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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 03/14/2010 - 03/21/2010
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Friday, March 19, 2010

Progressivism is cancer

jon stewart takes on glenn beck (as only he can)...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Intro - Progressivism Is Cancer
Daily Show
Full Episodes
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(once again, thanks to juan cole...)

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I just heard about "Detention Without Trial of Unprivileged Enemy Belligerents"

there have been a lot of little steps taken toward a military/police state in the u.s. over the 8 years of the bush administration, steps that are being expanded by the obama administration...

and, yes, i was a fool to buy the snake oil sold as "hope" by the obama campaign...

"'brand' obama"...

The election of Barack Obama was yet another triumph of propaganda over substance and a skillful manipulation and betrayal of the public by the mass media. We mistook style and ethnicity – an advertising tactic pioneered by the United Colors of Benetton and Calvin Klein – for progressive politics and genuine change. We confused how we were made to feel with knowledge. But the goal, as with all brands, was to make passive consumers mistake a brand for an experience. Obama, now a global celebrity, is a brand. He had almost no experience besides two years in the senate, lacked any moral core and was sold as all things to all people. The Obama campaign was named Advertising Age’s marketer of the year for 2008 and edged out runners-up Apple and Take it from the professionals. Brand Obama is a marketer’s dream. President Obama does one thing and Brand Obama gets you to believe another. This is the essence of successful advertising. You buy or do what the advertisers want because of how they can make you feel.

nothing has been done to halt our greased slide into the depths of hell...

torture has, if anything, become acceptable...

extraordinary rendition and indefinite, illegal detention are still on the menu...

our government is privy to every electronic communication and transaction over any network of any sort we choose to use, wherever we are, even outside the u.s., and those, along with our movements, are logged and archived for possible future retrieval...

peremptory, extra-judicial assassinations, even of u.s. citizens, are carried out in presidential-approved black ops...

hundreds, maybe thousands, of drones, flown remotely by pilots sitting behind consoles in nevada and new mexico, strike targets in afghanistan and pakistan daily without the specific knowledge or concurrence of those national governments...

"terrorist" has become the magic word that, once applied, can and will place anyone beyond the reach of the law of any country, possibly for the rest of that person's life...

and the list goes on...

now, here we have what looks like the next big step..
On March 4th, Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman introduced a bill called the "Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010" that, if passed, would set this country on a course to become a military dictatorship.

The bill is only 12 pages long, but that is plenty of room to grant the president the power to order the arrest, interrogation, and imprisonment of anyone -- including a U.S. citizen -- indefinitely, on the sole suspicion that he or she is affiliated with terrorism, and on the president's sole authority as commander in chief.


[I]f at any point, anywhere in the world, a person is caught who might have done something to suggest that he or she is a terrorist or somehow supporting a terrorist organization against the U.S. or its allies, that person must be imprisoned by the military. [emphasis added]

For how long?

As long as U.S. officials want. A subsequent section, titled "Detention Without Trial of Unprivileged Enemy Belligerents," states that suspects "may be detained without criminal charges and without trial for the duration of hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners."

when glenn greenwald sounds the four-alarm fire, i tend to pay attention...
As "war on terror"-era legislation goes, Greenwald calls the Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act "probably the single most extremist, tyrannical and dangerous bill introduced in the Senate in the last several decades, far beyond the horrific, habeas-abolishing Military Commissions Act."

so, here i sit in one of my favorite neighborhood cafes in buenos aires (argentina, the home of la guerra sucia - the dirty war - fomented in large part by my own country), while i expound on the continued degradation of the u.s. constitution as i sip cafe con leche and nibble medialunas... life's little ironies, eh...?

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Now, watch this... Israel's going to say, "I told you so..." [UPDATE]


predicting an "i told you so" response from israel was a serious understatement on my part...
Israeli airplanes attacked targets in the Gaza Strip early Friday in response to a Palestinian rocket attack that killed a foreign worker in southern Israel, witnesses said.

At least four targets in Gaza were hit during the air strikes that started shortly after midnight, including a smuggling tunnel, two open areas and a metal foundry near Gaza City.

Israel believes that the metal workshop was used to produce rockets that Gaza factions fire on Israel.

