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Assassino! 27 December 2007

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Pakistan, WAR!.
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     Benazir Bhutto, after her remains are released from Rawalpindi hospital

Benazir Bhutto’s followers with her body, after release from Rawalpindi hospital.  Photo from TimesOnline…

Another one….

Asia Times is on winter break til the 2nd of January, with an advisory they will drop in and post as events warrant, so perhaps something by tonight…

IOZ says cui bono a bit vague at the moment… ;)  He also warns against too many tears for dear Benazir.  Not to worry!, we are pretty chill here.

TimesOnline:

Main suspects are warlords and security forces

The main suspects in the assassination are the foreign and Pakistani Islamist militants who saw Ms Bhutto as a Westernised heretic and an American stooge, and had repeatedly threatened to kill her.

But fingers will also be pointed at the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, (ISI) which has had close ties to the Islamists since the 1970s and has been used by successive Pakistani leaders to suppress political opposition. Ms Bhutto narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in October, when a suicide bomber struck at a rally in Karachi to welcome her back from exile.

Earlier that month two Pakistani militant warlords based in the country’s northwestern areas had threatened to kill her.

One was Baitullah Mehsud, a top militant commander fighting the Pakistani Army in South Waziristan, who has ties to al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taleban. The other was Haji Omar, the leader of the Pakistani Taleban, who is also from South Waziristan and fought with the Afghan Mujahidin against the Soviets in Afghanistan. ::snip::

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UPDATE, 3:03 pm –  bitter cold here….

Pulling this from Madman forward from the last thread:

     Madman in the Marketplace |
    Getty Images page of photos from the rally today, and the aftermath of the bomber.Dec 27, 10:41 AM  — Crazed little revolt on the castle grounds..

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Comments»

1. Hair Club for Men - 27 December 2007

I’ll refrain from generalizing until they find out who did it. But it would certainly make sense if Al Qaeda did.

That’s the classic objective of terrorism, polarization, eliminate all the alternatives that aren’t the Islamists or the dictatorhip.

I will, however, generalize about American reactions. I’m already seeing it in the media, 9/11 Lite. It’s a “crisis” dammit. We’re at WAR. John McCain and Rudy will make many appearances over the next few days. Huckabee and Ron Paul will go down in the polls.

Hillary’s people will draw the obvious comparisons, she’s the only thing protecting us from the Islamic Extremist Barack Hussein Bin Laden from Illinois.

2. aemd - 27 December 2007

Way, way OT, if there is sucha thing on this site 8-)

Best eva Katrina clip….

It’s all in the mix, some way or another….. ;-)

Got way too much time on my hands lately, tween jobs..LOL

3. marisacat - 27 December 2007

Have the NEws Hour on, Karzai met wtih her today (well, their am) before she left for the rally and her speech.

4. Hair Club for Men - 27 December 2007

Hmm. McCain’s getting a lot of free publicity out of this.

So there’s motive. How about means and opportunity?

Anyway, they laughed at me when I said Gary Condit demolished the World Trade Center too.

5. marisacat - 27 December 2007

Chrsitopher Hitches entitled his

Daughter of Destiny…. in Slate.

News week has some great weep up, Democracy’s Loss or some such thing…”Hero for Democracy?” that’s it with a question mark…

6. NYCO - 27 December 2007

Back in the day I used to characterize “terrorism” as The Thing. Terrorism is only a tool of The Thing.

The Thing has certain goals, and certain methods of meeting those goals.

The Thing wants total war, on any pretext. Extremism is its best tool. Doesn’t matter what -ism is supporting the extremism.

George Bush completely played into The Thing’s hands with his Iraq war. In fact, once Bush did this, Al Qaeda was no longer important to The Thing’s plans. This is why Al Qaeda sort of disappeared. It’s not that they were scared; it’s that The Thing was getting what it wanted.

When we get a president who tries to do anything sensible and civilized, The Thing will start attacking again. This will be (erroneously) pointed to as proof that “you can’t be soft on terror.” Except terror and kneejerk responses to terror are all part of the game completely controlled by The Thing. And the house always wins, in this case. When you play The Thing’s game, you lose.

In short, expect more terror attacks on American soil if any new American leaders show signs of sensibleness. The Thing hates that.

7. marisacat - 27 December 2007
8. marisacat - 27 December 2007

In short, expect more terror attacks on American soil if any new American leaders show signs of sensibleness. The Thing hates that.

so far, from the clips I have heard, they all stuck to the script. Wordy blurbs, signifying nothing.

The worst, that I caught, a toss up between Obamamamama and Commander Romney.

9. Hair Club for Men - 27 December 2007

David Schuster did a pretty good job of boxing Ron Paul in about Pakistani nukes. What would you do about Pakistani nuked Dr. Paul?

Paul got out of it by shifting over to the Soviet Union and saying “well we didn’t try to seize 40,000 nukes in Russia”.

Schuster’s not enough of a racist to have said something like “well Muslims are different from Commies”.

But he didn’t have to. The message got across.

10. marisacat - 27 December 2007

Headline in The Note’s afternoon Sneak Peek… without looking I am sure that is from Hillary:

SNEAK PEEK: ‘I’ve Been to Waziristan’
Turmoil in Pakistan Roils ’08 Race

11. Hair Club for Men - 27 December 2007

Well this is an actual diary on the Daily Kos.

Breck Girl is out of the Box on the Butto assassination. Woo Hoo

http://dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/12/27/165555/05/202/426948

12. marisacat - 27 December 2007

ooodles of candidate reaction (and re reaction) at Political Ticker/CNN

13. marisacat - 27 December 2007

thanks for that diary….

and here is the Edwards segment at Political Ticker (with a vid)

14. Madman in the Marketplace - 27 December 2007

many people are dead, including someone designated as important, there are fires in the streets, a nuclear power may be entering a civil war, and the most important question on CNN is …

… what do the fucking voters in IOWA think?

This is the most narcissistic nation on Earth.

15. melvin - 27 December 2007

I don’t understand the pressure to hold elections on schedule. Would we have pressured Howard to hold the election on schedule if Rudd were assassinated ten days out?

It isn’t enough time to reorganize in the midst of grief, not in Pakistan and not anywhere else either.

16. melvin - 27 December 2007

14– No one more so than the raft of idiots at dkos, sniping over which candidate response was worse.

17. mattes - 27 December 2007

From IOZ comments:

Daughter of the West

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n24/ali_01_.html

18. melvin - 27 December 2007

A new low for AAR. This evening they are running a call-in show with some psychic fraud named Macaroni Lovehandles or something. Unbelievable.

19. NYCO - 27 December 2007

so where is a good place to get up to date news on Pakistan? Any good Pakistan blogs?

20. Madman in the Marketplace - 27 December 2007

NYCO:

Boing Boing post with links to three Metblogs:

Lehore, Karachi and Islambad.

I figured there would be less chance of getting spammed if I put one link instead of three.

I just started looking around them. The Karachi Metblog has several eyewitness reports.

21. Madman in the Marketplace - 27 December 2007

Online home of Pakistani paper The Dawn.

22. Madman in the Marketplace - 27 December 2007

Mediachannel post with links to several Pakistan blogs.

23. marisacat - 27 December 2007

gosh… it is bitter cold here, which means it must be windy out and around or under 45…

I took a [fast, very fast] tour of the so called liberal blogs and blahgs, EVERYBODY is fighting over who is using the Bhutto death. Get a clue, all the candidates are.

And all the silly headlines around… The Guardian even has one (admittedly out of about 8 between comment, lead pieces, news headlines etc on the killing) about the death of a “courageous liberal”.

sigh.

