their own government?

Will you close Gitmo and the Secret Prisons?

Will you launch FULL investigations into the politicization and subversion of the DOJ and the intelligence agencies?

When you take office, will you remove all remnants of "The Bushies" in the DOJ and instruct your newly staffed Department of Justice to vigorously pursue investigations in to the many and various....and many....criminal and suspect activities of the Bush Administration?

Or will you announce, as so may others have done before you, on so many occasions that the "past is past" and that we "must move on" and let the outrages and illegalities of the previous eight years fade away?

keep in mind, senator (and presidential candidate) obama...
Please remember that many of the perpetrators of todays injustices were also involved in Watergate, were involved in Iran Contra and the Death Squads in Central America. That these people have continued in power, continued to pursue their own agendas out of their twisted ideologies, that these in fact are the very people that have CAUSED the disunity in America that you decry.

The People of America and the world simply cannot unite and heal our differences while these cancers on real democracy exist in our midst, unexposed and unpunished. In order to unite us into a new and healthy nation and restore our role as a world leader, this cancer must be excised.

once again, my deepest wish is that bush and his criminal compadres will be removed from office prior to the end of his term, and, preferably, before the november election... that would give us an opportunity to roll back those abuses and to officially and forcefully repudiate them BEFORE the next president is elected and takes the oath of office on 20 january 2009...

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Saturday photoblogging... [UPDATE]

last night, the snow came down very hard and very fast, the wind blew a gale, my son shoveled the driveway twice, and there was nearly a foot before bedtime, at which time the stars came out, we lost power for about four hours, and i went to sleep after blowing out a candle... (remember, folks, this is the high DESERT of NEVADA, on the western edge of the great basin, just east of the sierra foothills...)

i rolled out of bed about 6:30 this morning, shook myself awake, and headed out about 6:45, shovel in hand... i got the driveway cleared almost all the way down to the street where each shovel-full became increasingly heavier due to the "slush factor..." (anyone who's ever lived in snow country can tell you what that means...) it was at that point my son came out and i gladly handed him the shovel to finish the last of it, while i grabbed my camera... i snapped a few shots, and headed back in for morning coffee... for an old fart, it's a VERY invigorating way to start the day...!

7:30 a.m.

notice how much snow had already accumulated on the portion of the driveway i had already shoveled...

10:15 a.m.

it stopped snowing about 9 a.m., the sun came out, the clouds almost disappeared, and the sky was intensely blue... as you can barely see in the upper right corner of the photo above, the clouds had already started to roll back in by 10... now, it's 2:25 p.m., it's been snowing hard again for the past hour, and they're calling for another foot on top of the almost three we already have...... i'm going to wait for a while yet before heading back out to tackle the driveway - AGAIN...

naturally, CALIFORNIA gets all the goddam headlines... < sigh >


< gasp > it's 4 p.m. and i just finished shoveling almost 4 more inches off the driveway... that makes 4 times in the past 18 hours, two for me and two for my son... in one of life's ironies, our next-door neighbor, who works for the national weather service, was out shoveling his driveway for the nth time too... he worked the midnight shift last night and had one hell of a time getting back and forth to work... the good news is that it's stopped snowing - for now...

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Think our corporate media isn't biased? Check this...

yes, it's yet ANOTHER candidate promotion diary on daily kos, this one extolling the virtues of john edwards, but, if you can get past that part, diarist jedreport does a very good job of showing just how thoroughly our corporate media is managing to ignore an anti-corporate, populist candidate... case in point...

well, go-l-l-l-l-lee, looks like our corporate media might not appreciate a presidential candidate who doesn't like 'em, particularly when he comes in second in the iowa caucuses... ya THINK...?

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Daniel Hopsicker of Madcow Productions on the 9/11 pilots

this september 2006 video put together by daniel hopsicker of madcow productions is 27:47, but provides some excellent background on the 9/11 pilots...

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Lakota Oyate: for a free and independent Lakota nation

i've been following the russell means/lakota secession story since it broke, but haven't gotten around to posting anything on it... when i saw this map today, i decided it was time...

Lakota has been reborn as a free and sovereign nation! This rebirth is the realization of an ongoing process lasting no less than 33 years and guided by the Great Mystery, the Ancestors, and traditional Elders.

  • 1974: The first International Indian Treaty Council brings together more than 5000 delegates representing 98 Indian tribes and Nations from North and South America. The Declaration of Continuing Independence, a manifesto representing the wisdom of thousands of people, their Ancestors, and the Great Mystery supports the rights of Indigenous Nations to live free and to take whatever actions necessary for sovereignty.

  • 2004: Lakota representatives renew communication with the traditional chiefs and treaty councils in the following communities: Pine Ridge, Porcupine, Kyle, Rosebud, Lower Brule, Cheyenne River, Standing Rock, and Flandreau. Additional consultation with the Treaty Council occurred during a Defenders of Black Hills meeting in Rapid City.

  • December 17, 2007: Lakota Freedom Delegation delivers letter to U.S. State Department in Washington D.C. withdrawing from all treaties with the United States government. Delegation consists of Mni yuha Najin Win (Phyllis Young), Teghiya Kte (Gary Rowland), Oyate Wacinyapin (Russell Means), Canupa Gluha Mani (Duane Martin Sr.), Delegation Liaison Naomi Archer (Iladurarrak Nation), and several other members.

  • December 17, 2007: Freedom Delegation holds international press conference at Plymouth congregational church in Washington D.c. News becomes world-wide sensation. Website receives over half-a-million hits from more than 100 different nations in one week!

