Israel gripped by general strike

Israel has struggled for years with malfunctions in a number of its municipalities. There have been allegations of the mismanagement of funds, cronyism and in some cases embezzlement

Why, it’s capitalism par excellence!

J.K.


Norway-Hamas link angers Israel

Israel has cancelled a meeting with a visiting Norwegian minister after he held talks with the prime minister of the new Palestinian unity government.

Of course they have.

J.K.


Happy Birthday!


Iraq: A country drenched in blood
From Shock & Awe to the ‘surge’ without end
Four years on, insurgent strikes claim more US and Iraqi lives
Bush pleads with US public to stand firm over Iraq war
Bush calls for patience on Iraq

Break out the candles, put on a party hat, the Iraq outrage is 4 years old today;

Seven US soldiers died in Iraq at the weekend, bringing to 3,217 the number of American combat fatalities since the invasion four years ago tomorrow. Four were killed by a roadside bomb in western Baghdad.

Mission accomplished! 4 more years… 4 more years… What about the surge?

US troop levels in Iraq are set to rise higher than at any time since the war began four years ago, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. This summer, troop levels will top 160,000 – compared with the 150,000 there were at the time of the invasion.

I see. I know it’s early days (a mere 2 months into the surge) but what about observable returns on investment?

Despite the month-long security crackdown in the capital, six people were killed and 30 injured by a car bomb blast in a Shia suburb yesterday.

Bush, you are a master gambler. You played your hand, and now you must take the pot. Operation Iraqi Liberation (or OIL for short) is quite a pot…

In all, 24 corpses were found in different parts of the city.

Only 24? Now that’s a success by any one’s standards. Heckuva job there Bushy and Cheney.

General David Petraeus, the new commander of US forces, spoke of “encouraging signs” in Baghdad, but told the BBC he did not want to get “overly optimistic on the basis of several weeks of a reduced sectarian murder rate“.

Once again, Petraeus speaks of “encouraging signs”, without sharing these signs with us (they must be very private, or even ecstatic, visions). Methinks he is a liar and a charlatan.

For Iraqis, every year has been worse than the last since 2003. In November and December last year alone 5,000 civilians were murdered, often tortured to death, according to the UN. This toll compares to 3,000 killed in 30 years of conflict in Northern Ireland. Many Iraqis have voted with their feet, some two million fleeing – mostly to Syria and Jordan – since President George Bush and Tony Blair ordered US and British troops across the Iraqi border four years ago today.

Are these signs “encouraging” Petraeus?

The US troop “surge” has allowed hundreds of families to return to homes abandoned in the face of sectarian attacks.

Doubtless at gunpoint. “We’re here for your freedom, gawd-demmit! No shut the f@ck up and get back to your mud huts!”

“Moving security forces into an insurgent area to ‘shut it down’ is like stamping on a puddle – the large pool of water disappears, but little splashes and spots radiate out from it,” said the official. “So if security operations are all you are doing, they will have local and temporary effects. Violence will decrease, but only where you are operating, and when you leave it will come back.”

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, what say the imbecile in chief;

In a far cry from his boast in May 2003 of mission accomplished, Mr Bush offered a more modest assessment, saying the war could still be won… “Four years after this war began, the fight is difficult, but it can be won. It will be won if we have the courage and resolve to see it through,” he said.

Lets just hope we all have the courage and the resolve to see this embarrassment through.

“The new strategy will need more time to take effect. And there will be good days, and there will be bad days ahead as the security plan unfolds.” He predicted that success “will take months, not days or weeks”.

Ah, the good days before Bush and Cheney (not to mention Rummy)… You attempt to seduce us, you silver tongued devil, with sweet words. But it doesn’t work. The reality of the situation breaks the illusion.

