Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Instant I Heard the News I Knew: Our Troops are in Danger of Torture

Way back when the story first broke in 04' about the torturing of inmates in our military prisons abroad,....I heard it on the TV news. It must have been a local station I was watching then, before my C-Span-junkie days. Anyways, I remember thinking,....after seeing some of the torture pictures, (tor-pics I am calling them now, for short) the FIRST thought that came into my mind,.. and it was like, instantly,...was, OMG, "our troops are going to pay for this!" Then I thought, ...surley they must know that this type of behavior is going to cause retaliation against our troops, or worse yet, innocent civilians, you know, the "collateral damage" people, the "unintended consequences" of war. What in the world were they thinking in torturing those people? Certainly not that it was what their god or gods might have wanted them to do. The christians might have asked,...WWJD?

Anyways, now I lost my train of thought. Where am I going with this, oh yeah.

I was readin an online article the other day about the "new" tor-pics that Obomba refuses to release, you know, the ones (alleged to be) showing rape and "ass"ault and all that funky stuff. (The Daily TellyGraphUK, May 28, 2009) It was something in that article that a Big-Whig Major General said in Obombas defense that really got to me. It was Maj. Gen. Taguba, retired in 07' who said, (something to the effect) "I believe President Obomba has made a wise decision. Disclosing these pictures to the public will only (inflame the hearts of our enemies?) and endanger our soldiers lives.....

and right away I am thinking, duh. What a dumb bastard you are! And these are the kind of jerks that are (actually) running our country (remember, they are all a part of our (our) Military Industrial Complex, each and every individual is a link in the chain, ... all a part of that great big all powerful Complex (MIC) Military Fightin Machine, and IT DOES (like it or not) run our country.

Anyways, where was I again? I get so carried away and confused sometimes, not just in my writing but in my whole life of late it seems. Oh well. What can I do? Blame it on old age I guess, and I do, among other things, yes I do. I beleive I have earned that right simply by living long enough to having commenced to degeneration. The gradual, inevidable eventual breaking down of everything, not only the mind. Its the eyes, ears, joints, feet, knees and back that are going going or gone, and a whole lot of achin inbetween. Oh and the awful stinkin shrinkin, yes, we musent fergit that. I lost about 1/4" already to my height, so yes, I have that old-age syndrome too, and so in good faith & conscience, I can and will claim the "age" excuse for all my physical & mental "failures." I can. I earned it. I deserve it, so I am dern well going to use that excuse. Im old, I ache, and I am not ashamed to say. So there and so what and now what? ...Back to what I was gettin' at, before I ferget agin.

The reason I got so mad at this guy saying that is cause, well, I am thinking,....if he thinks publicizing those pics will jeopardize the safety of our troops, you know, as in, "inflaming our enemies hearts (even more so?) against us than they already are,..I am wondering just what in the hell does he think LETTING THE WHOLE WORLD KNOW that AMERICA IS "A" OK WITH TORTURE will do for our troops, any American citizen or the whole USA in general? How stoopid can a military man be not to see that our condonation of torture in itself is endangering not only our troops but our whole nation as well? And world-view, how the rest of the world percieves us? Fergitaboutit....they hate us already. WTF? Releasing the new tor-pics, no matter how cruel, gross and disgusting they may (or may not) be, sure aint gonna hurt or damage our reputation as a county much more than it already is. As for "inflaming our enemies," fergitabout that too. They are on fire against us already, and fire can only burn so hot. But oh, the awful pictures, we musent release them,..cant release them,...dont wanna piss off our enemies, dont wanna "endanger the troops." ....Endanger the troops? You got to be kiddin me. The troops are always in danger. They live in danger. How much more in danger could they possibly be by the release of those pics that by now our enemies (and others who "dont like us") know that it was/is happening and is US condoned? Nah. Fergitaboutit again. Its not about nothin' to do with endangerment, though it does have to do with caring,... caring about their own asses. Ray Charles could see through that. So can some of US.

So what is "the care" about in not releasing the pics?

