Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in remarks published Monday that Israel would have to withdraw from East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights if it was serious about making peace with the Palestinians and Syria.
In an interview with the Yedioth Aharonoth daily, Olmert said that as a hard-line politician for decades he had not been prepared to look at reality in all of its depth.
"Ariel Sharon spoke about painful costs and refused to elaborate," Olmert told the daily. "I say, we have no choice but to elaborate. In the end of the day, we will have to withdraw from the most decisive areas of the territories. In exchange for the same territories left in our hands, we will have to give compensation in the form of territories within the State of Israel."
"I think we are very close to an agreement," Olmert added.
These comments were the clearest sign to date of Olmert's willingness to meet key Palestinian demands in peace talks.
By Joshua Holland, AlterNet. Posted September 26, 2008.
It's 'empire spending,' not 'defense spending.'
On Wednesday, the House passed a mammoth defense bill by a 392-39 vote. It's expected to clear the Senate with little difficulty next week.
It was part of a trillion-dollar stop-gap measure to keep programs running through next March, allowing lawmakers to skip town without passing a final budget. The Associated Press reports, "The legislation came together in a remarkably secret process that concentrated decision-making power in the hands of a few lawmakers."
In keeping with the tradition of recent years, Bush held a gun to his own head and threatened to pull the trigger if his demands weren't met. According to the AP, "To earn President Bush's signature rather than a veto, House and Senate negotiators dropped several provisions he opposed. They include a ban on private interrogators in U.S. military detention facilities and what would have amounted to congressional veto power over a security pact with Iraq."
In other words, Congress also maintained recent tradition, swearing not to give Bush a blank check and then whipping out their pens and signing a blank check.
The number that the House sent to the Senate for "defense" -- $612 billion for the coming year -- is eye-popping. Imagine a stack of 612,000 million-dollar bills. Quite a pile.
That number's a sham, however. The budget calls for $68.6 billion for the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan in 2009. War costs this year totaled $182 billion, according to the Federation of American Scientists.
The House passed the Brobdingnagian spending measure 11 months after George W. Bush vetoed a bill -- one passed with a lot of bipartisan support -- that would have added $7 billion measly dollars per year to the State Children's Health Insurance Program, covering 4 million more uninsured children. You'd be hard-pressed to find a clearer sign of national psychosis.
What's that? You want health care, education, affordable housing, 21st-century infrastructure?
Voters in Ecuador appear to have approved a new constitution yesterday, guaranteeing rights to clean water, universal healthcare, pensions, and free state-run education through the university level. It also may allow President Rafael Correa to remain in power until 2017. Particularly of note is a world first bill of rights for nature which grants inalienable rights to nature.
“Mr. Speaker I understand we are under Martial Law as declared by the speaker last night.”
That is a quote from the Republican Representative from north Texas, Michael Burgess.
Is there something going on that "We the People" are unaware of? Alright, it would be naive to think otherwise, given the amount of tax payer money involved in socialising Wall Streets losses- but MARTIAL LAW?
You know, McCain could have chosen Christine Todd Whitman. She's a fine looking woman who is qualified to be president and isn't a fucking nutcase who speaks in tongues. Just sayin'....Go Obama! And what's with that dreary inarticulate sax solo. That guy's playing makes me feel like I'm in Hell...
Vote for Obama: He's less likely to send private Blackwater death squads to kill you in your sleep. And two: doesn't seem to have a vice presidential candidate who speaks in tongues and would find thermonuclear war a pretty good option because this whole life thing is just a minor stage before heaven and most likely for you heathens a burning eternal fiery Hell. Go Obama!
Are subMedia and Pepperspray Productions Real Journalists?
Let's Play "WALLSTREET BAILOUT" The Rules Are... Rep Kapture
Bonus: What do the last four Amsam posts have in common? Compare, contrast.
Your Urgent Help Needed
I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude. I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.
I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.
This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.
Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.
“Once the sugar coating of the ordinary dissolves, we are left with the hard and uncomfortable truth about where we’ve been as a nation. We buy souvenirs at the end of a trip, to remind ourselves of the experience. What do we have to remind us of the events of the last eight years?” This project is Toledano’s answer.
Three, given that the dems cave on everything, Digby articulates the nightmare scenario of the Dems and Obama okaying the bailout with little public good or oversight and being portrayed, somewhat legitimately if they pass anything near the Paulson plan, as the party of privileged wall street elites.
Four, in a case of really good online reporting, Chris Bowers gives us two anonymous emails from an unnamed congressperson who uses the word "fuck" and tells us how Dem House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will get steam rollered. Thanks to those Blue Dogs.
Five, but not least, Greenwald has a great perspective onthis here and here. Related: More from Greider, Krugman and I wish Max Sawicky was still writing something...how about Dean Baker?
Better than most of what you will get in newspapers as to what exactly the "truth" of this matter. Way way better than anything that passes for news on your network television.
I agree with Chris Bowers. If the Dems were even basic tacticians, then what's the rush? Do something cosmetic and let the next president handle it.
This is the second time a comment I've written has been purged from Mondoweiss. Or at least I can't find it. I don't know why it got purged. It was about the Daily Kos. Philip Weiss champions himself as a brave proponent of free speech about the influence of the Israel Lobby. I guess it doesn't extend to his comments sections. There were lots of other comments purged as well. Well, I'll try to make sure those comments get published somewheres...
Actually, the Daily Kos isn't some radical lefty outfit. They just aren't. The radical lefty group outfit is the Democratic Underground where it looks like you can really talk about anything. The Daily Kos, no matter their big talk on FISA or this horrible bailout, works to elect democrats no matter how horrible. I mean, I've met Markos and he really thought the answer to all of our problems was electing more dems vetted by Schumer and Rahm.
