June 24, 2011 archive

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Due to playing in the mud (don’t ask, trust me it’s messy), the Evening Edition this week will be an Abbreviated Evening Edition by c’est moi.

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The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is an Open Thread

Rosa Brooks Leaves the Pentagon

Rosa Brooks

Almost nobody in America ever heard of Rosa Brooks except her enemies. She was very big news for Republicans (and only Republicans) when our brand-new President Barack Obama hired her for a job that ceased to exist when she resigned as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and Special Coordinator for Rule of Law and Humanitarian Policy last week, and doesn’t that title make you dizzy!

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and Special Coordinator for Rule of Law and Humanitarian Policy! Appointed by the Drone-King Obama, Commander in Chief of an evil little prison on Guantanamo Bay and an unknown number of similar operations all over the world, like our “Detention Facility” in Parwan Province, which Rosa Brooks visited in January 2011 along with Marine Col. William Lietzau, who is currently Chief Warden of the Global War on Terror, and into whose office Rosa Brooks’ portfolio as defender of the rule of law has been unceremoniously dumped.

So now Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Policy Lietzau also oversees the Rule of Law and Humanitarian Policy for the Department of Defense, and what could be more legal and humane than the indefinite detention of an always indefinite number of Muslim gentlemen who have never been and will never be charged with any crime?

This odious transformation transpired in almost total silence and indifference, even inside the Beltway, but only two years ago Fox News was screaming!



Bring back Joe McCarthy from the dead! Only HUAC can save us now!

But just how far far left is the “radical leftist” Rosa Brooks? Here’s a sample:

Before 9/11 “al-Qaida was little more than an obscure group of extremist thugs, well financed and intermittently lethal but relatively limited in their global and regional political pull.  Today, thanks to U.S. policies, Al-Qaida has become the vast global threat the administration imagined it to be in 2001. Our ham-handed detention and interrogation tactics and our ill-advised invasion of Iraq have alienated vast swathes of the Islamic world, fueling extremism and anti-Americanism.”

So it’s easy to see why Rosa Brooks makes right-wing chicken-hawks like Bill O’Reilly see red, and if her dead-on analysis of the War on Terror wasn’t already bad enough, she even fights back!

When researchers at Indiana University calculated that O’Reilly indulges in “8.88 name-calling incidents per minute” every minute he’s on the air, Dr. Brooks celebrated this “achievement” in the L.A. Times.

Well, color me crazy, but I think we need to give the guy a little credit here. Do you think it’s easy to engage in name-calling every 6.8 seconds? To match O’Reilly’s performance, I would have to insult people 35.52 times in the course of this column. That’s a pace I just can’t hope to maintain, unless I cheat.

So hats off to Bill O’Reilly, that shameless, deceitful, irresponsible, propagandizing right-wing bully!

And my hat’s off to former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Rosa Brooks, that brilliant, funny, dedicated advocate and activist for human dignity and the rule of law.


Six In The Morning

Libya rebels ‘in secret talks’ with Tripoli underground

By Bridget Kendall BBC News, Benghazi

A member of the rebels’ National Transitional Council (NTC) in Benghazi revealed they were holding secret talks to prepare for the regime’s fall.

The member said the talks were being held via Skype and satellite phones.

The rebels want to gauge the impact of pressure from Nato air strikes and shortages on morale in Tripoli.

Secondly, they want to involve the Tripoli underground opposition in their general strategy for ousting Col Gaddafi, so that if anyone is emboldened to take to the streets again in the capital it is woven into a bigger plan.

Frday’s Headlines:

End of the Afghan war is in sight. Now the political fighting begins

European Union leaders pledge to help Greece

More mass rapes in DRC as army runs amok

Islamists break Pakistan’s military ranks

Peru set to surpass Colombia as world’s top coca producer

This Week In The Dream Antilles

Is canceled.  Cancelado.  And why, you wonder is it canceled rather than merely delayed?  The dog ate the homework? A good question.  Your Bloguero regrets to inform that as he types these lines, he sits in the gritty city of his birth, Newark, New Jersey (Note: your Bloguero apologizes to the reader for this apparent redundancy).  He is sitting at gate C-71 at the Airport.  And it was evening and it was morning, and it is the beginning of the second day of travel from Eastern New York to urgently, passionately desired Mexico.  Total elapsed mileage so far: less than 150.  Total elapsed time: 1 day and counting.

Yesterday, your Bloguero’s friends at United Airlines had a small mechanical problem, and at about 8 am your Bloguero, who was then through security and waiting to get on a plane that was strangely and conspicuously absent, was informed in sum and substance that he could not go.  Tomorrow, yes.  What is now Yesterday, and was today at that time, we’re sorry, today, no.  No?  No.  Sir, I can put you on a flight at 6:55 am tomorrow with four stops all over this vast and wonderful country with its amber waves of grain and purple mountains. You will reach your deeply longed for destination at about 4 pm CT.  Your Bloguero stares in full disbelief.  He computes: 10 hours to arrive?  3 changes?  Overnight waiting? Your Bloguero decides to throw his fabled penury to the jackals and to get to get a ticket direct from Newark.  He rents a car. He drives.  He marvels at the complexities of the Information Society.   (Note to United: Your email that this flight was canceled reached your Bloguero about 4 hours after the cancellation.  So much for digital competence.)

