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Welcome to UNKNOWN NEWS News that’s not known, or not known enough.
Helen & Harry Highwater’s cranky weblog of news and opinion.
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FBI keeps quiet about faulty forensics, won’t notify inmates they were convicted with junk science

Excerpt: Hundreds of defendants sitting in prisons nationwide have been convicted with the help of an FBI forensic tool that was discarded more than two years ago. But the FBI lab has yet to take steps to alert the affected defendants or courts, even as the window for appealing convictions is closing, a joint investigation by The Washington Post and 60 Minutes has found.

The National Academy of Sciences said that decades of FBI statements to jurors linking a particular bullet to those found in a suspect’s gun or cartridge box were so overstated that such testimony should be considered “misleading under federal rules of evidence.”

Despite those private concerns, the bureau told defense lawyers in a general letter dated Sept. 1, 2005, that although it was ending the technique, it “still firmly supports the scientific foundation of bullet lead analysis.” The government has fought releasing the list of the estimated 2,500 cases over three decades in which it performed the analysis.

Bhutto urges all Pakistanis to rise up against Musharraf

Excerpt: Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on Monday urged Pakistanis of all shades to join a motorcade protest against President Pervez Musharraf’s emergency rule and vowed it would go ahead even if police try to block her.

Musharraf widens his sphere of punishment

Excerpt: Two weeks into the crisis that began when Musharraf purged the judiciary, muzzled the media and clamped down on politicians who opposed his re-election, the full details of what the ‘state of emergency’ entails are emerging as human rights groups in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore collect testimonies.

Retribution is being meted out on a massive scale and Pakistan’s powerful gossip mill has attributed a particular motive to Musharraf’s thinking his aim is to ‘teach a lesson’ to those who have dared object to his belief that only he can save his country. The aim of the state of emergency has been largely to humiliate the opposition.

Comment: And of course, this tyrant Musharraf who seized power in a coup, who shields terrorists (probably including Osama bin Laden) — has the full backing of Bush-Cheney and America. Rebecca PERMANENT LINK

Iran — Run-up to the next war

US interrogators are pressured to come up with “intelligence” about Iran

Excerpt: US military officials are putting huge pressure on interrogators who question Iraqi insurgents to find incriminating evidence pointing to Iran, it was claimed last night.

Micah Brose, a privately contracted interrogator working for American forces in Iraq, near the Iranian border, told The Observer that information on Iran is ‘gold’.

Brose, 30, who extracts information from detainees in Iraq, said: ‘They push a lot for us to establish a link with Iran. Of all the recent requests I’ve had, I’d say 60 to 70 per cent are about Iran.

He denied ever being asked to fabricate evidence, adding: ‘We’re not asked to manufacture information, we’re asked to find it. But if a detainee wants to tell me what I want to hear so he can get out of jail… you know what I’m saying.’

Other military intelligence officials in Iraq refused to comment, but one said: ‘The message is, “Got to find a link with Iran, got to find a link with Iran.” It’s sickening.’

Comment: On a purely practical level, torturing people is a bad idea because people being tortured will say anything to make the torture stop, which produces worthless intelligence. But in the looking-glass world of the Bush-Cheney White House, the goal is not factual intel, but something that will help them sell their latest fiction to the American people. Torturing people until they say what we want to hear, whether its true or not, is exactly the point. Madeline Zane PERMANENT LINK

Bush-Cheney demands European companies stop doing business with Iran

Excerpt: Multinational companies are coming under increasing pressure from the US to stop doing business with Iran because of its nuclear program. European operators are facing threats from Washington that they could jeopardize their US interests by continuing to deal with Tehran, with increasing evidence that European governments, mainly France, Germany and Britain, are supporting the US campaign.

It emerged last night that Siemens, one of the world’s largest engineering groups and based in Germany, has pulled out of all new business dealings with Iran after pressure from the US and German governments. This follows the decision by Germany’s three biggest banks, Deutsche, Commerzbank, and Dresdner, to quit Iran after a warning from US vice-president Dick Cheney that if firms remain in Tehran, they are going to have problems doing business in the US.

Iran hands IAEA nuclear blueprints

Excerpt: Iran has met a key demand of the UN nuclear agency by delivering blueprints that show how to mold uranium metal into the shape of warheads, diplomats said Tuesday, in an apparent concession meant to stave off the threat of new UN sanctions.

But the diplomats said Tehran has failed to meet other requests made by the International Atomic Energy Agency in its attempts to end nearly two decades of nuclear secrecy on the part of the Islamic Republic.

Comment: The article repeatedly says that un-named diplomats are un-satisfied with Iran’s move. What do you want to bet, these un-named diplomats all work for Condi Rice? Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK

US, UK reject Iran’s nuclear claim

Excerpt: Iran claimed last night that it had been vindicated after UN experts reported that Teheran had been truthful in its disclosure of key aspects of its nuclear program.

But a key report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) failed to satisfy either Britain or the United States, which said last night that it would continue to push for deeper sanctions against Iran at the UN Security Council.

Comment: Bush’s one track mind will not accept any report unless it is written by Cheney. Wig PERMANENT LINK

Rice says US is OK with Iran having nuclear power

Excerpt: The Bush administration has taken a staunch “no nukes” approach to Iran, rarely differentiating between nuclear power and weapons, but when asked about Iran’s nuclear program this morning on This Week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice claims that the US has absolutely no problem with Iran having nuclear power, they just need to give up their goal of producing nuclear weapons.

Uh oh, I think somebody is going to be getting a nasty phone call from Dick Cheney very soon …

Comment: She can’t keep her BS straight? Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK

Boston Common visitors get line to Iran

Excerpt: It was a diplomatic hot line for the people: a red phone in Boston Common with a sign inviting passers-by to speak directly to someone in Iran.

