Thursday, April 30, 2009

Specter makes "Lee Harvey Oswald" joke

"I don't think Lee Harvey Oswald had this big a crowd trailing him," he quipped.
Until recently I would have been in the "civil unions" crowd. My daughter Tara (who is, unfortunately, not a lesbian) turned me around on this issue.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

America invaded by pig/bird virus

The worrisome new virus — which combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans in a way researchers have not seen before — also sickened at least eight people in Texas and California, though there have been no deaths in the U.S.

First the conspiracy nuts are going to go wild with this. Second, probably a good time to stop having sex with pigs and chickens. You know who you are.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke was detained by police in the Czech Republic on Friday on suspicion of denying the Holocaust.

I've must say I have mixed feelings about this. Duke is a racist and anti-semite. Denying the holocaust is legal in our country but illegal in many others. I'm going to come down on the side of free speech and urge the Czech government to release him (eventually).
The Obama administration has indicated that the intelligence professionals who actually did the torture should not be prosecuted so long as they acted according to the guidelines in the torture memos.

Let's look at the May 30, 2005 memo

The waterboard may be authorized for, at most one 30-day period, during which the technique can be applied on no more than five days...

Futher there can be no more than than two sessions in any 24-hour period ... there may be six applications of water lasting 10 seconds or longer, and water may be applied for a total of no more than 12 minutes during any 24-hour period.

Let's assume that these standards were applicable during the interrogation of KSM. If my math is correct, then there may be no more than 30 sessions involving "applications of water water lasting 10 seconds or longer. But KSM was waterboarded 183 times in one month. Assuming that this represents 183 "applications of water" may we conclude that the other 153 applications of water must have been less than 10 seconds? The Playboy journalist who was waterboarded once, with one application of water, lasted about five or six seconds. Perhaps Sean Hannity will fare better.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


As she campaigned in Asia, she was accompanied by at least two of her longtime political operatives. One is Huma Abedin, from candidate Clinton's days on the Hill. Abedin carries the title "senior adviser."

Senior Adviser. Is that what they're calling it these days.
Is Christianity getting crazier? An interesting article on the Third Wave of Christianity.

Erupting within postdenominationalism starting in the 1980s, Third Wave Christianity claimed, by 2000, some 295 million adherents. World Christian Trends calls the Third Wave a "new and disturbingly different kind of Christian renewal." One very distinctive characteristic of Third Wave Christianity is its emphasis that average Christians can perform the same magnitude of healing miracles described in the New Testament to have been performed by Jesus Christ -- including raising the dead.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Did Waterboarding Save Los Angeles?

Sean Hannity on his show tonight states perhaps a half-dozen times that the interrogation by waterboarding of Khalid Sheik Mohammad prevented an al Qaeda plot to fly a plane into a building (the Library Tower) in Los Angeles. "It's in the memo." Not one of his guests challenged him.

Hannity's right. It is in the memo, as Marc Thiessen, a former Bush staffer, points out in The Washington Post.But it's not true. Timothy Noah in Slate demolishes the claim.First of all, according to Noah, flying planes into buildings really wasn't a viable option for al Qaeda after September 11, 2001. But what completely demolishes this claim is the chronology:

In a White House press briefing, Bush's counterterrorism chief, Frances Fragos Townsend, told reporters that the cell leader was arrested in February 2002, and "at that point, the other members of the cell" (later arrested) "believed that the West Coast plot has been canceled, was not going forward" [italics mine]. A subsequent fact sheet released by the Bush White House states, "In 2002, we broke up [italics mine] a plot by KSM to hijack an airplane and fly it into the tallest building on the West Coast." These two statements make clear that however far the plot to attack the Library Tower ever got—an unnamed senior FBI official would later tell the Los Angeles Times that Bush's characterization of it as a "disrupted plot" was "ludicrous"—that plot was foiled in 2002. But Sheikh Mohammed wasn't captured until March 2003.
The absolute falsity of the claim, however, will not prevent Sean Hannity from repeating it as fact another hundred times.

Update: Philip Klein in The American Spectator has More on the Los Angeles Plot . It appears that while the plot was disrupted in 2002, some of the people involved may have been arrested in 2003 based on information from KSM. I would never claim that torture has never produced any information, only that it produces more bad information than good.

