Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Nightowl Newswrap

Maybe this has something to do with the recent saber rattling at Iran On May 2 a summit of Foreign Ministers from Russia, China, the United States, Britain, France and Germany will convene in London to discuss Iran's nuclear program, and possible solutions. (Funny...haven't heard a peep about this in the American M$M Kinda makes you wonder who this muscular display is for, doesn't it? Iran, or the assembling potentates?) The U.S. has insisted on setting it's hair on fire every time the Iranians test a missile, but a missile without a nuclear tip isn't that damned dangerous, we all know this to be true, and no intelligence service in the world can say with absolute certainty that the Iranians are even actively pursuing a nuclear weapons program. On the other hand, it's no secret the Iranians do have a vigorous nuclear program. (So...Here's a thought - they say it's for civilian power needs? Fine. Shall we offer three or four light-water reactors that don't yield weapons-grade fissile materials? We could give them LWRs for less money than it would cost to bomb the fuck out of Natanz. Even better, we could sell them the damned things and make a profit.)

Seems rather silly to insist on squabbling with Iran when we have a common enemy, doesn't it? Remember al Qaeda? Yeah. Them. Al Qaeda is a radical, militant, fundamentalist Sunni organization. Iran is a revolutionary Shi'ite state. Shi'ites and Sunni's have been fighting tooth and nail since the 750's, and all over the middle east tensions between the two groups have ratcheted up in recent months. Now our sworn enemy al Qaeda is promising attacks against our sworn enemy Iran. Ten days after the threat against Iran was issued, a blast ripped through the Mosque of the Martyrs in Shiraz, and no one , not even Ahmadineajad's wife and kids, buys the official story that it was an "accidental" explosion. Of course, it all gets complicated very quickly - the United States funds an al Qaeda offshoot, Jundallah. It's what is known as a quid pro quo - they commit terrorism in Iran; the Bush administration makes it a policy to funnel them arms and cash.

The B'Tselem Human Rights organization wants a criminal investigation launched into the killing of a family in Gaza on Monday. An investigation by B'Tselem counters the IDF's official version, revealing that about a minute after one IDF fired misile killed three Palestinian gunmen and a bystander, another missile was fired at a fourth gunman, who was standing near the Abu Muataks' front door. That missile killed the gunman and the five family members. B'Tselem charges that the firing of the second missile was a violation of international humanitarian law because the odds of harming civilians in the densely populated area was too high.

A blackout rolled across Venezuela on Tuesday, snarling traffic in Caracas, halting public transit and bringing everyday activities and transactions to a halt. The power outage, which occurred about 4:00 p.m. local time, was reportedly caused by a forest fire that caused powerlines to overheat and shut down. Outages occur in rural areas from time to time, but Caracas is usually spared. It was the largest power outage in the OPEC member country in many years, but services were restored fairly quickly, with power flowing to most of the affected areas by late Tuesday night.

This is why I pretty much hate people...because some of them always, no matter what, are never concerned about anyone or anything except their own narcissistic, craven, selves and how they can turn a profit from another persons misery. "Global food crisis? Famine and hunger? Cool! I can make a buck off this!" Yep, that's why I hate people - although I might change my mind if I ever try a rich one that has been cooked and seasoned properly...

Skelton talks sense Shift focus from Iraq to Afghanistan, or face the increased risk of another domestic attack. “If we are going to be attacked again, it will be from the Afghanistan/Pakistan border area,” Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., said at a meeting with reporters. “We all know they did it before, and we should give priority there so they can’t do it again.”

Another reason January 20 can't get here fast enough and why the successor absolutely has to be a Democrat. SecDef Bob Gates has come out against S 22, Jim Webb's GI Bill legislation that would actually, you know, help veterans. He seems inclined toward the McCain watered down version that favors career officers - and amounts to more a "bootstrap" program than a universal GI Bill. He sent the letter to McCain, so maybe he isn't so ready to leave the Pentagon after all, and thinks another four years as McCains SecDef would be just peachy. (Ummm...only if Lieberman was the alternative...)

The trial of Tariq Aziz and "Chemical Ali" has been postponed for about three weeks for unspecified "logistical reasons."