There were no immediate reports about casualties during the strikes.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

helpless, stateless, rights-less, jailed, starving, beaten, maimed, and wantonly murdered, promised a "two-state" solution for countless years, all the while watching israel gradually but very methodically eat up the rest of their land, destroy their houses, and commit war crimes with impunity, the palestinians and the residents of gaza can't do a damn thing to help themselves except fire the occasional smuggled rocket into israel just to remind the israelis that they're there and incredibly pissed off...
Palestinian militants fired a rocket at Israel from the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing a Thai farm worker, Israeli medics said, in the first death from a rocket attack since Israel's Gaza offensive last year.


Thousands of crude rockets launched from Gaza at Israel over a seven-year period sparked the Israeli military's three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip. The brief war devastated the Palestinian territory, killing 1,400 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians. Thirteen Israelis were killed.


Thousands of homes were razed or damaged during Israel's offensive, but reconstruction is on hold because building supplies, including cement, cannot reach Gaza. International aid officials have offered to guarantee that the materials would be used only for civilian purposes, but Israel believes that cement and pipes could be diverted by Hamas to build rockets and bunkers.


Last year, the international community pledged some $4.5 billion for Gaza's reconstruction, but little has been spent because of the blockade, aid officials say.

a militant group has claimed responsibility but ya gotta stop and think... how much of the militancy is caused by israel's genocidal behavior...? how much attention does one person killed inside israel by a militant group in gaza get vs. one person killed in gaza by israelis...? the answers are a no-brainer...

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A closer look at the "most influential" journalist writing about Israel

in these days of smoke and mirrors, things are rarely what they seem...
Jeffrey Mark Goldberg (born September 1965) is an American-Israeli journalist. He is an author and a staff writer for The Atlantic, having previously worked for The New Yorker. Goldberg writes principally on foreign affairs, with a focus on the Middle East and Africa. Michael Massing called Goldberg "the most influential journalist/blogger on matters related to Israel". [Michael Massing is a contributing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review.]


He left college to move to Israel, where he served in the Israeli Defense Forces as a prison guard during the First Intifada.


Goldberg's book, Prisoners: A Muslim and a Jew Across the Middle East Divide (New York: Knopf, 2006), describes his experiences in Israel working at the Ketziot military prison camp as well as his dialogue with Rafiq, a prisoner whom Goldberg would later befriend in Washington, DC

so, let's take a bit of a closer look at "the most influential journalist/blogger on matters related to israel"...

just one of the people shamelessly put forward as "objective" sources to twist public opinion in the united states to the ends of those whose interests are solely and absolutely to have things go their way...

(thanks to juan cole...)

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ashcroft, Rumsfeld and Tenet urged the 9/11 Commission to limit its investigation

i'm so tired of all these little bits and pieces when at this point in time we can be reasonably sure we still don't know the whole story...

anyway, here's another little piece...

Senior Bush administration officials sternly cautioned the 9/11 Commission against probing too deeply into the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, according to a document recently obtained by the ACLU.

The notification came in a letter dated January 6, 2004, addressed by Attorney General John Ashcroft, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and CIA Director George J. Tenet [ACLU PDF document, page 26]. The ACLU described it as a fax sent by David Addington, then-counsel to former vice president Dick Cheney.

In the message, the officials denied the bipartisan commission's request to question terrorist detainees, informing its two senior-most members that doing so would "cross" a "line" and obstruct the administration's ability to protect the nation.

here's the letter... see for yourself how those three bozos tied the hands of those seeking the truth...

(click on image for larger version)

fer god's sake... can't we just get to the truth and get past all of this dribble-drabble crap...

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Professor Cole, under attack, sounds off

in a very eloquent, intelligent, articulate, impassioned tirade against ignorant, small-minded, uninformed, highly partisan ideologues... it's worth reading...

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Yeah, I know, I've been a little obsessive over Israel lately [UPDATE: The situation is deteriorating]


we knew this was coming...
Hundreds of Palestinians in east Jerusalem set tires and garbage bins ablaze on Tuesday and hurled rocks at Israeli riot police, who responded with rubber bullets and tear gas. The heaviest clashes in months broke out as an American envoy abruptly canceled a visit, deepening a U.S.-Israeli diplomatic feud.

at least the u.s. is holding to its line in the sand...
Washington notified Israel that its special Mideast envoy, George Mitchell, had indefinitely put off his trip to the region.

now, if the u.s. doesn't suddenly develop a case of "where's my cojones?"...

but they've got it coming...

juan cole

The far rightwing government of Binyamin Netanyahu in Israel majorly sandbagged Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday, demonstrating once again that it has not the slightest interest in pursuing a just peace with the Palestinian people or in trading a cessation of its colonization of the Palestinian West Bank for a comprehensive peace with the Arab world.