Can you spell N-A-T-I-O-N-A-L- E-M-B-A-R-R-A-S-M-E-N-T? or D-I-S-G-R-A-C-E- or P-R-O-S-E-C-U-T-I-O-N-of-O-F-F-E-N-D-E-R-S-and-millions maybe billions of dollars in L-A-W-S-U-I-T-S-and-R-E-N-D-I-T-I-O-N-S- the stoopit fuk(x).

The good news is, not all Americans are so stoopit as to believe everythin some hi-falootin' military or politician-type folk may tell us, and there will always be intelligent "inquiring minds" that want to know and will conscienciously set out to find the truth behind the lies. For some Americans, education dosent end with graduation from any school. It comes from a never-ending unquenchable thirst for knowledge and, of course, a love of, nay, a need for,...truth. And we can thank the heavenly powers-that-be for that, which are infinately more just and wiser than the suckass special-interest powers-that-be on earth, me thinks.
What say you, my fellow Americans?

Well, maybe.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Chasing Tax Revenue Across State Lines

Well WE THE PEOPLE think it is about time! Tax foreign corporations doing business in our towns, cities and states!

Cash-starved states like Massachusetts are going after businesses that profit from their residents but are headquartered outside their borders

By Jessica Silver-Greenberg

June 1, 2009

Companies have long flocked to low-tax locales like Delaware and South Dakota. But those tax advantages may soon be in jeopardy. States, which collectively could face a $50 billion budget shortfall over the next two years, are scrambling for cash and may start hitting up companies for more money—even companies outside their borders. "The states are turning over every rock for money," says Richard D. Pomp, a professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law. "If they haven't been looking at the issue, they will."

Massachusetts officials just got the green light from the state's highest court to collect taxes from a multitude of companies headquartered elsewhere. Last year the state moved to collect more than $2 million in taxes from credit-card giant Capital One Financial (COF). The state claimed that Cap One made a sizable chunk of money from cardholders who reside there, and so the company had to fork over taxes on the income.

Cap One balked, taking the matter to the state's Appellate Tax Board. The company's argument: It didn't have a branch or an office in the state, the traditional standard for collecting corporate income tax. Cap One lost the case and a subsequent appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in March. "The uncertainty and burden of trying to comply with state-by-state standards creates a significant hardship for businesses trying to navigate the economic consequences of their decisions," says Ryan Schneider, president of card services for Cap One.

Cap One is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. If the nation's top court takes up the matter—and rules in the company's favor—it could halt the momentum nationwide to tax out-of-state companies. But the U.S. Supreme Court may not be sympathetic to Cap One. The justices refused to review a similar case in 2007 involving MBNA (BAC), now owned by Bank of America (BAC). Indiana courts decided the credit-card issuer owed taxes on fees and interest paid by local cardholders. Like Cap One, MBNA didn't have an office in the state. The differences between the two cases aren't meaningful, explains Washington (D.C.) attorney Donald M. Griswold, who represented MBNA in the matter. That's why, he says, "there's a snowball's chance in hell" the Supreme Court will hear Cap One's case.

The credit-card industry isn't the only one facing a bigger tax bill if more states follow Massachusetts' lead. Tax experts and lawyers figure states also may go after insurers, online retailers, software makers, and other companies that mainly operate in a single state but have customers across the U.S. Earlier this year the New York Supreme Court backed a state law that requires Amazon.com (AMZN) and other online retailers to charge sales tax on residents' purchases. "The big question here is whether you have to pay taxes where you don't have a physical presence," says Walter Hellerstein, a professor at the University of Georgia School of Law. "That's a huge dollar issue for companies.

How huge? Massachusetts tax officials estimate they will be able to collect an extra $20 million from companies following the Cap One ruling and another against Toys 'R' Us. That's a significant sum in the state, which collected $1 billion last year in corporate income taxes, according to a recent study by Ernst & Young. "This is an issue states should be paying attention to," says Kevin Brown, general counsel at the Massachusetts Revenue Dept. "There's a lot of money at stake."

