Treymane Durham Loves KFC

I came across this picture and figured it was some joke, then I googled his name and this is what popped up.  It’s laughable really except his bro is in the Black House.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A New York man who pleaded guilty to murder in Oregon in exchange for buckets of fried chicken will get calzones and pizza to go with his life sentence.

Tremayne Durham, 33, of New York City, admitted last month that he fatally shot Adam Calbreath, 39, of Gresham, in June 2006. Durham wanted to sell ice cream and ordered an $18,000 truck from an Oregon company. He later changed his mind, but the company wouldn’t provide a refund.

The would-be ice cream man came to Oregon and killed Calbreath, a former employee of the company, while looking for its owner, authorities said.

Durham agreed to plead guilty to murder _ but only if he could get a break from jail food. The judge agreed and granted Durham a feast of KFC chicken, Popeye’s chicken, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, carrot cake and ice cream.

After Wednesday’s sentencing, Durham was to get the rest of the deal _ calzones, lasagna, pizza and ice cream, his defense attorney confirmed. They will pay the tab.

Durham also got married Wednesday in a civil ceremony at the Portland courthouse. The wedding to Vanessa Davis, 48, also of New York City, was not part of the plea deal that will give Durham a chance for parole after 30 years.

Deputy District Attorney Josh Lamborn said Multnomah County Judge Eric Bergstrom made the right call in allowing the unusual plea agreement because it saved the expense of a trial and possible appeals.

A Look Inside Iran

I’ve recently watched this film, it is a fascinating look into Iranian society and I was amazed at what I learned. For one, freedom hating Tehran has more plastic surgeries than LA! That isn’t a fact the controlled media wants you to know, they want you to think Iranians are backwords, racist, jew hating, camel jockeys however that isn’t the case at all.

If you want to watch a higher quality version of this film, it is available via Liberty Torrent

Israel Rules

By Paul Craig Roberts

December 29, 2009 “Information Clearing House” — On Christmas eve when Christians were celebrating the Prince of Peace, the New York Times delivered forth a call for war. “There’s only one way to stop Iran,” declared Alan J. Kuperman, and that is “military air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

Kuperman is described as the “director of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Program at the University of Texas at Austin,” but his Christmas eve call to war relies on disinformation and contradiction, not on objective scholarly analysis.

For example, Kuperman contradicts the unanimous report of America’s 16 intelligence agencies, the reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Russian intelligence with his claim that Iran has a nuclear weapon program. Astonishingly, it does not occur to Kuperman that readers might wonder how an academic bureaucrat in Austin, Texas, has better information than these authorities.

Kuperman is so determined to damn President Obama’s plan to have other countries enrich Iran’s uranium for Iran’s nuclear energy program and medical isotopes that Kuperman commits astounding blunders. After claiming that Iran has a “bomb program,” Kuperman claims that “Iran’s uranium contains impurities” and that Ahmadinejad’s threat “to enrich uranium domestically to the 20 percent level . . . is a bluff, because even if Iran could further enrich its impure uranium, it lacks the capacity to fabricate the uranium into fuel elements.”

What was the New York Times op ed editor thinking when he approved Kuperman’s article? Iran, Kuperman writes, needs “90 percent enriched uranium” to have weapons-grade material, but cannot reach 20 percent or even make fuel elements for its nuclear energy. So, how is Iran going to produce a bomb? Yet, Kuperman writes that “we have reached the point where air strikes are the only plausible option with any prospect of preventing Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. The sooner the United States takes action, the better.”

It could not be made any clearer that, as with the US invasion of Iraq, a military attack on Iran has nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction. An “Iranian nuke” is just another canard behind which hides an undeclared agenda.

One wonders about Kuperman’s non-proliferation credentials. How does a wanton military attack on a country encourage non-proliferation? Aren’t America’s bullying, threats and acts of war more likely to encourage countries to seek nuclear weapons?

At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the United States has wars ongoing in Iraq where the ancient Chaldean Christian community was destroyed–not by Saddam Hussein but by the neoconservatives’ illegal invasion of Iraq–in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yeman, and Sudan. The US initiated a war, which it lost, between its puppet ruler in the former Soviet province of Georgia and Russia.

The US, the world’s greatest supporter of terrorism, is the main financier of terrorist groups that stage attacks within Iran, and US money succeeded in financing protests against President Ahmadinejad’s re-election and in dividing the ruling Islamic clerics. It was American money, weapons, and diplomatic cover that enabled the Israeli war crimes against the Lebanese people during 2006 and against Palestinian civilians in Gaza during 2008-2009, crimes documented in the Goldstone Report.