The Netanyahu government had announced a settlement freeze in much of the West Bank for 8 months, but does not include the areas it unilaterally annexed to the district of Jerusalem as West Bank territory. Nor is the 'settlement freeze' really any such thing, since there are plans to expand housing in existing colonies on the West Bank.

This controversy comes on the heels of demonstrations in al-Khalil/ Hebron and Jerusalem by Palestinians outraged by the unilateral Israeli designation of the Tombs of the Patriarchs and the tomb of Rachel, in Palestinian West Bank territory, as Israeli heritage sites. In Palestinian experience, such Israeli claims often precede Israeli annexation. While US mass media did not cover the demonstrations in any detail (much reporting from Israel in US media is by dual citizens or by reporters who have served or have children serving in the Israeli army), they are a big story in the Middle East, and the creeping Israeli expulsion of Palestinians from East Jerusalem is guaranteed to enrage the world's 1.5 billion Muslims and result in violence.

The Obama administration came into office determined to restart the negotiations between Abbas and the Israelis, with the aim of achieving a two-state solution. After over a year of meetings and carrying messages and cajoling, the patient-as-Job special envoy George Mitchell finally convinced Mahmoud Abbas to agree to indirect negotiations with Israel. For the past year, Abbas had refused to talk, on the grounds that the Israelis were actively colonizing the West Bank and so taking away the very territory that was subject to negotiation. How do you parlay with someone who is stealing from you at that very moment?

professor cole has also posted a very informative map that shows exactly how much territory palestine has had taken away since 1946...


cole's post prompted andrew sullivan at the atlantic to put up some thoughts of his own...
The maps show what has happened since - in sixty years in terms of growing sovereignty and accelerating Israeli control. The Muslim population is expanding as the geographic extent of their political self-government keeps diminishing. While Jerusalem was once in the center of Palestinian territory - and the Israelis agreed to this, while the Arabs refused - it is now not only in Israel but all of it will soon be under sole Israeli control, as Netanyahu continues, despite pleas from his American benefactors and allies, merely to freeze them.

The point of the illustration was to provide some background to the now-unavoidable fact that Israel has every intention of expanding its sovereignty to the Jordan river for ever, to segregate Palestinians into walled enclaves within, and to station large numbers of Israeli troops on the Eastern border.

even lula da silva, brazil's president, in israel on a state visit, felt compelled to comment...
“We came here to talk about peace, but we also came here to strengthen our ties with Israel” Lula da Silva said at a welcoming ceremony in the Jerusalem residence of Israeli President Shimon Peres. “We are interested in pushing forward the peace process.”

Lula da Silva later called for the establishment of a Palestinian state and said Israeli settlements were hurting the peace process. “The time has now come to open a circle of negotiations and to overcome mistrust,” he said in a speech to the Israeli parliament.

israel is losing friends faster than i'm losing my hair... do ya s'pose it might be time for israel to re-think its genocidal policies...?

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Follow-up to the FCC's "Broadband Plan"

i posted the other day on the fcc's proposed plan to increase broadband internet access in the u.s... bruce kushnick, writing in nieman watchdog, has a few strong opinions...
The new national broadband policy is tailored to reward telcom behemoths AT&T and Verizon, the very same corporate interests that got us into this mess in the first place. Meanwhile, the hard questions that need to be asked are being ignored.

How badly off are we right now? Well, while you sit on the web reading this, the current average US broadband speed, according to, is 5mbps down and 1mbps upload. That’s 1/20th the download speed you can get in, say, Hong Kong, or Japan or France, and 1/100th the upload speed. Today in Hong Kong 100mbps in both directions costs about $20 -- cheaper than US broadband by leaps and bounds.

