Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Pat Robertson Predicts "Mass Killings"


So...

If mass killings come about, can we then go for the Death Penalty on Pat Robertson on the theory that if he'd only spilled more of the details to the authorities, they would have been able to prevent these "Mass Killings?" I mean, if it worked for that idiot who wished he was the 20th hijacker...

Pat Robertson Predicts 'Mass Killing'
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 3, 2007

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) -- In what has become an annual tradition of prognostications, religious broadcaster Pat Robertson said Tuesday God has told him that a terrorist attack on the United States would result in "mass killing" late in 2007.

"I'm not necessarily saying it's going to be nuclear," he said during his news-and-talk television show ''The 700 Club'' on the Christian Broadcasting Network. "The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that."

Robertson said God told him during a recent prayer retreat that major cities and possibly millions of people will be affected by the attack, which should take place sometime after September.

Robertson said God also told him that the U.S. only feigns friendship with Israel and that U.S. policies are pushing Israel toward "national suicide."

Robertson suggested in January 2006 that God punished then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with a stroke for ceding Israeli-controlled land to the Palestinians.

The broadcaster predicted in January 2004 that President Bush would easily win re-election. Bush won 51 percent of the vote that fall, beating Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

In 2005, Robertson predicted that Bush would have victory after victory in his second term. He said Social Security reform proposals would be approved and Bush would nominate conservative judges to federal courts.

Lawmakers confirmed Bush's 2005 nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. But the president's Social Security initiative was stalled.

"I have a relatively good track record," he said. "Sometimes I miss."

In May, Robertson said God told him that storms and possibly a tsunami were to crash into America's coastline in 2006. Even though the U.S. was not hit with a tsunami, Robertson on Tuesday cited last spring's heavy rains and flooding in New England as partly fulfilling the prediction.
What does it take for this psychotic nutjob to get fully discredited? When will the mainstream media stop paying him attention?

What's more, how the fuck is it possible that this maniac beat George Herbert Walker Bush the 3rd in the Iowa Caucuses back in 1988?

Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

Take 100,000+ military contractors in Iraq and add that together with a new movement in America to farm out police powers (arrest, shoot to kill, search & seizure) to private firms and what do you get?

I mean, other than the world's most hilarious G.I. Joe doll:


Oh, right, you get a bunch of out-of-control, incompetent, secretive, nutjobs
machine-gunning us down in our homes and on our streets.

America has about 135,000 troops in Iraq right now. Britain has about 10,000 troops in Iraq. The rest of our allies together contribute about another 6000. 151,000 Western troops.

There are over 100,000 military contractors in Iraq right now.

What the fuck do we think these guys are going to do when Halliburton orders Bush to pull out of Iraq? Stay & Fight? For what money? You think these PMCs are going to get the psych evaluations and post-traumatic-stress-treatments that our soldiers can't even get?

Naw, them boys is coming home to America, and they'll be coming home crazy. Maybe they'll become private police for Rich Folks like the one in the article up above. Maybe they'll just become criminals. Who knows? Yet another consequence of Dick Cheney's efforts to privatize war in this country for the profit of secretive corporations.

Sucks To Be Bush

US poll: Bush more hated than Osama Bin Laden

Associated Press/Ipsos Public Affairs/AOL asked Americans to name the biggest villain and biggest hero of 2006, and Bush topped both lists.

Bush ran away with the worst villain title, earning 25 percent of respondents' ire. As if the midterm election outcome wasn't proof enough of unhappiness with the Decider in Chief, the survey's results show Osama bin Laden trailing Bush by 17 points for second place.

Rounding off the top five are some more expected names and faces. Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who was hanged on Saturday after being convicted of war crimes, came in third with 6 percent. The two other "axis of evil" leaders -- Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and North Korea's Kim Jong Il -- earned 5 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tied with the communist enclave's dictator.

Bush was also cited as the biggest hero of the past year, which just goes to show what total idiots Republicans have become. I'm sorry, but when the ABC/Washington Post poll shows that "80 percent of Republicans pledged their confidence in the president," then Republicans need to seek mental help, because they've lost their minds.

Once more we're back to the concept that 20-30% of Americans are total sheeple who only long to OBEY.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

R2D2 Singing

Is it just me, or does the "Chase" theme from Midnight Express sound like R2D2 singing?

Ahh, Giorgio Moroder. Whatever happened to Euro-disco-syntho-pop?

Black Dahlia's Top Ten Most Outrageous Civil Liberties Violations of 2006

Dahlia Lithwick, one of the best writers out there about about legal matters, has a great article today at Slate.com where she lists her "Bill Of Wrongs" for 2006:

10. Attempt to Get Death Penalty for Zacarias Moussaoui
9. Guantanamo Bay
8. Slagging the Media
7. Slagging the Courts
6. The State-Secrets Doctrine
5. Government Snooping
4. Extraordinary Rendition
3. Abuse of Jose Padilla
2. The Military Commissions Act of 2006
1. Hubris

Good list. Good writing about each point in the list. Go read the article.