Iran has never interfered in US internal affairs, but the US has a long record of interfering in Iranian affairs. In 1953 the US overthrew Iran’s popular prime minister, Mohammed Mosaddeq and installed a puppet who tortured Iranians who desired political independence.

Despite this and other American offenses against Iran, Ahmadinejad has repeatedly expressed Iran’s interest to be on friendly terms with the United States, only to be repeatedly rebuffed. The US wants war with Iran in order to expand US world hegemony.

One might expect a non-proliferation expert to take history into account, but Kuperman fails to do so. Kuperman also has nothing to say about Israel’s, India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Unlike Iran, none of these countries are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel, India, and Pakistan all developed their nuclear weapons in secret, and many experts believe Israel had American help, an act of treason. All three countries have been rewarded by Washington despite their perfidy. Why is Kuperman concerned about Iran, which submits to the IAEA inspections, but is unconcerned with Israel, a country that has never permitted a single inspection?

The answer is that the Israel Lobby, the US military-security complex, and the “Christian” Zionists have succeeded in demonizing Iran. Every real expert knows that an Iranian nuclear weapon would have no function other than deterring an attack on Iran. Ever since the US lost its monopoly on nuclear weapons, after using them offensively and pointlessly against a defeated Japan, nuclear weapons have served no purpose other than deterrence.

The US has no conflicting economic interests with Iran. Iran is simply a supplier of oil, an important one. A US attack on Iran, such as the one advocated by Kuperman, would most likely shut down oil flows to the West through the Strait of Hormuz. This might benefit refiners, who sell gasoline to the West and could charge enormous prices, but no one else would benefit.

Adding to the war cry are congregations of fake Christians. A great number of them, organized by someone’s money under the banner, “Christian Leaders for a Nuclear-free Iran,” has written to Congress demanding sanctions against Iran that amount to an act of war. The roll call http://www.clnfi.org/ includes the “Christian” Zionist John Hagee, who, according to reports, denigrates Jesus Christ and preaches to his illiterate congregation that it is God’s will for Americans to fight and die for Israel, the oppressor of the Palestinian people.

Among the signatories of the “Christians” demanding an act of war against Iran, are Dr. Pat Robertson, president of Christian Broadcasting Network, Nixon-era criminal Chuck Colson, and Richard Land, president of Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention. Obviously, for southern baptists ethics means murdering Islamists, and religious liberty excludes everyone but “Christian” Zionists.

It is a simple matter for an educated person to make fools of these morons who profess to be Christians. However, these morons have vast constituencies numbering in the tens of millions of Americans. There are, in fact, more of them than there are intelligent, informed, moral, and real Christian Americans.

The votes of the morons will prevail.

In the second decade of the 21st century, America’s Zionist wars against Islam will expand. America’s wars in behalf of Israel’s territorial expansion will complete the bankruptcy of America. The Treasury’s bonds to finance the US government’s enormous deficits will lack for buyers. Therefore, the bonds will be monetized by the Federal Reserve. The result will be rising rates of inflation. The inflation will destroy the dollar as world reserve currency, and the US will no longer be able to pay for its imports. Shortages will appear, including food and gasoline, and “Superpower America” will find itself pressed to the wall as a third world country unable to pay its debts.

America has been brought low, both morally and economically, by its obeisance to the Israel Lobby. Even Jimmy Carter, a former President of the United States and Governor of Georgia recently had to apologize to the Israel Lobby for his honest criticisms of Israel’s inhumane treatment of the occupied Palestinians in order for his grandson to be able to run for a seat in the Georgia state senate. http://www.counterpunch.org/amiri12252009.html

This should tell the macho super-power American tough guys who really runs “their” country.

Ben Stein Is An Ashkenazi Neo-Con Tool

Former actor-turned-economic and political advisor Ben Stein claimed Ron Paul was using an “anti-Semitic argument” when Congressman Paul argued the United States should refrain from bombing Yemen in a December 28 interview on CNN’s Larry King Live.

Rep. Paul, a Republican from Texas, has argued for removing U.S. soldiers from the Middle East because the American presence there is increasingly seen by many Muslims as a foreign occupation force. Responding to Rep. Paul’s argument that Americans should mind their own business and not become the policeman of the world, Stein argued: “No, we’re not occupiers. That’s the same anti-Semitic argument we’ve heard over and over again. That’s the same anti-Semitic argument we’ve heard over and over again.”

Rep. Paul responded by saying, “That is a vicious attack,” and Stein defended his statement by saying, “Look, that is not a vicious attack.”

