Monday, August 30, 2010

The Holy Land

An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday.

The soldier, who has only been identified as "Captain R", was charged with relatively minor offences for the killing of Iman al-Hams who was shot 17 times as she ventured near an Israeli army post near Rafah refugee camp in Gaza a year ago.

The army's official account said that Iman was shot for crossing into a security zone carrying her schoolbag which soldiers feared might contain a bomb. It is still not known why the girl ventured into the area but witnesses described her as at least 100 yards from the military post which was in any case well protected.

A recording of radio exchanges between Capt R and his troops obtained by Israeli television revealed that from the beginning soldiers identified Iman as a child. In the recording, a soldier in a watchtower radioed a colleague in the army post's operations room and describes Iman as "a little girl" who was "scared to death". After soldiers first opened fire, she dropped her schoolbag which was then hit by several bullets establishing that it did not contain explosive. At that point she was no longer carrying the bag and, the tape revealed, was heading away from the army post when she was shot.

Witnesses said they saw the captain shoot Iman twice in the head, walk away, turn back and fire a stream of bullets into her body.

On the tape, Capt R then "clarifies" to the soldiers under his command why he killed Iman: "This is commander. Anything that's mobile, that moves in the [security] zone, even if it's a three-year-old, needs to be killed."

At no point did the Israeli troops come under attack.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Are We To Be Spared Nothing?

No, I guess not.
After being nominated for Best Director at the Oscars for his last two films, Jason Reitman could pretty much have his pick of projects at any studio in Hollywood. Reitman has signed a deal to write and direct VERTIGO 3D, a remake of Hitchcock's 1958 classic, which will reteam him with UP IN THE AIR star George Clooney.

Clooney will play the role made famous by Jimmy Stewart in the original; a detective who becomes strangely obsessed with the woman he's hired to trail and the sudden appearance of her doppelganger. In talks to join Clooney is Anne Hathaway though it's reportedly very early in negotiations.

While the original was more a psychological thriller, Reitman is looking to add some action sequences to, as he puts it, "make it more relatable to modern audiences." Reitman, who was quietly working on the script during the UP IN THE AIR press tour, will also be shooting the film in 3D and hopes to use the effect to more effectively convey the acrophobia of the lead character (think the Hitchcock zoom in 3D).
More relatable to modern audiences? Maybe we'll get to see Scottie hit the ground after he hangs from the rain gutter, be rebuilt as a Cyborg, take Elster's assignment now changed to smoking-out his suspiciously pro-terrorist wife, whom Scottie follows, falls in love with from his mechanical heart, the wife "dies," is seen again sometime later -- turning out to also be a Cyborg! And forget San Francisco. Miami's the place. (Maybe we can get Lebron to do a walk-on.) Sure hope Gustavo Santaolalla is available to do the music.

And who the hell is Jason Reitman? Wasn't Ivan Reitman available? Anne Hathaway?? 3D???

This from a man -- Clooney -- who as director and executive producer (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Far from Heaven, Good Night and Good Luck, Leatherheads) -- aside from overall quality -- has always shown deep appreciation for the particulars and tone of the eras for each work. Who else in 21st Century Hollywood would have executive produced a project devoted  -- in Todd Haynes's suffocating and turgid Manner -- to the aesthetics of Douglas Sirk?

And now?? 3D this, slick.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Forward, March

Chris Floyd.
Never, ever let it be said that the Peacer Laureate's administration is not one of progressivistic enlightenment. I mean, just look at the sensitivity being displayed by the Obama administration toward its captives in its Guantanamo concentration camp. The Miami Herald reports:
Here's a new twist in the U.S. military's Islamic sensitivity effort in the prison camps for suspected terrorists at the Guantánamo Bay Navy base: Military medical staff are force-feeding a secret number of prisoners on hunger strike between dusk and dawn during the Muslim fasting holiday of Ramadan.

The prison camps spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Bradley Fagan: ... "Detainees who are fasting get their meals before dawn,'' he said Wednesday, disclosing only the hours of that day's feeding "in observance of the Ramadan schedule'' -- before 5:26 a.m. and after 7:28 p.m."
Now what about that, all you progressive critics of Obama? He only force-feeds those held for years in indefinite captivity after the sun goes down during Ramadan. What exquisite tact, what a remarkable sensitivity to human rights, eh? Why, they ought to give this guy a Nobel Peace Prize or something!

And it doesn't stop there. Obama is now force-feeding his Gitmo captives -- those that have been so maddened by years of captivity without charges that they have adopted this desperate and self-destructive method of protest, the only act of individual volition that's been left to them by their captors -- with some really tasty flavors of liquid pumped into their stomachs by force:
To demystify it a bit, Navy prison camp hospital workers some years back created a display of different flavored supplements and let visiting reporters handle a sample yellow rubber feeding tube. By last summer, staff were pointing to Butter Pecan flavored Ensure as popular with the chair-shackled captives. Flavor made no difference going down, one nurse explained, but a captive could taste it if he burped later.
Think of that! The Peacer is pumping tasty butter pecan delicacies into the guts of his prisoners in perpetuity in his still unclosed Guantanamo concentration camp! Sure, they can't really taste the concoction as it pours down the hard rubber tube jammed into their orifices -- but if they happen to burp later, they can savor that deep, rich flavor.

