Category Archives: Assorted Links

Late Afternoon Links

A NATO airstrike in Afghanistan has killed 4 Taliban commanders.  Another man, one woman, and five children were also killed and another five children were wounded.  But who’s counting?

State of the Union.  To paraphrase:  “We’re going to raise taxes on the rich so we can spend more on everything without increasing the deficit.  We will continue to run up a huge debt  paid for by our children because now is not the time for fiscal sanity and those poor little bastards can’t vote anyway.”  This is, of course, like promising to stop beating your kids, but not while they are still young and defenseless.  Oh, and drones will continue to be America’s primary tool of foreign policy.

Christopher Dorner is presumed dead after the cabin where he was hiding was burned down.  “People on the scene are as confident as they can be without seeing the body that it is Dorner inside,” the LA police chief, Charlie Beck, said.  I take that to mean they are just as sure that this is their guy as they were when they shot up those innocent bystanders that they also thought were Dorner.

Israel is partially lifting a gag order on its domestic news outlets enabling them to report the news about the identity of Prisoner X that is already being widely reported in the rest of the world.  From the article: “Gag orders and military censorship are common in Israel.”  The model of a freedom loving U.S. ally.

Italy’s former military intelligence chief is going to the slammer for ten years for his part in the CIA orchestrated broad daylight kidnapping of the cleric, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, from the streets of Milan in 2003. Three Italian secret service officials were also sentenced to six years each.  Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald highlights the  irony of complaints by the U.S. State Department regarding abuses by police and security forces in Egypt.

Last night, in his State of the Union speech, President Obama claimed: “both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion – mostly through spending cuts”.  John Stossel says “Bullshit!”That’s ridiculous!

Federal Spending

Federal Spending

Morning Links

  • President Obama condemned a third nuclear test by North Korea calling it a “highly provocative act” that demands “swift and credible action by the international community” against North Korea. Countries that already have nuclear weapons always strongly condemn other countries getting them.
  • Glenn Greenwald asks whether drones should be used to kill Christopher Dorner, the ex-police  officer who is accused of waging war on the LAPD.  Whether drones are or are not being used is in dispute.
  • The U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have resulted in the 6,656 death of military personnel.  Of course, U.S. Presidents are always wiling to pay the cost of war with other people’s lives.  But, you rarely hear about the other “sacrifices” Presidents have been  willing to commit American soldiers to: 1700 limb amputations, 50,000 combat wounds, 130,000 cases of PTSD, and 253,330 cases of traumatic brain injury (6500 of which are severe).
  • The identity of Israel’s most secret prisoner has been uncovered,  I know it’s Kind of hard to imagine a democratic country secretly imprisoning a citizen without trial and then forcing the press to keep quiet about it.   Hahaha!   Just kidding about that last part.  Nothing is hard to imagine about democratic countries anymore.

  • Knut, the polar bear that became a sensation in 2007 and then unexpectedly died in 2011 will soon have a new home at the Berlin’s natural history museum.




[Updated below with a couple items from The Agitator]

  • Ohio Attorney General releases a report and animation (below) of a Cleveland incident where 13 cops fired 137 rounds at a suspect vehicle killing the occupants.  Police insist someone shot at them from the car and took off in pursuit of it.  The chase involved “nearly 60 vehicles”, but no gun or shell casings were ever found in the car.  The state attorney general condemned the actions as a systemic failure, but the police chief and city council insist that existing polices and procedures work fine.

Morning LInks

  • No more Saturday mail delivery. which is expected to save about $2 billion annually (equal to about an eighth of its annual losses).  The postal workers union is condemning the move, which is probably the best indicator that it’s a step in the right direction.  Interestingly, this decision is being made by the USPS without Congressional approval (like so much of what happens in the Executive Branch these days).
  • Media outlets are reporting on a secret CIA drone base in Saudi Arabia from which drone attacks in Yemen are launch.  While the American media has known about this base for some time, they withheld reporting on it at the government’s request because “the goddamn American people have no business knowing what their government is doing in their name.”  [That last comment is really more of a paraphrasing of American governmental attitude than a specific quote]
  • 18 y/o girl gets 30 days in the slammer for flipping off the judge.  This is right after the judge doubled her bond because of her lack of contrition.  The girl was charged with possession of the prescription drug Xanax.  Most media hasn’t even batted an eyelash at the harshness of the 30-day penalty. While it might not have been in her best interest to piss off the judge, like her, I have no respect for a justice system that would charge and prosecute someone for possession of Xanax to begin with.
  • A new report says the that the Britain’s MI5  wants to install black boxes on UK networks to enable them to monitor virtually everything their citizens say and do online.  While there is some speculation that encryption would render such a system useless, the part of the report that deals with that issue was redacted because, as is the case in any modern democracy, the government can’t have the population knowing what they plan to do.