AT&T and Verizon claim there’s plenty of competition, but you can’t select your own Internet provider over the broadband networks and local phone prices have gone up -- 90% in New York and New Jersey, for example -- over the last 5 years. If there was competition, prices couldn’t increase like that. The absence of competition has also raised Net Neutrality issues, as a provider’s ability to block or degrade or favor its own service over others wouldn’t be a problem if you could simply leave and go somewhere else.

But the real kicker is this: By 2010, America should already have been rewired. Taxpayers have spent about $320 billion for fiber-based networks since the 1990s but have nothing to show for it. In fact, in many states, all schools, libraries and hospitals should have been rewired with fiber optic service as part of changes to state laws that gave AT&T and Verizon billions per state to remove the old copper wiring with new fiber optic wiring. Worse, the money is still being collected today in the form of rate increases, tax breaks and other perks the companies got.

So what now? The FCC’s plan is to increase your taxes yet again, by adding broadband to the Universal Service Fund Tax -- rewarding the same companies that harmed you by giving them more of your money and a free pass.

And to make sure that America has broadband, the FCC proposes to have the deployment by 2020. As FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski put it last month: “A ‘100 Squared’ initiative -- 100 million households at 100 megabits per second -- to unleash American ingenuity and ensure that businesses, large and small, are created here, move here, and stay here.” So what is already being offered in many other countries -- very high speed broadband -- should reach America in a decade, leaving us farther behind. This means fewer jobs and more expensive broadband and it harms our economy as many of the newest applications will be developed in other countries.

i find it stunning that the u.s. is so far behind so many other countries in internet access, upload and download speeds... there's no reason for it, unless of course you consider the providers' insatiable greed, in which case it all makes perfect sense...

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Personally, I am really liking the way that Israel is starting to take real heat over its unparalleled arrogance

just check out the stories just from today alone...

item: the u.s. decides to draw a line in the sand, and about freakin' time too...

The Obama administration is demanding that Israel call off a contentious building project in east Jerusalem and make a public gesture toward the Palestinians to help defuse one of the worst U.S.-Israeli feuds in memory, officials on both sides said Monday.

item: once again, we get netanyahu's BIG BUT...
But [emphasis added] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed little sign of yielding, saying Jewish construction in east Jerusalem "in no way" hurts Palestinians. A Jerusalem city spokesman suggested Jewish building there would continue.

item: the israeli ambassador to the u.s. weighs in...
Israel's ambassador to the US [Michael Oren] has said relations between the two are at their lowest for 35 years, Israeli media say.

and, once again, israel calls the bluff...

item: netanyahu...

"No government in the past 40 years has limited construction in neighbourhoods of Jerusalem," he said.

"Building these Jewish neighbourhoods in Jerusalem does not hurt the Arabs of East Jerusalem or come at their expense."

no, it may not "hurt" them, it just insures that they will continue to be dispossessed of their homeland, their property, their culture, their identity, and everything that human beings should be able to take for granted...

item: what cockroach comes crawling out of the woodwork...? why, none other than joe lieberman...

"It was a dust-up, a misunderstanding. (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu has apologized, and the timing was unfortunate. But the second round of criticism is unproductive. I make one appeal - sometimes silence really is golden.

"Our enemies are common; let's not let a mistake grow into a divisive dispute between members of the same family."

item: when even aipac starts making public statements, you know the pot has REALLY been stirred right briskly...
"The Obama Administration's recent statements regarding the U.S. relationship with Israel are a matter of serious concern," AIPAC said in a statement Sunday. "...The Administration should make a conscious effort to move away from public demands and unilateral deadlines directed at Israel, with whom the United States shares basic, fundamental, and strategic interests.

"The escalated rhetoric of recent days only serves as a distraction from the substantive work that needs to be done with regard to the urgent issue of Iran's rapid pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and all her Arab neighbors."

all i'm hoping for is that the u.s. won't get intimidated into backing off... israel is seriously overdue for an accounting, and the list is very, very long...

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The core driver of modern capitalist society is fraud... Someone has to go to jail...

from tyler durden at zero hedge...
The evident conclusion is that the core driver of modern capitalist society is fraud at its very core, and nothing short of a massive revolutionary overhaul of the political system, which is the number one defender of the status quo courtesy of very lucrative bribes and kickbacks originating from the same rotten Wall Street that day after day is uncovered to be nothing but a sham filled with toxic assets, used to collateralize an ever growing wall of liquidity (think you Bernanke).

dylan ratigan talks with eliot spitzer on msnbc about lehman brothers...

dylan ratigan...

