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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 04/13/2008 - 04/20/2008
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Post Obama rally demonstration in Philadelphia, yesterday, April 18

over 35,000...
Obama greeted by largest crowd of his campaign

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Barack Obama was greeted by the largest crowd of his campaign Friday night in Philadelphia. Some 35,000 people jammed into Independence Park to see the Democratic presidential candidate, four days before this state's crucial April 22 primary.

if you take out the lines suggesting deep paranoia, the old buffalo springfield song captures some of what's happening around obama...
For What It's Worth

There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear


I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down


Stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, now, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

things are getting increasingly interesting...

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Un-frigging-believable! Bank of England bails out banks to the tune of $100 BILLION

words fail me...
The Bank of England is planning to provide around $100 billion of support to British banks and lending institutions.

The cash package is designed to help banks cope with the after effects of the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States.

Britain's banks have for years raised vital finance by selling tens of billions of pounds of mortgages to international investors.

But last August the market closed down which is why mortgages and other loans have become harder and more expensive to obtain.

The Bank of England plans to fill the breach, and next week it will announce a proposal to pump new money into the banking system for up to three years.

It will offcer to swap government bonds with a maturity of up to a year for the bank's unsellable mortgage assets.

can't we, pretty please, just go about letting the whole goddam house of cards collapse so we can get on with setting up something better...? use the hundred billion to provide a cushion for ordinary folks who would get hurt the most in a crash of the financial markets but who will absolutely get hurt if the money goes to the banks... cuz, let's face it, the banks don't give a teeny fraction of a tiny shit for ordinary folks...

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Cliff has 10 + 2 questions for Saint McCain

it's a "steal from americablog" morning... (see previous post...)

cliff schecter has a few questions
he'd like to ask you, senator...

1. Do you agree with Pastor John Hagee that war with Iran is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy?

2. Doesn't your legendary temper make you too dangerous to be trusted with the presidency of the United States?

3. Doesn't your confusion regarding basic facts about the war in Iraq, including repeatedly citing a nonexistent Al Qaeda-Iran alliance, make you unfit for command?

4. Given your past adultery, should Americans consider you a moral exemplar of family values?

5. Doesn't your flip-flop on Jerry Falwell being an "agent of intolerance" show your opportunistic pandering to the religious right?

6. Given your wealth and privileged upbringing, aren't you - and not Barack Obama - the elitist?

7. What is your religion, really? And has the answer in the past changed as the South Carolina primary approached?

8. Didn't President Bush betray you with his signing statement on the Detainee Treatment Act? You claim to be against torture, but aren't you a hypocrite for voting "no" on the Senate waterboarding ban?

9. Why did you flip-flop on the Bush tax cuts you twice opposed? Why do you now support making them permanent for the wealthiest Americans who need them least?

10. With the economy tanking, shouldn't Americans be concerned over your past statements that "the issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should?"

bonus questions...
11) How can you call yourself a straight-talker in light of the fact that you have changed your positions or rhetorically flip-flopped on the following issues:

Abortion, Creationism in science class, immigration, intervention abroad, tax cuts for the wealthy, civil unions, a Martin Luther King holiday, the Confederate Flag, the Christian Right, Bob Jones University, whether Rumsfeld did a good job, whether Dick Cheney is doing a good job, whether President Bush is an honest man, a Patient's Bill of Rights, global warming, campaign finance reform in general, public financing of campaigns specifically, lobbying reform, whether the War in Iraq would be "easy," whether Sunni and Shiite are working together, whether "Iraqi blood should be traded for American blood," military readiness, how many troops are necessary for the surge to succeed in Iraq, ethanol subsidies, the continuing existence of a minimum wage, closing the gun-show loophole, healthcare for children...and I could go on, but how about we start with those?

12) Finally, if Barack Obama must account for everyone he has ever passed within a 100 square mile radius of, then here are some associations [with the indicted, the white supremacists and the downright corrupt] you might want to explain:

Rick Renzi (indicted), Terry Nelson (racist ads against Harold Ford in 2006), Trent Lott (pining for a Strom presidency), The Wyly Brothers (corrupt), Bob Perry (Chief Swift Boater), Richard Quinn (white supremacist), Rev. Richard Land (homosexual hate), Ken Blackwell (Ohio election suppression), Charlie Black (lobbyist and according to John Gorenfeld's new book, Bad Moon Rising, Reverend Moon lover). That would be a start.

Cliff Schecter is the author of The Real McCain: Why Conservatives Don't Trust Him And Why Independents Shouldn't.

gosh... i just can't WAIT to hear the answers...

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Hillary (in black) vs. Obama

(thanks to john at americablog... too good not to steal...)

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Friday, April 18, 2008

YEAH...! Obama talks about the debate...

every day, he's earning more of my respect... he takes a pile-on by the media and the democratic establishment in the debate and flips it right on its head, precisely where it belongs... i'm so impressed...

if i could ONLY have some guarantee that, somewhere along the line, he hasn't already sold his soul... if i could only believe that he's the real thing... and if he IS, if i could only believe that one man could make the kind of difference we so desperately need... i can't tolerate the thought of another charade election where we get our hopes up only to have them dashed because it's impossible to buck the system...

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Polls: public's opinion of economy deteriorating at record pace

well, go--l-l-leeee... the wapo takes a poll and gets a b.g.o...*

The public's ratings of the national economy continue to sour, with assessments deteriorating faster than at any point in Washington Post-ABC News polling. Views on the Iraq war have also turned more negative, with six in 10 now rejecting the notion that the United States needs to win there to effectively battle terrorism.

the bush administration agenda is turning out to be a smashing success... they set out to create a situation where literally everything, world-wide, would fall apart, and, whaddaya know, that's exactly what's happening...

* b.g.o. = blinding glimpse of the obvious...

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Nancy Pelosi is a traitor to her nation by not leading the charge against the criminals in the White House

from the peace team...
There is something truly phenomenal going on in San Francisco. A political novice by the name of Shirley Golub has the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, running scared, afraid that if she agrees to debate the challenger she will not be able to defend her record of capitulation, afraid the voters of the 8th congressional district will no longer make excuses for political cowardice ... just afraid.

And that's exactly the way Shirley Golub called it last week, when she called Nancy Pelosi out for being a political coward, using those exact words. Listen to the radio ad they are all talking about for yourself.

Click here to listen.
Click here to donate to
Shirley Golub's campaign.


With the revelations that directives to torture came straight from the White House, in excruciating detail, from meeting of the principals at the highest level, it is a national disgrace that Congress has not already commenced impeachment hearings, of the Vice President who presided over it all, and the absentee President who now admits he knew about the whole thing.

What are we to call this but the most abject cowardice? Why would we believe that anything would change by electing more cowards cut from the same cloth? If Congress is incapable of standing up for itself now, why would be believe that under some subsequent administration they would acquit themselves with any actual valor?

And yet there are now those trying to make a controversy out of telling the truth, when the real controversy is all the lies. There are those who would try to make a scandal out of confronting scandal, when the real scandal is those who are too frightened to expose it.

So listen to Shirley Golub's new radio spot again, and ask yourself if there is even a single word she speaks that is not the straight unadulerated truth.

there is only one honorable thing for the complicit and criminal members of the bush administration to do and that is to resign... by extension, the speaker of the house of representatives, by refusing to uphold the duties of her office, should resign as well... the key word, however, is "honorable," a word that carries no meaning in bushworld or, evidently, in pelosiworld either...

