Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Headlines - Thursday

Happy 2009!
Deputy Press Secretary Gordon Johndroe said of Gaza (Bush couldn't comment, he was busy clearing brush), "We don't just want a ceasefire for the sake of a ceasefire, only for violence to start up immediately, or within the next few weeks. That serves no one's interest".

No, a ceasefire certainly wouldn't serve anyone's interest, or at least not the interest of anyone who, you know, counts.


Israel continues pounding a lot of terrorists like the one on the left. I would discuss this further, but any discussion of genocide or ethnic cleansing when a Jew is doing it means you're anti-Semitic. It is only allowable to talk about genocide or ethnic cleansing when non-Jews are doing it.




From yesterday's page of the "Classic Dave Barry" calendar:


A new book has been published, reciting and documenting the appalling litany of GW Bush's personal complicities in war crimes, near-treason, murder, torture, and other high crimes and misdemeanors. There is absolutely NO reason to expect any Murkin tribunal to take up the matter, so the only recourse would be the International Court. The book, titled George W. Bush, War Criminal? The Bush Administration's Liability for 269 War Crimes, is the product of the efforts of political scientist Michael Haas, emeritus prof of poli-sci at UnivHawai'i-Manoa. Haas is also Chairman of the International Academic Advisory Board of the University of Cambodia. He played a role in stopping the secret funding of the Khmer Rouge by the administration of President George H. W. Bush. He has taught political science at the University of London, Northwestern University, Purdue University, and the University of California, Riverside. He is the author or editor of 33 books on human rights, including International Human Rights (2008), International Human Rights in Jeopardy (2004), The Politics of Human Rights (2000), Improving Human Rights (Praeger, 1994), and Genocide by Proxy (Praeger, 1991). Haas, obviously, is not without a substantial bona fides, though he also clearly blames America first for everything.

His book could function as a brief for future international prosecutors who might have occasion to apprehend the Chimp on some inadvertent trip abroad. Haas divides the 269 war crimes of the Bush administration into four classes: 6 war crimes committed in launching a war of aggression; 36 war crimes committed in the conduct of war; 175 war crimes committed in the treatment of prisoners; and 52 war crimes committed in postwar occupations.

Based on information supplied in autobiographical and press sources, the book matches events in Afghanistan, Guantánamo, Iraq , and various secret places of detention with provisions in the Geneva Conventions and other international agreements on war crimes. His compilation is the first to cite a comprehensive list of specific war crimes in four categories-illegality of the decision to go to war, misconduct during war, mistreatment of prisoners of war, and misgovernment in the American occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Haas accuses President Bush of conduct bordering on treason because he reenacted several complaints stated in the Declaration of Independence against England, ignored the Constitution and federal laws, trampled on the American tradition of developing international law to bring order to world politics, and in effect made a Faustian pact with Osama Bin Laden that the intelligence community blames for an increase in world terrorism. Osama Bin Laden remains alive, he reports, because Bush preferred to go after oil-rich Iraq rather than tracking down Al Qaeda leaders, whose uncaptured presence was useful to him in justifying a "war on terror" pursued on a military rather than a criminal basis without restraint from constitutional checks and balances.

The worst war crime cited is the murder of at least 45 prisoners, some but not all by torture. Other heinous crimes include the brutal treatment of thousands of children, some 64 of whom have been detained at Guantánamo. Sources document the use of illegal weapons in the war from cluster bombs to daisy cutters, napalm, white phosphorus, and depleted uranium weapons, some of which have injured and killed American soldiers as well as thousands of innocent civilians. Children playing in areas of Iraq where depleted uranium weapons have been used, but not reported on request from the World Health Organization, have developed leukemia and other serious diseases.

"Bush's violations of the Constitution as well as domestic and international law have besmirched the reputation of the United States," Haas writes. "In so doing, they have accomplished a goal of which the Al Qaeda terrorists only dreamed-to transform the United States into a rogue nation feared by the rest of the world and loved by almost none."

There's no penalty severe enough for the deeds these heartless, ruthless, gutless you-know-whats have committed.


Mark Morford on cheap gas:

Something is deeply wrong. Something is bizarre and upside-down and perverse and it's not just fish pedicures or Rod Blagojevich's hair or the fact that people still care in the slightest about the sad and toothless chyme that is Britney Spears' White Trash Lite™ career.

It's gas. The price of oil. Or I should say, the stunning, creepy, impossibly low price of Satan's lubricant, Bush's blood, our own personal Jesus. Have you noticed? How could you not?


After weeks of recounting and canvassing, Al Franken has a 49 vote lead in the Minnesota Senate race. There are still absentee ballots being counted (the ones which were incorrectly rejected), although that process is itself quite complicated as all sides have to agree on which ballots to count. But, from the level of hysteria emanating from the GOP side, it's pretty clear that they know Norm Coleman's Senate career is winding down.

