The $41.22-per-barrel price is at its highest in the 21 years since the New York Mercantile Exchange launched the contract. The last major spike occurred during the Iranian revolution in which the adjusted-for-inflation price was $78-per-barrel. In explaining what has caused the prices to continue to climb, Dennis Kongsiri, vice president at Mitsui & Co Energy Risk Management in Sydney said:
“If you look at the way this market is rallying, it’s been broad-based and gradual, relentlessly going higher supported by a strong products market and solid refining margins,
As long as the world economy does not go into recession, it could be the case that the days of cheap oil are over,”
“Yeah, we could probably hit $78 in another couple of years.”
The OPEC cartel is expected to increase quotas to at least 1.5 million bpd in their June meeting, but that would do little more than justify the overages in exports that are already occurring.
Just drill ANWR already. We’re acting like junkies trying to get our fix of crack from an abusive dealer, not that it helps that quite a few of us are using crack pipes the size of a ditch drainage line.
Also, seen today: A Hummer H2 towing a 100-gallon gas tank, replete with gas nozzle. I wish I’d had my camera.
Jimmie Mac of AngryFinger.org has put together a good timeline on the events leading up to Nick Berg’s death:
- 3/07/04 FreeRepublic.com released on it’s forum a post called, “HERE IS THE ENEMY — they have posted their names” on that list is Nick Berg’s father and the name of their company Michael S. Berg, Teacher, Prometheus Methods Tower Service, Inc., West Chester, PA. When Nick went back to Iraq in March he traveled with his passport for business purposes under the name “Prometheus Methods Tower Service.”
- 3/24/04 Nick Berg’s daily communications home stopped on March 24, when he was jailed by Iraqi officials at a checkpoint in Mosul.
- 3/31/04 FBI agents visited Berg’s parents in West Chester on March 31 and told the family they were trying to confirm their son’s identity.
- 4/05/04 The Bergs filed suit in federal court in Philadelphia, contending that their son was being held illegally by the U.S. military in Iraq.
- 4/06/04 The next day, April 6, Nick Berg was released.
- 5/11/04 Video of Nick Berg’s execution is posted on Muntada al-Ansar website.
- 5/12/04 Americans deny holding Berg despite claims by family; body returns home
- 5/13/04 E-Mail From Consul Confirms Berg Was in U.S. Military Hands: “I have confirmed that your son, Nick, is being detained by the U.S. military in Mosul. He is safe. He was picked up approximately one week ago. We will try to obtain additional information regarding his detention and a contact person you can communicate with directly,” the e-mail said.
He thinks there is something shady about the US denying holding Nick Berg in military custody (which does seem incredibly suspect):
Why was the US Military so adamant about denying having Nick Berg in custody? When even the US consulate in Iraq says he was in US Military custody.
He says he’ll keep updating the timeline as new information comes to light.
Nick Berg’s Iraq Timeline [AngryFinger.org]
Questions Surround Berg Video
Nick Berg’s Murderer Given 3 Passes by Bush
Militants Behead in Retaliation for Prisoner Abuse
Jayson Blair, of New York Times’ make-shit-up-and-hope-no-one-will-notice infamy, has officially dropped off the radar screen of the latest trend of cashing in on bad deeds by writing books about it. His book, “Burning Down My Master’s House”, sold a whopping 1,386 copies through March 18th. New Millenium, the publishing house which undersigned Blair’s book, has changed from Chapter-11 bankruptcy to Chapter-7, in which it will have to liquidate it’s holdings in order to pay off debts.
Blair’s book has suffered from denigrating reviews and low sales. Here’s one Amazon.com review of the book:
“Unlike the pieces Jayson Blair ‘reported’ for the New York Times, this laborious account of the aftermath of his infamous crash ‘n’ burn is way too boring to be anything but the real deal. (Okay, he does try to commit suicide in a coffee shop restroom–but, conveniently, he changes his mind and there are no witnesses.)”
You know things are pretty bad you’re trying to slit your wrists with the plastic lid of a latté in a Starbucks. I have to empathize a little, because hey, I’d kill myself too if I had just paid $3 for a shitty latté.
