May 13, 2009 archive

Four at Four

  1. The Sydney Morning Herald reports the U.S. hands over control of new drones to Pakistan. According to American officials, the “U.S. military has begun a program of armed Predator drone missions against militants in Pakistan that for the first time gives Pakistani officers significant control over routes, targets and decisions to fire weapons”.

    “Under the new partnership, a separate fleet of US drones operated by the Defence Department will be free for the first time to venture beyond the Afghan border under the direction of Pakistani military officials, who are working alongside American counterparts at a command centre in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.”

    The Washington Post reports Pakistani commandos target Taliban bases. Pakistan army officials claimed “they were making a concerted effort to wipe out the hideouts and supply bases of Islamist guerrilla forces, mostly located in unpopulated hilly areas, but had not begun a ‘hard-core urban fight’ to dislodge the fighters from major towns in the region.”

    DAWN Media adds Fighter jets pound Taliban strongholds across Swat while “hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled the punishing offensive”. People trapped in Mingora are terrified. They said the Talibann has “planted mines and were digging trenches.” One said, “Please, please, please, do not call me again, they will cut my throat and say that I was spying”. Elsewhere, the Daily Times reports the Taliban has destroyed two boys’ primary schools in Ali Masjid area of Jamrud tehsil in Khyber Agency.

    Meanwhile, AFP reports Taliban attacks NATO terminal in Pakistan. The attack by dozens of Taliban fighters destroyed eight vehicles in the northwest city of Peshawar. “Around 40-50 armed militants attacked the depot before dawn. They lobbed several petrol bombs and fled,” police officer Mohammad Ehsanullah said.

    The NY Times reports Pakistan says 1.3 million flee fight with Taliban. “The exodus, if it proves to be as large as the government says, would be one of the largest migrations of civilians in the region since the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, when as many as 14 million people left their homes for one of the newly independent countries. The Pakistani government and relief agencies have set up a string of camps and food distribution centers in the area, but not nearly enough to accommodate all the people who need them.”

    Meanwhile, The Guardian notes a Banned jihadi group is running aid programme for Swat refugees. “The Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) offers food, medical care and transport to villagers fleeing into Mardan district, where authorities are struggling to cope with an influx of more than 500,000 people. But the charity, according to experts, officials and some of its own members, is the renamed relief wing of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a group the Pakistani government banned last December after the UN declared it a terrorist organisation.”

Four at Four continues with car free suburbia, stress test sham, and spying for China.

Army Suicides Soar Past 2008’s Pace

The day after the shooting at a combat stress clinic in Iraq, new data released to Salon shows soldiers committing suicide at a record-setting pace. Is combat stress the reason?

The Army is on a pace this year to shatter the record suicide rate set among soldiers in 2008, according to data released by the Army to Salon. And the numbers, obtained a day after a patient at a combat stress clinic in Iraq killed five, suggest that combat stress may be contributing to the spike in suicides.

Obama + Odierno Make Case For Torture Prosecutions

They just didn’t know they were making that case. (Warning FOX link don’t click unless absolutely necessary) Today it was announced that both President Obama and General Odierno agreed that they will not release photos of US detainee abuse.

A senior administration official told FOX News that Obama told his legal advisers last week that he did not feel comfortable with the release of the photos because he believes they would endanger U.S. troops, and that the national security implications of such a release have not been fully presented in federal court.

So, the pictures are so bad that they endanger Americans here and abroad? Yes. That’s one of the most important reasons to prosecute for torture. It could save lives.

The Individual and The State

PADUCAH, Ky., May 12 (UPI) — A Kentucky man may become the first person face a death penalty from a U.S. civilian court for crimes committed overseas as a soldier, prosecutors say.

Steven Green was convicted last week in U.S. District Court in Kentucky on charges of murder, rape, conspiracy and obstruction of justice in the 2006 incident involving U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Prosecutors say Green and other soldiers broke into the home of an Iraqi family, raped a 14-year-old girl, killed her and her family and set the home afire, CNN reported.

Steven Green was convicted last week in U.S. District Court in Kentucky on charges of murder,

100 people (at the least) were tortured to death….”murder.”


Their are serious allegations of rape as part of the torture program.


There was definitely a conspiracy to torture.

obstruction of justice.

I predict with confidence that obstruction of justice has, is and will be committed in the investigations re the torture program. Cover-ups of criminal activities at the least.

An individual faces the death penalty. What penalties will The State face?  

What Happens When All Their Arguments Are Destroyed?

Musings on the hearings

I won’t try to chronicle how they are being destroyed here.

But they are being destroyed.

Just in this semi-preliminary hearing today, they were destroyed.

At the end, all that one of their finest legal minds, a former JAG officer Lindsay Graham had to close with after the testimony and evidence had been presented with boiled down to was…..Torture Worked.

And….since it worked, we cannot “take torture off the table for future presidents.” We don’t want to “chill” the efforts of the intelligence community in the future. “Chill their efforts” to use torture.

Why oh why wouldn’t we WANT to chill efforts to torture? Why wouldn’t we want to make sure that torture, is the absolute last resort, where it is only used in those 0.0000001% of those cases where it might be “needed” to stop a “ticking time bomb?”

Which is a scenario that has never occurred, and that no one claims has?

Why wouldn’t we

Waterboarding is torture, Graham says. Torture is wrong, Graham says. But we don’t want to stop the president from ordering torture if we need to torture.

Even though other techniques work, we still need to have the option to torture.

And if we are scared, as we were after 9/11, if we decide….wrongly, Graham says…..then that is just a “mistake.” And there should be no consequences for mistakes.

“Do you see how complex this is?” Graham concludes.