The Guardian does have a commentary from Tariq Ali:

[A]n odd coexistence of military despotism and anarchy created the conditions leading to her assassination in Rawalpindi yesterday. In the past, military rule was designed to preserve order – and did so for a few years. No longer. Today it creates disorder and promotes lawlessness. How else can one explain the sacking of the chief justice and eight other judges of the country’s supreme court for attempting to hold the government’s intelligence agencies and the police accountable to courts of law? Their replacements lack the backbone to do anything, let alone conduct a proper inquest into the misdeeds of the agencies to uncover the truth behind the carefully organised killing of a major political leader. ::snip::

24. marisacat - 27 December 2007

… madman, thanks for the links to the Pakistani blogs.

8)

SNow in the Bay Area…. it does seem really cold.

25. bayprairie - 27 December 2007

and mattes, thanks for dropping that link in also. very informative.

26. marisacat - 27 December 2007

a bit more from Tariq Ali in today’s Guardian, link at # 23:

[B]enazir, according to those close to her, had been tempted to boycott the fake elections, but she lacked the political courage to defy Washington. She had plenty of physical courage, and refused to be cowed by threats from local opponents. She had been addressing an election rally in Liaquat Bagh. This is a popular space named after the country’s first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, who was killed by an assassin in 1953. The killer, Said Akbar, was immediately shot dead on the orders of a police officer involved in the plot. Not far from here, there once stood a colonial structure where nationalists were imprisoned. This was Rawalpindi jail. It was here that Benazir’s father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was hanged in April 1979. The military tyrant responsible for his judicial murder made sure the site of the tragedy was destroyed as well.::snip::

27. wu ming - 27 December 2007

bhutto’s wasn’t the only pakistani campaign that got attacked today, the emergency times (a lahore university student blog) reported that a nawaz sharif rally got shot at earlier this afternoon.

my money’s on musharraf. take out a political rival, frustrate american plans to replace him, and justify security measures all in one fell blow.

now the battle appears to be in the streets. my thoughts are with the everyday people of pakistan burning tires and throwing up roadblocks, who don’t even exist in the american imaginary of the despotic orient, fuck all the corrupt politicians and generals.

28. marisacat - 27 December 2007

Asia TImes has a post up on the assassination…

29. liberalcatnip - 28 December 2007

Hi everybody!

Well, that was predictable, unfortunately (as far as the personal/family side goes anyway). She certainly wouldn’t have managed to bring democracy back to Pakistan with all of the instability that already exists there and under a constant threat of death.

So many suspects: al Qaeda, radical Islamists, Musharraf, the army, the CIA (what better way to put US pressure on Mush to go after the terra-ists?)

I put a post up about the political circus. It was amazing how quickly the candidates trotted out their “i’m better than the rest of you wankers on foreign policy” creds. Not ‘amazing’, really. Again predictable and just plain ridiculous, imho. No matter what happens in the world, it’s all about how it affects the US, right? Tsuami in Indonesia? CNN will show you how to survive one even if you live in Kansas (because you just never know).

Anyway, hope this finds you all well and I’m glad the xmas madness is over. I’ve finally had a chance to breath and eat. Crocheted my little fingers off. Missed all of the wisdom here. I’ve been so out of touch. Good to be ‘back’.

30. marisacat - 28 December 2007

Hel-oooooooooooooooooo catnip!

Welcome back!

31. bayprairie - 28 December 2007

…and good to have you back!

32. liberalcatnip - 28 December 2007

P.S. When I checked in on dkos earlier, I saw the daddy kos berating the unruly children diary over ratings wars at the top of the rec list. 900+ comments at the time.

Huh? What? Benazir Who was assassinated? Sod off. We’re busy talking about ourselves here.

I wonder if they all just realized the Dems are no different than the Repubs when it comes to foreign policy – so why even bother talking about Pakistan? It’s not like their gods and goddesses are going to change anything. (Ooops, did I say that out loud?)

33. liberalcatnip - 28 December 2007

I only have a short break from the crocheting because I promised to do an afghan for a friend’s niece but I plan to stay more in touch with the political scene and the blogs again. I definitely bottomed out – so damn tired of the ’08 election coverage (like it matters who wins in the whole scheme of things??).

34. BooHooHooMan - 28 December 2007

CNN has two bits up

One noting Benazir said if killed, it’d be Mushy…
CNN Mush did it LINK

The second 4aEST :

is citing FBI and DHS as saying Al Qaeda claimed responsibility

FBI DHS says AQ, Osama, Col. Mustard,

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin Thursday citing an alleged claim of responsibility by al Qaeda for former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, a DHS official told CNN.

35. cad - 28 December 2007

liberalcatnip, that diary is a study in DK madness”

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/12/27/91210/607/363/426787

You have the klueless kos who instigated all this nonsense with his sports site fantasy play rules, and now like the little boy-king he is, wants to chastise people for acting exactly the way his rules led to the present situation. The simplest thig would be to be rid of the tr and tu and all the other high school clique bullshit. But kos has to keep the kids on the field! Win one for the pootie!

And read kagro x’s lame arguments in that thread for the height in condescending ignorance. What a dick. But he knows how to suck up to his master.

36. marisacat - 28 December 2007

But he knows how to suck up to his master.
– cad

Pooor Daily kos. Just a glorified Glory Hole.

37. marisacat - 28 December 2007

As for Tatiana, the Siberian tiger (and the city hs given out 5, FIVE, different measurements for the concrete wall since the incident):

[I]t was recommended that a tiger moat should be a minimum of 7 meters (almost 23 feet) wide at the top and a minimum of 5 meters high (16.4 feet) on the visitors’ side, with a fence at least 5 meters high.

San Francisco Zoo spokeswoman Lora LaMarca said the moat is 25 to 30 feet wide, with a wall 13 1/2 to 14 feet high, from the bottom of the moat to the top. The fence is 3 to 4 feet high.

Marian Roth-Cramer recalled the day she and her son, who was 4 or 5, visited the tiger exhibit in 1997.

“My son had his hands on the metal bar,” said the San Francisco woman, a children’s dance and family programs coordinator at a branch of the YMCA. “All of a sudden, I saw the tiger leap over the moat, put a paw on the dirt (and hang on). I screamed and grabbed my son.”

The animal slid away. She turned to a zookeeper and asked if he’d seen what she had. His reply: “She always does that. She hates my guts.”

She wrote a letter to David Anderson, the zoo director at the time, about the incident and canceled her membership. She said she never got a reply.

Mollinedo, who took over in early 2004, said that he asked staff members after Tuesday’s attack whether any big cat had ever jumped the moat or escaped the grotto, and no one could recall anything like that happening.

38. marisacat - 28 December 2007

whoops. “Unholy dust-up at the Church of the Nativity” in Bethlehem.

Wonder who the Alpha PRedator is in that conflab.

Members of rival Christian orders have traded blows at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, with four people reported wounded in the fray.

Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic priests were sweeping up at the church following the Christmas rites of the Western churches earlier in the week.

Reports say some Orthodox faithful encroached on the Armenian section, prompting pitched battles with brooms.

39. marisacat - 28 December 2007

I will say it again:

The OUt of Iraq NEEDS to disband and apologise to the US anti war for having been a sideshow.

Lynne Woolsey endorsed Hillary today.

40. Hair Club for Men - 28 December 2007

There’s either something very illegal here or Veronica isn’t Swedish.

http://politicalfleshfeast.com/showComment.do?commentId=51738

41. Miss Devore - 28 December 2007

{waves to catnip}

oh, catnip, btw–due to a de-installed gallery show, I picked up about 15 pounds of red silk string. Long pieces, since they went from wall to wall in the installation.Couldn’t see them being thrown away.

What can I do with all this beautiful string?

