April 10, 2009 archive

Four at Four

  1. The LA Times reports a Suicide truck bombing kills 5 U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Five U.S. soldiers and two Iraq national policemen were killed by a suicide truck bomb outside the national police headquarters in southwest Mosul. 200 pounds of explosives were detonated by the bomber.

    The NY Times notes this was the Deadliest attack against American soldiers here in 13 months and “the second in Mosul since February, when four soldiers were killed in a suicide car bomb attack against their patrol.”

    Meanwhile the CS Monitor reports that Six years after Iraq invasion, Jordan still playing host to thousands of Iraqi refugees. In Jordan “only 300 of as many as half-a-million refugees have returned home” and “Iraqis are still trickling across the border.”

    “An interesting trend is that there are still new arrivals from Iraq,” says Rafiq Tschannen, the chief of mission in Amman for the International Organization for Migration (IOM). “And contrary to the first arrivals, we see people going to live in villages instead of Amman, where the cost of living is high. These refugees have less money and they look to the cheapest villages they can find.”

  2. The NY Times reports Captain recaptured after trying to escape from pirates. Capt. Richard Phillips jumped into the Indian Ocean in an escape attempt, but was recaptured by the pirates and dragged back into the drifting lifeboat by the pirates. “Residents in a pirate stronghold in Somalia, meanwhile, said that the pirates, desperate to get back to shore with their captive, had themselves called in additional vessels and men.”

    The LA Times adds Phillips appeared to be unharmed by the episode.

    Keeping other pirate vessels away from the craft is key to the U.S. strategy. Defense officials believe their negotiating position will grow stronger as the pirates run low on supplies. Officials will probably try to prevent the pirates from moving to another vessel or halt any ship from re-supplying the lifeboat.

    There are now two large naval vessels in the area, the destroyer Bainbridge and the frigate Halliburton. But the Navy did not appear to have a smaller boat in the water near the lifeboat at the time of the escape.

    Um… we have a U.S.S. Halliburton? No, at least not in name. I believe this is a typo for the the U.S.S. Halyburton. Freudian slip on the part of the LA Times, perhaps?

Four at Four continues with 22,000 percent return on lobbying money for corporate America, the Obama dog, Easter eggs, and Dave Arneson runs out of hit points.

WWL Radio #14 Immigration Edition (6pm EDT)

Join me tonight, with my co-hosts Gottlieb and Ed_Encho for another Friday Evening WWL Radio Show.

Tonight after a brief look at Headline News, we will be interviewing Nezua, proprietor of The Unapologetic Mexican/El Machete de mi Gente blog, and design company XOLAGRAFIX. His writing is featured on Huffpo, The Media Consortium, Immigration Newsladder, dKos, and of course, Twitter.

We are so very honored to have him!

The topic will be immigration reform, and the inevitable fallout for all of the Hispanic community as the Economy collapses. (or wherever it goes of its own accord, we are artistes after all)

Please call with any questions you may have, or respectful commentary.

The call in number is 646-929-1264

Listen to The Wild Wild Left on internet talk radio

The live chat link will be active after 5:30-ish.


Be warned: We have had ongoing technical problems with BTR, so be patient on the line, and if dropped, call back!!!!

Nezua’s Full “Cred” below: (WOW!)

What can we learn from Peru?

Most of you have probably seen the story this week that the former President of Peru Alberto Fujimori was convicted of human rights crimes and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori has been sentenced to 25 years in jail for ordering killings and kidnappings by security forces.

At the end of a 15-month trial, judges found him guilty of two death-squad killings of 25 people during the conflict with guerrillas in the 1990s…

The trial, which took place at a special-forces police base on the outskirts of the capital, Lima, was the first time a democratically elected Latin American leader had been tried and found guilty in his own country for human rights abuses.


Judges, Experts: Obama=Bush…Gibbs: State Secrets Good

From WaPo

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 15 — Lawyers for the Bush administration encountered a federal appeals court Wednesday that appeared deeply skeptical of a blanket claim that the government’s surveillance efforts cannot be challenged in court because the litigation might reveal state secrets.

“The bottom line here is the government declares something is a state secret, that’s the end of it. No cases. . . . The king can do no wrong,” said Judge Harry Pregerson, one of three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit who grilled administration lawyers at length over whether a pair of lawsuits against the government should go forward.

