Sunday Reads

Good Morning and Happy Sunday!!! I hope everyone remembered to “fall back” last night.

I’m not really recovered from my thousand-mile drive yet, so my reading suggestions might be a little scattered.

Let’s start out with the most controversial story I’ve come across. Via George Washington at Zero Hedge, Noam Chomsky, as is his wont, has come right out and said something the powers that be do not want to hear: there is no real evidence that al Qaeda was behind the 9/11 attacks. Sacrilege, right? Let’s see:

“The explicit and declared motive of the [Afghanistan] war was to compel the Taliban to turn over to the United States, the people who they accused of having been involved in World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist acts. The Taliban…they requested evidence…and the Bush administration refused to provide any,” the 81-year-old senior academic made the remarks on Press TV’s program a Simple Question.

“We later discovered one of the reasons why they did not bring evidence: they did not have any.” [….]

“The head of FBI, after the most intense international investigation in history, informed the press that the FBI believed that the plot may have been hatched in Afghanistan, but was probably implemented in the United Arab Emirates and Germany.”

Chomsky added that three weeks into the war, “a British officer announced that the US and Britain would continue bombing, until the people of Afghanistan overthrew the Taliban… That was later turned into the official justification for the war.”

“All of this was totally illegal. It was more, criminal,” Chomsky said.

But in the post-9/11 world, we no longer need evidence, do we? Nowadays our President can order the assassination of American citizens secretly, with no probable cause and no legal recourse.

Regarding Osama bin Laden’s supposed responsibility for 9/11, George Washington also points to this 2001 story in Wired.

President Bush has said he has evidence that Osama bin Laden was behind the attacks, so it would seem obvious that the FBI would include him and other suspects on its 10 most wanted fugitives Web page.

Think again.

Bin Laden is listed, but only for the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. There is no mention of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing or the attacks on the USS Cole in October 2000, both of which he is widely believed to have orchestrated. And forget about Sept. 11.
The reason? Fugitives on the list must be formally charged with a crime, and bin Laden is still only a suspect in the recent attacks in New York City and Washington.

“There’s going to be a considerable amount of time before anyone associated with the attacks is actually charged,” said Rex Tomb, who is head of the FBI’s chief fugitive publicity unit and helps decide which fugitives appear on the list. “To be charged with a crime, this means we have found evidence to confirm our suspicions, and a prosecutor has said we will pursue this case in court.”

Nearly nine years later, bin Laden still has not been charged in the 9/11 attacks. This is the world that George W. Bush brought us and Barack Obama seems very comfortable in. As the Zero Hedge post points out, Obama is still using the al Quaeda excuse for continuing his bloody war in Afghanistan.

Speaking of terrorist attacks, can someone please lock Mark Penn up in a padded room somewhere and throw away the key? Penn has once again opened his big fat mouth and said something completely unacceptable.

Appearing on television recently, former Hillary Clinton campaign adviser and current public relations executive Mark Penn suggested that President Obama needs a moment “similar” to the tragic terrorist attack on the Oklahoma City federal building, in order to “reconnect” with voters.

He didn’t even seem to flinch in making the comment. [….]

“Remember, President Clinton reconnected through Oklahoma, right?” Penn said, appearing on MSNBC’s Hardball on Thursday. “And the president right now seems removed. It wasn’t until that speech [after the bombing] that [Clinton] really clicked with the American public. Obama needs a similar — a similar kind of … Yeah.

Isn’t that nice? And we’ll probably be treated to lots of CDS as a result of Penn’s idiotic statements too. Anyway, Obama already had the underwear bomber, and that didn’t seem to do anything for his approval ratings. And then there’s this guy:

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Saturday that the case of a young Chinese man who boarded a flight to Canada elaborately disguised as an elderly white male raises concerns about a security breach that terrorists might exploit.