42. JJB - 28 December 2007

liberalcatnip, no. 29,

I would say we can definitely cross the CIA off the list of suspects in Bhutto’s murder. At this point, she was probably on the payroll, along with King Abdullah, Hosni Mubarak, a number of Lebanese politicians, etc. She was to be Our Gal In Islamabad, going after the Islamic fanatics in the regions bordering Afghanistan more aggressively than Musharraff has so far dared to. At this point, the various fanatics are so closely connected to the army and the state security services that it’s most likely (in my opinion) that they collaborated on killing her. Now we have no one but Musharraff, whom we no longer trust.

MCat, no. 38,

I saw footage of that dustup on the DC NBC affiliate last night. It was hilarious, like something Mel Brooks would have dreamed up. The newsreader damn near broke out in raucous laughter, and had a huge smile on her face after the tape of the fight finished. I suppose afterwards, the pugilists shook hands, went out for a glass of ouzo/raki, and laughed about how they should really have directed their anger at the Turks.

43. NYCO - 28 December 2007

Re Tatiana the Tiger:

My zoo also has Siberian tigers, but they are kept in a ravine-type enclosure where the public can only look down on them from a high observation platform (if the tigers get out, they won’t be lunching on these people) or from a same-level window (no more than 15 feet wide) covered with two layers of Plexiglass and set into a thick stone wall. (tigers can’t smell them so much)

The tigers also aren’t fed in front of the public, but in a secluded area. I think feeding big predators with bystanders around is asking for trouble – big cats should never associate spectators with food.

Our zoo also has a novel presentation for the tiger exhibit… as you approach via a winding trail, you see signs (in English and Russian, since they’re Siberian tigers) warning that ruthless tiger poachers are in the area. So when you get to the enclosure, the scenario is that the tigers are hiding from the poachers, which makes it more exciting for the little kids when you actually do get a glimpse of a tiger in the ravine.

It seems like the SF zoo is a rather old zoo that needs major upgrades in thinking, not just facilities. However, it must be said that my local zoo was once considered of the absolute worst zoos in America; after a complete makeover, it’s now a truly nice smaller zoo. Hopefully the SF zoo will modernize and re-think what it does.

44. Hair Club for Men - 28 December 2007

When you think about the Bhutto assassination, John Kerry was right in 2004.

You flood Afghanistan with US troops (those 100,000 that went into Iraq) and special forces. You get Bin Laden and draw off the Islamists from the tribal areas in Pakistan into Afghanistan where they can be killed by the US military.

At the same time, you flood Afghanistan with US and UN aid money, advisors, humantarian workers. You set up a model democracy which you would have had the overwhelming and internationalized force to do.

That takes the pressure off of Pakistan and lessens the “need” for a dictatorship. All those Jihadis who went to Iraq would have gone back to their old caves in Afghanistan.

While you do this, you open up relations with Iran and cooperate with them to get rid of Saddam and put in a Shiite majority government under Sadr perhaps.

45. Hair Club for Men - 28 December 2007

Too bad Kerry and the Democrats never really had the courage of their own insights and really pushed hard to shift the “war on terror” to Afghanistan. It was just campaign rhetoric and they gave in and supported the war in Iraq with no pressure at all.

46. Miss Devore - 28 December 2007

From the Gail Sheehy November interview with Benazir Bhutto, to be published in Parade magazine Jan. 6:

“Fortunately for her, the West’s urgent fear of Pakistan as a breeding ground for terrorists has given Bhutto the chance to redefine herself. During most of her exile, she was considered irrelevant by Washington. Then she hired Hillary Clinton’s image-maker, Mark Penn, and began playing up to Musharraf.”

Bhutto’s niece seems to have quite a poor opinion of her:

http://www.parade.com/benazir_bhutto_interview.html

47. JJB - 28 December 2007

Miss Devore, no. 46,

The Bhutto clan has proven to be a South Asian version of the Borgias. If you click on that link that mattes provides in no. 17, you’ll see that Benazir’s husband was probably responsible for murdering her brother (Fatima’s father), and Benazir, who was PM at the time, used her authority to cover this up — and that’s the best case scenario. It’s possible she knew of the hit beforehand and allowed it to happen. Or planned it herself.

48. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007

On Sunday night Jeanne and Spider Robinson have set up a “Stardance” in zero-g on Sunday. From a blog this past Sunday:

We’ll be sharing the Gold Section of the plane with several other guests, making it challenging for Captain Jim to film Kathleen McDonagh dancing in zero-g. I’ve choreographed several sequences for Kathleen. We’re prepared to adapt the movement, and improvise, if need be. Like my Zen teacher wisely told me the first time we met, “Be ready.” I assure you, we are doing our best.

If we’re lucky, each of the 12 weightless parabolas will be 20 to 30 seconds long. I’ve watched footage of past rides and noticed that parabolas can be as short as 16 to 18 seconds each on any given ride. Not a lot of time to dance. But I’ve designed the movements to be broken down into shorter phrases. If we’re lucky, we may get enough time and space on our flight to shoot Kathleen performing the entire dance. It depends on several factors, all out of our control.

This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for since Spider came up from his pit and announced he was going to write a story about a zero gravity dancer. That was 30 years ago. As you can imagine, I’m ready for this ride.

Stardancer Jeanne

From the project’s mainpage:

Wherever humans go, we bring our arts—and in zero-gravity, we will create amazing new forms of art never before seen, as our imaginations are set free by weightlessness.

Stardance combines artistic and humanistic themes with the backdrop of science and space exploration—exemplifying the grandeur, intrigue and promise of space, through the grace of dance unhindered by gravity.

The Stardance Experience is slated to be produced and presented in the 70/15 “Large Format” pioneered by the IMAX® corporation. The film will push the boundaries of the medium, combining live action and digital FX to create an emotional and visceral connection with the audience.

The Stardance Experience intends to reignite humanity’s fire to return to space – to reach ordinary people and communicate the majesty, beauty, mystery and transcendence that await us all, just above our heads: the bliss of the stars. Only from that perspective can we hope to create futures that exemplify the best in humanity.

Our birthright is the propensity to dream, dance, and evolve.

The cynic in me wants to mutter that the world is falling apart, and no one is going to be able to afford to go to space, but the kid who devored science fiction still inside me can only say, “cool”!.

49. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007

CNN is reporting that the Pakistani gov’t is claiming that she wasn’t shot, or hit by shrapnel: she slipped and fell from the moonroof and hit the back of her head.

50. JJB - 28 December 2007

How do you make a dreadful situation even worse? The Bush administration is apparently trying to provide the world with a textbook example:

On Thursday, officials at the American Embassy in Islamabad reached out to members of the political party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, according to a senior administration official. The very fact that officials are even talking to backers of Mr. Sharif, who they believe has too many ties to Islamists, suggests how hard it will be to find a partner the United States fully trusts.

Please note that Mr. Sharif’s political party is being torn asunder by a split between those who take it’s Muslim tenets very seriously, and those who are interested only in paying lip service to it. Mr. Sharif is heading up the latter faction, and the gun battle that killed 4 of his supporters yesterday was part of that intramural party feud.

Please also note that it was Mr. Sharif who oversaw Pakistan’s becoming a nuclear power. As PM he also suspended civil liberties, set up military courts, and dismissed provincial governments with whom he quarreled. He also sent Pakistani troops into Indian held territory to assist some Kashmiri rebels. After they were expelled with heavy losses by the Indian army, India threatened an invasion of Pakistan. It’s also very likely that he conspired with Osama bin Laden in the late 1980s to overthrow Benazir Bhutto’s first government.

Anyone familiar with the goings on in Saigon between late 1963 and early 1965 will feel a sense of deja vu when reading about this.

51. JJB - 28 December 2007

Madman, no. 49,

Very believeable. If only the Warren Commission had thought of that!

52. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007

Oh, so much lazy reporting. CNN is pushing the “your tax refund will be late b/c of that horrible Congress” story for days now. Turns out, only a small percentage of people will be affected

Looks like most Americans will get their tax refunds on time after all.

The Internal Revenue Service, which had warned of processing and refund delays because of Congress’ late passage of the alternative minimum tax bill, said yesterday it will be able to start processing returns for a majority of people as usual in mid-January.

“For most taxpayers, it will be no different from how it’s been done in the past,” said Carol Markman, a partner at Feldman Meinberg & Co., an accounting firm in Syosset.

However, as many as 13.5 million taxpayers will have to wait to file their forms until the IRS reprograms its computers to accept five AMT-related forms. The agency hopes to update its systems by Feb. 11, so at most only 4 million early filers who use these forms would be affected.

The forms include: Form 8863, Education Credits (Hope & Lifetime Learning Credit); Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits; Form 1040A’s Schedule 2, Child and Dependent Care Expenses for Form 1040A filers; Form 8396, Mortgage Interest Credit (for certain low-income filers), and Form 8859, District of Columbia First-Time Homebuyer Credit.

Relatively few people claim these credits, said Alan Dlugash, a partner at Marks Paneth & Shron, an accounting firm with offices in Woodbury and Manhattan. He’s relieved the IRS will be able to process Form 6251, Alternative Minimum Tax-Individuals, on time because that would have affected many more filers.

I notice that many of those schedules seem to affect lower-income filers (judging by the names … I’m no tax expert). Being too lazy to do more research, I can only wonder how “fixing” a tax that only affects people making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year can require a change in the Mortgage Interest Credit.

There are slightly over 300 million people in this country, so if the number affected is right, that’s 4 – 5% of the population. I googled tax refund, and noticed that the stories in the main section of the papers and websites push the scare-mongering version at the top of the story, the business pages tend to give the details at the top.

53. Intermittent Bystander - 28 December 2007

48 – Crikey, what’s next – bad clams? Bird flu?

54. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007

My Rep. is celebrated in The Capital Times:

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, gave her constituents and citizens across Wisconsin a fine holiday gift.

When Moore signed on as the 24th co-sponsor of the articles of impeachment against Vice President Cheney, she confirmed that grass-roots activism — all those phone calls, e-mails and letters sent to congressional offices — really does matter.

Supporters of impeachment had been campaigning since the spring to get Moore — a steady anti-war vote who is one of the most courageous and consistent critics of the administration — to join U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and his allies in demanding that the House hold Cheney to account.

Like U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, who has become a leading advocate for impeachment, Moore has close ties to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. As such, doing the right thing on impeachment has not been easy for the Milwaukee Democrat.

Pelosi says that “impeachment is off the table.” She does so despite the fact that Cheney, with his lies about the reasons for attacking Iraq, his promotion of warrantless wiretapping and torture and his use of his position to organize efforts to punish critics of the administration, has committed high crimes and misdemeanors that place him in clear conflict with his oath of office.

Pelosi’s position is inappropriate. No official can and should call instruments of the Constitution such as impeachment “off the table.”

Pelosi’s position is, as well, politically unwise. By refusing to press for accountability, the speaker has fostered a sense of Democrats as an impotent opposition.

Unfortunately, most House Democrats have chosen to follow Pelosi’s lead. Some have done so out of blind loyalty. Others have done so because the speaker has the power to make things difficult for dissident Democrats.

When Wisconsin activists began pressing this state’s representatives to back Kucinich’s resolution, they were effectively demanding that House Democrats from this state choose between Pelosi and their constituents.

Baldwin chose in August to follow the lead of the people who elect her, rather than the party boss in Washington.

Now, Moore has done the same thing.

55. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007

Attytood: The Musharraf Commission to announce that a lone nut killed Bhutto

It’s too tempting to point out the irony that Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter was in Islamabad last night, waiting for a dinner meeting with Benazir Bhutto that tragically never happened. If the Pakistani authorities want to make this mess go away quickly — and clearly they do — who would be better to consult with than the author of the “Magic Bullet” theory. But Specter’s services apparently aren’t even needed — the Musharraf regime is already to announce the case is closed:

Musharraf initially blamed her death on unnamed Islamic militants, but Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz told The Associated Press on Friday that “we have the evidence that al-Qaida and the Taliban were behind the suicide attack on Benazir Bhutto.”

He said investigators had resolved the “whole mystery” behind the opposition leader’s killing and would give details at press conference later Friday.

Wow, that was quick. Even “Perry Mason” used to take 57 minutes to crack a case. The truth is, when you peel away the layers of the onion that is the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, al-Qaeda and its friends in the Taliban — the people who were nearly wiped out until we shifted our military focus from Afghanistan to Iraq — are one of the major peels. The person or persons who killed Bhutto was no doubt a terrorist — “barbaric animal” might be more appropriate — but was it an al-Qaeda terrorist, or a different stripe?

56. Hair Club for Men - 28 December 2007

Attytood: The Musharraf Commission to announce that a lone nut killed Bhutto

Maybe true but it would also prove that the Pakistani secret service wasn’t paying close attention (probably intentionally). Or they completely suck.

I googled tax refund, and noticed that the stories in the main section of the papers and websites push the scare

Why precisely can’t the government just shut down those “Early Refund Loan” scams? They are lending money against US government refunds.

57. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007

Chris Clarke on SF Zoo:

But you don’t have to be an absolutist to abhor the San Francisco Zoo. Tatiana herself was the center of another incident just a year ago in which she mangled a zoo worker’s arm: cage design was found to be the problem. The outdoor enclosures are ludicrously insufficient for big cats. The zoo has a bad record in keeping large animals of any type. Check out the incomplete incident report at the end of this article, for instance. There’s at least one shameful incident missing from the list, in which visitors were able to steal a koala from the zoo without anyone noticing.

As I imagine many of the people reading this morning’s news story did, I felt rage for a moment at the injured zoo visitors, who it seems may have brought on the attack by taunting Tatiana. It may well be that the rage was uninformed and the article unfair to the victims. But if the speculation turns out to be justified, feeding the survivors to the other cats, though it might serve as a deterrent to such taunting in the future, would be beside the point.

There will always be testosterone-driven idiots in the world. A zoo that does not operate with them in mind is not caring painstakingly enough for its animal charges.

The zoo has its devoted fans, and I assume many of its staff members truly want what’s best for the animals. How could they not? But the zoo itself is explicitly designed for gawking rather than education, for the entertainment of the visitors rather than the emotional health of its animals.

It’s time to shut it down, and to find sanctuaries where the animals can live out the rest of their lives in a less circumscribed and truncated fashion.

And in the meantime there is one less tiger in the world, killed for acting like a tiger.

58. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007

Why precisely can’t the government just shut down those “Early Refund Loan” scams? They are lending money against US government refunds.

Are you kidding? The IRS was PROMOTING them. The last two years filing electronically took you to a page that provided a long list of different “providers”, most of which offered “early refunds” at the very beginning of the process, an offer that was repeated throughout the process.

This year they seem to have gone back to letting you file directly w/ the IRS electronically. I remember reading that there were many complaints about how different it was to file for free under what they were offering (electronic filing is supposed to be free … many of the “providers” made that difficult).

59. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007

oops, “different” was supposed to be “difficult”.

60. marisacat - 28 December 2007

The zoo has a bad record in keeping large animals of any type.

BINGO… this is precisely the problem and has been for decades.

The Zoo has been a barely concealed land grab, frankly. 15 or so years ago management of the Zoo was handed over to a non profit org… but the city is reeling that they will have to share in the law suits… And since AZA saw the area within the past few years, I suspect they too will get sued over the insufficient wall.

