An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Friday, March 13, 2009

Real life imitates a bad TV show, or is it the other way around?

I only just caught up with this one.

U.S. Halted some raids in Afghanistan

I knew about predator raids mistakenly killing civilians as long ago as 2003-04. I did not realize that the horrible TV show, "The Unit," has an analog in real life. And because of the secret nature of the missions, we can not know which came first, the TV show or the real-life commando operation.

Quick summary: in making a public announcement that the U.S. is shutting down commando operations in Afghanistan due to high numbers of civilian casualties, we see an admission that the Bush Co. lunatics were running commando hit teams in at least Afghanistan (and who know where else?). Pull on a thread, the tapestry unravels.

Also, I realize that Seymour Hersh has added some speculative musings about the extent of these operations. I hope that people can sort out his speculations from what U.S. government officials and military officers have publicly admitted.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Unmoderated comments

I finally learned how to configure this blog (it took me long enough). Since I have seen a few comments from people I never met before, I realize that some few people are actually reading this. I will keep the comments unmoderated, unless there's some sort of problem, in which I'll try deleting the off-topic or abusive ones before going back to moderated comments.

President Obama and secrecy

Glenn Greenwald's blog entry for February 28th : The Obama DOJ engages in still more efforts to preserve the detention and secrecy architecture built by its predecessors.

This involves the Obama administration taking up the the Al-Haramain case in which a charity is attempting to sue the government in matters relating to the warrant-less spying under Bush & co.

One passage in particular stands out:

"Obama defenders take note: this is not a case where the Obama DOJ claims more time is needed to decide what to do, nor is it even a case where the Obama DOJ merely passively adopted the Bush DOJ's already filed arguments. Here, they have done much, much more than that. Obama lawyers have been running around for weeks attempting one desperate, extreme measure after the next to prevent this case from proceeding -- emergency appeals, requests for stays, and every time they lose, threats of still further appeals, this time to the U.S. Supreme Court. "

This is not a question of time or resources but of the way the new administration uses the resources it already has.

A spontaneous "tea party revolt" it's not

Although this article is a bit dense and may prove somewhat tedious to plow through, the chain of evidence requires a full explanation. Ingeniously using the google cache as well as examining the timing of the creation and initiation of web sites, two reporters have established that the supposedly "spontaneous" right-wing "tea party revolt" was planned months in advance, at least as far back as August 2008. Actions surrounding and preceding Santelli's "rant" on CNBC indicate that this was a scripted and deliberate PR stunt.

BTW, I have also learned a new term from this article - when the right wing fabricates a fake grass roots movement it's called "Astroturfing." Wonderful.

Exposing the rightwing PR machine

Not your Great Grandfather's crash.

This graphic speaks for itself.

I have double-checked the figures. Yikes.