Some other impressions of how things are going;

But the political side of the “surge” plan is going badly, according to the Pentagon and others. The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is showing little enthusiasm for American attempts to reverse one of their own worst mistakes: the “de-Baathification” of the old regime, which removed thousands of Sunni military commanders and pushed them into the insurgency. “In one sentence,” the official concluded, “my take on the current situation is: ‘Right strategy, great team, possibly too late.’

We can only imagine what the house of no ideas has in store for all of us next.

J.K.


Happy Birthday!

Cause for celebration.

J.K.


Is there anything else we could pin on this guy?


US says Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has admitted to 9/11 terror attacks
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s ’31 plots’
‘I was responsible for 9/11, from A to Z’ – a confession from Guantánamo Bay
Guantanamo inmate claims beheading of Daniel Pearl
Key 9/11 figure ‘beheaded Pearl’

He is understood to have gone through torture, including “waterboarding” when the suspect being interrogated is strapped to a board and placed underwater.

Which, in a civilized society, would have rendered the confession meaningless.

In a civilized society…

J.K.


SCUM

Currently I’m laid up in bed. Sick as a dog. Stomach on fire. This goes out to GWB, DC, all the good people at AIPAC, and everyone else currently destroying our world.

J.K.


Naked, drunk, surrounded by sex toys – it’s the Israeli ambassador

When San Salvador police discovered him in his official embassy residence yard in the capital San Salvador, however, smooth talk was not really an option. For starters there was the gag and the rubber ball in his mouth. There was also the matter of being drunk. And naked. And bound. And surrounded by sex toys.

J.K.


Welcome to Brazil, you devil!

What is the point of Democracy and politics if global warmongering scum are allowed to travel the world with impunity.

Where’s the accountability? Where’s the outrage? Where’s my gun?

J.K.


Do you want my wife and kids to go hungry?

What did my family ever do to Yo La Tengo to make you hate them so much?

J.K.


Incompetent or intellectually challenged?


We’ll have to talk to militants, says US chief in Iraq
General urges Iraq militant talks
2,200 US military police to join Iraq ‘surge’
US approves more troops for Iraq

The top US general in Iraq says the military alone cannot provide a solution to the country’s conflict.

Top US generals learn a lot more slowly than the rest of the world.

Gen Petraeus said: “There is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq. Military action is necessary to help improve security… but it is not sufficient. There needs to be a political aspect.”

Eh… Did I hear you correctly? Is this an earnest admission, or an all-too-typically cynical attempt, from an all-too-typically cynical and inept military, to seek a solution to a problem they created through their incompetence? Is it a strategy designed to merely buy time and forestall the inevitable?

Gen Petraeus said: “It’s too early to discern significant trends, but there have been a few encouraging signs.”

and elsewhere;

I think that we expected that there would be in the short-term an increase in violence as the surge began to make itself felt,” Mr Gates said, adding there were other “very preliminary positive signs” the security plan was working.

And here’s where you furnish us with examples of these positive, or encouraging, signs.

“Car bombs have targeted hundreds of Iraqis,” Petraeus said. He also denounced the wave of other attacks, including the “thugs with no soul” who have killed more than 150 Shiite pilgrims in the past three days.

Yes, yes. We read the news. Question: what do you mean by soul? Question: are you a man of god, or do you believe in the unifying power of a type of American popular music? Question: who exactly are the thugs with no soul?

However he admitted “sensational attacks inevitably will continue“.

Sensational! Spectacular! Explosions! Guns! Profits! Sex! Murder! Sequels!

He said US and Iraqi forces must “control the demons responsible for the vicious sectarian violence of the past year – demons who have torn at the very fabric of Iraqi society“.

Behold! An example of the American school of rhetoric in full flow… Such demagoguery! Such bombastic, high-flown, prose! Such poverty of meaning! Such biblical references! Such invention… Such calculated deception.

The demons responsible? Why that would be you guys. The US military. Please restrain yourselves. And by the way, you’ve failed. Sit at the front of the class with the other special students.

J.K.


Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh, my!