The moat (if one believes their figures, the latest ones) was more than is advised (it is 33 ft across) but the wall is the problem, falls far short. They have found concrete in her back claws so ti seems she did scale the wall.

It is clear the cops are NOT comfortable (at least as of yesterday) with the idea the cat(s) were “provoked” or baited. However the two survivors have stated they will have lawyers. hard to know iwth no tapes and no witnesses to the events outside the cat grotto.

61. Hair Club for Men - 28 December 2007

Are you kidding? The IRS was PROMOTING them. The last two years filing electronically took you to a page that provided a long list of different “providers”, most of which offered “early refunds” at the very beginning of the process, an offer that was repeated throughout the process.

So if you’re the kind of person who’d probably use an “early refund loan” you’d actually be better off not getting a refund, or even paying on April 15th. If everything adds up and you end up paying 10 bucks you’re OK. If you get a refund of 500 bucks you wind up paying back 1500 or whatever in interest by the end of the year.

62. marisacat - 28 December 2007

FYI (I find her so bizarre, I will watch):

Clinton will be George Stephanopoulos’ exclusive guest Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week.”

(from The Note)

63. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007
64. marisacat - 28 December 2007

Protect the brand! At all costs!

The Note:

It looks like the Gore-acle is not only not running — he’s looking less and less likely to endorse, as well.

“I think he’ll be extremely sensitive about doing anything that could potentially impact his global brand,” former Al Gore adviser Chris Lehane tells the New York Sun’s Josh Gerstein.

But IF he changes his mind, Gerstein writes, “In Mr. Gore’s circles, Mr. Obama is seen as most likely to get an endorsement.”

65. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007

Chapati Mystery:

Finally, Naim Sahib forwarded his self-termed “angry” analysis. It lies below the fold.

[snip]

Is her death a tragic event? Yes, indeed. For her children, foremost, and then for a whole lot of people who had put faith in her but had no personal stake otherwise. The other kind will soon find another leader to adore. But was it tragic also for the Fate of Democracy in Pakistan? Not necessarily. She inherited the PPP, which her father ran as a personal fiefdom. She ran it the same way. When she went back with the mandate from Washington, she made sure that everyone toed the line, even those who had kept the party going when she was safely sitting in Dubai, London, and New York. And anyone who opposed the total submission to the scheme hatched here, was quickly sidelined and betrayed. The last I heard Aitzaz Ahsan was in jail while she was not. If her death forces the PPP to do some house-cleaning, introduce some democracy within its ranks, work at giving more freedom to its local branches and listening to their needs across the country, her most tragic death can still lead to something good for Pakistan as a whole.

In Bertolt Brecht’s play ‘Galileo’ there is a memorable exchange near the end, after Galileo has ‘recanted’ and saved his life. A friend of his scolds him for not standing up to the Church. My memory say it goes like this:

A friend: Unhappy is the land that lacks a hero.
Galileo: No, unhappy is the land that needs a hero.

Pakistan has had enough of heros in the form ‘irreplaceable’ leaders, ‘martyrs,’ mustached generals, kohl-eyed generals, clean-shaven dogs-loving generals. What Pakistan needs is some humbler being, but none is in view. And if he or she were, the White House would not like him/her at all. After all, they have to fight the GWOT first.

66. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007

via Feminist Law Professors blog:

Women’s Mideast Peace Movement Marks 20 Long Years

JERUSALEM (WOMENSENEWS)–As a Woman in Black, Gila Svirsky says she has been pushed by passersby, called a traitor and a whore, and even targeted with flyers advertising her contact information and urging harm to the “black widows.”

During the last two decades, she has received telephone calls threatening her children and heard gun shots echo as a warning of a caller’s alleged plans for her.

But the 61-year-old Svirsky says she is no longer afraid of such “empty threats,” and she continues to stand every Friday in a Jerusalem square–dressed in black to mourn both Israeli and Palestinian victims–holding up signs that call for an end to Israel’s 40-year military occupation.

Women in Black demonstrations began in Jerusalem weeks after the first Palestinian uprising erupted and soon spread to dozens of locations throughout the country. Dec. 28 marks two decades of weekly protest vigils by a movement that has turned global, with women congregating to fight violence and injustice all over the world, Svirsky says.

The Israeli dissidents–most of them Jews, but also some Arabs–will mark the 20-year anniversary with a special mass vigil in Jerusalem.

The “damn occupation continues and we still have to go out there every Friday because we are trying to remind people that it’s not over,” Svirsky says. “A lot of people think . . . we own the West Bank and we are going to keep it forever. For us, it’s really important to remind people that it’s not ours; it’s Palestinian. We are not going to get peace until we give it back.”

That view is widely disputed here.

“I think there is an occupation. I think there is an occupation by Arabs . . . of the land, which belongs to the Jews, which has been (the case) for thousands of years if you read the Bible,” says Ruth Matar of Women in Green, which formed in 1993 to oppose territorial concessions.

67. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007

Link for Feminist Law Profs … they have good stuff there.

68. bayprairie - 28 December 2007

Here’s a piece by Fatima Bhutto that ran in the LA times Nov. 14th.

Aunt Benazir’s false promises

69. liberalcatnip - 28 December 2007

Hey Miss D,

What can I do with all this beautiful string?

Depends on the weight and type, I suppose. That’s a lot of string! I’d google string crafts or check out a place like craftster.org for some ideas. I could see using it for a mural, covering vases, frames or weaving it into something, for example.

JJB,

I would say we can definitely cross the CIA off the list of suspects in Bhutto’s murder. At this point, she was probably on the payroll,

Yes, but this wouldn’t be the first time the CIA used someone towards their own ends in some grander scheme that they cooked up thus being willing to sacrifice her in the process. Nothing the US gov’t has done to put pressure on Mush has worked when it comes to getting serious about the insurgents in the north. Frankly, I don’t think he’s going to be around much longer either – leaving a dangerous void in the political scene in Pakistan.

As for Sharif, I saw a news crawl blurb yesterday that Bhutto’s family has asked him not to attend Bhutto’s funeral. I don’t know if that’s for security or political reasons.

70. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007

Huckabee calls for border crackdown in response to Bhutto’s assassination

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says the assassination of Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto underscores the need to secure the America’s borders to prevent potential terror attacks here.

“We ought to have an immediate, very clear monitoring of our borders and particularly to make sure if there’s any unusal activity of Pakistanis coming into the country. We just need to be very, very thorough in looking at every aspect of our own security internally because, again, we live in a very, very dangerous time,” Huckabee said during a news conference Thursday night in West Des Moines.

Huckabee called Bhutto’s death is a tragedy, but he suggested she had been a threat to Islamic fundamentalists. “An educated, sophisticated, strong, capable woman leader — that does pose a threat to those who don’t believe that women should be given that platform and that level of equality,” Huckabee said.

Like your followers, Governor?

71. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007
72. marisacat - 28 December 2007

HuckaNutter.

Borders are meaningless when the threat is internal.

God, what a dumb cluck. And iirc he has some sermons he is refusing to release that talk of women being submissive. And his Dominionist buds want women fully withdrawn from the workplace.

bow wow.

73. JJB - 28 December 2007

liberalcatnip, no. 69,

The thing is, we’re no longer putting pressure on Musharraff, we’re trying to dispose of him. The trouble is, with Bhutto gone, there are no likely candidates to replace him with. The whole idea behind returning her to Pakistan was to put pressure on him to be more aggressive in dealing with the Islamic radicals in the border areas – which are only part of Pakistan because the Brits drew a line through southeastern Afghanistan about 110 years ago and added parts of it to their Indian possessions.

The British Empire, the gift that keeps on giving.

74. marisacat - 28 December 2007

I n otice the odd reference here or there, we are looking at Riana again… the “next general up”, head of the mil

Prolly Plan C.