Stein’s attack on Dr. Paul is only the latest gaffe by the former movie actor. Stein served as a frequent financial advisor on CNBC in 2007, where he doled out terrible predictions in a debate with Euro-Pacific Capital President Peter Schiff. Faced with dire warnings about the coming housing market crash from Schiff, Stein predicted a healthy housing market. “Sub-prime is tiny. Sub-prime is a tiny, tiny blip,” Stein stressed, adding:

The financials, as I keep saying, are just super-bargains. I predict that, like, Merrill Lynch which is an astonishingly well-run company. Did you know that a couple of days ago it was trading at barely more than seven times earnings? Financials typically trade at a low P-E [price to earnings ratio], but this is a joke. This stock, they might as well be giving it away in cereal boxes and giving it away, that’s how cheap it is.

Ben Stein made that investment advice when Merrill Lynch was selling at $76.04 per share. That value quickly sunk to $21 per share and the firm only avoided bankruptcy after a 2008 Bank of America merger that nearly bankrupted the banking giant (Bank of America is the largest bank in the United States). Stein also predicted the stock market would continue to climb during the August 2007 CNBC show. “I think stocks will be a heck of a lot higher a year from now than they are now,” Stein announced confidently. When he made this prediction on August 18, 2007, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was bouncing between 13,000 and 14,000, but within a year and a half, the DJIA had sunk to less than 7,000.

Throughout the heated debate, Stein never even tried to explain why Paul’s contention that the United States should not be the policeman of the world is anti-Semitic. Ben Stein’s accusation of “anti-Semitic argument” is clearly as accurate as his financial predictions several years ago. Perhaps that’s why some Ron Paul supporters have started a “Win Ben Stein’s Apology” page on Facebook, a play on the former actor’s old game show Win Ben Stein’s Money. Larry King announced that he would invite both people back onto the show December 29 to continue the heated conversation.

The argument began when Dr. Paul noted that American foreign policy experts make bombing decisions while “never asking the question: What is the motive?” He went on to explain that the most recent would-be airline hijacker “said why he did it. He said because we bombed Yemen two weeks ago. That was his motive.” Dr. Paul then went on to explain that the United States is falling into the interventionist trap:

Osama bin Laden said that he has a plan for America. First, he wants to bog us down in the Middle East in a no-win war. He wants to bankrupt this country, demoralize us, as well as have us do things that motivate people to join his radical movement. It seems like we have fallen into his trap.

Dr. Paul (he’s an obstetrician as well as a Congressman) noted that the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, now in their seventh and ninth years respectively, have spurred terrorist attacks from Muslims who want the foreign troops out of their countries. Ben Stein responded to Dr. Paul by saying, “I never heard anything quite like that in my whole life. What he’s basically saying is that we are doing something wrong by defending ourselves. Look, if these terrorists are trying to kill the government of Yemen, we’ve got to help defend them. They are our friends.”

That was an odd retort, since it leaves the question of who the “ourselves” is in Stein’s sentence. While the question of whether Yemen is a government that ranks among “our friends” is debatable at best (it’s a corrupt pseudo-democracy with a horrible human-rights record), it hardly stands to reason that defending a rather insignificant and corrupt government on the other end of the planet is equivalent to defending U.S. soil.

Asked again why terrorists were targeting the United States rather than other free countries, Stein replied, “They’re terrorists and murderers because they are psychos. They’re terrorists and murderers because they are psychos, same as all terrorists and murderers.” But, of course, if they are “psychos,” then they don’t act with any reason. And if they don’t act with any reason, then there’s no reason to believe they would target the United States more than any other country. In fact, if they are indeed insane as Ben Stein suggests, there’s less chance of them attacking the United States than the country where they are currently living because attacking the United States requires the kind of travel and planning that the insane rarely undertake.

German Phyicists Trash Global Warming Myth

guest article by John O’Sullivan

For any non-scientist interested in the climate debate, there is nothing better than a ready primer to guide you through the complexities of atmospheric physics – the “hardest” science of climatology. Here we outline the essential points made by Dr. Gerhard Gerlich, a respected German physicist, that counter the bogus theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).

Before going further, it’s worth bearing in mind that no climatologist ever completed any university course in climatology–that’s how new this branch of science really is. Like any new science the fall-back position of a cornered AGW proponent is the dreaded “appeal to authority” where the flustered debater, out of his or her depth, will say, “Well, professor so-and-so says it’s true – so it must be true.” Don’t fall for that proxy tree-ring counter’s gambit any longer. Here is the finest shredding of junk science you will ever read.
In a recently revised and re-published paper, Dr Gerlich debunks AGW and shows that the IPCC “consensus” atmospheric physics model tying CO2 to global warming is not only unverifiable, but actually violates basic laws of physics, i.e. the First and Second Law of Thermodynamics. The latest version of this momentous scientific paper appears in the March 2009 edition of the International Journal of Modern Physics.