Wanna Watch Saddam Die?


Psst: wanna watch Saddam die?

Cell-phone video of Saddam's Execution Murder

Saddam Hussein was a brutal murdering scumbag, but I'll give him this: he went to the gallows like a man, and he was the only guy in his dank, squalid execution shed with a single shred of dignity.

I especially love how the hangmen all chant the name of Shiite Fundamentalist Cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr. Because, you know, that's what professionals do. The best part is when Saddam sneers back "Feh. Moqtada" right before they hang him. You can hear the "Blow Me" in his voice.

Moqtada! Moqtada! Moqtada!

Once more, WHY THE FUCK ARE WE BOTHERING? WHY? Why are we bothering? Nothing can fix this country. The people running it are Iranian puppets. We need to get the fuck out RIGHT NOW.

Did U.S. officials know that the designated "executioners" would be the unwashed goons of Muqtada Sadr's "Mahdi Army"—the same group of thugs who killed several American troops after the liberation, the same thugs who murdered Moqtada's moderate religious opposition, and the same murderous thugs who engage in extra-judicial executions and beheadings of innocent Iraqis every day (and night)? Did our government or military ask for any sort of assurances before turning over a prisoner who was being held under the Geneva Conventions?

I ask, because from watching this video, it seems clear that Bush just helped carry out a crude Shiite coup d'├ętat.

The timing —isn't anyone in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad paid to notice this kind of thing?— was explicitly designed to rub every kind of humiliation into Iraqi Sunnis. It profaned their observance of the Sunni Eid ul-Adha holiday (the day of forgiveness, incidentally) while gratifying the Shiite fundamentalists whose ceremonies begin one day later.

To have made Saddam The Butcher into a martyr, to have gratified one religious sect at the expense of another, to have short-changed all modern notions of judicial review, to have forever given up any attempts to retrieve billions of dollars in stolen money that only Saddam knew the whereabouts of, and to have cheated millions of Iraqis and Kurds of the chance for a full accounting of ALL of Saddam's crimes—what a fine day's work for the Bush Administration. Why could they ever have been eager to kill Saddam so quickly? Oh, RIGHT, now I remember...

We HELPED Saddam gas the Kurds and all the other shit he did in the 80's... and a real trial would have shown exactly how much George W. Bush's daddy had to do with all of that. Can't have that, nossirre! Bring in the men with the pleather coats and black ski-masks!

The government America set up in Iraq has been infiltrated by Religious Theocrat Nutjobs who just hung the only guy in the Middle East to ever stand in their way. And we helped them. Far from bringing anything like "closure," this grotesque hanging ensures that the death of Saddam Hussein will serve as a clarion signal that Iraq is fucked. Fucked beyond recovery. For the Sunnis, they now see exactly how "fair" their Judicial System is, and exactly how deeply infiltrated by the Shiite Militias it is, and exactly how little America gives a shit about it. Expect the sectarian violence to continue and expand... not because the Sunnis want to "revenge" Saddam (though there will be a few), but rather because what these black-hooded, leather-coated thugs just did to Saddam happens every night on the streets of Baghdad to innocent Sunnis, and now there's no disguising it.

The shabby, tawdry scene of Moqtada Al-Sadr's riffraff taunting their defenseless former tyrant as he stands silently in his noose is pathetic. While Saddam Hussein was alive, they cringed. Now, they find their lost courage, and meanwhile take the drill and the razor blade and the blowtorch to their fellow Iraqis. To watch this abysmal spectacle is bad enough. To know that the U.S. government had even a silent, shamefaced part in it is to feel something well beyond embarrassment.

Moqtada! Moqtada! Moqtada!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Pentagon Seizes Control Of Banking Rules

There's an interesting article this week in Businessweek. I'll spool it out and comment on it as the story continues:

Saving Private Ryan From Greedy Lenders
A crackdown on gouging soldiers creates a new regulator: The Pentagon
Businessweek: 1/08/2007

The Defense Dept. is about to become a major financial regulator, and that's throwing lenders for a loop. Pentagon officials and consumer advocates pushed Congress this summer to help the many thousands of service members incurring excessive debt, some of whom have lost security clearances as a result, making them ineligible under Defense rules for deployment to Iraq.
Ah, so here we have the primary motivation to fix the problem, disguised by the public-relations propaganda. In the Propaganda, it's all about "Helping Our Troops," while in reality, the true reason anyone gives a shit about these people getting into crippling wage-slave debt is that it makes our soldier-cogs ineligible to go fight for our attempts to seize Iraq's oil. Gotcha.
The main culprit, the Pentagon said, are so-called payday lenders, which cluster around military bases and charge as much as 800% interest to provide soldiers with cash advances against their paychecks. Congress gave the Pentagon broad new authority to cap interest rates on most consumer loans to more than 1.4 million active-duty personnel and their families. Not surprisingly, payday lenders objected that they will be hurt and that their customers, who often have poor credit, will be left with no place to turn.