75. melvin - 28 December 2007

60–
A rather unfortunate AZA statement on the SFZoo incident.

Short version: SFZoo is accredited. Accredited zoos are safe.

AZA is yet another good nonprofit that suffers greatly from a lack of any functioning mechanism for dealing with criticism.

76. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007

Clinton mère is calling for an international commission on the Bhutto assassination/”fall”, and just going on and on about how her “experience” will undo the damage done by Bush … Wolfie not pointing out that her “experience” showed her to roll over and give him everything he asked for.

Why do I watch this shit?

77. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007

BTW, it’s a winter wonderland here … the wind is blowing really hard from the east, off Lake Michigan. It’s pretty, in a stuck-in-the-house sort of way.

I can barely remember that there was a time when I would have gone out and PLAYED in this sort of weather.

78. marisacat - 28 December 2007

75 76

she also is going after Obamamamama for politicising the death (which his guy, Axelrod, certainly did do, but hey, they all have).

79. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007

Yup, they all are, including her going on about how she KNEW Bhutto and blah blah blah.

Vile people for a vile society.

80. marisacat - 28 December 2007

melvin,

thanks for that. I read a quote from the man incharge of the national tiger program. Think they were called “amurs” …. it was his decision she be bred at Denver zoo and his decision sh be moved to SF for the opportunity to breed here.

All based on a “safe environment”.

Oh and Newsom is in Hawai’i again. I have not checked SF Gate yet today, but I am sure there are more “dvelopments”. At least new measurements for all surfaces….

81. marisacat - 28 December 2007

Edwards criticises Obamama man Axelrod on Hillary:

“It’s ridiculous. It’s a ridiculous stretch,” said Edwards. “I think in times of international crisis — which this clearly is — what America needs to be doing and serious presidential candidates need to be doing is providing an atmosphere of strength and calm. We need to be a calming influence and not stoking the fire and certainly not be talking about the politics of this.”

via http://tpmelectioncentral.com

Guess they are not ready for kumbayah.

82. liberalcatnip - 28 December 2007

Guess they are not ready for kumbayah.

Hey. As long as everybody keeps shopping, the terrorists lose.

JJB,

In my best impression of a CIA plotter, my supposition was that if Bhutto was assassinated, Bushco could point to the terra-ists (who they’ve already blamed), grab Mush by the collar (publicly) and say ‘Look, you uncooperative bastard: we’re paying your allowance to the tune of billions of flipping dollars so you’d better get a grip on your country or you’ll be the next up to be targeted by one of those ‘terra-ist’ bullets.’ This also sets up a very handy excuse for the US to send in troops to Waziristan for Operation Cleanup despite Mush’s opposition. That’s ‘diplomacy’ – Bush style.

83. liberalcatnip - 28 December 2007

Bush ‘to veto’ troop funding bill:

US President George W Bush is to veto the Defence Policy Bill, a White House spokesman has said.

The veto is in response to a section of the bill that could leave the Iraqi government liable for compensation claims from Saddam Hussein’s victims.

Opposition Democrats have complained that the president’s veto will derail funding for US troops and that concerns should have been raised earlier.

A new version of the bill will now be drawn up and debated early next year.

The bill would have exposed Iraq to “massive liability in lawsuits concerning the misdeeds of the Saddam Hussein regime,” said White House spokesman Scott Stanzel.

“The new democratic government of Iraq, during this crucial period of reconstruction, cannot afford to have its funds entangled in such lawsuits in the United States,” he said.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Saddam Hussein’s victims could have had the Iraqi government’s US-based assets frozen pending the outcome of their cases, the White House said.

Well, gee. Maybe if the military hadn’t lost billions of flipping dollars transported on pallets to Iraq, the Iraqi gov’t would actually have the funds.

The truth is that Bushco never met a lawsuit that it wouldn’t quash with the full force of the boy king’s power.

84. liberalcatnip - 28 December 2007

Bhutto was apparently killed by the car’s sunroof now. Bush declares a Global War on Sunroofs.

85. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007

if Bush is vetoing that bill to protect the gov’t of Iraq, can the donks PLEASE now stop funding the whole fucking mess?

It’s not like they shouldn’t be able to turn any attacks back on a Republican veto, right?

Oh, right … nevermind.

86. Hair Club for Men - 28 December 2007

Not really as strange as it sounds. If there’s an explosion or if the driver of the vehicle was trying to pull away or if he stopped abruptly, it’s basically just like an auto accident without a seatbelt, only here you have solid metal instead of a dashboard or a stearing wheel.

“Trying to duck” sounds as if it could be a bad translation. It’s probably more like she hit the lever and a huge hunk of metal came down on her head.

The more you read about stuff like this the more you realize how so much sheer chance is involved. I think Gavrillo Princips shot at Archduke Ferdinand like 6 times and missed before Ferdinand’s drive doubled back down the street and gave him another shot.

With 9/11, if one alert ticket clerk had raised a fuss, it might have been remembered a bit like the Milenium bomber.

87. melvin - 28 December 2007

86 — Guess it is time for a mjor roundup of the eyewitnesses. Amidst the ones I have heard/seen floating around are doctors describing the bullet wounds in some detail, photogs on scene describing gunshots, pics of here in the car just sticking out, not standing on top of it, etc.

88. Madman in the Marketplace - 28 December 2007

CNN has video of a gun, Three shots, then blast.

89. Hair Club for Men - 28 December 2007

Doesn’t seem to be moving very fast.

90. marisacat - 28 December 2007

well there were several professional photogs, including the Getty one, who photographed thru it and heard the shots, THEN the blast.

Now she may have hit god knows what on the way down… I just saw a non professional video taping done from her left side, must be one of goodness knows how many. His camera slid away as the noise and tumult hit, but I bet others kept filming.

what a mess.

91. Hair Club for Men - 28 December 2007

I can’t believe how the cable news shows are using this to pimp Giuliani.

But note what you’re not hearing. Has anybody heard anybody ask the following question?

Was it a mistake to shift the focus of the “war on terror” from Afghanistan to Iraq?

I haven’t heard this asked once.

92. marisacat - 28 December 2007

well maybe not pundits but that (they voted to forsake the REAL war!! – We don’t have Obama, er Osama!) has been teh core of the rather extreme finger pointing from Axelrod to Hillary (and less so to Edwards)…

it could get hairy [hairier] in Iowa… seems there is some trendline indication (til the next polls come out of course!) that Hillary and Edwards are solidfying as Obama loses some.

The dreaded “early peaking” get mentioned.

May they all bleed to death in the snows and swamps.

93. Hair Club for Men - 28 December 2007

well maybe not pundits but that (they voted to forsake the REAL war!! – We don’t have Obama, er Osama!)

I don’t even see any of the Democratic candidates doing it the way Kerry did in 2004.

But I guess they’re so wedded to the war in Iraq now that if they say “well duh. Kind of stupid letting Bin Laden escape to live in a state with actual nukes to move our military over to a defanged secular state without nukes” it makes them look bad too.

I’m not necessarily defending going into Afghanistan in 2001, but it certainly would have made more sense to draw the Pakistani fundis across the border into a state that the entire world agreed you had a right to go into than inavade Iraq.

Maybe Edwards is saying it. I don’t know. But it feels as if there’s a closer consensus on foreign policy this year than in 2004.

94. liberalcatnip - 28 December 2007

Listening to Obama speak puts me to sleep. He’s much too calculated and careful. Makes you wonder what an authentic Obama would look like and that’s not a Good Thing™.

I haven’t heard this asked once.

Me neither. I wonder why…? Hmmm… Oh yeah… ;)

95. Hair Club for Men - 28 December 2007

MSNBC is saying that the concussion from the blast slammed her head into the metal handle.