The central claims of Dr. Gerlich and his colleague, Dr. Ralf Tscheuschner, include, but are not limited to:
1) The mechanism of warming in an actual greenhouse is different than the mechanism of warming in the atmosphere, therefore it is not a “greenhouse” effect and should be called something else.
2) The climate models that predict catastrophic global warming also result in a net heat flow from atmospheric greenhouse gasses to the warmer ground, which is in violation of the second law of thermodynamics.
Essentially, any machine which transfers heat from a low temperature reservoir to a high temperature reservoir without external work applied cannot exist. If it did it would be a “perpetual motion machine” – the realm of pure sci-fi.

Gerlich’s and Tscheuschner’s independent theoretical study is detailed in a lengthy (115 pages), mathematically complex (144 equations, 13 data tables, and 32 figures or graphs), and well-sourced (205 references) paper. The German physicists prove that even if CO2 concentrations double (a prospect even global warming advocates admit is decades away), the thermal conductivity of air would not change more than 0.03%. They show that the classic concept of the glass greenhouse wholly fails to replicate the physics of Earth’s climate. They also prove that a greenhouse operates as a “closed” system while the planet works as an “open” system and the term “atmospheric greenhouse effect” does not occur in any fundamental work involving thermodynamics, physical kinetics, or radiation theory. All through their paper the German scientists show how the greenhouse gas theory relies on guesstimates about the scientific properties involved to “calculate” the chaotic interplay of such a myriad and unquantifiable array of factors that is beyond even the abilities of the most powerful of modern supercomputers.
The paper’s introduction states it neatly:

(a) there are no common physical laws between the warming phenomenon in glass houses and the fictitious atmospheric greenhouse effects, (b) there are no calculations to determine an average surface temperature of a planet, (c) the frequently mentioned difference of 33 degrees Celsius is a meaningless number calculated wrongly, (d) the formulas of cavity radiation are used inappropriately, (e) the assumption of a radiative balance is unphysical, (f) thermal conductivity and friction must not be set to zero, the atmospheric greenhouse conjecture is falsified.

This thorough debunking of the theory of man made warming disproves that there exists a mechanism whereby carbon dioxide in the cooler upper atmosphere exerts any thermal “forcing” effect on the warmer surface below. To do so would violate both the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics. As there is no glass roof on the earth to trap the excess heat, it escapes upward into space.Thus we may conclude that the common sense axioms are preserved so that the deeper the ocean, the colder the water and heat rises, it does not fall. QED.

John O’Sullivan is a legal advocate and writer who for several years has litigated in government corruption and conspiracy cases in both the US and Britain. Visit his website.
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Winning The War: 30 Insurgents At A Time

Source: Security Crank

Just how often has the U.S. and NATO killed the Taliban in groups of 30 during 2009? The answer may surprise you:

