Monday, December 22, 2008

Blackwater recruitment poster

Commentary below

Critical Mass Cop Indicted

Chalk this one up to the power of YouTube.

If not for the video, the guy on the bicycle would probably still be facing charges.

Yet another reason it should always be permissible to videotape the police.

Christmas Carols for Disturbed Friends &/or Family

1. Schizophrenia -- Do I Hear What I Hear?
2. Multiple Personality Disorder - We Three Kings Disoriented Are
3. Dementia - I Think I'll Be Home For Christmas
4. Narcissistic - Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me
5. Manic - Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and....
6. Paranoid - Santa Claus is Coming To Town To Get Me
7. Borderline Personality Disorder - Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire
8. Personality Disorder - You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, and I Don't Know Why
9. Attention Deficit Disorder - Silent Night, Holy oooh look at the Froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?
10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells...

George Bush and his Looney-Tunes Legacy Tour

For weeks, George W. Bush has been slithering down memory lane, and God knows we all very much appreciate the keen insights he has had to offer. And were they all to be stuffed into an oversized memoir, which of course they soon will be, I'd suggest Bambi's Mein Kampf as a spanking-good title.

I realize the grammatical difficulties with such a name -- in effect, "My My Struggle" -- but what the hell. George never fretted about language or fussed about details, so why start now.

Nor has he ever been particularly fastidious about truth and historical accuracy. As presidential memoirs and legacy tours go, that's certainly nothing new under the sun. But, true to form, George has been taking epic liberty with these concepts as he slithers new ground.

The result: something weakly, daintily akin to that masterpiece of deception, that rambling tome of poor writing and ideological raving, that nearly century-old non-page-turner of unappreciated genius and self-aggrandizement.

George has been doing a lot of these legacy-tour gigs lately, but the one that especially caught my eye was his little sit-down at the American Enterprise Institute -- soon to be renamed, it is viciously rumored (by moi), the American Enterprise Museum, courtesy its speaker this week.

It caught my eye because of the NY Times' headline: "'Headed Out of Town,' Bush Turns Reflective." I had hoped that signaled at least some creaking opening of critical introspection on Bush's part -- I never give up hope -- since that, after all, is what the adjective "reflective" customarily indicates. But said hope was dashed.

In fact, it was instantly dashed in the laughable lede: "President Bush shared some bittersweet reflections on Thursday as he looked back fondly on his White House days but regretted his inability to win passage of immigration legislation and to change the tone of debate in the capital."

It goes without saying that the president is the only one looking back "fondly on his White House days," so of course I won't say it.

Shoe protest socks it to U.S. president

MONTREAL -- Anti-war protesters held a symbolic shoe toss in front of the U.S. consulate in Montreal yesterday in support of jailed Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi.

About 40 protesters braved the cold to throw shoes at an image of U.S. President George W. Bush.

About 40 people turned out to a similar protest in Toronto.

"Today is an act of humour in a sense but it's also a profound situation and context," said journalist and activist Stephan Christoff.

"We're talking about a situation where hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives in Iraq. It is George Bush who holds a direct responsibility for the devastating, horrific situation of occupation and imperialism in Iraq."

Demonstrators pelted the presidential photograph with boots, shoes and slippers and denounced the U.S. war in Iraq and the NATO-led war in Afghanistan before marching to a downtown Canadian Forces recruiting station.

Iraqi defense capabilities

Rick Warren Can Either Come Out of His Closet, or Go Take a Hike

by Susie Bright

Mainart Who the fuck— many of you are asking today — is Rick Warren?  And why is he threatening to stink up Obama's inauguration?

Well, Obama invited him. He invited this Billy Graham-pretender pastor to give the invocation at the big ball.

This is a guy who believes that every abortion is a holocaust, who thinks the Iranian PM should be assassinated by early this afternoon, who campaigned like Atilla the HUN for Proposition 8, and yet whines that he "has eaten dinner with gay people, so don't call me phobic." 

Oh yeah, and he will fight stem cell research with his last dying breath. Don't I wish.

My beloved Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly writes:

After having had a chance to sleep on it, does Barack Obama's decision to invite Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his presidential inauguration look any better? Actually, no. I'm probably even more annoyed about it now than I was yesterday.

That said, I've been curious to see what others have come up with as a defense. I suppose, to borrow Rachel Maddow's phrase, I want someone to "talk me down."