Silver-Greenberg is a reporter for BusinessWeek.com.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Widespread abuse of government credit cards

May 29, 2009 - 7:57am


Laser eye surgery may improve one's visual horizons, but it doesn't qualify
as a travel expense, a congressional office says in a report on abuses of
the federal travel card system.
The Congressional Research Service, in a recent survey, found that federal
employees in a wide range of agencies misuse travel cards to buy goods for
their personal use, travel first-class or simply bilk the government.
Among the examples: a Federal Aviation Administration employee who charged
$3,700 for laser eye surgery; a Pentagon employee who received
reimbursements for 13 airline tickets totaling almost $10,000 that he never purchased;
and a State Department employee who took an unauthorized trip to Hawaii on
a first-class ticket.
Auditors had also determined that certain agencies have not collected
reimbursement for millions of dollars worth of unused airline tickets and had
repeatedly failed to pay travel card invoices in a timely manner, according
to the report.
"A private travel agency would be out of business running this kind of
operation," said Scott Amey, general counsel of the independent Project on
Government Oversight. He said the CRS report points out the need for immediate
improvements, including better oversight of all transactions and increased
penalties for misuse.
A 1998 law requires any federal employee who travels more than five times a
year to use travel cards. The CRS said travel card spending increased from
$4.39 billion in fiscal year 1999 to $8.28 billion in fiscal year 2008.
The report said one major problem is the failure of agencies to determine
whether tickets have been used. It cited a Government Accountability Office
study finding that over a seven-year period the Department of Defense may
have purchased more than $100 million in airline tickets that were not used
and had not been processed for refunds. Similarly, the State Department
failed to seek reimbursement for $6 million in unused airline tickets over an
18-month period.
The report also referred to Office of Management and Budget data showing
that the Pentagon had a delinquency rate on centrally billed travel card
accounts of 20 percent. NASA's delinquency rate was almost 16 percent. Federal
agencies received about $187 million in rebates from card vendors in fiscal
2008, and failure to pay bills in a timely fashion prevented agencies from
earning the maximum rebates.
Finally, the CRS said some agencies did a poor job of ensuring that
premium-class accommodations were used only when justified. A 2003 audit by the
GAO found that over a two-year period the Pentagon bought $123 million in
premium-class tickets. Of that, $90 million were not authorized, not
justified, or both.
The CRS report dealt only with travel cards. Federal agencies also use
purchase cards for supplies and services and fleet cards for fuel and service
of vehicles.
Congress has held several hearings on abuses in the chargecard system, and
last week the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee
approved legislation requiring agencies to establish safeguards and controls
for card systems and set penalties for violations.
"Agencies can't continue to look the other way while employees are going on
shopping sprees at the taxpayers' expense," said Sen. Charles Grassley,
R-Iowa, sponsor of the Senate bill. He said that among the fraudulent or
questionable charge card tabs have been kitchen appliances, sapphire rings,
gambling, cruises, gentlemen's clubs and legalized brothels.
Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., has a companion bill in the House.
The bills are S. 942 and H.R. 2189.


Thu May 28, 2009 2:01 pm (PDT)

Major General Antonio Taguba, speaking
to the Daily Telegraph, has confirmed the
existence of graphic photographs depicting
the following:
-An American soldier apparently raping
a female prisoner.
-A male translator apparently raping a
male detainee.
-A female prisoner having her clothing
forcibly removed to expose her breasts.



"These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency," Taguba told the Telegraph. "I am not sure what purpose their release would serve other than a legal one and the consequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy, when we most need them, and British troops who are trying to build security in Afghanistan.

"The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it," Taguba said.

Reuters reports:

"On Thursday afternoon a Pentagon spokesman denied that the pictures 'whose release U.S. President Barack Obama wants to block, include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse.'

"Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the Daily Telegraph newspaper had shown 'an inability to get the facts right'.

"'That news organization has completely mischaracterized the images,' Whitman told reporters. 'None of the photos in question depict the images that are described in that article.'

"Whitman said he did not know if the Telegraph had quoted Taguba accurately. But he said he was not aware that any such photographs had been uncovered as part of the investigation into Abu Ghraib or abuses at other prisons."

