Wednesday, December 31, 2008

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 

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