December 28, 2007 archive

Shut The Huck Up!!

Did I dream this New York Times story up?  Is this really April Fool’s Day?  Am I having hallucinations?

Mike Huckabee used the volatile situation in Pakistan Friday to make an argument for building a fence on the American border with Mexico and found himself trying to explain a series of remarks about Pakistanis and their nation.

On Thursday night he told reporters in Orlando, Fla.: “We ought to have an immediate, very clear monitoring of our borders and particularly to make sure if there’s any unusual activity of Pakistanis coming into the country.”

On Friday, in Pella, Iowa, he expanded on those remarks.

“When I say single them out I am making the observation that we have more Pakistani illegals coming across our border than all other nationalities except those immediately south of the border,” he told reporters in Pella. “And in light of what is happening in Pakistan it ought to give us pause as to why are so many illegals coming across these borders.”

What The Huck?  Nevermind, as the Times points out, that “far more illegal immigrants come from the Philippines, Korea, China and Vietnam, according to recent estimates from the Department of Homeland Security.”  

Am I dreaming?  Wake me up.  Please.  Is this a flashback from Midsummer’s Night Dream?

I have had a most rare

vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to

say what dream it was: man is but an ass, if he go

about to expound this dream. Methought I was–there

is no man can tell what. Methought I was,–and

methought I had,–but man is but a patched fool, if

he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye

of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not

seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue

to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream


It doesn’t get any crazier, does it?  This guy is really off the hook.

al Qaeda with the sunroof in the grassy knoll

The way that the reports have been coming out with respect to Bhutto’s death is not totally surprising.  The fact that there are differing facts emerging is also not surprising – although the conflicting and “evolving” stories regarding just how she died, who is taking responsibility and who is pointing fingers (not to mention where the fingers are being pointed) is a bit more disturbing.

First it was bullets, then no bullets but shrapnel, then no bullets or shrapnel but the sunroof of the car causing so much force that blood was covering much of the interior of her car (warning – pics that you may not want to see) with no head wound takes this into the lone-gunman-with-bad-rifle-and-worse-angle-and-magic-bullet territory.

What is even more questionable here is that the Interior Ministry was claiming that there was no wound from the attack and at the same time blaming al Qaeda for the attack on Bhutto’s life.  And, just for good measure, we can throw in the police abandoning their posts while Bhutto was still in the area – reminiscent of , if not necessarily on par with the last minute changes to JFK’s route in Dallas, the Secret Service being told to stand down and the lack of other measures taken to protect Kennedy.

Four at Four

Some news and open thread.

  1. The Hill reports Bush threatens to veto fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill “because of a provision dealing with Iraqi assets held in the U.S… In a statement, the White House singled out language in the bill that would allow the lawyers for plaintiffs who had sued the former Saddam Hussein regime to freeze Iraqi funds in U.S. banks.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) issued a joint statement: “We understand that the President is bowing to the demands of the Iraqi government, which is threatening to withdraw billions of dollars invested in U.S. banks if this bill is signed… The administration should have raised its objections earlier, when this issue would have been addressed without a veto.”

  2. According to The Guardian, Global warming brings busy year for UN disaster teams. “The United Nations office that sends expert teams around the world to help governments deal with natural disasters was busier than ever in Latin America this year, a fact it at least partially blames on climate change. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, said in a statement that a record nine missions were dispatched to the region during 2007, among 14 sent around the globe, itself a higher than usual number. Of the 14 global missions, 70% were in response to hurricanes and floods, the OCHA statement said, calling this ‘possibly a glimpse of the shape of things to come given the reality of climate change.'”

  3. The New York Times reports Military newspaper challenges Defense Department. “Top editors at the military newspaper Stars and Stripes are asking for full disclosure of the paper’s relationship with a Department of Defense publicity program, called America Supports You, after disclosures that money for the program was funneled through the newspaper.” The inspector general of the Defense Department is investigating the America Supports You program. “Perception of objectivity has always been a thorny issue for the editorial staff because the paper is supposed to be free from government censorship – but is owned and partly financed by the government. By statute, the newspaper is guaranteed editorial independence.”