Organizers said 15 to 20 people took advantage of the chance to talk with volunteers in Iran recruited through the Internet. The hour-long effort was aimed at getting ordinary Americans and Iranians to talk while their leaders remain locked in a dispute about the intent of Tehran’s nuclear program.

Sensitive Guantanamo manual leaked through Wiki site

Excerpt: The manual shows how the military coded each prisoner according to the level of access the Red Cross would have. The four levels are:

• No Access
• Visual Access ICRC can only look at a prisoner’s physical condition.
• Restricted Access ICRC representatives can only ask short questions about the prisoner’s health.
• Unrestricted Access

The No Access level troubles [Jamil Dakwar, advocacy director of the ACLU’s Human Rights program].

“That actually raises a lot of concerns about the administration’s genuineness in terms of allowing ICRC full access, as was promised to the world,” Dakwar says. “They are the only organization that has access to the detainees, and this raises a lot of questions.”

The manual also includes instructions on how to use military dogs to intimidate prisoners.

Comment: Keeping prisoners away from the Red Cross, by the way, is unequivocally a violation of international law. Madeline Zane PERMANENT LINK

Military says leaked Guantanamo manual is outdated

New York Times reports the news this time

House, Senate panel reject telecom spy immunity

Excerpt: On Capital Hill, both the full House and the Senate Judiciary Committee have passed bills rejecting blanket immunity for telecommunication companies that cooperated with the Bush administration’s warrantless spy program. The measures amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and pave the way for courts to decide whether telecom companies might have broken the law. The Bush administration has threatened a veto.

Domestic spying inquiry restarted at DoJ

Excerpt: The Justice Department has reopened a long-dormant inquiry into the government’s warrantless wiretapping program, a major policy shift only days into the tenure of Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

Comment: I’d love to be wrong, but this smells like horsepucky P.R. to me, more like, “Domestic spying cover-up restarted at DoJ”. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK

US deserters lose bid for Canada refugee status

Excerpt: Two Americans who deserted the US Army to protest against the war in Iraq lost their bid for refugee status in Canada on Thursday.

The Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear appeals from the two men, Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, over decisions by immigration authorities backed in two subsequent court rulings that they were not refugees in need of protection.

Life in liberated Afghanistan & Iraq

Violence in Basra down 90% after British leave

Excerpt: Attacks against British and Iraqi forces have plunged by 90 percent in southern Iraq since London withdrew its troops from the main city of Basra, the commander of British forces there said Thursday.

The presence of British forces in downtown Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city, was the single largest instigator of violence, Maj. Gen. Graham Binns told reporters Thursday on a visit to Baghdad’s Green Zone.

“We thought, ‘If 90 percent of the violence is directed at us, what would happen if we stepped back?'” Binns said.

US claims of reduced violence in Baghdad smell bogus to people in Baghdad

Excerpt: Despite claims by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Bush administration officials that violence in Iraq is decreasing, residents in the capital tell a different story.

Attacks by Iraqi resistance groups against the US military continue in Baghdad and Iraq’s al-Anbar province, despite US military support for certain Sunni militias in the areas.

Chevron pays $30m in Iraq bribes case

Excerpt: Chevron Corp. has agreed to pay $30 million to settle charges that it made illegal kickbacks to Iraq for oil purchased in 2001 and 2002 under the United Nation’s oil-for-food program.

Comment: This corruption happened after 9/11 as the US was building up support for the Iraq invasion and the ouster of Saddam. Condi, Chevron’s former employee, did nothing to prevent it. We already knew the Iraq war was a scam. Now we’re getting the evil details. Shouldn’t somebody be busted for this? A 30 million dollar fine is nothing to Chevron. Marshall S. PERMANENT LINK

NATO detainees subject to torture in Afghanistan

Excerpt: NATO-led forces in Afghanistan are exposing detainees to torture, Amnesty International charged Tuesday.

NATO-led forces have transferred detainees to Afghanistan’s intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security, despite consistent reports of torture by the NDS, including whippings, beatings, starvation and exposure to extreme cold, said Claudio Cordone, senior director for research at Amnesty International.

Report puts hidden war costs at $1.6-trillion

Excerpt: The economic costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are estimated to total $1.6 trillion roughly double the amount the White House has requested thus far, according to a new report by Democrats on Congress’ Joint Economic Committee.

Trial set for highest-ranking Marine in Haditha case

More Iraqi children dying now than when country was under sanctions

US drops plan to force diplomats to Iraq

Iraqi soccer players seek asylum in Australia

Soldiers say Army ignores, punishes mental anguish

Democrats vow not to be bullied by Bush on Iraq

Comment: Ha ha ha ha ha! Ho ho! haha, hoho! I’ll believe it when I see it. Cramden E. PERMANENT LINK

Progressive think tank creates Mac/PC commercial spoofs

Excerpt: The first part of the campaign involves a pilot experiment to begin defining progressivism in the public’s mind through a series of distinct advertisements that explain the progressive movement’s core values and policy ideas, its historical accomplishments, and its philosophical differences with conservatives.

Comment: Don’t let that throw you these are actually funny. Madeline Zane PERMANENT LINK

Watch one commercial on YouTube and then Watch the other commercial on YouTube

Blackwater — America’s most famous mercenaries

State Dept official in charge of [not] investigating Blackwater has brother on their board

Excerpt: The State Department’s top investigator recused himself on Wednesday from probes into the Blackwater security firm after discovering during a break in a congressional hearing that his brother was connected with the company.

Howard Krongard, who began a hearing of Rep. Henry Waxman’s government oversight committee by denying the “ugly rumors” that his brother “Buzzy” was linked to Blackwater, returned after a recess to say he had just contacted his brother and learned he had attended a Blackwater advisory board meeting.