Authorities have not suggested any terrorist link to the case of the man who boarded the Air Canada flight in Hong Kong on Oct. 29 wearing a remarkably detailed silicone mask to make him look like an elderly man. An internal intelligence alert from the Canadian Border Services Agency shows before-and-after photos, and says the man removed the mask in a washroom mid-flight.

Air Canada confirmed a passenger on board flight AC018 had altered his appearance and had been met by border services officials in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Chinese man is seeking refugee status in Canada in what border officials are calling an “unbelievable case of concealment.” Canadian authorities did not release any information about the passenger’s identity.

I highly recommend this reader diary by David Swanson at FDL: “One Place to Cut Spending: Kidnapping and Torture.”

I know it seems like more of a noble sacrifice to cut spending on things people less fortunate than ourselves need, but can somebody explain to me why it wouldn’t be at least that noble to eliminate the budget of the CIA, which serves no one?

The Washington Post and the Obama administration have been busy telling us that it’s legal to kidnap people and send them to countries that torture. They may call it “renditioning” to nations that use “enhanced interrogation techniques,” but a new book details what this means in English.

A man was walking near his home in Milano, Italy, and was stopped and questioned by a policeman. When they had been engaged in conversation for some minutes, the side door of a van parked behind the man crashed open with a thunderous sound, two extremely large and strong men grabbed the civilian and hauled him inside, and the door slammed shut three seconds after it had opened, as the van accelerated and the two men hit and kicked their victim repeatedly in the dark of the van’s interior, pounding his head, chest, stomach, and legs. They stopped. They stuffed a gag in his mouth and put a hood over his head, as they cinched cords tight around his wrists and ankles. Hours later they threw him into another vehicle. An hour later they took him out, stood him up, cut his clothes off, shoved something hard up his anus, stuck a diaper and pajamas on him, wrapped his head almost entirely with duct tape, and tossed him in an airplane.

The torture he received when he got where he was going left him nearly dead, prematurely aged, and barely able to walk. It was US-sponsored and Egyptian administered. And it is described in all of its almost unbearable detail in Steve Hendricks’ “A Kidnapping in Milan: The CIA on Trial.”

That sounds like a book that should be on President Obama’s reading list. On the other hand, maybe someone should buy it for Michelle. Maybe she might see the light and talk some sense into her husband.

Mother Jones has a great article on the meaning of the midterm election results.

The most widely accepted narrative to emerge from the 2010 midterm elections, in which Democrats took a “shellacking” [There’s that buzzword again!] and lost the most congressional seats since World War II, was this: Sick of liberal overreach, voters—especially independents—shifted their favor to the right, choosing Republican candidates in huge numbers.

Not so, according to a new exit poll by the firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. The firm’s findings, released Friday, show that voters weren’t necessarily allying themselves with the GOP, but rather were voicing their disapproval with Washington as a whole, and especially with the federal government’s inability to restart America’s economic engine. To wit, voters polled gave equally poor favorability ratings to both parties as well as the tea party, the poll found. Twenty-six percent of voters said their vote was a message to “both parties,” while 20 percent said it was a rebuke of Obama and 15 percent said it was a rebuke of congressional Democrats. Voters’ chief complaint was “too much bickering in Washington”—a charge directed at both parties.

What matters most to voters isn’t political nit-picking or Washington drama but the economy, plain and simple.

IOW, jobs, jobs, jobs!! I’m not holding my breath waiting for the corporate media and the political elites to get it, though.

Here’s a breaking news story [snark font] from the Hindustan Times on President Obama’s trip: Obama to use teleprompter for Hindi speech

According to parliament sources, a technical team from the US has helped the Lok Sabha secretariat install textbook-sized panes of glass around the podium that will give cues to Obama on his prepared remarks to 780 Indian MPs on the evening of Nov 8….

Obama will make history for more than one reason during the Nov 6-9 visit. This will be the first time a teleprompter will be used in the nearly 100-feet high dome-shaped hall that has portraits of eminent national leaders adorning its walls.

