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I've been reading the "28 pages" website re: 9/11 this past week. I'm fucking infuriated.

First, the 28 pages themselves. The website has helpfully posted a transcript:

Omar al-Bayoumi. The FBI had received numerous reports from individuals in the Muslim community, dating back to 1999, alleging that al-Bayoumi may be a Saudi intelligence officer. FBI files suggest that al-Bayoumi provided substantial assistance to hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi after they arrived in San Diego in February 2000. Al-Bayoumi met the hijackers at a public place shortly after his meeting with an individual at the Saudi consulate and there are indications in the files that his encounter with the hijackers may not have been accidental. During this same timeframe, al-Bayoumi had extensive contact with Saudi Government establishments in the United States and received financial support from a Saudi company affiliated with the Saudi Ministry of Defense. According to FBI files, ——— at the company said that al-Bayoumi received a monthly salary even though he had been there on only one occasion. This support increased substantially in April 2000, two months after the hijackers arrived in San Diego, decreased slightly in December 2000, and stayed at that same level until August 2001. That company reportedly had ties to Usama Bin Ladin and al-Qa’ida. In addition, the FBI determined that al-Bayoumi was in contact with several individuals under FBI investigation and with the Holy Land Foundation, which has been under investigation as a fundraising front for Hamas;

Osama Bassnan. Bassnan may have been in contact with al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi during their time in San Diego. Bassnan was a close associate of al-Bayoumi and Omar Bakarbashat, another one of the hijackers’ close associates. He also lived across the street from the hijackers, and made a comment to an FBI asset that he did more than al-Bayoumi did for the hijackers. According to an FBI document, Basnan told another individual that he met al-Hazmi through al-Bayoumi and later that he met two of the hijackers through al-Bayoumi. He also told the asset that al-Bayoumi was arrested because he knew al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar very well. The document goes on to state that Bassnan and al-Bayoumi have been “close to each other for a long time.” Bassnan has many ties to the Saudi Government, including past employment by the Saudi Arabian Education Mission, referred to in FBI documents as ——————– ————- —————. The FBI also received reports from individuals in the Muslim community alleging that Bassnan might be a Saudi intelligence officer. According to a CIA memo, Bassnan reportedly received funding and possibly a fake passport from Saudi Government officials. He and his wife have received financial support from the Saudi Ambassador to the United States and his wife. A CIA report also indicates that Bassnan traveled to Houston in 2002 and met with an individual who was ———————- —————— ——————————— ————- ——————–. The report states that during that trip a member of the Saudi Royal Family provided Bassnan with a significant amount of cash. FBI information indicates that Bassnan is an extremist and supporter of Usama Bin Laden, and has been connected to the Eritrean Islamic Jihad and the Blind Shaykh;

Shaykh al-Thumairy. According to FBI documents and a CIA memorandum, al-Hazmi and al-Midhar may have been in contact with Shaykh al-Thumairy, an accredited diplomat at the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles and one of their “imams” at the King Fahad mosque in Culver City, California. Also according to FBI documents, the mosque was built in 1998 from funding provided by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Abdulaziz. The mosque is reportedly attended by members of the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles and is widely recognized for its anti-Western views;

Saleh al-Hussayen. In September 2001, Saleh al-Hussayen, reportedly a Saudi Interior Ministry official, stayed at the same hotel in Herndon, Virginia where al-Hazmi was staying. While al-Hussayen claimed after September 11 not to know the hijackers, FBI agents believed he was being deceptive. He was able to depart the United States despite FBI efforts to locate and re-interview him; and

Abdullah Bin Laden. Abdullah Bin Ladin claims to work for the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C. as an administrative officer. He is identified by the FBI as Usame Bin Ladin’s half brother. He is a close friend of Mohammed Quadir-Harunani, a possible associate of Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi prior to September 11, 2001.

The Joint Inquiry also found other indications that individuals connected to the Saudi Government have ties to terrorist networks, including:

The CIA and FBI have identified the Ibn Tamiyah Mosque in Culver City as a site of extremist-related activity. Several subjects of FBI investigations prior to September 11 had close connections to the mosque and are believed to have laundered money through this mosque to non-profit organizations overseas affiliated with Usama Bin Ladin. In an interview, an FBI agent said he believed that Saudi Government money was being laundered through the mosque;

Another Saudi national with close ties to the Saudi Royal Family, ———-, is the subject of FBI counterterrorism investigations and reportedly was checking security at the United States’ southwest border in 1999 and discussing the possibility of infiltrating individuals into the United States;

According to FBI documents, several of the phone numbers found in the phone book of Abu Zubaida, a senior al-Qa’ida operative captured in Pakistan in March 2002, could be linked, at least indirectly, to telephone numbers in the United States. One of those U.S. numbers is subscribed to by the ASPCOL Corporation, which is located in Aspen, Colorado, and manages the affairs of the Colorado residence of the Saudi Ambassador Bandar. The FBI noted that ASPCOL has an unlisted telephone number. A November 18, 2002 FBI response to the Joint Inquiry states that “CIA traces have revealed no direct links between numbers found in Zubaida’s phone book and numbers in the United States.”

