April 26th, 2009

UAE, Dubai ruled by assholes

ABC News Exclusive: Torture Tape Implicates UAE Royal Sheikh
April 22, 2009

A video tape smuggled out of the United Arab Emirates shows a member of the country's royal family mercilessly torturing a man with whips, electric cattle prods and wooden planks with protruding nails. An investigation into a savage torture by a royal family member of a close ally.

A man in a UAE police uniform is seen on the tape tying the victim's arms and legs, and later holding him down as the Sheikh pours salt on the man's wounds and then drives over him with his Mercedes SUV.

In a statement to ABC News, the UAE Ministry of the Interior said it had reviewed the tape and acknowledged the involvement of Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan, brother of the country's crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed.

"The incidents depicted in the video tapes were not part of a pattern of behavior," the Interior Ministry's statement declared.

The Minister of the Interior is also one of Sheikh Issa's brother.

The government statement said its review found "all rules, policies and procedures were followed correctly by the Police Department."

"If this is their complete reply, then sadly it's a scam and it's a sham," said Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch.

It's 4 pages so I thought that's a little long to post the entire thing.

Also, foreign workers come to Dubai; live as indentured servants for dollars an hour. Unsurprisingly, unions and strikes are illegal. To even get the story, ABC had to sign permits on whatever they were to film or talk about because Dubai was afraid it would hurt tourism.

Also also: French boy is raped, has to flee country due to charges of being homosexual and asking for it.

The Banality of Bush White House Evil

The Banality of Bush White House Evil

WE don’t like our evil to be banal. Ten years after Columbine, it only now may be sinking in that the psychopathic killers were not jock-hating dorks from a “Trench Coat Mafia,” or, as ABC News maintained at the time, “part of a dark, underground national phenomenon known as the Gothic movement.” In the new best seller “Columbine,” the journalist Dave Cullen reaffirms that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were instead ordinary American teenagers who worked at the local pizza joint, loved their parents and were popular among their classmates.

On Tuesday, it will be five years since Americans first confronted the photographs from Abu Ghraib on “60 Minutes II.” Here, too, we want to cling to myths that quarantine the evil. If our country committed torture, surely it did so to prevent Armageddon, in a patriotic ticking-time-bomb scenario out of “24.” If anyone deserves blame, it was only those identified by President Bush as “a few American troops who dishonored our country and disregarded our values”: promiscuous, sinister-looking lowlifes like Lynddie England, Charles Graner and the other grunts who were held accountable while the top command got a pass.

We’ve learned much, much more about America and torture in the past five years. But as Mark Danner recently wrote in The New York Review of Books, for all the revelations, one essential fact remains unchanged: “By no later than the summer of 2004, the American people had before them the basic narrative of how the elected and appointed officials of their government decided to torture prisoners and how they went about it.” When the Obama administration said it declassified four new torture memos 10 days ago in part because their contents were already largely public, it was right.

Yet we still shrink from the hardest truths and the bigger picture: that torture was a premeditated policy approved at our government’s highest levels; that it was carried out in scenarios that had no resemblance to “24”; that psychologists and physicians were enlisted as collaborators in inflicting pain; and that, in the assessment of reliable sources like the F.B.I. director Robert Mueller, it did not help disrupt any terrorist attacks.
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Lucy  - Durnk n Pitsy

White-sploitation in Beyonce's New Movie?


More Weekend Box Office: "Obsessed" = Blondingo--Beyonce's Race-Baiting White-sploitation
By Debbie Schlussel

I'd planned to post my brief review of Beyonce Knowles' "Obsessed" as an update to my reviews of this weekend's other new releases. But after seeing it, I think this movie should get its own post. And not because it's good. But because it's racist. Blatantly so.

It's not bad . . . for a Lifetime movie of the week, produced by BET. (There was absolutely no suspense and it's a poor, cheap copy of the far superior classic, "Fatal Attraction.")

But it's also racist in a way that would be unacceptable, today, the era of Obama and the Post-"Mandingo" movie age, were the races in this movie reversed. You've heard of "Blaxploitation." Now, check out the new racist trend out of Hollywood: White-sploitation.

In this movie executive produced by Beyonce Knowles and her father/manager, Matthew Knowles, Beyonce plays the Black wife of a Black investment executive. Her husband is relentlessly pursued and stalked by a hot, White (and crazy) blonde temp (Ali Larter). Although the husband never gives in to the White chick's pursuits, she frames him up to make it look as if he did, and he's in the doghouse with his wife.

