February 15, 2010 archive

Missiles That Killed 12 in Marjah Didn’t “Miss”

From the AP wire…

NATO has disclosed that six of the civilians killed by rockets which crashed into their home outside the southern Afghan town of Marjah were children.

NATO said Monday the rockets missed their target by about 600 meters, or about a third of a mile.

The official story would be bad enough, even if it weren’t literally incredible.

One of Lockheed Martin’s high-tech High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems “missing” its target by as much as 600 meters is bizarrely unlikely; two missiles “missing” by exactly the same distance and hitting exactly the same target is about as unlikely as two meteors hitting exactly the same military genius on his pointy little head.

This obviously wasn’t a technological failure, which everybody could simply shrug off as “shit happens.”

This was a failure of what passes for “intelligence” in our far-flung war-zones, from Yemen to Iraq to Pakistan to Afghanistan and wherever else we may be killing “suspected jihadis” or “suspected insurgents” or “suspected al Qaeda operatives” all over the world, and this particular “mistake” in Marjah was just an unusually blatant demonstation that the CIA and Pentagon and Barack Obama don’t have a fucking clue who they are killing.

So our official story puts the stink on technology, but it wasn’t fucked-up electronics that killed those children in Marjah.

It was fucked-up Americans.

Afternoon Edition

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Homeless Haitians line up before dawn for tarps


Sun Feb 14, 6:49 pm ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Desperate Haitians began lining up well before dawn on Sunday for tarpaulins distributed to those left homeless by last month’s earthquake, although many said they needed tents instead.

With the coming rainy season threatening to worsen already squalid conditions in makeshift camps across the capital, aid organizations have been seeking to distribute tarps for up to 1,500 families per day.

More than a million Haitians are homeless, but a month after the massive quake, UN officials said only about 50,000 families, or an estimated 272,000 people, have received emergency materials to build their own shelters.

Tough Love

On one side there are forces who will do almost anything for the ideology that justifies their greed and lust for power, unjust war, torture, corruption etc. They have no empathy or sympathy for others if they stand to gain by not having any. They seem to be able to shut their humanity at will when it is to their advantage, and to be able to totally dismiss the concerns and feelings of others.

Hmmmmm I guess we have to change that from “will do almost anything to … “do absolutely” anything, since they are also willing to kill an entire planet or at least billions of people, and combined with  unjust war, torture and corruption, really what else is there that they wont do?

Thinking beyond the two party system

I’m not going to pull any punches here.  I detest the two party system.  I believe that it undermines representative government.  It makes our government more responsive to corporations than to citizens.  It decreases the chances of progress and it results in many good ideas being shut out of the national political debate.

This piece was written as part of GreenChange Blog Action Day.  Learn more here.

Bye, Bayh, Missed American Pie, Took My Donor to the Levee

Bye, Bayh, Missed American Pie

Took My Donor to the Levee, but the Levee was Dry

Them Good Ol Boys of WellPointe were drinkin’  whiskey and rye

Singing “this’ll be the day that they die

This’ll be the day that they die !”

Did you write the book of gov

And do you have faith in God above

If the Gruber tells you so

Do you believe in Rock n Roll

Can an excise tax save your mortal soul

Can you teach Max Baucus how to dance, real slow ?

Well, I know that you’re in cahoots with him

’cause we saw you dancing in the Finance Cominn

You both kicked off your shoes

Man, we hate those Anthem Blue Cross Blues

There was a lonely teenage sickly buck

with a pink Korman ribbon but no pickup truck

With no insurance she ran out of luck

The day, the patient died

I started singing

Bye, Bayh, Missed American Pie

Drove my donation to the levee

But the legislation was dry

Them Bad Ol Dems were drinkin’ whiskey and rye

And singin,’ “this be the day that it dies

this will be the day that it dies”

Now for 10 years, WE’VE BEEN ON OUR OWN

And profits grow green on a rolling bone

But that’s not how it used to be

When the Candidate sang for the king and queen

In a coat he borrowed from Howard Dean

and in a voice, that came from you and me

Oh, and while the WellPointe CEO was lookin’ down

The Cigna stole his thorny crown

The courtroom was adjourned

No verdict was returned

And while Obama read Sunstein’s book

The Gang of 4 practiced in throwing hooks

And we sang dirges in the dark

The day, the health reform died.

And we were singing

(those of us still alive)

Bye, Bayh, Missed American Pie

Drove my donor to the levee but the water’s too high

Them Bad Ol Dems were making bills for nigh

And singing “This will be the day that it dies

This’ll be the day that it dies”

Helter skelter winter in a summer swelter

The birds & fish flew away without ESA shelter

Eight miles high, and falling fast

The rain fell mercury tainted on the grass

The Feinstein tried for a forward pass

With the Pombo on the sidelines about to cast

Now the half time air was sweet perfume

while Billy Tauzin played a marching tune

We all got up to dance

Oh, but we never got the chance

’cause the Insurance execs tried to take the field

The lobbyists refused to yield


The day, the music died

We started singing

Bye, Bayh, Missed American Pie

Drove Our Constitution to the Levee

But the Levee was Dry

The Supreme Court Boys were drinking Money and Lies

And singin’ “this will be the day that they die

this will be the day that they die.”