The (Publishing) House That Blair Helped Close [MetaFilter]
Publisher’s story ends: Liquidation for Jayson Blair house New Millennium [New York Daily Post]
Wow, this is a surprise; I guess those of us who write a letter to our congress-critter to tell them that PATRIOT sucks is finally paying off. The Hill reports that a group of Republicans in Congress is blocking President Bush’s effort to strengthen domestic counter-terrorism laws and reauthorize the USA Patriot Act:
Fifty-eight lawmakers, including six Republicans, have co-sponsored legislation sponsored by Rep. Butch Otter (R-Idaho) in the House that would rein in aspects of the Patriot Act.
Maybe the tide is turning and we are going to see some further rational legislation concerning terrorism enforcement. You know, like making sure we’re not locking people up for years without trials and other unconstitutional things.
Presidential push fails to quell GOP fear of Patriot Act [The Hill]
In a somewhat humorous editorial snafu, three editors of the Boston Globe overlooked or approved pornography photos which simulated rape acts. The photos–vetted by the Arab propaganda site Albasrah.net and a Tunisian website produced in France by Committee for the Defense of Saddam Hussein [Comit de D'fonce de Saddam Hussein En Tunisie]–were debunked as frauds last week by WorldNetDaily:
A WND investigation has revealed that most of the photos are taken from the American pornographic website “Iraq Babes,” and the Hungarian site, “Sex in War,” which is linked to by the American site. Both websites are linked to by violent pornography sites and both describe Iraqi women — played by “actresses” — in vulgar terms.
The Boston Herald has jumped on the story enthusiastically in what appears to be a chance to sling a little well deserved mud at it’s local competing newspaper.
Globe caught with pants down: Paper duped into running porn photos [Boston Herald]
Bogus GI rape photos used as Arab propaganda [WorldNetDaily]
Globe publishes apology for fake ‘GI rape’ photos [WorldNetDaily]
UPDATE: NewsDesigner has more info and uh, context or something. Okay, really I was just suckered by the great headline: The Boston (Boom-Chicka-Wow-Wow) Globe.
UPDATE **EXCLUSIVE**: The fake porn images fobbed as torture photos have been found. At first glance you will probably see that the uniforms are not the same as those worn by soldiers in Iraq, these appear to be surplus.
NOTE – GRAPHIC CONTENT (NOT ACTUAL IRAQ ABUSE PHOTOS)
image 1 image 2 image 3 image 4 image 5 image 6 image 7 image 8 image 9
The New York Post has a story that casts doubt on the 288,000 newly created jobs that were flaunted in April:
Without those extra 117,000 make-believe jobs, the total growth for April would have been just 171,000 – sub-par for an economy that’s supposed to be growing at more than 4 percent a year, but right on the pros’ targets.
Take away all 270,000 make-believe jobs and, well, you have the sort of pessimism that the political pollsters are seeing.
If I was the suspicious type (and if I thought Washington was smart enough), I’d suspect a nasty motive behind the sudden surge in these mystery jobs. But for now, let’s just acknowledge their existence.
The ramifications of this are not good at all, large jumps in job growth can trigger the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates when a recovery is not properly in place. Rising interest rates and a lackluster employment rate is a causic mixture, especially leading up to a presidential election.
WHAT ARE THEY SMOKING AT THE LABOR DEPT.? [NY POST]
The Libertarian Party has issued a statement saying Rumsfeld is not the only person who should be held accountable:
“As a direct result of [Congress'] actions, more than 700 U.S. soldiers are dead and thousands of American families are grieving. Iraqi prisoners are being tortured and abused in clear violation of international law, and our enemies are retaliating with televised executions of American civilians.”
Under those circumstances, no one should be surprised that politicians are looking for a scapegoat, Libertarians point out.
“Either Rumsfeld knew how prisoners were being treated and did nothing, or he didn’t know about it — and in either case he’s not qualified to be defense secretary,” Seehusen said. “Nevertheless, Rumsfeld is but one bureaucratic cog in a massive war machine, and swapping him out for another cog answerable to the same commander-in-chief won’t affect the course of the war.”
If Rumsfeld goes, Bush should go, too [lp.org]
Nick Berg’s murderer, Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant with ties to al-Qaida was not the only person culpable for his death. The Bush administration had the chance to assassinate Zarqawi on 3 seperate occations between June 2002 and January 2003. It was seen as an unacceptable idea to take out either Zarqawi–now blamed for more than 700 terrorist killings in Iraq–or the terrorist camp he operated in Kirma, in Northern Iraq, because the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam.
To this I respond: “George Bush, you and your administration, through your clemency for a known terrorist who you allowed to operate with impunity due to dirty politicking, are just as guilty of Nick Berg’s murder as Zarqawi himself. I have unmasked the other four terrorists in the video, and it is you.”
