Saturday, January 6, 2007

Let's hope this one's not true:

Revealed: Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran

Uzi Mahnaimi, New York and Sarah Baxter, Washington

ISRAEL has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.

Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources.

The attack would be the first with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb.

Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open “tunnels” into the targets. “Mini-nukes” would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.

“As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished,” said one of the sources.

The plans, disclosed to The Sunday Times last week, have been prompted in part by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad’s assessment that Iran is on the verge of producing enough enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons within two years.

Israeli military commanders believe conventional strikes may no longer be enough to annihilate increasingly well-defended enrichment facilities. Several have been built beneath at least 70ft of concrete and rock. However, the nuclear-tipped bunker-busters would be used only if a conventional attack was ruled out and if the United States declined to intervene, senior sources said.

Israeli and American officials have met several times to consider military action. Military analysts said the disclosure of the plans could be intended to put pressure on Tehran to halt enrichment, cajole America into action or soften up world opinion in advance of an Israeli attack.

Some analysts warned that Iranian retaliation for such a strike could range from disruption of oil supplies to the West to terrorist attacks against Jewish targets around the world.
My emphasis added.

It's still bad in Cimmaron County

That pic taken near Boise City comes from the Pryor Daily Times. Folks there got hit by a pretty nasty blizzard last weekend, and of course it's taking forever for the snow to melt off. Last I heard there were still four families near Kenton who were trapped in their homes (though thankfully not in any immediate danger), and I understand that there are areas out that way that are still without electrical power.

One thing that I wish newspaper headlines would take into consideration is that the entire panhandle was not affected by last week's storm in the same way. The central part of the panhandle did get some snow, but it was mainly an ice storm event. As of today, the snow and ice in places like Goodwell, Guymon, and Hardesty has largely melted off - and last night's snowfall was hardly worthy of the blowing snow advisory that they were under.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Shorter Holy Joe & John:

We shall bear the "White Man's Burden" and surge to even more glorious victory in Iraq.

Stupid right-wing graphic

In 40 years of life, my impression has been that finding actual bona-fide socialists in the US Democratic party is about like finding a needle in a haystack. If someone actually thinks Reid or Pelosi are socialists, they're sadly mistaken. If anything, the wingers should take comfort in knowing that the post-WWI Red Scare, McCarthyism, and COINTELPRO have effectively killed any organized socialist party or movement (same could be said for just about any other leftist party or movement - be it reformist or revolutionary).

A new day indeed

Found at thoughts on the eve of the apocalypse.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Freud would have a field day

Nearly pornographic in his fondling of the surge, Kagan, another of the neocon crew of armchair strategists and militarists, makes it clear that size does matter. "Of all the 'surge' options out there, short ones are the most dangerous," he wrote in the Washington Post last week, adding lasciviously, "The size of the surge matters as much as the length. … The only 'surge' option that makes sense is both long and large."

Learn something new every day: PC edition

As for the original literal meaning of "PC", the phrase is believed to have emerged from China (seriously, I'm not making this up) during the reign of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist thought. Revolutionary leaders unironically applauded words and actions as "politically correct" when these were seen to advance the revolutionary cause (ya think something was lost in translation?). Personally, I suspect that the Chinese phrase predates Maoism and hearkens back to imperial China when complying with the demands of the throne and advancing the interests of the empire, at any level of society, would be "politically correct"; as opposed to, say, writing dissident literature, which would be "politically incorrect" to the point of getting you exiled or executed. In both the Maoist and imperial contexts, the key point to observe is that "PC" denotes alignment with state power. On a semantic and philosophical level, this makes a good deal more sense than the vague pejorative sarcasm of today's "PC"-snivelers.

Interestingly enough, according to this non-sarcastic, relatively unconsidered, more meaningfully precise definition of the term, the USA is a politically correct nation indeed; but not in the way that most Americans are led to believe. Some examples: Magnetic yellow ribbons are PC. Denouncing Islamism in the name of 9/11 is PC. Reciting the pledge of allegiance is PC. Not talking about radical politics at work or in polite company is PC. Gay-bashing is PC. Standing and placing your hand on your heart during the national anthem is PC. Smiling and applauding when the president enters the room is PC. On the other side of the equation: Marching for civil rights is not PC. Protesting a US war is not PC. Questioning US-Israeli neo-colonial policy in the Middle East is not PC. Calling the US government a white male supremacist corporatist kleptocracy is not PC. Agitating for structural change in our society's distribution of wealth and power is not PC. Refusing to shake a corrupt president's hand is not PC.