  • December 30, 2007: Lakota Freedom Delegation website and contact info hijacked by one delegation member without consent of other delegates. So-called "Republic of Lakotah" and "provisional government" is announced despite the fact "republic" is not a Lakota word and Lakota already has a traditional form of government still in existence.

  • January 1, 2008: Lakota Oyate emerges from the Lakota Freedom Delegation to ensure the voice of the people - Elders and children - is respected and heard. Contact information continues from Freedom Delegation with email to lakotafree [at] and liaison/media phone to (828) 230-1404.

  • January 1, 2008: Lakota Oyate launches website at

  • January 5, 2008: The first of many Lakota victory celebrations and information sessions is scheduled for St. Francis.

  • a screenshot from the lakota oyate website (click on image to see full-size)...

    (thanks to jazz from hell and raw story...)

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    Deporting a legal U.S. resident who has been acquitted of terrorism charges

    read this from the miami herald, a story i was pointed to by emptywheel... not only will it perfectly illustrate the degree to which our country is now behaving like a rogue police state, it will also chill you to the bone... sure, you may say, the government MUST have SOME reason for doing this, right...? RIGHT...?
    Lyglenson Lemorin, acquitted of terrorism charges last week in federal court in Miami, is still a guilty man in the eyes of the U.S. government.

    Lemorin, 32, a lawful U.S. resident, remains behind bars -- far from his Miami family -- in the tiny town of Lumpkin, Ga., a deportation center 150 miles south of Atlanta.

    On Thursday, Lemorin's wife learned from The Miami Herald that federal authorities have charged her husband with unspecified ''administrative immigration violations'' and that he has been placed in ''removal proceedings'' that could lead to his deportation to his native Haiti.

    "He has kids here, and we really need him home,'' said Lemorin's wife, Charlene Mingo Lemorin. ``He can't do anything for us in Haiti. Everything was settled by the jury. He was found not guilty. It's like the nightmare is not over."


    Lemorin was arrested along with six other men in June 2006 on charges of conspiring with al Qaeda -- in an FBI-directed undercover sting -- to blow up Chicago's Sears Tower and federal buildings in Miami and other cities. They were dubbed the "Liberty City 7."

    A federal jury found him not guilty on Dec. 13. Jurors deadlocked on the others, with a retrial set for Jan. 7.

    The day after he was acquitted, immigration agents whisked Lemorin away to Miami International Airport.

    Lemorin -- born in Haiti, raised in Miami and the father of two children who live in Little Haiti -- told his family and attorneys that he feared the agents were going to put him on a plane to his native Haiti.

    Instead, they drove him to the Krome detention center in West Miami-Dade County. Then came an overnight drive to the Stewart detention center in Lumpkin.

    Leonard Fenn, who temporarily represented Lemorin in the immigration case, expressed outrage over the government's actions.

    "We're presuming they're claiming there is reason to believe he was a supporter of terrorist activities or a terrorist himself," said Fenn, who got on the case through Lemorin's criminal attorney, Joel DeFabio.

    "It's outrageous -- a complete misallocation of government resources," Fenn said.

    Immigration experts said that under the USA Patriot Act, adopted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a lawful U.S. resident such as Lemorin may still be locked up and possibly deported on terrorism-related charges -- even if they cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in federal court.

    go back and read that last sentence very slowly and very carefully...

    "...a lawful U.S. resident such as Lemorin may still be locked up and possibly deported on terrorism-related charges -- even if they cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in federal court..."

    now, making things ever so much worse, the judge has slapped a gag order on everybody involved, including lemorin's wife...

    With a sweeping gag order imposed Dec. 13, U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard cited the need to damp down media coverage that could complicate efforts starting Jan. 7 to find impartial jurors to rehear the case.

    Her order at the close of the first trial prohibits the defendants, their lawyers, prosecutors, and others, such as agents, investigators and witnesses, from talking to reporters, raising issues for defenders of free speech and drawing a challenge from one of the lawyers covered by the order.

    Lenard extended the same restrictions to Lyglenson Lemorin, who was acquitted, and his criminal defense lawyer, as well as an attorney representing the Haitian national in immigration proceedings.

    The gag order is so broad that federal prosecutors preparing to retry the case contend it applies to Lemorin's wife, who was once listed as a potential defense witness.

    the strategy is clear... build a base of precedent on the backs of those who have no way to defend themselves, and, even if the justice system demurs, fall back on unconstitutional laws to insure that the emerging police state isn't obstructed... when there's enough precedent established, you and i are next in line...

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    Cocaine, the CIA, and the mysterious "suicide" of 4 investigative journalists

    presumably like a few of you, i've been dimly aware for some time of the allegations of cia drug-running, but it has only been since i started following daniel hopsicker's madcow morning news blog last october that i've started paying closer attention (here, here, and here)... now i see that brasscheck tv has some great youtube clips that chronicle some of that history...



    from brasscheck tv...
    Pulitzer Prize winner Gary Webb, the journalist who broke the original CIA-Crack story in the 1990s, was rewarded by his employer the San Jose Mercury with a demotion.

    He was also hounded out of the journalism profession by a smear campaign whose participants included the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Examiner.

    In 2004, Webb who remained active as an independent journalist reportedly, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head - twice.

    Webb joined three other men - authors Danny Casolaro and J.H. Hatfield and artist Mark Lombardi - who "committed suicide" after getting too close to Bush family secrets.