Deputy Solicitor General Gregory G. Garre was forced to mount a public argument that almost nothing about the substance of the government’s conduct could be talked about in court because doing so might expose either the methods used in gathering intelligence or gaps in those methods.

“This seems to put us in the ‘trust us’ category,” Judge M. Margaret McKeown said about the government’s assertions that its surveillance activities did not violate the law. ” ‘We don’t do it. Trust us. And don’t ask us about it.’ “

That is NOT how our democracy works. No matter who is in charge at the moment. Checks and balance, checks and balances, checks and balances. Not “trust.” The Obama Administration has just asserted that there should be no Judicial or Congressional checks and balances on it when it asserts something….anything….is a State Secret.

First Amendment Friday 1 – Abrams v US

Happy Friday and welcome to the beginning of a new series First Amendment Friday! This series is going to look at the Supreme Court cases that put a boundary around our Free Speech rights. It is also going to be slightly deep water, so hang in with the Dog; he is going to do his best to provide a layman’s perspective on the cases, which does not get to deep in legal jargon. As with the Friday Constitutional  series the Dog might be wrong in his interpretation, if so, correct him in comments! This is a community learning experience not a concert lecture series.  

Action Diary: Tell Those Wicked Iowans What Ya Think Of ‘Em!

I’m pretty gosh-darned frightened, America.  Frightened of what’s happenin’ to this great country of ours when a beloved fly-over state like Iowa turns its activist judges loose to pee on the holy institution of marriage.  Are patriotic Americans expected to stand idly by while gay people try to sign the same piece of paper in a church?  In a state with the first presidential caucus no less?  It’s time to draw a line in the sand!  Or dirt, in Iowa’s case.

Selling of America


“People who are my age have no idea what they are going to do,” Suter said, trying to angle a workbench into his trailer. “How they are going to live on $12 an hour without benefits when we’re used to $29 with benefits? You can’t make an economy on cleaning somebody else’s shirts or selling mutual funds. What are towns like Ypsilanti going to do?”

Ypsilanti is not the most besieged city in Michigan, but is an auto town, and its problems mirror those of the larger industrial Midwest. Just four square miles and 35 miles west of Detroit, it has lost more than 25 percent of its population since 1970. Schools have closed, as did its two other auto-related plants. Outside the Visteon plant, located on Factory Street in Ypsilanti alongside Interstate 94 and Ford Lake, the building that housed the UAW Local 849 is for sale. –snip–  

Gibbs: Obama “absolutely” agrees with DoJ “states secrets” filing

According to White House Press Secretary Gibbs, who spoke yesterday to reporters, President Obama agrees with the position taken by his DoJ.

Responding late Friday afternoon to a suit filed by the EFF against the NSA, the Justice Department

argued that the case should be dismissed because information surrounding the program was a “state secret” and therefore couldn’t be litigated or discussed. It also proposed that the government was protected by “sovereign immunity” under federal wiretapping statutes and the Patriot Act, arguing that the United States could only face lawsuits if they willfully elected to disclose intelligence obtained by wiretapping.

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Docudharma Times Friday April 10

The AP Wants To Squeeze

Everyone For Payment Of Their Content

No Matter Fair Use Or The Fact That

There Are Links Back To The

Complete Story.


Friday’s Headlines:

Job market is especially cruel for older workers

Somali pirates vow to take on US military might if attacked

A texting entrepreneur embodies spirit of a new Rwanda

Italy earthquake: Mass funeral for 200 victims held in L’Aquila

Georgia’s Rose Revolution wilts

Gangster boss who turned to God

New fears for Fiji as President Ratu Josefa Iloilo abolishes constitution

Iran touts nuclear technology gains

Water cut off in Mexican capital

Stimulus Aid Being Doled Out, Slowly

Meeting Guidelines Is Taking Time

By Alec MacGillis

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, April 10, 2009; Page A01

Building repairs are underway on public housing in Imboden, Ark., and Cumberland, Ill., states across the country are receiving money to weatherize the homes of low-income residents, and the Silver Star Construction Co. is about to start work on two road-resurfacing projects in south-central Oklahoma with a total cost of $12 million.

