August 9, 2009 archive

Aug 09

BREAKING: Criminal investigation into CIA treatment of detainees expected

Here we go, here we go, here we go!!!

Reporting from Washington — U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. is poised to appoint a criminal prosecutor to investigate alleged CIA abuses committed during the interrogation of terrorism suspects, current and former U.S. government officials said.

A senior Justice Department official said that Holder envisioned an inquiry that would be narrow in scope, focusing on “whether people went beyond the techniques that were authorized” in Bush administration memos that liberally interpreted anti-torture laws.

It would seem a lot of legal and judiciary-related logjams have suddenly and mysteriously cleared now that Sonia Sotomayor has been confirmed by the Senate to take her post as a Supreme Court Justice.

Very much still under the MSM radar and not even receiving much well-deserved attention here, another very important legal milestone was reached yesterday as ex-FBI translator Sibel Edmonds was finally allowed to testify in full before the Ohio Elections Commission at a hearing held at the National Whistleblowers Center. Previous attempts to bring her testimony to the attention of Congress and other legal authorities were stalled by the DOJ’s invocation of the State Secrets Act. That didn’t happen this Saturday, and the genie is now out of the bottle concerning bribery and corruption charges that may be brought against several currently serving and former members of Congress, as well as high ranking members of the Bush administration’s State Department.

It would seem that Sotomayor’s confirmation was the Occam’s Razor needed before many of the accountability issues were addressed. It may be premature to celebrate, but good things appear to be happening. At last. At last.

H/T to HSaive of the V911Truth list.

Aug 09

Genocide & Intent Of The Infected Blankets

Plains Indian Smallpox

Indian genocide is a controversial subject on the internet and on this site. Genocide and Holocaust are words that are easy to throw around, often to grab a reader’s attention, but proving them is something else. What one group calls genocide, another group may call progress. This statement is used in the same context as the saying…one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

The argument for Indian genocide is based primarily on letters written by General Jeffery Amherst during the French and Indian War.Letters by General Amherst and Colonel Bouquet mentioning spreading smallpox to Indians does not mean that this was ever carried out.
Assumptions derived from letters and oral traditions are not proof of anything.
 

Aug 09

Obama: Words .vs. Actions

Consider the following words of hope offered by President Obama, and the public commitments which he made to us upon his taking office:

Obama’s Words:

“All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of  disclosure,  in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open Government.

Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

      –President Obama, January 21, 2009

“My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.”

     –President Obama, January 28, 2009

___

Okay, so let’s look now at how President Obama has actually put those words and those goals into action.  

Aug 09

Libertarians Against Choice: The Attack on Obama’s HSR Policy

Recently, I speculated on what was behind the recent surge in op-ed articles using slipshod reasoning to attack the policy of the Obama administration to support investment in High Speed Rail travel options for the American Public. And, I stress, it was speculative:

However, just as with our Freakonomist Eric Morris, its a lot easier to adopt the stance of declaring “skepticism” and use that declaration as a magic incantation to dispense with any need to actually find information. Simply paint a specific Sustainable Energy Independence project as receiving “uncritical support”, declare yourself a skeptic, and you are free to spout the a Libertarian anti-HSR talking point without dwelling on such messy things as facts and figures.

However, in searching for specific examples of the “libertarian talking points” that I referred to, I came across this excellent collection at the Midwest High Speed Rail Association, in their High Speed Rail: Fact versus Fiction, where they collect a series of talking points from the three main anti-public-transport think tanks – Cato, Heritage, and the Reason Foundation (just google if you need the links).

Aug 09

Safety Nets Becoming Dragnets?: Criminalizing the Poor

Last month I wrote a diary at GOS, Criminalization of the Poor regarding  an increasing trend in many urban areas in arresting homeless people for minor infractions in order to get them off the streets and into the penal system. Barbara Ehrenreich has addressed the same issue in an op-ed in today’s NYT with Is It Now a Crime to Be Poor?

Ehrenreich raises the point that, “I’d be content with a consensus that, if we can’t afford to truly help the poor, neither can we afford to go on tormenting them.” It seems very clear now that even if the nation’s economy is reaching a plateau in certain sectors, it will be a long and painful road for many in finding their own equilibrium or comfort zone with the basics of employment, shelter and life’s other necessities. We as a nation must make sure that we do not become increasingly authoritarian with those who have the least among us. We should avoid turning our safety nets into dragnets.

Aug 09

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

Now with all the news.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Iran Guard wants former president, moderates tried

By Reza Derakhshi, Reuters

2 hrs 1 min ago

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said on Sunday that opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi, a defeated presidential candidate and former president, should be tried for inciting unrest after the disputed presidential poll.

The June 12 election plunged Iran into its biggest internal crisis since the 1979 Islamic revolution, exposed deepening divisions in its ruling elite and set off a wave of protests that left 26 people dead.

“If Mousavi, (defeated candidate Mehdi) Karoubi and (former president Mohammad) Khatami are main suspects behind the soft revolution in Iran, which they are, we expect the judiciary … to go after them, arrest them, put them on trial and punish them,” said Yadollah Javan, a senior Guard commander, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Aug 09

UN Officer to APA: All Psychologists Must Leave Gitmo! (b/c of torture!)

The 2009 convention of the American Psychological Association (APA) opened in Toronto on August 7, and runs through today. Behind all the busy poster events, interest group parties, speeches and academic get-togethers, the fine wheels of bureaucratic resistance are grinding slowly and inexorably.