Tactically, the smart thing to do would be to take a long look at third party candidates and specific third party runs and start funding those efforts. That's not what the Daily Kos is doing. IN fact, by supporting the dems they're really just like the dem leadership: center-right. So, on this bailout bill we'll have a compromise between center right and republican hard fascist right. That'll be a great solution.
Philip Shropshire www.threeriversonline.com
PS: The Daily Kos also bans people who talk about Israel and the influence it has not only on the Israeli issue but the election integrity movement. Here's a question: if you're a Jewish DLC member and you want the US to kill for Israel are you that upset that the Republicans have stolen the last two national elections? Or here's a better question: if you took over both chambers in 2006 would you not a pass a bill that would prevent florida 2000 or ohio 2004 happening again in 2008?
PPS: Yes I was banned from the Daily Kos for talking about Israel. But you can get banned for lots of things.
Posted by: Philip Shropshire | September 22, 2008 at 01:37 PM
Update: The post was restored when I checked the Mondoweiss link. It was moved to the front of the list. Perhaps that's why I missed it. Well, thanks I think. Why did I miss it earlier?
Mark Foley Unlikely to Charged in Page Scandal The former Florida congressman resigned in 2006 when graphic e-mails and IMs became public. By BRIAN SKOLOFF Associated Press Writer WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. September 18, 2008 (AP)
Two federal officials have told The Associated Press that no charges are expected against former Congressman Mark Foley after a lengthy investigation into his lurid computer messages to underage pages.
They also told AP results of the state investigation will be announced Friday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case. ~snip~
Two federal law enforcement agents told the Associated Press that former Florida Republican Rep. Mark Foley will not face any charges stemming from a two-year long investigation into his communications with male teenagers in the U.S. House Page program.
Foley resigned from the House in Sept. 2006 after his communications with teenagers through e-mail and AOL’s Instant Messenger were made public. The ensuing scandal and House ethics investigation is widely viewed as a contributing factor to Republicans loss of the majority in the mid-term election as the scandal made national headlines.
The investigation was hampered, in part, because neither Foley nor U.S. House authorities would allow investigators access to his congressional computer, citing the argument that the computer could contain legislative information that is constitutionally privileged.
The investigation has cost the former lawmaker over $1 million in legal bills, which he paid for out of his congressional campaign account–it remains active and still boasts a healthy $1.1 million cash on hand through the end of June.
Lesson: The Elite are above the law. You and I are not.
Government Takeovers: Another Weapon, and a Truly Fearsome One Step one. Via NYCweboy, via Corrente, I arrived at this graphic in the Financial Times.
I studied it for several minutes. You should, too. The "global reach" of AIG, indeed. Many different kinds of activities, all around the world. The kinds of activities that allow businesses, and individuals, and governments to continue to function efficiently and productively -- indeed, simply to function.
Let's move on to step two.
There are only a very few blogs with readers who offer insights that make it worthwhile to read through the comments. Calculated Risk is one of the rare exceptions.
Keep that FT graphic and its implications clearly in mind. Then consider this comment to this post: Scooby writes:
Am I the only one who noticed that the US government has just bought itself the ability to inflict a whole bunch of "financial terror" worldwide by taking controlling interest in these huge financial firms?
Is everyone around the world too busy being smug that the US taxpayer is backstopping them to notice the big rusty iron vise into which their family jewels has slipped? And you thought the takeovers were a problem. They're not a problem: depending on your goals, they're a huge, immensely valuable benefit. Depending on who you are and what you want, "financial terror" is an awesome and powerful weapon.
Consider. Country A through Z (look at that graphic again, lots and lots of countries all around the world, probably most of the countries on the globe) wants to renegotiate thousands, perhaps millions, of insurance policies. Or it wants a break on some rates, perhaps for a crucial construction project. Or it needs a grace period to make some payments, maybe in connection with a major government program. Or...fill in the endless possibilities at your leisure.
And the United States now says: "Well, sure! We'd love to help you out. In exchange, how about granting/extending/giving us better terms on those basing rights?"
Or: "But you know what we'd like? First rights to those valuable resources of yours. [Fill in your preferred resource.] Plus waivers of all those environmental protections you have in place." Probably plus a bunch of other things.
Or: "We'd be happy to do that for you. But we need some overflight rights for the next year. Make that three years. We may have a few, well, operations we need to execute. We're sure you understand."
Or: too many possibilities to begin to list.
Get it? And if Country A through Z says, "no" ... well, gee, too bad, says the United States. Guess we can't accommodate you. How many people, and businesses, and governments do you think will say no, as the screws begin to tighten?
The AIG takeover is a huge weapon. A monumental weapon. I'm certain it is far from the only weapon of this kind the U.S. government already possesses. And as the economy further weakens, the U.S. government will probably pick up some more. (Here, I am referring to comparatively new mechanisms of coercion, pressure and extortion, such as those described above, in addition to those "normalized" and "legal" forms of coercion, pressure and extortion that have been among the major instruments of U.S. foreign policy for decades.)
And do you think Obama and the Democrats will want to give up weapons of this kind? Just like they gave up the FISA weapons? Or the Military Commissions Act weapons? Or the Patriot Act weapons?
The ruling class wins. The ruling class always wins.
Suckers. Yes. Me, too.
The ruling class are bastards. Whenever you think they've hit a major snag, consider the problem again. Then once more. You probably missed something.
As my post the other day indicated, there is still a lot of blood the ruling class can drain from the decaying body of the United States as a whole, and from you. They are very far from done.