It is only complex if you have to argue the position that there are times when we have to make what is patently and admittedly illegal….legal, even if doing so….is a mistake.

Yes that IS “complex”…..because it is ridiculously illogical.

It just doesn’t hold up. It will take some time to prove it doesn’t hold up. It will take time to work through the legalese to destroy their argument.

But it will be destroyed.

And then what?

There will now be full investigations. Dick Cheney and the Republicans insist on it, lol, by saying we have to have evidence that torture “works.”

So when we have those investigations and all of there arguments are methodically and thoroughly destroyed….what then?

Will we REALLY put Cheney on trial? Or Bush? That has never happened, never. We have been pushing hard on this for years now. What do YOU think will happen?

What will the end game be?

That, after the arguments for torture are destroyed, will be the BIG question. It is easy to say “throw em in jail.” But unless you really think Cheney or Bush will be the first Vice President or President to actually be jailed…and if you do, please imagine the process and implications of that for us….what do you think will happen?  

The Senate Democrats Who Fucked 9 Million Americans: Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV)

(Crossposted at The Free Speech Zone)

(Part 3 of a 13 part series)

VOTED NAY on Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009…


Current Office: U.S. Senate

Seniority: Senior Seat

First Elected: 11/04/1958

Last Elected: 11/07/2006

Next Election: 2012

Party: Democratic

Background Information


Family: Widowed

2 Children: Mona, Marjorie.

Birth Date: 11/20/1917

Birthplace: North Wilkesboro, NC

Home City: Sophia, WV

Religion: Baptist


BA, Marshall University, 1994

JD, American University, 1963.

Professional Experience:



Gas Station Attendant


Produce Salesman

Store Owner/Small Businessman

Welder/Ship Builder.

Political Experience:

Senator, United States Senate, 1958-present

Senate Majority Leader, United States Senate, 1977-1980, 1987-1988

Senate Minority Leader, United States Senate, 1981-1986

Senate Democratic Whip, United States Senate, 1971

Representative, United States House of Representatives, 1952-1958

Senator, West Virginia State Senate, 1950-1952.

Delegate, West Virginia House of Delegates, 1946-1950.


Sunday School Teacher.

Caucuses/Non-Legislative Committees:

Secretary, Senate Democratic Conference, 1967

Congressional Fire Services Caucus

Democratic Steering and Coordination Committee

Senate National Guard Caucus

Senate Rural Health Caucus

Senate Steel Caucus.…

Congressional Hearings

Just a reminder that starting at 10 am are 2 hearings which may be of interest.

The first is Sheldon Whitehouse’s Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts- “What Went Wrong: Torture and the Office of Legal Counsel in the Bush Administration.”   Ali Soufan and Philip Zelikow will be testifying.

The other is the House Oversight Committee- “AIG: Where is the Taxpayer’s Money Going?.”  AIG CEO Edward Liddy and the three AIG trustees, Jill Considine, Chester Feldberg, and Douglas Foshee, will be testifying.

Both hearings should be web cast by CSPAN.

To Clothe the Naked

(crossposted from orange)

(h/t to Lady Libertine, who got me thinking about this)

The ACLU fought and won the case to force the Department of Defense to make public by May 28, 2009 “photos depicting the abuse of prisoners by U.S. personnel.”

There’s been a lot of pushback regarding the release of these photos.  I have no reason to believe otherwise, yet I wonder if those who are part of this pushback will succeed in keeping the pictures from being released.  Guess we’ll find out by May 28.

And when they are released, what will we do?  How are we to look at these pictures?  How can we prepare ourselves so that this is not just some sensational political event, but a somber confrontation of man’s inhumanity to man?

Wednesday Morning Science Supplement

From Yahoo News Science

1 NASA finds minor scratch damage to shuttle shield

By Irene Klotz, Reuters

Tue May 12, 6:47 pm ET

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) – The U.S. space shuttle Atlantis apparently was hit by a piece of debris that nicked part of its heat shield but the damage appeared very minor, NASA said on Tuesday.

Atlantis and its seven-member crew blasted off from Florida on Monday on an 11-day mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

It will be the U.S. space agency’s last chance to tinker with the telescope — which has vastly expanded scientists’ knowledge of the universe — before NASA ends the shuttle program in 2010.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

An Opened Mind XXXVI

Art Link


Just Wondering

Just because

I’m gendered differently

than other people,

why must I

surrender my feelings,

check my sensitivity

at the door

like an oversized overcoat,

just so a few

can repeat their

unfunny jokes

and pokes

at people like me,

because after all

there is nothing

funnier in their minds

than someone like me?

Not a real woman…

Not a real man…

What does that

even mean?

And why does

it even matter?

And why do people

just stand around

and silently

watch it happen?

Are they chuckling

to themselves

because they agree?

I wonder.

Beyond toleration

and acceptance

lie support

and defense.

Which will die first,


or me?

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–November 29, 2005

Late Night Karaoke

Time Was Not On My Side

It’s Not Getting Any Smarter Out There

‘Millionaire’ Contestant Makes Worst Use Of Lifelines Ever

Idaho resident Kathy Evans brought humiliation to her friends and family Tuesday when she set a new standard for stupidity with her appearance on the popular TV show, ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.’

It seems that Evans, a 32-year-old wife and mother of two, got stuck on the first question, and proceeded to make what fans of the show are dubbing ‘the absolute worst use of lifelines ever.’

After being introduced to the show’s host Meredith Vieira, Evans assured her that she was ready to play, whereupon she was posed with an extremely easy $100 question. The question was: ‘Which of the following is the largest?’

A) A Peanut

B) An Elephant

C) The Moon

D) Hey, who you calling large?

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