According to an FBI document, the telephone number of a bodyguard at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC, who some have alleged may be a ————————- ———- was also found in Abu Zubaida’s possessions; and

According to an FBI agent in Phoenix, the FBI suspects Mohammed al-Qudhaeein of being ——————. Al-Qudhaeein was involved in a 1999 incident aboard an America West flight, which the FBI’s Phoenix office now suspects may have been a “dry run” to test airline security. During the flight, al-Qudhaeein and his associate asked the flight attendants a variety of suspicious questions; al-Qudhaeein then attempted to enter the cockpit on two occasions. Al-Qudhaeein and his associate were flying to Washington, D.C. to attend a party at the Saudi Embassy. During the course of its investigations, the FBI has discovered that both al-Qudhaeein and the other individual involved in this incident had connections to terrorism.


Another blog post below:

Gitmo Detainee Says Saudi Royal Involved in Jihadist Recruitment

In a June 2016 discussion with the Periodic Review Board, which assesses the need for continued detention of Guantanamo prisoners, Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi described an incident that occurred in Saudi Arabia about six months before the 9/11 attacks. Al-Sharbi said that a “religious establishment figure” asked about his education, his aptitude for learning to fly aircraft and if he was interested in returning to the United States as a jihadist.

In the midst of the conversation, al-Sharbi says, the religious figure made two phone calls to someone he repeatedly addressed as “your highness” as he discussed al-Sharbi’s background and qualifications. Al-Sharbi chose not to return to the United States, and instead moved to Pakistan where he was captured in 2002.

Al-Sharbi was in the news earlier this year when 28Pages.org was first to report on “Document 17,” a declassified file from the 9/11 Commission that, among other things, revealed that al-Sharbi’s U.S. pilot license was found buried in Pakistan inside an envelope from the Saudi embassy in Washington.

In his Periodic Review Board discussion, Al-Sharbi also questioned the priorities of the United States government: “If the oil of the royal Saudi family is more important than the simple American blood, that’s your issue. It’s not my issue.”


More revelations that make my blood boil (I urge everyone to read the articles below, though a warning: you just may end up hurting yourself from

Bush Administration Official: Saudi Ties to 9/11 Hidden to Protect Iraq War Narrative:

Cheney Advisor Led Effort to Kill GOP Platform Plank on 28 Pages

U.S. Failure to Examine Saudi 9/11 Role Has Aided Rise of ISIS

Even more can be found here: https://28pages.org/blog-archive/

Fuck the Bush family, their apologists and sycophants, and their Saudi terrorist buddies. They all have blood on their hands, the blood of scores of countries and peoples (not just American, by any means). War criminals, the lot of them.

Major thanks to the 9/11 victims' families, Senators Bob Graham and Bob Kerrey and others who have consistently demanded the 28 pages' release, and anyone else who have tirelessly sought answers and justice regarding 9/11 and the US government's nauseating coverup of the full extent of Saudi role in that horrendous calamity - along with Saudi Arabia's continued funding and sanctioning of Wahhabist terrorism. To anyone seeking answers who may read this, you have done and are continuing to do an immensely important public service. The 28 pages, though, are not the end, but the beginning: for I am convinced there is so much more being hidden about 9/11. Keep on fighting!

The Age of Post-Truth Politics (William Davies, NYT)

Fascinating and provocative New York Times opinion piece. Some excerpts:

Facts hold a sacred place in Western liberal democracies. Whenever democracy seems to be going awry, when voters are manipulated or politicians are ducking questions, we turn to facts for salvation.

But they seem to be losing their ability to support consensus. PolitiFact has found that about 70 percent of Donald Trump’s “factual” statements actually fall into the categories of “mostly false,” “false” and “pants on fire” untruth.

As politics becomes more adversarial and dominated by television performances, the status of facts in public debate rises too high. We place expectations on statistics and expert testimony that strains them to breaking point. Rather than sit coolly outside the fray of political argument, facts are now one of the main rhetorical weapons within it.