The "legal issues" may take a while to settle. Norm Coleman and the Republicans are threatening lawsuits. Lots of lawsuits. They're quite willing to go to court to try to overturn the will of the voters. That's classic GOP strategy. It's what got us George Bush in 2000. Coleman is even being advised by GOP attorney Ben Ginsberg, who was Bush's lawyer during the Florida debacle in 2000. But, over the past few weeks, we've seen that Minnesota in 2008 isn't Florida of 2000. The voters might actually get to decide this one.


Are Mormons christians?


Vickie Iseman blanket defamation.


Poor, poor Gonzo. Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, who cannot find a job, is writing a book for which he cannot find a publisher, possibly because the outline reads "Chapter 1: I don't recall. Chapter 2: I don't recall. Chapter 3: I don't recall...", and is whining to the Wall Street Journal (link, other link) about his undeservedly poor reputation.

"For some reason," he says, "I am portrayed as the one who is evil in formulating policies that people disagree with. I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror." But where's his plaque, huh, huh?

I love that more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger "for some reason." He does, however, suggest one reason, and of course it had nothing to do with anything bad he might have done, because of course he never did anything bad: "I have been treated differently because of my relationship with the president. People thought that they could hurt the president by hurting me."

He insists: "I didn't leave in disgrace." Ignominy, opprobrium, infamy, contempt and dishonor, sure, but not disgrace.

Paul Krugman wants to know the word that describes Alberto Gonzales, who considers himself to be a "casualty of the war on terror." 

Self-centered might work. There are a lot of adult-level words, such as "assknob," "douchenozzle," "shitheel," "fucktard" and others.

"International war criminal" would be three words.

"Clueless" fits.


Headlines - Wednesday

Have a safe and Happy New Year!
A boat carrying international peace activists, including former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, and medical supplies to the embattled Gaza Strip sailed back into a Lebanese port on Tuesday after being turned back and damaged by the Israeli navy.
Fun fact: In 2002, two Democrats in Congress with records of voting against Israel's interests -- Reps. Earl Hilliard of Alabama and Cynthia McKinney of Georgia -- faced primary opponents who received substantial support from Jewish donors. A majority of AIPAC board members gave to either McKinney's challenger or Hilliard's or both. Hilliard and McKinney lost. Bill Banks, McKinney's campaign manger, charged that AIPAC had made her the "No. 1 candidate to try to remove from office." AIPAC naturally denied the accusation.

McKinney is lucky the Israelis didn't torpedo and firebomb her boat and leave her for dead, as they did to over 200 Americans on the U.S.S. Liberty. It's no accident that they damaged her vessel.


Vanity Fair has documented the atrocities.


The Bush Legacy: Can I interest you in a shiny Edsel? 


With only a handful of days left, the Bush administration and its surrogates are polishing the Edsel-in-Chief's corroded image like the last car through a car wash on Friday night. Many administrations, both D and R, have done this, but their polishing mostly amounted to breaking out the Sham Wows and wiping off some dirt. The Bushmobile needs more. Perhaps several 55 gallon drums of Bondo and a crew of the world's best fender and body mechanics are in order.


WorldNut Daily is taking a readers' survey of the most under-reported news stories of 2008. Now, before you click on the link, you have to get in the proper mindset. This is very important. So sit back, relax, clear your mind of all extraneous thoughts, and tell yourself over and over that:

The Earth is 6,000 years old.

Human life is sacred from the point of conception to the moment of birth.

The Homosexual Agenda is by far the gravest threat to America.

Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim fanatic and a terrorist.

There are millions of scientists who don't believe in global warming, but they've all been threatened and silenced by environmental thugs.

America needs to bring regime change to Iran, Syria, Pakistan, North Korea, Russia, Somalia, Venezuela, Ecuador…

OK. Ready? Click.



It's not all just about Bush - It's about everybody Bush brought with:

In fact, if you examine the evidence, they've been nothing less than brilliant. Vide: 1) The justice system is poisoned by conscious, intentional politicicization. Partisanly targeted prosecutions are common. The Court has been revealed as a tool of special interest. 2) The military is nearing exhaustion, and has been drawn into the overt commission of atrocities to merely sustain its existence. 3) Posse Comitatus and Habeas Corpus are functionally dead, in the name of 'national security,' which also ratified internal communications intelligence gathering AGAINST citizens WITHOUT warrants. Other civil liberties are curtailed more than at any previous time since the Civil War. Unwarranted search-and-seizure is common at Transportation Security chokepoints on inter-state transportation. 4) The economy has been compromised, possibly (probably!) fatally, by 30 years of studious non-intervention. The middle-class is in tatters and terrified of the future. 5) Wars proliferate internationally, and violent chaos reigns on the southern border.

