Thursday, February 19, 2009

About the monkey business at the NY Post.

Although, I didn't want to, I kind weighed in a little at NPR about this whole NY Post dead monkey controversy.

Here's the offending cartoon by Sean Delonas (his mother must be so proud!:

My comment on the cartoon and the reaction to it by some callers to TOTN this afternoon.

OK, let's ge this straight: Rupert Murdock paper hates Obama and the stimulus bill. Check. The stimulus bill is clearly Obama's baby. Check. Blacks have been depicted as monkies by rascists for centuries in this country. Check.

Ergo, the dead monkey is Obama. But it's really all about congress and some woman who got mauled by a monkey. Huh?

Naturally, the only people who don't see this for what it is, are white subscribers to the Post (are there any other kind?) and white men from suburban Philadelphia, judging by the callers to the show.

It's so funny whites from suburban Philly, who are always the first to launch the "N-word" every time Donovan McNabb makes a bonehead play, are suddenly at a loss as to why anyone would think a monkey could be used to depict a black guy. Amazing! I mean, some of their best friends are black. All these knee-jerk PC liberals need to lighten up!

Here's another comment from a fellow traveler (that's way better, BTW):

"I just drew a funny cartoon, and I would like you to share it with your guest.

It shows someone having sex with their mother while wearing a dunce cap that says 'I stutter because I am a moron'.

The caption to my 'cartoon' says: 'Looks like we will have to find another stuttering racist willing to justify the cartoon; ours is busy.'

Is it funny? Can I have a Pulitzer too?"

Now that's funny!

This is not:


"At noon today, at New York City's Rockefeller Center, a rally was held in front of the offices of the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post, to protest the racist editorial cartoon that ran in its pages on Wednesday . . . Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action network organized the rally, which was attended by hundreds of activists, union members, reporters, and commuters who came during their lunch hour, many of them shouting 'Shut Down the Post!'"

You know, the minute Al Sharpton shows up the whole thing, no matter how legitimate the protest, just turns into a three ring circus. All the right wingers have to say is "Al Sharpton" and America tunes out. And what's with this "shut down the Post" crap? Presumably, these are the same type of folks who would usually be banging on about freedom of the press, but in this case, I guess, it's only for the press they agree with.

Let's stick to the point here: The cartoon is depicting cops shooting a monkey dead. A monkey who is the author of the stimulus bill (that only three Republicans voted for) and is clearly supposed to be our beloved president (but not theirs) Barack Obama.

If W. was still president -- God forbid! -- and someone like Tom Tommorow drew a cartoon showing Alfred E. Newman being shot down, you can just imagine the reaction from Lush Limpballs and the right wing smear machine.

If what Delonas intended was literally about the face eating monkey and the critics of the stimulus bill, which is possible -- I've seen a bunch of his cartoons and they're actually pretty funny and not particularly right wing -- then he really should have thought this one out a bit more. At the very least, his editor should have told him to go take a deep breath first.

But, who care anyway? Fuck Rupert Murdock, let him stew.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Indian women in Mangalore fight the Hindu Talibs with pink panties!

Last month, the Hindu-twin of the Taliban went on a rampage in Mangalore, India, attacking women having a drink at a bar (with men, gasp!). The attack was caught on video and spurred outrage throughout India and the world.

The New Kerala: (Jan. 27)

"Karnataka Police on Tuesday arrested the State convener of the Sri Ram Sena, Prasad Attavar for his role in the attack on women at a pub in Mangalore. The Police also arrested Pramod Muthalik, the president of the Karnataka unit. Twenty seven people have been arrested so far.Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa on Tuesday said the police is gathering evidence on top functionaries.

'The government will not tolerate people taking law into their hands and indulging in criminal activities. Police is gathering evidence on the top functionaries for the arrest,' he said. Yeddyurappa also ruled out any link between the Ram Sena and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). 'I am telling this honestly, the party has nothing to do with the Sena, who have brought disgrace to the state,' he added."

That's his story and he's sticking to it, but I don't believe it.