Oh my God! It's Jesus!
The Armed Service Committee has posted their INQUIRY INTO THE TREATMENT OF DETAINEES IN U.S. CUSTODY

What I found most interesting was the degree of resistance within the military itself, particularly by military lawyers, to the enhanced interrogation techniques aka torture.

The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of "a few bad apples" acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance oftheir legality, and authorized their use against detainees. Those efforts damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority.
US Government reports tend to be somewhat dry and dull. Nonetheless they are often good for a chuckle or two.

During his interview with Committee staff, Lt Col Kleinman described the interrogation of an Iraqi man who had been detained by U.S. forces because interrogators believed he had useful intelligence because he knew about "bridges." Lt Col Kleinman said that it later became clear that the man was a dental technician. (p. 173)

Judyth Vary Baker's upcoming book can be pre-ordered here. Judyth worked with Oswald at the Reilly Coffee Company and claims to have been his mistress as well. She had an earlier book Lee Harvey Oswald: The True Story of the Accused Assassin of President John F. Kennedy, by His Lover which was only available for a short time. Is she telling the truth? Having read her earlier book and corresponded with her by email I would have to say probably, more or less. She also knew Dr. Seuss.
Obama Kills Again!

Joseph Cannon alerts us to the story in his post Obama, the passport scandal, and a murder . Lt. Quarles Harris Jr., a witness in the passport scandal, was murdered in April. Of 2008. Although the story was covered in the Washington Times apparently the wingnuts just noticed.

Naturally this calls to mind Obama's earlier murder of gay choir director Donald Young, rumored to be Obama's lover. Not that Obama would have pulled the trigger himself. Blogger Roving Patrol speculates:

Obama had Leo Donofrio, the lawyer filing suit against Obama in fear of his life. Web sites anti Obama being shut down, blogs being scrubbed, and computers being hacked. So is it so hard to believe someone close to Obama committed murder? I don’t think so. I wonder where Ayers was the night Donald Young was murdered. Obama has some very very violent “friends.” Men who have killed before.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Washington Times: Astronaut Edgar Mitchell says "We are not alone"

Asked why there still is no definitive proof, he said: "We have that, it's just that it's been covered up and denied by the powers that be in our own government," adding that "there's a secret government" that may be run by the "military-industrial complex."
The Waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

So now it has been revealed that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in one month. How many times he may have been waterboarded in other months is still unclear.

This isn't exactly what CIA officials have said before. Note this story:

Two years ago, a CIA official told ABC News that he had been water-boarded, and had won the admiration of his interrogators because it took him two to two-and-half minutes to start confessing - well beyond the average of 14 seconds observed in others.
So, waterboarding was so effective that he confessed in minutes. So effective apparently that the CIA decided to waterboard him another 182 times. What did all this waterboarding produce? From the same story:

Mohammed's claims to have been fully responsible for the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, the murder of Daniel Pearl, the 2002 Bali disco bombings and a host of lesser plots, both hatched and fully realised, were made public to great fanfare last week.

Almost immediately, however, legal experts said he appeared to be exaggerating his role for his own self-aggrandisement and may also have deliberately floated false claims to send US investigators on wild goose chases.
And also, just possibly, he made stuff up in an apparently futile attempt to get them to stop torturing him.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Conservatives and Republicans continue to jump aboard the gay marriage band-wagon.

Rick Moran of Right Wing Nut House makes the Conservative Case for Gay Marriage

Love is love in any context and only man in his ignorance defines the emotion felt by gay couples as “illegitimate.” Why that has been accepted by conservatives as a reason to oppose the idea that two members of the same sex who love each other should be legally kept apart is beyond me. You can disapprove of gays and gay marriage out of religious conviction or personal prejudice but it is decidedly unconservative to force the rest of us to agree with you by preventing the union of gay couples.
And of course Meghan McCain Supports Gay Marriage
Wingnut Watch

Wow. Prominent conservative blog Little Green Footballs calls Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs a "Shrieking bigoted lunatic"

A British blogger sees a Civil War on the U.S. Right.

the U.S. Right wing blogosphere has gone nuts, and have started to slaughter each other. It is a tragic sight, and not one in which we should take any pleasure.
And yet I do.