Several current and former staffers from Krongard’s office said he threatened investigators with retaliation if they cooperated with Waxman’s probe. Krongard is also accused of telling the staff not to cooperate with the Justice Department, and impeding investigations into alleged arms smuggling by Blackwater and construction problems with a massive new US embassy in Baghdad.

State Dept’s Krongard refuses to clarify brother’s role at Blackwater

Excerpt: The lawyer for State Department Inspector General Howard Krongard asked on Saturday that he not be called to testify before Congress on discrepancies between his statements and those of his brother over the brother’s ties to the Blackwater security firm.

FBI finds “at least” 14 killings in Blackwater massacre “unjustified”

Excerpt: The FBI investigation into the shootings in Baghdad is still under way, but the findings, which indicate that the company’s employees violated deadly force rules in effect for security contractors in Iraq, are already under review by the Justice Department, the newspaper said.

Blackwater mercenaries poised to get fat new Pentagon contract for “Drug War”

Former US spook pleads guilty to falsified security clearance

Excerpt: A former agent for the FBI and CIA pleaded guilty Tuesday to faking a marriage to win US citizenship, clearing the way to being hired and given security clearances by the two intelligence agencies.

The case raises questions about hiring practices and background checks by two of the nation’s most security-sensitive and secretive agencies.

Comment: It’s pretty scary to realize how incompetent are those whose job is to protect us. Marshall S. PERMANENT LINK

CIA “erred” when they said they didn’t have tapes of torturing 9/11 suspects

Excerpt: The CIA erred in twice telling a court in the case of September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui that it did not have any recordings of interrogations of “enemy combatants,” when in fact it had three video or audio tapes, according to a letter released on Tuesday.

Comment: CIA doublespeak. “Erred” translates to “Lied”. Marshall S. PERMANENT LINK

15 percent of mines uninspected

Excerpt: The federal agency responsible for mine safety failed to carry out required inspections at 15 percent of the nation’s underground coal mines, according to an internal Labor Department report.

The report, by the department’s inspector general, also said Mine Safety and Health Administration records of an inspection of the Crandall Canyon mine in Utah, where six miners died in roof collapse in August, were dated four months before the inspection started.

The records covered “a requirement for the inspector to evaluate the roof control plan,” said the report, which was obtained by The Associated Press on Friday. “The inspector could not explain why the forms were dated before the inspection period.”

Comment: It seems to me that murder charges ought to be filed against someone. Marshall S. PERMANENT LINK

FDA pretends to do something about conflicts of interest

Excerpt: The Food and Drug Administration announced proposed rules Thursday to reduce potential conflicts of interest among outside experts who advise the government on approval of drugs and other regulated products. The experts would have to disclose any financial ties to the industry under review.

The FDA says a ban on all outside reviewers with potential conflicts is impractical because so many scientists whose expertise the government relies on have ties to industries under FDA regulation.

Comment: In other words, there have been conflicts of interest. Isn’t anyone getting busted for this? Marshall S. PERMANENT LINK

Comment: So how is this going to “reduce” any conflicts of interest?? The FDA comes right out and says they’re going to continue using people with a vested interest in the outcome to decide whether new drugs get approved. Now they’re just going to publicize which doctors are on the take. Which everyone knew already. So what’s changing here, except the PR? Madeline Zane PERMANENT LINK

Bush nominates two more cronies to judgeships

Excerpt: Thursday, President Bush nominated two judges for high-level positions who gave him campaign contributions while under consideration for positions, a practice ethics experts and many federal judges deem “inappropriate.” …

Bush nominated Judge Gene Pratter, of Pennsylvania, to the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals, a level just below the US Supreme Court. Pratter, who was featured in the CIR report, “Money Trails to the Federal Bench,” gave $2,000 to Bush in 2003, after interviewing with the White House for her judgeship.

Bush also picked Judge Mark Filip, of Illinois, to be deputy attorney general, the No. 2 spot in the Justice Department. Filip gave Bush $2,000 in 2003, after the president nominated him for his judgeship, as earlier reported by CIR.

Accidentally broadcast OPEC meeting reveals concern about collapsing dollar

Excerpt: On Friday night, during what the participants thought were private talks, Venezuela’s oil minister Venezuela Rafael Ramirez and his Iranian counterpart Gholamhossein Nozari, argued that pricing and selling oil using the crippled dollar was damaging the cartel.

Reid plans Thanksgiving Senate session to prevent recess appointments

Excerpt: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has decided to keep the chamber in session over the Thanksgiving break to block President Bush from making any unsavory recess appointments while Senators are out of town.

Comment: The headline raised my hopes, but the articles dashes them again. Senator Harry Reid isn’t holding firm to prevent Bush from installing more monsters in high office with recess appointments he’s only peeved that Bush won’t give him the quid pro quo he wants, by installing a few people the Democrats have suggested in addition to Bush’s preferred monsters.

In other words, Harry Reid doesn’t care if George Bush appoints Al Capone as Director of the Prisons Bureau. Reid just wants his back scratched in return. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK

There are more than three stooges
(and one of them will be America’s next President)

Judith Regan sues Murdoch’s News Corp, says she was ordered to protect Giuliani

Excerpt: In the filing, Regan stated: “The smear campaign was necessary to advance News Corp.’s political agenda, which has long centered on protecting Rudy Giuliani’s presidential ambitions.”

News Corp and Fox News have a long, chummy relationship with Giuliani

Excerpt: In 1996, when Mr. Ailes and Rupert Murdoch started Fox News, Mr. Giuliani intervened as mayor after Time Warner cable refused to carry the new station in the city. Time Warner, which had 1.1 million subscribers in the city, said it had room for only one more news station, which it had just awarded to MSNBC.