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Using an anti-personnel tank shell, Israel murders a Reuters cameraman and makes Carter's case

carter, rightly, calls the gaza situation an atrocity...

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter
delivers a speech at the American
University in Cairo April 17, 2008

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter called the blockade of Gaza a crime and an atrocity on Thursday and said U.S. attempts to undermine the Islamist movement Hamas had been counterproductive.

Speaking at the American University in Cairo after talks with Hamas leaders from Gaza, Carter said Palestinians in Gaza were being "starved to death," receiving fewer calories a day than people in the poorest parts of Africa.

"It's an atrocity what is being perpetrated as punishment on the people in Gaza. it's a crime... I think it is an abomination that this continues to go on," Carter said.

Israel has been blockading Gaza most of the time since Hamas took control of the impoverished coastal strip in June last year, allowing only basic supplies to enter.

ever-helpful, israel manages to strengthen carter's denunciation by killing a reuters cameraman using one of those horrific, flechette-loaded shells that, upon explosion, shreds everything and everybody within a broad diameter...

note - this video clip is NOT for the squeamish...

The editor-in-chief of Reuters demanded that Israel launches a "thorough and immediate investigation" into the killing of one of its cameramen in the Gaza Strip yesterday (David Byers writes).

Footage of Fadel Shana, 23, being killed by a tank shell in the Gaza Strip has been released by the news agency, which said that the cameraman was hit despite clear markings that showed him to be a journalist.

After medical examinations of Shana's body, Reuters said that Israel had used a controversial type of tank shell which scatters metal darts, or flechettes, around the surrounding area after exploding, risking civilian casualties. Israel refused to comment on the report, but stated that the weapons were not illegal.

how can this insanity be allowed to continue...?

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Hillary, pay close attention...

look what your insane campaign of ego and bile is doing to the mood of the voting public... or is this the intent...?

Partly thanks to an increasingly likable image, the Republican presidential candidate has pulled even with the two Democrats still brawling for their party's nomination, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo! News poll released Thursday. Just five months ago — before either party had winnowed its field — the survey showed people preferred sending an unnamed Democrat over a Republican to the White House by 13 percentage points.

Also helping the Arizona senator close the gap: Peoples' opinions of Hillary Rodham Clinton have soured slightly, while their views of Barack Obama have improved though less impressively than McCain's.

The survey suggests that those switching to McCain are largely attuned to his personal qualities and McCain may be benefiting as the two Democrats snipe at each other during their prolonged nomination fight.

get the hell out, hillary... NOW...!

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Euro hits $1.59, Merril Lynch continues its free fall, oil climbs past $115 a barrel, and rice is now 3x higher than 2007

please note... ALL of these stories are interconnected in very fundamental ways, all of which point to the continuing collapse of the global financial markets... hitting bottom, imho, is a long way off...

is it even possible to comprehend $30B worth of losses in one company in only three quarters...?

Merrill Lynch announces job cuts after $2 billion loss

Merrill Lynch, the investment bank, posted a loss Thursday and announced that it would lay off about 2,900 additional workers. Including about 1,000 jobs already eliminated this year, the company's work force is to shrink by 10 percent, or about 4,000 jobs, over the course of 2008.

The bank reported worst-than-expected earnings for the first quarter, including $6.5 billion in write-downs and adjustments to assets in its mortgage, leveraged finance and other divisions. The write-downs bring the total taken by Merrill Lynch in the last three quarters to more than $30 billion.

i'm working with a gentleman here who lives in france but is an employee of the u.s. company that runs the project... he is paid in dollars which he converts to euros... he has lost nearly HALF the value of his salary over the past year...

The euro retreated from a record high against the dollar in choppy trade Thursday after a top euro zone official called recent euro appreciation "undesirable."


That sparked concern that G7 officials may be considering coordinated currency intervention to stem the dollar's decline.

it wasn't very long ago, only a matter of six months, that oil over $100 a barrel seemed unimaginable...

Oil prices hit all-time highs above $115 a barrel Thursday as the dollar continued to weaken and on reports that oil and gasoline stocks in the United States were lower than expected.

and look at rice, a food staple for more than 2/3 of the world's population...
The sense of crisis in the rice market showed no signs of easing as prices continued their record climb and a tender from the Philippines, the world's top importer, attracted offers to sell only about two-thirds of the half-a-million tons it had sought, Reuters reported from Bangkok.

In Bangkok, Thai 100 percent B-grade white rice, considered the world's benchmark, hit $950 per ton, three times its price at the start of 2007.

i don't know how anyone can look at the above four items and not sense impending doom...

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Today in Baghdad: "The occupation has destroyed us and divided us. We want them to leave."

what we hath wrought...

i've been watching al jazeera english regularly since i've been here in kabul... when i first got here and before my satellite receiver blew a power circuit, bbc world, cnni, and al jazeera were all available... for some reason i don't have the energy to get to the bottom of, the replacement satellite receiver only delivers al jazeera and france 24, france's english-language competition to bbc, cnni, and al jazeera... i'm not complaining... while different both from each other and from bbc and cnni, both are a broad, intelligent, and, occasionally, truly outstanding news alternative... the above al jazeera clip on the current situation in baghdad is a small but pointed example of perspectives that none of the so-called "news" media in the u.s. seem to be able or willing to provide...

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ok, I'm onboard... It's taken me a little while to get here, but, yes, I'm now onboard...

more eloquently stated and comprehensively packaged, i don't think it's possible to be...

this deserves the full re-print treatment... (apologies to for shining on the fair-use standard...)


THE CHOICE in Tuesday's Democratic presidential primary is not only the one between a white woman and a black man. It's a choice between the past and the future.

More specifically, the nation must decide how to face the future racing toward us in the form of slumping home sales, unstable financial markets and increased joblessness - and staring at us from the Green Zone in Iraq and the beds at veterans hospitals.

Should Democrats choose someone who will employ hard-won - even bitter - experiences gained in a past Democratic administration, or reach beyond political truisms toward a new (and untried) model of governing?

Neither choice is obvious. Perhaps that's why the race has gone on for so long.

But the long slog through 44 primaries and caucuses has confirmed for us that Sen. Barack Obama's vision of change - and the way he plans to pursue it - is what we need right now. Badly.

This is a campaign that really began six years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001. Not only was the U.S. attacked and seriously wounded, it did not bounce back the way "the land of the free and home of the brave" should have. In fact, it still suffers from post-traumatic stress.

That day and its aftermath cried out for a revolution of values: a clear-eyed shared vision, a cooperative effort, a unified purpose. It cried out for a recognition that conventional warfare and conventional responses to domestic challenges in an era of globalization were not enough.

That cry was not answered.

Instead, the Bush administration embarked on an unconscionable plan to exploit the fear we all felt that day for political gain. It lied us into a disastrous war in Iraq, a staggering, record deficit at home, a weakening of the constitutional structure on which the country rests, and poisonous lines of division among Americans. It led us to a place where 81 percent of Americans say we're on the wrong track.

Contrary to Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign slogan, we believe Barack Obama is more likely to be "ready on Day One" to lead us in a new direction. Because of his experience.