And the Black couple is surrounded by a cadre of brainless and otherwise non-ideal human beings with gaping flaws. There is the lecherous, married White male co-worker (Jerry O'Connell) who can't believe the Black executive won't accept a little something on the side with the hot blonde--something he (the White guy) says he wants to do with her. Then, there is the world's most brainless White baby sitter, who gullibly lets the stalker White chick into the house to kidnap the baby. And don't forget the world's most brainless gay White male secretary, who ditzily gives the stalker White blonde the complete scoop on the Black couples' weekend plans, making it easier for her to stalk them. Even the White chick cop (Christine Lahti) isn't too bright. Yup, not a single White character in the movie who is sympathetic.

Sure, race is never mentioned in the movie. It doesn't have to be. Look at the movie poster and the colors they chose for the design, and the way the characters are juxtaposed. It's all about Black versus White, baby. I live in a mostly Black suburb of Detroit, and I saw the movie in a local theater with an entirely Black audience. I heard all assortment of racist comments about the White people and the White chick stalker, throughout the movie and afterward as I left. No wonder this obvious race-baiting film wasn't screened for critics.

It plays on the worst fears of many Black women in America, who fear that White women are stealing their men--even though less than 5% of Black men are married to White women, according to the Janks Morton documentary, "What Black Men Think." And of those 5%, I doubt most of the women were merciless stalkers as in this movie. Movies like this breed and feed on racism, particularly against White women. This kind of pop culture influence on the Black community is of no benefit and serves no purpose other than confirmation of baseless anger and racial hatred. I can't tell you how many times In my own neighborhood stores, I've been called racial epithets, like "bony-assed White bitch," for no reason whatsoever other than my skin tone.

I wondered how the audience would like it if the movie was about a Black male stalker was terrorizing a White couple, and all of the other Black characters in the movie were vapid, morons, or both. And why Hollywood can make a film like this, yet it's justifiably no longer permissible to make a movie in which the races are reversed.

Well, actually, I know why. We've long advanced past the era of "Mandingo," but we've regressed "forward" into the era of . . . "Blondingo," courtesy of Hollywood's newest producers (and race-baiters), Beyonce and her daddy.

The movie is mildly entertaining, but would it have killed them to include a single sympathetic White character in the entire movie? Are we all that bad and/or stupid?

I guess Beyonce and her father have forgotten the race of most of those who've made them rich beyond their wildest dreams and beyond the wealth of most Americans, Black OR White:

Blondingos like me.

abstract//to become old fools

Joe Biden violates personal spaces, melts hearts in St. Louis

Biden brings up-close style here
by Jake Wagman

ST. LOUIS — For those who followed Joe Biden on the campaign trail, his extroverted demeanor, meandering speeches and intimate brand of populism is nothing new.

But to see it up close — and from the vice president of the United States, not a candidate — is an entirely different adventure.

The Joe Biden Show came to St. Louis earlier this month. Watching him in action — shaking hands, squeezing shoulders and flashing that Scranton grin — dissolves any doubt that Biden's gregarious style survived his move to the executive branch.

If anything, it's stronger.

Witness Biden's delaying his motorcade to address a group of children assembled on the curb; embracing a young audience member until she was visibly uncomfortable; and introducing local officials as if they were his old friends. Biden is the Will Farrell of politics: intense, emotive and unafraid of reinforcing his own caricature — which is targeted weekly by Saturday Night Live actor Jason Sudeikis.
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1.The Joe Biden show needs to be a real show. Now.


Zimbabwe officials put their hope in the torture-to-amnesty route

Mugabe Aides Said to Use Violence to Get Amnesty
Published: April 9, 2009

HARARE, Zimbabwe — President Robert Mugabe’s top lieutenants are trying to force the political opposition into granting them amnesty for their past crimes by abducting, detaining and torturing opposition officials and activists, according to senior members of Mr. Mugabe’s party.

Mr. Mugabe’s generals and politicians have organized campaigns of terror for decades to keep him and his party in power. But now that the opposition has a place in the nation’s new government, these strongmen worry that they are suddenly vulnerable to prosecution, especially for crimes committed during last year’s election campaign as the world watched.

“Their faces were immediately pasted on the wall for everyone to see that they were behind the killing, the violence, the torture and intimidation,” said a senior official in Mr. Mugabe’s party, ZANU-PF, who, like others in the party, spoke anonymously because he was describing its criminal history.

To protect themselves, some of Mr. Mugabe’s lieutenants are trying to implicate opposition officials in a supposed plot to overthrow the president, hoping to use it as leverage in any amnesty talks or to press the opposition into quitting the government altogether, ruling party officials said.