Plus, the Busheviks have spent the last 8 years installing partisan, loyalist, often theocratic zealots in cells embedded in the bowels of EVERY Agency, Bureau, Commission, and Department of the State. It will be 30 years before the last of them retires or dies.



Shock and Awe, again


In every American news report and every utterance by a politician, we are told that the good are striking out against the evilest of savages and, once again, we buy into it without question.

As always, Richard Silverstein
nails it.

Meanwhile, Obama's complete silence on the assault on Gaza continues unbroken, and Israel has been phoning families in Gaza. Isn't that nice?

And another thing...Why are Palestinians expected to do what Americans would never do?

One of the things I don't understand about the debate over Israel and Hamas is what, exactly, people expect Palestinians to do.  I constantly read that Palestinians need to never use violence, and that non-violence will do the trick.  This may or may not be true, but it's odd, because folks want Palestinians and Hamas to do something their own governments would never, ever, do.

Let's put this in context, first.  The truce was not broken by Hamas:

"The escalation towards war could, and should, have been avoided.  It was the State of Israel which broke the truce, in the 'ticking tunnel' raid ...  two months ago," the Israeli peace group Gush Shalom wrote in a press release. "Since then, the army went on stoking the fires of escalation with calculated raids and killings, whenever the shooting of missiles on Israel decreased."

So.  Israel attacks Palestinians.  Hamas responds by counter-attacking.  If a nation bombed the US, would the US counter-attack?

Of course it would.  The question is absurd. 

Imagine America was under blockade, half it's population were starving as a result, and its children were suffering from malnutrition.  Let's assume the US offered what Hamas did last week:

Hamas offered a ceasefire in return for basic and achievable compromises. Don't take my word for it. According to the Israeli press, Yuval Diskin, the current head of the Israeli security services Shin Bet, "told the Israeli cabinet [on the 23rd] that Hamas is interested in continuing the truce, but wants to improve its terms." Diskin explained Hamas was requesting two things: an end to the blockade, and an Israeli ceasefire on the West Bank. The cabinet - high with election-fever, and eager to appear tough - rejected these terms.

If the US offered peace in exchange for breaking a blockade that was starving its citizens and extending the cease fire to part of the country that wasn't under ceasefire, and the forces starving the country refused, what would the US do?

I guarantee that if a similar situation were to occur to the US, the same commenters telling the Palestinians to turn the other cheek for moral reasons would think the US was justified in retaliating with all its might.

It really reminds me of nothing so much as people watching a bully kicking someone who's down on the ground, saying "why does he keep fighting?  He should know better than to resist."

There is a pragmatic argument for trying non-violence in Palestine (I'm not convinced it would work, because Israel hasn't shown a lot of capacity for shame) but the moral argument, unless you are someone who believes that war and violence are never justified under any circumstances, is extraordinarily weak.  Americans and other outside commenters want Palestinians to act in ways that their own governments would never act in comparable circumstances.


Family De-Values

People getting divorced these days are still fighting over who gets the house, but not like they used to.

With nearly one in six homes worth less than the mortgage owed on it, according to Moody's, divorce lawyers and financial advisers around the country say the logistics of divorce have been turned around. "We used to fight about who gets to keep the house," said Gary Nickelson, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. "Now we fight about who gets stuck with the dead cow."As a result, divorce has become more complicated and often more expensive, with lower prospects for money on the other side. Some divorce lawyers say that business has slowed or that clients are deciding to stay together because there are no assets left to help them start over.
It's a good thing we're protecting the sanctity of this holy institution from teh gay. Fighting over who gets to make the payments on an overpriced house...only the Deciderer could fuck up the formerly rock-solid real estate market.

Suspicious fires will soon become the next growth industry.


More of this please

Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski PWNS ignorant Joe Scarborough on the Middle East.

Zbig to Joe: "You have a such stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on it's almost embarrassing to listen to you."


Never forget the true Bush legacy, says a righteously pissed off Bob Herbert in this doozy of a NY Times op-ed:

When Mr. Bush officially takes his leave in three weeks (in reality, he checked out long ago), most Americans will be content to sigh good riddance. I disagree. I don't think he should be allowed to slip quietly out of town. There should be a great hue and cry — a loud, collective angry howl, demonstrations with signs and bullhorns and fiery speeches — over the damage he's done to this country.

This is the man who gave us the war in Iraq and Guantánamo and torture and rendition; who turned the Clinton economy and the budget surplus into fool's gold; who dithered while New Orleans drowned; who trampled our civil liberties at home and ruined our reputation abroad; who let Dick Cheney run hog wild and thought Brownie was doing a heckuva job.

There seemed to be no end to Mr. Bush's talent for destruction...