Avoiding attacking suspected terrorist mastermind [MSNBC]
But he got his war! [WatchBlog]
Questions Surround Berg Video
Nick Berg Timeline
Militants Behead in Retaliation for Prisoner Abuse
Drudge Report has one of his special pages up with two pictures of different soldiers posing with Iraqi children. One even has flowers in his helmet and flak jacket. I’ll reproduce them here (to show that at least I’m not biased against good news):
He had this to say about the images:
Here’s images you will not see in the NEW YORKER or on 60 MINUTES:
American soldiers welcomed as heros in Iraq!
Well, lo’ and behold, The New Yorker actually has posted positive news on Iraq, witness from this picture from the New Yorker website
(sorry, I couldn’t locate the original article):
Behold the power of the Internet (thanks to You_mean_Im_gonna_stay_this_color from TotalFark).
UPDATE: Mike Hindes responds:
Hello, great site :)
I got it from this article,
The New Yorker actually does not post too many pictures online, but behold, some of those few are positive. If people like Drudge are going to go out of their way to make a point like this over 1 or 2 ‘posed’ pictures some troops sent them, then I will try to make sure they have the facts straight.( In addition, the picture I providied is not posed like his pictures.) Another note, I was watching MSNBC last night, and they did a whole segment on actor Gary Sinise, and how he is helping the children of Iraq, along with the troops. They had MANY wonderful shots of troops helping children and happy childeren greeting troops and Gary himself. And this was on ‘liberal’ MSNBC. We all know the bad stuff sells, and all networks are going to show it for that reason, but good is shown and I do see it all the time.
Rolling Stone has an article detailing how many local election boards are doing everything they can to keep college students from voting:
From New Hampshire to California, officials have designed complex questionnaires that prevent college students from registering, hired high-powered attorneys to keep them off the rolls, shut down polling places on campuses and even threatened to arrest and imprison young voters. Much as local registrars in the South once used poll taxes and literacy tests to deny the vote to black citizens, some county election officials now employ an intimidating mix of legal bullying and added paperwork to prevent civic-minded young people from casting ballots.
This also presents problems for national and state votes, since it means they would have to travel “home” in order to vote. With a system like this intended to disenfranchise a large group of voters who are usually very vocal, it flies in the face of anyone who claims that the younger generation is apathetic towards politics.
Here’s an interesting quote from Bush in 2002 [via WRH]:
“The International Criminal Court is troubling to the United States,” Bush told reporters following a tour at a Milwaukee church. “As the United States works to bring peace around the world, our diplomats and our soldiers could be drug into this court, and that’s very troubling — very troubling to me.”
With a little Google digging, I found this gem of a reason for not agreeing to the court:
“We’ll try to work out the impasse, but the one thing we’re not going to do is sign on to this International Criminal Court. President Clinton signed this treaty, but when he signed it he said it should not be submitted to the Senate. It therefore never has been, and I don’t intend to submit it either” (US Mission to the EU, July 2, 2003)
So really it’s Clinton’s fault, and Bush just wanted to make sure we don’t fix any of Clinton’s mistakes. If it’s good enough for 9/11, it’s good enough for me!
It was the lead item on the government’s daily threat matrix one day last April. Don Emilio Fulci described by an FBI tipster as a reclusive but evil millionaire, had formed a terrorist group that was planning chemical attacks against London and Washington, D.C. That day even FBI director Robert Mueller was briefed on the Fulci matter. But as the day went on without incident, a White House staffer had a brainstorm: He Googled Fulci. His findings: Fulci is the crime boss in the popular video game Headhunter. “Stand down,” came the order from embarrassed national security types.
Dr Claw however, still remains at large and is considered an extremely dangerous terrorist mastermind.
A militant Islamic group with purported ties to Al Qaida had posted a video of a beheading of an American prisoner:
“After reading a statement, the men were seen pulling the man to his side and putting a large knife to his neck. A scream sounded as the men cut his head off, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar!’ ‘God is great.’ They then held the head out before the camera.”
They claim that they attempted to exchange the hostage–Nick Berg of Philadelphia–for some detainees held in Abu Ghraib:
“For the mothers and wives of American soldiers, we tell you that we offered the U.S. administration to exchange this hostage with some of the detainees in Abu Ghraib and they refused,” one of the men read from a statement.