Frankly, I can think of far more extreme examples of politically incorrect acts and statements, but it's a testament to the real coercive power of the police state — not some imaginary "PC police" — that I hesitate to publish these thoughts even hypothetically, even with ample theoretical padding. Given this reality, perhaps we might reconsider exactly whose free speech is being violated by whom. As far as I know, "the PC police" haven't thrown any insensitive white men into Gitmo or launched CointelPro operations against white bloggers who publish blackface. For some reason, people of color who oppose US imperialism haven't had that same good fortune.
Good to know that I've been using the term 'PC' correctly all these years.

Bush goes Nixon on us

No big surprise, of course:
President Bush has quietly claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans' mail without a judge's warrant, the Daily News has learned.

The President asserted his new authority when he signed a postal reform bill into law on Dec. 20. Bush then issued a "signing statement" that declared his right to open people's mail under emergency conditions.

That claim is contrary to existing law and contradicted the bill he had just signed, say experts who have reviewed it.

Bush's move came during the winter congressional recess and a year after his secret domestic electronic eavesdropping program was first revealed. It caught Capitol Hill by surprise.

"Despite the President's statement that he may be able to circumvent a basic privacy protection, the new postal law continues to prohibit the government from snooping into people's mail without a warrant," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the incoming House Government Reform Committee chairman, who co-sponsored the bill.

Experts said the new powers could be easily abused and used to vacuum up large amounts of mail.

"The [Bush] signing statement claims authority to open domestic mail without a warrant, and that would be new and quite alarming," said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington.

"The danger is they're reading Americans' mail," she said.

"You have to be concerned," agreed a career senior U.S. official who reviewed the legal underpinnings of Bush's claim. "It takes Executive Branch authority beyond anything we've ever known."

Quotable

Because I do it with one small ship, I am called a terrorist. You do it with a whole fleet and are called an emperor. – A pirate, from St. Augustine's "City of God"

wingnut insanity (or, what else is new?)

Look, there's a qualitative difference between being angry and being the equivalent of a wounded rabid hyena who's just ingested near-lethal doses of meth and viagra. Hal Turner clearly characterizes the latter:
A radio talk-show entertainer whose earlier statements that he 'may' have to assassinate members of Congress if the wrong people were elected Nov. 7 now has set a timetable for those killings.

In a statement on his website, Hal Turner noted that a newspaper has reported that a bill granting amnesty to illegal aliens is expected to be enacted in January, when the Democratic Party takes control of the U.S. Senate and House.

'ANY MEMBER OF CONGRESS WHO INTRODUCES, CO-SPONSORS OR VOTES IN FAVOR OF ANY SUCH AMNESTY WILL BE DECLARED A DOMESTIC ENEMY AND WILL BE CONSIDERED A LEGITIMATE TARGET FOR ASSASSINATION,' Turner posted on his website.

World Net Daily, Jan 3 2007, Assassination schedule announced for Congress
Hat tip to Nezua, who told us the rabid hyenas on meth were coming out into the light not so long ago.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

The most important issue facing Congress this year

and the one that arguably fueled last November's midterm electoral outcome, is the very issue that Congress will least likely touch: the Iraq War Debacle. There are some folks left who will to try to keep 'em honest, however:

House Democrats tried to unveil their lobbying reform package today, but their press conference was drowned out by chants from anti-war activists who want Congress to stop funding the Iraq war before taking on other issues.

Led by Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a slain soldier, the protesters chanted "De-escalate, investigate, troops home now" as Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., began outlining the Democrats' plans to ban lobbyist-funded travel and institute other ethics reforms. The press conference was held in the Cannon House Office Building in an area open to the public.

Emanuel finally gave up trying to be heard over the chants, and retreated to a caucus room where Democrats were meeting.

Sheehan says she has nothing against lobbying reform, but she and her fellow anti-war activists want Democrats to know they will keep pressuring Congress to end the war in Iraq.