96. Hair Club for Men - 28 December 2007

OK. Tweety and Giuliani are now going into the “we should pay more attention to Afghanistan” question and Tweety’s even bashing Bush.

Looks like the media set me up nicely to ask the question they wanted.

97. NYCO - 28 December 2007

MSNBC is saying that the concussion from the blast slammed her head into the metal handle.

So nobody killed her! Whew, what a relief. I thought someone would have to be held responsible. Now the rioters in Karachi can just go home.

98. Hair Club for Men - 28 December 2007

Well it’s pretty obvious that the Pakistani secret service has really piss poor emergency procedures.

The should have had a couple of secret service guys immediately cover her up and bring her down to a safe place as soon as they heard the gunshots.

They knew it was coming. Sounds like negligence approacing negligent homocide. Don’t these guys train for this? Don’t they train their reflexes and their instincts?

99. Miss Devore - 28 December 2007

“The Huffington Post has learned that, in a move bound to create controversy, the New York Times is set to announce that Bill Kristol will become a weekly columnist in 2008. Kristol, a prominent neo-conservative who recently departed Time magazine in what was reported as a “mutual” decision, has close ties to the White House and is a well-known proponent of the war in Iraq”

100. melvin - 28 December 2007

All they will call you will be deportees

Asylum Airways

Asylum Airways, run by an Austrian aviation consultant with ties to British security firms, will operate aircraft for European countries which do not wish to use established airlines for the forced removal of asylum-seekers.
~~~
A special feature will be bespoke aircraft with padded rooms and restraining equipment.

This is intended to avoid aborted deportations on regular commercial airlines caused by the interference of other passengers. No one will even see them – or you – go.

101. marisacat - 28 December 2007

hmm

The gay community in Chicago has come out to call two murders anti gay crimes, one mid November and one 5 days ago, the one on Dec 23 is the Deacon and Choir Director at the Obama church…

Young was found unresponsive in his home about 7:30 a.m. Sunday, police said. Christmas presents and jewelry were missing from his home, authorities said.

Young was a deacon and choir director at Trinity United Church of Christ, 400 W. 95th St., according to a release from the church.

Young conducted choir for two decades at the high-profile black church. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. said Young “lived and breathed music.”

Young also taught fourth grade at Guggenheim Elementary School, 7141 S. Morgan St.

Ponce attempted to contact Young’s family, but they were unavailable for comment.

from the top of the article:

CHICAGO — Leaders of Chicago Black Lesbian and Gay Organizations announced a community alert Thursday morning after two recent homicides in which they believe black gay men were targeted.

102. Miss Devore - 28 December 2007

well, I do remember the accusations against Cardinal Bernadin, that were eventually rejected by the gay community in Chicago.

But I really think tying this to Obama is ludicrous.

103. marisacat - 28 December 2007

oops for Huckabee… I missed this this am.

Mike Huckabee last year accepted $52,000 in speaking fees from a biotech giant that wants to research human embryonic stem cells, a nonprofit working to expand access to the morning after pill and a group pushing to study whether tightening gun control laws will reduce violence.

and WHooooops for Edwards, too

But newly public documents filed with the Federal Election Commission this week show there has also been a hefty infusion of private money behind the efforts of Alliance for a New America, a group that is promoting the candidacy of Democrat John Edwards.

The filing shows that on Dec. 19, the Alliance group received $495,000 from Oak Spring Farms LLC, a corporate entity operating from a posh hotel on Central Park South in New York City. Land records and other documents trace the Oak Spring corporation to Manhattan trust attorney Alexander Forger. Forger holds a power of attorney for Rachel Lambert Mellon, who is 97 years old. Other records and published reports show Oak Spring Farms is controlled by Rachel Mellon.

Mellon, known in social circles as “Bunny,” is the widow of Paul Mellon and daughter-in-law of industrialist Andrew Mellon. Paul Mellon also had a home in Virginia known as Oak Spring Farms.

The same Oak Springs group made a $250,000 contribution to the Edwards-affiliated One America 527 group in 2006. That contribution prompted a report in the New York Sun which raised questions about the way contributions could arrive anonymously. ::slapwa::

104. marisacat - 28 December 2007

102

are they tying it to Obama?

It is only interesting if he is asked about it.

And does badly.

105. marisacat - 28 December 2007

… and scruggs makes for a good break (and is back from hiatus) from the pols and their landlocked drudgery:

[M]y apologies for the unwonted hiatus. I’ve been busy reinventing the reinvention of the progressive movement, with an eye to finding a smidgen of it that hasn’t been immortalized in an epistemopsychosexual exgesis, ontohorticultural disquisition or sociogastrolinguistic survey. It’s not easy, let me tell you. Maybe if I just combined them all. . .

Those long words there really make me think of … triangulation. Twice over.

106. marisacat - 28 December 2007

good post from Craig Crawford on how the Clinton camp is playing the polls to assist her downplaying.

Good points on the latest polls, CC read all 34 pages of the internals.

107. liberalcatnip - 28 December 2007

All the Ron Paul news not fit to print. The so-called paper of record screws up yet again.

108. liberalcatnip - 28 December 2007

Okay. Who invented the word “postracial” and didn’t tell me?

Honestly, that sounds like something Stephen Colbert would come up with since he ‘doesn’t see colour’. When do we hit the “postgender” era?

109. liberalcatnip - 29 December 2007

Robert Fisk’s latest on Bhutto’s assassination:

Weird, isn’t it, how swiftly the narrative is laid down for us. Benazir Bhutto, the courageous leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, is assassinated in Rawalpindi – attached to the very capital of Islamabad wherein ex-General Pervez Musharraf lives – and we are told by George Bush that her murderers were “extremists” and “terrorists”. Well, you can’t dispute that.

But the implication of the Bush comment was that Islamists were behind the assassination. It was the Taliban madmen again, the al-Qa’ida spider who struck at this lone and brave woman who had dared to call for democracy in her country.

Of course, given the childish coverage of this appalling tragedy – and however corrupt Ms Bhutto may have been, let us be under no illusions that this brave lady is indeed a true martyr – it’s not surprising that the “good-versus-evil” donkey can be trotted out to explain the carnage in Rawalpindi.

Who would have imagined, watching the BBC or CNN on Thursday, that her two brothers, Murtaza and Shahnawaz, hijacked a Pakistani airliner in 1981 and flew it to Kabul where Murtaza demanded the release of political prisoners in Pakistan. Here, a military officer on the plane was murdered. There were Americans aboard the flight – which is probably why the prisoners were indeed released.

Only a few days ago – in one of the most remarkable (but typically unrecognised) scoops of the year – Tariq Ali published a brilliant dissection of Pakistan (and Bhutto) corruption in the London Review of Books, focusing on Benazir and headlined: “Daughter of the West”. In fact, the article was on my desk to photocopy as its subject was being murdered in Rawalpindi.

Towards the end of this report, Tariq Ali dwelt at length on the subsequent murder of Murtaza Bhutto by police close to his home at a time when Benazir was prime minister – and at a time when Benazir was enraged at Murtaza for demanding a return to PPP values and for condemning Benazir’s appointment of her own husband as minister for industry, a highly lucrative post.

etc.

Exactly. Her murder has wiped away all of her sins. (Can Chris Matthews possibly fawn MORE over her??)

And Fisk mentions AQ Khan. I don’t know why but his protection by Pakistan and the US has been a thorn in my side. I think there’s much more to his story than we’ll ever really know.

He ends with this which nails it, as usual:

So let’s run through this logic in the way that Inspector Ian Blair might have done in his policeman’s notebook before he became the top cop in London.

Question: Who forced Benazir Bhutto to stay in London and tried to prevent her return to Pakistan? Answer: General Musharraf.

Question: Who ordered the arrest of thousands of Benazir’s supporters this month? Answer: General Musharraf.