  4. The editors at AlterNet have compiled their list of Top Ten Tales of War and Empire for 2007. “2007 was an incredibly frustrating year for opponents of the seemingly endless ‘War on Terror,’ and all that it is used to justify.” Check it out. There are some interesting stories and opinions you may have missed.

Update – My Experience with “Helping the Veterans”

Technorati Profile

A while ago a user came on and started discussing how the netroots needed to help the Veterans more.  I agreed and offered my assistance.  I researched hosts, explained domains, hosts, Content Management Systems etc.  I set up the Content Management System, designed the logo, Linked to blogs and alternative news sources, fed newsfeeds through javascripts in order to display them as headlines on the side bar, researched PTSD, Health, International resources for inclusion in the site, arranged for a cartoonist and a Gear Shop to be installed, created a back room for administrators along with advice on how to post images and youtube videos, explained copyright violations and how to avoid them and I did all this for free.

Now the owner, a Veteran, has decided that I am not worthy of his particular project.  I did all of the above in a week’s time.  I have been on computers since the age of 11.  I understand HTML, javascript and Content Management systems, I understand search engines and ranking techniques and have just recently understood how to utilize newsfeeds in new ways as yet undiscovered by the majority of bloggers and websites.

So God dammit I tried.  To any Veteran that feels these skills would be helpful to their own projects please contact me at thefuture at  I would very much like to help someone that would like to be helped.

Tips for better communication below the fold:

Al Qaeda and the Taliban

I am doing research for an article for a magazine. I have been speaking with troops directly in Iraq and Afghanistan on the front. I also speak with Veterans who have left the military who were in both these battle fields.

In general these men and women believe that we need to remain in Afghanistan. They firmly believe that both the Taliban and Al Qaeda remain strong forces. Their thoughts are that essentially these groups are organizations setup with a corporate structure. Many said it does not matter whether Bin Laden or any other leaders are dead or not, there are many second in command (vice presidents) who will take over.

They feel as strongly as we on the left about getting out of Iraq. Virtually every one of them I spoke to currently in the military and those who have returned believe it was wrong to go into Iraq and we need to be out ASAP.

We currently have 160,000 troops in Iraq and 50,000 in Afghanistan.

They know Bushco used 9/11, Al Qaeda, Bin Laden and The Taliban for fear mongering. They believe that he just exploited a situation that is real. Their thoughts are that both these groups are as strong or stronger than they were on 9/11.

Those in Afghanistan believe in what they are doing there and are very frustrated that Pakistan is not allowing them in their country to pursue the Taliban and Al Qaeda. On this battle front the men and women universally are committed to their cause.

Those in Iraq are completely discouraged and feel their training is being wasted and they are killing for no good cause. They know they are in an un-winnable war that is virtually a civil war within Iraq. The Iraqi government and military are NOT “stepping up to the plate” and taking the lead and doing their job. They should be preparing to take things over as we withdraw but are doing little to show signs of doing so.

In general the troops in Iraq would gladly go to do what they were trained to do in Afghanistan.

I have spoken to over 50 men and women who are in or were in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have spoke to officers as high as Majors. That is three promotions from General. They are of the same belief.


Important If True

“Important If True” is an irregularly-scheduled Mojo Swap Meet wherein the diarist cobbles together a collection of seemingly random thoughts, no single one of which, taken by itself, may be worthy of attention, but which, when presented en masse in a veritable mélange, a pastiche, as it were, of cerebral offal, might thus put to rest any niggling doubts that you may have had about whether the effort would be worth it. Or, to paraphrase someone, you should waste no time in reading this . . .

- but definitely spread the mojo around in the comments! Thanks for reading!

