It appears the Far Right fringe is literally starting to go insane

Seriously, how can anyone even contemplate doing this let alone actually carrying it out. Especially as a political statement. This is terrorism plain and simple and the person who is responsible needs to be brought to justice. #seb #politics #terrorism #Republicans

Reshared post from +Think Progress

No words. Absolutely despicable.

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Stephen Colbert on the Conservative rush to blame the Oslo attacks on Muslims.

If you’ve been paying attention then you already know that the people of Norway are mourning one of the worst acts of violence since World War II to take place in their country. In the immediate aftermath the Conservative pundits wasted no time in declaring it an act by radical Muslims only to find out on Saturday that it was a anti-Muslim Conservative Christian Norwegian who carried out the attacks.

As Stephen points out in the following video clip, just because he wasn’t a Muslim is apparently (if you’re a Conservative) no reason not to blame Muslims:

All of us here at SEB send our condolences to the people of Norway not only for the attacks they’ve just been the victim of, but for the assholes in our country who are working so hard to score political points with it.

Osama’s death is no victory worth celebrating.

So I promised on Twitter that I would comment on the big news from the weekend. Which, on the off-chance that you somehow missed it, is that after almost 10 years we finally managed to track down and murder Osama bin Laden. When President Obama made his announcement there was lots of images in the news of people around the country celebrating in the streets and chanting USA USA USA, including among the Arab population in Dearborn, Michigan.

I’m still not sure what it was we were supposed to be celebrating.

Sure a bad man who was, at least indirectly, responsible for the deaths of lots of Americans was finally assassinated. Many people said, including the President, that “justice had finally be served.” I disagree. Justice would’ve been to have captured him alive and put him on trial in New York City. Killing him is simple vengeance and vengeance is not something that should be celebrated. He wasn’t on the same scale as Hitler or Stalin, though you would be forgiven for thinking so given the reaction to his death.

It would’ve helped if this could have occurred 10 years ago. Say within months of the launch of the military campaign on Afghanistan. That was, after all, our reason for invading that country and starting that war to begin with. Or at least that’s what we were told at the time. Instead of quick and meaningful justice, Osama would be allowed to live free for another 10 years while he did everything he could to contribute to America’s downfall. He knew he couldn’t defeat us militarily and that was never his plan. Instead his goal was to do to us what he had done to the Soviets: Bleed us dry. And the Bush Administration was only too happy to help him with that plan.

President Bush, who had promised to hunt down and bring in Osama dead or alive, quickly lost interest in the whole pursuit of justice thing when he saw an opportunity to start another war with a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and posed no immediate threat to the United States. Osama must’ve been very pleased with that decision. Not only did it take the heat off of him, but it helped him to realize his goals. He couldn’t have planned for a better way to drag America down. On top of providing Osama with an easy means of instigating trouble and forcing Americans to spend billions in Iraq, it also guaranteed that the effort in Afghanistan would be neglected prolonging the amount of time and money that would have to be spent there as well. We made it cheap and easy for Osama to weaken us and left him free to make new attempts at blowing shit up that would seem to be failures, but in reality forced us to add new layers of pointless security theater that cost billions to maintain while providing no real protection.

Remember the Republican’s oft repeated talking point that they “hate us for our freedoms”? If that’s true then why did we so readily give so many of those freedoms up as a result? Between the Bush warrantless wiretapping laws that can’t be challenged because of the “risk” to national security to the stupid bans on liquids and fingernail clippers on airplanes to the degrading naked body scanners or public molestation policies that are still in place under Obama. All of this despite the fact that the average American is still 11,000 times more likely to die in an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane. We are far less free today than we were on September 11th, 2001. And to what end? There hasn’t been a single terrorist plot that was foiled by these new security systems. All of the plots that were intercepted since 2001 used traditional intelligence gathering systems.

Worse than the loss of our freedoms is the loss of our national values. America had been a leader in the condemnation and prohibition of the use of torture only to decide that torture was exactly what we needed to prosecute the wars we had “preemptively” started. Not one scrap of useful information has ever been gleaned under the Bush torture programs, but that hasn’t stopped some folks for arguing for their continuance even today. In fact there is a false claim by those on the Right that torture provided the information needed for the death of Osama. A claim that is patently false. Those on the Right like to claim that waterboarding is no worse than the hazing that goes on in college fraternities even while those, on the Right or Left, who have undergone the technique to prove it’s “no big deal” come out of with their minds changed. It’s torture plain and simple.

Ten years on from 9/11 and we’re more polarized and divided than ever after having squandered a great deal of global good will that was given to us in the immediate aftermath of that terrible day. Our international reputation is heavily damaged and our credibility has never been more in question. We’ve been suffering from the worst recession since the Great Depression and yet our spending on the Military is beyond consideration in the moves to reign in the mounting national debt. Sure, we’re not completely bankrupt just yet (at least not financially), but tell me how many of Osama’s goals weren’t realized, often by our own hands?