"We wanted the Democrats to know they're back in power because of the grass roots," Sheehan says.

The anti-war activists held their own Capitol Hill press conference earlier in the day before deciding to attend the lobbying reform press conference as well.

Before the chanting started, Sheehan got a hug from Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

I wouldn't be too surprised to see the 110th Congress focus on the "easy" issues, as the more sticky issues such as how to pull a breaking military out of quicksand are ones with no clearly "pleasant" outcome (at least as defined by those still buying into the dogma of American Exceptionalism). Of course "shrinking the mission" would be one sensible thing that this government could do, as I'm guessing that all the borrowed money in the world isn't going to salvage the current government's imperial dreams over the long haul (or even the short-to-medium haul for that matter). Instead, we'll see a continued incongruence between the behaviors of the ruling elites and the wishes of large proportions of the voters and a lot of jockeying for the next election cycle. Regardless of what congressional leaders avow as their positions on the likely Bu$hCo-approved escalation of war in Iraq (and surround nations), likely little will get done, including a refusal to continue rubber-stamping the funds required to keep the war going (that would require more gumption than I would give congressional leaders of either of the two officially sanctioned parties credit for).

The blood that gets spilled in the interim? Well, perhaps no one will notice.

Tip o' the hat to Arthur Gilroy.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

From the mail bag:

Of note from the last few days, check this out:

Hooked on Drums - a new non-profit corp. founded by Lilian Friedberg.

Just a bit to whet the appetite:
Hooked on Drums is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation based in Chicago , founded in 2006 to carry on the youth drumming educational and performance programs that began in Minnesota under the banner of The Sojourner Truth Center, and have continued in Chicago as part of the Chicago Djembe Project.
Best of luck with this!

Teen harrassed at dwi checkpoint: Caught on tape

Check it out:



Transcript:
00:40
Officer #1: How are you tonight sir?
Brett: Hi.
Officer #1: Can you put your window down for me.
(I roll the window ALL the way down.)
Officer #1: Do you have a driver's license and proof of insurance?
(I begin to get my information out of my wallet)
Officer #1: Where you headed tonight?
Brett: I don't wish to discuss my personal life with you officer.
Officer #1: Alright, come on up here.
(I start to move my car)
Officer #1: As a matter of fact, just stop your car right here and step out.
(I stop the car, roll up my windows, pull up the emergency brake, and shut the car off)
Officer #1: Leave your car runnin with the keys in it.
Brett: What's that?
Officer #1: Leave your car runnin with the keys in it.
Brett: I don't want it to roll away officer.
Officer#1: Turn the car on.
Brett: It's a manual officer.
Officer #1: Okay. That's fine, then leave it off. Just leave it off. You're right, that's dangerous.
(I step out, and lock the doors.)
(He then calls another officer over)
Officer #1: Give me your keys.
Brett: Why officer?
Officer #1: I need to move it out of the street.
Brett: Can I move it?
Officer #1: No.
(Officer #1 takes my keys)
Brett: Why are you moving my car?
Officer #1: Because I'm going to talk you--I'm going to interview you because you didn't want to interview. You didn't want to sit down and have a talk with me.
Brett: I do not want to talk about my personal life.
Officer #1: Okay.
(We walk to the side of the road)


1:48
(Officer #2 then unlocks my car and looks around inside of it. You can see his flash light moving around in the car.)
Officer #2: Hey uh, I can't drive a stick. (laughs about it) I can't drive a stick.
(Officer #3 enters my car and attempts to move it. He stalls it once. He then lets it roll back down the hill before giving it a lot of gas and ridding the clutch while trying to move it forward. He then exits the car 62 seconds after entering.)
(While the officers are trying to move my vehicle, this audio not heard)
Officer #1: Where are you headed tonight?
Brett: I don't want to talk about my personal life.
Officer #1: Have you had anything to drink tonight?
Brett: No.
Officer #1: Alright, I'll be right back
(Officer #1 then calls 2 other officers (Officers #4 & #5) to stand by me as he goes to a patrol car to check my license)