How can we still be speaking of “facts” when they no longer provide us with a reality that we all agree on? The problem is that the experts and agencies involved in producing facts have multiplied, and many are now for hire. If you really want to find an expert willing to endorse a fact, and have sufficient money or political clout behind you, you probably can.

It is possible to live in a world of data but no facts. Think of how we employ weather forecasts: We understand that it is not a fact that it will be 75 degrees on Thursday, and that figure will fluctuate all the time. Weather forecasting works in a similar way to sentiment analysis, bringing data from a wide range of sensory devices, and converting this into a constantly evolving narrative about the near future.

However, this produces some chilling possibilities for politics. Once numbers are viewed more as indicators of current sentiment, rather than as statements about reality, how are we to achieve any consensus on the nature of social, economic and environmental problems, never mind agree on the solutions?

- William Davies is an associate professor in political economy at Goldsmiths, University of London, and the author of “The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being.”


Re: mass surveillance: why black people and other PoC have no expectation of "privacy"

Edward Snowden is at a press conference today as part of a campaign called "Pardon Snowden." In light of that, here's a relevant article from a few years back - back when Snowden/Greenwald first revealed the NSA's mass surveillance on Americans:

Civil liberties and individual rights have different meanings for different groups of people. They also have different priorities depending on social contexts. A review of black history suggests that considerations of civil liberties are always embedded within concepts of equality and social justice. In other words by design or necessity, black people have focused on our collective rights over our individual liberties. This makes sense in a society where we don’t just assume individual black guilt and suspicion. We are all guilty and we are all suspicious (even if we may want to deny this reality). In that context, individual liberties and rights take a back seat to a collective struggle for emancipation and freedom.

Additionally, as a people, we have always known that it is impossible for us to exercise our individual rights within a context of more generalized social, economic, and political oppression. Individual rights are necessarily rooted within a larger social context. Civil liberty concerns take a back seat to putting food on the table and to survival more generally. To guarantee our individual rights as black people, we know that we must address broader social concerns. We don’t have the luxury to ignore this fact. For others not to understand this reality is to foreclose on any opportunities to recruit more black people to the cause of dismantling the surveillance state.

Black people are disproportionately incarcerated in the U.S. Prisoners have no presumption of ‘privacy’; that idea is an abstraction. Blacks are disproportionately subjected to bodily searches and seizures through practices like stop and frisk. Stop and frisk is a neon ‘no tresspassing sign’ for young black people in particular. Unfortunately too many of us have become acclimated to the daily assaults on our persons and the trampling of our individual rights. Can you blame us? If you are a black woman, then you may have the direct experience of the state policing your body in various ways. Many of us resist policies intended to do this but some of us don’t (for a number of good and bad reasons).

The examples that I have cited suggest that for most of us (black people) government surveillance and being perceived as threats are a daily fact of life; not an academic/analytical exercise. Many black people living in public housing, for example, can attest to the fact that they aren’t seen as having any privacy rights when law enforcement routinely kicks down their doors supposedly looking for narcotics.

Black people know that the state and its gatekeepers exert their control over all aspects of our lives. So when we mention that the NSA surveillance regime isn’t new to us, the appropriate response is not to mock, ridicule, belittle and berate. No. The response that conveys solidarity and a desire to partner is to say: “Yes that’s true and while I may have been personally concerned about these issues, I am sorry that more of my peers haven’t been outraged for years. How can we work together to dismantle the surveillance state that harms us all?”

Check your privilege, please.


Bout. Fucking. Time.

Let's hope that this lying, racist, misogynistic, narcissistic, attention-addicted assclown is arrested, tried, convicted, sentenced, and put away like any common sociopath.

The only difference between sociopathic street criminals and sociopathic business criminals is that the former are severely punished while the latter are generously rewarded. Let's as a society treat Donald Trump like the unreformed fraud that we all already know he is.

For DU'ers in areas dominated by Republicans/right-wingers: question about local politics

Seeing as I live in one of the most liberal areas (SF Bay Area) in the country, I was curious as to how DU'ers in "red-state" (or red-region, or even red-locale) perceive the relationship between local conditions and right-wing dominance in their area.

By "local conditions", I mean things like the following:

- The political influence (or mere presence, for that matter) of working class people, minorities, immigrants, and/or the poor

- The social capital (defined as "the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively") of the aforementioned groups

- The social influence of local employers, the local Chamber of Commerce, evangelical/fundamentalist churches (if they're presence, the military, and/or law enforcement

- The type of employers/industries in the region (Are they professional services? Universities? Extractive industries such as oil, natural gas, coal, logging? What about agriculture - is it dominated by small family farms, large agribusiness, or ranching?)

