Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Miami's finest in "Shock and Awe 2"

City of Miami Police are planning ''in-your-face" shows of force in public places, saying the random, high-profile security operations will keep terrorists guessing about where officers might be next.

As an example, uniformed and plainclothes officers might surround a bank building unannounced, contact the manager about ways to be vigilant against terrorists, and hand out leaflets in three languages to customers and people passing by, police spokesman Angel Calzadilla said.

''People are definitely going to notice it," Deputy Police Chief Frank Fernandez said Monday. ''We want that shock. We want that awe. But at the same time, we don't want people to feel their rights are being threatened."

Police Chief John Timoney said there was no specific or credible threat of a terror attack in Miami. But he said the city has repeatedly been mentioned in intelligence reports as a potential target. -- The Boston Globe

This, from the man (Timoney) who brought you the assault on free speech during the Free Trade Area of the Americas meeting in downtown Miami, 2 years ago.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving -- from Venezuela

Of the nine major oil companies - currently rolling in windfall profits - that were asked by Congresss to donate some of their record-setting revenues to the poor of America who wil be beset this winter by as much as a 75% increase in heating oil costs, only one stepped up to the plate.


Yes, Citgo has announced that they will offer fuel at discounted rates in Boston as early as this week, said a statement posted Friday on the company's website. "The first phase of the program, in Boston, will offer up to 4.5 million litres of heating oil at accessible rates, representing $10 million U.S. in savings for those sectors," the statement read. Heating oil will be sold later in the Bronx, one of New York's poorest boroughs.

Now, who owns Citgo? Citgo is a subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company, and they are following up on a promise by President Hugo Chavez to help poor Americans cut energy costs.

Now, I have no illusions that George W. Bush and his administration give a royal damn about the poor in America (when's the last time you heard ANYONE in Washington talk about the lost city of New Orleans?), but the irony of this hemisphere's most demonized elected president filling the shameful void of our own corrupt corporate culture is well, priceless.

Way to go, Hugo. Chingate, Pat Robertson.

P.S. Maybe that should be "this hemisphere's 2nd most demonized elected president..."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Gee, I wonder why?

The Republican leadership (and I use the term loosely) in the Congress announced yesterday that they won't be so quick to start investigating the source of the leaks about those secret CIA prisons maintained overseas, afterall. One needn't be the brightest bulb to figure out that they have determined that the source of the information was one of their own. Especially as the information was revealed at a Republican only closed door meeting.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

This is the unraveling

The off-year 2005 elections, insofar as they represent a mild bell weather of the nation’s temperment, are cause for restrained jubilation. In addition to Democratic victories in two highly heated gubernatorial races, there were many satisfying mayoral race results as well (though, sadly, not in San Diego, while in New York, there was little hope overcoming Mike Bloomberg’s money machine). Far more telling were the defeats of California Governator’s propositions (though electoral reform in Ohio didn’t fare as well – perhaps due to voter confusion). In Dover, Pennsylvania, the creationist agenda was soundly trounced as the school board proponents of the teaching of intelligent design were all voted out of office (not so in Kansas). And plucky Maine defeated a proposition that would have sanctioned discrimination by sexual orientation.

Of course, the right wing will declare the election results of no national significance, as will the right wing bloggers who more and more look like lone voices in the wilderness for the politics of delusion. The real news is that those centrist Americans who always were basically uncomfortable with the social engineering of the Republican majority, who allowed fear to overcome their better judgment, how have grown horrified with the craven ways and means of the Cheney-Rove cabal and their sideshow front man.

Still, we must contend with one party rule in the executive and legislative branches, and a Supreme Court rewritten by ideologues who call themselves strict Constitutionalists. This is no time for progressives to grow complacent. The horrendous $70 billion dollar tax cut for was quietly placed before the Senate yesterday (though further attempts at the assassination of Social Security have just as quietly been dropped).

The battle for 2006 has begun, and the auguries are good. I predict that some sort of faux troop reduction in Iraq will be announced by Rumsfeld as we draw closer to next November, but also that it will be too little and too late.

Monday, November 07, 2005

U.S. used chemical weapons in Iraq

"In soldier slang they call it Willy Pete. The technical name is white phosphorus. In theory its purpose is to illumine enemy positions in the dark. In practice, it was used as a chemical weapon in the rebel stronghold of Fallujah. And it was used not only against enemy combatants and guerrillas, but again innocent civilians. The Americans are responsible for a massacre using unconventional weapons, the identical charge for which Saddam Hussein stands accused. An investigation by RAI News 24, the all-news Italian satellite television channel, has pulled the veil from one of the most carefully concealed mysteries from the front in the entire US military campaign in Iraq."
-- La Repubblica (Rome, in Italian). English translation here.

The shocking video Fallujah - "The Hidden Massacre" can be viewed here, via Tom Feeley's Information Clearing House.

And so it goes. Torture, other violations of the Geneva convention, chemical warfare. We have put on the face of the "enemy." Where is the outrage, America?

Palestinians donate son's kidney for Israeli boy

The family of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy who was killed by Israeli soldiers have donated one of his kidneys to an Israeli boy. "It doesn't matter whether the recipient was a Jew or an Arab," they said.

Ahmed Khatib was shot on Thursday in the West Bank city of Jenin. He was rushed to the emergency room at Rambam hospital in Haifa, but died without recovering consciousness. The army said he had a toy gun, which soldiers mistook for a rifle. The family said he was with a group of boys waving toy guns to celebrate a festival.

Jamil Khatib, his uncle, said the boy's father, Ismail, agreed to the donation after he saw the young Israeli kidney patient. "He had a brother, Shawkat, who died several years ago from kidney failure. He understood what it was like. Shawkat needed a kidney, but he never got one."

The extended Khatib family was divided over the donation. Palestinian prisoners phoned and said they should not give the kidney to the enemy.
-- Eric Silver, The Independent, 7 November 2005

In times of darkness, sometimes there is a ray of light.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Judy in Disguise

"The most intriguing revelation of Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald's news conference last week was his assertion that he would have presented his indictment of I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby a year ago if not for the intransigence of reporters who refused to testify before the grand jury. He said that without that delay, 'we would have been here in October 2004 instead of October 2005.'"
-- Robert Scheer, LA Times. Full article here.

And I wonder who would have been elected president?

Collateral damage

Attention, all right-wing Christians who support the Iraqi war. Watch this video and tell me about your "culture of life."