Fox accused Time Warner of trying to protect CNN, which Time Warner was buying. On Sept. 20, 1996, Mr. Ailes called Mr. Giuliani to ask for help. A flurry of meetings followed, but Time Warner did not budge. Three weeks later, the Giuliani administration said it would broadcast Fox News on a municipal-run station, citing the benefits of offering diverse news sources and protecting the 600 jobs Fox had created.

Poll shows grassroots Democrats strongly support Kucinich

Excerpt: Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich topped all other Democratic Presidential candidates in 47 of 50 states in the first nationwide poll of grassroots, activist Democrats, according to final figures released today by the Howard Dean-founded Democracy for America (DFA) political action committee.

Edwards: If members of Congress won’t give Americans a healthcare plan, I’ll take away theirs

Excerpt: Arguing that ordinary Americans deserve access to healthcare that’s just as good as what members of Congress get is a devastatingly effective message and has long been a crowd-pleaser among progressives. Edwards told radio talker Ed Schultz, “There’s no excuse for politicians in Washington to have heath care, but America doesn’t have healthcare, and I think we have to shake this place up a little bit. What we would do is we would submit legislation saying if universal healthcare is not passed by this summer, that the Congress and members of the administration would lose their healthcare coverage.”

Britain’s Channel 4 reports on Giuliani’s 9/11 incompetence

Excerpt: Giuliani spent $60-million on the command center in the World Trade Center. He installed a humidor for his cigars, monogrammed towels in bathroom, even had private elevator which was handy when he brought his mistress here at the weekends. But he also installed a 600 gallon fuel tank which meant that when burning debris hit the building it went up like a blowtorch.

So Giuliani found himself wandering the streets because he had ignored advice to put his command center safely underground in Brooklyn. Insisting instead it had to be near City hall.

Giuliani promises more judges like Scalia, Thomas

Excerpt: Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani won a warm reception from the conservative Federalist Society on Friday, promising that if he reached the White House he would appoint Supreme Court justices like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Giuliani won’t say if he’d pardon alleged mobster friend Kerik as President

CNN asks debate audience member to ask inane question

Every element of CNN debate was stacked to favor Clinton

Romney gets the McCain treatment with a lying push poll

Comment: I’ve been wondering what Karl Rove’s up to these days. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK

Worth remembering, from almost exactly four years ago:
Dean pulls away in Democrats’ race

Feds raid Liberty Dollar office

Excerpt: According to the e-mail, about a dozen agents arrived Wednesday morning and seized gold, silver, platinum and nearly two tons of recently delivered Ron Paul Dollars. They also took all the files, all the computers and froze the group’s bank accounts, the e-mail said.

Comment: Currency chatter is not my expertise, and the Liberty Dollar folks’ big worries about Constitutional cash ain’t one of my big issues. But I’m scratching my head, trying to guess what law is violated when someone molds and sells metal into round, flat shapes. Companies like Coinable and Phoenix Dollar are selling exactly the same kind of round, flat discs without any governmental hassle. It’s almost … almost as if the Department of Justice is motivated not by justice, but by the politics behind the Liberty Dollar. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK

This is how Republicans “support the troops”

Bush vetoes mental health care, job training for veterans

Excerpt: The largest political group of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans today reacted angrily to news that the House of Representatives failed to get the 2/3 vote needed to override President Bush’s veto of spending for military veterans. “Virtually every [House] Member who voted to sustain the veto voted to send us to war, and it is offensive that they think of us as pieces on a chessboard, not worthy of care.”

Soldiers with PTSD redeployed right away

Excerpt: Thousands of soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan are disabled by post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

But Team 5 Investigates has uncovered that case after case, the military is violating its own policy and shipping them back to the front lines before they are well.

One day after Michael DeVlieger was released from an Army hospital in Kentucky for acute stress disorder, he got the redeployment order. Now he’s on the front lines.

Critics say there’s a contradiction between military policy and its practices. The official policy of the Department of Defense states that soldiers with serious psychiatric problems could only be sent back to the war zone if they were stable for at least three months.

The Army says it’s “individualized” and that they “do not want to stigmatize the soldiers by saying they cannot deploy with their unit because they have symptoms.”

Military desertion rate skyrockets

Excerpt: Soldiers strained by six years at war are deserting their posts at the highest rate since 1980, with the number of Army deserters this year showing an 80 percent increase since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003.

Vets have astronomical suicide rate

Excerpt: This week, CBS News presented the findings of a five-month investigation into veteran suicides. The results paint a frightening picture of despair. We found veterans are killing themselves twice as much as non-veterans.

In 2005 alone, at least 6256 men and women who served their country committed suicide. That’s more than 120 suicides per week.

Vet seeking PTSD treatment arrested for desertion

Excerpt: A soldier who left his post at Fort Drum in Watertown, N.Y., without leave more than a year ago to seek treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder was arrested yesterday at a cafe eight miles from the base as he was preparing to surrender, his lawyer said. …

“They just don’t have the resources to handle it, but that’s not my fault,” Sergeant Gaskins said at a news conference in Syracuse, just hours before his arrest.

Medical study: “official” PTSD rates way too low

Excerpt: Soldiers who have served in Iraq are suffering substantially greater mental distress several months after leaving the combat zone than when they first return home with one out of five active-duty Army soldiers and more than 40 percent of Army reservists needing treatment, according to a study by Army researchers published yesterday. Initial screenings “substantially underestimate the mental health burden,” according to the study.

Schmuck who ran Walter Reed Hospital into the ground
is appointed to oversee biological weapons research

Excerpt: A two-star general who was fired as the head of Walter Reed Army Medical Center amid reports of shoddy treatment of wounded soldiers will oversee US biological weapons defense research as commander of Fort Detrick, the Army said Tuesday.