HavensI can't talk you down, Steve, and here's why:

 1. The only reason this "invitation" flies at all is because anti-gay and sexually divisive bigotry is still considered palatable, while racial and ethnic bigotry is not.

No one can imagine a pastor being invited to speak at any Presidential event who'd made a career of racist invective— and then  compounded it by whining, "I'm not phobic; I love all the little colored people!"

2. Warren has ALL the earmarks in his behavior that we saw with Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, Bob Allen, David Vitter, Jimmy Swaggart, et al.  Look at his history... where have you heard ALL this before?

 If this dude isn't found in a bathroom with a wide stance and a hooker in the next year, someone's not doing their job. Paging Jeff Gannon!

Inaugural program

Three Questions About Rick Warren's Role in the Inauguration

If we must have an officiating priest, surely we can do better than this vulgar huckster.

Rick Warren. Click image to expand.It is theoretically possible to make an apparently bigoted remark that is also factually true and morally sound. Thus, when the Rev. Bailey Smith, one of the deputies of the late Jerry Falwell, claimed that "God almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew," I was in complete agreement with him. This is because I do not believe that there is any supernatural supervisor who lends an ear to any prayer.

In the same way, if someone publicly charges that "Mormonism is a cult," it is impossible to say that the claim by itself is mistaken or untrue. However, if the speaker says that heaven is a real place but that you will not get there if you are Jewish, or that Mormonism is a cult and a false religion but that other churches and faiths are the genuine article, then you know that the bigot has spoken. That's all in a day's work for the wonderful world of the American evangelical community, and one wishes them all the best of luck in their energetic fundraising and their happy-clappy Sunday "Churchianity" mega-feel-good fiestas. However, do we want these weirdos and creeps officiating in any capacity at the inauguration of the next president of the United States?

It is a fact that Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., was present at a meeting of the Aspen Institute not long ago and was asked by Lynda Resnick—she of the pomegranate-juice dynasty—if a Jew like herself could expect to be admitted to paradise. Warren publicly told her no. What choice did he have? His own theology says that only those who accept Jesus can hope to be saved. I have just missed the chance to debate on CBS with one of Warren's leading allies and defenders, the Dallas preacherman who calls himself Dr. Robert Jeffress. In the opinion of this learned fellow, even though Mitt Romney "talks about Jesus as his lord and savior, he is not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity."

God Bless Rachel Maddow

Posted by Dan Savage

Props to Maddow for hammering away at this—and for suggesting that Obama could drop Warren. But... oh... my... gawd. The look on Anne Curry's face when Rick Warren says he's inclined to have sex with every beautiful woman he sees. Curry, a beautiful woman, is very clearly tormented by some unwelcome mental images at that moment. Priceless. And I love how Warren equates a heterosexual man resisting the urge to jump every beautiful woman he sees with a homosexual man's responsibility to refrain from all intimate contact for life. I don't know how that qualifies as "delayed gratification"—not unless gay celibates are rewarded with 70 virgins when they go to paradise.

Rick Warren told Jewish woman she was going to hell

When it came time for questions, a woman stood up, proclaimed her Judaism, and asked Warren if she was going to burn in hell. He paused before responding--and then answered her question the only way it could be answered. Yes, he said to audible gasps.
With all due respect, that's bull that this is the only way the question could be answered. I'm a Christian, and I don't think Jews are going to hell. Rick Warren is a far-right bigot, thats why he answered the question so bluntly and so rudely. His religious right brethren also think Catholics worship Satan. That is not the only way you can answer questions like this. Can anyone get us the video or audio?

The great unlamented symbol of the tech bust,'s mascot, comes to Washington with a paw out

Court Rules Patriot Act's "National Security Letter" Gag Provisions Unconstitutional

ACLU Hails Victory In Challenge To Government's Power To Silence NSL Recipients

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666;

NEW YORK – A federal appeals court today upheld, in part, a decision striking down provisions of the Patriot Act that prevent national security letter (NSL) recipients from speaking out about the secret records demands. The decision comes in an American Civil Liberties Union and New York Civil Liberties Union lawsuit challenging the FBI's authority to use NSLs to demand sensitive and private customer records from Internet Service Providers and then forbid them from discussing the requests. Siding with the ACLU, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found that the statute's gag provisions violate the First Amendment.