- The average exposure and proximity of people in the community - especially community leaders and elites - to diversity, strangers, or even people with fundamentally different life experiences than themselves

Thoughts, comments, perspectives, insights, anecdotes, etc. are welcome.

*AA GROUP* On the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill (The more things change...)

Stumbled across the Wikipedia article on the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill earlier today. While reading it, I saw this:

Southern Senators opposed anti-lynching laws and other civil rights legislation on the grounds that blacks were responsible for more crime, more babies born out of wedlock, more welfare and other forms of social assistance, and that strong measures were needed to keep them under control.


Take out the parts about anti-lynching laws and replace "Southern Senators" with "the Republican Party and other racist...pardon me, conservative American whites", and that is 100% accurate in the "post-racial" 21st century United States.

The Case for Bringing Back the Political Machines

Thought that this was an interesting, thought-provoking article. I very much sympathize with the sentiment that if the Democratic Party will ever have the slightest chance to effectively serve and successfully advocate for working people and the most marginalized in American society - immigrants, women (particularly poor women, women of color, and LGBT women), black people and other people of color, the poor and financially insecure in general, LGBT, renters, the homeless, he physically and mentally handicapped, the mentally ill, the many people who are in prison for nonviolent offenses (or simply possessing marijuana or being wrongfully convicted for that matter) - the party must be well-organized and well-disciplined at the LOCAL level; and, just as critically, all of the aforementioned communities and groups must be an integral part of leading the way in every aspect of politics, starting from the ground up.

Even in my diverse, liberal, heavily Democratic locale in the SF Bay Area, the anti-union, anti-public sector right-wingers seem to be far better organized in local politics than the liberal, progressive, and left-wing voices. The exceptions usually are related to organized (emphasis) labor, as well as progressive religious organizations (emphasis) like black and Latino churches, etc. That is telling. Change does indeed come from the bottom up, but our organization at the bottom is simply not adequate right now for us to effectively be what we ought to be - the force for progressive change and social justice (and I am including racial, gender, economic, and other forms of justice under that rubric).

When Barack Obama came into power in 2008 with large majorities in both houses of Congress, it was hailed as the beginning of a new and lasting era of Democratic rule. Two years later, Democrats lost six U.S. Senate seats and 63 House seats—their worst beating in the House in 72 years. They also lost 680 seats in state legislatures, an all-time record, and six governorships. The 2014 midterms were no better: Democrats lost nine more Senate seats—their worst showing since the Reagan Massacre of 1980—plus another 13 House seats, and forfeited a net of two more governors’ mansions and eleven more legislative chambers. The party was reduced to its lowest standing on the state and national levels since 1900—and is now so feeble that it cannot even force the Senate to fulfill its constitutional mandate to hold hearings for an empty seat on the Supreme Court.

How is it possible for Democrats—seemingly the natural “majority party,” on the right side of every significant demographic trend—to suffer such catastrophic losses? Explanations abound, most of which revolve around the money advantage Republicans derived from the Citizens United decision. Or the hoary, self-congratulatory fable of how Democrats martyred themselves to goodness, forsaking the white working class forever because it passed the landmark civil rights bills of 1964 and 1965. Or how the party must move to the left, or the right, or someplace closer to the center—Peoria, maybe, or Pasadena.

But there’s a more likely explanation for these Democratic disasters. While 61.6 percent of all eligible voters went to the polls in the historic presidential year of 2008, only 40.9 percent bothered to get there in 2010, and just 36.4 percent showed up in 2014, the worst midterm showing since 1942. What the Democrats are missing is not substance, but a system to enact and enforce that substance: a professional, efficient political organization consistently capable of turning out the vote, every year, in every precinct.

What they lack is a machine.

If the machine was our party system at its most corrupt, it was also at its most efficacious. It gave form to our ideals. Interviewing a clutch of Tea Party activists last year, I was struck by the fact that nearly all of them had started out as grassroots activists, and then made their way up a ladder provided by the right-wing moneymen to become full-time organizers—with the promise of even more lucrative and fulfilling careers, in and out of government, still to come.

For nearly 50 years now, the right has painstakingly built its own party infrastructure. The number of corporate PACs and right-wing lobbyists in Washington has grown exponentially since 1968. Corporate lobbying money grew from an estimated $100 million in 1971 to more than $3.5 billion by 2015. The Koch brothers poured money into right-wing and libertarian think tanks and the Tea Party. By the height of the Bush administration, conservative think tanks outnumbered their liberal counterparts two to one, and outspent them nearly four to one. The right, in short, has built the twenty-first-century equivalent of the old machine.