Comment: Oh boy, that gives me a warm cuddly feeling. Look for some “Oops, sorry” as thousands are killed by accidental release of toxins and bugs. Marshall S. PERMANENT LINK

White House fights to continue giving whites shorter sentences for cocaine use

Excerpt: The Bush administration squared off against members of the federal judiciary yesterday over a proposal by an independent panel to reduce the sentences of thousands of federal inmates imprisoned on crack cocaine offenses.

The disparity between the sentences given for powder cocaine, which more white people use, and cheaper crack cocaine, more widely used among African Americans, is among the most sensitive issues of the war on drugs that began in the mid-1980s. …

Judge orders White House to preserve all emails

Excerpt: A federal judge Monday ordered the White House to preserve copies of all its e-mails, a move that Bush administration lawyers had argued strongly against.

US District Judge Henry Kennedy directed the Executive Office of the President to safeguard the material in response to two lawsuits that seek to determine whether the White House has destroyed e-mails in violation of federal law.

Cops you won’t see on TV’s COPS

NYPD shoots, kills unarmed black teen

Excerpt: In an interview with NY1 Friday night, the mother of a young man shot and killed by police on Monday said she does not understand how a call for help ended with the death of her son. Khiel Coppin, 18, was gunned down by police outside his Bedford Stuyvesant home after his mother called 911 because she feared her son was suicidal. Mentally unwell, Coppin claimed he had a gun. It was only a hairbrush.

For a devastated family, there are questions not only about the police, but also about mental health experts, who that day never tended to the troubled young man. Mrs. Owens says she called Interfaith Medical Center asking for help. When they arrived several hours later, her son was out, so the health professionals left.

LAPD “drops plans” to create racist Muslim maps

Excerpt: Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton said Thursday a plan to map out where Muslims lived had been scrapped, saying strong reaction from Muslim communities forced the department to change course.

Muslim groups praised the move, but said reversing the damage would take a long time.

Comment: And who, exactly, is going to be in charge of making sure that no-one in the LAPD ever makes a map of where the Muslims live? And what’s to stop them from creating and circulating a map of all the Muslim leaders who called to complain, instead? Madeline Zane PERMANENT LINK

No charges against cops who tazered sleeping man twice in his home

City detective accused of trafficking cocaine, heroin

Prosecutior ruins 13-year-old’s life

Video shows cops tasering Polish immigrant to death

Terror police tazered man in coma

Former officer pleads guilty to indecency with a child

War protesters drenched in police pepper spray and arrested

Man jailed for photographing cops wins $8k

Why TV and movie writers are on strike

Excerpt: The motivation for this drastic action and a strike is drastic, a fact I grow more aware of every passing day is the guild’s desire for a portion of revenues derived from the Internet. This is nothing new: for more than 50 years, writers have been entitled to a small cut of the studios’ profits from the reuse of our shows or movies; whenever something we created ends up in syndication or is sold on DVD, we receive royalties. But the studios refuse to apply the same rules to the Internet.

My show, Lost has been streamed hundreds of millions of times since it was made available on ABC’s Web site. The downloads require the viewer to first watch an advertisement, from which the network obviously generates some income. The writers of the episodes get nothing. We’re also a hit on iTunes (where shows are sold for $1.99 each). Again, we get nothing.

David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants will pay strikebound staff through end of year

SNL and 30 Rock stage benefit performances for backstage workers

Spitzer drops bid to offer licenses to illegal immigrants

Excerpt: Gov. Eliot Spitzer formally announced today that he would abandon his plan to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, conceding that his best efforts to sell New Yorkers on the merits of his proposal had clearly failed.

Comment: Another victory for the right wing’s ever-vigilant fleet of Just Plain Morons. Will illegal immigrants stop driving in New York? Will they drive straight back to Mexico? Of course not. They’ll just be unlicensed drivers and thus un-insured, and ordinary people like you and me will be screwed after an accident, when the other driver has no insurance, or has no choice but to speed away … Randall T. PERMANENT LINK

American dream a nightmare for many blacks

Excerpt: Black Americans are failing to climb the social ladder, while a worrying number born into the middle classes are now actually poorer than their parents, according to a study released on Tuesday.

The report by Brookings Institution scholar Julia Isaacs found blacks were missing out on a cherished American dream that their children will be economically better off.

Trashing (or saving?) the planet

UN environment board censors findings at governments’ request

Excerpt: The IPCC has already been criticized for the selectivity and language of the policy summaries, which have been softened on several points because of objections by countries including the United States, China and some big oil-producing nations such as Saudi Arabia.

On Monday, WWF International, one of several environmental groups invited to observe the process, said “governments cut vital facts and important information” during the negotiations.

Court says Bush rules on SUV pollution are too lenient

Excerpt: A federal court in California yesterday rejected the Bush administration’s new fuel economy standards for light trucks including SUVs, ruling that the government failed to take into account the effects of carbon emissions and their possible link to global warming. The court ordered the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to come up with new standards “as expeditiously as possible.”

One of two worst US polluters donates millions to Republicans

Excerpt: Southern’s employees handed George Bush $217,047 to help him get elected twice, and they and the company have contributed an extraordinary $6.2m to Republican campaigns since 1990 according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

A single Southern Company plant in Juliette, Georgia already emits more carbon dioxide annually that Brazil’s entire power sector. The company is in the top two of America’s dirtiest utility polluters and sixth worst in the world.

‘Safe’ uranium leaves New York town contaminated

Excerpt: The US federal government and the firm that ran the factory, National Lead (NL) Industries, have been assuring former workers and residents around the 18-acre site for decades that, although it is true that the plant used to produce unacceptable levels of radioactive pollution, it was not a serious health hazard.

