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?