Sure, Clinton has more "experience" of a sort. For one thing, she has 14 more years on earth. How much of this experience is directly applicable to the job of president is, at best, debatable.

We are frankly troubled by her assumption that her husband's administration and accomplishments were her own. And if her equation holds, that the first spouse is an equal partner in the administration, then the reappearance of Bill Clinton in the White House is a prospect we have a hard time reconciling with the work that needs to be done.

THERE IS a way to match Clinton's and Obama's performances on a relatively equal playing field: their campaigns.

A candidate's campaign may be the best indicator of how she or he will govern. If so, an Obama administration would be well-managed, inclusive and astonishingly broad-based. It would make good use of technology and communicate a message of unity and, yes, hope.

It would not be content with eking out slim victories by playing to the narrow interests of the swing voters of the moment while leaving the rest of the country as deeply divided as ever. Instead, an Obama administration would seek to expand the number of Americans who believe that they have a personal stake in our collective future - and that they have the power to change things.

It would motivate them to hold their representatives accountable for making it happen. That is, after all, the only way to get us out of Iraq, to address global warming, to make us energy-independent. It's the only way to resist the forces arrayed against providing universal health care, rebuilding our infrastructure and returning our schools to world-class status. It's the only way to give our children the means to compete with children in other parts of the world who are healthier, better-educated and have more opportunities than many of our own.

An Obama administration would be freer of the the corrupting influence of big-money donors and corporate interests. Obama has raised $240 million overall, with half coming in contributions of less than $200. People who contribute to political campaigns can feel they "own" a candidate and so Obama would owe allegiance to the wide swath of America that has financed his campaign.

Based on his experience in running a quarter-billion-dollar enterprise with thousands upon thousands of volunteers, we could expect an Obama administration to be well-managed and cost-effective, with the president choosing forward-thinking advisers committed to his program, demanding that they work as a team and pay attention to details.

He would be steady and calm, given neither to irrational exuberance or outbursts of anger. He would make mistakes, that's for sure, but he could be expected to recognize them, adjust, and move forward.

He would adjust his views to reality rather than trying to adjust reality to his views.

Obama's unprecedented appeal to younger voters is significant not only because it expands the electorate, which is vital. It's also a validation of his promise as a president to be free of the baby-boomer/Vietnam/segregation-era hangups.

Younger people are more egalitarian, more accepting of diversity, and more comfortable with rapid change. They also are less confined by old resentments or regrets.

AND AN OBAMA administration would lower the tone of the rhetoric that separates us.

As New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has said, Obama is a once-in-a-lifetime candidate who has the skill and eloquence to help us raise our eyes and our aspirations beyond individual, personal concerns, beyond religion or region or race or gender, beyond our well-founded fears to a shared destiny.

Most candidates claim that they will change the way business is done in Washington. Barack Obama has made us believe that, yes, he can.

and there ya have it...!

(thanks to joe at americablog...)

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STFU, Hillary, you miserable little playground bully... Your rhetoric has lost all its credibility with me...

i'm sure obama and his team, along with every other non-comatose, halfway intelligent person in the entire country, could have anticipated that hillary would adopt a relentlessly offensive posture with obama last night... having watched and listened to hrc over the past couple of months, there was no way in hell it would have played out any differently... but, rather than see it for what it is, our stalwart nyt news reporters present it like hillary is strong and obama is weak, rather than portraying hrc as the desperate, obnoxious, annoying, playground bully she really is...
Clinton Uses Sharp Attacks in Tense Debate

Published: April 17, 2008

PHILADELPHIA - Senator Barack Obama found himself consistently on the defensive as he and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton met Wednesday night in a tense debate that left him parrying questions and criticism on issues including values, patriotism and his association with onetime radicals from the 1960s.

It was the first time the two candidates had shared a debate stage in seven weeks, and it came six days before a primary in Pennsylvania that could determine whether Mrs. Clinton can continue her quest for the Democratic presidential nomination. It could also prove to be the last debate between them.

Accordingly, Mrs. Clinton did not let an opportunity pass as she repeatedly challenged Mr. Obama on his record and views — assisted, as it turned out, by vigorous questioning by the two moderators from ABC News, Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous.

The result was arguably one of Mr. Obama’s weakest debate performances. He at times appeared annoyed as he sought to answer questions about his former pastor, his reluctance to wear an American flag pin on his lapel and his association in Chicago with former members of the Weather Underground, a radical group that carried out bombings in the 1960s that were intended to incite the overthrow of the government.

it's become patently clear... our corporate, political, governmental, and media elites are scared shitless of obama, and they will do anything and everything to bring him down... besides exposing hillary for the she-weasel she really is, we should be doing everything in our power to discredit those who claim to be giving us objective information, "information" that is nothing but pure establishment propaganda disguised as news... they can all go straight to hell... i ain't buyin' a goddam word of it any more...

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"I have spent two years in prison even though I was innocent." So don't go screw up again, y'hear...!

about goddam time...
Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein was reunited with family and colleagues Wednesday, ending more than two years in U.S. military custody after Iraqi judges dropped all legal proceedings against him.

Tearful relatives rushed to embrace Hussein, who had been given just a few hours' notice of his release. He thanked co-workers and supporters around the world who had worked on his behalf.

"I have spent two years in prison even though I was innocent. I thank everybody," said Hussein, 36, looking healthy and dressed in a brown traditional Iraqi robe.

this is a fitting follow-on to the previous post... our fascist leaders want to make sure that everybody knows that you can be forced to give up two whole years of your life, even though you're completely innocent, just because somebody THINKS there's some remote chance you did something, or, even more terrifying, they KNOW you didn't do anything, they're just making a point...

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"Papers, please" - getting people used to the idea of suprise law enforcement raids and "disappeared" people

news flash... it ain't just about immigration... first of all, note the first paragraph... that's right... it's now expanded to include identify theft and document fraud... you don't have the proper papers...? what a shame... it's off to the detention center for you... what's that you say...? your children are in daycare and there'll be no one to pick them up or care for them...? what a shame... it's off to the detention center for you...
Officials say more than 290 people have been arrested at Pilgrim's Pride poultry plants in five states on suspicion of identity theft, document fraud or immigration violations.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced the figures Wednesday, the day of the raids. Authorities say the raids were part of a long-term investigation. Pittsburg, Texas-based Pilgrim's Pride says it cooperated fully and faces no charges.

More than 100 people were arrested for immigration violations in both Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Moorefield, West Virginia.

In Mount Pleasant, Texas, 45 people were arrested for alleged false use of Social Security numbers.

In Live Oak, Florida, more than 25 people face administrative charges of immigration violations, and will also face identity theft or document fraud charges, officials say.

In Batesville, Arkansas, more than 20 were arrested on federal warrants for alleged document fraud or identity theft.

imagine the scenario... you're an employee of pilgrim's pride... the ice agents come swooping in, lock the place down, and start checking people off against a list... everyone has to produce identification... the person you've worked right next to for the past year, the one who invited your children to her son's birthday party, gets pulled out of line and taken away... you're distressed but also relieved that nothing happened to you...

just wait... your turn is coming...

the horror of the "disappeareds," a tactic pioneered and tested by the u.s. in latin america (see "los desaparecidos" and operation condor), is coming back home... i've posted on this many times before (see here), but it's important to realize that we are being slowly but surely led to an acceptance of such treachery in our very own country... make no mistake... it IS happening...!