But hey, at least we killed him, right?

DHS’s new two-level terror alert system: “Panic” and “Shit Your Pants”.

Puc of old threat level system.

What those color codes really meant. Click to embiggen!

Remember the old Department of Homeland Security color-coded threat level system? The one that went from Green (nothing to see here) to Red (kiss your ass goodbye) which no one ever paid attention to because it was never set to any colors other than Yellow or Orange and no one knew what the fuck you were supposed to do in those situations other than load up on duct tape and plastic sheeting? The one that the media stopped reporting on as soon as it became clear that it didn’t impact their ratings no matter how hard they tried to milk it?

Well the good news is that it’s gone. Dead. Kaput. The DHS decided it was silly and confusing and, apparently, wasn’t evoking the kind of visceral response they were hoping for any longer. Realizing that most Americans are idiots that have trouble tying their own shoes without drooling all over their feet and recognizing that they only ever used two colors on that chart to begin with, the Department of Homeland Security decided to come up with a new, better, simpler system for a simpler people.

This new system will contain only two levels of potential terrorist threat and they are:

Elevated: Warns of a credible terrorist threat against the United States

Imminent: Warns of a credible, specific, and impending terrorist threat against the United States.

via New two-level terror alert system replaces color codes – USA Today.

So the only two states of reality for the United States from this point forward are either “someone’s threatening us” or “said threat is about to happen right now, to you, you unlucky bastard.” To their credit, DHS plans to do more than just incite panic in the general populace:

“In some cases, alerts will be sent directly to law enforcement or affected areas of the private sector, while in others, alerts will be issued more broadly to the American people through both official and media channels,” DHS says on its website.

The new alerts will include maps or other graphics showing the areas affected and, unlike the color-coded system, will include a specific date when the alert expires.

The alerts will be issued through normal news channels, as well as via the DHS web page, by email for those who sign up, and via Facebook and Twitter.

So their first choice won’t necessarily be to induce panic in the general populace, but it’s still an option for days when they’re bored and have nothing better to do like come up with a new way to remove all dignity from people who fly on airplanes through acts of public molestation from people who couldn’t get a job at the local McDonald’s.

At least they’ll be giving you a time and date when you can stop shitting your pants in fear and go back to just worrying about the possibility that you’ll need to put up plastic sheeting using duct tape because they think you’re dumb enough to believe that’ll stop the explosion from killing you. Bonus: You can get your Panic Level Instructions via Twitter or Facebook. Assuming you quit playing FarmVille long enough to notice.

Or, you can do as the English do:

Pic of Keep Calm and Carry On sign.

How uniquely reasonable.

The TSA incompetently posts its secrets on the Internet.

What a sad fucking joke the Transportation Security Administration has turned out to be. Not only they do engage in security theater that does little to nothing in preventing actual threats, not only have they removed any desire I might have had to fly anywhere anytime soon, but now they’ve gone and posted their entire screening manual online:

Massive TSA Security Breach As Agency Gives Away Its Secrets – ABC News

In a massive security breach, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inadvertently posted online its airport screening procedures manual, including some of the most closely guarded secrets regarding special rules for diplomats and CIA and law enforcement officers.

The most sensitive parts of the 93-page Standard Operating Procedures were apparently redacted in a way that computer savvy individuals easily overcame.

The document shows sample CIA, Congressional and law enforcement credentials which experts say would make it easy for terrorists to duplicate.

Here you go, terrorists! Everything you need to bypass our shitty security system! It includes a detailed listing of the limitations of our x-ray machines and the fact that we only check 20% of checked bags by hand. Those two bits of information alone should make smuggling a bomb into the luggage compartment a lot easier to do. You’re welcome!

“This is an appalling and astounding breach of security that terrorists could easily exploit,” said Clark Kent Ervin, the former inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security. “The TSA should immediately convene an internal investigation and discipline those responsible.”

Gee, ya think?

“This shocking breach undercuts the public’s confidence in the security procedures at our airports,” said Senator Susan Collins, R-Me., ranking Republican member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “On the day before the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s hearing on terrorist travel, it is alarming to learn that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inadvertently posted its own security manual on the Internet.”

I hate to be the one to tell the good Senator this, but most folks already have little confidence in the security procedures at our airports.

OK, perhaps “most” is an overstatement, but there’s a lot of us who have little confidence in the TSA and this certainly justifies that lack of faith.

“This manual provides a road map to those who would do us harm,” said Collins. “The detailed information could help terrorists evade airport security measures.” Collins said she intended to ask the Department of Homeland Security how the breach happened, and “how it will remedy the damage that has already been done.”

My guess is they’ll come up with even more annoying and pointless procedures that’ll further depress airline profitability causing more of them to go belly up. Soon you won’t be able to take anything onto the plane and everyone will have to fly 90% naked wearing only loincloths which will have to be inspected by TSA agents with very cold hands.