  • Adnkronos, 12/07/2009: “Up to 30 suspected militants were killed in a NATO airstrike on a Taliban hideout in eastern Afghanistan close to the Pakistani border on Monday. The airstrike targeted the village of Sangar Dara in the mountainous Watapur district of Kunar province , the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.”
  • SF Chronicle, 12/04/2009: “Air strikes in two areas of the Mohmand border region killed 30 suspected militants, a military statement said. It said the strikes were “highly successful” but provided no further details, including whether any civilians were hurt.”
  • Xinhua, 11/04/2009: “The military said that the troops have killed 30 more militants during the last 24 hours, bringing the total fatalities to 400, as the operation in the country’s tribal area steadily progressed towards the Taliban strongholds in South Waziristan.”
  • Xinhua, 08/31/2009: “At least 30 bodies of suspected Taliban fighters were recovered in northwest Pakistan’s insurgency-hit Swat valley on Monday, witnesses said. The Pakistani army said they were killed in fighting with the security forces.”
  • Calgary Times, 07/04/2009: “The attack included an attempted suicide truck bombing of the base in the Zirok district of southeastern Paktika province, local officials said. As many as 30 Taliban insurgents might have been killed when troops called in air strikes, they said.”
  • Khaleej Times, 06/24/2009: “Thirty Taliban militants were killed in clashes with NATO and Afghan forces in separate incidents in southern Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday.”
  • Straits Times, 06/15/2009: “Security officials in the region said that about 30 militants were killed in Mohmand agency, close to the provincial capital Peshawar.”
  • Monsters and Critics, 05/28/2009: “In another incident, the Afghan Defence Ministry said Thursday that its troops, backed by international forces, killed 30 suspected militants in neighbouring Khost province Wednesday after the militants attacked their joint base.”
  • Monsters and Critics, 05/14/2009: “At least 30 Taliban fighters were killed Thursday when government artillery fire destroyed their hideout in north-west Pakistan, residents and officials said, as concerns about the fate of thousands of refugees in the region grew amid an escalating humanitarian crisis. Up to 30 suspected militants were in the compound when it was hit, and the Taliban have moved the dead and injured to an undisclosed location, he said.”
  • Reuters, 01 April 2009: “U.S. and Afghan forces have killed 30 Taliban fighters, including a local commander, in an operation in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand, the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.”
  • IRNA, 02/17/2009: “Suspected US drone fired missiles on a training camp of Taliban militants in a Pakistani tribal region on Monday, killing around 30 people, witnesses and official sources said.”
  • New York Times, 01/01/2009: “On Wednesday, the Taliban came for revenge. A group of about 30 Taliban fighters swooped in on Mullah Salam’s house and opened fire. They killed at least 20 of his bodyguards, Afghan officials said. The Taliban claimed that they killed 32. Two of the attackers died.”

Alright, okay, you get the point. Just in case you thought this was limited to Afghanistan and Pakistan:

  • Reuters, 02/03/2009: “[Yemeni President Ali Abdullah] Saleh urged the leaders not to give refuge to militants and help the state’s fight against al-Qaeda by turning them in. A security official told Reuters authorities had detained 30 suspected militants in a renewed campaign.”

Oh yes, it’s the same Yemen. But look, hopping onto Google News and typing “30 Taliban” or “30 suspected militants” brings up literally dozens of stories each year, stretching back at least to 2005. Indeed, thirty seems to be the magic number when it comes to arresting or killing off Taliban and other militant fighters in Afghanistan.

The Security Crank is not the first one to notice this: mad props for the idea go to Moon of Alabama.
But the much more important point remains: how could we possibly have any idea how the war is going, here or anywhere else, when the bad guys seem only to die in groups of 30? The sheer ubiquity of that number in fatality and casualty counts is astounding, to the point where I don’t even pay attention to a story anymore when they use that magic number 30. It is an indicator either of ignorance or deliberate spin… but no matter the case, whenever you see the number 30 used in reference to the Taliban, you should probably close the tab and move onto something else, because you just won’t get a good sense of what happened there.

Oh, and shame to all you news agencies — all of you, since you’re all guilty — for playing along with such an obvious bit of number fudging. And weren’t we supposed to stop doing body counts anyway? That took all of a minute to reverse.

Update: Use ctrl-f (or CMD if you’re a mac-head) and search for “30″ or “thirty” on this 2009 timeline of events for Pakistan. It’s unreal.

Bankers Get $4 Trillion Gift From Bawney Fwank

Source: Bloomberg
To close out 2009, I decided to do something I bet no member of Congress has done — actually read from cover to cover one of the pieces of sweeping legislation bouncing around Capitol Hill.

Hunkering down by the fire, I snuggled up with H.R. 4173, the financial-reform legislation passed earlier this month by the House of Representatives. The Senate has yet to pass its own reform plan. The baby of Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, the House bill is meant to address everything from too-big-to-fail banks to asleep-at-the-switch credit-ratings companies to the protection of consumers from greedy lenders.

I quickly discovered why members of Congress rarely read legislation like this. At 1,279 pages, the “Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act” is a real slog. And yes, I plowed through all those pages. (Memo to Chairman Frank: “ystem” at line 14, page 258 is missing the first “s”.)

The reading was especially painful since this reform sausage is stuffed with more gristle than meat. At least, that is, if you are a taxpayer hoping the bailout train is coming to a halt.

If you’re a banker, the bill is tastier. While banks opposed the legislation, they should cheer for its passage by the full Congress in the New Year: There are huge giveaways insuring the government will again rescue banks and Wall Street if the need arises.