Word. But where was the Times and the rest of the press while all this was actually going on? Oh yeah: five miles up the collective asses of the misadministration. And while demonstrations are a damn good start, I'd rather hear a 'great hue and cry' to stick their miserable lying buttholes on a plane to the Hague. 

Republican IT consultant Michael Connell, who was killed on December 19 when his Piper Saratoga crashed near the Akron-Canton Airport, had declared an emergency shortly before losing contact with air traffic control.

This report from MSNBC is almost sublimely ironic:

U.S. prosecutors want a Miami judge to sentence the son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor to 147 years in prison for torturing people when he was chief of a brutal paramilitary unit during his father's reign.
A recent Justice Department court filing describes torture — which the U.S. has been accused of in the war on terror — as a "flagrant and pernicious abuse of power and authority" that warrants severe punishment of Taylor.

"It undermines respect for and trust in authority, government and a rule of law," wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Caroline Heck Miller in last week's filing. "The gravity of the offense of torture is beyond dispute."

"This whole process has sent a message that when it comes to the most serious crimes, there cannot be impunity," Keppler said. "Without a penalty that fits the gravity of the crime, it risks sending a message that these crimes will be tolerated."

Huh. Go figure. I wonder who will prosecute the the denizens of the Bush Administration for the same acts?

Soylent Greenwashing?
Fat Car 

Well, this is certainly an... unorthodox strategy for achieving energy independence:

A former Beverly Hills doctor stands accused of using the fat he liposuctioned out of patients to fuel his car, according to Fox News.

The doctor's former patients have filed a lawsuit making this accusation, according to documents found by

California state health officials have launched an investigation into these claims, as powering a car with human medical waste is illegal.

The doctor, Craig Alan Bittner, once claimed on a Web site that he created "lipodiesel" from his patients' fat. He said that he used it to fuel his Ford SUV and his girlfriend's Lincoln Navigator, according to

I'm not entirely sure how to feel about this. On the one hand, good for him for putting discarded biomass to use and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.  On the other hand, eww.  There are probably some biohazard implications to just venting body fat fumes into the atmosphere willy-nilly.

But hey, if the "lipodiesel" process could be perfected and the public health and legal issues ironed out, this could be the makings of a great business model.  I mean, if there's one thing America has a virtually inexhaustible supply of...

Would it be enough to wean us off oil completely?  Probably not, but maybe it could free up some of our corn from being earmarked (so to speak) for ethanol instead of food.

Of course, liposuction would have to become a lot safer first - in fact, the fat fuel investigation is a spinoff of a much more serious malpractice case involving patients disfigured by unlicensed liposuctioners like the doctor's girlfriend.  So even if using medical waste as fuel were legal, Dr. Lipodiesel would still be a scumbag.

Well this is nice:

It's now becoming clear that there is a good-sized contingent of Republicans who are openly defending Chip Saltsman, the former Tennessee GOP chairman and candidate for RNC chair who sent out a CD to committee members that includes a parody song called "Barack The Magic Negro."

Mike Huckabee, for whom Saltsman served as campaign manager, has chimed in to defend Saltsman against the charge of racism, while at the same time acknowledging that "Chip should have been more careful" in picking the CD. "It shouldn't be the main factor in the RNC race," Huckabee wrote on his blog.

Another person defending Saltsman has been Mark Ellis, the GOP state chairman in Maine -- not the sort of place you would automatically expect someone to stick up for this: "When I found out what this was about I had to ask, 'Boy, what's the big deal here?' because there wasn't any."

"I don't think he intended it as any kind of racial slur. I think he intended it as a humor gift," said Oklahoma committeewoman Carolyn McClarty. "I think it was innocently done by Chip."

"A humor gift." Can you believe it? Next thing they're going to say that because Richard Pryor used the word "n----r", it means that a bunch of Southern White Men who believe in flying the Confederate flag can do it too.

I say let them stop even this amount of nicety and say what they really think of the President-elect. Because after a fall campaign in which "terrorist" and "terrorist sympathizer" and "exotic" and "that one" were all used as euphemisms for "n----r", why are they even trying to be genteel anymore? Let 'em put on their fucking hoods and burn crosses and be done with it already. It's not as if they're fooling us as to what they really are.
Stop talking and do something:
Former Merrill Lynch employee and greedy pig takes bailout money to buy palatial digs. 
Giddy with the anticipation of another war, John Bolton thinks this Gaza crisis is an excellent reason to attack Iran.
6 degrees of Kevin Bacon - and Bernie Madoff
...we'd heard that along with hollywood boldfacers Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg, Bacon and his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, lost money in Madoff's devastating $50 billion ponzi scheme, and Bacon's rep, Allen Echorn, confirmed it for us. "unfortunately, your report is true," he wrote. - new york magazine 

