spokane parade bombing suspect and more

The USA Today notes:

Though federal officials have previously called the attempted bombing an act of domestic terrorism, there was no explanation for why Harpham was not charged with terrorism or related crimes.

I wonder who Peter King is going to investigate for this one. Oh, that’s right- no one. Apparently some forms of terrorism are OK to him. He’ll just have to clarify whether he considers white supremacists a “legitimate force” or not.

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son, i am disappoint

Just look at those headlines:

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scott walker and the fake david koch

I assume you’ve heard plenty about this story by now, but have you listened to the whole tape or read the transcript for yourself? You should check it out if you haven’t.

There’s lots of juicy stuff in here, but forget all the talk about baseball bats and provocateurs. The caller tries to bait Walker with these suggestions, but he doesn’t bite. He’s sucking up to the boss, so he doesn’t contradict him, but he does  deflect the baseball bat line, and he explains his reasoning for not wanting to provoke the protesters:

My only fear would be if there’s a ruckus caused is that would scare the public into thinking maybe the governor has to settle to avoid all these problems. You know, whereas I’ve said, hey, we can handle this, people can protest, this is Madison, you know, full of the ’60s liberals. Let ’em protest. It’s not going to affect us. And as long as we go back to our homes and the majority of people are telling us we’re doing the right thing, let ’em protest all they want. So that’s my gut reaction. I think it’s actually good if they’re constant, they’re noisy, but they’re quiet, nothing happens. Sooner or later the media stops finding them interesting.

It’s not a ringing defense of the right to assemble, but it’s a plain statement that he doesn’t agree with sending in the troublemakers. Good for the Madison police chief who’s speaking up about this, but it’s not the main story- it’s a distraction.

One more distraction is at the very end of the call, where the fake Koch invites Walker to California to show him a good time, and lets it be known that he has vested interests in the outcome. It would be an ethics violation if Walker took him up on the trip, but it’s purely hypothetical. People are quoting Walker’s first few words after the “vested interests” comment, but in the context of his full response, they’re pretty much filler:

Murphy: [Laughs] Well, I tell you what, Scott: Once you crush these bastards I’ll fly you out to Cali (California) and really show you a good time.

Walker: All right, that would be outstanding. Thanks for all the support in helping us move the cause forward, and we appreciate it, and we’re doing it the just and right thing for the right reasons and it’s all about getting our freedoms back.

Murphy: Absolutely. And, you know, we have a little bit of a vested interest as well. [Laughs]

Walker: Well that’s just it, the bottom line is we’re gonna get the world moving here ’cause it’s the right thing to do.

Twice the fake Koch tries to bring it around to money or rewards, and twice Walker comes back by talking about doing it because it’s the right thing to do. Anyone who’s quoting the “Well, that’s just it” part out of context is lying to you.

So what’s worth paying attention to?

The good stuff is how he lays out the pressure tactics and trickery he’s got lined up. The discussion of national strategy will make a good opposition ad when he claims to have the state’s interests in mind.

Walker does solicit “Koch” to get “a message put out” for his supporters in swing areas, presumably in an election. Koch controls political funds that can’t legally be spent in coordination with candidates or parties. There could be a campaign finance violation here, but the language is probably too imprecise.

My favorite, however, is that Walker thinks the definitive moment of Reagan’s presidency was when he fired the air traffic controllers. This was apparently the first crack in the Berlin Wall. I kind of follow his logic, but no.

(Aside: Reagan didn’t defeat the Soviet Union. George Kennan did it in the embassy with a telegram.)

The whole thing is very interesting and very worth reading, both for the inside view of Walker’s strategy and for a demonstration of the poor quality of candidate the teabaggers can drum up. My sense is that Walker knows how to fight, but governing is completely beyond him. His administration will largely be a failure, but he could inflict a lot of damage on the way down if he’s not stopped.

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american guns

Note that the allegation is not that the US is supplying arms to drug gangs. It’s that the arms we poured into Central America from the 70s to the 90s are finding their way to the Mexican gangs. This is a predictable result of our horrifying “anti-communist” policies of the time, demonstrating that oppression and militarization are the gifts that keep giving.

Anyway, that article makes mention of this story:

The 21-count indictment, announced today by U.S. Attorney Jerry E. Martin, names Sabre Defence Industries LLC (SDI-US), its United Kingdom based owner Guy Savage, 42, and four locally based officers: President Charles Shearon, 55, of Ashland City; CFO Elmer Hill, 64, of Brentwood; Director of Sales Michael Curlett, 44, of Hermitage; and International Shipping and Purchasing Manager Arnold See, Jr., 54, of Antioch.

They are all accused of being part of a conspiracy to illegally import and export regulated firearms and firearm components and technology to and from the United States.

It’s plain from the indictment that they are accused of shipping parts for rifles in the M-16 family, but nobody ever mentions who they were shipping them to. My immediate suspicion is the Iraqi government or the militias we cultivated as allies over there. There’s a passing mention in the indictment of the “Iraq situation”, and we know that Blackwater was accused of violating similar laws to provide weapons to allies in Iraq.

There’s no indication in any of these sources, but it’s valid to ask whether any elements of the US government were complicit in these schemes, or knew and kept their mouths shut. I don’t imagine we’ll get an answer to that anytime soon.

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cover songs

I’ve been too busy with family and personal business to keep up much with the outside world for the last couple of weeks. I hope to have some comments on Egypt/Tunisia/etc in the next few days, but in the meantime, here are three cover songs that are better than the originals.

Lola, by The Raincoats:

Wish You Were Here, by Rasputina:

I Will Survive, by Cake:

All old memes, like you care.

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pirate torture

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link dump

There. Now I can close some of these tabs.

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what a fascinating and modern world we live in

A “Black Widow” suicide bomber planned a terrorist attack in central Moscow on New Year’s Eve but was killed when an unexpected text message set off her bomb too early, according to Russian security sources.

Death by spam!

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guantanamo protest

Remember how Obama was going to close Guantanamo? You might have noticed that he hasn’t.

Anyway, there’s no point in protests if no one ever hears about them, so now you know:

Dozens of Guantanamo inmates are protesting their imprisonment with a sit-in and signs to mark the ninth anniversary of the prison camp’s opening.

The Center for Constitutional Rights says the prisoners are refusing to return to their cells for the required nightly lockdown and that they are sleeping in the recreational yard and other areas.

The defendants’ attorneys say their clients at the prison on the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have not received due process.

The centre said in a statement Thursday that the peaceful protest at Camps 5 and 6 began nearly two weeks ago. A spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment.

Guantanamo once held nearly 800 detainees, mostly suspected terrorists. About 170 remain.

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spokane bomb follow-up

Just a quick follow-up on the bomb found at the MLK day parade in Spokane, WA:

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