Brett: Why am I being detained officer? (directed toward Officer #4)
Officer #4: You better stop runnin your mouth or the other officer will find a reason to lock you up tonight.
(Audio can now be heard again)
3:22
Brett: You're saying you're going to make up a reason to arrest me?
Officer #4: No I didn't. I said we would find a reason.
Brett: Okay. I just want to let you know all of this is being recorded.
Officer #4: That's good, we're recording it too. Do what he tells you to do--
Brett: I don't have a right to talk right here in a normal voice?
Officer #4: Yes you do.
Brett: You're saying I'm going to be arrested.
Officer #4: I'm just saying...
Brett: You just said you‘re going to find a reason to lock me up.
Officer #4: I said do what he telld you to do.
Brett: You said if I keep runnin my mouth, I will be locked up.
Officer #4: I said he'll find a reason.
Why are you going to find a reason to lock me up when I'm only asking why I'm being detained in a normal voice?
Officer #4: Do what he tells you to do.
Brett: Am I being detained?
Officer #4: Yes you are!
Brett: May I leave?
Officer #4: No, you may not.
Brett: Why am I being detained?
Officer #4: Because you don't have a driver's license.
Brett: I do have a driver's license. I gave it to the other officer.
Officer #4: When the other officer comes back--When he comes back--When he comes back you can talk to him about it.
Brett: Why are you saying I don't have my license?
Officer #4: Nineteen years old and you know everything.
Brett: Yes sir.


4:38
Brett: I'm being detained because I didn't tell the officer where I was going?
Officer #4: I wasn't here, you can talk to him when he comes back.


4:55
Brett: What was your name.
(Officer #4 ignored me)
Brett: Officer how do you spell your last name?
Officer #4: It's right there.
(points to chest, but his name is covered by the traffic safety vest. He then moves it so I can see.)
Officer #4: Hallquisd.
Brett: H-A-L-L-Q-U-I-S-D?
Officer #4: Yep.


5:09
(I then turn toward the other officer standing by me. Officer #5)
Brett: And what was your name officer?
Officer #5: Schmit.
(Officer #5 then talks to Officer #4 about stopping someone that had his last name)


8:38
Brett: Are you stopping everybody and getting them out of the car?
Officer #4: You can talk to the other officer (Officer #1) when he comes back.


10:10
(Officer #1 comes back and hands me my license and insurance card)
Officer #1: Thank you very much. Thank you very much for your time.
Brett: Why exactly was I detained and why did you get me out of the car?
Officer #1: You didn't want to answer my questions.(unsure of the rest of his comment)
Brett: Where does me having to go have anything to do with a DWI checkpoint. I don't have the right--
Officer #1: I was trying to have a conversation.
Brett: I didn't want to have a conversation. You stopped me officer in the middle of the road.
Officer #1: I was trying to have a conversation with you (unsure of the rest of his comment)
Brett: Do you stop everybody and get everybody out of the car? Or you did that just to me?
Officer #1: (unsure of audio)
Brett: Is St. Louis County Police going to pay for a new clutch, after he just killed it here and burnt up my clutch.
Officer #1: Would you like to talk to a supervisor?
Brett: Yes I would.
(Officer #1 goes across the street to get the supervisor.