Now, in a development with potentially devastating implications not only for Colonie but also for the future use of some of the West’s most powerful weapon systems, that claim is being challenged. In a paper to be published in the next issue of the scientific journal Science of the Total Environment, a team led by Professor Randall Parrish of Leicester University reports the results of a three-year study of Colonie, funded by Britain’s Ministry of Defense.

Smithsonian science exhibit covers up global climate change

America ships electronic waste overseas

Judge says government can seek Lay’s estate

Excerpt: The federal government can proceed with efforts to seize nearly $13 million from the estate of former Enron founder Kenneth Lay, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Burnout on the God beat: Second top religion writer calls it quits

Excerpt: Covering religion may be harmful to your faith. Two leading religion journalists one in Britain, one in the United States have quit the beat in recent months, saying they had acquired such a close look at such scandalous behavior by Christians that they lost their faith and had to leave.

Destroying civil liberties is like letting the terrorists win

Islamic charity wins right to sue US over wiretapping

Excerpt: A defunct Islamic charity in Oregon that says it was illegally wiretapped by federal authorities can pursue its lawsuit challenging President Bush’s clandestine eavesdropping program, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

Spanish political cartoonists fined

Excerpt: Two cartoonists who depicted Spain’s crown prince having sex with his wife were convicted Tuesday of insulting the heir to the throne and were fined $4,370 each.

The caption alluded to a new government measure designed to boost Spain’s low birth rate by offering $3,640 to families for each new child born or adopted.

In the cartoon, the prince says to the princess: “Do you realize if you get pregnant, this will be the closest to real work I’ve ever done?”

UK’s Brown plans to hold suspects longer without charge

Excerpt: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday defended his proposal to give police more time to question terrorism suspects before charging them, saying the increasing complexity of terrorism investigations demands new flexibility in the law …

New Jersey school cameras fed live to cops

Happy Veterans Day! Anti-war vets arrested at parade in their honor

Did NSA put a secret backdoor in new encryption standard?

Doctor once banned for incompetence is hired for executions

Excerpt: A surgeon once barred from participating in state executions because of a federal judge’s concerns about his dyslexia and lack of expertise has been hired for a federal government execution team, according to court records.

Dick Cheney’s sadistic passion for shooting tame animals

Excerpt: Dick Cheney just spent a day shooting up pen-raised birds. Some hunters liken the sport killing tame animals that offer no resistance to having sex with a blow-up doll.

Lightning round news

Months behind reality, Senate Democrats
say they finally might make
Republicans actually filibuster instead of
merely threaten endless filibusters

Hackers use banner ads on
major sites to hijack PCs

Florida’s latest restroom Republican resigns

Man arrested for possession
of hallucinogenic toad

British nukes were protected by bike locks

Oddly, hypocrisy rooted in high morals

Christians in Jerusalem want
Jews to stop spitting on them

98 percent of all domestically eradicated marijuana is “ditchweed,” DEA admits

Airport screeners missed bomb parts

Tax-funded pet massacres in Puerto Rico

Coast Guard replaces commander
after California spill disaster

Math, science pupils in US trail
Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea

Judge loses more than pants in lawsuit

Secrecy provision buried in appropriations bill

Canadian fire truck responding
to US call held up at border

US Customs delays ambulance at border

Anti-Bush sign has bridge world in an uproar

Judge criticizes Australian spy agency

Catholic bishops call for US
to end occupation of Iraq

Homophobic Surgeon General nominee
reveals Bush plans to recess appoint him

Democrats say hidden costs double war price

Yahoo reaches out of court settlement with journalists ratted out to Chinese government

Suspect in Pearl’s killing
dies after “interrogation”

Bush-Cheney flush another
$4-billion down the toilet

In DC, no more due process for parking tickets

Unhealthy in America

Meat treatment to hide spoilage
got approval despite safety concerns

The cost of medical care in the US is becoming so ridiculous it invites an absurd solution: Fly Americans to hospitals overseas

Ritalin of no long-term benefit, study finds

Comment: So all RItalin is good for is fattening drug companies pockets and getting kids used to being tried and punished without due process. Marshall S. PERMANENT LINK

US sets record in sexual disease cases

Early, routine testing for HIV is key
to curbing the disease among teens

Comment: Another way universal healthcare would better protect us all. JR Mooneyham PERMANENT LINK

Liars, scoundrels, and hypocrites

Washington Post news article called
Giuliani “America’s mayor,” referred to
his “triumphal leadership on Sept. 11”

Fox‘s Hume says Democrats “often”
seem “invested in our losing” in Iraq

New York Times columnists’
logic is factually bonkers

Rove to write for Newsweek

CNN, Chicago Tribune uncritically
reported Hastert’s claim that he
“tried [his] best” to restore “civility”

CNN, Fox News lie about Obama

NBC critique of Media Matters ignores
listed lies by NBC’s Tim Russert

New York Times presents war on terror
debate in exactly the lying terms
of Bush-Cheney administration

CNN’s self-importance is beyond debate

San Jose Mercury-News lies that
Republicans’ “steal the election”
initiative has bi-partisan support

Ignoring his past smears, NY Times reported that McCain “has studiously avoided personally attacking Mrs. Clinton”

O’Reilly tries to get aggressive liberal blogger booted from law school

AP reported RNC demand for Clinton email
disclosure but ignored allegations
of RNC’s improper handling of email

Swift boat liar adds new conditions
to sidestep $1-million payout

The love of money is the root of all evil

Chiquita is sued over support for terrorists in Colombia

Everything was supposed to be different in the post-Enron era. But it’s still the same.