Nuggets Gleaned

Here are some of the nuggets I gleaned from days spent reading Frank’s handiwork:

— For all its heft, the bill doesn’t once mention the words “too-big-to-fail,” the main issue confronting the financial system. Admitting you have a problem, as any 12- stepper knows, is the crucial first step toward recovery.
— Instead, it supports the biggest banks. It authorizes Federal Reserve banks to provide as much as $4 trillion in emergency funding the next time Wall Street crashes. So much for “no-more-bailouts” talk. That is more than twice what the Fed pumped into markets this time around. The size of the fund makes the bribes in the Senate’s health-care bill look minuscule.
— Oh, hold on, the Federal Reserve and Treasury Secretary can’t authorize these funds unless “there is at least a 99 percent likelihood that all funds and interest will be paid back.” Too bad the same models used to foresee the housing meltdown probably will be used to predict this likelihood as well.
More Bailouts
— The bill also allows the government, in a crisis, to back financial firms’ debts. Bondholders can sleep easy — there are more bailouts to come.
— The legislation does create a council of regulators to spot risks to the financial system and big financial firms. Unfortunately this group is made up of folks who missed the problems that led to the current crisis.
— Don’t worry, this time regulators will have better tools. Six months after being created, the council will report to Congress on “whether setting up an electronic database” would be a help. Maybe they’ll even get to use that Internet thingy.
— This group, among its many powers, can restrict the ability of a financial firm to trade for its own account. Perhaps this section should be entitled, “Yes, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., we’re looking at you.”
Managing Bonuses
— The bill also allows regulators to “prohibit any incentive-based payment arrangement.” In other words, banker bonuses are still in play. Maybe Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. shouldn’t have rushed to pay back Troubled Asset Relief Program funds.
— The bill kills the Office of Thrift Supervision, a toothless watchdog. Well, kill may be too strong a word. That agency and its employees will be folded into the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Further proof that government never really disappears.
— Since Congress isn’t cutting jobs, why not add a few more. The bill calls for more than a dozen agencies to create a position called “Director of Minority and Women Inclusion.” People in these new posts will be presidential appointees. I thought too-big-to-fail banks were the pressing issue. Turns out it’s diversity, and patronage.
— Not that the House is entirely sure of what the issues are, at least judging by the two dozen or so studies the bill authorizes. About a quarter of them relate to credit-rating companies, an area in which the legislation falls short of meaningful change. Sadly, these studies don’t tackle tough questions like whether we should just do away with ratings altogether. Here’s a tip: Do the studies, then write the legislation.
Consumer Protection
— The bill isn’t all bad, though. It creates a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency, the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren, currently head of a panel overseeing TARP. And the first director gets the cool job of designing a seal for the new agency. My suggestion: Warren riding a fiery chariot while hurling lightning bolts at Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
— Best of all, the bill contains a provision that, in the event of another government request for emergency aid to prop up the financial system, debate in Congress be limited to just 10 hours. Anything that can get Congress to shut up can’t be all bad.

Even better would be if legislators actually tackle the real issues stemming from the financial crisis, end bailouts and, for the sake of my eyes, write far, far shorter bills.

(David Reilly is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)
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To contact the writer of this column: David Reilly at [email protected]

The Curious Case Of The Underwear Bomber

by Justin Raimondo
It just wouldn’t be Christmas in the age of terror if we didn’t have a visitation, ostensibly from al-Qaeda, now would it? ‘Tis the season, and all that. Recall Richard Reid, the “shoe bomber,” arrested on December 22, 2001, for trying to blow up American Airlines flight 63, coming into Miami from Paris. As in the current case involving one Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian, the explosive used was PETN, also known as pentaerythritol: Reid, like Umar, was subdued by passengers and airline attendants, and, to add yet another touch of déjà vu, Reid’s stunt led to the imposition of the take-off-your-shoes rule at airport security, just as Umar’s midair antics have now inspired the Transportation Safety Authority to inaugurate a spate of new regulations: nothing in your lap, please, and no getting up from your seat for a solid hour before landing.

Also please note the timing: the Reid incident occurred at a volatile moment, right after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and just as the Bush administration was ramping up to invade both Afghanistan and Iraq. Umar, the lap bomber – so called because he apparently had his explosive device hidden in his pants – also leaps onto the international stage at a sensitive time, when President Obama is launching a major offensive in Afghanistan and the US has “assisted” Yemen in its air strikes on the alleged al-Qaeda stronghold in that country – where Umar, we’re told, received “training” and the actual explosive device.

Yes, the parallels are certainly eerie – but so what? After all, these terrorists are seemingly a simple-minded lot, if the behavior and demeanor of, say, Richard Reid is any indication. How many different explosive substances are available for such a “job,” and, at any rate, what else can one expect from the TSA in response except a bunch of useless and needlessly intrusive regulations that have little relevance to what happened? And, of course, the US, it seems, is always launching some new attack or military campaign, somewhere, so the timing is pure chance. Right?