12:43
(Supervisor comes over)
Supervisor: How you doin?
Brett: Hi.
Supervisor: I'm sergeant (unsure of his name)
Brett: I'm Brett Darrow
Supervisor: Brent?
Brett: Brett.
Supervisor: What's the problem tonight?
Brett: I have a problem because I was stopped here and uhh I offered to move my vehicle. The officer said I could not move my vehicle to park it. He told me to leave my keys in the car. I got out. Locked the door. He took my keys. Uhh. And they attempted to move my car here. They stalled it a couple of times. Burnt up the clutch. I mean it's all on tape and video. Now I'm going to have problems with my clutch. Who's going to pay for that?
Supervisor: How do you know they messed up the clutch?
Brett: I saw it right here. I saw smoke coming off as he tired to take off. It's a pretty easy way I guess for you guys to get inside a vehicle on a DWI checkpoint and that's where I have a problem.
Supervisor: Well, DWI checkpoints are authorized.
Brett: I understand they are authorized, but drug checkpoints aren't and you know when I see a K9 unit over here--
Supervisor: That's not the point.
Brett: Well why would there be a K9 unit?
Supervisor: The dog is part of the police department.
Brett: That just happens to be at a checkpoint. I know, I know you get a lot of drug busts off DWI checkpoints.
Supervisor: Actually the dog comes out very rarely. He's not walking by every car.
Brett: Not tonight he's not?
Supervisor: I'm at most of these checkpoints--
Brett: Okay.
Supervisor: And you can't walk the dog by every car. He just physically can't do it.
Brett: Okay
Supervisor: As far as your clutch--I have no idea what kind of damage was caused.
Brett: It's obvious it caused some damage. I mean you could see smoke and he killed my car and I don't know what other problems I'm going to have from that and if I do have problems, I'm going to be coming to the St. Louis County Police and I just want to let you know that tomorrow--this next week--
Supervisor: Do the officers have your name?
Brett: Uhh, I don't know.
Supervisor: Did they give you your ID back?
Brett: They gave me my ID.
Supervisor: Let me copy done your information. The issue obviously is, how do I know you didn't have clutch problems before because you're not driving a newer car?
Brett: That's correct.
Supervisor: What year is it?
Brett: It's a 1997.
Supervisor: So it's an older car?
Brett: Yes.
Supervisor: And you didn't have issues with the clutch before?
Brett: No, probably because I've had it replaced recently.
Supervisor: Well if that is an issue that actually does happen, you'll have to file a complaint with our insurance department.
Brett: Okay
Supervisor: The officers do have a right to..(unsure of audio)
Brett: I understand that, but I don't think they have a right to drive my vehicle.
Supervisor: Well we can't leave it in traffic.
Brett: Well I offered to pull it over here and the officer declined.
Supervisor: When were conducting an investigation. We can't say, oh you can drive your car and then that person takes off and runs over someone, we'd have a problem.
Brett: We'll I'd expect them to pull me off the road originally and not stop me in the middle of traffic.
Supervisor: Here ya go.
(Hands me my license)
Brett: Okay.
Supervisor: Anything else I can do for you?
Brett: No, I mean I just don't understand why I had to get out of the car because I didn't want to tell the officer where I was going. I think that is my own personal business and that has nothing to do with this.
Supervisor: And the officer said because your not telling him where--
Brett: Exactly, that is exactly why he asked me to step out of the car. Because he asked me where I was going and I told him officer I don't wish to speak with you about where I'm going tonight and he said get out of the car.
Supervisor: Okay, I'm sure there was something else besides that.
Brett: That's exactly it and you can bring him over here right now and actually I would like if you would so we can talk about this.
Supervisor: We're not going to do this on the side of the road.
Brett: Okay, and what was your name?
Supervisor: (Unsure of audio)
Brett: And how do you spell it?
Supervisor: (Unsure of audio)
Brett: May I leave?
Supervisor: Certainly, the officer said you could leave before.

(I get in the car, turn the video toward the officers and then behind me at the supervisor. I then drive off.)

Here's a New Year's Resolution for the US

End the "war on terror." It's a useless fiction that serves only to drain treasure and talent.

Monday, January 1, 2007

One last weather observation

Although any time we talk about "ice storms" and "blizzards" we are ultimately talking of winter storms, I couldn't help but notice that this past weekend's storm had a spring-like quality to it. I say that mainly due to the widespread prevalence of thunderstorms throughout the panhandles prior to the ice and snow, as well as the heavy rains and in some locations hail. There were areas that got over 2 inches of rain in the panhandles (ours likely was among those or pretty darned close). The sky itself looked more like a spring storm type cloudiness. In other words, we got the sort of moisture more typical of our rainy season (spring/early summer) rather than what is supposed to be our dry season (late fall/winter). If it had been late March instead of late December, we might have been talking about tornadoes instead of ice.

That storm was worse than I thought

Well, we missed the blizzard, but we managed instead to get just enough of an ice storm to cause us to go without power for 2 days. Funny thing is, this ice storm was actually milder than the previous one that knocked down half the town's tree branches. Go figure.

We stayed at the house the first day/night. It was cold but at least we had running water. Yesterday, the water went out, so we took ourselves and the kiddos to a motel. Probably just as well, as with temps heading down into the teens I'm not sure how habitable the house would have been. Any way, was nice to actually have light and heat somewhere. It's even nicer to finally have it again where we live. Now to replace all those groceries!

So, what I miss?