So how can Democrats get back in the game of practical politics? The trick is to take the best of what the machines gave us—the populism, the participation, the inclusion—while avoiding the old venality, racism, authoritarianism, and exploitation. This was never any mean feat, and the task has been too long delayed. But drawing on history, one can suggest some guidelines for building a modern-day political machine:

1. Start at the bottom.

2. Don’t wait until election years to recruit.

3. Build a program.

4. Grow the grassroots.

5. Pay attention to the quid pro quo.

(the author elaborates on each of this guidelines)


How Donald Trump retooled his charity to spend other people’s money

Donald Trump was in a tuxedo, standing next to his award: a statue of a palm tree, as tall as a toddler. It was 2010, and Trump was being honored by a charity — the Palm Beach Police Foundation — for his “selfless support” of its cause.

His support did not include any of his own money.

Instead, Trump had found a way to give away somebody else’s money, and claim the credit for himself.

Trump had earlier gone to a charity in New Jersey — the Charles Evans Foundation, named for a deceased businessman — and asked for a donation. Trump said he was raising money for the Palm Beach Police Foundation.

The Evans Foundation said yes. In 2009 and 2010, it gave a total of $150,000 to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a small charity that the Republican presidential nominee founded in 1987.

Then, Trump’s foundation turned around and made donations to the police group in South Florida. In those years, the Trump Foundation’s gifts totaled $150,000.

Trump had effectively turned the Evans Foundation’s gifts into his own gifts, without adding any money of his own.

The Donald J. Trump Foundation is not like other charities. An investigation of the foundation — including examinations of 17 years of tax filings and interviews with more than 200 individuals or groups listed as donors or beneficiaries — found that it collects and spends money in a very unusual manner.

For one thing, nearly all of its money comes from people other than Trump. In tax records, the last gift from Trump was in 2008. Since then, all of the donations have been other people’s money — an arrangement that experts say is almost unheard of for a family foundation.

Trump then takes that money and generally does with it as he pleases. In many cases, he passes it on to other charities, which often are under the impression that it is Trump’s own money.

Money from the Trump Foundation has also been used for political purposes, which is against the law. The Washington Post reported this month that Trump paid a penalty this year to the Internal Revenue Service for a 2013 donation in which the foundation gave $25,000 to a campaign group affiliated with Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi (R).

Trump’s foundation appears to have repeatedly broken IRS rules, which require nonprofit groups to file accurate paperwork. In five cases, the Trump Foundation told the IRS that it had given a gift to a charity whose leaders told The Post that they had never received it. In two other cases, companies listed as “donors” to the Trump Foundation told The Post that those listings were incorrect.


But remember, folks, it's the big-government liberals who spend other people's money.

Why Ronald Reagan was successful

It wasn't just that he was an actor since he wasn't even that highly regarded as an actor. It was really more because of his experience at General Electric as a corporate spokesman/salesman. His boss Lemuel Boulware was the Vice President of Labor Relations (IIRC, not sure if that was his exact title). Which really meant, in practice, Vice President of Public Relations. Boulware was a ruthless asshole whom the unions absolutely loathed - and for good reason!

Boulware's pitch was simple: What's good for the employer is good for the employee, and organized labor threatened that supposedly "harmonious" relationship. Reagan really absorbed the ideology and tactics of "Boulwarism."

It's no coincidence that many of the staff in the Reagan White House had backgrounds in PR, advertising, and/or corporate marketing. Reagan and his lackeys then had the opportunity to sell the happy horseshit in national politics after years of practice selling it in business. And damn if they weren't good at it.

It truly boggles my mind that there are many Americans who want to replace President Obama...

...with this fucking guy:

Our President is so intelligent, yet so humble, so professional, so dignified, so very good at the impossibly and unimaginably difficult job of being the President of the United States and the Leader of the Free World, with so many remarkably impressive and substantial legislative achievements in spite of unfathomable obstacles and the odds being against him from the very beginning, and a man who is incredibly devoted to his beautiful wife and equally beautiful daughters. In other words, our President is a truly impressive and admirable man and an undeniably great role model for people of all backgrounds - not just the black community who justifiably hold a special place for him in their hearts.

He is such an amazing President and equally (if not more) amazing human being, I really have to wonder exactly what it is about President Obama that so many people in this country intensely and viscerally hate - I really can't put my finger on what aspect of the man that all too many Americans really cannot stand, what specifically they see as different about this President from all others, and why he is therefore both an illegitimate Chief Executive and an existential threat to the United States of America...
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