Click Here for more Enduring Freedom Headlines
“So we tell you that the dignity of the Muslim men and women in Abu Ghraib and others is not redeemed except by blood and souls. You will not receive anything from us but coffins after coffins … slaughtered in this way.”
The fact is, even though both torturing and retaliation are wrong, this is now an expected response and the military abuse has only contributed to the righteousness these militants feel when they commit these horrible murders.
Tom Tomorrow has more on the subject:
“…the Fox news anchors waste no time in exploiting this: see, the terrorists do far worse things than happened at Abu Ghraib. No one contests this, of course, but what a pathetic standard it sets: Americans–not as bad as al Qaeda!”
UPDATE: The video is floating around, it’s exactly what you expect it to be, a horrible act against an unsuspecting man. If you want to see it, you can watch it at Consumption Junction (warning: link is NSFW, porn banners). It’s really really really really bad, and really felt sick after seeing it, but somehow I knew that I should see it. It’s hard to explain my feelings on this, but it’s apparent that this is the people we need to be finding and locking up instead of wasting our time torturing petty looters in Abu Ghraib.
Questions Surround Berg Video
Nick Berg Timeline
Nick Berg’s Murderer Given 3 Passes by Bush
Jon Stewart and The Daily Show did a few segments on the Abu Ghraib prisoner torture scandal. Thanks to Lisa Rein for hosting the videos (the archive.org links went down).
Video 1: Giant Messopotamia
Video 2: Rob Courddry On The US Torture Of Iraqi Prisoners
[via Boing Boing]
Baghdad’s art scene show US abuse, one 2-month old piece depicts a naked man in a hood that looks strikingly similar to some of the photos that have circulated from Abu Ghraib:
‘We knew what went on at Abu Ghraib,’ the artist Abdul-Kareem Khalil said on Saturday. ‘The pictures did not surprise me.’
Well that explains the whole thing now: the MPs weren’t actually abusing prisoners, they were just posing them for the local artists (in order to stimulate the Baghdad art economy). Those CIA men are so considerate of the local artists needs.
[via American Dynamics]
Bush spoke at a press conference today and congratulated Rumsfeld, saying: “You are doing a superb job.”
I was tempted to post one of the pictures of the MPs giving the thumbs up and congratulating Rumsfeld as well, but as cynical as I am, I can’t bring myself to use those pictures in mockery of this administration. It’s base and even I can’t stand those kinds of jokes.
The fact is, Rumsfeld and his generals tried to cover this mess up three times and it took photographic proof to surface for them to even acknowledge that oh… maybe there was a huge fucking torture problem in Iraq.
I’m not going to rush to make political hay out of this (like a certain senator whose name starts with “J” and ends with “ohn Kerry”), but it wouldn’t be overly eager of a court to subpoena memos from Rumsfeld’s office on the subject of Iraq prisoners and determine whether he should answer questions about what he knew and why it was allowed to continue. At the very least he is likely to be culpable of conspiracy to defy Geneva conventions (or whatever the official charge may be).
Speaking of Geneva conventions, why hasn’t anyone brought them up? I hear a lot of invectives being thrown around at these MPs who were complicit in following CIA and Military Intelligence orders, but I don’t hear anything about war crimes… if the shoe fits, we better not play the hypocrite in front of the world.
But then again, maybe that’s what Bush means when he says “superb job”. Rumsfeld has done a superb job of making sure that no one realizes just how war tribunal illegal this whole fiasco is.
[Image Caption: Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld finishes his opening remarks as he testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill Friday, May 7, 2004, in Washington. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)]
I ran across an interesting little site called AngryFinger.org while browsing the Politics section of Open TotalFark.
Jimmy Mac dissected a quote that Rumseld made recently:
“people are running around with digital cameras and taking these unbelievable photographs and then passing them off, against the law, to the media, to our surprise, when they had not even arrived in the Pentagon.”
His response nail exactly why I have indignation at this administration even though they have apologized:
“If you were in the hotseat that Rumsfeld’s in and the thing you were talking about had such devastating worldwide implications for the US, wouldn’t you be saying along the lines of, ‘I’m just thankful that these photos made it out of Iraq and were brought to my attention, I’m sorry that it took me until the media got a hold of the story to actually do anything about it, but thankfully, now I’ll have the opportunity to punish this completely unacceptable behavior.’”
“Not Rummy, he just wants to blame the soldiers and the digital camera’s for stirring up all this shit, instead of doing what he should have done in the first place, had he actually not tried to cover it up, being grateful that the pictures came out and exposing such unacceptable behavior.”