The Times of India: (Feb 13)

"NEW DELHI: The moral policing by Sri Ram Sene was raised in Rajya Sabha on Friday with CPM (Congress Party member of parliament) Brinda Karat demanding strong action against the outfit. . . Karat said the government should act as the outfit has threatened to marry off girls found in the company of boys on Valentine's Day.

She alleged that the Sene was operating in connivance with the BJP* government in the state, which had witnessed an attack on a pub recently. Karat cited the suicide of a girl allegedly after being humiliated in Bangalore on Thursday for moving around with a Muslim boy. Karat also said the daughter of a CPM MLA was abducted and threatened in Karnataka, where the Sene has acquired the role of the 'Hindu twin' of Taliban."

In any event, they didn't stay in jail long or get a clue and crawl back under the rock they crawled out of.

Times Online: (Feb 11)

"Mr Mutalik was arrested but has been bailed. He has vowed to force unmarried couples found together on Valentine’s Day to either get married or to tie rakhis – string bracelets – on their wrists signifying that they are brother and sister."

You see, these self-appointed moral police have a particular problem with Valentine's Day, so the brave ladies in question started their own Facebook page -- A Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women -- and urged people to turn the other cheek, so to speak, and send the boys of Sri Ram Sene big, pink chaddis (panties) in the mail for Valentines Day.

Times Online (again):

"Nisha Susan, 29, a journalist from Karnataka, told The Times that she started the group after reading about the attack in Mangalore and the subsequent threats by the SRS. 'It wasn’t a serious thing at first, but now it’s becoming something bigger,' she said.

Ms Susan said she had been overwhelmed by responses from men and women who wanted to protect their constitutional rights:

'Most of us are just regular people. We decided to give the Sri Ram Sena attention, but not the kind they want.'

The chaddi gesture is an allusion to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the biggest and oldest group in the Hindu nationalist movement, which includes the SRS and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. RSS members are often called chaddi wallahs because their uniform includes baggy khaki shorts.

'These people are not loonies – they’re guys looking for political capital,' Ms Susan said. 'The worrying thing is that we’ve seen before in this region how there can be a period of freedom and then it’s taken away. Look at Afghanistan.'"

Indeed! Just look at Mumbai, for that matter.

The day after Valentine's:

The Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women's Facebook blog reported yesterday:

"For most modern Indian women, whether residents or non-residents of the country, February 14th this year was no ordinary day – and I’m not talking about the fact that it was Valentine’s Day. It was the day that over 43,000 of them (including some men) sent pink underwear to the Sri Ram Sene . . . Clearly, they didn’t think of the backlash. Even more clearly, they didn’t know that times have changed . . .

After literally getting truckloads of pink underwear from across the country on the 14th, the Sri Ram Sene have decided, in defence, (after changing their mind on the issue thrice) that they will burn the packages of underwear that are still being delivered to them. The Campaign, meanwhile, aims to get the government to agree that ‘beating up women is against Indian culture’, for a start."

He he, dumbasses! This is what democracy looks like. (Now, let's get every women and girl in the Swat Valley and Afghanistan a computer!!!!!! (Anyone know Mullah Omar's address?)

Footnote and an extra point:

*The Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), BTW, is the other big party in India, and has its origins in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a rabidly nationalist -- some might say fascist -- organization, devoted to Hindu superiority. Known as the Hindu brown shirts, they espouse a ruthless devotion to hindu-ness or Hindutva and is also where Natharam Godse, Mahatma's assassin got his inspiration.

One last note: Think we're not to blame a bit for this? Think again. Where these wackos get their money.

Colorlines Magazine (March 22 2005)

"Indian Muslims and Hindus not aligned with the nationalists . . . claim India's ethnic hatred has found a patron in the U.S., through the contributions of Hindu nationalists who have settled in here, and that other Indian Americans are unwittingly donating money to their cause because they do not know the true intent of their work.

One central focus of their concerns in the U.S. is a Maryland-based charity called the India Development and Relief Fund, which is accused by secular Indian groups of raising millions for Hindu nationalist groups in India alleged to be involved in the harassment and killings of Indian Christians and Muslims.

The worst incident occurred in 2002, in the western Indian state of Gujarat, where 2,000 Muslims were killed in such fashion that India scholars and activists in the western Indian state of Gujarat, where 2,000 Muslims were killed in such fashion that India scholars and activists likened the violence to pogroms."