What’s more, the pattern fails when we take into account our own mindset, eight years after the Shoe-na’bomber affair: back then, we were all too frightened out of our wits to really question anything the government told us, and the news media reported. We took it all at face value, and trusted in the gods that we wouldn’t all be blown to smithereens in the next attack, which – for all we knew – could have come at any time.

Eight years later, our mental processes have been quickened, through bitter experience, and a growing cynicism which leads us to notice – and question – several seeming anomalies, such as: why, when Umar’s own father – a prominent banker – contacted the US embassy, and met with the CIA as well as the Nigerian intelligence agency, and warned them his son might pose a danger, was Umar allowed on a plane entering the US? Authorities tell us that he was in a database, consisting of over half a million people, said to pose a risk, but not on the “no fly” list, in spite of his own father’s warning.

How could this happen? Inquiring minds want to know.

Another break in the Shoe’na-bomber pattern is Umar himself, whose life of wealth and privilege stands in stark contrast to Reid’s. While Reid was the poor son of a jailbird, a nobody with an apparently limited mental capacity, Umar is the son of Dr. Umaru Mutallab, former economics minister in the Nigerian government and one of the country’s most prominent bankers: schooled at the exclusive British International School in Lome, Togo, and an aspiring mechanical engineer, he had a bright future ahead of him, and if any single word could be used to characterize his life prior to the Christmas day incident, it would be access.
Access not only to the best schools and opportunities, and to his posh London digs, but also access to planes without the proper documents, as one Kurt Haskell, who was on the same flight with Umar, testifies:

“I was on this flight today and am thankful to be alive. My wife and I were returning from an African safari and had this connecting flight through Amsterdam. I sat in row 27, which was 7 rows behind the terrorist. I got to see the whole thing take place and it was very scary. Thanks to a few quick acting people I am still alive today.
“…I was next to the terrorist when he checked in at the Amsterdam airport early on Christmas. My wife and I were playing cards directly in front of the check in counter. This is what I saw (and I relayed this to the FBI when we were held in customs):
“An Indian man in a nicely dressed suit around age 50 approached the check in counter with the terrorist and said ‘This man needs to get on this flight and he has no passport.’ The two of them were an odd pair as the terrorist is a short, black man that looked like he was very poor and looks around age 17(Although I think he is 23 he doesn’t look it). It did not cross my mind that they were terrorists, only that the two looked weird together. The ticket taker said ‘you can’t board without a passport.’ The Indian man then replied, ‘He is from Sudan, we do this all the time.’. I can only take from this to mean that it is difficult to get passports from Sudan and this was some sort of sympathy ploy. The ticket taker then said ‘You will have to talk to my manager,’ and sent the two down a hallway. I never saw the Indian man again as he wasn’t on the flight. It was also weird that the terrorist never said a word in this exchange. Anyway, somehow, the terrorist still made it onto the plane. I am not sure if it was a bribe or just sympathy from the security manager.”

This goes way beyond weird, all the way to sinister. Perhaps we should take Janet Napolitano’s assurance that “right now we have no indication that it is part of anything larger” with a gargantuan grain of salt. Not only that, but maybe we should simply make a new rule, as follows: anything Madame Napolitano or any government official says about this or any other similar incident should be considered, at the outset, an outright lie. Assuming deception as the default, we might be better off believing the exact opposite. This argument is especially compelling in light of what Mr. Haskell has to say about the aftermath of the Christmas bomb attempt:

“FBI also arrested a different Indian man while we were held in customs after a bomb sniffing dog detected a bomb in his carry on bag and he was searched after we landed. This was later confirmed while we were in customs when an FBI agent said to us ‘You are being moved to another area because this area is not safe. Read between the lines. Some of you saw what just happened.’(The arrest of the other Indian man). I am not sure why this hasn’t made it into any news story, but I stood about 15-20 feet away from the other Indian man when he was cuffed and arrested after his search.”

Why isn’t the “mainstream” media reporting this? Well, perhaps they just don’t know about it: or it could be they do know and have been asked to keep a lid on it by the authorities, not the first time such a thing has happened when it comes to the dissemination of “sensitive” information.

In any case, given the veracity of Haskell’s account, it is clear that, contrary to news reports, Umar was no “lone nut,” but had at least one accomplice with him on board the plane. Furthermore, both of his accomplices – the one who got him on the plane without a passport, and the one nabbed by the bomb-sniffing dog – may have been Indians.