That, my friends, is progressivism you can taste!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


A million Iraqi casualties minimum.

Five million displaced from their own nation.

Complete destruction of Iraq's infrastructure: roads, bridges, telephone systems, oil refineries, gasoline storage tanks, power plants, water-pumping stations and sewage treatment plants, even village water tanks.

Total destruction of what was once among the best education systems in the world, targeting in particular the university system and university professors. (Over 300 professors have been murdered by US sanctioned death-squads.)

Extermination of the oldest culture in the world, beginning with the mass theft of some of the most precious artistic treasures in world history.

The targeting and assassination of archaeologists, writers, painters, calligraphers, and singers. (100 singers have been murdered to date!)

Per the World Health Organization, 70% of Iraqi children have suffered nervous breakdowns. . .

Friday, August 20, 2010

Be There In That Number

Swedish authorities have withdrawn an arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, stating that the accusation of rape against him was unfounded.

The move came just a day after a warrant was issued by Sweden's prosecutors' office in Stockholm in response to accusations of rape and molestation in two separate cases.

"I don't think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape," the chief prosecutor, Eva Finne, said.

She made no comment on the status of the molestation case, a less serious charge that would not lead to an arrest warrant.

Assange has denied both accusations, first reported by the Swedish tabloid Expressen, which were described as dirty tricks on the Wikileaks' Twitter account.

He implied that they were linked to the release by the whistleblowers' website of a huge cache of US military records on the Afghan war, which were published in collaboration with the Guardian and two other newspapers.
Chris Floyd on the lastest act of (attempted) carnage from Obama's National Security State.

And once more, to support WikiLeaks -- financially, technically or legally -- please go here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Please Make It Stop

From when the show was good, we've seen both a moving and a very funny episode of Leave It to Beaver. Now for the bad. . .

From November 22nd, 1962, and my choice as the only cultural object from the early-60s (aside from Connie Francis, the Lennon Sisters, Vic Damone, and Art Linkletter) which completely sucks: "Beaver Joins a Record Club." (If Lee Oswald did shoot at John F. Kennedy - which we know he did not - watching this episode may have planted the seed.)

And that final season opening. . .

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

He Ain't Heavy. . .

. . . Brother Ralph on C-Span, talking about many things (including his first novel: Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us).

A funny, brilliant, and bracing three hours.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Honk If You Love Caviar

Mr. Bageant's latest, right here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Saya Sensei

No subtitles. :-)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Murder Inc.

In a post some months back, I speculated about the reasons why Barack Obama -- who wouldn't have gotten so much as a primary sniff in '08 if not for his posing as a "peace candidate" -- has turned out to be, as Justin Raimondo suggests, a cross between the butchery of Lyndon Johnson and the paranoid shiftiness of Richard Nixon. The question asked previously was "has the president lost his mind?" Clearly, yes. If by "mind" one refers to anything he said or -- much more relevant in the case of this hologram -- embodied in '08.

What's also clear is we're talking now about much more than a stealth candidate. We're talking now about a man who's set out to build a permanent floor between the mutant elite, and everybody else. Some revenge indeed on his absent, neglectful, revolutionary 60s parents. . .

All of Raimondo.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Jelly Roll

My daughter rolls with laughter whenever she watches this episode, which unfortunately has been around 20 times the past week.

One of the best in the series: "Wally's Haircomb" from May of '59. (And dig that crazy music!)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Before the Devolution

What Carter, Brzezinski, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and now Obama destroyed in Afghanistan: an amazing, necessary and heartbreaking photo essay by journalist Mohammad Qayoumi. Stick this on your cover, Time Magazine.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tragedy and Farce

With the media circle jerk this past week over whether or not "we're" in a recession -- Team Vampires say Yes!, Team Bloodsuckers say No! -- let's cut to it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Setting Up the Marks

Patrick Martin:
Why didn’t the Time editor publish a photograph on the magazine’s front cover of any of the thousands of innocent Afghan men, women and children killed by US air strikes, missiles, artillery and mortar shells? He might have chosen the scene at Kunduz, where 140 people were incinerated in a single air strike that detonated a gasoline tanker. Or the wedding party in the eastern province of Nangarhar, where 47 were blown to fragments by bombs and missiles, including the young bride. Or the 90 people machine-gunned by US helicopter gunships during a funeral ceremony in Herat province. Or any of the hundreds of individual, small-scale killings of civilians detailed in the recent release of documents by WikiLeaks.