GWB
I haven’t got a brain… only straw.
DC
How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain?
GWB
I don’t know… But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking… don’t they?
DC
Yes, I guess you’re right.

America == Rogue States == Liars

J.K.


Beat Kids!

Wonder Showzen == The great American redeemer.

J.K.


Jean Baudrillard 1929 – 2007


an extract from Simulacra and Simulations;

Of the same order as the impossibility of rediscovering an absolute level of the real, is the impossibility of staging an illusion. Illusion is no longer possible, because the real is no longer possible. It is the whole political problem of the parody, of hypersimulation or offensive simulation, which is posed here.For example: it would be interesting to see whether the repressive apparatus would not react more violently to a simulated hold up than to a real one? For a real hold up only upsets the order of things, the right of property, whereas a simulated hold up interferes with the very principle of reality. Transgression and violence are less serious, for they only contest the distribution of the real. Simulation is infinitely more dangerous since it always suggests, over and above its object, that law and order themselves might really be nothing more than a simulation.

But the difficulty is in proportion to the peril. How to feign a violation and put it to the test? Go and simulate a theft in a large department store: how do you convince the security guards that it is a simulated theft? There is no “objective” difference: the same gestures and the same signs exist as for a real theft; in fact the signs mclme neither to one side nor the other. As far as the established order is concerned, they are always of the order of the real.

Go and organize a fake hold up. Be sure to check that your weapons are harmless, and take the most trustworthy hostage, so that no life is in danger (otherwise you risk committing an offence). Demand ransom, and arrange it so that the operation creates the greatest commotion possible. In brief, stay close to the “truth”, so as to test the reaction of the apparatus to a perfect simulation. But you won’t succeed: the web of art)ficial signs will be inextricably mixed up with real elements (a police officer will really shoot on sight; a bank customer will faint and die of a heart attack; they will really turn the phoney ransom over to you). In brief, you will unwittingly find yourself immediately in the real, one of whose functions is precisely to devour every attempt at simulation, to reduce everything to some reality: that’s exactly how the established order is, well before institutions and justice come into play.

French thinker Baudrillard dies

J.K.


you’re doing a heck of a job…

we decided to pardon you, effective immediately, and give you a little something as a token of our appreciation…

Oh, and Brownie says howdy…

J.K.


Pardon… Excusez-mois…

independent.co.uk
bbc.co.uk
guardian.co.uk

4 out of 5 ain’t bad I suppose;

In a massive new blow to the credibility of the White House

ahem…

Vice-President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff Lewis Libby has been convicted of obstruction of justice, perjury and lying to the FBI, during the investigation into the leaking of the identity of a CIA agent.

I wonder what the mood at the White House is like;

In a statement, Mr Cheney said he was “very disappointed with the verdict“. At the White House the mood was equally grim. George Bush respected the result of the trial, but was “saddened for Scooter Libby and his family”, a spokesman said.

Apparently Libby’s family are falling all over themselves to apologize to Cheney. It’s a difficult time for everyone involved I’m sure. So what now for Libby?

Defence lawyers immediately said they would seek a fresh trial, and if that failed, lodge an appeal. In theory Libby faces up to 25 years in jail, though federal sentencing guidelines mean he is likely to receive a far shorter term… Libby’s appeal could run for many months through the courts, possibly as far as the Supreme Court. If the case is not settled by the time a new president is elected in November 2008, Mr Bush could pardon Libby.

Indeed. Or maybe even award him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Business as usual. So what’s the upshot of all this?

The trial, in which neither Libby nor his former boss testified, threw no new light on the handling of the WMD intelligence used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But it revealed the obsessive sensitivity of the Vice-President’s office to any attack on its pre-war use of intelligence, and its determination to discredit critics.

Right, but did we learn anything new?

J.K.


Images from America; Awful Knofel

USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA etc.

Picture courtesy of the the incredible Wonkette.

J.K.