Maybe it was intentional, maybe it wasn’t, but it seems that The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung ran an editorial photo of one of the torture photos in a manner which made it look like an iPod advertisement.
I’ve included the actual photo (top) and simply added the missing elements to illustrate how close this image is to pop-culture insanity.
[BoingBoing: German newspaper iPod/torture mashup ]
If this email to Pentagon staff regarding the Taguba report doesn’t epitomize the bureaucratic meltdown going on in the government, then nothing does:
“If you have accessed this document on the Internet, CALL POLICY IT SECURITY IMMEDIATELY!”
“THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS REPORT IS CLASSIFIED; DO NOT GO TO FOX NEWS TO READ OR OBTAIN A COPY.”
American Dynamics thinks that this is just a test run of articles before the announcement of the Onion-Time Magazine merger.
Apparently blogging on that Intarweb thingy is just so darn confusing. This guy wanted to avoid the difficult process of uh… typing, and instead “freeway blogs”:
The cost is relatively cheap, but trackbacks could be problematic:
The signs on this page were seen by over four million Californians. They cost a total of $35 to make.
L. Neil Smith has an interesting Libertarian piece up at The Libertarian Enterprise: Torturing the Truth. My favorite quote in the entire article (with context, so you know the qualifier):
That truth is simply this: it isn’t the Moslems who came to the west to push us around, steal our resources, sneer at our customs and beliefs, depose our leaders and replace them with puppets, reshape our political institutions, or redraw our national borders to suit their own foul purposes. No, that’s what we Europeanoids have been doing to them.
Get this through your head right now, because it’s not going to go away, no matter how much you may hate being compelled to recognize it. It’s a fact that will largely determine the shape of the 21st century. Americans and Europeans are the aggressors in this conflict, and what happened in New York on September 11, 2001, was an act of long-delayed retaliation.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not one of those liberal detractors of Western Civilization we hear of from time to time, mostly from their entrenched positions within academia. I happen to like most aspects of Western Civilization. The problem is, what this government is doing in Iraq and Cuba is not what Western Civilization is supposed to be all about. In fact, it represents a hideous slide backward into the Dark Ages.
The article is also being run on Aaron Russo’s blog, L. Neil Smith is the Campaign Advisor.
I decided to upgrade to the latest version of WordPress, which meant I had to blow away the old design for the time being because I had tweaked the crap out of it… what this means is that you are either looking at the WP default layout, or a really borked looking version of the old layout (hit refresh or click this link and refresh).
Everything still works, but it will look kinda odd until I can cobble it back together.
Also, this is fair warning that I am about to turn off comments. I never get any anyways, so why should I bother to enable something that isn’t used. This will be the last post with comments.
UPDATE: I am working on the rebranding/redesign of the site, for the time being you will have to grin and bear the crappy design for a while (a week at the most). Here is a peek at the new design for anyone who is interested. This should the the last iteration of design changes for a while, I don’t plan on modifying WordPress much outside of the index page (slightly) and the CSS file. I have owned hammeroftruth.com and had it redirect to this site for some time, but now I intend to use it as my own brand. There will not be any need to update your bookmarks, both domains will be identical.
UPDATE2 (5/10): Ok, the new layout is in place, I will continue to tweak certain parts and eventually get Google Ads running again (one version for the main page and another for permalinks once I can figure out what the friggin code to differentiate between frontpage items and permalink items is in WordPress. The new format also means that I should be posting more than once a day now if I see fit.
Ironically, the next paragraph in the January 2003 SotU address, President Bush had this to say to the Iraqi people:
And tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country — your enemy is ruling your country. (Applause.)
More information is coming out surrounding the torture and abuse at the Abu Ghraib military prison in Iraq. There were way more than 6 soldiers involved, including CIA operatives who sanctioned and encouraged the abuse to “soften them up” and civilian contractors who had access to prisoners and may have engaged in torture as well. As it was put so succinctly at the end of the New Yorker article, Torture at Abu Ghraib: “Do you really believe the Army relieved a general officer because of six soldiers? Not a chance.”
Also, the US Army Report on Torture of Iraqis in Abu Ghraib Prison is being circulated, and documents many many instances of abuse and willful ignorance of abuse and torture up the chain of command.
The punishment for these “abhorrent” acts? Severe reprimands for 6 officers. Pathetic.