I don't want this asshole anywhere near a gun, I sure don't want him to have a badge to go with it, and while I'm at it, I don't think anyone should plan a vacation to the Ozarks - especially if it would involve spending a single dime in Green County, MO - if Jack Merritt isn't booted out of office immediately. Besides, I just don't get a good vibe off a public servant that says, from the rotunda of the state capital, that anything moves him to want to "go out and kill a communist." Sheriff? That is the sort of thing they did in those commie countries you so despise, and we won the cold war by being better than them and embracing liberty, freedom and tolerance and not killing or disappearing citizens who disagreed with the party in power or for believing differently. Presumably, as a law enforcement officer, he knows that it is not illegal to be a communist and what he "joked about" is tantamount to advocating political murder? And that is nothing to joke about. Especially when we live in an era where a radio host (who also hails from south Missouri, now that I think about it...) advocates riots in the streets of an American city to advance his radical, right-wing political agenda. (H/T Redneck's Revenge)

Calm down, conservatards
you know that your feathers will molt if you get too excited over nothing. Your very own Izvestia, Faux Noise is going to run the DNC's "100 Years" ad, so it can't possibly be as outrageous as you lot have been clucking it up to be. Yellow feathers have filled the air since the DNC had the temerity to use video in the public domain and quote the say-anything old warmonger accurately. Next up - the song stylings of John McCain...

Turkey lightens up a little on speech restrictions After all-night debate, the Turkish Parliament has decided to soften Article 301, the law against "denigrating Turkishness or Turkish culture" that was used to prosecute Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk and other intellectuals and social critics. The EU welcomed the news, human rights groups say it doesn't go far enough.

100 Czech special forces troops will deploy to Afghanistan: The lower chamber of the Czech Parliament approved the deployment today, the same day a roadside bomb struck a Czech troop carrier, killing one and wounding four. Earlier the Parliament had approved increasing the Czech troop presence by 415 soldiers in the separate NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan this year.

10 U.S. diplomats ordered to leave Belarus
within 72 hours. Go figure - other countries don't like to be lectured about human rights abuses and election rigging by a U.S. administration that uses torture and rigs elections. No word yet on whether the U.S. will retaliate, but I'm just sure that cooler heads will prevail and this bad situation won't be made worse...

Wildfire threatens Grand Canyon over 2,000 acres of the Kaibab National Forest had burned in the so-called "X Fire" as of noon today and was moving toward the Grand Canyon, driven by high winds and dry ground conditions. "The fire is not contained at this time. It's still windy and moisture levels are low so we are concerned," said Margaret Hangan, a Kaibab National Forest spokeswoman.

NYC suit against gun manufacturers tossed by appeals court The suit had targeted manufacturers in an attempt to stem the flow of weapons into the city. The decision by the 2nd Circuit, which overturned a lower court ruling, rejected the city's claim and ruled that a federal law immunized the manufacturers.

When Californians change their driving habits, it is time to put down the People magazine and pay attention, and that is exactly what seems to be happening. In month-to-month comparisons, the nations largest market for fuel bought 4.5% less this January than last. It's not a sign of the apocalypse but keep an eye out for horsemen if people start walking in L.A.

Crackdowns on child labor in China
have so far taken over 100 female children, most between 13 and 15 years of age, out of factories in Dongguan, a huge manufacturing city known for producing and exporting toys, textiles and electronics. The girls had mostly been kidnapped from rural areas of Sichuan province and sold into servitude in industrial cities along the coast. Authorities said that thousands of children, mostly female, could be toiling in factories after having been snatched away from their families and sold into what amounts to slavery by people who see them as less than human, just a resource to be ruthlessly exploited, because of their gender.

You gotta be fucking kidding can buy a Diebold sorry - they changed their notorious name - Accuvote optical scan machine on freakin' ebay??? Now, honestly, I can see uses for private organizations to have them (governments aren't the only entities that hold elections) but c'mon! With all the charges of vote rigging and manipulation using these machines, the fact that an aspiring Karl Rove can snag one off ebay, to play with totally unregulated, makes my hackles stand up. (H/T to Politicky Bitch for sending me the ebay link.)

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