Afternoon links

  • Greenwald dissects the Obama administration’s latest rationalization for its power to act as judge, jury, and executioner of any American citizen it deems to maybe possibly pose an imminent threat to some U.S. interest somewhere, sometime, with absolutely no oversight or checks and balances by the other two branches of government (which probably suits those other two branches just fine). also weighs in.
  • Argentina still thinks they’re going to get the Falkland Islands back.  I think they’re right.  I expect it to happen about the same time as Israel reverts back to Palestine.  Both cases represent instabilities maintained by force of arms that will eventually be unsustainable.

Morning Links

You can have all the free speech you want as long as it doesn’t paint Israel in an unfavorable light.

The UK uses the identities of dead children for undercover cops.

Having trouble attracting babes?  Become a serial killer.  Maggie McNeill explains why many  women are attracted to “Bad Boys“.

In the Your-Tax-Dollars-At-Work category, a 50 year old Canadian Super Bowl contest winner denied entry to go see the game because of a pot conviction back in 1981.

Thousands of hookers flocked to New Orleans for the Super Bowl, right?  Wrong.  And the myth is repeated every year for every major sporting event.

U.S. ramping up military drug war tactics in Latin America because, according to drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, the strategy has been working so well.

Massachusetts Dept of Transportation removes violent video games from rest stops and one mayor launches a campaign to get parents to remove them from their homes.  Because, while the government can’t really protect us from actual violence, they certainly can take action against harmless portrayals of violence.

Balko’s Morning Links

Check out Radley Balko’s Morning Links.  Highlights include:

  • How the American war on drugs is “one of the most catastrophic foreign policy mistakes in American history”.   I agree.  Whatever it started as, the drug war is now nothing more than a jobs program for testosterone-flooded neanderthals and it’s only accomplishment is bringing misery and destruction to people who engage in an activity that should never have been illegal in the first place.  The fact that it has now enveloped the entire Western Hemisphere in an unstoppable and ever escalating cycle of corruption and violence fits well with a foreign policy whose main goal seems to be pissing the rest of the world off.
  • Mother Jones inadvertently makes the case that banning assault weapons would probably have zero effect in reducing mass shootings.  Not that reasoning or  effectiveness actually play much of a role in any conflict between team left and team right.
  • The DEA (those folks who, as a condition for employment, are required to swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution) thinks it can come onto your property and set up surveillance cameras to record your activities in order to catch you in a crime, all without a warrant, of course.  Folks, this goes right to that stunningly ignorant belief (and you hear this a lot from libertarians) that it’s the government’s job to protect the rights of citizens.  It is not.  The government is, in fact, the biggest threat to citizens’ rights.  Government serves government.  Only the public, in large enough numbers, can protect citizens from abuses of power by the government.  And, I might point out that the public is notoriously incompetent in this mission.

Morning Links

We have my daughter and her associates, all public defenders, to thank for this opening set of links.  Some of these are several days old, so you may already have seen them.  If you have links you’d like to share, feel free to post them in the comments.  I will try to get first-time comments approved as quickly as possible, but keep in mind that I am working today, and that means I will be spending a good part of the day in meetings.

  • If not for the video
  • One cop, two women, and one glove.
  • An L.A. County jailer known as “Action Jackson” is finally arrested after assaulting inmates back in 2009 and 2010, with one of the assaults being caught on tape.  You know, these things take time when LEOs are involved.
  • Police in Nashua, New Hampshire are “forced” to taser a non-English speaking Chinese woman for trying to buy too many iPhones.  The cops say that “use of the Taser was standard operating procedure”.  Justifiable?  I’m not sure, but I wonder sometimes if we won’t all eventually be forced to wear electric shock collars as a means of controlling individuals and crowds.  I’m sure they could activated them directly from an overhead drone.
  • North Carolina inmates forced to rub pepper sauce on their testicles.  I think I heard about this one a couple weeks ago.  This Abu Ghraib style prisoner abuse is deemed to be so serious that one of the perps went on leave while another was reassigned.  The investigation will, no doubt, continue for as long as it takes for the public to lose interest.