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Torture: you commit the crime, then lie about it, you pay the consequences... We're talking about YOU, Condi...

ok... let's get really real... despite the virtual non-coverage of bush's admission and approval of the use of torture and the revelation that his most senior advisors, led by condoleezza rice, were the ones who met and specified what, how, and for whom, it's now time to impose the serious and highly appropriate consequences on those who participated and lied to cover it up, starting with condi...

robert greenwald and brave new films picks up the ball and runs with it...

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Oferchrissake...MORE tax breaks for big business...? Pardon me, but SCREW big business...!

when joe and julia, jose and juanita, and hamid and fatima take a financial dive, who the hell jumps in to bail them out...? there's an easy, one-word answer to that question... nobody... but you can be goddam sure that if a business controlled by the powerful, already super-rich elites loses even the slightest bit of altitude, there will be dozens of congressmen and senators lining up to give 'em a hand...
The Senate proclaimed a fierce bipartisan resolve two weeks ago to help American homeowners in danger of foreclosure. But while a bill that senators approved last week would take modest steps toward that goal, it would also provide billions of dollars in tax breaks — for automakers, airlines, alternative energy producers and other struggling industries, as well as home builders.

The tax provisions of the Foreclosure Prevention Act, which consumer groups and labor leaders say amount to government handouts to big business, show how the credit crisis, while rattling the housing and financial markets, has created beneficiaries in the power corridors of Washington.

It also shows how legislation with a populist imperative offers a chance for lobbyists to press their clients’ interests.

i don't often lapse into unbridled crudity, but i say fuck 'em... it's about time that the poor, hard-working slobs who do the REAL grunt work of our country - and, for that matter, of every goddam country around the globe - get their share, and that our so-called public servants remember just who the hell it is that they're supposed to be there to serve...

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Spiegel: The Madness of Ben Bernanke

as usual, you have to read the foreign press to get any semblance of truth about what's happening in our own country... (and ya gotta love spiegel's headline...)
The dollar is in a tailspin, the trade deficit is growing and a recession is on the horizon. The American way of life is in serious danger. But the head of the Federal Reserve keeps on pumping easy credit into the system -- a crazy policy that will worsen the crisis.

Ben Bernanke at the G7 meeting
of central bank governors over
the weekend.

Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke have more in common with the big cat entertainers Siegfried & Roy than any of us can be comfortable with.

The Las Vegas magicians call themselves "Masters of the Impossible" and have been fascinating audiences for decades by getting snow-white tigers to leap through burning rings.

The legendary Federal Reserve Chairman and his successor were equally adept at fascinating their audiences -- with a policy of miraculous monetary growth that gave America one of the longest periods of economic expansion in modern times. Many saw them as "Masters of the Universe." It seemed as if the central bankers had tamed predatory capitalism with their constant interest rate cuts.


The credit-financed consumer boom of recent years is coming to a painful end. Today's American Way of Life has no chance of surviving the coming years undamaged. The virus will continue to ravage its way through the financial system.

The property crisis is likely to spread to credit card providers soon and will then probably infect car manufacturers, furniture makers and all the other firms that owe their sales increases to the growth in credit finance. "The virus will keep on infecting the system," one management board member from a large bank said, requesting anonymity in return for the candour of his analysis.

His argument is that banks that grant mortgages to home buyers virtually unable to pay their bills are unlikely to be especially scrutinizing when it comes to lending cash to the buyers of fridges, cars and furniture. Indeed, a furniture store in Miami recently tried to lure consumers with the following offer: buy now, pay your first credit installment in three years, and no need for a down-payment.

The credit-financed way of life is typical of the US these days. Many people resort to credit to plug the gap between the lifestyle they have become accustomed to and their declining wages.

The borrowed cash is like an anaesthetic against the painful impact of globalisation. Private household debt has been growing by $4 billion each business day for years.

yeah, well, ok, but what spiegel fails to point out is that the financial and credit markets ain't going to hell just in the u.s... it's all well and good to point a finger at the unbelievable mess that the so-called "leaders" of the u.s. corporatocracy have created, but that conveniently ignores the complicity of europe, japan, australia, and the rest of the industrialized world... today's globally-interconnected financial markets have all been operating on an ethos of unrestrained greed and the collapse is happening world-wide, not just in the u.s., even though the u.s. has certainly been a leading role model...

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Iran - when I don't want 2 + 2 + 2 to add up to 6

ok... here's the first + 2, hadley in israel talking about iran with olmert...
Visiting US national security advisor Stephen Hadley was to discuss Iran's nuclear programme with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday night, public radio said.

A senior Israeli official confirmed the meeting was to take place but declined to give details.

The announcement came just hours after the deputy commander of Iran's army Mohammad Reza Ashtiani warned that his country would "eliminate Israel from the global arena" if it were attacked by the Jewish state.

Stewart Tuttle, the spokesman for the US embassy, said Hadley's talks with top Israeli officials would cover "issues of mutual interest, and a good guess is these will include Iran."

here's the second + 2, a story about israel test-firing a ballistic missile designed to be used against iran...
Israel has conducted a test of a ballistic missile aimed at simulating an Iranian attack on Israel.

The test of the "Blue Sparrow" on Tuesday came after Israel's foreign minister said in Qatar the day before that Iran represented "the extremists in the region" and was "a threat and challenge to the entire region".

Mohammed Rada Ashtiani, the deputy commander of the Iranian army, responded on Tuesday by saying that they would "eliminate it from the global arena" if Israel took any action against them.

Israel's missile test follows confirmation from a senior Israeli defence official that the US has agreed to connect the Jewish state to its ballistic missile early warning system "to protect" the regime against any missile attack.

and here's the third + 2 claiming that a u.s. strike on iran is "nearing," quoting on an anonymous source, "a leading member of america's jewish community"... (and, yes, it's from that notoriously right-wing nut-job news site, newsmax, so when you read it, think sock puppet...)
Contrary to some claims that the Bush administration will allow diplomacy to handle Iran’s nuclear weapons program, a leading member of America’s Jewish community tells Newsmax that a military strike is not only on the table – but likely.

Israel is preparing for heavy casualties,” the source said, suggesting that although Israel will not take part in the strike, it is expecting to be the target of Iranian retribution.

“Look at Dick Cheney’s recent trip through the Middle East as preparation for the U.S. attack,” the source said.

Cheney’s hastily arranged 9-day visit to the region, which began on March 16, included stops in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Oman, Turkey, and the Palestinian territories.

Tensions in the region have been rising.

While Israel was conducting the largest homefront military exercises in its history last week, Israel’s National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer warned Tehran about expected attacks on the Jewish state.

“An Iranian attack will prompt a severe reaction from Israel, which will destroy the Iranian nation,” he said.

here's my view, for what it's worth... with the global financial markets still experiencing a slo-mo collapse, with the domestic economy swirling ever closer to the drain, with staggering, near-daily revelations about bush administration war crimes and criminal usurpations of executive power, the administration desperately needs more than the temporary distraction of a full-bore attack on obama's "elitism"... it needs something that will provide a MAJOR-LEAGUE distraction, and the ramping up of the rhetoric against iran and the increasing tempo of the war drums are not comforting signs at all...