SAD, AND TRUE: Yesterday’s brutal killing of Benazir Bhutto has precipitated much discussion about the U.S. relationship with Pakistan, our erstwhile ally in The Business Formerly Known As The Global Struggle Against Violent Extremists®.  (continued below)

117th Anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre


The Sand Creek Massacre and the Washita Massacre both led to the Wounded Knee Massacre. The Sand Creek Massacre brought the realization that “the soldiers were destroying everything Cheyenne – the land, the buffalo, and the people themselves,” and the Washita Massacre added even more genocidal evidence to those facts. The Sand Creek Massacre caused the Cheyenne to put away their old grievances with the Sioux and join them in defending their lives against the U.S. extermination policy. The Washita Massacre did that even more so. After putting the Wounded Knee Massacre briefly into historical perspective, we’ll focus solely on the Wounded Knee Massacre itself for the 117th Anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre.

Pony Party, Phone it in Friday

it is friday, right?  this week has been a blur….

2007 In Review: Lost Voices R.I.P.

Of all sad words of tongue and pen the saddest are these, what might have been.

John Greenleaf Whittier


Some speak to us, and some speak for us. Some will speak no more. Treasure and preserve their words.  

This is a tribute to those voices that have passed in 2007.

Rest In Peace

Molly Ivins

Dan Fogelberg

David Halberstam

Norman Mailer

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Yolanda King

Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

and last (but not least), an unsung hero, Zakia Zaki


Docudharma Times Friday Dec.28

This is an Open Thread: Get It On (Bang a Gong)

Headlines For Friday December 28: Under Attack, Drug Maker Turned Giuliani for Help: Clinton, Obama Seize on Killing: Bhutto Assassination Ignites Disarray: AL-QAIDA CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY


Under Attack, Drug Maker Turned to Giuliani for Help

In western Virginia, far from the limelight, United States Attorney John L. Brownlee found himself on the telephone last year with a political and legal superstar, Rudolph W. Giuliani.

For years, Mr. Brownlee and his small team had been building a case that the maker of the painkiller OxyContin had misled the public when it claimed the drug was less prone to abuse than competing narcotics. The drug was believed to be a factor in hundreds of deaths involving its abuse.

Mr. Giuliani, celebrated for his stewardship of New York City after 9/11, soon told the prosecutors they were wrong.

In 2002, the drug maker, Purdue Pharma of Stamford, Conn., hired Mr. Giuliani and his consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, to help stem the controversy about OxyContin. Among Mr. Giuliani’s missions was the job of convincing public officials that they could trust Purdue because they could trust him.

Clinton, Obama Seize on Killing

Reactions Illustrate Their Key Differences

DES MOINES, Dec. 27 — News of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination came just hours before Sen. Barack Obama delivered what his campaign had billed as the “closing argument” in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday, forcing his campaign to scramble to incorporate the Pakistani opposition leader into his message of change.

For his chief rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Bhutto’s death helped underscore the line she has been driving home for months — about who is best suited to lead the nation at a time of international peril. In her comments Thursday, Clinton described Bhutto in terms Obama (D-Ill.) could not: as a fellow mother, a pioneering woman following in a man’s footsteps, and a longtime peer on the world stage.

Another War We Are Losing

While Afghanistan sinks back into the muck of religious extremism that frightened even the ayatollahs in Iran, the leaders of the de facto Kurdistan are rediscovering what sort of friend they have been relying on with Turkey being aided in its genocide of Kurds by the U.S.. South America’s democracies in open revolt against the hegemony of the norteamericans, a far more important war than all of those combined is flagging under assault from the left and corporate interests.

That is the War on Cancer initiated by that old reprobate, Dick Nixon.

What are you reading? Year in review

In bookflurries this week, cfk had ‘books of 2007’.  That seemed like such a good idea, that I am using it here, too!  Below is a list of books I at least started reading or re-reading.  I certainly didn’t finish them all!

If you’d like, list books you started reading, in comments

If you like to trade books, try BookMooch.

What are you reading? is crossposted to dailyKos

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