Question: Who placed Benazir under temporary house arrest this month? Answer: General Musharraf.

Question: Who declared martial law this month? Answer General Musharraf.

Question: who killed Benazir Bhutto?

Er. Yes. Well quite.

You see the problem? Yesterday, our television warriors informed us the PPP members shouting that Musharraf was a “murderer” were complaining he had not provided sufficient security for Benazir. Wrong. They were shouting this because they believe he killed her.

Exactly.

110. liberalcatnip - 29 December 2007

Get ready for something to blow up (she said, sarcastically): Convicted Guantanamo detainee (Australian David Hicks) walks free from jail.

111. liberalcatnip - 29 December 2007
112. liberalcatnip - 29 December 2007

(Boring) lineups for the Sunday news shows

And with that, I’m off.

Oh yeah – has anyone heard from Tuston?

113. NYCO - 29 December 2007

I always thought that “eight glasses of water a day” thing was b.s. Who on earth drinks that much in the course of a normal day? That’s a LOT of water. I probably drink two to three glasses a day, tops.

114. JJB - 29 December 2007

Former Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif has blamed the current government for Benazir Bhutto’s death:

A former prime minister of Pakistan came and laid a wreath Saturday on the grave of his former political rival.

But just before he did it, Nawaz Sharif blamed the military government of Pervez Musharraf for pulling Pakistan into the “grave crisis” that resulted in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. His words were terse, his eyes dry.

“His policies are responsible,” Mr. Sharif said in an interview on a specially chartered propeller plane that took him to Ms. Bhutto’s ancestral village. “Whether he is responsible or not, an independent commission will have to investigate. No commission can be independent if Musharraf is in charge of this government.”

Mr. Sharif’s antipathy to Mr. Musharraf runs deep. The former general ousted Mr. Sharif in a 1999 coup, which Mr. Sharif tried to prevent by blocking the landing of Mr. Musharraf’s plane in Karachi. Mr. Sharif was tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison for that, though the sentence was later modified to exile in Saudi Arabia, from which he returned last month.

And it seems this incident has increased the possibility that the country may simply break up:

Even political leaders said they noticed a hardening rage against the Punjabi elite that dominates Pakistan’s military and government institutions. The spokesman Mr Babar, himself a Pashtun, one of Pakistan’s other minorities, described the mood as a “strange kind of resentment against the federation itself.” He and other members of the party have warned that the central government under Mr. Musharraf has alienated the three minority provinces and placed dangerous strains on the unity of the country.

“People were shouting slogans,” he said, “The frightening thing was that the federation had lost meaning for them. Yesterday hundreds of thousands of people gathered, they were angry, they were sad, their eyes were full of fire which is hard to describe,” he said.

Well, it was already a ludicrous construct from the start, with an eastern province separated from the main part of the country by something like 1,000 miles of territory, and that now-independent eastern part populated by people who had nothing in common linguistically and ethnically with the majority of their fellow citizens in the western regions (which themselves had all kinds of multi-ethnic/lingual differences). It’s as if Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg were all one province of a federation that included Lithuania as it’s eastern part.

On another note, in the interests of providing an accurate account of historical events, I will note that Gavrilo Princip managed to kill Archduke Ferdinand and his wife on the first attempt. He was part of a group of conspirators who had placed themselves along the procession route in Saravejo that day, and two of his confederates had missed their chance. One lost his nerve because he feared a policeman standing nearby would arrest him (another version I’ve read had him feeling sorry for the Archduke’s wife). The second threw a hand grenade that the Archduke’s driver managed to avoid. It exploded under the following car, seriously wounding two passengers. Later on, the Archduke’s car was taking him to visit with those victims when the driver made a wrong turn. He ended up stalling the car as he attempted to turn around, and came to a halt just a few feet from Princip, who then shot and killed both the Archduke and his wife.

All of this is easily found on the Internet, providing you have the energy to look it up. Or you could crack open one of several books you might own. :-)

115. JJB - 29 December 2007

Think I’m stuck in Moderation/spam.

116. JJB - 29 December 2007

Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki has flown to London to seek medical treatment, apparently for exhaustion and/or heart problems.

This passage from the Fisk article liberalcatnip links to is especially interesting:

Over all this, however, looms the shocking power of Pakistan’s ISI, the Inter Services Intelligence.

This vast institution – corrupt, venal and brutal – works for Musharraf.

But it also worked – and still works – for the Taliban. It also works for the Americans. In fact, it works for everybody. But it is the key which Musharraf can use to open talks with America’s enemies when he feels threatened or wants to put pressure on Afghanistan or wants to appease the ” extremists” and “terrorists” who so oppress George Bush. And let us remember, by the way, that Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter beheaded by his Islamist captors in Karachi, actually made his fatal appointment with his future murderers from an ISI commander’s office. Ahmed Rashid’s book Taliban provides riveting proof of the ISI’s web of corruption and violence. Read it, and all of the above makes more sense.

Messrs. Fisk and Ali, meet Peter Dale Scott.

117. JJB - 29 December 2007

Juan Cole has a very good round up of what’s going on in Pakistan. It seems that Karachi, the country’s largest city, former capital, and most important sea port is virtually shut down and sealed off from the outside world. Also note this report, from a commenter:

I just spoke with my friend who lives in Larkana. He reports that everything in Larkana that was gov’t connected is now destroyed. This includes banks, gov’t cars and trucks, and hotels. My friend said individuals are not in danger of being hurt, nor are their homes or personal property. The violence and destruction are 100% aimed at destroying anything connected with the Musharraf gov’t. There are no police patrols in Larkana. The police have gone home. It is now completely lawless. The only “law” is that you destroy only things connected with the gov’t.

With that in mind, there does not seem to be any way for the Musharraf gov’t to continue.

118. Miss Devore - 29 December 2007

I wonder what will become of US plans to send troops to Pakistan. “Early 2008″ was the time given. Was it expected that Bhutto would be in power post january 8?

119. liberalcatnip - 29 December 2007

I saw a live report by CNN’s Peter Bergen last nite (early morning in Pakistan) where he commented on how eerily quiet it was where he was. Not sure if it was Karachi.

With that in mind, there does not seem to be any way for the Musharraf gov’t to continue.

So, will Bush throw Mush to the wolves or keep propping him up? At this point, it seems he doesn’t have much choice considering the nukes involved.

120. Miss Devore - 29 December 2007

Avoid the camel dip at your New year’s parties:

http://tinyurl.com/22umv6

121. liberalcatnip - 29 December 2007

Who on earth drinks that much in the course of a normal day?

I’m with you there. If I drank that much water, I’d spend the entire day in the can. (TMI, I know.)

Ewww…camel meat. I suppose it tastes like chicken?

122. marisacat - 29 December 2007

2 from JJB out of Moderation…

Comments 114 and 116

Sorry! for the delay…

8)

123. liberalcatnip - 29 December 2007

JJB, #116

meet Peter Dale Scott.

Interesting stuff on his site as well. Thanks for that link.

124. liberalcatnip - 29 December 2007

The Iowa Caucus Con.

Beyond that, I’m quite sick of the way the Iowa caucuses have been touted as being as important as the actual election day. CNN sure was quick to scale down its coverage of the Bhutto death to move right back into what Joe/Jane Candidate is doing in Iowa – as if any of that is actual news or really matters in the scheme of things. You’d think that whoever wins Iowa wins the election.

125. Ever onward…… « Marisacat - 29 December 2007

[...] a timely link from JJB in the previous thread… we are lost in deep politics and [...]

126. marisacat - 29 December 2007

up up and away… LOL

LINK


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