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Headlines - Tuesday

You can sign an emergency petition to stop the bloodshed in Gaza here.
And BTW, know that George W. Bush has opted not to interrupt his final vacation as president to make a public statement on the crisis. For someone who has enjoyed the most vacation days as sitting president — including days spent relaxing in comfort during Hurricane Katrina and in the lead-up to 9/11 — it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that Bush prioritizes vacationing over crisis management. ABC News reports:

Even an emerging crisis in the Middle East, one he pledged to resolve just 13 months ago, has not drawn President George W. Bush from his final vacation before leaving office. Despite his personal pledge at Annapolis last year to broker a deal between Israel and the Palestinians before 2009, this weekend Bush sent his spokesmen to comment in his stead. […]

Since departing Washington for Crawford on Friday, President Bush has made no attempt to be seen in public. In fact, he has yet to leave his ranch.

Yesterday in a press briefing delivered from the "Western White House" in Crawford, TX, White House spokestool Johndroe was asked what is on Bush's schedule today. In addition to receiving "updates on the ongoing situation," Johndroe said, "I expect he'll probably ride his bicycle today and spend time with Mrs. Bush." Watch it:

The party of Hoover tells us why unemployment at 7%: people are being lazy and don't feel like working.
"If Cheney's biography does not end with him behind bars, then there is something seriously wrong with America." Link

"I think we've had some serious goofs along the way. The Katrina matter was terrible.  The rebuilding of Iraq has been terrible. The handing of the economy has been terrible.  History may accord him a higher grade than his contemporaries, but I would give Bush about a C-minus right now if I were grading him."  Pat Robertson, being very generous with his grading.  

"Only a C-minus? I'd give Meester Booooosh a C-plus, at least..."

If there's anyone more irrelevant than George Bush, it's Pat Robertson, the man that time forgot. But CNN doesn't think so, and gave him 10 minutes on their Situation Room, where we learn that Pat talks to God some more:

MALVEAUX: You had actually predicted in the beginning of the year that we would be in this financial mess. You said in January, "I also believe the lord was saying by 2009, maybe 2010, there's going to be a major stock market crash."

You predicted a recession. Why?

ROBERTSON: Well, I don't know why, but that's -- you know, I go away to pray at the end of each year and sort of try to ask for some leading guidance as to what's going to happen and what I'm supposed to be doing. And this came to me last -- the end of last December, that we were going to have a serious downturn.

Ah, Pat Robertson, master economist with Jesus himself whispering in his ear. And getting the timing of the crash all wrong by a half year or more. This is the best insider info The God of Gods can feed to Pat? Seriously, who cares what this demented leprechaun has to say about anything anymore....except for the fools at CNN that are still using their 1990's Rolodex files for guest spots.


I just can't see why anyone will want to go to George W. Bush's shitty library. I think Bush is creating it because that is just what presidents do these days, but I don't think he gives a crap about making the inner workings of administration a subject of objective study. Oh wait! He cares about that not happening. So Bush is going to create a library that doesn't have any of the key documents that scholars will want to see. Instead, we'll be offered video footage of Barney the dog and presidential turkey pardons and Commander Codpiece in various triumphant poses. I can't think of a better candidate to replace Yucca Mountain than Bush's shitty library.


The tragic and suspicious death of Karl Rove's election thief in chief should send a clear message to Al Franken and other key liberals: don't be riding in any small private planes. Link


Barack Obama yesterday appeared to line up behind the Bush administration in support of Israel's attack on Gaza.


The myth of a Christian Christmas.


It's no wonder people are surprised that such a nice guy that was a devoted Catholic and owned Four shotguns, two handguns, three unidentified firearms, and a military-style hummer would dress up as Santa, go to a Christmas Eve party, and shoot nine children and adults including his ex-wife and in-laws.

He's being condemned in the press, but, now, Mens Movement activists are touting his story as another example of the sad, sorry plight of the white Christian male.

SonofMichael (Who, not surprisingly, links to a mail-order bride site):

The woman was so greedy that she tried to steal this guys house, money and DOG !!! No way would I let someone take my dog. This is what happens when laws take advantage and abuse men; sooner or later men are going to fight back. 
According to the Catholic Church, divorce is a mortal sin, resulting in immediate excommunication, and during the times of church rule, punishable by death except under extreme circumstances.

So instead of focusing on what Bruce Pardo did, we should be asking why the US government didn't beat him to it. This woman was rewarded for divorcing her husband. Yes. In this country, in the United States of America, you may now receive cash compensation for filing for divorce. This is commonly referred to as "alimony payments". Now, if they called it "Reward For Getting Divorced" people would probably not be as accepting of it. But that's what it is.