What India has to do with all this is sheer speculation. While India’s foreign intelligence service, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), stands accused by Pakistanis of being behind much of the sectarian strife that riles the region, it’s unclear – to me, at least – what interest they would have in stirring the pot in faraway Yemen, the supposed source of the plot. If, however, it should suddenly be discovered that the “real” source of all this lies in the tribal regions of Pakistan, where Washington insists Osama bin Laden & Co. have set up their world headquarters, the Indian connection would make sense.

Haskell concludes his account as follows:

“What also didn’t make the news is that we were held on the plane for 20 minutes after it landed! A bomb could have gone off then. This wasn’t too smart of security to not let us off the plane immediately.

“You can see what time I am writing this as I am having a hard time sleeping tonight. Just thought some of you would like to know what I saw, Merry Christmas.”

A telling note of authenticity there: clueless bureaucrats keep him on a plane that might be about to explode, and a Merry Christmas to all – and to all a good night!

No wonder the poor guy couldn’t sleep. If I were in his shoes, I wouldn’t sleep for a week. And if, somehow, I did manage to take a cat nap or two, I’d dream of Umar being led onto the plane, passport-less, escorted by his mysterious helpers, including several demonic figures lurking in the background, chortling and rubbing their hands together in gleeful anticipation.

We are asked to believe that a highly privileged young man, with everything to live for, was suddenly seized with a desire to commit suicide as an act of jihad: that he disappeared from his life of ease, on a street lined with Mercedes Benzes and Ferraris, in a fashionable district of London, and traveled to Yemen, where he received what may have been a defective bomb, which was sewn into his underwear by his jihadist trainers. This bomb then went undetected in Amsterdam airport, where the security arrangements are said to be tight (and a personal interview is conducted), and where he was let on a plane headed for the US in spite of explicit warnings given by his own father.

I’m not buying it, and, furthermore, in the context of Haskell’s testimony, another narrative seems just as likely: that this was a staged incident, a false flag operation, launched by those who have everything to gain by ramping up the atmosphere of hysteria and fear that regularly precedes America’s wars. This – admittedly speculative – scenario, of which I am equally skeptical, is buttressed, however, by the testimony of Jasper Schuringa – the passenger who leapt out of his seat on the other side of the plane, put out the fire, and secured Umar in a headlock – who says of the alleged terrorist:

“He was shaking. He didn’t resist anything. It’s just hard to believe that he was trying to blow up this plane. He was in a trance. He was very afraid.”

He didn’t resist? This hardly seems like the behavior one might expect of some fanatic jihadist bent on destruction and meeting those virgins in the afterlife.

The simplistic narrative that took shape as the news broke is already beginning to break up into something a bit more complicated, as additional information comes out, including this brief news item that just came across the wires:

“A passenger aboard the same Northwest Airlines flight that was attacked on Christmas Day was taken into custody here Sunday after becoming verbally disruptive upon landing, officials said.

“A law enforcement official said the man was Nigerian and had locked himself in the airliner’s bathroom. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

“Delta Air Lines spokeswoman Susan Elliott said crew members requested that security remove the man from Flight 253 after he became disruptive. The remaining 255 passengers got off safely, she said.

“Airport spokesman Scott Wintner said it was the same flight on which a man tried to set off an explosive on Christmas Day.

“’The pilot requested emergency assistance upon arrival,’ he said. Security and airline personnel are on edge since the attempted terror attack on Christmas Day, and the law enforcement official said that lesser incidents had been reported on other flights arriving in Detroit, but the incident with the Nigerian man had sparked the most concern.”

Whether Nigerian, or Indian, something is up here, and it seems to have little to do with al-Qaeda, which – breaking its past habit of promptly taking “credit” – has yet to claim responsibility for the attempted attack. More grounds for suspicion: allegations that the Detroit incident was planned and carried out by al-Qaeda in Yemen can be traced back to “IntelCenter,” a mysterious private contractor with a dubious reputation [.pdf] (see frames 89-100) that does business with the intelligence community.

Another shoe is bound to drop – the arrest of this other “Nigerian” may be it, along with the surprising news that Detroit, for some reason, seems to be the latest “terrorist” target – and when it does, I’m wondering how much closer to the truth we’ll get. One thing is certain, however, and it is this: look on the pronouncements of government officials with a very jaundiced eye.

Already Joe Lieberman and several Republicans are calling for more preemptive strikes on targets in Yemen, and it’s not hard to see that the US is very close to opening up yet another “front” in our eternal “war on terrorism.” Deeper into the quagmire we go – and those demons in my dreamscape are chortling ever louder.