Labor Dept. April Job Growth Under Fire

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.


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If Rumsfeld goes, Bush should go, too

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.
[emphasis added]

If Rumsfeld goes, Bush should go, too []

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Nick Berg’s Murderer Given 3 Passes by Bush

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

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GASP! Drudge Slams “Liberal Media”

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):

New Yorker Iraq Soldier

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.
Take care!

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College Students Denied from Voting Locally

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.

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Bush in 2002: No International Criminal Court Agreement from U.S.

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!

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FBI Flagged Video Game Character as High Threat

From USNews:

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.

[via Techdirt]

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Militants Behead in Retaliation for Prisoner Abuse

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!”

[emphasis added]

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


Daily Show on Torture Videos

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 links went down).

Video 1: Giant Messopotamia

Video 2: Rob Courddry On The US Torture Of Iraqi Prisoners

Quicktime format.

[via Boing Boing]

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It’s not Prisoner Abuse, it’s Art Inspiration

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]

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Bush says Rumsfeld doing a “Superb Job!” and it’s not even Opposite’s Day

Rumsfeld shuffling papersBush 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)]

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Clueless Technophobes: Rumsfeld Explains Abu Ghraib

I ran across an interesting little site called 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.”


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iTorture Edition: Tasteless German Editorial Pages

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 ]

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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!”


American Dynamics thinks that this is just a test run of articles before the announcement of the Onion-Time Magazine merger.

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Urban Renewal Edition: Rumsfailed

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.


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Torturing the Truth

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.

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Software upgrade, please stand by

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 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.

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Yesterday’s War Crimes are Today’s Reprimands

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.


Draft? Bush and Kerry Both say Yes

Note: this article contains dead links, the url is still in the hover/alt text. Keep the web working, curate content well!

There’s talk of a draft coming, but it isn’t like your daddy’s Vietnam draft… it’s a kinder and gentler world, where men and women age 18-34 (you read that right, 34) not only register with the Selective Service System, but regularly keep them up-to-date with their skills. It may only sound like hot air blowing through Congress, until you realize the information was pulled straight from the SSS via a FOIA request.

You may be thinking that, shucks, maybe it isn’t a bad idea after all, because we always need to be “maintaining a national inventory of American men and, for the first time, women, ages 18 through 34, with an added focus on identifying individuals with critical skills,” but to some of us who believe in the Bill of Rights, that smacks of Fourth Amendment infringement which says:

IV – The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Now, I’m all in favor of protecting America, and would have no problem picking up an M16 A2 service rifle and shooting anyone who threatened my way of life, and it’s why I supported the war in Afghanistan after 9-11. You send people into my house and try to hurt me, and I will go to your cave and blow it up, simple as that. But Iraq faltered in making that same level of sense. In fact the case for war was built thinly and only through a draft would the Bush administration be able to send troops anywhere without causing massive revolts.

That’s the score on Bush, he’s in favor of the draft, but he’s going to bide his time and hope he can get re-elected, after which he can slyly push it through. Kerry on the other hand, is even more clever, he would definitely like to see it, but making it mandatory in high school students before they are even 18. Way to indoctrinate America’s youth, Kerry. The word “mandatory” was removed from Kerry’s site after Libertarian candidate Aaron Russo pointed the spotlight on the issue.

It’s clear where both Kerry and Bush stand on drafts and mandatory service. Both of them are political scum.

Again, I want to reiterate that I fully respect and commend the soldiers who serve our country, even if our leaders are narrow-minded and send them to war under false pretenses. One of the gravest travesties of the Vietnam era was the vilification of Veterans instead of investigating the source of the crimes. As with the 6 soldiers in Iraq who should be charged with war crimes, but instead received a slap on the wrist, Vietnam had soldiers who did not want to be there, and behaved badly, we simply canot paint the entire military with that wide brush of vilification.

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War Crimes in Iraq

By now you’ve probably seen the photos of American soldiers doing some pretty heinous stuff to Iraqi prisoners. I saw it last week and my initial thought was: “what the fuck is wrong with those people?”

So again, the Memory Hole launches a media frenzy, and with good cause. And the issue resurfaced again today as I’m listening to Glenn Beck on the way to work (no permalink, audio date is 5/3/04, hour 2). He had some good insight, saying that we “shouldn’t fight evil with evil” and he wishes “280 million people could line up at the airport to spit on those soldiers” who are responsible for these actions. I agree with the sentiment, but the reality is that there is a perfectly reliable recourse for these actions, it’s called a war crimes tribunal.

If we are going to hold Saddam’s old regime responsible for their war crimes, we sure as hell better hold our own people to the same fire. It sends a powerful and lasting message when you purge a few bad apples while the world community watches.