Friday, April 17, 2009

So now it appears that the CIA may have tortured young children.

“According to Mohammed, Majid said that the Americans tortured him for eight hours at a time, tying him tightly in stressful positions in a small chair until his hands, feet and mind went numb. They re-tied him in the chair every hour, tightening the bonds on his hands and feet each time so that it was more painful. He was often hooded and had difficulty breathing. They also beat him repeatedly, slapping him in the face, and deprived him of sleep. When he was not being interrogated, the Americans put Majid in a small cell that was totally dark and too small for him to lie down in or sit in with his legs stretched out. He had to crouch. The room was also infested with mosquitoes. The torture only stopped when Majid agreed to sign a statement that he was not even allowed to read.”
Finally something at WorldNetDaily worth reading: Welcome to the Fox News 'tea parties'

Even a long-time Fox News viewer like me was suprised by the extent to which Fox openly supported the "tea parties." They plugged them for weeks, urged viewers to attend a tea party near them, and their on-air talent spoke at them. I do not recall MSNBC organizing protests against the Iraq war or President Bush.
Sarah Palin admits that she considered murdering her son Trig! But she decided against it because, you know, murder is wrong.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Just in case there is someone out there that doesn't know that teabagging has two meanings. (The other one has something to do with anti-Obama protests organized by Fox News.) And you should see the graphics I rejected.

Protesting the government is a fine American tradition and I hope that they are having fun. They have taken a lot of unfair abuse on the whole teabag symbol though and they need a new symbol. Something a little more militant perhaps. Looking forward to next years "fisting" protests.

Monday, April 13, 2009

So the Department of Homeland Security has issued this little advisory report about Rightwing extremism. I've read it and it is a sober and responsible document. This country has experienced violent rightwing extremism in the past and if the economy collapses things could get bad.

Historically, domestic rightwing extremists have feared, predicted, and anticipated a cataclysmic economic collapse in the United States. Prominent antigovernment conspiracy theorists have incorporated aspects of an impending economic collapse to intensify fear and paranoia among like-minded individuals and to attract recruits during times of economic uncertainty. Conspiracy theories involving declarations of martial law, impending civil strife or racial conflict, suspension of the U.S. Constitution, and the creation of citizen detention camps often incorporate aspects of a failed economy.
Emphasis added. One of these like-minded individuals is Crazy Pam Geller at Atlas Shrugs who describes this document as the fascist blueprint to create a police state and legalize gulags.

The problem of course is that crazy people don't know they're crazy. The DHS report also mentions that extremists might attempt to recruit disgruntled military veterans (like Tim McVeigh). Pam's comment:

The only disgruntled military are the ones that were forced to applaud the traitor in the White House.
Pam has not yet suggested that "President Hussein" as she calls him should be shot.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Message:

"There is no god who we can know or whom we can discuss."

Rudolf Augstein, Jesus, Son of Man
Joseph Cannon of the blog Cannonfire published Friday a long post titled
"The turning of the worm and the eating of the crow", although a more apt title, taken from his accompanying graphic, might have been "Eat Me, Obots". I read his offering closely and even followed some of his links to other earlier posts of his. Joseph is still, how shall I put this, still quite angry about Barack Obama's primary campaign against Hillary Clinton. And, let's be clear on this, he is not going to "negotiate" with the Obama people unless they first "APOLOGIZE, GODDAMMIT! APOLOGIZE!!" The bold text and exclamation points are meant to assure the reader, apparently, that he really really means it.

Joseph's primary complaints seem to be primarily aimed at anonymous commenters at blogs like DailyKos, some of whom called Hillary a "cunt" and other things just as bad. During the primary and after Joseph would regularly post excerpts from some of the offending comments. Several times I went back and read all the comments on these blogs; Joseph did indeed quote them accurately. However, along with the offending comments there were always other comments, larger in number, that were not offensive, and comments criticizing the people who went out of bounds. Joseph saw the Obama campaign as being behind the "cunt-type" comments although there is no evidence for this. One could even speculate that the Republicans may well have been behind some of the offensive comments (remember Operation Chaos) but there is no evidence of this either.