Lucky for them they're not a Palestinian charity or they'd all be in jail, right now.

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Mutually assured destruction is MAD! (Boys with toys)

I thought that's what we finally figured out a few years back. You know, MAD was the theory during the Cold War that said anyone nuts enough to start a nuclear war wouldn't be able to destroy the other side without destroying themselves in the process.

Now here's this: The French and British had a little accident beneath the waves of the Atlantic earlier this month when two of their nuclear submarines collided.

The Telegraph:

"HMS Vanguard and Le Triomphant are understood to have both been severely damaged in the underwater accident earlier this month.

Both are fitted with state-of-the-art technology aimed at detecting other submarines, but it apparently failed completely.

It happened in heavy seas, and in the middle of the night between February 3 and 4, and left Le Triomphant's sonar dome all but destroyed. The sonar dome should have detected the Vanguard but Le Triomphant's crew of 101 claimed to have 'neither saw nor heard anything'. [que vous ne pouvez pas voir ne peut pas vous faire mal] The French tried to play down the collision, with a Navy spokesman saying: 'The collision did not result in injuries among the crew and did not jeopardise nuclear security at any moment.'"

Yes, that's very reassuring. Because, after all, what could really have happened, anyway?


"The incident sparked concern among nuclear activists, who have long warned that nuclear submarines pose risks of radioactive leaks into the world's waters. 'This is a nuclear nightmare of the highest order,' said Kate Hudson, chair of Britain's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. 'The collision of two submarines, both with nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons onboard, could have released vast amounts of radiation and scattered scores of nuclear warheads across the seabed.'"

Well, that's just crazy, right? No? Remember the Kursk? And what about those warheads? HMS Vanguard alone carries 16 MIRVed Trident II missiles, each of which can carry 3 to 10 W-76 100 kt warheads (the Hiroshima bomb was 10 to 12 kt, by comparison). Together, the two could have been carrying 48 of these warheads when they ran into each other.

"Both are fitted with state-of-the-art technology aimed at detecting other submarines, but it apparently failed completely."

That particular sentence keeps coming to mind. You can trust the French, right, they know what their doing. Why the hell do the French and British have these boats, anyway? Who the hell is going to attack them? If I were the Brits I'd be more worried about dudes with backpacks, honestly!

In any event, what about us? The British only have four of these boats. According to

"The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which was forwarded to Congress in December 2001, outlined the Strategic Submarine Force structure: 14 SSBNs outfitted with the TRIDENT II (D5) Strategic Weapon System in 2 oceans . . . TRIDENT II/D5 missile construction continues with an inventory objective of 425 missiles for 14 TRIDENT II/D5 SSBNs in two oceans. Planned procurement through FY 2005 is 5 to 12 missiles per year."

Yikes! That's like over 4000 Hiroshima bombs trolling around in the world's oceans and we just sort of hope the military knows what the hell they're doing. We hope not one of those 1400 or so sailors locked in any of those iron coffins for six months at a time ever makes a mistake. Still, we've got all that state-of-the-art technology.

Like the USAF had when they lost track of 5 nuclear warheads for a few hours while they were flying over the US, or the missile crew that fell asleep for a few hours in Minot a while back, to say nothing of all the mysterious suicides these past few months of senior commanders at our missiles bases.

Such a big surprise?

BANTHEBOMB.ORG shows this really shouldn't have been such a surprise:

"On the basis of recorded incidents involving Polaris and other British nuclear powered submarines it can be projected that Trident submarines are likely to be involved in between 2 and 5 collisions with other vessels . . .

Not including the first Trident submarine there have been 23 nuclear powered submarines in service in the Royal Navy. From when each was built to the end of 1993, or until scrapped gives a total of around 384 reactor years. This includes hunter killer submarines.

The equivalent for Polaris is a total of around 102 reactor years. Between 1950 and 1988 there were at least 19 fires and 6 collisions, 2 of which involved 2 submarines, on all British nuclear powered submarines. In the same period there were 5 fires and 4 collisions, 1 of which involved 2 submarines, on Polaris submarines.

Trident submarines in service for 30 years will be in service for a total of 120 reactor years. The projected number of incidents for the projected lifetime of Trident, based on the figures for Polaris and for all British nuclear powered submarines are as follows:

Based on Polaris:

5.9 fires
4.7 collisions (all vessels)
1.2 collisions with other submarines

Based on all submarines:

5.9 fires
1.9 collisions (all vessels)
0.6 collisions with other submarines

An examination of a total of 63 collisions involving British or US submarines showed 73 % (46) occurred at sea and 27 % (17) when the submarine was berthing or in a harbour area.

These accidents occur as the result of the way in which submarines operate. By using active sonar they are able to accurately identify other vessels around them. However active sonar gives away the submarine's position. So they rely on passive sonar. This gives less accurate information which is difficult to interpret especially if the vessel is carrying out a serious of manoeuvres. When one submarine is following another, both using passive sonar, there is the danger of a collision. Such an incident could occur during operations or submarine - vs - submarine exercises."

Move along folks, nothing to see here. We've got all that state-of-the-art technology making sure we don't all go up in a puff of vapor.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More of the on-going saga of Binyam Mohamed and the UK coverup.

The BBC:

"British officials, including a doctor, visited Binyam Mohamed in Cuba. The UK had expressed concerns over his health after reports he was on hunger strike . . . A Foreign Office spokesman said: 'A team of British officials, including a doctor, met with Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed yesterday' . . . Mr Mohamed's lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, said his client ended his hunger strike on Wednesday.

He said the 6ft 1in (1.9m) detainee's weight had dropped to 125lb (8st 9lb; 57kg) since he stopped eating on 5 January and they were worried he would not be deemed fit to travel.

'That means he has the same body mass index as people who are very close to starvation,' he said. 'My understanding is that now he's having one meal of solid food a day and some nutritional supplements. 'Hopefully we can bring him back to some good old-fashioned English food.'"

Um . . . which means Ethiopian food or Indian food or something, right? Cus, I'm thinking good old-fashioned English food might tend to cause more fasting.

In any case, surely you recall from reading below that the UK Foreign Office says a judge can't release secret files on the treatment of Mohamed by the Moroccans because the US warned the UK any such release would force the US to stop sharing intel with the Brits and how a judge fell for this little ploy and denied the request by Mohamed's lawyer Clive Stafford Smith? Well, it turns out, that the Foreign Office asked the US DOS for the letter to make their case.

The Guardian:

"A former senior State Department official said that it was the Foreign Office that initiated the 'cover-up' by asking the State Department to send the letter so that it could be introduced into the court proceedings . . . The former senior State Department official said: 'Far from being a threat, it was solicited [by the Foreign Office].'

The Foreign Office asked for it in writing. They said: "Give us something in writing so that we can put it on the record." If you give us a letter explaining you are opposed to this, then we can provide that to the court.'

The letter, sent by the State Department's top legal adviser John Bellinger to foreign secretary David Miliband's legal adviser, Daniel Bethlehem, on 21 August last year, said: 'We want to affirm in the clearest terms that the public disclosure of these documents or of the information contained therein is likely to result in serious damage to US national security and could harm existing intelligence-sharing arrangements.'"

How about that! Talk about chutzpah!

BTW, you might remember John Billinger, Condi's chief legal adviser at Foggy Bottom. He was the guy Cheney & Co. sent, in the days leading up to the invasion of Iraq, to give UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith a backbone about signing off on a legal finding that the invasion was legal under international law. Just so happens, another case rolling around the courts in the UK, right now, along these same lines, involves getting hold of the minutes of Tony B-liar's cabinet meetings with Goldsmith.

It's all coming together now. Or unraveling, depending on how you look at it. The chickens are coming home to roost. But now is not the time to look backwards, right? Let's move ahead. So a few laws were broken, a few people accidentally killed, a few accidentally arrested, tortured and held for 7 years without any legal recourse . . . it's all in the past. We've got all kinds of more serious problems now that have absolutely nothing to do with the past . . . huh . . . yeah.

[Extra note: I wrote about Billinger here in an angry letter to ATC, which had him on their airways as a "legal expert" to discuss the legal ramifications of shutting Gitmo down, of all things!]

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