There are enough such victims of imperialism in Iraq and Afghanistan to fill the covers of American news magazines for decades to come. But the giant corporations that control the media are not in the business of informing the American people about the atrocities being committed in their name. Their task is to manipulate public opinion in the interests of policies decided on by the financial aristocracy and its political representatives, and they are hard at work at that task.

The Time cover is a lie on another level as well. The horrific treatment of women under the Taliban (and to a large extent under the US-backed Karzai regime as well), is itself the product of the American intervention in Afghanistan over the course of three decades. The Carter and Reagan administrations sought to mobilize opposition to a Soviet-backed regime in which, at least in urban areas, women had substantially improved rights, education and social standing. The mujahedin were drawn from the most right-wing elements in the Islamic world, financed by Saudi Arabia, trained by the CIA in terror techniques, and dispatched to Afghanistan. Among them was the future leader of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Hustler Descends Another Ring

NEW YORK – The Obama administration is pressing Britain, Germany, Australia, and other allied Western governments to consider opening criminal investigations of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and to severely limit his nomadic travels across international borders, American officials say.

Officials tell The Daily Beast that the U.S. effort reflects a growing belief that WikiLeaks and organizations like it threaten grave damage to American national security, as well as a growing suspicion in Washington that Assange has damaged his own standing with foreign governments and organizations that might otherwise be sympathetic to his anti-censorship cause.

American officials confirmed last month that the Justice Department was weighing a range of criminal charges against Assange and others as a result of the massive leaking of classified U.S. military reports from the war in Afghanistan, including potential violations of the Espionage Act by Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst in Iraq accused of providing the documents to WikiLeaks.

Now, the officials say, they want other foreign governments to consider the same sorts of criminal charges.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Say It Ain't So, Raul

The Octopus spreads its poison.
President Raúl Castro Sunday outlined plans that could eliminate the jobs of some 1.3 million Cuban state workers, while promoting the growth of private enterprise in the country’s service sector.

In his speech to the opening of the biannual session of the Cuban parliament, Castro insisted that the measures are merely an “updating” of the Cuban economic system, and not “market reforms” based on “capitalist recipes.” Nonetheless, the proposals pose among the most sweeping social and economic transformations in Cuba since the overthrow of the US-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1959.

The country has faced a protracted economic crisis, exacerbated by the global financial meltdown. The main export, nickel, has seen prices drop from $24 a pound in 2008 to just $7 a pound last year. Tourism, the biggest source of income, has been hit by the global recession, as have remittances from Cubans abroad, particularly in the US, who are facing unemployment and falling wages. A series of three hurricanes in 2008 combined with a drought in the eastern portion of the island ravaged much of Cuba’s crops.

Compounding these difficulties is the 48-year-old US embargo imposed in retaliation for the Cuban government’s expropriation of US corporate property on the island.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Near Dark

Former George W. Hitler speechwriter Marc Thiessen on what should be done regarding WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.
WikiLeaks is a criminal enterprise. Julian Assange is a non-U.S. citizen operating outside the territory of the United States. This means the government has a wide range of options for dealing with him. It can employ not only law enforcement but also intelligence and military assets to bring Assange to justice and put his criminal syndicate out of business.

The first step is for the Justice Department to indict Assange. Such an indictment could be sealed to prevent him from knowing that the United States is seeking his arrest. The United States should then work with its international law enforcement partners to apprehend and extradite him. Arresting Assange would be a major blow to his organization. But taking him off the streets is not enough; we must also recover the documents he unlawfully possesses and disable the system he has built to illegally disseminate classified information.

This should be done, ideally, through international law enforcement cooperation. But if such cooperation is not forthcoming, the United States can and should act alone. Assange recently boasted that he has created "an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking." I am sure this elicited guffaws at the National Security Agency. The United States has the capability and the authority to monitor his communications and disrupt his operations.
To support WikiLeaks -- financially, technically or legally -- please go here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

House Negro Forgets the Field

Piling on Charlie Rangel. Piling on Maxine Waters. Demonizing Shirley Sherrod. Ignoring the Senate candidacy of the great Kendrick Meek in Florida. Ignoring the Congressional Black Caucus's general needs for autumn 2010. The continuing humiliations of New York Governor David Patterson. The slapdown of Alabama Congressman Artur Davis, who came to the defense of Rangel, Waters, Sherrod and Patterson.

What a man Obama is! -- struttin' his stuff and pickin' on all the right (or in this case Left) people.

Danny Schechter and Bob Parry with a couple terrific pieces on the singling out of Waters and Rangel -- for political corruption in 2010 D.C.! To paraphrase Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now: "Charging a man with corruption in this place is like giving out speeding tickets at the Indianapolis 500."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Over the Walls

Part 4 of Haibane Renmei, "Birds Fly Over the Walls"

Parts 1, 2 and 3.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Let 'Em Eat Credit Default Swaps

The ultimate (so far) Greasy Pole Climber event: Patrick Martin on the wedding of Chelsea (I guess Petunia was taken) Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky.