Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Public Opinions Validated (yet again) 

On December 26th, 2003, your own Public Opinions blog predicted that the GOP strategy of making the November elections a "referendum on the direction of the country" was a really shitty idea. Some morons argued that I had gone too far and that the referendum idea was a good one. What you got to say now mothafucka? (Hat tip to Kop for jogging my memory)

Holy Fucking Shit 

Couldn't come up with a better title for this one. I'm honestly blown fucking away.

A federal judge in Portland, Ore., on Monday threw out the case against an American lawyer jailed for two weeks as a material witness in the Madrid train bombing. The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had mistakenly matched his fingerprints with prints on a plastic bag found near the scene of the attacks that killed 191 people last March.


Prosecutors said that before what was thought to be a fingerprint match, Mr. Mayfield "was not under investigation and federal law enforcement authorities had no reason to believe that Mayfield had any information about the Madrid bombings."

It was the fingerprint match alone that led the F.B.I. to Mr. Mayfield, prosecutors said.


Mr. Mayfield said that in the weeks before his arrest he had sensed that he was being watched and that things were not quite right in the house, in the Portland suburb of Aloha, where he lives with his wife, Mona, an Egyptian immigrant, and their three children. He said a bolt on the front door had been locked, when no one in the family used it. Blinds were raised higher than usual, and there was a large footprint in the living room carpet, much larger than the shoe sizes of any of the Mayfields, he said.

"I feel that I was being surveyed or watched," he said. "Any of us sitting in this room could be subject to it. They will fiddle around with your possessions; they may take things or bring them back. People should wake up, is what I'm saying. We need to start protecting our civil liberties.


Mr. Mayfield was released last week after officials in Spain matched the fingerprint found in the bag near the Madrid bombing site with those of an Algerian. After Mr. Mayfield's release, officials said, two F.B.I. examiners traveled to Madrid to investigate the prints.

After the agents returned , they concluded that the latent print originally linked to Mr. Mayfield was "of no value for identification purposes," and it withdrew its finding of a match.

Go read this whole article. It will blow your fucking mind.

I knew things were bad over here. I've known for many years that police lie, the FBI lies, the CIA lies, and DA's lie. But damn. I always kind of wish I were wrong, you know?

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Prison Population Data 

Nice work America. Via NYTimes
Almost 10 percent of all inmates in state and federal prisons are serving life sentences, an increase of 83 percent from 1992, according to a report released yesterday by the Sentencing Project, a prison research and advocacy group.

In two states, New York and California, almost 20 percent of inmates are serving life sentences, the report found.

The increase is not the result of a growth in crime, which actually fell 35 percent from 1992 to 2002, the report pointed out. Instead, it is the result of more punitive laws adopted by Congress and state legislatures as part of the movement to get tough on crime, the report said.

The jump in the number of inmates serving life sentences imposes large costs on states, about $1 million for each inmate who serves out his full sentence behind bars, said Marc Mauer, the assistant director of the Sentencing Project and an author of the study. This is a heavy burden on taxpayers at a time when most states are facing record budget deficits and many states are searching for ways to cut prison costs.
I'll bet the Iraqi people can't wait for this phenomena! The Prison Industrial Complex -- coming to a middle east country near you!

This is what happens when the political system breaks down. No end in sight either. However, the positive is, at least we'll all soon be treated "equal".

You can't handle the truth! 

Q: Did you order the code red?

A: You're goddamn right I did!

Will all the morons and apologists please stop claiming that the Abu Ghiraib tortures were the result of the actions of a "few." This shit was systemic, planned, and ordered.

End of story.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Chomsky on Israel/Palestine 

Just in case you've forgotten "the" issue -- you know, the one that drives every other issue in the middle-east and beyond.

Chomsky's take (yet again).

Monday, May 10, 2004

The tail that wags the dog 

Anyone remember way back before the drug war, when police had no business in your house or your car? Been a while I know.

Someday, we'll be asking if anyone remembers what it was like to be able to communicate freely on the phone or over the internet -- you know, before the newest pretext for invasion of privacy, the war on terra.

Turns out, we're issuing MORE warrants for "terrorism" snooping than for anything else COMBINED. Story here.

Morons, and liars in government, would have you believe it is because we're aggressively pursuing terrorists. Normal to intelligent people know that the data shows that law enforcement is cramming everything under the "terror" category in order to use/abuse the expanded powers that come with that title.

Here comes the story of the Hurricane... 

Military to try scapegoat turned informer on May 19th. Just read this article and tell me if it passes the smell test.
In an extraordinary gesture (insert "extraordinary propaganda move") to address outrage over the abuse scandal, the military is permitting broad public access to the trial and will invite the Arab news media.

The policeman, Specialist Jeremy Sivits, who American officials contend took some of the photographs (smart move, go after the guy who leaked the pictures -- this should stop the flow of these pics on Drudge) of Iraqi prisoners that captured the abuse as it unfolded, is one of seven American soldiers to face criminal charges and the first to receive a trial date. There were indications that Specialist Sivits had reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in exchange for leniency at sentencing (you tell us that the others weren't acting on orders from above, and we'll let you off relatively easily).
I guess it's time to introduce Iraqis to yet another grand American tradition: pig circus trials complete with lying witnesses and foregone conclusions. Maybe I've been wrong all along, perhaps we truly are exporting "democracy."

Another "justification" crossed off the list 

Let's just review all the "justifications" for the Iraq invasion shall we?

