Puppet MastersS


Chess

Syria: Car bombs kill dozens in Damascus

Government says at least 40 people killed by "al-Qaeda group", a day after arrival of Arab League observer mission.


A Syrian government official says at least 40 people, mostly civilians, have been killed by two suicide car bombs in Damascus ahead of calls by anti-government activists for fresh protests across the country.

At least 100 other people were wounded in Friday's attack on two security facilities in the Kfar Sousa district, Faisal Mukdad, Syria's deputy foreign minister, said.

Chess

Iraq: Dozens killed in Baghdad blasts

A series of bomb blasts across Iraqi capital leaves 65 people dead and 176 injured amid rising sectarian tensions.


Dozens of people have been killed and many more wounded in a series of blasts in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

At least 63 people died and 176 people were wounded in 12 bombings across the capital on Thursday morning, health ministry sources told Al Jazeera.

Two more bombs exploded in Baghdad late in the evening claiming two more lives, according to the Reuters news agency.

The wave of bombings come amid renewed fears of sectarian strife following the withdrawal of US troops and a deepening political crisis over an arrest warrant issued for Tariq al-Hashimi, the country's vice president and most senior Sunni politician.

Cowboy Hat

Rick Perry: The Best Little Whore In Texas

Rick Perry
© Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesTexas governor Rick Perry speaks during the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The Texas governor has one driving passion: selling off government to the highest bidder

* * *

Early morning in a nearly filled corporate ballroom at the Cobb Energy Centre, a second-tier event stadium on the outskirts of Atlanta. It's late September, and a local conservative think tank is hosting a get-together with Rick Perry, whose front-runner comet at the time is still just slightly visible in the bottom of the sky. I've put away five cups of coffee trying to stay awake through a series of monotonous speeches about Georgia highway and port reform, waiting for my chance to lay eyes on the Next Big Thing in person.

By the time Perry shows up, I'm jazzed and ready for history. You always want to remember the first time you see the possible next president in person. But as every young person knows, the first time is not always a pleasant experience. Perry lumbers onstage looking exceedingly well-groomed, but also ashen and exhausted, like a funeral director with a hangover.

In a voice so subdued and halting that I think he must be sick, he launches into his speech, which consists of the following elements: a halfhearted football joke about Texas A&M that would have embarrassed a true fan like George W. Bush, worn bromides about liberals creating a nanny state, a few lines about jobs in Texas, and a promise to repeal "as much of Obamacare as I can" on his first day in the White House.

"I will try," he says, "to make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as I can."

Then he waves and walks offstage. The whole thing has taken barely 10 minutes.

I can't believe it, and neither can the assembled crowd of Georgia conservatives, who hesitate before breaking into polite applause. I feel like a high school cheerleader who just had her leg jizzed on in the back of a convertible. That's it? It's over? That was Rick Perry's stump speech?

"Low energy, low substance," sighs Justin Ryan, one of the conference attendees. "That's sort of the candidate in general."

But this is America, remember, where one should never underestimate shallow. And Rick Perry brings shallow to a new level. He is very gifted in that regard. He could be the Adolf Hitler of shallow.

Bad Guys

US: Obama and Geithner: Government, Enron-Style

Obama and Geithner
© Pool/Bloomberg/Getty
Strongly recommend this piece at the Huffington Post by Jeff Connaughton, a former aide to Senator Ted Kaufman. Jeff is one of the smartest guys on the Hill and is particularly strong on issues surrounding Wall Street and the regulatory system. In this piece, he takes apart the oft-stated mantra that what Wall Street firms did during and after the crisis was maybe unethical, but not illegal.

He takes particular aim at Barack Obama, who recently tossed that line out on 60 Minutes in what I thought was one of the real low moments of his presidency. Here's Jeff's take:
Speaking in Kansas on December 6, [Obama] said, "Too often, we've seen Wall Street firms violating major anti-fraud laws because the penalties are too weak and there's no price for being a repeat offender." Just five days later on 60 Minutes, he said, "Some of the least ethical behavior on Wall Street wasn't illegal." Which is it? Have there been no prosecutions because Wall Street acted legally (albeit unethically)? Or did Wall Street repeatedly violate major anti-fraud laws (and should thus find itself in the dock)?

The President is confusing "legal" with "difficult to prosecute successfully."

Arrow Up

Analysts see gold retesting all-time highs in 2012

gold bars
© Jung Yeon-JE/AFP/Getty Images
Gold prices took a beating in late 2011, but many experts think the path in 2012 is still paved with higher prices.

Gold had a wild 2011, starting the year at $1,412 (U.S.) an ounce, hitting a low right out of the gate of $1,314 and then rallying to an intra-day high of $1,923 an ounce.