Now I've cheered you up. Again. I would say I'm sorry, but it's probably better to understand what's going on and what may be coming as best we can. There is a great deal of exploitation, bombing, chaos, and death that still lies in the future.
Thank God I bought some liquor today. You should get some, too, if you don't already have it. Or something stronger. And screw your brains out. That is my solemn prescription. Follow doctor's orders now!
Financial-market wise guys, who had been seized with fear, are suddenly drunk with hope. They are rallying explosively because they think they have successfully stampeded Washington into accepting the Wall Street Journal solution to the crisis: dump it all on the taxpayers. That is the meaning of the massive bailout Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has shopped around Congress. It would relieve the major banks and investment firms of their mountainous rotten assets and make the public swallow their losses--many hundreds of billions, maybe much more. What's not to like if you are a financial titan threatened with extinction?
If Wall Street gets away with this, it will represent an historic swindle of the American public--all sugar for the villains, lasting pain and damage for the victims. My advice to Washington politicians: Stop, take a deep breath and examine what you are being told to do by so-called "responsible opinion." If this deal succeeds, I predict it will become a transforming event in American politics--exposing the deep deformities in our democracy and launching a tidal wave of righteous anger and popular rebellion. As I have been saying for several months, this crisis has the potential to bring down one or both political parties, take your choice.
Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analytics, a brave conservative critic, put it plainly: "The joyous reception from Congressional Democrats to Paulson's latest massive bailout proposal smells an awful lot like yet another corporatist lovefest between Washington's one-party government and the Sell Side investment banks."
A kindred critic, Josh Rosner of Graham Fisher in New York, defined the sponsors of this stampede to action: "Let us be clear, it is not citizen groups, private investors, equity investors or institutional investors broadly who are calling for this government purchase fund. It is almost exclusively being lobbied for by precisely those institutions that believed they were 'smarter than the rest of us,' institutions who need to get those assets off their balance sheet at an inflated value lest they be at risk of large losses or worse."
Oh, and the Wall St. Turmoil Won't Hurt Defense Firms, but you just wait, you aint seen nothing yet, the full effects of the 1929 stock market crash wasn't felt until around 32/33, and it was bad, real bad, however, things are moving much faster these days, we should feel the full effects in 09, I'm predicting. Oh, and bad is not what I'd use to describe it when it hits.
Finally, from the 'Oh, really?' files, John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, avoided potential losses. Because the Arizona senator's run for the White House, his wife, Cindy, last year liquidated a blind trust that had contained stock in AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Lehman. The amounts of stock she had owned weren't disclosed.
You really want to watch/listen to Sept 17th's Democracynow! I'd put it high on your list for the weekend.
US Seizes Control of AIG with $85 Billion Bailout
The US government has seized control of insurance giant American International Group in an unprecedented $85 billion bailout. The Federal Reserve made the deal on Tuesday to save AIG from collapse in what the New York Times describes as “the most radical intervention in private business in the central bank’s history.” The move comes as a series of financial crises has altered the landscape of Wall Street. We speak with investment banker turned journalist, Nomi Prins, and Michael Hudson, president of the Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends.
Welcome to the other side of the mirror, to the far end of the rabbit hole. This may be described as plutarchy, kleptocracy, fascism, communo-capitalism, class warfare, or open anarchy. Call it what you like.
Just don't call this a Republic, or a democracy, or a government of the people. Don't ever call it any of that any more. That shit is over and done. The Republic Ben Franklin said we could have if we could keep it? Yeah, we couldn't keep it. We handed the keys, and the national credit card to some wiseguys, and they did what wiseguys do.
In the coming year, it will become illegal to hoard gold or precious metals, illegal to leave the country WITH your wealth intact (you can go, but the money stays here). Some form of national service draft will be put in place to put people to work at something, anything. Zoning laws about how many families can live in one house will fall by the wayside, as families do what they must to get in out of the rain, and have something to eat.
The population will have to be controlled, by every means at hand. If they are not well managed, they will get out of hand, and threaten the Ownership Society.
We just rewarded these fucks for the biggest ripoff the public has ever seen or is ever likely to see.
Recently, many very smart people became very scared about the start-up of the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. They're afraid that the collider's activities will cause the creation of a black hole and, well, bye-bye Earth. The machine has been on-line for a short while now; no black hole yet. Maybe later.
I am certainly not either a quantum physicist or an astronomer. But I think it goes like this: as a star dies, it collapses in on itself, creating a mass with such enormous gravity as to suck in everything near it, including light. Scary, I agree. Instead of worrying about the LHC's potential for such an event, however, we would do well to turn our concern to an existing vortex - American presidential and other national-level politics.
In graduate school, the most fascinating course I took was in systems theory. The first rule of systems is "people do not change entrenched social systems, such systems change people". Learning that rule was a major "ah Ha! moment".
Black holes, voracious buggers that they are, consume even smaller suns and solar systems. Burning up the fuel of final-stage liberal capitalism, the once-shining star of American democracy is imploding, taking everything with it into an abyss from which nothing - not even light itself - can emerge. Society, ecology, economy, culture, law, truth, peace, charity, love, eventually, perhaps, the Earth itself, all of it crushed into a lightless, tiny, but infinitely dense rock.
It would be a futile exercise in redundancy to catalog either the symptoms or the power of this maelstrom. Entertaining the notions that the thing is the sum of its parts and that by applying correct solutions to each part the whole beast will be tamed is, in a word, insane. You either fully comprehend that or you don't. If you're still standing inside the tornado, trying to calm it by fixing the debris as it flies past, you might as well stay in Oz. Kansas is gone.