    I asked a mathematician to calculate the numerical odds of four American men who all were interested in this subject committing suicide and this is what he said:

    "Examining the male U.S.suicide rate for recent years, we can extrapolate a conservative estimate of 17 male suicides per 100,000 people, or 0.017%. The odds of 4 specific, male biographers committing suicide would be the 4th power of 17/100000, or 8.3521 4.913 x 10^-17...roughly 1 chance 10,000,000,000,000,000. About as good a definition of impossible as you can get.

    A person would stand a better chance of playing the Canadian lottery 6/49 exactly twice in one's lifetime and winning the grand jackpot BOTH TIMES! (That is, picking 6 numbers out of 49 possible numbers and matching all 6 numbers out of 6 random draws, on 2 separate occasions, and having only purchased two Canadian lottery tickets ever.)

    This calculation should be regarded as a conservative estimate: the actual odds against such a "coincidence" would be much greater. For example, if any of the biographers were female, the odds would be even greater."

    to paraphrase atrios, why does our media hate us...?

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    The 9/11 Commission: stonewall-ER AND stonewall-EE

    my snarky comment the other day about the 9/11 commission heads complaining about being stonewalled by the cia when the commission itself, in fact, stonewalled the hell out of the american people, gets the same reaction in a much fuller context from luke in another post about sibel edmonds...
    After the 9/11 Commission Report was published, former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds wrote a number of articles which demonstrate that even when the Commission was informed about serious matters related to 9/11, the Commission ignored them. These omissions meant that the public never became aware of the full story of 9/11, and importantly, that the Commission's recommendations were flawed.

    I'd call that obstruction.

    there's a great deal more... by all means, go read it all...

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    A sad farewell to Dodd, good riddance to Biden, tough noogies Hil, and hello Huck

    and do ya s'pose we're maybe even seeing the end of the bush-clinton dynasty...?

    the nyt on biden and dodd...

    Two Democrats dropped out Thursday night: Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware.

    i was hoping for a better showing for chris dodd last night than he got, but i'm also not surprised... not only does defending the constitution, the rule of law, and calling for accountability barely register on the national media and political radar screen, damn few voters have really tuned in to what's happening to our country... and, sadly, other than dodd's recent heroic battle against telecom immunity, i don't think he made nearly the big stink that is so desperately called for... would that have been different if, for instance, a story like the recent re-categorization of the u.s. as an "endemic surveillance society" had been a national lead story that consumed as much media energy as the killing of a san francisco zoo patron by a tiger...? idle speculation, i admit, but minimally adequate media treatment of our dire straits could have made at least a small difference... maybe the media and our citizens will wake up... maybe bill gates will give me a ten million dollar, no-strings attached grant...

    but, as robert parry points out, perhaps the best news to come out of iowa is this...

    [T]he Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3 dealt a stunning blow to the Bush-Clinton duopoly, with Sen. Barack Obama thrashing Sen. Clinton on the Democratic side and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee trouncing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who had the backing of some elements of the Bush Family.

    Though the presidential selection process has a long way to go, the inevitability of another election between representatives of the Democratic/Republican establishments was thrown into severe doubt by the victories of Obama and Huckabee.

    i'm pleased that edwards did as well as he did and i'm completely noncommittal on barack... huck is a different story, however... he is one scary guy...

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    Thursday, January 03, 2008

    Yeah, I like John Edwards, but I also like the U.S. Constitution, the rule of law, and accountability

    i'm grabbing booman's post in full (booman tribune and daily kos) because i think it has a lot of good things to say... i'm not throwing it up here because i'm endorsing edwards, but i do think booman does a good job of articulating why i've been drawn more in edwards' direction over the past few weeks... i'm still holding out for someone who will directly and forcefully address our constitutional crisis, but, sadly, of the only candidates who have even come close to doing that - dodd, kucinich, and paul - only paul is going to have any momentum (momentum = $$) after tonight, and i simply can't get behind ron paul, at least not now...

    even more than explaining the progressive/liberal blogsphere tilt to john edwards, however, booman sets out quite nicely why i have turned almost exclusively to the internet and the blogosphere to stay in touch with what's going on, and also why i started and have doggedly maintained my own weblog for going on three years... besides helping maintain my sanity, it also gives me a voice that, no matter how small and muted it may be, is still the most public voice i've ever had... i reach many people through my teaching and consulting work, but blogging my political views while doing the full-frontal monty by trying to put the puzzle pieces together out in public, is a completely different order of beast...

    Why the Blogosphere Went for Edwards

    I feel like writing this now, before any caucus or primary results, while my feelings are uninfluenced by events that right now remain uncertain. I don't think the mainstream media or the people that work inside the Beltway really understand the blogosphere at all. We may not fully understand them either, but we have a better grasp of what makes them tick than they have of what makes us tick. We're fighters. Fighting is pretty much all we do.

    This whole movement was born of a vacuum. The primary vacuum was in the media. We discovered in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq that the media was not only shutting out our voices, but they were distorting the facts, and the facts were, therefore, going unrebutted. And we discovered that we could publish our voices just as easily as the New York Times could publish the lies of William Safire, Judith Miller, or Dick Cheney. We discovered that we could factcheck the articles appearing in the papers and the warmongers appearing on our television.

    We found a truth deficit and set out to provide the truth that was lacking. For those of us that have been doing this for years, we are steeped in this contrast between what is reported and what is true. We know who the liars are. We know who the lazy reporters are. And we know who has been battling with us (Russ Feingold, Chris Dodd) and who has not (Joe Lieberman, Harold Ford). We now have comrades-in-arms...people that we have been standing with day after day after day. And we have enemies that have undermined our mission at every opportunity.