Anyone who has ever seen their dream killed by administrative indifference and authoritarian obstructionism will sympathize with the betrayal felt by the leaders of a referendum drive inside the APA to condemn psychologist participation in prison sites that are in violation of international law, say, by torturing their prisoners, or holding them in indefinite detention.

The referendum passed last summer by nearly 60% of voting members. Subsequently, APA revved up their bureaucratic resolution-killing machinery. A description of their bad faith maneuvers follows, along with coverage of breaking news, wherein the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture calls on APA to honor the referendum and tell the U.S. government it must pull all psychologists out of Guantanamo and other sites in violation of human rights.

Aug 09

Town Hall Recap NY-20: I have met the wingnuts, they are very scared and dumb as hell

Crossposted at [http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/8/9/151935/4860 Daily Kos}

Change Vs NOOOO!!!

    This is my personal account of Saturday’s town hall with Representative Scott Murphy.

    I have met the wingnuts and looked into their eyes, and they are very scared, badly misinformed, angry, and dumb as hell.

    Early on the screamers tried to troll out the event. Representative Scott Murphy (D-NY20) answered back with a line that sums up the whole argument when he said

“When we are done people can tell me what they hate.”

    I have broken this diary up into four sections, including a breakdown of Congressmen Murphy’s conversations with the public and his stance on Health Care reform, as well as pictures from the event, the lobbyists role in all of this, and a statement on the need to throw bipartisanship overboard from now on.

   Having engaged the GOP base firsthand, I can easily state that these are the dumbest people in the country.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

Aug 09

Via Email From Mom


Important universal and timeless truths that we learn only from the movies:

All telephone numbers in America begin with the digits 555.

All beds have special L-shaped cover sheets which reach up to the armpit level on a woman but only to waist level on the man lying beside her.

The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place. No-one will ever think of looking for you in there, and you can travel to any other part of the building you want without difficulty.

Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it will not be necessary to speak the language. A German accent will do.

A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.

Kitchens don’t have light switches. When entering a kitchen at night, you should open the fridge door and use that light instead.

Cars that crash will almost always burst into flames.

If you find yourself caught up in a misunderstanding that could be cleared up quickly with a simple explanation, for goodness sake, keep your mouth shut.

Aug 09

Ya Know What Is F’in Stupid? Letting Torturers Go Free

And Rahm “fucking stupid” Emanuel is a big part of that. He and Axlerod, from what I hear, are the ones who have convinced Obama to look forward…..past torture and death by torture ordered and authorized by Rumsfeld Cheney and Bush. As part of a years long Official Policy of Torture that stretched from Gitmo to Afghanistan to Iraq and to an entire NETWORK of secret torture prisons, serviced bt a secrte torture airline.

Aug 09

Sunday Op-Ed: National Indecision

Photobucket

So I’m watching the health care “debate” in this country with my eyes half-screwed shut because some of the foolishness is downright painful to witness — aside from the real pain of knowing too many folks aren’t getting the medicine and medical treatment they need.

Hard to make a decision when politics exists nowadays simply to muddy the waters.  And while the circus goes on in the foreground, so does the power game in the back room.

President Obama has chosen to use his power cautiously in this “debate,” so that will limit the choices we will make when it comes to health care.  There are endless arguments of what could and couldn’t be on the table as far as single-payer and the watered down version of the public option (which gets more watered down every day), and those arguments try so hard to be definitive, as though there are no alternatives to what Obama has chosen to do (if you are an Obama supporter) or that Obama is simply a corporate tool (if you are among those who have had it with half-measures).

The past eight years in particular have seen each and every one of our political institutions debased and sold to the highest bidder.  And because we are not shining a bright light on the crimes of the Bush/Cheney misAdministration, we are seeing the effects of that in each and every political decision voted upon by Congress and signed into law (with or without signing statements) by the Executive Branch.

As far as health care is concerned, my view is that if there is anything at all that Obama can sign into law, he should.  I don’t think for one moment that we’ll get a real public option — but we’ll get our foot in the door when it comes to incremental change — and although I am NOT in favor of incremental change, that is the only thing that’s being offered from our government.

So I don’t look towards Obama or our government for my deliverance, big surprise.

I look towards myself and my fellow citizens of like mind.  In that, I have a great deal of faith.  The word “incremental” doesn’t even figure into our work, nor should it.

Aug 09

Crist choosing to Bend Over to Anti-Science Syndrome (A.S.S.) tantrums?

Everywhere we look, it seems, the evidence is there.

Whether the “Birthers” or 10-year olds carrying signs equating Obama with Hitler or anti-choice murderers or “intelligent design” propagandists, an epidemic is breaking out across the United States. An epidemic whose manifestation, now, are screaming masses threatening the very underpinnings of American democracy.  As per blue aardvark,

In a democracy, power comes from the ability to persuade. You win because people like your ideas.

The Republicans are admitting they can’t win a fair fight. They are cowards.

While the attention is focused on the mobs storming Democratic politicians’ town halls and highlighted are the depraved (mal-informed) rages about health care, the reality is that anti-clean energy interests are sponsoring their own variations of outright deception and fostered screaming outrage. To a large extent, one thing shared among the “outraged” voices: a deep (and proud) embrace of know-nothingness.

But this outraged know-nothingness isn’t targeted solely at Democratic Party politicians seeking to communicate with their constituents, also targeted are Republican politicians who show any signs of seeking to link their policy concepts with reality.

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