It does no good to point the arthritic finger of blame, either. You don't heal a broken back by suing the SOB who ran over you. We can indict the neocons, the Illuminati, the Bilderbergs, the Trilateral Commission, the Republicans, Big Oil, ad infinitum, until we're breathless with righteous indignation. Our accusations, right or wrong, are quickly subsumed. Being right is not necessarily being helpful.
If one understands this, some small solace may be derived from this: whoever or whatever seeded the storm will themselves not survive it. Accumulation of vast wealth and power is a penknife against a blind, pissed-off rhino. They are as much victims as the rest of us, obese, panicked camels looking for needle-eyes to squeeze through.
I don't believe Jesus Christ was g*d. It's a non-starter, as they say. I do, however, regard him as one cool dude, an interesting and somewhat eccentric cat who had some sound and simple ideas and a big heart, who was human enough to get co-opted by Karl Rove's ancestors. A majority of the words attributed to him in the bible were probably made up. But some of his wisdom has survived intact, if only to shore up the credibility of the rest of the christianitous propaganda.
I'm fond of the Beatitudes. Not commandments, but simple suggestions as to how to act. "The meek shall inherit the earth." I think that, strategically, the punchline was edited out - "But there won't be very much left of it". Jesus' simplest and most powerful entreaty has been drowned out by the awful howling of this cosmic tsunami . . . "love one another".
It is in those three words that the solution's foundation lies. And it is this solution that most will continue to reject. Too simplistic. Too religious. Too unattainable. Too "New Age". Unrealistic. Passive.
Passive!? Just the opposite. Love is neither thought nor feeling. It is action. Effective action which takes the other into account, which values equally other and self. Action which raises the odds of self-survival by recognizing that one cannot survive alone.
Here is a list of actions to take to escape the black hole . . .
Get real. Stop raging against the truth. Stop protesting. It's both worse and later than you think. Accept that; embrace it.
Stand aside. You can stand in front of a semi doing eighty and will it to stop (squash) or you can get out of the way (whew!). Take shelter.
Stop digging. If you've dug a hole that's now deeper than you are tall, further down is decidedly the wrong direction.
Get small. Get local. If you must be political, do it locally. Or make your own politics and government and laws (but obey the established ones, of course - anarchy is counterproductive). By all means, do this quietly, unobtrusively. Attract, don't promote. Be interested in saving yourselves and others, rather than changing someone or something else. You will be the war you create or the peace you create.
Cultivate responsibility. Stop buying stuff you don't need. As you consume, the black hole consumes you. Weaken the beast, don't feed the damned thing.
Reject nihilism. The temptation is to say, "It doesn't really matter what we do, so party party". Sorry, Bubbah, but the party's over. The horrific pain will overcome whatever sedative you use.
Tread lightly. Easy does it, as they say.
Protect yourself. There is safety in numbers - small ones. Consensus is more difficult to achieve on a large scale.
Be at peace.
We will not calm the storm nor plug the hole. We can, however, get out of the way.
Senator, Target of Anthrax Letter, Challenges F.B.I. Finding
WASHINGTON — Senator Patrick J. Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a target of the anthrax letters of 2001, said Wednesday that he did not believe the F.B.I.’s contention that an Army scientist conducted the attacks alone.
At a hearing of his committee, Mr. Leahy told the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, that even if the bureau was right about the involvement of the scientist, Bruce E. Ivins, who killed himself in July before ever being charged, he thought there were accomplices.
“If he is the one who sent the letter, I do not believe in any way, shape or manner that he is the only person involved in this attack on Congress and the American people,” said Mr. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont.
“I believe there are others involved, either as accessories before or accessories after the fact,” he added. “I believe there are others who can be charged with murder.”
Mr. Leahy, who has received special briefings on the investigation because one of the anthrax-laced letters was addressed to him, later declined to elaborate. “Sorry,” said an aide, David Carle, “but he said his piece and does not intend to comment further today.”
This is, of course, getting almost ZERO press coverage.
I don't like the sounds of this or the timing. But of course, it makes complete sense..
Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1
3rd Infantry’s 1st BCT trains for a new dwell-time mission. Helping ‘people at home’ may become a permanent part of the active Army By Gina Cavallaro - Staff writer Posted : Monday Sep 8, 2008 6:15:06 EDT
The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.
Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.
Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.
It is not the first time an active-duty unit has been tapped to help at home. In August 2005, for example, when Hurricane Katrina unleashed hell in Mississippi and Louisiana, several active-duty units were pulled from various posts and mobilized to those areas.
But this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.
After 1st BCT finishes its dwell-time mission, expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.
“Right now, the response force requirement will be an enduring mission. How the [Defense Department] chooses to source that and whether or not they continue to assign them to NorthCom, that could change in the future,” said Army Col. Louis Vogler, chief of NorthCom future operations. “Now, the plan is to assign a force every year.”
The command is at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., but the soldiers with 1st BCT, who returned in April after 15 months in Iraq, will operate out of their home post at Fort Stewart, Ga., where they’ll be able to go to school, spend time with their families and train for their new homeland mission as well as the counterinsurgency mission in the war zones.
Stop-loss will not be in effect, so soldiers will be able to leave the Army or move to new assignments during the mission, and the operational tempo will be variable.
Don’t look for any extra time off, though. The at-home mission does not take the place of scheduled combat-zone deployments and will take place during the so-called dwell time a unit gets to reset and regenerate after a deployment.
The 1st of the 3rd is still scheduled to deploy to either Iraq or Afghanistan in early 2010, which means the soldiers will have been home a minimum of 20 months by the time they ship out.
In the meantime, they’ll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.
They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.