    I'm sitting here listening to a speech Barack Obama made yesterday in Coralville, Iowa. He's saying all the right things. Here's an example (paraphrased): 'If you have been steeped in the common wisdom of Washington DC that says it is a good idea to invade Iraq, you can't be the best person going forward to question and change our foreign policy.' And that is exactly right. That explains so clearly what it means to have been in the fight on the side of the blogosphere versus what it means to have been on the sidelines within the consultancies of the Capitol. But Obama hasn't really embraced us. He's gone his own way. And that explains why, in the end, the blogosphere broke heavily for John Edwards.

    No, I don't mean people turned their back on Obama because he didn't pay the proper respect to the blogosphere. That isn't what happened. Obama didn't embrace our way of doing things. Worse, he began to use rhetoric we had spent energy to debunk. He went even further. He tossed aside one of our central insight won through hard experience: we cannot compromise with the Republican Party...we must smash them.

    Perhaps because his wife is such an avid reader of blogs, Edwards' campaign tapped right into our zeitgeist. He came out with our insight front and center. You want Edwards' message? Here it is: 'Fuck David Broder, fuck Joe Klein, fuck Chris Matthews, fuck FOX News, fuck Tim Russert, fuck Mitch McConnell, fuck Big Oil, Big Pharma, and Big Defense. We don't need them. They won't negotiate in good faith. They're stacking the deck against us. And we can beat them by telling the truth and getting organized.' That's Edwards' message, and that is the message we have internalized both through our successes and our failures.

    What's funny is that Obama is saying many of the same things, in his own way. The policy differences between Edwards and Obama are minimal. But Obama's tone deaf to the blogosphere. And, as a result, the blogosphere didn't trust him. Take Armando:

    ...we do not criticize Obama's political style on aesthetic grounds; we criticize his style because we think it will not work to actually EFFECT CHANGE. We believe that despite his being touted as the change candidate, his political style is the one LEAST likely to achieve progressive policy change.

    His 'style' will be ineffective. Why did so many of us conclude this? It's because we have watched Tom Daschle, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi try to negotiate with the Republicans (in the minority, the majority, no matter) and it does not work. We have watched the Dems talk tough and then back down time and time again. We're done with conciliation and we don't believe bipartisanship is possible without first crushing the Republican Party down to a stump.

    Ironically, Obama might be the perfect candidate to provide the kind of crushing victories this November that will make true bipartisanship possible again. I definitely think that is a possibility. In fact, I feel his chances are strong enough that I can't endorse Edwards over Obama. I do hope Edwards wins in Iowa, but not necessarily because I prefer him to Obama. More than anything, I want Edwards' style to be vindicated. I want partisanship and combativeness to be rewarded. And I want Clinton/Lieberman/Ford/Carper/Carville/Begala/Penn to lose.

    In any case, this is the best I can do to express why the blogosphere went for Edwards. None of the candidates were going far enough on policy, but at least Edwards was representing our fighting natures. And that, in the end, was decisive.

    now, if somebody would PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE step forward and start addressing the constitutional crisis, the rule of law, and accountability...

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    When somebody doesn't WANT you to see something, you'd better look at it

    from brasscheck tv...

    The Video Google Censored

    Google took this video down after three days and then when I attempted to post it to YouTube it was rejected.

    This video is an important companion piece to the video that I call "Inside Job" (see the Brasscheck TV archive.)

    "Inside Job" shows that thousands of eye witnesses and millions of live TV viewers heard and heard about MULTIPLE explosions in the Twin Towers that preceded their sudden and inexplicable collapse.

    "The 9/11 Solution" shows that even as the World Trade Center was burning and immediately after the collapses, a stream of disinformation laying down the key official 9/11 myths was being actively being put in place via the US mass media (i.e. the impact of the planes weakened the structures, the "intense" fires caused the collapses, Bin Laden was the only possible suspect.)

    i think it's particularly important to keep our eye on things that someone clearly doesn't WANT us to see...

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    Wednesday, January 02, 2008

    Let the truth be told... Luke has more on Sibel Edmonds...

    here, here, or here...

    she's absolutely right... it's our fight too...!

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    SPOT: Screening Passengers by Observation Technique

    once again, fiction predicts reality...
    The clocks were striking thirteen
    Posted by Avram Grumer at 06:59 PM

    George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Part 1, Chapter 5:

    He did not know how long she had been looking at him, but perhaps for as much as five minutes, and it was possible that his features had not been perfectly under control. It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself — anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offence. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called.

    Us, now:

    TSA officials will not reveal specific behaviors identified by the program — called SPOT (Screening Passengers by Observation Technique) — that are considered indicators of possible terrorist intent.

    But a central task is to recognize microfacial expressions — a flash of feelings that in a fraction of a second reflects emotions such as fear, anger, surprise or contempt, said Carl Maccario, who helped start the program for TSA.

    “In the SPOT program, we have a conversation with (passengers) and we ask them about their trip,” said Maccario from his office in Boston. “When someone lies or tries to be deceptive, … there are behavior cues that show it. … A brief flash of fear.”

    (Seattle PI link via Ken MacLeod)

    (thanks to webranding at daily kos...)

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    More on election-rigging in PK

    in a post the other day, i wondered if this story would grow legs... grew 'em pretty fast, looks like...
    At the time she was assassinated, Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was just hours away from meeting with two US lawmakers to hand them a dossier alleging that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) was plotting with its Election Commission to rig the upcoming elections.

    According to CBS News, which has obtained a copy of the report, it "alleges widespread plans to stuff ballot boxes, rig voting lists, and intimidate, even kill, opposition voters."

    CNN quotes the document more specifically as saying, "Where an opposing candidate is strong in an area, they have planned to create a conflict at the polling station, even killing people if necessary, to stop polls at least three to four hours."