But woman's eyes were bigger than her stomach, and now she is left with neither. Her body will rot to ashes in the ground and will be consumed by maggots. Mr. Pardo just helped to accelerate the process, and give her an attractive aroma which is pleasing to insect life. After all, we need to be considerate of the insects.
With the new bloodletting in Gaza, the Bush presidency has now become a parody of a failure - somewhere between blithe neglect and outright hostility to anything that stinks of "peace."

The White House's official
reaction to the end of a six-month truce between Hamas and Israel was, in essence, to show a middle finger to the Palestinians and say, "See this? Sit on this and rotate, bitches." Or, as Condoleezza Rice put it, "The United States strongly condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for breaking the cease-fire and for the renewal of violence in Gaza." Which would be great if Hamas had broken the cease-fire. At best, that's up for debate, although most evidence points to Israel being the first dicks in the cock fight. And, to demonstrate that you can't spell "diplomacy" without a dip, some damn spokestooge for Bush said of Hamas, "These people are nothing but thugs."

Does anyone even remember the ludicrous "road map" to an end to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? Yeah, it was just great to provide a map. Some wheels and an engine would have been better. (And not the engines in the warplanes the U.S. sells to Israel.)

Meanwhile, over there, the ambulances in Gaza are having difficulty transporting the dead and wounded because of the constant barrage of Israeli attacks. Before the attacks, because of its opposition to the Hamas-led government, Israel decided to blockade the Gaza Strip. Writes Johann Hari, "According to Oxfam, only 137 trucks of food were allowed into Gaza this November - to feed 1.5 million people. The UN says poverty has reached an 'unprecedented level.' When I was last in besieged Gaza, I saw hospitals turning away the sick because their machinery and medicine was running out. I met hungry children stumbling around the streets, scavenging for food." So Hamas launched some rockets. A stupid move, but if you're watching your kids dig through garbage to eat,
you might just throw rocks at the people making it happen.

And, as ever, Israel's reaction is to drop a freaking avalanche of boulders on the sick, starving rock throwers. Of course, demonstrations took place
against Israel all over the Arab world, including in lucky, liberated Iraq. Over there, it's all redemptive blood and death, which is a cycle that can only ensure its continuation.

Meanwhile, over here, this is another not-so-abstract example of just how screwed we've become as a nation, how impotent, how unimportant. We've only got three weeks left of this madness, of being led by these criminally arrogant and incompetent bastards. WTF else could happen? What the fuck else can? At this point, all bets are off on whether or not the nation can survive until January 20. Shit, we should just go around expecting another terrorist attack, a plague ravaging a city, a goddamned black hole swallowing the entire planet. It wouldn't even be surprising.
Organic farms unknowingly used a synthetic fertilizer
For up to seven years, California Liquid Fertilizer sold what seemed to be an organic farmer's dream. But a state investigation caught the company spiking its product with ammonium sulfate, a synthetic fertilizer banned from organic farms.  - Sacramento Bee
There is an interesting fight brewing over the planned memorial to Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The owner of the land where the plane was shot down, Svonavec Inc., refuses to sell a critical part of the needed land and the relatives want President Bush to seize the property to allow them to start construction of the memorial so that it can be finished by 2011 — the tenth anniversary of the tragedy. Story here.
Canada's shame: An update on the "humane" seal hunt.
Another failed harvest coming in Zimbabwe. 
The GOP Senators, led by Bitch McConnell, have enabled the Bush administration's domestic and international disasters for the past eight years. McConnell is trying to further destroy the already fragile U.S. economy by continuing the same obstructionist games.
The Senate Republicans have been the most destructive political force in the country. They're not changing the way they do business. And, for some reason, despite the loss of 25% of the GOP Senate caucus over the past two years, McConnell thinks the same strategy will work now.

Seems that Mitch McConnell didn't get the memo about the new post-partisan era in which we're living. The symbolism of homophobe Rick Warren delivering the invocation at the inauguration was supposed to show McConnell that D.C. is a different place now and we all have to get along. Apparently not. (But, surely Warren will call McConnell and the other Republican Senators to get them on board with Obama's agenda, right?)

Post-partisanship only works when both sides do it and we're seeing that isn't going to happen.
Digby has more.
John Cole - ATTN: CNN, MSNBC, FOX, and the rest of the MSM

I simply can not take one more puff piece on the sad times falling on the wizards of Wall Street. CNN just ran another piece about the closing of a restaurant (Maggie's, I think) that catered to the Wall Street crowd, complete with crying customers and accompanying funeral dirge-like music, and I almost barfed. Making it even more ridiculous, it followed a five minute piece in which we learned that the banking/financial sector is now switching to white shirts from multi-colored shirts- complete with interviews of owners of up-scale British boutiques.

While I am sad about the employees of the restaurant, I really can not take another story about the rough lifestyle changes facing the rich and stupid. I don't care that they are having to sell their summer homes in the Hamptons. I don't care that they now are opting to fly first class instead of using their private jets. Do the folks at CNN and elsewhere not realize how deeply offensive this is to the other 99.5% of the country? You know, the folks who, during the current economic disaster are losing their house, their life savings, and their medical care, not their lunchtime reservations at a Manhattan eatery?