Training for homeland scenarios has already begun at Fort Stewart and includes specialty tasks such as knowing how to use the “jaws of life” to extract a person from a mangled vehicle; extra medical training for a CBRNE incident; and working with U.S. Forestry Service experts on how to go in with chainsaws and cut and clear trees to clear a road or area.
The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.
“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”
The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.
“I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered,” said Cloutier, describing the experience as “your worst muscle cramp ever — times 10 throughout your whole body.
“I’m not a small guy, I weigh 230 pounds ... it put me on my knees in seconds.”
The brigade will not change its name, but the force will be known for the next year as a CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, or CCMRF (pronounced “sea-smurf”).
“I can’t think of a more noble mission than this,” said Cloutier, who took command in July. “We’ve been all over the world during this time of conflict, but now our mission is to take care of citizens at home ... and depending on where an event occurred, you’re going home to take care of your home town, your loved ones.”
While soldiers’ combat training is applicable, he said, some nuances don’t apply.
“If we go in, we’re going in to help American citizens on American soil, to save lives, provide critical life support, help clear debris, restore normalcy and support whatever local agencies need us to do, so it’s kind of a different role,” said Cloutier, who, as the division operations officer on the last rotation, learned of the homeland mission a few months ago while they were still in Iraq.
Some brigade elements will be on call around the clock, during which time they’ll do their regular marksmanship, gunnery and other deployment training. That’s because the unit will continue to train and reset for the next deployment, even as it serves in its CCMRF mission.
Should personnel be needed at an earthquake in California, for example, all or part of the brigade could be scrambled there, depending on the extent of the need and the specialties involved.
Other branches included The active Army’s new dwell-time mission is part of a NorthCom and DOD response package.
Active-duty soldiers will be part of a force that includes elements from other military branches and dedicated National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Teams.
A final mission rehearsal exercise is scheduled for mid-September at Fort Stewart and will be run by Joint Task Force Civil Support, a unit based out of Fort Monroe, Va., that will coordinate and evaluate the interservice event.
In addition to 1st BCT, other Army units will take part in the two-week training exercise, including elements of the 1st Medical Brigade out of Fort Hood, Texas, and the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Bragg, N.C.
There also will be Air Force engineer and medical units, the Marine Corps Chemical, Biological Initial Reaction Force, a Navy weather team and members of the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
One of the things Vogler said they’ll be looking at is communications capabilities between the services.
“It is a concern, and we’re trying to check that and one of the ways we do that is by having these sorts of exercises. Leading up to this, we are going to rehearse and set up some of the communications systems to make sure we have interoperability,” he said.
“I don’t know what America’s overall plan is — I just know that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that are standing by to come and help if they’re called,” Cloutier said. “It makes me feel good as an American to know that my country has dedicated a force to come in and help the people at home.”
Some adolescent criminal (in mentality if not age) yesterday hacked into a Yahoo account used by Sarah Palin for both personal and business email, and various sites -- including Gawker -- posted some of the emails online. While the bottomlayersof theright-wing noisemachine (the kind that make you run for the shower after reading them) are moronically describing the hacker(s) as "liberals" and "left-wing," nobody actually has any idea of their identity, let alone their political leanings (if any). The available evidence strongly suggests the hacker is loosely part of an assorted band of Internet pranksters ranging from the juvenile to the psychopathic. Conventional political agendas ("Vote Obama!") don't exactly appear to be their interest. Either way, whoever did this committed a serious crime -- it's rather revolting to see screen shots of someone's inbox splattered across the Internet -- and the hacker should be apprehended and prosecuted.
I mentioned earlier that if you're going to pull this off you had better be pretty good at your hacking skillz. So far it doesn't look good. The hack doesn't even look all that elegant. I guess if you're Batman people might figure out that only a billionaire who runs Wayne industries could afford all those cool gadgets.
State Rep. Mike Kernell confirmed Thursday that his son, a University of Tennessee-Knoxville student, is at the center of heated Internet discussion into the hacking of the personal e-mail of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Kernell, a Memphis Democrat, confirmed that it is his 20-year-old son, David, who is being widely named on Internet blogs and chatrooms in connection with an unfolding story about Palin's hacked e-mail accounts.
The FBI and Secret Service launched a formal investigation Wednesday. Yahoo declined to comment Thursday on details of the investigation, citing Palin's privacy and the sensitivity of such investigations.
The person who claimed responsibility for the break-in did not respond Thursday to an e-mail inquiry from The Associated Press.
"i am the lurker who did it, and i would like to tell the story," the person wrote in the account, which circulated on the Internet. What started as a prank was cut short because of panic over the possibility the FBI might investigate, the hacker wrote.
Investigators were waiting to speak with Gabriel Ramuglia of Athens, Ga., who operates an Internet anonymity service used by the hacker. Ramuglia told the AP on Thursday he was reviewing his own logs and promised to turn over any helpful information to authorities because the hacker violated rules against using the anonymity service for illegal activities.
"If you're doing something illegal and causing me issues by doing this, I'm willing to cooperate," Ramuglia said. "Obviously this is the most high profile situation I've dealt with."
What does fighting crime mean, exactly? Does it mean upholding the law when a woman shoplifts to feed her children, or does it mean struggling to uncover the ones who, quite legally, have brought about her poverty?
--from Ozymandias, Watchmen Issue 11
I do believe I have seen the first online vigilante act that might actually do something. I suppose, when you think about it, a group of determined super hackers could do just as much damage as the Justice League.
Anonymous, known for their clever psy ops war against Scientology, seems to have stepped it up a notch and hacked into Sarah Palin's Yahoo email account. You can read more at the Huffington Post, Gawker and especially check out the commentary at Boing Boing. Wikileaks has the whole thing but I can't get the link to work....Some open source spy network if you can't get it to work during crucial periods...they should use the Pirate Bay's new blogger system....