    The report, titled "Another Stain on the Face of Democracy," was compiled from Bhutto's own sources within the police and intelligence services. It was to be given to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), because Bhutto did not trust the Bush administration, which is seen in Pakistan as strongly backing Musharraf.

    The dossier also accuses Musharraf's regime of diverting US aid into political dirty tricks, charging that "ninety percent of the equipment that the USA gave the government of Pakistan to fight terrorism ... is being used to monitor and to keep a check on political opponents."

    c'mon, c'mon... this is the kind of stuff that ought to be kneecapping the criminals in the white house, and sending 'em packing to never-never land... let's get on with it, shall we...?

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    $100 a barrel oil

    WOW...! only 1 1/2 days into the new year... THAT sure didn't take long...
    Oil prices soared to $100 a barrel Wednesday for the first time ever, reaching that milestone amid an unshakeable view that global demand for oil and petroleum products will continue to outstrip supplies.

    on another, not-unrelated subject, i wonder when we're going to see bank defaults...?
    Superpower America is a ship of fools in denial of their plight. While offshoring kills American economic prospects, “free market economists” sing its praises. While war imposes enormous costs on a bankrupt country, neoconservatives call for more war, and Republicans and Democrats appropriate war funds which can only be obtained by borrowing abroad.

    By focusing America on war in the Middle East, the purpose of which is to guarantee Israel’s territorial expansion, the executive and legislative branches, along with the media, have let slip the last opportunities the US had to put its financial house in order. We have arrived at the point where it is no longer bold to say that nothing now can be done. Unless the rest of the world decides to underwrite our economic rescue, the chips will fall where they may.

    it's always darkest before the dawn...

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    The charade continues: 9/11 Commission heads outraged at CIA videotape stonewall

    well, ain't this interestin'... the 9/11 commission stonewalled the american public and now the commission's two heads are outraged and dumbfounded that the cia stonewalled THEM... all i've got to say, mr. hamilton and mr. kean, is how about going back and going through the whole ugly affair again, and maybe THIS TIME we could all find out what REALLY happened...? huh...? huh...? whaddaya say...?
    Stonewalled by the C.I.A.

    Published: January 2, 2008

    MORE than five years ago, Congress and President Bush created the 9/11 commission. The goal was to provide the American people with the fullest possible account of the “facts and circumstances relating to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001” — and to offer recommendations to prevent future attacks. Soon after its creation, the president’s chief of staff directed all executive branch agencies to cooperate with the commission.

    The commission’s mandate was sweeping and it explicitly included the intelligence agencies. But the recent revelations that the C.I.A. destroyed videotaped interrogations of Qaeda operatives leads us to conclude that the agency failed to respond to our lawful requests for information about the 9/11 plot. Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation.

    There could have been absolutely no doubt in the mind of anyone at the C.I.A. — or the White House — of the commission’s interest in any and all information related to Qaeda detainees involved in the 9/11 plot. Yet no one in the administration ever told the commission of the existence of videotapes of detainee interrogations.


    [G]overnment officials decided not to inform a lawfully constituted body, created by Congress and the president, to investigate one the greatest tragedies to confront this country. We call that obstruction.

    Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton served as chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the 9/11 commission.

    seems like there's a lotta this obstructin' business goin' 'round... just as a for instance, gentlemen, i'd be curious as to why the twin towers debris was shipped out of the country immediately following the clean-up* instead of being retained as forensic evidence... maybe you could push the CIA to release their 9/11 report...** oh, but hey... don't get me wrong... i understand your little charade... huff and puff and write nyt op-eds about how the integrity of your commission's work has been compromised so everybody will think that everything you did the FIRST time around was, to the best of your abilities, blemish-free... just remember... us peasants aren't quite as dumb as advertised...
    * A shipment of scrap steel from New York's collapsed World Trade Center will arrive in Shanghai tomorrow [25 January 2002], according to media reports. The steel was bought by Shanghai Baosteel Group Corp. and several other domestic mills, which are always eager to buy scrap metal.

    Baosteel Group, the nation's largest steel firm, has purchased 50,000 tons of the scrap steel from "Ground Zero," the ruins of the September 11 terrorist attack, at no more than US$120 each ton, according to yesterday's Beijing Youth Daily.

    msnbc story from may 2007...
    ** A bipartisan group of senators is pushing legislation that would force the CIA to release an inspector general’s report on the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

    The CIA has spent more than 20 months weighing requests under the Freedom of Information Act for its internal investigation of the attacks but has yet to release any portion of it.

    The agency is the only federal office involved in counterterrorism operations that has not made at least a version of its internal 9/11 investigation public.

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    Welcome to the New Year!

    here we are, january 2d, once again sliding through the inexorable procession of the days of another year, a year that i believe will be momentous and wonderful in ways we can't even imagine... but, let's also not forget that it is up to us to make it that way...

    Sunrise, 2 January 2008, 0720 PST

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    Tuesday, January 01, 2008

    We have become what, over 220 years ago, we rejected

    2008 is the year we take our country back...

    watch it and listen carefully... our course of action is clear...

    scott ritter via brasscheck tv...

    this speech was given prior to the invasion of iraq in 2003 and the outrages have continued unabated... they must stop...

    let's make it truly a


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    Monday, December 31, 2007

    U.S. aid money was being used to fix Pakistani elections in favor of Musharraf

    let's see if THIS story from mcclatchy has any legs...
    The day she was assassinated last Thursday, Benazir Bhutto had planned to reveal new evidence alleging the involvement of Pakistan's intelligence agencies in rigging the country's upcoming elections, an aide said Monday.