Home values decline for the first time since Depression of 1930s

Buffett backs estate tax, decries wealth gap

Death of infant leads to recall of Chinese-made storage racks

Comcast hit with class-action lawsuit over traffic blocking

Scamster steals bundles of cash through “Help Hospitalized Veterans” charity

Verizon misquotes rates 93% of the time

Mystery $100M donation lifts Erie, PA

Baker Institute study shows ‘Big Five’ oil companies limit exploration


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This week’s commentary

History of lies and lies of history imperil America’s mental health
by Herb Ruhs, MD, Unknown News

Excerpt: If we are to liberate ourselves from this tyranny we I believe will need to examine carefully all, and rewrite much, of what we have been taught to think of as our history.

Do we really love uniforms so much?
by JS Magruder, Unknown News

Excerpt: I keep insisting I won’t read the paper anymore because I don’t need to be brutalized amid stories about the latest diet or shopping fad. If I’m going to be assaulted by brutish reality, there are places I can (and do) see it laid bare in all its ugliness. I don’t need people pretending to be respectable as they engage in their violence of the mind. I really don’t.

by Don Nash, Unknown News

the delusion of empire
the ravages of war machines
fueling their engines
on slaughter
produces only atrocity
with a modicum of apathetic apocalypso

Straight poop on the
Democrats’ debate of 15-Nov-2007

by Mr Chuckles, Unknown News

Excerpt: The reality is that the race is a huge fur-ball but “Big Media” has already selected Hillary Clinton and are giving her a free ride. Americans will believe just about anything they see on TV and they’re seeing respected journalists like Wolf Blitzer treat her as a credible potential Leader of the Free World. There is nothing in Hillary’s background to suggest leadership experience; she has run nothing.

Some of us know better
and some of us never will

by Kathy Fisher, Unknown News

Excerpt: I look at it this way: It’s too late for the sheeple, they’re well trained brainwashed. They’ll buy and believe anything their masters tell them.

As for us? We are the gang that knows too much. In fact we know their next move and we predict their next blunder. Hell sometimes we even throw a wrench in their plans and make them go back to the drawing board …

Could a change of strategy be
in the works for Genocide-Man?

by Don Nash, Unknown News

What oil and natural gas pipelines can
tell us about possible WWIII alliances

by Marie K., Unknown News

Excerpt: If geo-strategies and oil and natural gas really ARE the real issues behind 20th and now the 21st century wars/conflicts, then the plans related to new pipelines ought to provide some clues as to who would fight and who would become allies.

America’s full of “good Germans”
by Frank Rich, New York Times

Excerpt: I have always maintained that the American public was the least culpable of the players during the run-up to Iraq. The war was sold by a brilliant and fear-fueled White House propaganda campaign designed to stampede a nation still shell-shocked by 9/11. Both Congress and the press the powerful institutions that should have provided the checks, balances and due diligence of the administration’s case failed to do their job. Had they done so, more Americans might have raised more objections. This perfect storm of democratic failure began at the top.

As the war has dragged on, it is hard to give Americans en masse a pass. We are too slow to notice, let alone protest, the calamities that have followed the original sin.

Previous commentary

Democrats: A sackful of kittens
on their way to the river

by Pavel C., Unknown News

Excerpt: These people have lied to us — and to themselves — for so long that they either fully believe their lies or they are so confused that they have no mental machinery left for going to the heart of a problem and finding a solution.

In fact, the heart of most problems is that the politicians are corrupt blunderers. I don’t know what motivates each individual in government service, but the elected representatives we have now are dangerously incompetent and ought to be removed from office as soon as possible.

In the meantime, plan on more disasters happening soon.

Soldiers’ naïveté of war
by Gina Dee, Unknown News

Excerpt: Was I watching the very first and only soldiers to ever having lived through war? Confessing their naivetes about war and the repercussions my eyebrows pinched and I was amazed. A few even expressed that if they’d “known” it was like this they might not have gone into the military. Still others could not honestly express much of how they really felt, as their brain injuries had forever robbed them of their original personalities. One man had lost both eyes along with his marriage, and decided to have his wedding band diamonds set in his prosthetic eye . A 22-year-old young man sat in a wheelchair holding his mother’s hand like a small child., his brain damage quite severe. Even the most positive of them said he would have followed a different path if he had his legs back now.

Prepare for what’s coming
by The Canadian, Unknown News

Excerpt: Food. Freeze dried is best, and vitamin tablets. One week’s worth to carry and then scrounge after that. Locate all food warehouse storage locations within a radius of 140 kms from where you live. (7-days walk radius) Locate supply stores in small towns as they are the least marketed locations to urban dwellers and therefore least likely to be looted en mass.

Solar energy makes good economic sense
by Lucinda, Unknown News

Excerpt: I bet right this minute there are billionaires buying up gazillion hectare tracts in the desert, planning to build solar farms one day!

Through the looking glass in Iraq
by Hazel Burke, Unknown News

Excerpt: In fact, a long term US presence in Iraq amounts to a defeat for America. That is the truth about guerrilla war. The invaders are bled dry and eventually they leave. The guerrillas have nowhere to go and are motivated for reasons other than money. Strategically too, a long term occupation of Iraq is a total disaster because it destabilizes the Middle East and encourages people to hate America and all that it stands for.

Leaders, followers, and sheep
by Luke Wagner, Unknown News

Excerpt: Driving sheep in the stockyards is a good metaphor for people and politics and leaders. Leaders are just people that are thrust out in front of the flock to lead them in a desired direction, but the direction is determined by the drivers.

More adventures of Genocide-Man!
by Don Nash, Unknown News

by Don Nash, Unknown News

Where’s justice?
by Don Nash

Tastes like chicken soup
by Don Nash, Unknown News

Let’s put the fun back into executions
by Pavel C., Unknown News

Excerpt: If we wanted painless executions we would feed the prisoners opium and vodka until they pass out.

Then any method would finish the job painlessly.