Indian politicians are known for making impromptu long speeches and perhaps that is why some parliament officials, who did not wish to be named, sounded rather surprised with the idea of a teleprompter for Obama.

“We thought Obama is a trained orator and skilled in the art of mass address with his continuous eye contact,” an official, who did not wish to be identified because of security restrictions, said.

Obama is known to captivate audiences with his one-liners that sound like extempore and his deep gaze. But few in India know that the US president always carries the teleprompter with him wherever he speaks.

How sad it is to see yet another country disillusioned by the man of “hope ‘n’ change.”

[MABlue here] Frank Rich has a pretty good column today.  He has a decent list of the faux pas of the Obama administration so far.
Barack Obama, Phone Home

AFTER his “shellacking,” President Obama had to do something. But who had the bright idea of scheduling his visit to India for right after this election? The Democrats’ failure to create jobs was at the heart of the shellacking. Nothing says “outsourcing” to the American public more succinctly than India. But the White House didn’t figure this out until the eve of Obama’s Friday departure, when it hastily rebranded his trip as a jobs mission. Perhaps the president should visit one of the Indian call centers policing Americans’ credit-card debts to feel our pain.

Oh! Good luck Texas!

Texas Considers Medicaid Withdrawal

Some Republican lawmakers — still reveling in Tuesday’s statewide election sweep — are proposing an unprecedented solution to the state’s estimated $25 billion budget shortfall: dropping out of the federal Medicaid program.

I thought we were looking for ways to save. You’ve all heard about these horrible deficits  and how we have to “cut spending” ad nauseum. But look here, we keep finding new ways to throw boatloads away:

US seeks to expand military presence in Asia

On his way to Australia for annual security talks, Mr Gates said closer ties with Australia would help the US expand its role in South East Asia.

The US would focus on fighting piracy, improving counter-terrorism, disaster aid and cyber-security, he said.

I thought we had resolved all the problems in “that part of the world”:

Church leader urges Iraqi Christians to quit country

A senior Iraqi Christian is to call on believers to quit the country, after gunmen targeted a church in Baghdad.

Wow! This guy got big brass ones:

Man arrested after exposing self to deputy

A 48-year-old man parked his car in the front row facing the courthouse midday Thursday, pulled down his shorts in front of a Pasco County Sheriff’s Office detective and began masturbating

Talk about “having balls”.

That’s about it for me. What’s on your reading list this morning?

78 Comments on “Sunday Reads”

  1. TheRock says:

    Nice roundup, BB!

    Ain’t it a shame that our last two presidents are looked at with such disdain by the world! How desperately we need a chief executive with gravitas. One that commands respect. How nice it would be if there was someone like that eligible for the presidency.


    Tom in Paine is a really REALLY good writer (and a blog that you should consider linking to over here), and I enjoy reading his posts when I work at night.

    Hillary 2012

    • bostonboomer says:

      I love Tom in Paine! Thanks for the link.

    • janicen says:

      Thanks for that link, TheRock. It’s really excellent. It reminded me that the reason we don’t have a single-payer, public option is that it would transfer some power and control back to working people. As it is now, workers must accept whatever conditions their employers present. Sixty hour work week, because now I’m a “salaried” employee rather than hourly? Fine with me as long as I can keep my job, because along with my job comes my health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, salary, and whatever other benefits are afforded. As long as our “benefits” are under the control of our employers, we are their servants.

      • Sima says:

        As long as our “benefits” are under the control of our employers, we are their servants.

        Boy, is this true. Very depressing.

  2. Pips says:

    If I were in N.Y. next week I would brace myself and go see the installation “Journey” depicting the travel of trafficked women.

    The English human rights organisation Helen Bamber Foundation is behind the installation.

    As Emma Thomson says of this horrendous crime that is hidden in full view:

    “People just don’t want to know about this issue – it’s hidden, it’s criminal, it’s perverse and yes, it’s happening on our own doorstep.”

