Mar 31, 2011
I'm completely confused and alarmed by the seemingly haphazard insanity that Mr. Obama's approach to this particular situation, the way it's transpired, and what the long term implications are and will be.
I have, amazingly, more than one reason for my opinion.
First off, the lazy Susan of the political game has now completely turned back to the Democrats. Now they are the war-mongers. Even the biased main stream media feeds are thumping their fists into their anchor desks making wild rationals that their Commander in Chief is right -- and that multinational intervention in an oil-producing Arab country, without prior congressional approval or majority public support is A-OK. But even eight years ago, George Bush got the support of Congress - he made the Democrats sign off on it before he went in. He even had the UN support, if by only the stack of resolutions and declarations.*
*Note that prior to 2002, the UN Security Council had passed 16 resolutions on Iraq. In 2002, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441: offering Iraq under Saddam Hussein "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" that had been set out in several previous resolutions.
And let's also note this is while we're still engaged in that war - and Afghanistan, now this is going on while we're racking up deficits. Who's paying for it? The Arab League? What's amazing is that the media and folks who I consider "Progressives" are actually saying, “my president, right or wrong,” styled gibberish that they were falling all over themselves to mock eight short years ago.
And then there's General Joe Biden and Mr. Obama themselves. Joe and Mr. Obama were the quickest to get on a milk crate to yell that George W. Bush’s antiterrorism policies and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was more partisan than principled. Mr. Obama was against, "stupid wars." But Mr. Obama, as President, not only embraced but also expanded the tribunals, preventive detentions, renditions, Predator attacks, intercepts and wiretaps, he also hasn't closed Guantanamo Bay.
Take it a step further - now he can preemptively attack an Arab oil-exporting country without fear of his base, Hollywood, threats of congressional cutoffs, MoveOn.org “General Betray Us”, Cindy Sheehan, or the main stream media. In short, Obama has effectively and determinately ended the antiwar movement. Of course, this author would say that none of the anti-war movement had any affect on the current wars anyway. Why? Well, one, we're engaged in three active shooting wars right now! But more importantly is that it's my contention that as long as the US military remains a volunteer Army, the argument that, "they signed up for it," will prevent any real passion or 'skin-in-the-game' for the general American public.
PS - Iran, Syria, and even North Korea. Just a suggestion - but you better watch your ass.
Then there's Europe. It's been the European role to egg America on to fight their enemies and turn their head and complain that the Cowboy Policeman is an aggressive thug. It's their PR move to look like they're above it all.
But in this one, even the French got into it before the US. I'm sure the oil and all their dealings with Quadaffy have something to do with it. But the dynamic of NATO calling the shots, while 90% of NATO is American, but America doesn't want to play -- is baffling. It's against character.
Don't worry, I'm sure they'll still slap the 'Imperialism' logo on this thing if it goes south. Funny thing with these good intentioned 'kinetic military actions' is that they almost ALWAYS do.
And what, pray-tell, will happen when we don't intervene in the next protest movement in the Middle East? What about the other two wars in Africa - that are happening simultaneously? Sure they're civil wars, but don't we now have a moral obligation to protect the innocent civilians? How much will that cost?
I guess it depends if there's an oil field near the killing field.
If you want to be against this war, marching in the streets won't do it. You need to get off the oil. Stop driving so damn much, and quit buying plastic things.
Every one is a European-owned entity.
Mar 30, 2011
Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez yesterday was awarded a prize from the communications department at Argentina's La Plata University for his support of "popular communication." Wow. » By Jeff Neumann
Twenty years from now, we'll look back to see how we got here.... an interesting article, and fun read about China's continued growth and influence in Asia and what it would mean to U.S. influence.
"Sino-American relations have been spiraling down into a hostile dialectic for more than a decade. The two sides have grown increasingly uncomfortable with their complex, ever-evolving but seemingly inescapable economic interdependence. China will not relent in its aggressive, mercantilist currency policies, but the Fed and the Treasury, ever in need of Chinese capital to finance America’s debt, have never pushed the issue to the wall. The two sides have displayed their ideological differences as Chinese restrictions on civil rights continue. They have sparred, too, over points of honor and prestige in international forums and, episodically, over the future of Taiwan.
But the underlying source of the current deterioration in the bilateral relationship is the competition for influence in the Indo-Pacific commons, that broad swath reaching from the western Pacific Ocean to the eastern coast of Africa, which both sides consider central to their standing in the region and to global perceptions of their power. After nearly a decade’s worth of threat-making, strained diplomatic ties and below-the-radar games of chicken, U.S. and Chinese naval ships now stand prow-to-prow in the East China Sea, minutes from battle over a seemingly meaningless incident."
It's a common code of photojournalism not to intervene in the events. They try to change the world with words and pictures - not actions. In some situations this can be deemed immoral and unethical. Relevantly, here's some info on a 1994 Pulitzer winning photo of a Sudanese starving child by Kevin Carter: Kevin killed himself by suicide not long afterward. No one knows what happened to the child.
All of it reminds me of this Banksy print:
Mar 28, 2011
Check your bill with a fine tooth comb.
Just wish I was smart enough or evil enough to come up with this one on my own.
Mar 27, 2011
Protesters shot as demonstrations expand across Syria READ MORE
Police struggle to control hard-core anarchist rioters after 500,000-strong London march against government cuts ends in violence READ MORE (you'd expect anarchists to be FOR government cuts, though, wouldn't you?)
Morning. Time to review some of the happenings of the week.
MEANWHILE.... Fresh water is being injected into the reactor pressure vessel at reactor 3 at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant,
Mar 26, 2011
Mar 25, 2011
In all the reporting on the involvement of US Forces in Libya a report by WCTI Channel 12 News in New Bern, North Carolina seems to have gone by almost unnoticed.
The News channel reports that 2,200 U.S. Marines have been shipped off the Libya. Hold on now - that deployment doesn't jive with Mr. Obama’s steadfast insistence that there will be “no boots on the ground” in Libya.
On March 20 WCTI reported that the Marines were shipping out. About 2,200 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, or 26th MEU will take part. Their mission is to help end the violence directed at the Libyan people.
Oh. Good thing the Pentagon eliminated their amphibious transports that the modern Marines have no use for. Maybe they're just going so that they can keep singing their theme song? "To the Shores of Tripoli!?"
Read More, It's Canadian, eh.
Meanwhile, I wonder if we'll also be sending troops to a much more significant source of terror that's been aiming to actually harm the United States? Oh, didn't hear about that one, eh? Yeah, looks like the Unrest In Yemen Is A Major Setback For U.S. Counter-Terrorism Operations. Remember the UPS and FedEx bombs in toner cartridges? Yemen. Remember the Christmas Underwear Bomber? Yemen. Unrest and regime change in Yemen? Oh, oh, Shaggy.
Oh, and if that wasn't enough, Syria is also quivering on the brink of toppling over -- and while that sounds great, it's probably not great for the Western powers.
So we're engaging Libya. Missing Yemen and Syria. And of course the REAL fart in the car that no one's talking about is Saudi Arabia. Just how important is the Kingdom to the world of Big Macs and iPad2's? If you had to rank which country could be the greatest threat to the modern world's stability - Saudi Arabia should be on the top of your list. Arrogant leadership and oil producing power? Right there. Number 2? My answer would be Iran.
Where's Iraq on that list?
Mar 24, 2011
True: In some ways, what Obama did is worse." (reason.com)
And in a kind of similar related news... Only 17% Of Americans See President Obama As A Strong And Decisive Military Leader.
"Bush made the case for removing Hussein over months. Bush got approval from Congress. Bush acted against a dictator who aspired to acquire nuclear weapons. He invaded a country of large strategic value. He stated plainly the purpose of the invasion.
Obama did none of those things. He rushed into a war, ignoring Congress, to punish a ruler who had abandoned his nuclear ambitions, in a country of peripheral importance."
Maybe it's because he names his wars after crappy Asia records, and it's not a war - It's a Kinetic Military Action.
DETROIT (Reuters) – A package found by a security guard at a federal office building in Detroit sat three weeks before someone thought to screen it and found it was a bomb, an official who represents unionized guards said on Wednesday.
A private contract guard, since suspended, apparently found the package outside in late February, said David Wright, president of the union that represents Federal Protective Service guards but not contract guards.
The building in downtown Detroit houses offices for the FBI, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the Social Security Administration and others.
The guard brought the package into the building and put it in "lost and found" without having it screened, Wright said. It sat until March 18, when someone decided to X-ray the package and found that it might contain a bomb, he said.
The guards then notified the Federal Protective Service and Detroit police and the package was moved outside the building, where the police bomb squad recovered it, he said.
Detroit police said they recovered a package on Friday from the federal building and detonated it.
The FBI is investigating the incident, Special Agent Sandra Berchtold said. Neither police nor the FBI commented further on details of the incident,
Wright said it was not clear whether the guard who found the package initially was the one who decided to have it screened for explosives. The package should not have been moved in either case except by explosives experts, he said.
(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; Editing by Jerry Norton)
The 2012 GOP scorecard is beginning to fill up.
Bachmann was born in Iowa, where the first presidential caucuses will take place.
Mar 23, 2011
* Tensions with Britain as Gates rebukes UK government over suggestion Gaddafi could be assassinated
* French propose a new political 'committee' to oversee operations
* Germany pulls equipment out of NATO coalition over disagreement over campaign's direction
* Italians accuse French of backing NATO in exchange for oil contracts
* No-fly zone called into question after first wave of strikes 'neutralises' Libyan military machine
* U.K. ministers say war could last '30 years'
* Italy to 'take back control' of bases used by allies unless NATO leadership put in charge of the mission
* Russians tell U.S. to stop bombing in order to protect civilians - calls bombing a 'crusade'
Deep divisions between allied forces currently bombing Libya worsened today as the German military announced it was pulling forces out of NATO over continued disagreement on who will lead the campaign.
A German military spokesman said it was recalling two frigates and AWACS surveillance plane crews from the Mediterranean, after fears they would be drawn into the conflict if NATO takes over control from the U.S.
Read more ....
Who's in charge? Not ME!! Nato is falling apart - expect Italy to pull out next, which means fewer airbases to launch aircraft from... and frankly, 12 minutes into this thing, wasn't the Libyan air threat pretty well bombed to submission? Libya: A No-Fly Zone In A Country With Virtually No Air Force. At what point were the bad guys supposed to just throw their AK-47's into the sand and run away? Hey, Europe, you've got a memory problem just like the US has -- The lessons in Bosnia are already forgotten?
The best part is how quickly the rhetoric has flipped the Lazy-Susan. Republicans traded papers with the Democrats to shout about how illegal this action is... oh, wait? Some of the Democrats are actually consistent and are keeping their anti-Iraq scripts too? Well, good for them. I like to see consistency rather than hypocrisy.
The New York Times had that Elizabeth Taylor obit ready for so long that the writer of the piece actually died six years ago. Really.
Okay, one dead celeb. Two to go. Who's next?
Dead pool anyone?
Lockheed Martin: Forging a new path forward to ensure safe, affordable and sustainable human exploration beyond low Earth orbit, Lockheed Martin today unveiled the first Orion spacecraft and a spacious state-of-the-art Space Operations Simulation Center (SOSC). These two major projects, located at Lockheed Martin’s Waterton Facility near Denver, Colo., showcase the NASA-industry teams’ progress for human space flight, the Orion Project and NASA’s Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.
Great. Just need a rocket and the will to fire it.
Mar 22, 2011
Hey, my friend at A Collection of Odd reminded me of when France penned a $400 million dollar arms deal with Libya in 2007. "That's gotta be fun. Now they get to blow up all the stuff they sold them. Now that's a solid business model if I've ever heard of one."