Oh, and there we were all in one place

NASA’s been outsourced, no more lost in space

with no time left to start again

So come on, Evan, make yourself nimble, make yourself quick

Call those industry donors, light your candlestick

‘Cause your Senate Seat’s the Devil’s only friend

Oh, and as I watched him on the stage

My hands were clenched in fists of sage

No Creator born of ocean’s shell

Could break that spirit’s spell

As the smoke wafted high into the night

To light cleansing smoke in a clear blue site

I saw Satan frown in stymied might

The day the Donations Died

We are singing

Bye, Bayh, Missed American Pie

Drove my warrior to the levee

And the levees were high

The good old boys are running faster and high

Singin’  this will be the day that I ride

This will be the day that We Ride

I met a girl who sang the blues

And I asked her for some Happy News

She said Evan Bayh quit and turned away

I went down to the sacred bores

Where I’d heard like music years before

But the lobbyists cried the music wouldn’t play

And in the streets, the children screamed

The lovers cried, the poets dreamed

Not a word by Wellpointe spoken

The Insurance Industry might be broken

And the 3 Senators that we admire the most

(and it’s not Collins, Holy Joe, and Olympia- they’re toast)

They caught the last train for the coast

The day, that Bayh went bye

And we are singing

Bye, Bayh, Missed American Pie

Drove our hopes to the levees and heaved a big sigh

Those lobbyist boys, are feeding ’em whiskey and rye

Singing “this will be the day WellPointe dies

This could be the day WellPointe dies.”



So why did he quit so suddenly? His official statement says he’s frustrated with the Senate because there is “too much partisanship and not enough progress – too much narrow ideology and not enough practical problem-solving……

that’s pretty much Marc Ambinder’s take: “He wanted to be POTUS and came to hate the Senate and liberal activists. He wanted no mas.”


“Hold Onto Your Underwear – This Is Not a National Emergency”

by Tom Engelhardt:

Let me put American life in the Age of Terror into some kind of context, and then tell me you’re not ready to get on the nearest plane heading anywhere, even toward Yemen.

In 2008, 14,180 Americans were murdered, according to the FBI.  In that year, there were 34,017 fatal vehicle crashes in the U.S. and, so the U.S. Fire Administration tells us, 3,320 deaths by fire.  More than 11,000 Americans died of the swine flu between April and mid-December 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; on average, a staggering 443,600 Americans die yearly of illnesses related to tobacco use, reports the American Cancer Society; 5,000 Americans die annually from food-borne diseases; an estimated 1,760 children died from abuse or neglect in 2007; and the next year, 560 Americans died of weather-related conditions, according to the National Weather Service, including 126 from tornadoes, 67 from rip tides, 58 from flash floods, 27 from lightning, 27 from avalanches, and 1 from a dust devil.

As for airplane fatalities, no American died in a crash of a U.S. carrier in either 2007 or 2008, despite 1.5 billion passengers transported.  In 2009, planes certainly went down and people died.  In June, for instance, a French flight on its way from Rio de Janeiro to Paris disappeared in bad weather over the Atlantic, killing 226.  Continental Connection Flight 3407, a regional commuter flight, crashed into a house near Buffalo, New York, that February killing 50, the first fatal crash of a U.S. commercial flight since August 2006.  And in January 2009, US Airways Flight 1549, assaulted by a flock of birds, managed a brilliant landing in New York’s Hudson River when disaster might have ensued.  In none of these years did an airplane go down anywhere due to terrorism, though in 2007 two terrorists smashed a Jeep Cherokee loaded with propane tanks into the terminal of Glasgow International Airport.  (No one was killed.)    

The now-infamous Northwest Airlines Flight 253, carrying Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and his bomb-laden underwear toward Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, had 290 passengers and crew, all of whom survived.

Read all of it here… it’s worth it.

Open Book


Winter Olympics- Day III, Afternoon

Well, you have to hope this is more exciting than it sounds.

On NBC main they’re covering Men’s Snowboard Cross (think Moto-Cross) and Cross Country (Women’s 10k and Men’s 15k).

The Women’s 10k is supposed to run from 1 to 1:30 pm.  Snowboard Cross preliminary heats, which NBC likens to NASCAR racing (yay, more twisted chunks of flaming metal and holes in the asphalt), from 1:30 to 4 pm.  The Men’s 15k is from 4 to 5 pm.

While they will finally be holding Men’s Downhill this afternoon, the indications are that since it’s a very high profile event they’re going to tape delay it until tonight’s prime time segment.

Of course the schedule also says that they’ll be covering Pairs Free Skate (Long Program), more Snowboard Cross, and Speed Skating (Men’s 500m).

I have no faith at all in the schedule because as it turns out MSNBC did repeat the USA v. China Hockey game last night at 3 am.  Not that you missed much unless you like blowouts.

Starting at 5:30 MSNBC will be hosting Canada v. Switzerland which I expect will be another one.