    This is a profile (from 2002 in connection with a documentary shown on BBC) of Helen Bamber, quite an extraordinary woman.

    • Woman Voter says:

      Yes (good that they are taking notice of the slavery of women today), and maybe they can make a film next of why no one in Hollywood called out the, ‘First the Bro, not the Ho’ and why we need more people to call out devaluation of women in the media because it has a direct connection to violence against women.

      • Outis says:

        Being a small part of the media, a microscopic cog in the wheel if you will, I can say it’s extremely easy to change. They only know $$. If people were to stop paying for sexist drivel, they would stop making sexist drivel. The funny thing is, most TV development executives are women (usually working for someone’s sexist pig idiot son).

    • Seriously says:

      I have to give Emma Thompson credit, she did sign the pro-Polanski petition, but when women contacted her and told her how much her advocacy on trafficking meant to them and how betrayed they felt by that, she did listen and she did remove her name. That says something about her.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I didn’t know about that.

        • Seriously says:

          Yeah, I think she knows him personally, and felt bad for him because he’s a Holocaust survivor. But as soon as she realized how wrong it was, she didn’t make a fuss, she took it right off.

    • Branjor says:

      Their first stop should be Times Square.

  3. Branjor says:

    YAYYY, we can have kitty cats again!
    Now back to reading the post.

  4. Branjor says:

    My gosh, some idiots can’t even win the World Series without having a riot over it.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That is pathetic, isn’t it?

      • Branjor says:

        Yeah. They should take a lesson from us hated New Yorkers. We win the World Series, we have a nice peaceful parade and that’s it.

    • purplefinn says:

      Ryan Corazza bemoans not the riots but what he calls “citizen documentation.” “But what’s done is done, and Twitter’s ability to draw our top-of-mind thoughts into its endless stream — no matter the consequences — has struck yet again.”


      “But it’s really just a reflection of how we’re now living in the digital age: eager to share our experiences and express our feelings under an ever-looser definition of privacy.”

      He sounds “news possessive” to me. I am concerned about our ever dissolving rights to privacy too, but I wonder what his “privacy” standards are. Perhaps he’s worried about being out of a job. He is a contributor to “NBA Rumor Central.”

      Rumor Central is a collaboration — an aggregation built upon constant tips and analysis from ESPN’s internal sources and numerous external sources and links from all over the web. We will debunk, debate, acknowledge the possibilities, connect the dots and speculate logically. We are listening for everything and filling the gray area — the news before the news. Because until it’s confirmed, it’s just a rumor.

      He may want all of us to get our speculation straight from his lips and not from any of the sources. 🙂

      • bostonboomer says:

        That’s probably true. The old media guys don’t like the new media very much.

        • Woman Voter says:

          The new media process requires a lot of on your feet thinking, without prior prep, and so for some it is hard. Nothing like on the spot comments about a topic that you are supposed to have full grasp of.

          Hemm, maybe that is why these guys didn’t call out the teleprompter story and take notice. I must say over coffee just now, I had a conversation and it was one of pride, much to my shock/horror about Bush II. Yes, Georgie, mispronounced words, got his one liners about being fooled backwards, but it was all him, and despite it all he didn’t insist on using a teleprompter. OK, now I need a double coffee… EAAAK!

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Kristof on income inequality in the U.S.: “Our Banana Republic.”

  6. Sima says:

    This morning I’m reading about the food bills that have been floating around Congress. One passed the House in 2009, the Senate version has yet to pass. Bad bills, BAAAD bills. Here’s a linky:

    The TominPaine article was spot on. I think I’ll email that to my Congress critters.

    • Sophie says:

      You’re so right about that food bill. They’re claiming it’s about food safety, but it will only server to institutionalize corporate phood further. We will be that much closer to having be a crime for growing your own food. If regular citizens want to do one good thing from themselves, they’d stop this bill dead in its tracks. They would really read food bills and farm bills.