More civilians were killed last year in Ciudad Juarez, the Mexican city across the border from El Paso, Texas, than were killed in all of Afghanistan.
There were 3,111 civilians murdered in the city of Juarez in 2010 and 2,421 in the entire country of Afghanistan—the majority of them by anti-government forces including the Taliban.
About one out of every 427 civilian inhabitants was killed in Juarez last year, while about one out of every 12,029 civilian inhabitants was killed in Afghanistan. (There are 1,328,017 people in Juarez, according to Mexico’s 2010 census, and 29,121,286 people in Afghanistant, according to the CIA’s World Factbook.)
The number of civilians killed in Afghanistan was compiled by the Congressional Research Service and published in a CRS report released on Feb. 3. The number of civilians killed in Juarez was compiled by Molly Molloy, a research librarian at New Mexico State University who maintains a count of murders Juarez and published it on the Frontera List Web site. Molloy’s work on civilian murders in Juarez was also referenced in a recent CRS report on Mexican drug cartels.Read More
A study using census data from nine countries shows that religion there is set for extinction, say researchers.
The study found a steady rise in those claiming no religious affiliation.
The team's mathematical model attempts to account for the interplay between the number of religious respondents and the social motives behind being one.
The result, reported at the American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, US, indicates that religion will all but die out altogether in those countries.
The team took census data stretching back as far as a century from countries in which the census queried religious affiliation: Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.
Note, I don't see the USA on that list...
"In a large number of modern secular democracies, there's been a trend that folk are identifying themselves as non-affiliated with religion; in the Netherlands the number was 40%, and the highest we saw was in the Czech Republic, where the number was 60%."
There's more about being a member of a group, speaking dead languages - read more
Wow. Just imagine.
The announcement, which came in the form of a two-minute web video posted on Facebook at 3 p.m. eastern time, focused heavily on Pawlenty’s humble roots and his plan to restore the country.
“There is a brighter future for America,” says Pawlenty in a slickly-produced video packed full of patriotic music and symbolic images. “We know what we need to do: grow jobs, limit government spending and tackle entitlements.”
In the video [above], Pawlenty also sought to align himself with the likes of past presidents like Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln; “We the people of the United State will take back our government,” he says.
"Take it back?" I hate that cliché! To give back, to take it back? Take back *what* exactly? From whom?
PS, Not happy with the overt religious images, and way too much hockey to play with the latino vote. You better form up a soccer team, Tim.
Mar 21, 2011
March 21 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve must disclose details of emergency loans it made to banks in 2008, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an industry appeal that aimed to shield the records from public view. The justices today left intact a court order that gives the Fed five days to release the records, sought by Bloomberg.
A huge win for transparency.
Statement from Matthew Winkler, editor in chief of Bloomberg News:
As a financial crisis developed in 2007, "The Federal Reserve forgot that it is the central bank for the people of the United States and not a private academy where decisions of great importance may be withheld from public scrutiny. The Fed must be accountable to Congress, especially in disclosing what it does with the people’s money."
“The board will fully comply with the court’s decision and is preparing to make the information available,” said David Skidmore, a spokesman for the Fed.
The order marks the first time a court has forced the Fed to reveal the names of banks that borrowed from its oldest lending program, the 98-year-old discount window. The disclosures, together with details of six bailout programs released by the central bank in December under a congressional mandate, would give taxpayers insight into the Fed’s unprecedented $3.5 trillion effort to stem the 2008 financial panic.
“I can’t recall that the Fed was ever sued and forced to release information” in its 98-year history, said Allan H. Meltzer, the author of three books on the U.S central bank and a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
Filming on the two Hobbit movies has begun following months of delays caused by funding problems, a row over actors' wages and surgery for its director.
Filming is taking place at Stone Street Studios, Wellington, and on location around New Zealand.
Production on the films, starring Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, is expected to take up to two years. The first is due out in late 2012.
Oh, and in case you didn't know where this came from - it's the most popular Worst Song in history.