Like South Africa at the end of apartheid or Liberia at the close of Charles Taylor’s reign, Zimbabwe is in the midst of a treacherous passage from authoritarian rule to an uncertain future. After a bloody election season last year stained by the state-sponsored beatings and killings of opposition supporters, Mr. Mugabe and his rivals in the Movement for Democratic Change agreed to a power-sharing government that includes both victimizers and victims.

But Mr. Mugabe’s lieutenants, part of an inner circle called the Joint Operations Command, know that their 85-year-old leader may not be around much longer to shield them, and they fear losing not just their power and ill-gotten wealth, but also their freedom, officials in the party said.

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New York Times reporting

It's too bad Mugabe likely won't live to face justice for what he's done, just hope this doesn't lead to another cycle of violence after he's gone.

The Official Rock Song of Oklahoma

There's a bit of controversy in Oklohama over choosing the state's official rock song.

Oklahoma natives The Flaming Lips won an online vote organized by the Official Oklahoma Rock Song Advisory Panel
–yes, they apparently have one of those–for the song "Do You Realize?" But the planned legislative resolution honoring that song was defeated when conservative Republicans expressed outrage at a t-shirt bassist Michael Ivins had worn to the Capitol.

Appearing at the capitol on March 2 after the results of the vote was announced, Ivins wore a t-shirt with a sickle and hammer logo. Republicans said that was unacceptable.

"I felt that the consequences of that were that I would not be able to support that as our state song," said state Rep. Corey Holland (R), according to the Tulsa World.

State Rep. Mike Reynolds (R) opposed the resolution because he recalled the band using profanity several years ago after the legislature named an alley after the group.

"Their lips ought to be on fire," Reynolds said.


But Gov. Brad Henry (D) stepped in to resolve the situation. He plans to sign an executive order sanctifying the song as the state's official rock anthem, the Oklahoman reports.

"The music of the Flaming Lips has earned Grammys, glowing critical acclaim and fans all over the world," Henry said in a statement. "A truly iconic rock n' roll band, they are proud ambassadors of their home state."


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  • Current Music
    Wrong (caspa remix) / Depeche Mode

Swine Flu confirmed in NY

Swine flu confirmed in NYC high school students
By KAREN MATTHEWS, Associated Press Writer Karen Matthews, Associated Press Writer 1 hr 5 mins ago

NEW YORK – New York City was dealing with a growing public health threat Sunday after tests confirmed that eight students at a private Catholic high school had contracted swine flu. Some of the school's students had visited Mexico on a spring break trip two weeks ago.

New York officials previously had said they were eight probable cases, but Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that it was swine flu, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

About 100 students at St. Francis Preparatory School complained of flu-like symptoms.
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Pork Sauce

Well, there you have it. If this strain has the potential to become a full blown epidemic or pandemic, It is pretty much to late to stop it. Once it is in the schools, there is not much anybody can do. From here on, it is up to the virus and any immunity in the population that forerunner strains may have conferred.

Tea Bagger arrested for threatening murder over Twitter

Tea Party Twitter Arrest: Daniel Hayden Threatened Mass Murder, Cop Killing

AP/Huffington Post | April 26, 2009 02:20 PM

An Oklahoma man was arrested by FBI agents earlier this month for posting a series of messages on his Twitter account threatening to use a tax day Tea Party protest to commit politically-motivated mass murder.

"The WAR wWIL start on the stepes of the Oklahoma State Capitol. I will cast the first stone. In the meantime, I await the police," wrote Daniel Knight Hayden, 52, according to messages included in the FBI affidavit (posted below).

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Business attacks rules on gender pay reporting

Business leaders yesterday attacked what they saw as a government U-turn that could result in companies being forced to disclose how much more they pay men than women.

"Gender pay reporting", which seeks to shame employers who routinely pay women less, will be included in the equalities bill to be published by Harriet Harman, equalities minister, on Monday.

The move is aimed at narrowing the pay divide between men and women, which still stands at 17.1 per cent almost 40 years after the first Equal Pay Act became law.

The bill is expected to encourage companies with 250 or more staff voluntarily to disclose average male and female pay. But it will include an enabling power to make reporting compulsory if the government judges the voluntary regime has not made sufficient progress by 2013. It may also apply to public sector bodies with 150 staff or more.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission will be asked to draw up a formula with employers' bodies and the Trades Union Congress. It could lead to a simple comparison of average hourly earnings of men and women across a company, including bonuses, being published in the annual report.

A spokesman for Lord Mandelson, business secretary, stressed that if the -voluntary regime worked "we may never move to a mandatory reporting situation".