Pentagon denies rape shown in Iraq abuse photos - what are your comments?

Greg Dempsey
Voice of the People


Unreleased abuse photos depict rape, sexual abuse: report
By Raw Story

Published: May 27, 2009
Updated 1 day ago

Update: Pentagon denies pics in question depict rapes

Unreleased photographs of alleged abuse by U.S. military personnel of prisoners at Iraqi prisons - which President Obama refused to release earlier this month - may include images of rape and sexual abuse, according to a new report.

Other photographs depict sexual assaults on prisoners with a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube, according to the Telegraph story.

The still unreleased photos relate to abuse alleged to have taken place between 2001 and 2005 in Abu Ghraib and six other prisons. Taguba, now retired, supports Obama's decision to block the release of the photos, which Obama had previously said would be released according to a court ruling in support of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU.

The Telegraph reports:

It was thought the images were similar to those leaked five years ago, which showed naked and bloody prisoners being intimidated by dogs, dragged around on a leash, piled into a human pyramid and hooded and attached to wires.

Mr Obama seemed to reinforce that view by adding: "I want to emphasise that these photos that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational, especially when compared to the painful images that we remember from Abu Ghraib."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Welcome to the USSA

May 26, 1:06 PM · 10 comments

Wecome to the brave new world!

In 1964, Ronald Reagan warned America, "You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on Earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. we did all that could be done."

The United States of America has been on a steady march toward socialism for the past eight decades. President Franklin Roosevelt began the process in earnest, when he took office in 1933, ramming no fewer than fifteen bills through a special session of the Democrat-controlled congress – following the maxim of Obama’s chief-of-staff Rham Emmanuel to “…never let a good crisis go to waste” when seeking to expand the power of government.

Today, President Obama has taken advantage of a recession to generate and perpetuate a perceived crisis, which has resulted in the greatest leap forward for socialism since President Johnson’s “Great Society” debacle of the 1960s. Meanwhile, the feckless Republican opposition is unable even to bring themselves to call the Democrats socialists. Still, as the public debate is beginning to acknowledge the assault upon the foundations of this country and the socialist nature of the programs being implemented in Washington, it is a good time to discuss exactly what socialism is. For those who wish to avoid falling into the trap of socialism – you are too late. America retains the veneer of freedom, and citizens still retain some measure of free speech (Restricted by political correctness and the impending “fairness doctrine”) and freedom of religion, but more and more of our private property, i.e. money, is being seized by the government for its own purposes. The federal government is raiding the nation’s treasury and buying controlling interests in banks, and automobile companies, and controls the rest through legislation and the regulations promulgated by its thousands of bureaucracies. Yet all hope is not lost; our institutions, though corrupt, remain. Our constitution, though ignored, still survives and provides a road map back to freedom.

What is a socialist? A socialist is a communist who believes in non-violent transition to state control, as opposed to the communist’s advocacy for violent revolution. Of course the communists and socialists assure us that all will share power equally; but how is that going to be accomplished? It is accomplished through government control of education, banking, industry, and agriculture. What they don’t tell you is that governments are run by a very few individuals, and of course, once they are in control, they will require special privileges in order to better carry on the people’s business. Like the luxurious dachas of the Soviet Central Committee members or the palatial mansions of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Al Gore, et al.

In the mid-nineteenth century, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels published the Manifesto of the Communist Party. In this sinister document the authors laid out their vision of a socialist utopia where all people were ‘equal’. To achieve this idyllic goal, of course, the government – taken over by the workers or proletariat – would have to do ten things. Democrats and their accomplices in the Republican Party have been working with considerable success to accomplish these ten goals since the administration of Franklin Roosevelt kicked off the socialist revolution;

1 – Abolition of private land ownership. Today, the federal and state governments control what citizens can do with their land, requiring building permits, hunting licenses, imposing wetlands restrictions, and requiring a yearly tribute of property taxes on pain of government confiscation of privately-owned land. You do not own your property, you rent it from the government; they just let you keep your name on the deed.