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

STFU about Obama and "bitter" already

look... let's get something straight here... there's a big, BIG difference between a "gaffe" and "telling the truth", but, no, the press won't let it go...

here's a selection of headlines and openers taken from one single source, my daily washington post email opinion round-up...

the wapo's chris cilizza...

"Bitter-gate": Where Do We Go Now?

Critical mass has been reached. "Bitter" and "cling" will forever be tied to Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) in the same way that "Tuzla" and "the laugh" will always evoke Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) when a political junkie thinks of the 2008 Democratic race.

The important question -- in the immortal words of W. Axl Rose (an Indiana native) -- is where do we go now? The story is everywhere -- television, talk radio, the Web -- for a fourth straight day and it seems extremely unlikely that it will go away before the two Democrats debate on Wednesday night in Philadelphia.

uh, chris... part of the reason the story is "everywhere," chris, is because weenies like you keep writing about it...

the new republic...

Woe is He

Some liberal commentators have downplayed the effect of Barack Obama's fundraising speech at a San Francisco fundraiser last week. But that's wishful thinking. Along with the revelations about Obama's pastor Jeremiah Wright, his remarks in San Francisco will haunt him not only in the upcoming primaries in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia, but also in the general election against John McCain, assuming he gets the Democratic nomination
the wsj...
Obama's Flaws Multiply

Barack Obama's San Francisco-Democrat comment last week – about how alienated working-class voters "cling to guns or religion" – is already famous. But the fact that his aides tell reporters he is privately bewildered that anybody took offense is even more remarkable.

the wapo...
Clinton Releases Tough New Anti-Obama Ad in Pa.

Keeping up her pounding on Sen. Barack Obama for his "bitter" remark a week ago, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton finally launched an ad off the event -- and it is arguably her toughest so far in the campaign.

the wapo - AGAIN - on page 1...
McCain Echoes Clinton's Attacks

Sen. John McCain joined in the criticism of Sen. Barack Obama yesterday for Obama's comments about "bitter" victims of small-town economic distress, while Obama's rival for the Democratic presidential nomination weighed in with a tough new ad on the controversy.

and, lord help us, the wapo, YET AGAIN, this one from richard cohen... but, wait...! it's not what you think...
Guns, God and Gotchas

I distrust what Hillary Clinton said about Barack Obama and his admittedly klutzy statement about guns, church, immigrants and bitterness -- "elitist, out of touch and, frankly, patronizing," she said. Frankly, I don't believe her.

And this, frankly or not, is the trouble with Clinton. Obama clearly misspoke. But there are very few moments with him where I feel that he does not believe what he is saying -- even when, as with his lame capitulation of leadership regarding the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, I can't respect it. With Clinton, on the other hand, those moments are frequent. She is forever saying things I either don't believe or believe that even she doesn't believe. She is the personification of artifice.

yeah, well, cohen IS damning obama with faint praise, but the characterization of hillary is spot-on...

p.s. screw you, wapo, and the same to you wall street journal and new republic... obama has more integrity in his little pinky that all your combined journalistic and editorial staffs have among them...

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Attack of the gays - OH, NO-O-O-O-O-OOOOO...!

oh, my freakin' lord...

the american family association has lost the last wheels on its little red wagon...

i hope lewis black has checked out this latest addition to afa's screaming insanity... i'm sure he could do something with it, maybe even better than than this hysterical and dead-on rant...

i've said it before and i'll say it again... i have NEVER run across a comedian who is able to speak the truth so intelligently, so honestly, so succinctly, and, yes, so crudely, as lewis black... you laugh from the bottom of your gut AND you come away enlightened...

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Torture...? I approved... What's news about that...? Patético...

i haven't paid much attention to the appalling non-coverage of bush's admission that he approved toture, principally because i've been certain for a long time that was the case... however, froomkin's point that bush's actual admission is worthy of major national press attention that it HASN'T been getting is right on...
Bush OK'd Torture Meetings

Bush: " -- a variety of issues."

Raddatz: "And approved that?"

Bush: "Yes."

Raddatz: "You have no problem with that?"

Bush: "In 2003?"

Raddatz: "Yes."

Bush: "No. I mean, as a matter of fact, I told the country we did that. And I also told them it was legal. We had legal opinions that enabled us to do it. And, no, I didn't have any problem at all trying to find out what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed knew."

Raddatz: "OK."

Bush: "And guess what? I think it's very important for the American people to understand who Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was. He was the person who ordered the suicide attack -- I mean, the 9/11 attacks. And back then, there was all kinds of concerns about people saying, 'Well, the administration is not connecting the dots.' You might remember those -- that period."

Raddatz: "I remember."

Bush: "Well, we started to connect the dots, in order to protect the American people. And, yes, I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved. I don't know what's new about that; I'm not so sure what's so startling about that."

The Coverage (Such As It Was)

The mainstream media by and large seem to agree with Bush that the ABC News Report wasn't so startling, and they have given Bush's remarks almost no coverage. There was no mention of Bush's admission in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal or the Los Angeles Times. There was nothing on the major wire services. And nothing on CNN, CBS or NBC.

totally patético...

to be both fair and accurate, a number of bloggers and alternative news sources have been all over bush like flies on shit, as well they should be... it's just a crying shame that, of the major media, froomkin, a wapo columnist, has to cover a dearth of coverage well hidden from page one...

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Shopping spree winner funds endless war and cripples nation's economy

robert greenwald and brave new films do it again...

laugh...? cry...? both, or just crawl back under the covers and pull them over your head...?

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Delta/Northwest, Berlusconi, Zimbabwe, and food riots: waking to a string of unpleasant news

where to start...
Delta Air Lines Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp., squeezed by record high fuel prices and a slowing economy, are combining in a stock-swap deal that would create the world's biggest carrier.

my experience with one of the previous holders of the "world's biggest airline" title, united, tells me that no good will come of this...

and that's the least of the gloomy news...

the europeans couldn't believe we re-elected bush, and i can't believe the italians were stupid enough to re-elect this annoying, corrupt piece of offal...

Media billionaire Silvio Berlusconi won a decisive victory Monday in Italy's parliamentary election, setting the colorful conservative and staunch U.S. ally on course to his third stint as premier.

meanwhile, another totally corrupt, to-hell-with-the-people dictator desperately hangs on to power while the leaders of neighboring countries do nothing...
President Robert Mugabe's security forces fanned out across Zimbabwe Monday on the eve of a general strike called by the opposition after a judge threw out its bid to force the election results.


At Saturday's emergency summit in Lusaka, regional leaders discussed the post-election impasse long into the night, but they stopped short of criticising the Zimbabwean government or Mugabe.

Regional leaders have been chided for their traditional reluctance to speak out against 84-year-old Mugabe, seen by many as an elder statesman who still deserves respect for his role in winning Zimbabwe's independence.

Some three million Zimbabweans have fled to neighbouring countries in the wake of the country's economic collapse under Mugabe, who has ruled uninterrupted since independence from Britain in 1980.