However, Ms Harman, Labour's deputy leader, is seen as a shrewd political operator with strong backing in the trade union movement and the measure was backed by women in the cabinet including Yvette Cooper, treasury chief secretary.

John Cridland, deputy director-general of the CBI employers' group, said: "If it is a reporting requirement, we will oppose that because we think it is meaningless."

He said simple averages would misrepresent companies in sectors such as aerospace, which might have a pay gap because of the shortage of women in science and engineering but were doing a huge amount to improve women's careers.

Miles Templeman, director general of the Institute of Directors, said companies would be "shocked" by this new burden when many were struggling to survive. David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "Clearly some sections of government just don't get it, that bushiness is critical to recovery."


Clearly David Frost doesn't get it either....

‘We Could Have Done This the Right Way’

‘We Could Have Done This the Right Way’
How Ali Soufan, an FBI agent, got Abu Zubaydah to talk without torture.

The arguments at the CIA safe house were loud and intense in the spring of 2002. Inside, a high-value terror suspect, Abu Zubaydah, was handcuffed to a gurney. He had been wounded during his capture in Pakistan and still had bullet fragments in his stomach, leg and groin. Agency operatives were aiming to crack him with rough and unorthodox interrogation tactics—including stripping him nude, turning down the temperature and bombarding him with loud music. But one impassioned young FBI agent wanted nothing to do with it. He tried to stop them.

The agent, Ali Soufan, was known as one of the bureau's top experts on Al Qaeda.
He also had a reputation as a shrewd interrogator who could work fluently in both English and Arabic. Soufan yelled at one CIA contractor and told him that what he was doing was wrong, ineffective and an affront to American values. At one point, Soufan discovered a dark wooden "confinement box" that the contractor had built for Abu Zubaydah. It looked, Soufan recalls, "like a coffin." The mercurial agent erupted in anger, got on a secure phone line and called Pasquale D'Amuro, then the FBI assistant director for counterterrorism. "I swear to God," he shouted, "I'm going to arrest these guys!"

D'Amuro and other officials were alarmed at what they heard from Soufan. They fretted about the political consequences of abusive interrogations and the Washington blowback they thought was inevitable
, say two high-ranking FBI sources who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. According to a later Justice Department inspector general's report, D'Amuro warned FBI Director Bob Mueller that such activities would eventually be investigated. "Someday, people are going to be sitting in front of green felt tables having to testify about all of this," D'Amuro said, according to one of the sources.

Mueller ordered Soufan and a second FBI agent home. He then directed that bureau personnel no longer participate in CIA interrogations. In the corridors of the White House, Justice Department and U.S. intelligence agencies, heated debates ensued. Three months later, on Aug. 1, 2002, Justice lawyers issued a chilling memo blessing everything the CIA contractors had proposed—including waterboarding, or simulated drowning, a ghoulish technique that was administered to Abu Zubaydah 83 times.
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Couple Names Baby After Rush Limbaugh

Couple Names Baby After Rush Limbaugh

A home-schooled, self-described "Dittohead" told Rush Limbaugh yesterday that he had named his newborn son after the radio host. Here's the start of the call:

CALLER: Rush, dittos from the home of Pat Hill and the Fresno State Bulldogs. I got to tell you, from the original Rush Baby. I was homeschooled from second grade to eighth grade, and I listened to you three hours a day for my formal education, and --

RUSH: Now, you don't know, you just don't know how many light years ahead of people your age who went public school you are.

That sounds like some kind of CIA experiment to me, but OK. Then, the guy gets to the good news:

CALLER: But my reason of calling is on Saturday we had at 8:31 in the morning, me and my wife had our first baby, and we named him Rush McGovern (ph).

RUSH: You're kidding.

CALLER: I'm not kidding. Well, his name is Thomas Rush McGovern (ph), but we're calling him "Rush."

I know what you're all thinking, but according to the caller, his wife is "on board," if not overjoyed. The caller goes on to correct Rush's spelling of his last name, to "McGovran." Reminds me of the "McDowell's" restaurants in Coming to America.

As far as the baby, he is healthy, doing well, and rooting for the President's failure.


What would the wingnuts would say about the swine flue (is not real, then again how can you tell)

The GOP chimes in on the White House's reaction to the swine flu outbreak
Forgive me if this is too subtle. It's hard to be over-the-top when parodying the right anymore.