Unfortunately, now that you've hacked into the files of one of the Republican fraternity someone will be working to figure out who Anonymous actually is. They're going to want to see your face. What's that last line in the most recent Batman? Why is the Batman running? Because we're chasing him that's why. I hope they're as good as the Little Brother hackers. They'll have to be in order to stay out of jail. Now they've got Scientology hackers and the US government after them...good luck. Sometimes justice must be hooded. But not in a Klansman mexican border patrol kind of way...you know what I mean.
Related Bonus: The first animated motion comic of the Watchmen. Issue one. Uncle Scam is....Rorshack! He prefers a civil war over Barack Obama even if millions die. I'm the Nite Owl! But not this Nite Owl. (Nice jazz background...)I've lost weight...Doc Menlo is Ozymandias...what is his mad scheme?
Had to throw this bonus post in, if only for the exquisite Irony.
Cynicism may now represent one of the greatest threats to democracy, according to a research project at the London School of Economics.
Findings indicate that people are more cynical about politics than anything else, and that cynicism is a more important factor than distrust when it comes to whether people vote. Those who think politicians are liars will probably continue to vote, whereas those who are contemptuous of them are less likely to do so.
But what if politicians could measure the impact that their buzz words were having on the cynicism levels of different groups? The Syntony Research Team at the LSE is trying to develop a 'Cyndex' - a cynicism index. It would measure the emotional responses of cynics according to their age, race, religion, gender and socio-economic backgrounds - from mild frustration to violent anger.
'All the evidence shows people are getting more cynical with the messages we get from government, from businesses, from the media,' said Charles Liasides of Syntony, who is a senior research fellow at the Institute of Social Psychology. 'People are deserting some TV stations because they are becoming cynical about reality TV insulting their intelligence; they turn off from some adverts because they are patronising; and all those wonderful gaffes we have had with the government recently - the U-turns, the backfiring policies - are having an effect. But is it good for democracy?'
In a pilot survey linked to the Royal Society of Arts (involving questionnaires completed by 1,100 fellows), Syntony's conclusion is that cynicism is infecting the very fabric of our society. Top of the list was politics, for which the average level of cynicism registered was 51 per cent, compared with 31 per cent for general cynicism of life, 30 per cent for business cynicism and 37 per cent for media cynicism.
Men were more cynical about their fellow human beings than women (32 per cent compared with 27 per cent). 'It seems women are more idealistic,' said Dr Alain Samson of the Syntony team.
Those who regularly read newspapers were significantly less cynical about the media (34 per cent against 40 per cent).
'But our most important finding suggested that people who did not vote were more likely to be cynical about the government than distrusting,' said Samson. 'Usually, people focus on distrust, or lack of confidence, as the most important factor when it comes to disengagement. But in fact, it is cynicism.'
Samson said the indications were that this was because politicians have a public face, making them more prone to criticism than faceless businessmen. The consequences of such cynicism are vast, the team believes. It can result in people disengaging from politics, turning away from major media, or boycotting products. It could also prompt people to join pressure groups or, in more extreme cases, to resort to direct action or violence. 'This has wide implications in the cohesiveness of society,' said Liasides.
The team is planning a nationwide sample to create the Cyndex, which it intends to develop commercially. 'We believe it will be valuable for all communicators to help them be more credible with the public,' said Liasides.
silly me, I figured political corruption was the biggest threat.... And interestingly enough, our politicians, officials and executives (a great many trained at the great LSE) are among the most cynical. Their disdain and distrust is for the public; for letting democracy take hold in America -- or anywhere.
The LSE study: right for the bassackward wrong reason.
"War is show business, that’s why we’re here." – "Wag the Dog" (1997 film)
Last week, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had just announced record losses, and so had most reporting corporations. Unemployment was mounting, the foreclosure crisis was deepening, state budgets were in shambles, and massive bailouts were everywhere. Investors had every reason to expect the dollar and the stock market to plummet, and gold and oil to shoot up. Strangely, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 300 points, the dollar strengthened, and gold and oil were crushed. What happened?
It hardly took psychic powers to see that the Plunge Protection Team had come to the rescue. Formally known as the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, the PPT was once concealed and its very existence denied as if it were a matter of strict national security. But the PPT has now come out of the closet. What was once a legally questionable "manipulator" of markets has become a sanctioned stabilizer and protector of markets. The new tone was set in January 2008, when global markets took their worst tumble since September 11, 2001...
"Jim Wilkinson, a spokesman for the Bush recount team who was present at the protest outside the Miami-Dade canvassing room, says that there was nothing orchestrated about the protest. 'There were between 80 and 100 of us' outside the room, Wilkinson said, 'and it was a very emotional group of young people. But they thought the election was being held behind closed doors.' Hence they all walked outside the canvassing room and protested -- emotionally, but spontaneously, Wilkinson said."
The same Wilkinson "helped to manage the program of embedding reporters in combat units" during the Iraq War, and has been a part of numerous other Bush administration propaganda and dirty tricks efforts. He's so bad that a reporter from Texas said Wilkinson "used techniques first perfected by Stalin".
Would you give someone like Wilkinson the keys to your car? Would you give him the keys to the economy?
Well, it turns out that Wilkinson is one of the key players of the Working Group on Financial Markets (better known as the "Plunge Protection Team" or PPT).
As the Telegraph notes, the PPT has broad powers:
It appears to have powers to support the markets in a crisis with a host of instruments, mostly by through buying futures contracts on the stock indexes (DOW, S&P 500, NASDAQ and Russell) and key credit levers. And it has the means to fry "short" traders in the hottest of oils.