“We were thrilled to get some work,” said Steve Shawn, president of the company. “Some of the work had started slowing down from the economy. The new work came in just around the right time.”

Slowly but surely, the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — better known as the economic stimulus package — is beginning to percolate nationwide, six weeks after President Obama signed the legislation.

Mugabe Aides Are Said to Use Violence to Gain Amnesty


Published: April 9, 2009

HARARE, Zimbabwe – President Robert Mugabe’s top lieutenants are trying to force the political opposition into granting them amnesty for their past crimes by abducting, detaining and torturing opposition officials and activists, according to senior members of Mr. Mugabe’s party.Mr. Mugabe’s generals and politicians have organized campaigns of terror for decades to keep him and his party in power. But now that the opposition has a place in the nation’s new government, these strongmen worry that they are suddenly vulnerable to prosecution, especially for crimes committed during last year’s election campaign as the world watched.

“Their faces were immediately pasted on the wall for everyone to see that they were behind the killing, the violence, the torture and intimidation,” said a senior official in Mr. Mugabe’s party, ZANU-PF, who, like others in the party, spoke anonymously because he was describing its criminal history.


CIA to close secret overseas prisons, end security contracts

By Jonathan S. Landay | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON – The CIA is decommissioning the secret overseas prisons where top al Qaida suspects were subjected to interrogation methods, including simulated drowning, that Attorney General Eric Holder, allied governments, the Red Cross and numerous other experts consider torture, the agency said Thursday.

In an e-mail to the agency’s work force outlining current interrogation and detention policies, CIA Director Leon Panetta also announced that agreements with the private security firms guarding the so-called black sites will be “promptly terminated,” and contractors no longer will be used to conduct interrogations.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

An Opened Mind XIII

Art Link

The Dark Side of Redworld

An Ocean of Blood

A drip of blood

from one perspective

unless its yours

or mine

It falls on the ground

in the highest places

in the villages of Nepal

where blood runs cold

it trickles down

the mountainside

through far Kashmir

into Afghanistan

staining the banks of the streams

that carve the hidden valleys

and splash into the rivers

staining them too with the blood

of guilty and the innocent alike

ever downward through

the desert of Iraq

There are other mountains

in Bosnia and Kosovo

where the blood also spilled

running eastward perhaps

through the valleys of Chechnya

and further on to color red

the desert of Uzbekistan

Blood also spilled in the jungles

of the Congo and Rwanda

and the oil plains of Nigeria

flowing into the rivers

ever onward

’til the rivers ran red

Here too the blood

eventually sank into the deserts

of Eritrea and Darfur

and the bazaars

of the Sudan and Somalia

The desert is stained

with blood

The bloody fist of oppression

squeezes the life

out of the jungle of Myanmar

and the farms of Zimbabwe

The mountains

of Peru and Columbia

add more than their share

The Big Muddy is stained

as it passes by what

used to be the Big Easy

but it’s sure not easy anymore

and the rivers run red with blood

carrying it to the ocean

an ocean of blood

bathing our world

Our home is built

on the blood of others

yet still we add more

or stand by watching it run

Our home is sinking

as the blood-tainted

ocean rises

The blood will consume

us all in the end

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–December 26, 2005

Late Night Karaoke

Fade Into You

So, now I’m a Nazi.

Poor Richard Phillips:  may his wife have a short wait until he is safe.  Four pirates in a lifeboat that seems to be some kind of raft, pirates who have the nerve–because of greed or because of desperation or because of influences I don’t understand–to hold Capt. Phillips hostage, do so in spite of a rather large military presence in the area and in the face of one and soon-to-be two military vessals.  What kind of catastrophe is building here?

Watching the news on television, I was struck by a quick solution to end this mess, and I mentioned that perhaps we should capture their families and display them on deck, cutting off fingers periodically to speed things up.  !!!  That was a horrible flight of imagination, born from some red flash in my brain.  I know and truly believe that cutting off fingers is not any way to treat human situations, and there is no justification for treating the wives, parents, and children of the accused this way.  It’s not civilized, and we need to evolve a bit before we’re truly civilized anyway, so those of us who are aware need to be on our best behavior.  

But no, said hubby:  that’s some little efficient Nazi scenario you’ve got going there.  And he went on for minutes telling me things that I already know about propriety.  I was abashed.

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