2 – A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. In 1913 the 16th Amendment to the constitution was passed, allowing the federal government to tax the incomes of American citizens. In 1942, the federal government imposed the withholding process – allowing them to raise taxes and silently steal more of citizens’ wealth without forcing them to be aware of the actual cost by paying a lump sum on April 15. The tax is “progressive” which means that the more you make, the higher percentage of your income is confiscated. Wealthier people would pay more even if everyone paid the same percentage (15% of $30,000 is $4,500 – 15% of $500,000 is $75,000), what the socialists (and US government) do is tax wealthier people at higher percentages – at one time, under FDR, the top tax bracket was 94%. At that rate, someone making 1 million dollars keeps only $60,000 of their income.

3 – Abolition of all rights of inheritance. The federal government currently confiscates a large portion of the estates of the dead. Even the former “conservative” Republican presidential nominee Senator McCain supports the inheritance tax on the rich.

4 – Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. Currently, the federal government confiscates the property of certain criminals, and of citizens who run afoul of their Internal Revenue Service Codes.

5 – Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly. In the same year as the income tax amendment was ratified, congress passed the Federal Reserve Act setting up a national central banking system, whose directors have an exclusive monopoly on the creation of money and who control monetary policy and interest on credit. The board of governors of the Federal Reserve Board conducts its meetings in secret and all their internal records are completely off limits to public scrutiny. Since taking office, the Obama administration has moved aggressively to place the private banking sector in thrall to the federal government, by creating new regulations, purchasing large shares of their stock, and extending loans in exchange for government control of their business practices.

6 – Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the government. In an effort to control communication and transportation, the federal government established the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Maritime Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Surface Transportation Board, Department of Transportation, National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration. Through tens of thousands of regulations, the federal government exercises a great deal of control over all radio, telephone, and television communication, as well as transportation by land, sea and air. Democrats continue to urge taxation of the Internet and implementation of a “fairness doctrine” in media programming, which would fully implement government regulation of the content of political news and talk shows – with government bureaucrats determining what’s “fair”.

7 – Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state… While the US government is not a major owner of industry, they do exercise near total control of the operation of business. Labor unions, and regulatory agencies from the Environmental Protection Agency, to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, to the FAA, FDA, FCC, ICC, an on, on, and on, control every aspect of a business operation, from pay rates, to noise levels, hiring and disciplinary practices etc. What they do not control by regulation, they manage by manipulation of the tax code. Now we have witnessed the Obama administration openly move to purchase controlling interests in companies in the banking and automobile industries. Presently, the federal government controls 60% of the so-called health care system, and President Obama is intent upon seizing control of the remainder.

8 – Equal liability of all to work… This has not been established in the United States. A welfare class has been created which is exempt from work and forms the base of Democrats’ control of government; a solid voting block of citizens dependent upon their handouts. Eventually all citizens become the equivalent of welfare recipients – dependent upon what little of their money the government chooses to give back or let them keep. At that time work requirements will be imposed by our socialist ruling class.

9 – Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between towns and cities… This step has been largely rendered moot by the advance of modern technology (thanks to capitalism). No longer are those who reside in rural areas cut off from urban society as they were in the nineteenth century. Agriculture has largely become a big business and is heavily controlled by the federal government through the employment of farm subsidies and the regulations of the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, The Minerals Management Service, etc...

10 – Free education for all children in public schools… While the states are responsible for establishing a public education system if they so desire, President Carter established the federal Department of Education in 1979. This body has slowly usurped more and more control over education from the states and the people. The recent No Child Left Behind Act willingly signed into law by President Bush, gives the feds sweeping powers over the education standards of the several states. The education system as a whole is completely dominated by socialists and their sympathizers. The National Education Association labor union exclusively supports Democrats for national office in exchange for their blocking any efforts to allow privatization, competition, or parental choice in education. Within the government-controlled education system, our nation’s young people are exposed to a steady diet of anti-American, pro-gay, anti-business, global warming, and other leftist propaganda from kindergarten through graduate school. This takeover of the educational system was a key component of Marx’s battle plan - what he called the “long march through the institutions.”