Indeed, Treasury Secretary Paulson, the head of the PPT, appointed Wilkinson as his chief of staff and:
"Ordered Jim Wilkinson ... to 'oversee the creation of a Treasury Command Center to track markets world-wide and serve as an operations base in a crisis'! (Wall Street Journal)"
Given that shady characters like Wilkinson are part of the PPT, I agree with journalist Danny Schetcher when he calls for a probe of the PPT by Congress and the press and writes:
In actual fact, this secret branch of government has a sophisticated war room using every state of the art technology to monitor markets worldwide. It has emergency powers. It doesn't keep minutes. There is no freedom of information access to its deliberations.
A comment of note:
What is happening here is that we are entering in to a new era, the era of the global market economy. In order for this to happen they must collapse 99% of the world's monetary systems and narrow it all down to 3 or 4 currencies. This has to happen if they truly desire a global marketplace, there are simply too many currencies in play for it to work at this time. The dollar will soon be merged in to a currency that will serve the North American Union and it will compete with the Euro and a new Asian Union currency to be named later. The problem is that for this to happen and for the people to accept it, another world war must be fought, new lines drawn up and new power brokers put on to the thrones. That is what is going on as we speak, the third world war is being manufactured and both sides will be working towards the same outcome, it will be a classic hegelian dialectic, a problem will be manufactured to create fear and uncertainty in the people, the people will respond by demanding change and new leadership, a solution will then be introduced and the people will accept it without question.
These things MUST take place and they are taking place as we speak. There is no better time to be invested in precious metals and other commodities and indeed the recent DROP in commodities prices are merely a reflection of the PTB driving the prices down so that they can load up cheaply before the world war breaks out and the prices skyrocket through the roof.
One of two things will happen. Obama will be elected and the Brezinski faction will take over, and indeed this recent breakout of hostilities with Russia has Brezinsky written all over it, OR, major war will breakout just before the election and the Bush/Cheney neo-cons will remain in office beyond their term. But make no mistake, ww3 is coming and the lines are being drawn and the sides chosen as we speak and the main objective of it all is to introduce new semi-global currencies and take the next big leap towards a new world order.
Would you like half a turnip with your cabbage soup comrade?
Consider the following: In fiscal year 2005 (the last year for which full data is available), the Pentagon spent more contracting for services with private companies than on supplies and equipment -- including major weapons systems. This figure has been steadily rising over the past 10 years. According to a recent Government Accountability Office report, in the last decade the amount the Pentagon has paid out to private companies for services has increased by 78% in real terms. In fiscal year 2006, those services contracts totaled more than $151 billion.
Ever more frequently, we hear generals and politicians alike bemoan the state of the military. Their conclusion: The wear and tear of the President's Global War on Terror has pushed the military to the breaking point. But private contractors are playing a different tune. Think of it this way: While the military cannot stay properly supplied, its suppliers are racking up contracts in the multi-billions. For them, it's a matter of letting the good times roll. ... Consider fiscal year 2001, which conveniently ended in September of that year. It serves as a good, pre-War on Terror baseline for grasping just how the Pentagon expanded ever since -- and how much more it is paying out to private contractors today.
Back then, the Pentagon's top 10 suppliers shared $58.7 billion in Department of Defense (DoD) contracts, out of a total of $144 billion that went to the top 100 Pentagon contractors. Number 100 on the list was The Carlyle Group with $145 million in contracts. Keep in mind, of course, that this was the price of "defense" for a nation with no superpower rival.
Fast forward to 2007 and the top 10 companies on the Pentagon's list of private contractors were sharing $125 billion in DoD contracts, out of a total of $239 billion being shared among the top 100 contractors. The smallest contract among those 100 was awarded to ARINC and came in at $495 million.
In those seven years, in other words, contracts to the top 10 more than doubled, the size of the total pay-out pie increased by two-thirds, and the lowest contract among the top 100 went up almost four-fold.
Just as revealing, almost half the companies on the Pentagon's Top 100 list in 2007 were not even on it seven years earlier, including McKesson, which took in a hefty $4.6 billion in contracts and MacAndrews and Forbes which garnered $3.3 billion.
And here's a fact that makes sense of all of the above: Given the spectrum of services offered and the level of integration that has already taken place between the Pentagon and these private companies, the United States can no longer wage a war or even run payroll without them.
Two religious toons for Sunday. And here's a daily strip that will never EVER receive daily syndication. Its called Cectic. Throw a donation his way or my way (upper left corner. I could use a new laptop...)
1) ILLEGAL DESTRUCTION OF EVIDENCE SURROUNDING THE VOTE COUNT
In a federal court decision delivered in August, 2006, Judge Algernon Marbley ruled that all materials related to the 2004 presidential vote in Ohio must be preserved. Standing federal law required that these materials be protected for 22 months dating from November 4, 2004. In response to the King-Lincoln lawsuit, Marbley's decision came in time to make it a federal offense to destroy any poll books, ballots and other records relating to the 2004 election in Ohio at any time.
Around the time of the decision, GOP Secretary of State Blackwell, who also served as Ohio co-chair of the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign, issued ambivalent orders to the state's 88 county Boards of Elections about preserving these materials.
Blackwell subsequently lost his 2006 campaign for governor of Ohio, and was replaced by Brunner as secretary of state. Brunner publicly announced that she would establish a repository in Columbus for all 2004 election materials. In accordance with the King-Lincoln lawsuit, a definitive recount would then establish what actually happened during the Bush re-election.
But in August of 2007, Ohio Attorney-General Mark Dann informed the King-Lincoln attorneys that 56 of the 88 county Boards of Elections had illegally destroyed all or some of their records and ballots from 2004. No repository has been established for what remains, and no definitive recount is now possible.