A much less frenetic day than yesterday when we had America’s Cup and the Daytona 500 in addition to the 2 rounds of Olympics.  I should be able to crank out an Afternoon Edition.

Tomorrow will be less forgiving as I have a training seminar to conduct which will occupy me from about 6 to 10 pm.

We’ll see how it goes.

Cindy Sheehan on Mythocracy

It does say it all.


Fully in line with my complete contempt of mainstream media, politics, and the zombinal society in general.  Some really good quotes in there.

Saving The Tiger: First Steps


Tigers are on the brink of extinction.  This fact brought me initially surprise, and then immediately grief, despair, rage, anger and sadness.  So, I’ve written about it– this is the fourth essay in a week — in an effort to alert others to this catastrophe.  I consider the extinction of tigers and other big cats an environmental emergency, an impending disaster.

A Winning Election Strategy for 2010

After the 2008 election cycle advanced a long litany of proposed reforms and massive structural changes which came attached to Presidential candidate Barack Obama, 2010’s agenda is much more modest.  A disillusioned, frustrated electorate looks to lash out against those in power by casting their votes accordingly, hence the reason why so many long-time legislators within the party have retired in the past several months.  As we know, scaled down versions of existing measures are the order of the day, and skittish Democrats are wary of making additional promises that they know they can’t likely keep, aiming to avoid increased voter ire at all cost.  Still, it would be foolish to cast aside all talk of additional reform, particularly since some slightly more modest proposals would likely go over well, even in this dubious climate.    

Even with the severe limitations of the 2010 cycle, there are a few issues Democrats could hammer home that would resonate well with voters.  Polls reveal that the recent Federal Election Commission v. Citizens United Supreme Court decision regarding campaign finance reform is a highly unpopular one, and some Democrats on the state and local level have proposed measures to push back and guard themselves from the potential sweep of corporate interference.

Maryland lawmakers are mobilizing to prepare a series of campaign finance reforms in response to a recent Supreme Court decision that will open federal elections to more corporate and labor spending.

About a dozen Democratic senators and delegates this week outlined a package of bills meant to restrict the ability of those businesses to spend in state elections.

The initiatives come after the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which overturned a prohibition on corporations and unions using general treasury funds for political ads.

Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, said the legislators are working to “try and contain the damage.”

It should be noted that none of these measures do a tremendous amount to reverse the decision itself and its now-established precedent, but they do provide additional safeguards in case corporations decide to take new liberties.  The nightmare scenario envisioned by many is an influx of corporate-based cash into races and regions in ways that had never before existed.  Thus, this proposed legislation is designed primarily to prevent business from overreaching into political races.  Even so, sensible strategies like these would go over well with constituents in every state, and would give increasingly vulnerable Democrats a powerfully populist talking point.  Subsequent pro-big business decisions from whatever source are likely to be viewed negatively by the American people, and if the national Democratic Party wishes to rebrand itself to keep its control of Congress, it might do well to consider strategies like these.    

Running against the SCOTUS as a whole might also prove to be a winning strategy, since the latest unpopular heavily split decision reveals the undemocratic nature of a small, deliberative body who is appointed for life and cannot be collectively, individually, or otherwise voted in or voted out by the general public.  We can forever debate the merits of why the Federal judicial system was set up in such a fashion, but we simply can’t deny the reality of it.  Voters now are concerned much more about results, not reasons.  Moreover, the direct impact upon the 5-4 decision itself showed plainly in the person of the two Justices that Former President George W. Bush nominated.  Democrats could once again point back to the destructive Bush Presidency as a still-evident and still-existing part of the problem.  The Roberts court has not yet set itself up as directly antagonistic to President Obama and his agenda, but it very well might as time goes on, which would give the incumbent Chief Executive a weapon when the time arrives for him to run for re-election in 2012.  Setting the scene early as well as the framing would make that message far more pertinent and pervasive.      

Though the party in power is always under the gun when a bad economy, high unemployment, and Congressional gridlock spawn massive ill-will in the voting public, a slight modification in focus could limit losses and stem the bleeding.  As it is right now, Democrats are rushing about in a million different directions with no coherent, nor cohesive sense of message discipline.  As many have done before, I have criticized those in positions of authority who have either abused the peoples’ trust or have frittered away a golden opportunity by their own inability to form consensus or make resounding, firm decisions.  The sea change in Washington politics ushered in by an astounding 2008 cycle and an equally astounding rapid decay of many of those gains in the course of one short year has redefined previously existing parameters and expected results.  Acting sooner rather than later works against the math and logic of a previous age, I recognize, but what we have all discovered recently is that significant developments of the Twenty-first Century proceed at an incredibly rapid clip, and those who jump out in front of an issue first usually fare the best.  The clock is running down, but there is still plenty of time left.          

Dick Cheney Proves There Is No God


Instead of getting Sunday talk-show gigs, Dick Cheney should be put up against a wall and shot as the war criminal he is – no charges, no trial, just BLAM! If it’s good enough for the ‘terrorists’ it’s good enough for evil incarnate; Dick Cheney.

The fact Dick Cheney not only lives but is free to spread his evil is proof God is Dead.

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