The genius of America’s promoters of socialism is in their methods; they never use the word socialism, and always cloak their schemes in terms of benevolent purposes – to help the “poor”, “elderly”, “children”, or “working families.” Most brilliantly, they have retained the basic structure of the government and property rights, while steadily removing any meaning from those structures and rights. The government does not own industries outright; it merely controls and directs most everything they do – so that when they fail, they can still blame greedy capitalists. Witness the federal government destroying the automobile industry through its alliance with the United Auto Workers Union, and its regulations concerning every aspect of automobile manufacturing; from OSHA regulations on worker safety, to the gas mileage required for their cars, etc. The federal government then blames GM’s “greedy” executives for mismanagement.

Presently, only 59% of Americans pay any federal income tax at all, and bear the burden of paying for the rest of their fellow citizens. Once the socialists get that percentage down to 49%, they will have secured perpetual control of the government, since the majority who do not pay taxes will never vote their benefactors out of office. Presently, the American taxpayer works from January to mid-April just to pay his federal income tax – to say nothing of the state income tax, sales tax, property tax, Social Security tax, Medicare tax, mortgage tax, license fees, tolls, telephone surcharges, etc. As the attacks upon private enterprise and punishment of the successful steadily increase, we are moving into what Alexis DeToqueville described in the 19th century as a “soft tyranny”, where a democracy’s citizens lose hope in their prospects for the future.

So welcome to the United Socialist States of America, a glorious future awaits us where all citizens will share equally in the resources of this great land. All of us that is, except our rulers, who will need to retain their mansions, helicopters, limousines and other luxuries so that they can focus on providing a better life for all of us; Barack and Michelle Obama and their children will never attend a public school or wait in line at a government-run clinic to apply for permission to get medication. Unfortunately for the rest of us - once the few remaining men and women of ability are reduced to slaves of the state and no longer have incentive to produce and innovate - we will all share equally in a shabby, pitiful, and fearful existence in the ruins of a once-great nation that called itself the land of the free and the home the brave.


Abu Ghraib abuse photos 'show rape'

Photographs of alleged prisoner abuse which Barack Obama is attempting to censor include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse, it has emerged.

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent and Paul Cruickshank
Last Updated: 8:21AM BST 28 May 2009

At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.

Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube.

Detail of the content emerged from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.

Allegations of rape and abuse were included in his 2004 report but the fact there were photographs was never revealed. He has now confirmed their existence in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

The graphic nature of some of the images may explain the US President’s attempts to block the release of an estimated 2,000 photographs from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan despite an earlier promise to allow them to be published.

Maj Gen Taguba, who retired in January 2007, said he supported the President’s decision, adding: “These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency.

“I am not sure what purpose their release would serve other than a legal one and the consequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy, when we most need them, and British troops who are trying to build security in Afghanistan.

“The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it.”

In April, Mr Obama’s administration said the photographs would be released and it would be “pointless to appeal” against a court judgment in favour of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

But after lobbying from senior military figures, Mr Obama changed his mind saying they could put the safety of troops at risk.

Earlier this month, he said: “The most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to inflame anti-American public opinion and to put our troops in greater danger.”

It was thought the images were similar to those leaked five years ago, which showed naked and bloody prisoners being intimidated by dogs, dragged around on a leash, piled into a human pyramid and hooded and attached to wires.

Mr Obama seemed to reinforce that view by adding: “I want to emphasise that these photos that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational, especially when compared to the painful images that we remember from Abu Ghraib.”

The latest photographs relate to 400 cases of alleged abuse between 2001 and 2005 in Abu Ghraib and six other prisons. Mr Obama said the individuals involved had been “identified, and appropriate actions” taken.

Maj Gen Taguba’s internal inquiry into the abuse at Abu Ghraib, included sworn statements by 13 detainees, which, he said in the report, he found “credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence provided by other witnesses.”

Among the graphic statements, which were later released under US freedom of information laws, is that of Kasim Mehaddi Hilas in which he says: “I saw [name of a translator] ******* a kid, his age would be about 15 to 18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn’t covered and I saw [name] who was wearing the military uniform, putting his **** in the little kid’s ***…. and the female soldier was taking pictures.”