Ironically, Florida Governor Jeb Bush did preserve materials from the 2000 election there from all but one of the counties in that state. The materials are being held in a repository in Tallahassee. But no such resource---and no definitive recount---will be possible in Ohio.
There have been no state or federal prosecutions for the illegal destruction of these materials. Nor does there seem to be any guarantee similar destruction will not follow the 2008 election.
By the way, for all you doubters of the election fraud movement, what this means is that they cheated in 2004. Why else would you destroy the ballots from 2004 in order to make sure that you could never count them? Someone please tell "smart" guys like Markos and Atrios and most of the liberal blogosphere that completely failed to cover this issue this is important news. In fact, its the biggest story ever. And a lot of the DLC Dems are probably in it, either for money and power, or loyalty to Israel. (See Joe Leiberman for giddy joy over the Iraq proxy war and his allegiance to the party that will most likely kill for Israel...)
Now, go watch these scary in your face Spoonamore vids. Keep in mind that this guy is a republican. There's a rumor that the dems have their own hackers online this time. I hope that's true and I hope this guy is one of them. Watch all 8 of them here.
Toon that City Paper cancelled. Here's an observation: Palin's husband looks to be a lumberjack and he's okay. Haven't seen Ted Rall in two weeks at the Pittsburgh City Paper. The cartoonist who replaced Rall isn't as funny. Bastards.
I just think that 9/11 took us down a very dangerous path that we may not survive. I'm neutral on the Inside Job stuff because I haven't read the evidence that the 9/11 Truth movement has come up with. But I'm not neutral on whether the Bush administration was evil enough either to plan it or to let it happen even if discovered because it just dovetails into their overall plans too much. They're that evil. And we find out today that Sarah Palin finds all these wars, all this meaningless horrible killing to be somehow in God's plan. She thinks a war with Russia might be inevitable. She's going where even people like Nixon and Kissinger never went. Nuclear exchanges mean billions of people possibly die. These are very dangerous Republicans. There is no indication that we dirty fuckin' hippies would beat them in some sort of just civil war. None at all.
We have to find a way to divert ourselves from this dangerous path where fighting for oil multinationals is somehow the same as fighting for "de Lawd"...Dangerous times we live in. Dangerous times.
Dissociated Press Exclusive! Reports have begun to filter down from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, that thousands of gleeful pilgrims are rushing to this thriving but isolated oil town to pray and celebrate an image of Sarah Palin in an oil spill.
"I was makin' my way home this mornin' from a meetin' o' the AKIP with my frien' Todd, least I think it was mornin', never can tell 'round here, 'n' anyways I see this weird sorta light [photo below] over the bay, 'n' I hear this f*****' voice, kinda like a elk in heat", relates Roger "Roughneck" Rogers, an unemployed tour guide and oil speculator. "So thinkin' mebbe I could git me some action - wink, wink - I follers it 'n' Jeezie Chreezy I looks out 'n' sees this angelic-like face take form in this here oil spill. Man, I tell yuh, I nearly dropped my damn jug a' everclear." It's a f*****' miracle!!" . . .
But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie.
Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."
This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience.
....Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.
More from the muckrakers and bottom dwellers who simply can't accept boundaries and limits from...mainstream Vanity Fair?
There's a poll at the end of this by the way and most people think that Trig is Bristol's kid and that the current pregnancy might be faked to cover it up. Again, this is real news. Really. No matter what Markos says. Interesting comment on the photos timeline:
Good start - but you did leave off some of the most puzzling info! 1. For example, this early February 2008 picture from the Alaska Daily news (http://www.adn.com/politics/story/339576.html) when she was in theory five-six months pregnant. 2. The extended podcast of her walking crisply from her house to her office at six-seven months pregnant. (http://alaskapodshow.com/index.php/2008/08/30/sarah-palin-pregnancy-scandal/) She doesn't look or act pregnant, and the filming crew didn't see that she was pregnant. 3. The videotape of her at a Newsweek conference in March 2008 (seven months pregnant), where she similarly does not look like (or stand up like) she's remotely pregnant (http://www.newsweek.com/id/156190 go to #8, especially last 30 seconds) 4. The photo of her at the National Governors Association conference in late February 2008 (don't have the link to the photo at the moment, but she looks very trim). 5. The uniformly disbelieving reactions of Alaskans (including her own staff) to her pregnancy announcement in early March 2008, as reported at the time bby the Alaska Daily News (http://www.adn.com/front/story/336402.html). 6. This March 14, 2008 photo of her published in the Alaska Daily News (seven months), again, showing her as very trim. (http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/345168.html) 7. And, the very warm family pictures posted by Sadie (boyfriend Levi's sister) on Sadie's myspace page, where Sadie is cradling baby Trig, and speaking of Trig and Bristol as members of Sadie's own family. (see http://flickr.com/photos/30128128@N04/sets/72157607061462256/ for a saved set of these photos). If your going to do a great, definitive timeline like this (thank you!), these items really need to be accounted for as well!
"America was never innocent. We popped our cherry on the boat over and looked back with no regrets. You can't ascribe our fall from grace to any single event or set of circumstances. You can't lose what you lacked at conception.
"Mass-market nostalgia gets you hopped up for a past that never existed. Hagiography sanctifies shuck-and-jive politicians and reinvents their expedient gestures as moments of great moral weight. Our continuing narrative line is blurred past truth and hindsight. Only a reckless verisimilitude can set that line straight."
--James Ellroy, American Tabloid
Ensure a Free and Fair Election (Ban Paperless Voting Machines