Now even mainstream lending institutions and traditional financial regulators say they fear the hastily written law will have unintended consequences. "From our perspective, the scope of the measure that was enacted is so broad that we're still trying to get our arms around it," says Diane Wagner, a spokeswoman for Bank of America BAC . Among the uncertainties: whether the law applies to existing loans, and also what happens when any of the 1.2 million reservists or National Guardsmen are called to active duty.
Sob, sob... those poor payday lenders won't be able to charge 800% interest any longer! Is this justice, I ask you? If you prick us, do we not bleed? Feh.

Why should military members receive special civilian-life protections that normal American civilians don't deserve?

What's so horrific and disgusting about this law is that Congress has now stated in legislation that soldiers should be protected from predatory lending, but that there's absolutely NOTHING wrong with payday lenders charging ordinary American civilians loanshark-shaming 800% interest. This law sets up a two-tiered system for America's working poor and lower-middle class: if you're just Joe Blow: 800%, but if you're G.I. Joe: 36%.

Well, Fuck That Unamerican Bullshit. I'm all for supporting our troops, but giving them special protection from evil banking corporations that the rest of America doesn't qualify for is NOT the answer to the problem. The answer to wage-slavery and indentured debtitude is to outlaw bullshit like 800% payday loans. Oh... but it gets worse:
Lenders and regulators say the measure's rate caps put in doubt the legality of debt consolidation loans, credit-card cash advances, student loans, overdraft protection, and other types of finance for soldiers and their dependents. "Every day a lightbulb goes off in the lending community with ways this could limit or restrict credit to our military," says Andrew Barbour, a lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, which represents such institutions as Wachovia WB , American International GroupAIG , Merrill Lynch ML , and Capital One Financial COF.
America's largest corporations demand answers: why can't we fuck THESE people as well? Haven't we paid Congress enough in bribes? Haven't we spread around the wealth from offshoring middle-class jobs and selling America's infrastructure out from under it? Get with the picture, Congress, we want to suck America's soldiers dry as well!
WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY?
Kevin Mukri, spokesman for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates national banks, adds: "To my knowledge, this is unprecedented—giving consumer credit regulation to the Defense Dept. I wouldn't know how to write a regulation for bombers."
Oh, right, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency... the same motherless sons of rats who greenlit Congress' utter destruction of bankruptcy protection. The same slimey sacks of filth who refuse to force the credit card companies to raise their credit rating criteria, so poor people aren't offered more credit than they can feasibly handle. The same snot-lickers who refuse to force the credit card companies to raise the percentage due each month so that people can't become enslaved forever to their credit card debt. The same scum-suckers who refuse to force the credit card companies to make clear what the REAL percentage rate on those credit cards are, to disclose their true fees, etc.

Well, of course THOSE donkey-suckers are furious. Someone's trying to help out a consumer somewhere! The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency was created to screw the little guy, not to help him... and here suddenly these soft-hearted saps at The Pentagon want to go easy on poor suckers just because they're in the military? Nosirree, not on OUR watch!
Outgoing Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-Va.), however, stands by the law, which he backed. "Congress has an absolute responsibility to protect members of the military and their families from such unfair practices," says a spokesman.
"Congress has no responsibility to protect the average consumer from these same unfair practices," the Senator mumbled as he cashed his paychecks from MBNA, Citibank and Capital One.
The law, which was attached to a defense bill last fall and will take effect on Oct. 1, 2007, establishes a 36% cap on interest rates for most loans to military members and their families. Unlike most credit regulations, the new law requires the annual percentage rate for military loans to include all fees. Factoring in fees can push the APR beyond the law's cap. Home mortgages, auto loans, and credit secured by personal property are exempt.
Once again, WHAT THE FLYING FUCK?

So it's -totally- cool for predatory lenders to disguise closing costs, early pay-down charges and other vampiric fees when dealing with the general public, but our soldiers need to have these things spelled out for them in simple language with a cap of 36% on such fees and interest?

WHY ISN'T THAT THE LAW OF THE LAND FOR EVERYONE?

Oh, right, because Joe Biden got paid a bajillion dollars by the Credit Card Industry in the last election cycle.
Lenders say stiff penalties for violations of the new law may scare off institutions. If a lender unwittingly provides a loan with an improper rate to a service member's spouse, the loan becomes invalid and doesn't have to be repaid. If the lender "knowingly" violates the law, it is subject to fines, and its employees can even get jail time. Avoiding these missteps could be complicated by separate laws that prohibit lenders from asking about marital status.

One lender worrying about such ambiguities is Cooperative Bank in North Carolina, which serves Marines and their families at Camp Lejeune, south of the Outer Banks. CEO Rick Willetts says of the new law: "This is a well-intended idea that is opening Pandora's box."
###

Yet Another Shocker

WHAT?!?

A Bush Administration executive in charge of a multibillion-dollar Interior Department oil-trading program is suspected of being a paid consultant to oil companies while also determining which of those companies get government contracts?!

Cozy relations with Big Oil in the Bush administration? The Ministry of Homeland Security is shocked. Shocked!