The Dog and the Bone…

It just occurred to me that all we need to do is to convince these Americans that their real enemy is, in fact, themselves, and like the fabled dog of yore, they shall turn on each other and consume themselves in a shark-like feeding frenzy… at least that’s how I remember the fable went.

Good boy.

J.K.


Damn dirty ape!

get your stinkin paws off the world you damn dirty Ape!

J.K.

p.s. yeah, I’m getting a kick out of the Guardian comics of late.


Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?


After being attacked by a suicide bomber, a convoy of US marines decided to turn their guns on civilians (farmers, families, etc.);

…up to 10 civilians were killed yesterday as a convoy of US marines fled after being attacked by a suicide bomber in a minivan in eastern Nangarhar province. Nine Afghan witnesses said US marines had fired indiscriminately on civilian cars and pedestrians as they sped away

Surely not indiscriminately? It doesn’t seem possible. What about the Geneva Conventions (specifically the fourth)?

“They were firing everywhere, and they even opened fire on 14 to 15 vehicles passing on the highway,” said 38-year-old Tur Gul, who was shot twice in his right hand. “They opened fire on everybody, the ones inside the vehicles and the ones on foot.” Some said that they were fired upon although they took care to get out of the way of the departing convoy. “We parked our vehicle, but when they passed us, they still opened fire on our vehicle,” said 15-year-old Mohammad Ishaq, who was hit by two bullets, in his left arm and his right ear, at a local hospital. Ahmed Najib, 23, lying in the next bed, was hit by a bullet in his right shoulder. He said: “One American was in the first vehicle, shouting to stop on the side of the road, and we stopped. The first vehicle did not fire on us, but the second opened fire on our car. My two-year-old brother was grazed on the cheek by a bullet.”

Thankfully journalists were on hand to record all of this for, let’s say, a later war crimes tribunal;

The Associated Press is to complain to the US military after journalists said US soldiers deleted footage of the aftermath of an attack in Afghanistan

I see. Surely a misunderstanding… I wonder what the journalists say about all this;

“When I went near the four-wheel drive, I saw the Americans taking pictures of the same car, so I started taking pictures,” photographer Rahmat Gul said. “Two soldiers with a translator came and said, ‘Why are you taking pictures? You don’t have permission.’” Mr Gul said troops took his camera, deleted his photos and returned it to him. His APTN colleague, who did not want to be named, said he was told he could film the scene – but when he did so a US soldier got very angry and deleted any footage that included the Americans. Khanwali Kamran, a reporter for the Afghan channel Ariana Television, said the American soldiers also deleted his footage, AP reported. “They warned me that if it is aired … then, ‘You will face problems,’” Mr Kamran was quoted by the news agency as saying.

What say the US military?

The US military said it could not confirm its troops had seized any film.

Naturally. I suggest the US military reads the news from time to time, wherein they will find ample confirmation of their war crimes, etc.

J.K.


Yo Blair!

The below cartoon succinctly expresses how the rest of the world (and parts of AmeriKKKa itself) sees GWB.

Primate + Camel-Phuquer = AmeriKKKan President.

Oh, and by the way, he seems to have seen the light! it’s like deja vu all over again…

J.K.


Welcome to AmeriKKKa!

Haven’t read a Doonesbury in quite a while. Laughed out load at this one;

Reminds me of the last few times I flew to AmeriKKKa visiting friends. Getting through customs was a real pain…

J.K.

p.s. Oops, another liberal seems to have been mugged by reality


Go play in traffic…

I have it from some of my sources on the inside that this is how it went down;

GWB:

Say DC, how would you feel about a break… you could go over to Afghanistan for a short while…

DC:

QUACK!

GWB:

and while you’re there you could take care of some important business for me…

DC:

QUACK!

GWB:

Yeah… some really important business… could you pick something up for me at the gates of where you’ll be staying? … a boy will deliver it… it’s a book, yeah, a book… you know how much I like to read…

DC:

QUACK!

GWB:

Yeah… a book…

…or something like that.

J.K.