The past few months have not been kind for gold. The precious metal tanked 13 per cent in September and 8 per cent in just three days last week as a strong dollar hammered prices. Gold's haven status looked to be a thing of the past as negative headlines out of Europe triggered a rush into the dollar instead of gold as liquidity dried up.

But gold's recent massacre is not scaring most experts.

"What I am looking for is a gold price of $1,800 an ounce in 2012," says Jeffrey Wright, senior research analyst at Global Hunter Securities. Wright says there could be spikes to $1,900 or $2,000, especially if gridlock in Congress brings up another budget battle and highlights the U.S.' own fiscal problems. "Once we get back into those discussions, there will be further pressure on the U.S. dollar and a refocusing on gold as a safe haven asset."

Bomb

Iran Launching "Massive" Ten Day War Game Tomorrow In Close Proximity To CVN-74 John Stennis

Iranian navy boats
© Tehran Times
As the rest of the world enjoys Festivus or whatever celebration one indulges in, Iran is launching a "massive" 10 day war games naval exercise right in the belly of the beast. From Xinhua: "Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari on Thursday announced the upcoming launch of ten-day massive naval exercises in the international waters, the local satellite Press TV reported. Sayyari said at a press conference on Thursday that the naval maneuvers dubbed Velayat 90 will start on Saturday and will cover an area of 2,000 (1,250-mile) km stretching from the east of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Aden, the report said.

This is the first time that Iran's Navy carries out naval drills in such a vast area, he was quoted as saying. He said that the exercises will manifest Iran's military prowess and defense capabilities in the international waters, convey a message of peace and friendship to regional countries and test the newest military equipment among other objectives, said the report. He added that the newest missile systems and torpedoes will be employed in the maneuvers, adding that the most recent tactics used in subsurface battles will also be demonstrated. Iranian destroyers, missile-launching vessels, logistic vessels, drones and coastal missiles will also be tested, said the Iranian commander, according to the report."

MIB

"If Ron Paul wins Iowa, we just take it out"

MSM now announcing in advance their intention to black out/discredit Ron Paul if he wins Iowa. Roger Simon is the Chief Political Columnist at Politico.


Black Cat

Best of the Web: R.I.P. America

Image
© corporatecriminalsexposed.com
It has been painful and disgusting for me to watch the US continue to devolve into a beast worse than any real or perceived 'terrorist'. With the passage of The Defense Authorization Act, aka: Bill S.1867, the leadership of America has proven to the world that are psychopathic, traitorous, treasonous and do not stand for anything that has made America in the past the beacon of freedom, liberty, democracy and hope in this world. They have also proven they are anti-freedom, anti-liberty, anti-democracy, anti-justice, and anti-rule of law.

Whatever scant remains of a moral high ground the US government may have claimed in the midst of all of its grotesque lies and misdeeds, and its malfeasance of office since 9-11-2001, it was forfeited it with the passage of S.1867.

When any citizen of the US can be perceived, deemed, or even deliberately painted as an enemy combatant of 'this government', that person can now be detained without trial indefinitely. To Hell with the US Constitution, to Hell with the 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments, to Hell with the right of habeas corpus, and the Bill of Rights and the law of the land. Any sense of decency, any sense of veracity, any sense of leadership was sacrificed with the passage of this monstrously un-Constitutional bill by the Senate and House.

Bad Guys

The Utter Insanity of Attacking Iran's Nuclear Sites

Image
Sometimes the obvious needs stating.

If or, rather (it appears), when Iran's nuclear sites are attacked we know that the consequences will be dreadful for Iranians and probably everyone else on the planet.The consequences might easily also provide a horrible surprise for those who expect to profit from the global cataclysm that will almost certainly ensue.

Bad Guys

Best of the Web: A Christmas Message From America's Rich

Wall Street Sign
© Dario Cantatore/Getty

It seems America's bankers are tired of all the abuse. They've decided to speak out.

True, they're doing it from behind the ropeline, in front of friendly crowds at industry conferences and country clubs, meaning they don't have to look the rest of America in the eye when they call us all imbeciles and complain that they shouldn't have to apologize for being so successful.

But while they haven't yet deigned to talk to protesting America face to face, they are willing to scribble out some complaints on notes and send them downstairs on silver trays. Courtesy of a remarkable story by Max Abelson at Bloomberg, we now get to hear some of those choice comments.

Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus, for instance, is not worried about OWS:
"Who gives a crap about some imbecile?" Marcus said. "Are you kidding me?"
Former New York gurbernatorial candidate Tom Golisano, the billionaire owner of the billing firm Paychex, offered his wisdom while his half-his-age tennis champion girlfriend hung on his arm:
"If I hear a politician use the term 'paying your fair share' one more time, I'm going to vomit," said Golisano, who turned 70 last month, celebrating the birthday with girlfriend Monica Seles, the former tennis star who won nine Grand Slam singles titles.