A song by a 13-year-old American teenager has gone viral on the internet after being widely described as the worst one ever recorded.
Rebecca Black's pop song called Friday has been viewed on YouTube more than 29 million times.
It has trended on Twitter and been the subject of huge online comment and discussion.
That's mainly because it's been derided by millions of people for what they say are its awful lyrics.
Ones like "yesterday was Thursday Thursday, today it is Friday Friday", "gotta get down to the bus stop, gotta get my bus, i see my friends" and "we we we so excited, we so excited".
People have been quick to criticize the song for more than just its words.
The teenager's heavily auto tuned singing and video have also been labeled as terrible.
2. In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites — a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)
The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.
As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.
As for the specific question about bombing suspected nuclear sites, I recently introduced S.J. Res. 23, which states in part that “any offensive military action taken by the United States against Iran must be explicitly authorized by Congress.” The recent NIE tells us that Iran in 2003 halted its effort to design a nuclear weapon. While this does not mean that Iran is no longer a threat to the United States or its allies, it does give us time to conduct aggressive and principled personal diplomacy aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Uh, Mr. Obama? Call me silly, but doesn’t that statement mean that your own decision to authorize action against Libya is prohibited by Constitution?
I guess Change meant you Changed your mind?
"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program." --President Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998
"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face." --Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998
"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983." --Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998
"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." Letter to President Clinton, signed by: -- Democratic Senators Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others, Oct. 9, 1998
"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." -Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998
"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies." -- Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999
"There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies." Letter to President Bush, Signed by: -- Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), and others, Dec 5, 2001
"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and th! e means of delivering them." -- Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002
"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." -- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002
"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." -- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." -- Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002
"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..." -- Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002
"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force -- if necessary -- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." -- Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002
"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction." -- Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002
"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do" -- Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members ... It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons." -- Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002
"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction." -- Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002
"Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real..." -- Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003
Mar 20, 2011
UPDATE 2: 3.30pm GMT IAEA graph of fuel pond temperatures
Workers on site have succeeded in increasing the stability of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors, with units 5 and 6 now in cold shutdown. Pressure built up within unit 3 but a more significant venting does not seem necessary now.
External power has now been connected to unit 5 and 6, allowing them to use their residual heat removal systems and transfer heat to the sea. This has been used to cool the fuel ponds and bring the units to cold shutdown status, meaning that water in the reactor system is at less than 100ºC.
|This graph from the International Atomic Energy Agency illustrates how|
fuel pond temperatures have dropped at units 5 and 6 since the
connection of external power and use of the residual heat removal
system was restarted
"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." ~ Senator ObamaUnder the War Powers Act, he's got 90 days to get Congressional approval pf enforcing the No-Fly Zone.. The War Powers Act was amended once the US Senate ratified the UN Charter.
It's not missed that the action in Libya is 8 years TO THE DAY that Coalition forces began bombing Iraq.
Mar 19, 2011
International military action begins as French warplanes take to the skies above Benghazi to enforce UNSC-approved no-fly zone; French Defense Official: French jets fire on Libyan military vehicles (AJE report: 4 tanks destroyed); Canadians sending fighter-bombers, instituting naval blockade.
Much-lauded Libyan Citizen journalist Mohammed “Mo” Al-Nabbous, operator of Alhurra TV livestream, reportedly killed in firefight.
* Cross-hairs on target screen show sniper where to return fire
* Sensor has been developed using same technology as Nintendo Wii games
A supergun that targets enemy snipers by the sound of their gunfire is being trialled by British soldiers, it emerged today.
The 'gunfire locator' is fitted next to the scopes of rifles which uses sonar to calculate an enemy's position within 1.3 seconds.
Paratroopers even field-tested the device by offering themselves as targets to Taliban insurgents last weekend in order to draw out the fire.
Read more ....
First official trailer for Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock’s “Inception of documentaries,” POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.
The film, which explores the often invasive world of product placement, is set to open in theaters April 22.