The translator was an American Egyptian who is now the subject of a civil court case in the US.

Three detainees, including the alleged victim, refer to the use of a phosphorescent tube in the sexual abuse and another to the use of wire, while the victim also refers to part of a policeman’s “stick” all of which were apparently photographed.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Team Quantitative Easing: Welcome to Your "New Normal," Please Ignore the Financial Bloodbath to Your Right


Posted: 26 May 2009 11:19 PM PDT

My translation of Bloomberg's "New Normal" is that it is a thinly-veiled attempt to convince you that your new reality is here to stay so you might as well get used to it. Is there an alternate interpretation to this that I may have missed? Please let me know.

May 26 (Bloomberg) -- Americans may have to get used to unemployment greater than 8 percent for the first time since 1983 and an economy that won’t grow much beyond 2 percent as a consequence of the lost confidence in consumer credit that shattered financial markets.

By this time next year, “the market will realize that potential growth for the U.S. is no longer 3 percent, but is 2 percent or under,” Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive officer of Pacific Investment Management Co., said in an interview with Bloomberg Radio.

“We are transitioning to what we call at Pimco a new normal,” El-Erian said. Pimco, in Newport Beach, California, is the biggest bond fund manager with about $756 billion in assets.

Thank you, Pimco, for your $0.02.

LOL Fed can paint a fairer picture of Pimco than I (via March 26th 2009's epic - PIMCO: We Can Haz Moar QE?):

Much like I would like a pony, a small island and other things that would require me to print currency in order to procure them, PIMCO would like the Fed to at least double its already burgeoning balance sheet. This from PIMCO’s top man in Asia:

Bond giant Pacific Investment Management Co said the Federal Reserve needs to double its balance sheet up to $6 trillion to replace the amount of wealth destroyed in the United States, an executive said on Thursday.

Liabilities on the Fed’s balance sheet should rise to between $5 trillion and $6 trillion later this year amid the financial crisis that roiled global markets, said Brian Baker, chief executive Pimco Asia Ltd.

“Right now, the Fed has spent about $3 trillion. We believe there has to be further stimulus policies put in place,” Baker told Reuters.

Also, PIMCO is apparently a big believer in the “too big to fail” theory, if you look at their investments:

Pimco’s chief investment officer Bill Gross is one of the industry’s most widely watched figures. Pimco is buying high-yield bonds in some U.S. banks that have received government support.

“We are investing in Citibank. We are investing in Bank of America. Those are, we believe, national champion banks or financial institutions that will survive,” he said.

So thank you, Pimco, for trying to define Bizarro World as "the new normal" but please get in the position to kiss my pristine backside. That's your reality, not mine.

Did any of the people on Greenspan's Body Count consider this normal? What about acting Freddie Mac CFO David Kellermann, did he find this normal? Do the nearly 7 million Americans out of work (government-reported numbers, of course, skewed beyond belief) as a result of this "new normal" find it to be normal?

I didn't think so. Pimco and the rest of them can keep their normal, thanks, I'd even take the old one back over their version.

Friday, May 22, 2009

National Institute of Health is spending $178K to study Thai prostitutes' drug abuse and HIV risk

daily news staff

Thursday, May 21st 2009, 12:34 PM

Thailand, Prostitute sitting in bar

The federal government plans to spend $178K to study drug-abusing Thai prostitutes, Fox News reports.

Why would they want to do this?

The National Institute of Health is hoping to learn why drug-abusing prostitutes in Thailand have such a high HIV risk as compared to others with similar lifestyles. The NIH will study the personal and cultural pressures that influence these sex workers and put them at higher risk.

Researchers will interview 60 Thai sex workers, including kathoey, who are transgender prostitutes.

This NIH research, titled "Substance Use and HIV Risk amoung Thai Women," has many up in arms, as it uses taxpayer dollars.

"This really is a complete waste of money and should not be funded by the taxpayer," David Williams, vice president for policy at Citizens Against Government Waste, told Fox News.

The NIH did not respond to Fox News for comment.

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