But we do not appear to want fast, painless, humane executions that are not degrading to everyone involved.

And that is why each new scientific advance in execution machines is more appalling and horrifying than the last.

It could never happen here
by Kevin Good, Unknown News

Excerpt: The President, without so much as issuing a press statement, on May 9 signed a directive that granted near dictatorial powers to the office of the president in the event of a national emergency, declared by himself.

News as a carefully designed feed-lot experience
by Herb Ruhs, MD, Unknown News

Excerpt: It isn’t just that CNN and the rest of the world wide propaganda industry are totally out to lunch reality-wise, it is that they deliberately present a false image so that, in effect, the viewer unconsciously feels disrespected by having an authority contradict their EXPERIENCED sense of reality.

Today I caught a pedophile
by Kathy Fisher, Unknown News

Excerpt: As I looked up the street I watched for the girls to pass the parking lot, and lo and behold, I saw them run to the other side as if something scared them. Sure as hell, a few minutes later I see this same man walking towards them — no limp this time.

The adventures of Genocide-Man!
by Don Nash, Unknown News

Sparkles says “Bye-bye”
by Don Nash, Unknown News

Halloween with the Santorums
by Kevin Good, Unknown News

Excerpt: The names of those who did not participate in the Halloween Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week were noted by zee Homeland Security Department with the warning, “Be Afraid, be very afraid.”

The war of terror
by Don Nash, Unknown News

Psychoactive drugs are almost
certainly part of Bush’s torture routine

by Hazel Burke, Unknown News

Excerpt: Imagine being blindfolded, stripped naked and freaking on a mix of acid and speed — while torturers bring out snarling dogs to nibble on your nuts, and intermittently flip the switch to electrify the jumper cables strategically clamped to your flesh.

Gullible? Uninformed? Nowhere to turn?
by Kathy Fisher, Unknown News

Excerpt: “They can do want they the hell they want here at home, it can crash for all I care, in a month my ass is out of here and I’m going to Iraq.”

Stopping the violence in Iraq using nothing but violence
by Pavel C., Unknown News

Excerpt: It is too late to withdraw. We have invested five hundred billion dollars already, and we cannot leave that behind. Instead we must make Iraq the 51st state in the Union, whether they want to or not.

Spraying for cockroaches in government
by JR Mooneyham, Unknown News

Excerpt: The super-villains may try to collapse America that way, out of sheer stupidity or malevolence, but there are other powers in the world besides them — powers which I believe will step in and start spraying pesticide if the cockroaches get too thick.

Obliterating Iraq’s infant insurgents
by Chris D., Unknown News

Excerpt: When holding lives directly in one’s hands, stupidity should never be tolerated. Not for doctors, not for lawyers, not for cops, not for teachers, and certainly not for generals. Somehow I doubt anybody in the military is having their license to kill revoked or even suspended pending an ethics committee review.

Media offers the anti-truth, and nothing but
by Mr. Chuckles, Unknown News

Excerpt: Having seen it over and over again, I have come to expect the professional new media to provide information that is so totally slanted and couched in terms deferential to “authority” that it is 180 degrees from the truth, and is thus, Anti-Truth.

It never rains in Southern California
by Don Nash, Unknown News

Keeping America safe from artists and musicians
by Mr. Chuckles, Unknown News

Excerpt: These foreigners are likely not just dirty, badly dressed sexual deviants who don’t know their instruments, they are probably terrorists, or have close ties to terror suspects, or are related to people who are known to have ties to terror suspects or people associated with networks of suspicious persons who know actual terrorists.

War’s orgy
by Don Nash, Unknown News

Excerpt: We’re having some fun now!

Uncomfortably numb
by Chris D., Unknown News

Excerpt: I might be a day behind or so (occupational hazard of the night shift) but I read in the paper that The Other Butcher of Baghdad gave some stiff and harshly worded warnings to Turkey about invading Iraq while pushing further for a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. These warnings included the allegation that Turkey was about to start WWIII.

On the apparent paradox of
big things with no witnesses

by Herb Ruhs, MD, Unknown News

Excerpt: Time sanitizes truth. As professional investigators well know, the period just after a crime holds forth the opportunity to reveal the truth, but with each passing hour, day, week, month, year, decade, that possibility becomes increasingly remote to the point of impossibility.

Hoarding ammo at the Alamo
by Pavel C., Unknown News

Excerpt: The Bush Regime does not believe in “free markets” any more than they believe in freedom or human rights for all mankind. They believe in government bailouts when losses happen, and private profits in boom times. Their “free market” mantra has no basis in reality.

President Relevant
by Don Nash, Unknown News

Excerpt: “I am relevant. Yes, I am.”

Iran, Israel, and the whole Middle East
is locked and loaded and ready to go

by The Canadian, Unknown News

Excerpt: The game in the Middle East is running its final diplomatic course.

America’s coming war with China
by Leon Fisher, Unknown News

Excerpt: The corrupt economic and political leadership of the United States must be ousted and replaced with those whose priorities are that of the American people, not Wall Street nor any of the myriad domestic and foreign lobbies which presently influence policy making in Washington.

Nothing short of this will save us from endless war, economic ruin, and martial law imposed by the corporate-fascists in Washington and their rubber stamp Congress.

A thing of beauty?
by Don Nash, Unknown News

Excerpt: This is Our Lady of the Military-Industrial Complex. Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she dignified?

Bush’s defeat victory
by Kevin Good, Unknown News

Excerpt: If Bush and company’s case before the Supreme Court is defeated, the Texas conviction and death sentence will stand and a legal precedent will be set, that US laws and courts are not bound by any international laws or treaties, like the Vienna or Geneva Conventions — and Bush wins.

National disgrace!
by Don Nash, Unknown News

Excerpt: “The slaughter is our gift to you.”

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