"We are gratified that the appeals court found that the FBI cannot silence people with complete disregard for the First Amendment simply by saying the words 'national security,'" said Melissa Goodman, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. "This is a major victory for the rule of law. The court recognized the need for judicial oversight of the government's dangerous gag power and rejected the Bush administration's position that the courts should just rubber-stamp these gag orders. By upholding the critical check of judicial review, the FBI can no longer use this incredible power to hide abuse of its intrusive Patriot Act surveillance powers and silence critics."


by Joe Shea

Ever since I lived and worked in India for about six months in 1972, when I had the chance to meet heads of state throughout the region and many of the diplomats posted there, I have had a strong interest in its affairs. That interest was particularly well-served by two of the distinguished American Reporter Correspondents who covered the South Asia region for us.

It has been their work of Amar Singh and Ahmar Mustikhan, in fact, that has informed those who read this publication that the events of the past week in Mumbai, the former Bombay, were not unique, and not even that rare in India.

As Correspondent Aman Singh reported here on several occasions, many deaths resulted from terrorist attacks mounted with the same AK-47s and grenades that armed the cold-blooded terrorists who attacked nine sites in Mumbai last Wednesday night and kept their grip on the nation's commercial heart for an ensuing 60 hours of horror.

Take this example of her work from 2002:

   NEW DELHI, Sept. 24, 2002 -- Terrorists struck the main Hindu temple in Gujarat's western capital city of Gandhinagar in the late hours of evening today as hundreds of devotees said their prayers, blasting their way into the the pink sandstone Akshardham Temple in a white Indian-made Ambassador sedan while hurling grenades and firing indiscriminately at helpless people who had been praying there.

   When the seven-hour siege ended, 29 of the estimated 600 worshiper were dead and another 70 were injured, officials say. The terrorist strike came on a day when U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Christina Rocca was in New Delhi on an official visit and as the second phase of voting took place peacefully in violence-plagued Kashmir.

   Political and religious leaders came together in condemnation of the attack and appealed for peace in a state ravaged by riots earlier this year. Security forces eventually killed the two terrorists, who held about 25 worshippers trapped in the temple with them.

Many incidents, some larger and some smaller, almost all associated with Kashmiri separatism and the shadowy organizations fostered by al-Qaeda, have splashed their bloody jihad across the front pages of India's vibrant free press. And just as luridly, some Indian militants - especially those who lead Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital - have blamed Pakistan's hapless, inchoate government for their crimes. But India has many home-grown terrorists, and if not home-grown, many who have become folded into pan-regional umbrella organizations that bolster their ability to commit heartless acts of terror.

Here is another example, also provided by Aman Singh's splendid reporting:

   NEW DELHI, Nov. 24, 2002 (7:55 am EST) -- Repeating a recent assault, militants attacked the famous Raghunath shrine in Jammu a second time Sunday and left 11 dead and many wounded in their wake.

   Striking at 6:30PM (IST), a two-man squad believed to belong to the militant Islamic Fedayeen movement began throwing grenades at the temple from behind bushes nearby and then entered the crowded complex, taking advantage of the crowds of innocent worshippers there to conceal themselves even as they attacked. They were locked in a gun battle with police for hours, and the drama only ended late Monday morning when police shot dead the last of the pair in a house near the temple where he had been hiding.

   Among the dead were two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) soldiers.

   The terrorists and the army exchanged gunfire from 7:00PM Sunday far into the night, suggesting the militants came prepared with ample ammunition. They usually answered police and army fire with quick blasts of their own.

   This was the second attack on the Raqghunath temple this year; militants also struck the temple in March. It was the third attack on a religious shrine this year.

   Terrorists attacked the Akshardham temple in Gujarat only two months ago, leaving 75 dead and many more injured. Riots have followed those attacks, in which many Muslims were killed and injured, and many more left homeless.

We mean no offense when we say you don't need to reach six years into the past to find such incidents, or to find a note of posturing in India's current imprecations against the government of Pakistan, charging complicity in these crimes. What is needed now more than outrage is the inspiring example of the soul of India's great War of Independence, Mahatma Ghandi. While non-violence is not an option here, a unified search for peace between two great nations certainly is, and that can lead to peace he yearned for.

Bush and Santa do the terrorist bump