Mar 18, 2011
A Christian serving a life sentence in Karachi Central Jail on accusations that he had sent text messages blaspheming the prophet of Islam died today amid suspicions that he was murdered. Qamar David’s life had been threatened since he and a Muslim, Munawar Ahmad, were accused of sending derogatory text messages about Muhammad in June 2006, said David’s former lawyer, Pervaiz Chaudhry.
It saddens me that a fellow Blasphemer has died. In this case, for what he believed in - in my case, what I don't.
Texting is a bad idea, folks. Bad idea.
Iran today boasted that it has built the world’s first flying saucer.
Called the Zohal - or Saturn in English - it said the unmanned spaceship is designed for 'aerial imaging' but added it can be used for 'various missions'.
It was unveiled by the country's officially sanctioned media on the same day it claimed to have launched a rocket into orbit with a test capsule capable of carrying a monkey into space.
The hardline Fars news agency illustrated its story with a photo of a flying saucer, akin to one appearing in a 1950s Hollywood B-movie, hovering over an unidentified wooded landscape.
Read more ....
Look, if you're going to make a flying saucer claim - why not go balls out and show a picture from ID4, or something bad-ass?
In their defense, though, Ronald Reagan showed Star Wars to the Russians and it ended the cold war... or something like that. My memory of the 80's has gotten a little fuzzy.
Mar 17, 2011
Two former high-ranking members of the Oakland County Democratic Party are facing various election corruption charges in a bogus tea party scheme, Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper and County Sheriff Michael Bouchard announced Wednesday.
Former Democratic Party Chairman Michael McGuinness and ex-operations director Jason Bauer, both of Waterford Township, were arraigned Wednesday before Oakland Circuit Judge James Alexander.
They face charges related to Independent Tea Party filings, false affidavits and forged documents that occurred between July 23 and July 26 last year.
Both stood mute to the charges and were released on $25,000 personal bond each, pending an April 13 hearing before Alexander.
Here's a man who has put a personal stake into this conflict. General David Petraeus revealed his son Stephen has recently completed a 'secret' combat tour as a member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
2nd Lieutenant Stephen Petraeus served as platoon commander with 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
Read more ....
I wish and DARE more leaders to do exactly this with their own sons and daughters. Nay, I DEMAND it.
General Petraeus - please, pretty please, run for higher office. We need leaders like you. I only wish you were the rule, not the exception.
Mar 16, 2011
US nuclear agency chief says no more water in spent fuel pool at troubled Japan plant.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The chief of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says all the water is gone from one of the spent fuel pools at Japan's most troubled nuclear plant. This means there's nothing to stop the fuel rods from getting hotter and ultimately melting down.
Read more .... The Meltdown is now Imminent
It is almost certain that England will be invaded within the next few days or weeks, and a large-scale invasion by sea-borne troops is quite likely. At such a time our slogan should be ARM THE PEOPLE. I am not competent to deal with the wider questions of repelling the invasion, but I submit that the campaign in France and the recent civil war in Spain have made two facts clear. One is that when the civil population is unarmed, parachutists, cyclists and stray tanks can not only work fearful havoc but draw off large bodies of regular troops who should be opposing the main enemy. The other fact (demonstrated by the Spanish war) is that the advantages of arming the population outweigh the danger of putting weapons into the wrong hands. By-elections since the war started have shown that only a tiny minority among the common people of England are disaffected, and most of these are already marked down.
ARM THE PEOPLE is in itself a vague phrase, and I do not, of course, know what weapons are available for immediate distribution. But there are at any rate several things that can and should be done now, i.e. within the next three days:
1. Hand-grenades. These are the only modern weapon of war that can be rapidly and easily manufactured, and they are one of the most useful. Hundreds of thousands of men in England are accustomed to using hand-grenades and would be only too ready to instruct others. They are said to be useful against tanks and will be absolutely necessary if enemy parachutists with machine-guns manage to establish themselves in our big towns. I had a front-seat view of the street fighting in Barcelona in May 1937, and it convinced me that a few hundred men with machine-guns can paralyse the life of a large city, because of the fact that a bullet will not penetrate an ordinary brick wall. They can be blasted out with artillery, but it is not always possible to bring a gun to bear. On the other hand, the early street fighting in Spain showed that armed men can be driven out of stone buildings with grenades or even sticks of dynamite if the right tactics are used.