I may have to just shoot my tv.

It is actually kind of brilliant, in a nefarious sort of way. This way the breakdown of society can happen on Obama's watch and the Bush Junta's hands get to stay clean:
A U.S. Army War College report warns an economic crisis in the United States could lead to massive civil unrest and the need to call on the military to restore order.

Winning hearts and minds with a good attitude - NOT! A soldier complains about begging Afghan kids and tells one "your country sucks ass."

From the Gulf Times, a little-noticed aspect of the Bush administration's epic fail in Afghanistan. While the Western media is preoccupied with war - violent deaths, the resurgent Taliban and plans for a military Surge - the other Horsemen are even busier.

Do you think watching their babies die of famine and pestilence will help endear Afghans to the prospect of another 20-30,000 well-fed American soldiers in their country? Do you really think spending billions on those troops can possibly keep the lid on, given the statistics above? I know where I think the bulk of any surging should be going on.

And Digby notes some "Progress" in Iraq:

It won't make much of a difference - this past year those 3 networks only devoted 423 minutes to talking about the WAR.
Lucky for John Snow and Cerebus, the Treasury gives GMC an additional $6 billion.
The shameful legacy tour hits a new low
"For me, the saddest part about the terrorist attacks of 9-11 is the long-term impact on the presidency of George W. Bush," wrote Tony Campbell, an adjunct professor of political science with Maryland-based Towson University, on The Moderate Voice Monday.

Nevermind the 3,000+ Americans who died on Sept. 11, 2001. Or the resulting wars. Or that one of the countries Bush chose to invade had nothing to do with the attacks. Or even the lingering, unanswered questions as to just how exactly the 9/11 attacks were pulled off.

"As Bush prepares to leave office, in my opinion, the presidency of George W. Bush was hijacked as surely as the four planes that crashed on that fateful September morning seven years ago," he continued. "The event of 9-11 pushed all other domestic and foreign policy initiatives off of the table. The demands of Homeland Security replaced the promises of 'Compassionate Conservatism.'"

Campbell worked for the Bush transition team in 2000, and was appointed to the Social Security Administration by the outgoing president.

Ultimately, Campbell believes Bush will be "vindicated" within two decades "for his actions that kept his country and its citizens safe ... Even while they cheered as he moved out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."


Monday, December 29, 2008

Headlines - Monday

I'm still on the road, but I can't stay away from the trainwreck that is the news. And today's wreck is especially bad.
Israel has been bombing Gaza for the last few days (using weapons we've given them), with no regard for the safety of civilians, launching air strikes, for example, on crowded cities just as schools were letting out.


It is the bloodiest assault on Gaza since the 1967 war, with at least 200 dead so far. This bombing campaign is in "retaliation" (remember, Israel's actions are always responses to the wickedness of others) for a series of rocket attacks that killed, um, no Israelis.

Here is the response issued by Condi Rice, verbatim:
The United States strongly condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence in Gaza. The ceasefire should be restored immediately. The United States calls on all concerned to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the innocent people of Gaza.

You'll note the absence of a call for Israel to "address" the urgent humanitarian needs of the innocent people of Gaza by not creating those urgent humanitarian needs through bombs and blockades (blockades which will, by the way, prevent anyone from responding to Condi's call to address the urgent etc).

And Barack Obama, in his first failure of international leadership, had a spokesmodel say that he was "closely monitoring global events." It is, literally, the very least he can do.

The spokesmodel also muttered something about there being only one president at a time, which evidently precludes Obama from responding publicly to this slaughter as a, you know, human being.

Did I mention they're using weapons WE GAVE THEM?


Shooter says he has no idea why no one likes him:
I know why. It's because you're a dick.

On Monday, toxic coal sludge burst through a retention wall in eastern Tennessee, causing massive property and environmental damage. Federal studies have shown that coal ash contains "significant quantities of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and selenium, which can cause cancer and neurological problems." The incident — already being called the "largest environmental disaster of its kind in the United States" — may now be even worse than originally anticipated. Tennessee Valley Authority officials "initially said that about 1.7 million cubic yards of wet coal ash had spilled" in the disaster. Yesterday, however, they "released the results of an aerial survey that showed the actual amount was 5.4 million cubic yards, or enough to flood more than 3,000 acres one foot deep."


For his Christmas greeting this year, RNC (party of Hoover) chair candidate Chip Saltsman sent out a CD of the "Barack the Magic Negro" song. Saltsman's Christmas message:

"I look forward to working together in the New Year," Saltsman wrote. "Please enjoy the enclosed CD by my friend Paul Shanklin of the Rush Limbaugh Show."