      I came upon an interesting piece of information several months ago: Americans do NOT have the right to eat what we want. I thought we did, but it turns out we don’t. The FDA came right out and said we don’t have that fundamental right.

      • Sophie says:

        oh well…nothing like trying to type faster than your skills permit…but you get the idea..

      • Seriously says:

        Here in MA, it’s legal to sell raw milk at farms, but a lot of people living in cities don’t have cars, so they’ve set up secret distribution networks with drop off points in urban and suburban areas. It’s been going on for years, but unpasteurized milk’s growing and now the state’s really cracking down and threatening everybody involved.

        • Sima says:

          I read about one lady with one cow getting the feds and state enforcers down on her. I call all the enforcers ‘revenuers’, because it closely parallels the bootleg stuff of the 20’s and 30’s. I’ve got a post half mapped out in my mind about this. I’ll post it soon.

      • Sleepless in NJ says:

        I recently saw a show about the food supply chain on PBS and was horrified to see one of the sponsors announced at the beginning of the program was Archer Daniels Midland. Really raises questions about the show’s objectivity!

      • Sima says:

        Yep, the FDA is arguing about our rights to food choice and to health in court. But just because they, or several of their lawyers, believe the Constitution doesn’t guarantee us those rights, doesn’t mean judges will agree.

        It is very disheartening to find the federal government arguing in court against the Constitution in such a basic way. As I’ve learned more about politics and the current situation, I realize the government does this a lot, while touting how free we are on the other hand.

        Anyway, I’m planning a post about this too :).

  7. Sima says:

    The David Swanson diary was also spot on. Great place to cut spending, CIA, rendition, torture, FBI stuff, and fer Gods sake, the interminable, stupid wars.

    The info about the man kidnapped in Italy is chilling. They are going to drive people so far into wtf-land that the people won’t care about the consequences, burly torturers in a van or not. And when that happens, the world will erupt.

    • Woman Voter says:

      Yes, those pesky WARS no one mentioned during the election, including Nancy Pelosi much to the Democrats peril…which leaves one wondering are they for continuing these TWO WARS without question. Oh, and those protectors of the Constitution forget to protect the Constitution when it comes to WARS:

      In addition, the fact that Congress is not permitted under the Constitution to transfer the war-declaring power to a President has been repeatedly ignored. Only Congress can declare war, if we are inclined to follow the rule of law. Thus, those members of Congress who’ve voted to do so are just as guilty, in violating the law, as Presidents have been in their act of accepting, rather than refusing, this illegal transfer of power.

      To add insult to injury, many acts of war by our country have cited United Nations resolutions as justification. Ignoring the Constitution, while citing the UN as a justification for war, has shown us the callous disregard that our political rulers have had for the restraints written in the Constitution.

      The Tea Party has SELECT protection of the Constitution in my humble opinion and are not able to connect the dire straights we are in and the COSTS of the $$$WARS$$$.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Dana Millbank asks if we’d be better off under President Hillary Clinton.

    • Sima says:

      His last line, ‘The answer is simple, do what Hillary would have done.’

      I don’t think Obama is physically capable of that. I don’t think he has the brain, the empathy, the sheer heart. I don’t think he has the work ethic, I don’t think his mind is nimble enough.

    • Woman Voter says:

      Well, the analysis was needed in 2008 and now we won’t get the chance thanks to so many in the media that were busy crossing their legs and the sadder part was the women in the media that helped.

  9. purplefinn says:

    Thanks, BB, for posting so soon after your trip.

  10. mablue2 says:

    Some people just can’t win.

    If Hillary Clinton stays quiet about all the speculation regarding her run to the WH, people would be saying “why doesn’t she come out and outright denies it.”

    Now she goes out of her way to kill those rumors once for all, she gets this:

    Hillary Ignites ‘President’ Rumors by Denying Them

    • bostonboomer says:

      Hi MABlue,

      I wanted to tell you, feel free to add updates to my morning posts like you are doing with Dakinikat’s.