A one-time regional model, Zimbabwe is now groaning under the impact of the world's highest rate of inflation while even basic food products such as bread and cooking oil are scarce.

and soaring food prices are having the predicted result across the globe, most notably, in a country that hasn't had any genuine good news in seemingly forever...
The good news is that there hasn't been a coup d'etat in Haiti in the wake of violent protests over increased food prices. However Saturday's vote by 16 of the country's 27 lawmakers to oust Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis means that the country is in the middle of a severe leadership crisis - and that Haiti's Head of State, President Rene Preval, is now politically impotent, bereft of his chief executive.

and here's what really, really hungry people look like, courtesy of spiegel...




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Monday, April 14, 2008

Yes, it brings tears to MY eyes too...!

read the following... read it slowly... read it carefully... let the full impact sink in... then imagine yourself living in gaza... imagine that you or a loved one desperately needed medical care, but the ambulance couldn't reach you because someone was shooting at the ambulance... imagine that the only way you could even reach the emergency ambulance crew was through calling a radio station and putting your appeal for help on the air... imagine all that as you sit in your comfortable chair in front of your computer screen with all the conveniences of the 21st-century literally at your fingertips...
"I am bleeding uncontrollably, I need an ambulance." That was not a call to emergency services, it was an appeal broadcast live on radio in Gaza City.

Who knows whether there will ever be an ambulance or not. But this way the ambulance services still hear the appeal broadcast on Al-Iman FM Radio Station, one of few independent radio stations in Gaza. And if the emergency services cannot help, someone else who hears the appeal might.

The ambulance dispatcher announces he cannot get the ambulance to the man. An Israeli bulldozer is blocking the road, and an Israeli tank on a hilltop has been firing at the ambulance, he says. Nobody can say if anyone else got to help the man. But at least his SOS could have been heard.

Appeals again went on air after the Friday attacks on Bureij refugee camp, where the death toll climbed to 16 by the weekend. The deaths included six children among nine people killed Friday. Again, ambulance crews confirmed they could not reach many of the injured. But the appeals were made on radio for all to hear.

A man called from east of Jabaliya refugee camp asking for an ambulance for his wife about to deliver. The radio host asked his location, and that of Israeli tanks. "I can't look from the window to see," he said. "They will shoot me if I do."

A lady called to ask an ambulance to clear the remains of a body lying on the door. IPS confirmed later that it was the body of Abdelrazek Nofal, who was 19. He was blown to bits by an Israeli tank shell.

Someone else called from Bureij asking for ambulance, and for food and water. "My mother needs to be in hospital urgently," he called the radio station to say. Another difficult mission, with the Israeli troops patrolling the area.

The appeals are heard on radio day after day. No one can say what follows the appeals in each case. But the live broadcasts on the radio can be a lifeline – or at the least, a line of hope. Where emergency services and aid agencies are not listening in, the radio then calls them.

"It brings tears to my eyes," says radio host Khaled al-Sharqawi. "I can sometimes hear shooting, and women and children screaming, asking for ambulances, and the ambulances cannot reach them."

how can we allow this to be happening...?

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Obama: "I want to see that picture of Hillary out in the duck blind"

barack continues pushing back, telling the truth, and cutting hillary no slack...

the really sad part of this is that obama is being driven to attacking hillary merely to keep hillary from squashing him flat... what the ever-loving hell is going on here...? hillary needs to shut her pie-hole and go the hell away...

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De facto suspension of the Constitution - Bush pronounces a detainee "an unlawful enemy combatant" and the person loses all human rights

robert parry posting on consortium news via alternet...
Under the Bush-Yoo theories, all Bush has to do is pronounce a detainee "an unlawful enemy combatant" -- whether a U.S. citizen or not, whether there is any credible evidence or not -- and the person loses all human rights.

As radical -- and as shocking -- as these theories may seem to many Americans, Bush is within one vote on the U.S. Supreme Court of having his vision enshrined as

If one more vacancy occurs among the five "non-imperial" justices -- and the replacement is in line with Roberts-Scalia-Thomas-and-Alito -- the U.S. Constitution could be effectively altered to eliminate key individual liberties -- from habeas corpus and other fair-trial rights to bans on "cruel and unusual" punishment to protections against self-incrimination and "unreasonable searches and seizures."

Though civics books tell us that the Constitution can only be amended by two-thirds votes of the House and Senate and approval by three-quarters of the states, the reality is that five ideologues on the U.S. Supreme Court can alter the nation's founding document by simply voting as a bloc.

And since the "war on terror" is unlike other wars -- in that the enemy is vaguely defined, the duration could be forever and the war's location can be anywhere -- the Bush-Yoo logic suggests that the de facto suspension of the American constitutional Republic is not just a short-term emergency measure.

Instead, the shift from a Republic, with legal protections of individual rights, to an Empire, led by an Executive who can operate without any constraints, would be permanent. As long as the President says some danger lurks out there, he or she could assert "plenary" -- or total -- powers as commander in chief.


Though Bush may not get another chance to further shape the Supreme Court with the appointment of another Roberts or Alito, his successor likely will. For some Americans angered by Bush's assault on the Constitution, John McCain's past support for Bush's judicial appointments may represent one of the strongest reasons to vote against him.

The future of the American Republic may be at stake.

"may" be at stake is a serious understatement... the future of the american republic HAS BEEN AT STAKE for a number of years now and WILL CONTINUE TO BE AT STAKE even after the inauguration of a (presumably) democratic president on 20 january 2009, if the current mechanisms of unfettered executive power are not both ROLLED BACK and FORMALLY REPUDIATED prior to that time... i don't want those mechanisms in the hands of ANY president... not mccain, not hillary, not obama...

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$15B, £7.6B, €35B, -20% - dumping the increasingly disastrous financial news over the weekend

yep... keep leakin' it out, folks, in time-tested, bush administration fashion, over the weekend, when people aren't paying attention... (pssssst... people ain't really payin' any attention anyway...)
CITIGROUP and Merrill Lynch will heap further pain on Wall Street this week as they reveal additional sub-prime write-downs totalling $15 billion (£7.6 billion) or more.

In another sign of the intense pressure on leading banks, Deutsche Bank is attempting to offload some of its €35 billion (£28 billion) of toxic debt to a consortium of private-equity firms.

Huge exposure to American mortgages is expected to result in Citi taking a $10 billion hit to its accounts, dragging the bank to a first-quarter loss of almost $3 billion. Some analysts believe Citi’s write-downs could stretch to as much as $12 billion.

Merrill will suffer $5 billion of write-downs, analysts say, which would push the bank $2.7 billion into the red.

It is expected to knock a further 20% from the value of its sub-prime holdings, in spite of the fact that it announced $18 billion of write-downs only three months ago.

The new rash of Wall Street losses and write-downs come in addition to the billions that have already been recorded.

does ANYBODY, ANYWHERE have ANY IDEA of just how bad this is...? talk about whistling past the graveyard...!

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While the news media were busy distracting us with bright, shiny, much more trivial news

i've posted on some of the stories in this summary of the weekly news from go left and raw story, however, it doesn't hurt to engage in a little review, particularly since most of them were seriously under-reported by our ever-vigilant, traditional news outlets...
The Raw Roundup - April 12th

Documents Prove FBI Has National Eavesdropping Program; Top Bush Aides Approved Interrogation Tactics; Many Israelis 'Uncomfortable' With Pastor Who Supports McCain; Rove's Attorney Tells MSNBC He'll Testify in Siegelman Case

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Who profits most from a comatose, ignorant, lied-to citizenry?

bob herbert in today's nyt...
The U.S., once the greatest can-do country on the planet, now can’t seem to do anything right. The great middle class has maxed out its credit cards and drained dangerous amounts of equity from family homes. No one can seem to figure out how to generate the growth in good-paying jobs that is the only legitimate way of putting strapped families back on their feet.


Other nations can provide health care for everyone. The United States cannot. In an era in which a college degree is becoming a prerequisite for a middle-class quality of life, we are having big trouble getting our kids through high school. And despite being the wealthiest of all nations, nearly 10 percent of Americans are resorting to food stamps to maintain an adequate diet, and 4 in every 10 American children are growing up in families that are poor or near-poor.

The U.S. seems almost paralyzed, mesmerized by Iraq and unable to generate the energy or the will to handle the myriad problems festering at home. The war will eventually cost a staggering $3 trillion or more, according to the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. When he was asked on “Democracy Now!” about who is profiting from the war, he said the two big gainers were the oil companies and the defense contractors.

This is the pathetic state of affairs in the U.S. as we approach the end of the first decade of the 21st century. Whatever happened to the dynamic country that flexed its muscles after World War II and gave us the G.I. Bill, the Marshall Plan, the United Nations (in a quest for peace, not war), the interstate highway system, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the finest higher education system the world has known, and a standard of living that was the envy of all?

the "dynamic country" we used to live in has been seized by the mind-numbing forces of those who profit most from a comatose, ignorant, lied-to citizenry... u.s. citizens didn't suddenly decide to stop caring... we've been carefully schooled to believe we're powerless to stop the greed and power lust of of our business/government puppeteers... we've been drugged, literally and figuratively, for so many years, we've forgotten what it feels like to be truly alive and in charge of our own destiny -- just the way the super-rich elites like it...

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The autopsy report of an Iraqi detainee who died while in U.S. custody - "The manner of death is homicide"

bewert at daily kos is publishing a series of diaries about detainees and prisoners tortured and killed by u.s. forces... this is from his first...

from the aclu, the autopsy report...

Circumstances of Death: Iraqi detainee died while in U.S. custody.

Authorization for Autopsy: Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner, lAW 10 USC 1471

Identification: Identification by accompanying paperwork and wristband, both of which include his name and a detainee number, 3ACR1582

CAUSE OF DEATH: Blunt Force. Injuries and Asphyxia


I. Multiple Blunt Force Injuries
A. Cutaneous abrasions and contusions of the scalp, torso, and extremities
B. Deep contusions of the chest wall musculature and abdominal wall
C. Multiple, bilateral, displaced and comminuted rib fractures, with lacerations of the pleura.
D. Bilateral lung contusions
E. Bilateral hemothoraces
F. Hemorrhage into the mesentery of the small and large bowel
G. Hemorrhage into the left sternohyoid muscle with associated fractures of the thyroid cartilage and hyoid bone

II. History of Asphyxia, Secondary to Occlusion of the Oral Airway

III. Pleural and Pulmonary Adhesions

IV. Hypertensive Cardiovascular Disease
A. Hypertrophy of the left ventricle of the heart (2.0-centimeters)
B. Cardiomegaly (450-grams)

V. Enlarged, Nodular Prostate Gland

VI. Toxicology is negative for ethanol, drugs of abuse, select therapeutic medications, and cyanide


The remains are received clad in a white shirt, white pajama type pants, and white undershorts. Feces covers the clothing from the waist down. The body is that of a well developed, well-nourished appearing, 68-inches, 195-pounds (estimated), White male, whose appearance is consistent with the reported age of 47-years. Lividity is posterior and fixed, except in areas exposed to pressure. Rigor is present but passing. The temperature of the body is that of the refrigeration unit.

The scalp is covered with medium length, curly black hair with some graying and frontal balding. The irides are brown and the pupils are round and equal in diameter. The external auditory canals are free of abnormal secretions or foreign material. The ears are unremarkable. The nares are patent and the lips are atraumatic. The nose and maxillae are palpably stable. The teeth are natural and in poor repair, with several missing. Facial hair consists of a gray-black beard and mustache.

The neck is straight and the trachea is midline and mobile. The chest is symmetric. The abdomen is protuberant. The external genitalia are those of a normal adult, circumcised, male. The testes are descended and free of masses. Pubic hair is present in a normal distribution. The buttocks and anus are unremarkable.

The upper and lower extremities are symmetric and without clubbing or edema. A 1/2-inch scar is on the lateral aspect of the proximal left arm. Multiple small scars are on the dorsal aspect of both hands. A l-inch scar is on the anterior right ankle. No tattoos or other significant identifying marks are noted.

There is gauze dressing on the left wrist. No other evidence of medical intervention is noted.

A complete set of postmortem radiographs is obtained and demonstrates the injuries as described.

The ordering of the following injuries is for descriptive purposes only and is not intended to imply order of infliction or relative severity. All wound pathways are given relative to standard anatomic position.

I. Blunt Force Injuries
A. Injuries of the head and Neck
No cutaneous injuries are noted on the face or neck. Reflection of the scalp reveals a 1 1/2 x 3/4-inch contusion on the right frontal scalp and a 1 1/2 x l-inch contusion on the left parietal scalp. There are no associated skull fractures, epidural, subdural, or subarachnoid hemorrhages or other injuries to the brain.

A detailed examination of the anterior neck structures reveals a 3/4 x 1/4-inch hemorrhage into the left sternohyoid muscle. There is a linear fracture through the left side of the thyroid cartilage and a fracture through the left side of the hyoid bone. (a fractured hyoid is a strong sign of strangulation) The cervical spine is free of injury.

B. Injuries of the Torso
There is a confluence of red-purple-black contusions surrounding the torso between the breasts and the costal margin, with some sparring of the mid back. A few satellite contusions, up to 2-inches in greatest dimension are associated with this large area of contusion. The posterior aspect of this large area of contusion is deep purple in color and the upper posterior-lateral aspect of this area is yellow-black in color. A distinct 5 x 4-inch area of ecchymosis (skin discoloration caused by the escape of blood into the tissues from ruptured blood vessels) is on the lateral aspect of the left mid chest. Two distinct 1 1/2 x l-inch contusions are at the right posterior-lateral edge of the large area of contusion. Two linear abrasions, 1/8-inch and 1/2-inch in length, are on the upper posterior left shoulder. There is a 1 1/4-inch abrasion on the posterior upper right shoulder. A 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inch purple contusion is over the left lower quadrant of the abdomen. A 2 1/2 x l-inch area of ecchymosis is over the right inguinal area.

There is abundant hemorrhage into the muscle and adipose tissue of the anterior chest wall. The right chest wall has fractures of ribs three through seven anteriorly and ribs six through twelve posteriorly. The left chest wall has fractures of ribs two through nine anteriorly and ribs seven through twelve posteriorly. There are fractures of the lateral aspect of ribs,nine and ten on the left side. Fifty-milliliters of blood are in each pleural cavity and many of the rib fractures are displaced and associated with pleural lacerations. Both lungs have scattered contusions but no lacerations are noted. There is a horizontal fracture through the midportion of the body of the sternum.

A small area of hemorrhage is present in the left adrenal gland. No injuries to the kidneys are noted. Scattered areas of hemorrhage are noted in the mesentery of the large and small bowel.

C. Injuries of the Extremities
A 1/3-inch abrasion is on the anterior aspect of the right wrist. Multiple superficial linear abrasions are on the posterior aspect of the right hand. Three linear abrasions, 1/4 to 1/2-inch in length, are on the proximal lateral right arm. A 2 1/2-inch wide, weeping abrasion with some desquamation (the shedding of the outer layers of the skin) of skin is circumferentially present around the left wrist. There is a 1 x 1/2-inch contusion on the proximal posterior left arm. Two abrasions, 1/2 x 3/8-inches and 1 x 1/4-inches, are on the posterior aspect of the left upper extremity near the elbow. Two fine linear abrasions, 3-inches and 1 1/2-inches in length, are on the posterior left forearm.

A 2 x 1 1/2-inch contusion is on the anterior right leg just distal to the knee. There is a 3 x 2-inch contusion on the proximal half of the anterior right leg. A 2 x 2-inch light purple contusion is on the medial aspect of the distal right leg. There is a 2 x 1 1/2-inch contusion and two 1/2-inch in length linear abrasions over the right lateral malleolus. A 1/2 x 1/4-inch abrasion is on the anterior left knee. There is a 5 x 3-inch light purple contusion on the anterior left leg. A 1 x 1/2-inch contusion is on the anterior left ankle.

This 47-year-old White male, [redacted], died of blunt force injuries and asphyxia. The autopsy disclosed multiple blunt force injuries,including deep contusions of the chest wall, numerous displaced rib fractures, lung contusions, and hemorrhage into the mesentery of the small and large intestine. An examination of the neck structures revealed hemorrhage into the strap muscles and fractures of the thyroid cartilage and hyoid bone. According to the investigative report provided by U.S. Army CID, the decedent was shackled to the top of a doorframe with a gag in his mouth at the time he lost consciousness and became pulseless.

The severe blunt force injuries, the hanging position, and the obstruction of the oral cavity with a gag contributed to this individual's death. The manner of death is homicide.

this, my friends, is an indictment of all of us, but particularly of the criminals who gave their blessing for it to happen...

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Early Sunday a.m. WTF: HRC handing out "I'm not bitter" stickers and Iraqi boys dream of being U.S. soldiers???

for some reason, since i've arrived here in kabul, i've been getting up extra early, usually around 5:45... partly it's because the muezzin chanting prayers from the local mosque wakes me up at 4:35 a.m. and, after snoozing for another hour, i'm wide awake, but also i like to get on the 'puter and catch up on the day's goings-on on the other side of the world before i go to work...

i don't necessarily equate "catching up" with "getting pissed off," but that's been my experience this morning... after watching cnn eviscerate the small-minded and semi-hysterical attack on obama by hillary and mccain and obama's response (see previous post), reading ap's spin-enshrouded crap just grinds my ass...

A political tempest over Barack Obama's comments about bitter voters in small towns has given rival Hillary Rodham Clinton a new opening to court working class Democrats 10 days before Pennsylvanians hold a primary that she must win to keep her presidential campaign alive.

Obama tried to quell the furor Saturday, explaining his remarks while also conceding he had chosen his words poorly.

"If I worded things in a way that made people offended, I deeply regret that," Obama said in an interview with the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal.

But the Clinton campaign fueled the controversy in every place and every way it could, hoping charges that Obama is elitist and arrogant will resonate with the swing voters the candidates are vying for not only in Pennsylvania, but in upcoming primaries in Indiana and North Carolina as well.

Political insiders differed on whether Obama's comments, which came to light Friday, would become a full-blown political disaster that could prompt party leaders to try to steer the nomination to Clinton even though Obama has more pledged delegates. Clinton supporters were eagerly hoping so.

They handed out "I'm not bitter" stickers in North Carolina, and held a conference call of Pennsylvania mayors to denounce the Illinois senator. In Indiana, Clinton did the work herself, telling plant workers in Indianapolis that Obama's comments were "elitist and out of touch."

god-rotten-dammit... obama doesn't have ANYTHING to apologize for... "bitter" is an entirely accurate description... i don't live in pa. but i'm bitter... i'm bitter about a lot of things, not the least of which is that my government has totally abdicated its sworn obligation to defend and uphold the united states constitution... i'm bitter that my those running my country are enriching themselves and their cronies at my expense and at the expense of billions of poor saps like me around the world who are having their money, their livelihoods, and often their lives taken from them by brute force... tell me those aren't things to be bitter about...

then, to make it worse, i read the headline of this wsj opinion piece...

Let's 'Surge' Some More

followed by this jaw-dropping piece of journalistic shit...
I may well have spent more time embedded with combat units in Iraq than any other journalist alive. I have seen this war – and our part in it – at its brutal worst. And I say the transformation over the last 14 months is little short of miraculous.

The change goes far beyond the statistical decline in casualties or incidents of violence. A young Iraqi translator, wounded in battle and fearing death, asked an American commander to bury his heart in America. Iraqi special forces units took to the streets to track down terrorists who killed American soldiers. The U.S. military is the most respected institution in Iraq, and many Iraqi boys dream of becoming American soldiers. Yes, young Iraqi boys know about ""

first of all, being the reporter who has been embedded with u.s. combat units in iraq the longest is absolutely NOT a claim to credibility... it is, rather, a claim to being the journalist who has been exposed to the side of the story that his handlers have decreed he should see for the longest... if there had been even the slightest mention of time spent in iraq as a NON-EMBEDDED journalist, i might be tempted to back off a little...

secondly, iraqi boys, like boys everywhere, are fascinated by action heroes... the guns, the equipment, the humvees, the swagger, the raw demonstration of power - all of that captures boys' attention like nothing else can... but seeing that and transforming it into a solid demonstration that u.s. soldiers are "winning hearts and minds" is nothing more than journalistic obscenity... (take a moment to re-visit two of my previous posts, "Just another day in Iraq," and "Scenes from an Iraki childhood," and then talk to me about "hearts and minds...") and if all that isn't obscene enough, check this next part out...

As the outrages of Abu Ghraib faded in memory – and paled in comparison to al Qaeda's brutalities – and our soldiers under the Petraeus strategy got off their big bases and out of their tanks and deeper into the neighborhoods, American values began to win the war.

Iraqis came to respect American soldiers as warriors who would protect them from terror gangs. But Iraqis also discovered that these great warriors are even happier helping rebuild a clinic, school or a neighborhood. They learned that the American soldier is not only the most dangerous enemy in the world, but one of the best friends a neighborhood can have.

the outrages of abu ghraib "FADING" in memory and "PALING" in comparison to al qaeda brutalities...? is yon saying that we should be happy that "OUR OUTRAGES" aren't as bad as "THEIR OUTRAGES"...? even worse, he conveniently and totally ignores all the recent revelations that those abu ghraib "outrages" are linked directly to the orders given by the president of the united states and his criminal accomplices... reading yon's unadulterated crap, I'M OUTRAGED...

finally, if i ever again see u.s. soldiers called "warriors," i will have to puke... my country is not sparta... we don't nurture a "warrior" caste... we don't breed people to wage endless war... we don't live to honor those who fight and kill... and, moreover, i don't want to live in or be a citizen of a country that does those things...

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