In the middle of his unexpected, sudden highway excursion, as if there weren’t enough difficulties in the world already, your Bloguero has an extremely unpleasant encounter with his friends at Hertz.  I recount this in its glory for your edification.  Your Bloguero, who had gotten a good rate on a rented car back in May, informs H that, alas, he will not pick up the vegetable until noon, less than 24 hours late, but late nonetheless, the next day at noon.  This, your Bloguero assumes is a courtesy that responsible people should provide, rather than just showing up the next day with an explanation and demanding the car.  How very, very wrong.  The result of this courtesy?  Hertz is ever so very slightly sorry to inform your Bloguero that he will have to pay almost 3 times as much for the rental as was his original deal.  What?  For a day less?  How can that be?  And why, pray tell?  The “explanation” is priceless.  Sir, it is because when you modify your reservation it’s as if you canceled the old one and made a new one at today’s prevailing rate, according to H’s computer system, so you get the exorbitant rate we have today, not the rate you contracted for back in May.  H does not say, “Sir, we are mercilessly gouging you because we are a mighty global corporation, and your lizard overlord, and you, a mere mortal, exist to be taken advantage of.”  Five phone calls later, telephones, computers, prompts, eventually people, assistant managers, managers, promised but unmade calls back, and your Bloguero, who is then feeling the jackbooted foot of H on his throat and his shoulders entering his ears because of his undissipated annoyance, cancels the reservation.  He makes another one, almost as cheap with National.  Net increase of cost? $30.  Your Bloguero spends most of the money H tried to extract from him taking his children out to dinner on his way to Newark and a motel via Manhattan.  Your Bloguero resolves to tell the world of H’s treachery, and never, ever to use their company again.  (Note to H, whose full name will never again be typed in this blog: you owe me $30.  Pay up.)

Your Bloguero sits in the airport in overcast Newark.  He wonders: is there a single reported case in which a stranger has ever offered to a passenger a package or luggage to carry onto a flight?

This Week In The Dream Antilles is a weekly digest.  Sometimes it is actually a digest of essays posted in the past week.  Sometimes, like now, it isn’t.  Hasta Pronto!


Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

To think is to differ.

–Clarence Darrow

Bang 1

Late Night Karaoke

Two Days in Iraq

Just another day in Baghdad…

June 22, 2011…

BAQUBA – A sticky bomb attached to a car exploded, killing a former member of Saddam Hussein’s outlawed Baath party, in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, police said.

KIRKUK – An employee of Iraq’s Communications Ministry was kidnapped as he rode a motorcycle in eastern Kirkuk, the Kirkuk province security operations centre said.

BAGHDAD – A sticky bomb attached to his car killed a retired lieutenant colonel who served in Saddam Hussein’s army, in Baghdad’s southern Saidiya district, an Interior Ministry source said.

BAQUBA – A gunman on a bicycle, using a silenced weapon, killed the mayor of the Gatoon neighbourhood in Baquba, police said.

BAGHDAD – Gunmen attacked an Iranian oil delegation visiting Iraq for talks, the Iranian oil ministry said. An Iraqi security source said the delegation’s convoy was attacked in central Baghdad and two Iraqi guards were wounded.

MOSUL – A mortar round fired at the Nineveh province security operations centre missed the target and struck a house, killing one person and wounding another, in southern Mosul, police said.

MOSUL – Gunmen attacked a security checkpoint and killed a policeman in western Mosul, police said.

MOSUL – A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol killed one passer-by and wounded two other people, including a policeman, in central Mosul, police said..

MOSUL – Gunmen threw a hand grenade at a police patrol, wounding four people, including a policeman, in southwestern Mosul, police said.

BAGHDAD – A parked car bomb exploded near a police patrol, killing one passer-by and wounding nine other people, including three policemen, in the Ghazaliya district of western Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.

BAGHDAD – Two roadside bombs struck a convoy carrying a local police chief, wounding him and five other policemen, along with two passers-by, in the Amiriya district of western Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.

BAGHDAD – Two people were wounded by a roadside bomb in the Karrada district of central Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.

BAGHDAD – Two people were wounded by a roadside bomb in the Karrada district of central Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.

BAGHDAD – A bomb targeting a police traffic patrol wounded five people, including two traffic policemen, in the eastern Baghdad district of Zayouna, an Interior Ministry source said.

BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol wounded three people, including one policeman, in the southern Jadiriya district of Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.

And all in all, June 22, 2011 was a fairly quiet day in Iraq, compared to…

Countdown with Keith Olbermann

If you do not get Current TV you can watch Keith here:

Watch live video from CURRENT TV LIVE Countdown Olbermann on www.justin.tv

If you can’t watch here Timbuk3 has supplied a link to DU

End Game

This is a piece by Chris Hedges. I’d consider it a must-read. The last paragraph is split in two pieces by me for points of emphasis.

Revolution in America

The game is over. We lost. The corporate state will continue its inexorable advance until two-thirds of the nation and the planet is locked into a desperate, permanent underclass. Most of us will struggle to make a living while the Blankfeins and our political elites wallow in the decadence and greed of the Forbidden City and Versailles. These elites do not have a vision. They know only one word: more.  They will continue to exploit the nation, the global economy and the ecosystem. And they will use their money to hide in gated compounds when it all implodes. Do not expect them to take care of us when it starts to unravel.

And here’s the conclusion:

We will have to take care of ourselves. We will have to rapidly create small, monastic communities where we can sustain and feed ourselves. It will be up to us to keep alive the intellectual, moral and cultural values the corporate state has attempted to snuff out. It is either that or become drones and serfs in a global corporate dystopia. It is not much of a choice. But at least we still have one.