    Bhutto had been due to meet U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., to hand over a report charging that the military Inter-Services Intelligence agency was planning to fix the polls in the favor of President Pervez Musharraf.

    Safraz Khan Lashari, a member of the Pakistan People's Party election monitoring unit, said the report was "very sensitive" and that the party wanted to initially share it with trusted American politicians rather than the Bush administration, which is seen here as strongly backing Musharraf.


    It names as the head of the unit a brigadier general recently retired from the ISI, who was secretly assigned to run the rigging operation, Lashari said. It charges that he was working in tandem with the head of a civilian intelligence agency. Before her return to Pakistan, Bhutto, in a letter to Musharraf, had named the intelligence official as one of the men she accused of plotting to kill her.

    Lashari said the report claimed that U.S. aid money was being used to fix the elections. Ballots stamped in favor of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, which supports Musharraf, were to be produced by the intelligence agencies in about 100 parliamentary constituencies.

    "They diverted money from aid activities. We had evidence of where they were spending the money," Lashari said.


    Bhutto was due to meet Specter and Kennedy after dinner last Thursday. She was shot as she left an election rally in Rawalpindi early that evening. Pakistan's government claims instead that she was thrown against the lever of her car's sunroof, fracturing her skull.

    tell me, please, why anyone would think that the u.s. WOULDN'T be involved in helping musharraf fix the election... let me just say that i hope they put good solid evidence on the table and let's get this show on the road...

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    Pakistan -- The Land of Pitfalls and Opportunities

    For the last three days we have been bombarded with the Benazir Bhutto assassination. We've heard from all the Presidential Candidates, all the Politicians, all the World Leaders, and worst of all, all the Pundits. So I figured, 'Why don't I throw in my two cents worth?'.

    Was Benazir Bhutto a decent woman? Yes. Was she the Saviour of Pakistan? I doubt it. Her, and the entire Bhutto family; her father; her mother; her brothers; and even her gigolo-turned-power broker husband, Asif Ali Zardari have had clouds of corruption swirling over them for decades. Twice she was elected to the office of Prime Minister, and twice she was deposed from her office on charges of corruption. Since her first election to office, the Bhutto family is thought to have ripped off Pakistan for about 1.5 Billion Dollars, through bribes, kick-backs, and transfer of Pakistani land for peronal enrichment. I can certainly understand why all the Western politicians are fawning all over her as a 'good democratic leader'. The West has a way of glorifying the dead. To hear all the politicians and pundits talk, you'd have thought it was an obituary for Mother Teresa. But the dead are now history. Let's talk about the living.

    President Pervez Musharraf is a man walking a tightrope. His greed and lust for power is insatiable! He, himself, is suspected of ripping off over a billion dollars. But his greed and lust will not allow him to just retire quietly and live out his life in luxury. No, he has sold his soul to the devil for filthy lucre. Now, he's stuck between the proverbial rock and the hard place. He's damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't.

    If he leans too much towards BushCo his own people want to kill him; if he leans too much to his own people King George will cut funding and support, which will, in effect, kill him. Either way, he is a dead man walking. So he's walking that tightrope, trying to stay balanced. But the winds are starting to pick up, and it's just a matter of time before he loses that balance and falls hard. That man is in dire need of prayer (like Bush), because only God can change a heart.

    Now for a good opportunity. It's knocking hard on the McCain Presidential Campaign door. Faux News (naturally) had his speech in Des Moines. I was amazed at what he had to say:

    "I've been to Waziristan, I knew Benazir Bhutto, I know Musharraf very well. If I were President......


    "I know the players, I know the individuals, and I know the best way to address this situation."

    *crackle crackle* Earth to McCain *crackle crackle*

    Let me give you a little Campaign Strategy advice. It won't cost you a dime. Do you WANT to become President? Do you REALLY WANT to become President?? If so, here's what you do:

    If you're gonna talk the talk, John, you need to walk the walk. In other words, Put up or Shut up! If you truly know the players, and know the individuals, and most importantly, know the best way to solve it; then do it!

    Get on the phone and call them. Then, put your wrinkled flabby white ass* on a plane over there. You don't need a permission slip from the King. You, Sir, are the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Armed Forces. My God, man, what are you waiting for? More people to be killed?

    Send your Campaign Workers out saying, "Senator McCain is on his way to Pakistan to resolve this crisis. It is too important to delay. These are the things he wanted us to say to you..........."

    And when you return, victorious with peace treaty or resolution in hand, riding in the Straight Talk Express bus, adorned with flags and bunting; you won't be WANTING to be President, you WILL BE President.

    If you are unable, or unwilling, to do this; then I would counsel you to keep your mouth shut and single-handedly slow Global Warming by cutting off so much hot air.

    How bad do you want the Presidency, Senator? Enough to dig down deep inside yourself and find nobility, wisdom, honesty, and justice? Or are you saddled by the demons of your past? Resentments and hostilities toward your captors at the Hanoi Hilton have festered inside you, only to blossom into your war-mongering ways. Bring us peace, John, and you WILL be President. Pay us upfront, Senator, and the job is yours.

    * 'flabby white ass' terminology, compliments of Profmarcus.

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    Accountability under Hillary? Not a chance!

    when i posted on this ridiculousness earlier, this major implication escaped me... robert parry sets me straight...
    “The first thing she intends to do is to send me and former President Bush and a number of other people around the world to tell them that America is open for business and cooperation again,” said Bill Clinton, who has accompanied the senior Bush on international humanitarian missions over the past several years.