The election campaign, however, is over and I believe that Joseph, and any other PUMA's, should get over it. They should, in other words, forget about it, just as they will be forgotten by history.

Anyway, as someone who is still a regular reader of Cannonfire, I left a comment of my own. This comment was "removed by the blog administrator." Given the total absence of any critical comments on this post, the reason is clear: Joseph does not allow critical comments. Or perhaps my comment was in some way offensive. I will quote my own comment in full so that the reader may make his own judgment:

Certainly the anonymous commenters that you selectively quoted should apologize. Certainly "some" Obama supporters "got out of hand." I know that you have said that it was "all" Obama supporters but you should apologize for that.

I looked at your first link where the "disgusting behavior" was "documented." You write, "Did you see Michelle Obama as Hillary spoke? She glared daggers. Her eyes radiated hatred." Real documentation. I did see Michelle Obama as Hillary spoke and I didn't see what you did.

(Word has it that Michelle muttered "I hate that bitch" while Hillary spoke.)" Now that's documentation. "Word" has it."

"So deep that we never will negotiate with you or hear your side of the story. Jews (rightly) don't want to hear Hitler's side of the story". Really, Joseph?

Arrogance. Egomaniac. Those words might well describe someone who refuses to "negotiate" with the Obama camp until they apologize. Believe me Joseph, no one in the Obama camp will be calling you to "negotiate."

With Hillary being part of the Obama administration and with a 66%approval rating I would say that most people have moved on from any resentments over the election. The 24% or so disapproval rating may include a few PUMA's but is mostly the hardcore conservative Fox News-watching-teabagging people.

"2008 was a life-changing event -- a wound that still refuses to scab over." Obviously that's true--for you.

Cannonfire was one of the first blogs that I read, and was I think the first one to link to this blog. I have often wished that I had Joseph's flair for language (when he's not, you know, ranting in ALL CAPS!!!)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Wingnuts around the country are apparently holding "teabag parties." I wasn't sure what these were so I googled it and teabagging is defined as "dipping your testicles into the open mouth of another person."
Wingnut Watch

Michael Savage warns us about the rising tide of pink fascism.

There is a rising tide of pink fascism in this country, and it comes as a result of the election of Barack Hussein Obama. Obama has signaled that during his reign it will be acceptable to impose gay marriage on the people of the United States. He's being very cleverly used as a tool of the gay puppet masters.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Wingnut Watch

Paul Jacobsen on Oathkeepers

Our real enemies are in the news each day posing as those who are our betters and saviors (according to them.) ...

Our enemies are closer than we think ... so ... easier to deal with them when the time comes to do so because a traitor deserves only one fate.
Crazy bitch Pamela Geller on Atlas Shrugs:

The current administration is an aberration, an ugly blip on the screen of American greatness. He does not have the American soul.

The Right got pretty crazy during the Clinton years but I think we ain't seen nothin' yet.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Newsweek: The End of Christian America

More like the beginning of the end. Quotes R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, as saying "Clearly, there is a new narrative, a post-Christian narrative, that is animating large portions of this society."
Controlled demolition after all?

I have always been skeptical of claims that the two World Trade Center Towers and Building 7 were brought down by controlled demolition. But this story tells of a new scientific study that suggests just that. Nine scientists find active 'super-thermite' in WTC dust.

A team of nine scientists have unearthed startling data from dust gathered in the days and weeks after the World Trade Center towers collapsed on 9/11. They discovered that scattered throughout the dust samples were red and gray chips of 'active thermitic material', or an un-reacted pyrotechnic explosive.
The full study in The Open Chemical Physics Journal can be found here.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Obama Declares Himself a God

(According to wingnut.) These people are losing it. Actually I don't think they had it to begin with.

Obama sees himself as a demigod, a living breathing graven image to be worshiped through the bureaucracy of the State, like Wilson, FDR and LBJ before him. Constitutional strictures are irrelevant to him.
Obama Indicted!

(By wingnuts)

"If the government does not amend the error within 40 days after being shown the error, then the four members shall refer the matter to the remainder of the grand jury," it says. "The grand jury may distrain and oppress the government in every way in their power, namely, by taking the homes, lands, possessions, and any way else they can until amends shall have been made according to the sole judgment of the grand jury."
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