Rep. Michelle Bachmann: "I'm concerned that this president is using the reports of a few isolated cases of swine flu in some other country to justify rounding up U.S. citizens and herding them into concentraion camps under the guise of forced innoculations against this disease. There's no reason for people in this country to be afraid of a disease that only infects pigs. The fact that the CDC is hyping this as some sort of a public health menace underscores the danger in allowing that organization to exist. The Republican party wanted to de-fund the CDC, but Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid blocked us from doing that. I strongly encourage the American people to arm themselves to the teeth, not with weapons of course but with information that my office will provide, to fend off any attempts by this president to use this insignificant health matter as an excuse for taking away all of their freedoms."

Glenn Beck: "Am I mistaken or is Swine Flu one of the plagues that the ancient Egyptians used against the Jews? Could this be just one of several plagues that the Pharaoh Obama will unleash against the American people? I..I..fear for my country. I......don't want to see MY country......consumed by the pestilence of this president's Islamo-fascist communist Muslim agenda and the diseases that it will unleash."

Rush Limbaugh: "Here it is, folks. The nanny government is going to move in and tell you that you have to go get shots with dangerous vaccines against some made-up disease. 'Swine flu? Swine flu?' That was something that Jimmy Carter made up back in the 70s to try to distract everyone from his foreign policy disasters and blowing up the economy. There's no such thing, folks. It's a joke. And, even if there was, if you choose to live in a place where some disease from Mexico can come into your neighborhood and infect you and your family, you only have yourself to blame for it. For anyone that dumb, I say 'tough luck.' You should have known better. Stop looking for the government to save you from yourself."

Sen. Mitch McConnell: "I'm not sure we need to be spending money on disease prevention right now when we've got a massive deficit. Spending taxpayer dollars to stop some Mexican disease is going to put a heavy burden on our children and grandchildren for decades to come. This is not the right time to be throwing money at a minor health problem. America has the best health care system in the world and I have faith that it can easily handle a few cases of the flu. If anything, we should be taking a careful look at this and dealing with it in Congress in a bi-partisan manner. There's much to discuss and I welcome that discussion with all of the members of both houses of Congress in the coming months. But, there's a lot on the congressional agenda right now and it will have to wait until more important issues have been cleared from our plate."

Sen. John Cornyn: "It could take years and years. And years."

Former Sen. Norm Coleman: "I can wait."
' jules

(no subject)

Postcard from Medellín
As Colombia gains ground in the battle against insurgents, its focus turns to rehabilitating former child soldiers. A guerrilla war's youngest fighters come in from the cold

This drawing of a former child soldier shows him surrendering his weapons.

In a hillside classroom in Medellín, a group of teenage boys take crayons to long sheets of unfurled paper. One draws the detonation pin of a hand grenade. Another sketches blood splattered across a body. Scrawled words say what the pictures can't: Hunger. Kidnappings. Revenge. Displacement. Distress.

These boys, ages 14 to 19, are drawing the stories of their lives. They used to be members of Colombian guerrilla groups. Now, after putting down their arms, they are trying to rejoin civilian life.

"The biggest challenge is making them emotionally whole again," says Philippe Houdard, founder of the Miami-based Developing Minds Foundation, "to get them from being killing machines to normal human beings." The rehabilitation program, started in 2003 and supported by Developing Minds and Colombia's Family Welfare Institute, offers housing, recreation, counseling, schooling and vocational training to former child soldiers. The 31 boys here are among the nearly 3,000 minors who have given up guerrilla life under a 2003 government amnesty program. The guerrilla groups, formed out of the leftist peasant militias of the 1960s, continue to fight Colombia's government and rightist paramilitary forces but have been greatly weakened in recent years, defeated in battle and diminished by desertion.

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equality, Animal Farm, George Orwell

Russian President Starts *LJ* Blog, Courts Limit Internet Forums

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has launched an internet blog at the same time officials appear to be moving to limit the flow of information on the Russian Internet. The Kremlin leader has called for greater efforts to control the medium.

In a video posted on LiveJournal, a popular blogging community, President Dmitri Medvedev says the government should create favorable conditions to allow maximum access to Internet services across Russia.

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Source / Voice of America

The link, of course: blog_medvedev 

Personally, I've always had a huuuge crush Medvedev.


Ahmadinejad gets warning on poison pens

Ahmadinejad gets warning on poison pens

The restless nature of Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has long been a headache for the bodyguards charged with preserving his safety.

Not content with plunging into crowds during his frequent public appearances, Ahmadinejad has been known to drive alone and unprotected at night to deprived neighbourhoods to meet families who lost relatives during Iran's 1980-88 war with Iraq. He has dismissed advice that his habits could make him a sitting duck for potential assassins.

Now his worried security team has identified a new threat to his person - the many letters he receives from voters during his trips across Iran.
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