    What was perhaps most stunning about the remark was its assumption that Americans would be impressed that the country’s two dominant political dynasties would team up in early 2009 to tidy up some of the mess created by the headstrong son of the senior dynasty, the Bush Family.

    The Bushes and the Clintons – who have held pieces of the nation’s executive power for more than a quarter century dating back to George H.W. Bush’s election as Vice President in 1980 – essentially would be keeping matters within the board rooms of the Washington Establishment.

    In responding to Bill Clinton’s remark, George H.W. Bush issued a statement making clear he would not join in any slap at his son’s foreign policy. That also means Hillary Clinton’s “first thing” is unthinkable if her new administration were trying to exact any accountability from George W. Bush for his wrongdoing.

    So, to get the senior Bush’s cooperation on the worldwide tour, there would have to be an implicit understanding that the second Clinton administration wouldn’t investigate the younger Bush’s crimes – from authorizing torture, ordering warrantless wiretaps, exposing CIA officer Valerie Plame’s identity, waging war under false pretenses and other abuses of executive powers.

    yeah, it simply hadn't occurred to me that hrc was signaling that accountability wasn't on her agenda if she becomes president, but that interpretation makes perfectly good sense... when bill and george h.w. teamed up after the tsunami, i scratched my head, but chalked it up to two former presidents trying to do the right thing, but, after they kept it up and had clearly become best buds, i began to see them as cut out of the same cloth, which, i have come to understand, is absolutely the correct view...

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    Asses of Evil

    ya gotta love good ol' american entrepreneurial spirit...

    The Hill newspaper tells of one such creative soul, 35-year-old Jeremy Beggun, who sells buttons and T-shirts outside of campaign events of both candidates' parties over the last several months as candidates have spent substantial time in the crucial early voting state.

    Among the most popular items at Democratic rallies are buttons bidding President Bush "good riddance," and a button branding Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld the "Asses of Evil." Hill reporter Jim Snyder is much more modest, describing the button as simply bearing an "off-color paraphrase of the famous 'Axis of Evil' line."

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    Bloomberg for President: "a neoconservative, combat-avoiding, Bush-supporting, Middle-East-warmonger"

    [Michael Bloomberg] is just exactly what our country desperately needs, what it is missing most -- a neoconservative, combat-avoiding, Bush-supporting, Middle-East-warmonger who sees U.S. and Israeli interests as indistinguishable and inextricably linked, with a fetish for ever-increasing government control and surveillance, and a background as a Wall St. billionaire. We just haven't had enough of those in our political culture. Our political system, more than anything, is missing the influence of people like that. That's why it's broken: not enough of those.


    In fact -- despite his steadfast neoconservatism -- it's hard to see how the candidacy of a divorced, unmarried, stridently pro-gun-control, pro-choice, socially liberal New York City billionaire would accomplish anything other than offering the Republicans their best hope of winning in 2008. All of this seems to be intended as punishment meted out by the Establishment to the Democrats -- using Bloomberg's billions as the weapon -- for not repudiating their loudmouth, restless liberal base strongly enough. That, more than anything, seems to be the oh-so-noble and trans-partisan purpose of David Broder, David Boren and Sam Nunn: to find a way to stifle the populist anger at our political establishment after 8 years of unrestrained Bush-Cheney devastation, increasingly represented (on the Democratic side) by the Scary, Angry, Intemperate John Edwards campaign.

    this would be hysterically funny if it wasn't so goddam pathetic... if there was anything that should be bringing people together in a spirit of harmony, unity, and bipartisanship, it's restoring our country to the principles upon which it was founded and reversing and repudiating the willful flouting of the rule of law, the destruction of the constitution, the total absence of accountability, and our rapid descent into an "endemic surveillance society"... these jokers obviously define "bipartisanship" as "business as usual"...

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    Here's how it works. If you don't suck up to the BIG money, you don't get elected.

    don't for one second believe that this kind of scenario doesn't play out frequently once a candidate IS elected, although then it's easier to do behind closed doors...
    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took a break from the presidential campaign trail in March to fly to a posh Utah ski resort, where he mingled with hundreds of top corporate executives assembled by J.P. Morgan Chase for its annual leadership conference.

    McCain's appearance at the Deer Valley event, arranged by J.P. Morgan Vice Chairman James B. Lee Jr., a top McCain fundraiser, put him in a room with the chief executives of companies such as General Electric, Xerox and Sony. It was, Lee said, "a chance for him to let them see him for who he is and possibly decide to support him." The effort paid off: J.P. Morgan executives have donated $56,250 to McCain's campaign, two-thirds of which came after his Utah appearance. And his visit there was quickly followed up by dozens of smaller private meetings with corporate executives in New York City arranged by leading Wall Street figures.

    "We tried to get him around to a lot of those kinds of things," said McCain campaign manager Rick Davis. "We were very much in the friend-making business."

    It is common for politicians to court big money during a campaign. But private schmooze sessions such as the gathering in Utah pose a particular dilemma for McCain, who has spent a long career decrying "special interests" and politicians who offer special access to them in order to raise money. As a presidential candidate this year, McCain has found himself assiduously courting both lobbyists and their wealthy clients, offering them private audiences as part of his fundraising. He also counts more than 30 lobbyists among his chief fundraisers, more than any other presidential contender.

    it was only a few months ago that mccain's campaign was damn near broke and there were rumors flying that he was going to drop out of the race... what's clear to me is that the monied elites, in reviewing the field, both dems and r's, didn't like much of what they saw, and decided to see if the "straight talk express" could be re-started... what these people want is someone who will do their bidding, which is the same reason hillary's gotten the kind of backing she has... the elites want to back a winning horse, but only a horse where THEY choose the jockey...