    • bostonboomer says:

      It’s pretty funny that the author of that piece thinks Hillary would have a big fight on her hands against Joe Biden. Like he’s Mr. Popularity.

      • Sima says:

        You know what’s depressing to me? My Mom is a BIG Biden fan. I don’t get it, but she is. I think it’s because she remembers his behaviour way, way, way back when he started in the Senate. I don’t know though.

        I sure don’t think it’s because she knows about his behaviour during the Anita Hill stuff. Or how he was Senator from MNBA and so on. I’ve given up trying to explain. The world has changed on her, some things she just doesn’t have the energy to care about any more.

      • Seriously says:

        I love that article from like 2004 where Biden talks about the “toothless” waitress (yeah, well, why don’t you take the initiative on proposing a national dental plan, there, babe) who slags Kerry and says something like, “Why is he so weak when you’re so strong?” lol He loves himself very, very much. Great roundup! Nice to see Chomsky getting his groove back. He was so spooked by Bush post-9/11 that he seemed to go uncharacteristically easy on Kerry and Obama.

        • bostonboomer says:

          Yes, Chomsky has let loose again, and I’m glad. I don’t know what we’ll do when he’s gone. There just aren’t any more radical leftist intellectuals anymore.

          • Seriously says:

            I KNOW!!! I can’t bear to think about it. He’s just going to have to live to be at least 130, that’s all there is to it.

          • Branjor says:

            It’s OK, I’ll take over after Chomsky dies. I have about a million things in me that are utter sacrilege all bottled up and just waiting to get out.

    • janicen says:

      Sigh! It seemed pretty clear to me, but they still call it a “Non-denial, denial”. I guess it’s just not a good day unless some people can call her a liar.

    • Woman Voter says:

      I think those that are pushing the story are doing so because they don’t want to be critical of Obama. I noticed this video, from a year ago is not really putting forth an argument but rather a nah nah from an attorney that often puts out a good logical points.

      Some say that Bush II’s approval rating is moving up! 😯

    • paper doll says:

      Indeed. They WILL talk about it whatever she does…the Village has decided to make her life harder again.

  11. Pat Johnson says:

    My computer is really acting up and I was unable to post the link to Frank Rich’s column this morning but it appears that Obama has now “lost” Frank as well. The same Frank Rich who chided the rest of us to support this “empty vessel” or else.

    Another one now showing a lot of “too little, too late” to the party.

  12. janicen says:

    Thanks for the roundup, BB. Lots to think about. I’m going back to read the links. Nice to see the kitty again, too!

  13. Laurie says:

    Need a laugh?

    video of “Obamas join Indian Diwali dancers in Mumbai”

    • Woman Voter says:

      Good thing that FLOTUS can bust a move otherwise it would be a Gong show clip for Obama.

      • dakinikat says:

        She’s really good with kids. She always just jumps right in there with them and seems to be able to relate to them on their level. It’s the one time I usually see a really obvious smile on her face.

  14. purplefinn says:

    From “US seeks to expand military presence in Asia”

    A senior US defence official told reporters that the Pentagon is “looking at how we can make sure our forces are not just oriented in north-east Asia, but are looking down to south-east Asia and then into the Indian Ocean as this part of the security environment becomes more important”.

    We need to include military spending in our budget.

  15. dakinikat says:

    Secretary of Defense Gates urges Congress to repeal DADT NOW via AP.

    Does any one else find it odd that its Republicans that are getting on the right side of these issues and being more verbal about it or is it just me?

    • Branjor says:

      Not just you. Everything’s been upside down and backwards for a few years now.
      I’ve been wondering, what will happen when DADT is repealed? Why should it not go back to pre DADT conditions then, no lesbians/gays allowed, silent about orientation or not?

  16. helenk says:

    This does not look like a good thing to me. If this goes through many people will have little recourse when a company makes or sells a defective product. Companies will have less incentive to inspect and make sure products are safe.