First, we needed to invade Iraq because Saddam Hussein was a threat to the United States (in a post 9/11 environment...blah, blah, blah). The UN was blowing it. The inspections weren't working. We know he has weapons, and we know where they are. The time is now! That justification didn't work out so well -- so we retreated to the next one.

The next one: we need to invade because we are tirelessly devoted to bringing freedom to the Iraqi people. Freedom and Democracy is our true goal. Well....maybe that one's not working out too well either (it's tough to explain to Iraqis that "freedom" includes shutting down press outlets we don't like, and "democracy" doesn't mean you get to vote directly for whoever you want).

The latest "justification" you hear repeated ad infinitum by the talking heads and the Bush cronies is: Well at least we put a bad man out of power! We've closed down the rape rooms, and torture chambers of the Hussein regime.

With everything that is coming out about Abu Ghiraib, it seems like it might be time for the neo-cons to find another justification.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

The Apologists Cometh 

Knew it wouldn't take long for right-wing hacks to trot out excuses for our treatment of the Iraqis at Abu Ghraib.

This appeared in yesterday's Wall Street Journal.
Yet without minimizing the seriousness of these apparent transgressions, we need to take a breath, get a grip, and put the sordid incident in some perspective beyond its initial 24-hour news cycle.
The way they put this incident in "perspective" is truly despicable. For instance, there is no need to worry Americans:
because (1) "already the self-correcting mechanisms of the U.S. government and the American free press are in full throttle" [are you fucking kidding me?];
(2) "Beatings and rumors of sexual sadism, horrific as they appear, are not on a par with executions that have transpired throughout all dirty wars" [therefore they are unimportant, move along please];
(3) "there is an asymmetry about the coverage of the incident, an imbalance and double standard that have been predictable throughout this entire brutal war" [Ahhhh, Al Jazeera did it. By beating the prisoners it evens the imbalance];
(4) "we are now in an uncertain peace in Iraq" [what the fuck does that have to do with it?].


Join the Marines, help bring "democracy" and "freedom" to Iraq 

Of course, those terms are defined in a very special way. For instance, "freedom of the press" = we tell you what to say and you say it.

Some Iraqi journalists working for our fledgling ministry of information in Iraq didn't understand that -- and they walked.
"We thought that the Americans were here to create a free media," Ismael Zayer, who had been editor-in-chief, said in an interview. "Instead, we were being suffocated."

You see, what Bush and co. fail to realize is that you have to heat the water slowly -- otherwise the frog will jump out of the pot.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Disney says no to Michael Moore 

Disney understands happens when you dare challenge the neo-con cabal. Why is it so hard for the public to understand?
The Walt Disney Company is blocking its Miramax division from distributing a new documentary by Michael Moore that harshly criticizes President Bush, executives at both Disney and Miramax said Tuesday.

The film, "Fahrenheit 911," links Mr. Bush and prominent Saudis — including the family of Osama bin Laden — and criticizes Mr. Bush's actions before and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.


Mr. Moore's agent, Ari Emanuel, said that Michael D. Eisner, Disney's chief executive, asked him last spring to pull out of the deal with Miramax. Mr. Emanuel said Mr. Eisner expressed concern that it would endanger tax breaks Disney receives for its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida, where Mr. Bush's brother, Jeb, is governor.
Sometimes freedom just hurts don't it? Via NYTimes

Some things need to be said 

Ted Rall had his cartoon pulled this week -- it was about Pat Tillman's death. As uncouth as it may be, it is the truth.

Rall said in the cartoon that Tillman -- who gave up a $3.6-million National Football League contract to join the military and then died last month -- "falsely believed Bush's wars against Iraq and Afghanistan had something to do with 9/11. Actually, he was a cog in a low-rent occupation Army that shot more innocent civilians than terrorists to prop up puppet rulers and exploit gas and oil resources. So when Tillman got killed by the Afghan resistance, one word naturally came to mind: 'Uh -- idiot' [says one person in the cartoon's final panel]. 'Sad' [says another]. 'Hero!' [says an editor]."
I remember when the news came out -- I was sitting around with a few other people; we all agreed that Tillman was an idiot. I know it is "wrong" to say that, but it's just true. He didn't have to go, but he bought the bullshit and signed up to be a slave. Take the red pill next time fella.

More here on Tillman's funeral service ("Pat isn't with God,'' he said. "He's f -- ing dead. He wasn't religious. So thank you for your thoughts, but he's f -- ing dead.'')

Monday, May 03, 2004

Chomsky on "the occupation" of Iraq 

Link here.
The best explanation I've heard was given by a high-ranking official of one of the leading NGOs, who's had plenty of experience in some of the worst places in the world (can't identify him). I spoke to him on his (brief) return from several extremely frustrating months in Baghdad trying to get hospitals up and running. He said he had never seen such a combination of "arrogance, ignorance, and incompetence" -- referring not to the military, but to the civilians in charge: Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Cheney.. -- a weird collection of fanatics.
As for what would happen if Iraqis have a chance to run their own country, I don't know, nor does anyone else. And while we can have our subjective opinions about it, the responsibility of an occupying army is to get out as quickly and expeditiously as possible, in accord with the will of the population, and to turn over full sovereignty to them, also compensating them for the damages caused them -- in our case, going back 25 years, joined by others who should also be paying reparations to Iraq: not "forgiving debts," the current debate, but paying reparations.

Note also: Chomsky was the topic of conversation on the Daily Show tonight -- soon to be appearing on Air America Radio.....

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