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    Sunday, December 30, 2007

    A comprehensive look at our emerging police state

    stephen lendman 'splains it all for you over at global research and at his weblog...

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    RIAA escalation - a post for mettle

    oh, golly... i can just hear him now... "I TOLD YOU SO...!"
    [I]n an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

    The industry's lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are "unauthorized copies" of copyrighted recordings.

    "I couldn't believe it when I read that," says Ray Beckerman, a New York lawyer who represents six clients who have been sued by the RIAA. "The basic principle in the law is that you have to distribute actual physical copies to be guilty of violating copyright. But recently, the industry has been going around saying that even a personal copy on your computer is a violation."

    RIAA's hard-line position seems clear. Its Web site says: "If you make unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings, you're stealing. You're breaking the law and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages."

    here's mettle, commenting on the relatively recent good ol' days when all we had to worry about was the heinous crime of File-Sharing...
    The scary specter of Terrorism alone, no longer seems to provide Big Brother enough pretext and cover to smash the heel of the Jackboots down onto most everybody in order to grind the People into so much mash in the earth.

    -- mettle

    i am in complete agreement... this isn't simply about protecting the music industry... it's absolutely about expanding the controls of an increasingly fascist society...

    you realize where this will start hitting immediately, don't you...? for those of us who travel outside the u.s. frequently, this will give just one more pretext for the warrantless search and seizure of laptops and mp3 players at u.s. customs inspection points, and the immediate detention of those who are found in violation... mark my words...

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    "Our most powerful and well-connected elite are free to break the law with impunity"

    as an appropriate follow-on to the previous post (or perhaps, more accurately, a good lead-in), glenn has this to say...
    [W]e have a perfect oligarchical system in which, literally, our most powerful and well-connected elite are free to break the law with impunity, exempt from any consequences. While exempting themselves, these same figures impose increasingly Draconian "law and order" solutions on the masses to ensure that even small infractions of the law prompt vigorous prosecution and inflexible, lengthy prison terms.

    As Matt Stoller recently noted in an excellent post on the bipartisan orthodoxies that are untouchable in political debates, "there are 1 million people put in jail for doing what Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George Bush have done" (buying and consuming illegal drugs) and "2 million people are in prison in America, by far the highest total of any other country in the world." It's almost impossible for the non-rich to defend themselves effectively against government accusations of criminality, and judges have increasingly less sentencing discretion to avoid imposing harsh jail terms. Punishment for crimes is for the masses only, not for members in good standing of our political and corporate establishment.

    Where our political elite break the law, our leading media stars and pundits fulfill their central purpose by dutifully arguing that establishment figures who have broken the law have done nothing wrong and deserve protection, even our gratitude, when they do so. In the view of our establishment, even mere civil liability -- never mind criminal punishment -- is deeply unfair when imposed on lawbreaking corporations, as we see in the "debate" over telecom immunity.


    Naturally, our establishment sees itself as Good, and thus, whatever their most powerful leaders do -- even when illegal -- is never really bad. It can't be, because they do it. Hence, George Bush's and Lewis Libby's felonies aren't really like the felonies of the "drug dealers" and the other street dirt. Neither the Law nor Jail are for the clean, good, upstanding establishment members, so sayeth Jay Rockefeller and Fred Hiatt and Joe Klein and David Ignatius and the rest.


    There is a mildly increased desperation that is palpable among our political and media elites to protect and defend their system. The extent of their wrongdoing over the last several years -- political, legal and economic -- is so extreme that the potential for upheaval in the event of accountability is extreme as well. Their chief weapon to protect those privileges is immunity from the rule of law, and most of our political controversies -- over presidential power and state secrets and executive privilege and torture and eavesdropping and these CIA videos -- really share the same root: the effort of the establishment to maintain their immunity from impropriety-exposing legal proceedings and, thus, from political consequences.

    Just as the warrantless eavesdropping revelations did, the CIA video scandal presents an extremely clear and straightforward case of serious lawbreaking by our highest government officials. It's far less complex and far more serious than the scandals that brought down Richard Nixon. That a rational person would be highly skeptical about the prospects that we will find out what happened, let alone that there will be consequences for any of it, is pretty compelling evidence of the kind of country we are becoming.

    we're in such deep shit as a country, and sitting around watching our elected leaders DO NOTHING is crazy-making in the first degree...

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    The United States is now an "endemic surveillance society"

    my post from this past may 30...
    raw story has a rundown on the leaps and bounds the uk has taken with regard to abolishing a citizen's right to privacy... it's chilling... read it...
    [Privacy International's Gus Hosein said] that, with respect to privacy in the democratic world, “whatever bad policy is out there, Britain does it worse.”

    here's a graphic from privacy international, showing the leading surveillance societies in the world...

    Leading surveillance societies in the EU and the World
    (click on graphic for full-size image...)
    in the leading category of "endemic surveillance societies":

    China, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, and the United Kingdom

    in the next category of "extensive surveillance societies":

    United States

    so, now, lookee here... the u.s. has been kicked down a notch, from "extensive" to "endemic"...

    yes, we're now in black instead of red...
    Despite political shifts in the US Congress, surveillance initiatives in the US continue to expand, affecting visitors and citizens alike.


    In terms of statutory protections and privacy enforcement, the US is the worst ranking country in the democratic world. In terms of overall privacy protection the United States has performed very poorly, being out-ranked by both India and the Philippines and falling into the "black" category, denoting endemic surveillance.

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