This report comes just short of suggesting this is by no means an accident but instead one of the greatest crimes ever perpetrated by a group of people, and enabled by the US government.

eliot spitzer...
There is no doubt civil cases will be brought. We had a failure of CEO, the CFO, the accountants, and indeed the regulators, the Fed and the Treasury, that were inside these banks, and the question has to be asked: where were they.

ratigan and spitzer make a very clear case in very simple language that there has been a massive con perpetrated on the american people... intuitively,we knew this was happening and it's high time the truth comes out...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

mike whitney at the smirking chimp via alternet...
This story isn't going away. Someone has to go to jail. It's clear that Geithner acted as the "chief facilitator" of industrial scale securities flim-flam which led directly to the Great Crash of '08. He needs to be held accountable for his actions.

the united states has been bending to the greedy scams of its super-rich elites and their bankster buddies for a long, long time... let's get this party going and start seeing some rule of law and accountability...

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

So, the Vatican claims there's no link between sexual repression, sexual abuse and sexual violence

ya, right...
The Vatican on Sunday denied that its celibacy requirement for priests was the root cause of the clerical sex abuse scandal convulsing the church in Europe and again defended the pope's handling of the crisis.

Suggestions that the celibacy rule was in part responsible for the "deviant behavior" of sexually abusive priests have swirled in recent days, with opinion pieces in German newspapers blaming it for fueling abuse and even Italian commentators questioning the rule.

Much of the furor was spurred by comments from one of the pope's closest advisers, Vienna archbishop Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, who called this week for an honest examination of issues like celibacy and priestly education to root out the origins of sex abuse.

"Part of it is the question of celibacy, as well as the subject of character development. And part of it is a large portion of honesty, in the church but also in society," he wrote in the online edition of his diocesan newsletter.


In the days following Schoenborn's editorial this week, several prominent prelates in Germany and at the Vatican shot down any suggestion that the celibacy rule had anything to do with the scandal, a point echoed Sunday by the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.

"It's been established that there's no link," said the article by Bishop Giuseppe Versaldi, an emeritus professor of canon law and psychology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

"First off, it's known that sexual abuse of minors is more widespread among lay people and those who are married than in the celibate priesthood," he wrote. "Secondly, research has shown that priests guilty of abuse had long before stopped observing celibacy."

sexual repression and sexual control have always been a hallmark of religions and nation states... it's the way to keep the population in line... why do you think the catholic church insisted on celibacy for priests in the first place...? why do you think the church is against birth control...? why do you think the church is against homosexuality...? simple... they and they alone have the right and authority to tell you how you can express your sexuality...

commenter mettle...
Rest assured, censoring sexuality in the media, causes sex to be supplanted with escalating violence. That then feeds on itself into a vicious circle and the violence ultimately spreads into war and the end game is accomplished: complete authoritarian control and wholesale population reduction through the violence.

Make no mistake about it: sexual repression breeds violence and ultimately war.

the vatican can protest all it wants... the truth will out...

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Israel's call for calm in crisis with the U.S. followed by Netanyahu's "BIG BUT"


oh, yes, by all means, let's not get carried away... just because we stuck a finger in joe biden's eye, gave the dirty digit to obama AND took a crap all over the peace process is no reason to go and get your knickers in a twist... relax... chill...
Netanyahu has been trying to dispel the impression that relations with the U.S. have degenerated into a crisis. His attempt Sunday to ease concerns were his first public comments since the feud erupted.

"We opened the newspapers this morning and read all kinds of commentary and assumptions regarding the crisis with the U.S. I recommend not to get carried away and to calm down," Netanyahu told his Cabinet.

Netanyahu, however, gave no indication that he would cancel the east Jerusalem construction plan, despite warnings from Washington that it could undermine the negotiating climate as indirect peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are about to begin under U.S. mediation.

and, just so's ya know, i have a really BIG BUT - don't think for one goddam minute we're going to even CONSIDER reconsidering our settlements decision... in your dreams, my good friends... in your dreams...

seriously, the most appropriate response to israel's recent actions as well as netanyahu's supremely condescending apology and call for calm is outrage, and it's an outrage that should have been given full expression a long, long time ago...

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