Saltsman is refusing to apologize, telling CNN: "I think most people recognize political satire when they see it. I think RNC members understand that."

Yeah, it's freaking hilarious.

The Party of Hoover is tromping down the road to being a party of wannabee segregationists in the Old South. If they continue down that dark path, they very well may become the Whigs of the 21st. Century.


Wall Street Faces Worst Yearly Drop Since 1931We're number 1!


So besides the tainted toys, the tainted milk, the tainted pet food, the tainted food products, the tainted pharmaceuticals, the tainted furniture, the generally low quality products and now the tainted drywall, what's not to love about Made in China products being sold to the west? On the positive side, they've been kind enough to buy US debt in exchange for the US purchasing their junk.


States prepare for fire sales

Best. Economy. Ever. The world is so jealous of the American way which is why they hate us.

Massachusetts lawmakers are considering putting the Massachusetts Turnpike in private hands. That could bring in upfront money to help with a $1.4 billion deficit, while also saving on highway operating costs.


The unfortunate milestone of 1 billion hungry is in sight for 2009.


I'm sure Bristol Palin could have told them that abstinence pledges don't work (and hey, where IS the blessed event anyway? Wasn't Baby Johnston supposed to have made an appearance around the 19th of December?):

Teenagers who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence and are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control when they do, according to a study released today.

The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a "virginity pledge," but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers.

"Taking a pledge doesn't seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behavior," said Janet E. Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, whose report appears in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics. "But it does seem to make a difference in condom use and other forms of birth control that is quite striking."

This should surprise no one. Abstinence pledges do nothing but perpetuate the "swept away" doctrine of pseudo-acceptable female sexuality -- that if you're prepared to have sex responsibly, you're a slut, but it's "forgivable" if you were simply "swept away" by the moment.

If conservatives want to cut pork programs that don't work, they might start with the $176 billion blown on this ridiculous program.


These people are delusional psychos....

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that despite President Bush's low approval ratings, people will soon "start to thank this president for what he's done."

When you find yourself in custody in a foreign land and charged with crimes against humanity, Condi, maybe that thought will comfort you.

But you'd be better off proclaiming a belief in Santa Claus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. For the idea that people will thank Bush has about as much chance of coming true as finding yourself face-to-face with the real FSM. Unless you go through a
quantum mirror, that is.

Next up ....

With President Bush's time in office rapidly coming to an end, his loyal supporters are working overtime to spin his legacy positively. In an interview with the Telegraph, Bush's former UN ambassador, John Bolton, claims that "in 100 years," people won't remember two of the biggest stains on Bush's record, Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib:

"In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, he was strong and decisive and that was critical for both the country and for the Western world," believes John Bolton. "In 100 years people aren't going to remember Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib, they're going to remember 9/11 and Bush's reaction to it."

Bolton's claim that history will forget Bush's human rights abuses is similar to State Department spokesman Sean McCormack's claim that in 50 years no one will remember the shoe-hurling Iraqi journalist.

And Turd Blossom weighs in by insisting that the legacy of President Bush will fare well in the eyes of historians in the years to come.

And finally, the Lauratron 3000 fronts the the Bush Legacy of Delusion Tour in an interview on Fox.

She says that she realized just how much power she wielded when a woman at a cosmetic counter in a department store thanked her for talking on the radio about the plight of women in Afghanistan. This is how people in power stay in touch with the common folk when they can no longer converse with cabbies, the fount of all wisdom, as Thomas Friedman will tell you.

She said that the hurler of the Shoes of Death, Muntadar al-Zeidi, having been beaten and tortured and facing a long prison sentence, should not be spared any punishment the free Iraqis dish out. She said, "....but I know that if Saddam Hussein had been there, the man wouldn't have been released." Laura? I'll guarantee you that if your husband hadn't invaded his country and seen to it that he was executed before he could talk, Saddam wouldn't have given a crap if someone threw shoes at your crap weasel husband. 

She complained that Bush got blamed for Katrina, and blamed it on the press ("Do I think the press is fair? No, absolutely not." Except for her interviewer, Chris Wallace, she added): "There was a — the reporting was — ended up being not really factual, but many, many people heard the first reporting, and that's what they think happened, that 10,000 people died". And only 1,800 did, so it's all good. They died while her husband played the guitar, ate birthday cake with McCain, and played cowboy at his fake ranch, but she failed to mention that.

She summed up George's inner core: "And I think that the — his inner core and his belief in freedom — and that means not just freedom from tyranny, but freedom from disease and freedom from illiteracy — is what really is the basic of American values, and that's what I think he's shown the whole time he's been president." Yeah, other countries really enjoy disease and illiteracy. Because they lack the basic of American values.


Dave Barry's summation of 2008 is here.