The TSA claims the manual is old and outdated, but I’d be claiming that too if I had caused such a massive fuck up. They’ve asked for the original version to be taken offline, but it’s too late to put that genie back in the bottle. Once it hit the net it was all over the world in short order and there are plenty of places you can read it. Wanna read it for yourself? Even ABC News has a copy of it online for your planning convenience.

No need to thank the TSA. They’re not listening to you anyway.

I’ve never seen faith move mountains, but I’ve seen what it can do to skyscrapers.

Iraqi woman orders the rapes of 80 women to make them into suicide bombers.

Here is what unwaivering belief in a paradise in the afterlife can lead someone to do:

A WOMAN suspected of recruiting more than 80 female suicide bombers has confessed to organising their rapes so she could later convince them that martyrdom was the only way to escape the shame.

Samira Jassam, 51, was arrested by Iraqi police and confessed to recruiting the women and orchestrating dozens of attacks.

In a video confession, she explained how she had mentally prepared the women for martyrdom operations, passed them on to terrorists who provided explosives, and then took the bombers to their targets.

“We arrested Samira Jassim, known as ‘Um al-Mumenin’, the mother of the believers, who was responsible for recruiting 80 women’‘, Major General Qassim Atta said.

“She confessed her responsibility for these actions, and she confirmed that 28 attempts had been made in one of the terrorists’ strongholds,’’ he said.

Got that? This Muslim woman is so convinced that Allah is real instead of just a figment of her imagination that she ordered 80 of her fellow women to be raped specifically so they would be vulnerable to being pressured into becoming suicide bombers. She not only was convinced that suicide bombing was justified by her religion, but she felt justified in having her fellow Muslim women raped to further the cause she believed in. She is so convinced of the rightness of what she’s done in the name of Allah that she’s confessed to the crimes on video. She sees nothing wrong with it. It was a necessary thing to do because women are less likely to be searched at checkpoints making them more likely to get through with explosives under their robes.

It’s hard to imagine how anyone could consider this even remotely conscionable, yet here’s someone who’s convinced it was perfectly reasonable because she believes in an invisible sky fairy who will reward the women in the afterlife even if their sacrifice was coerced through rape and manipulation. What’s a little rape and exploitation when Allah will reward them for eternity once they blow themselves up? Only a True Believer™ could think like that.

Do you Support Terrorism

Here’s the test…

Beware terrorists bearing nipple rings!

It seems the TSA thinks terrorists wear nipple rings. That’s the only reason I can see for the following news item about a woman being forced by the TSA to remove her nipple rings before she could board her flight:

Hamlin said she was trying to board a flight from Lubbock to Dallas on Feb. 24 when she was scanned by a Transportation Security Administration agent after passing through a larger metal detector without problems.

The female TSA agent used a handheld detector that beeped when it passed in front of Hamlin’s chest, the Dallas-area resident said.

Hamlin said she told the woman that she was wearing nipple piercings. The female agent then called over her male colleagues, one of whom said she would have to remove the body piercings, Hamlin claimed.

Hamlin said she could not remove them and asked if she could instead display her pierced breasts in private to the female agent. But several other male officers told her she could not board her flight until the jewelry was removed, she said.

She was taken behind a curtain and managed to remove one bar-shaped nipple piercing but had trouble with the second, a ring.

“Still crying, she informed the TSA officer that she could not remove it without the help of pliers, and the officer gave a pair to her,” said Hamlin’s attorney, Gloria Allred, reading from a letter she sent Thursday to the director of the TSA’s Office of Civil Rights and Liberties. Allred is a well-known Los Angeles lawyer who often represents high-profile claims.

There is apparently no level of ridiculousness that the TSA won’t stoop to in its ongoing efforts to keep terrorists from blowing up your plane using nipple rings. The best part, however, is this quote from a TSA official:

People routinely pass through security wearing wedding rings without problems and it might take a larger bit of metal to trigger an alarm, Baird said.

“I’d be really curious to know what this woman had in her nipples,” he said. “Sometimes they have a chain between their nipples, or a chain between their nipples and their belly button. It would have to be made of heavy metal to be detected.”

I imagine a lot of people would be curious to know what this woman had in her nipples. Apparently the TSA is very curious as it seems making folks remove piercings is a common practice. I’m particularly curious to find out why the TSA thinks this is some how important to airline security.

Scratch that. I’m curious to find out why the TSA doesn’t think they should be discarded like an old pair of hole filled underwear.

Child Soldier or Terrorist?

In the past I have tried to retain a neutral position regarding this story.  I am a suporter of our and our Allies actions in Afghanistan, past and future; however stories like this make it hard to have faith in our allies.

Was Omar Khadr Coerced? (National Post)

Even thought the Khadr family history is less than impresive, the Canadian governments performance on this has also been less than impressive.

I leave it to the reader to make thier own judgement.