For a similar opinion, check out American Dynamics: Iraq Torture, Beyond the Images. I’ve been following his site for a couple of weeks now and I have to say I’ve been impressed with the reason he displays. It’s good to see another New Yorker magazine fan, he’ll be a welcome addition to my blogroll.

UPDATE: woops, I screwed up the date on the Glenn Beck audio date (I timewarped to 5/5/04 for some reason)… You can now listen to the archive online… Hour 2 is all I heard, but I’m including links to all 3 hours: Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3.


Why Freeways in America Suck

I found this little tool where you can screw around with road signs, so here’s what I came up with. [via Blogdex]

My beef with the current system is twofold: a) everyone already breaks the ludicrous 65mph limit (at least here in Atlanta); b) the people who aren’t breaking the speed limit are always blocking the “fast lane”.

Now, this isn’t the Autobahn, because if it was, flashing my lights at the dumbass in his SUV who is pacing the car in the lane to his right would cause him to speed up a little and get out of the way. Common courtesy. No, while that moron drives oblivious of the traffic around him, five other cars and myself are passing on the right, two lanes away. Obviously it’s not as safe if drivers would be more alert.

Consider the fact that there are 5-6 freaking lanes (including HOV, which I would abolish), and this system would work pretty well. Hell, the average speed here is already around 80mph, and most people aren’t going to abuse this anymore than they already abuse the speed laws. Consider that traffic would just flow so much better if people got pulled over more often for going too damn slow!

Consider that… and realize that this makes so much freaking sense that this will never happen in our litigious happy America.

UPDATE: Bob sent me some links to his site where he wrote about this… I liked this one, where a cop actually pulls over the speed-lane hog. Score one for rational justice.

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O’Reilly is a Little Bitch

This little op-ed piece by Bill O’Relly in the NY Daily News made me laugh: High-level dodge ball (Pols shop around for shows that ask only easy questions).

It’s funny because he’s shocked… SHOCKED! that Rumsfeld won’t come on his show and answer his questions:

Why didn’t your Defense Department warn the country that the aftermath of the war in Iraq could be very bloody? Was it another intelligence failure?

Suddenly, it looks like O’Reilly is coming out swinging for the Bush administration. What happened? Did Bill get kidnapped by feminists who fed him the Liberal Kool-Aid?

No, this is easily explained, you see, O’Reilly is an opportunist Republican, and he can see that their ship is sinking as the flow of truth is coming over the stern faster than they can haul it out with buckets full of lies. An apt anology, considering Bill is merely a rat deserting early.

He likes to abuse his moniker as head of the “No Spin Zone”, but in fact he’s spinning himself, lauding the invasion a year ago, then coming to terms with the absense of WMDs. It’s no suprise many reasonable people find him to be little more than a big blubbering vagina (humorous and completely safe for work).

Oh well, he’ll probably become another born-again Libertarian like Niel Boortz. Another slobbering sycophant who sucks up to the current leaders when the shift is in their favor, then slithers off when it becomes obvious that the shit has hit the fan. Selah!

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China to Kim Jong-il: Boom

By now you have heard about the giant explosion near the North Korea/China border that may have killed upwards of 3,000 people and created a catastrophe in and around Ryongchon, North Korea.

Well now, let’s revisit my prediction from earlier this week: The Imminent Assassination of Kim Jong-il [Stephen VanDyke]

Doesn’t sound so far-fetched now does it?

Was this explosion a message to Jong-il, or was it merely coincidence? It’s unclear:

Almost immediately following the crash of the two trains, one carrying oil and the other liquefied petroleum, rumors spread that it could have been a deliberate attempt on Kim’s life.

But senior U.S. Defense Department officials told Fox News there wasn’t any information to substantiate such theories and the collision was more likely a tragic accident.


Analysts differed on whether the incident was planned.

“If it was an assassination attempt, it was a poor one,” John Wolfsthal of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (search) told Fox News. He said it was doubtful because of the nine-hour difference between when Kim passed through and when the collision and explosion occurred.

Mass Casualties Feared in N. Korea Train Blast [FoxNews]

Basically, the media doesn’t know jack squat. North Korea is keeping hush and has even gone so far as to cut phone lines out of Ryongchon. This may indeed have been a botched attempt on Jong-il’s life, or it could have been successful and no one knows it yet (there have been no public appearances since the explosion).

So far, the only word from North Korea has been a plea for aid and what could be a downplaying of the death toll:

Britain’s Foreign Office quoted North Korean officials putting the death toll at several hundred in the blast that razed part of the town of Ryongchon, near the Chinese border.

“North Korean officials are saying there are several hundred dead and several thousand injured,” the Foreign Office spokeswoman told Reuters in London.

N.Korea Says Hundreds Killed in Blast, Wants Help [Reuters]

If this turns out to be an actual assassination attempt, it came from China with a nod from the U.S.

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