2. Shotguns. There is talk of arming some of the Local Defence Volunteer contingents with shotguns. This may be necessary if all the rifles and Bren guns are needed for the regular troops. But in that case the distribution should be made now and all weapons should be immediately requisitioned from the gunsmiths’ shops. There was talk of doing this weeks ago, but in fact many gunsmiths’ windows show rows of guns which are not only useless where they are, but actually a danger, as these shops could easily be raided. The powers and limitations of the shotgun (with buckshot, lethal up to about sixty yards) should be explained to the public over the radio.
3. Blocking fields against aircraft landings. There has been much talk of this, but it has only been done sporadically. The reason is that it has been left to voluntary effort, i.e. to people who have insufficient time and no power of requisitioning materials. In a small thickly populated country like England we could within a very few days make it impossible for an aeroplane to land anywhere except at an aerodrome. All that is needed is the labour. Local authorities should therefore have powers to conscript labour and requisition such materials as they require.
4. Painting out place-names. This has been well done as regards signposts, but there are everywhere shop-fronts, tradesmen’s vans etc., bearing the name of their locality. Local authorities should have the power to enforce the painting-out of these immediately. This should include the brewers’ names on public houses. Most of these are confined to a fairly small area, and the Germans are probably methodical enough to know this.
5. Radio sets. Every Local Defence Volunteer headquarters should be in possession of a radio receiving set, so that if necessary it can receive its orders over the air. It is fatal to rely on the telephone in a moment of emergency. As with weapons, the Government should not hesitate to requisition what it needs.
All of these are things that could be done within the space of a very few days. Meanwhile, let us go on repeating ARM THE PEOPLE, in the hope that more and more voices will take it up. For the first time in decades we have a Government with imagination1, and there is at least a chance that they will listen.
I am, etc.
1. On 10 May the Chamberlain Government had fallen and Winston Churchill became Prime Minister at the head of a Coalition Government.
Source: CEJL2-9 and George Orwell Notes
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(Thank you WAR NEWS UPDATE, for, well, everything!)
Wonder no more: Here are the 10 nuclear power sites with the highest risk of suffering core damage from an earthquake, showing their NRC risk estimates based on 2008 and 1989 geological data. (The full list of 104 reactors is below.)
1. Indian Point 3, Buchanan, N.Y.: 1 in 10,000 chance each year. Old estimate: 1 in 17,241. Increase in risk: 72 percent.
2. Pilgrim 1, Plymouth, Mass.: 1 in 14,493. Old estimate: 1 in 125,000. Increase in risk: 763 percent.
3. Limerick 1 and 2, Limerick, Pa.: 1 in 18,868. Old estimate: 1 in 45,455. Increase in risk: 141 percent.
4. Sequoyah 1 and 2, Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.: 1 in 19,608. Old estimate: 1 in 102,041. Increase in risk: 420 percent.
5. Beaver Valley 1, Shippingport, Pa.: 1 in 20,833. Old estimate: 1 in 76,923. Increase in risk: 269 percent.
6. Saint Lucie 1 and 2, Jensen Beach, Fla.: 1 in 21,739. Old estimate: N/A.
7. North Anna 1 and 2, Louisa, Va.: 1 in 22,727. Old estimate: 1 in 31,250. Increase in risk: 38 percent.
8. Oconee 1, 2 and 3, Seneca, S.C.: 1 in 23,256. Old estimate: 1 in 100,000. Increase in risk: 330 percent.
9. Diablo Canyon 1 and 2, Avila Beach, Calif.: 1 in 23,810. Old estimate: N/A.10. Three Mile Island, Middletown, Pa.: 1 in 25,000. Old estimate: 1 in 45,455. Increase in risk: 82 percent.
Read More, place your bets.