September 4, 2012 archive

Sep 04

2012 Democratic National Convention: Day 1

Just as with the Republicans, all the real business (except for the nominations) takes place with the acceptance of the temporary officers of the Convention and the reports of the Credentials, Rules, and Platform committees.  Since there was no alternative primary candidate the votes themselves are likely to be uncontentious, but that doesn’t mean the polices are-

Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats are delaying the release of daily schedules until 10 pm the previous night.  I hate it because it puts more deadline pressure on me and I hate to tell you how much time I’m already spending on the orchids Archie.

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

  • Call to Order Debbie Wasserman Schultz Chair of the Democratic National Committee Member of the US House of Representatives, Florida
  • Invocation His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas Bishop of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Detroit
  • Presentation of Colors Disabled American Veterans, The Stanly County Chapter 12 Honor Guard
  • Pledge of Allegiance 3rd Grade Class, W.R. O’Dell Elementary School Concord, North Carolina
  • National Anthem Amber Riley
  • Remarks Stephen J. Kerrigan Chief Executive Officer of the Democratic National Convention Committee
  • Welcome Video
  • Presentation of Credentials Committee Report from Co-Chairs Bishop Vashti McKenzie African Methodist Episcopal Church, Julian Castro Mayor of San Antonio, Texas
  • Presentation of Rules Committee Report from Co-Chairs Kamala D. Harris Attorney General of California, Martin O’Malley Governor of Maryland
  • Appointment of Convention Officers
  • Gaveling-in of Permanent Chair Antonio R. Villaraigosa Chair of the 2012 Democratic National Convention Committee Mayor of Los Angeles, California
  • Remarks Steny Hoyer Parliamentarian of the 2012 Democratic National Committee Convention Democratic Whip and Member of the US House of Representatives, Maryland, Andrew Tobias Treasurer of the Democratic National Committee, Alice Germond Secretary of the Democratic National Committee
  • Roll Call for Attendance

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

  • Platform Committee Remarks Barbara Lee Member of the US House of Representatives, California Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy (Retired) First woman to reach rank of three-star general in the US Army
  • Platform Video and Remarks Cory A. Booker Mayor of Newark, New Jersey
  • Remarks Bev Perdue Governor of North Carolina
  • American Hero Video: Education
  • American Voices Remarks Ryan Case
  • Remarks Mary Kay Henry International President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
  • Remarks from Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Charles Gonzalez Member of the US House of Representatives, Texas Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Nydia M. Velazquez Member of the US House of Representatives, New York
  • Remarks Pat Quinn Governor of Illinois
  • Remarks Doug Stern Cincinnati, Ohio Firefighter
  • Remarks Tim Kaine Candidate for the US Senate, Virginia Former Governor of Virginia Former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

  • Remarks Anthony R. Foxx Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Harry Reid Democratic Majority Leader and Member of the US Senate, Nevada
  • An Economy Built to Last Video: Education
  • Women of the US House of Representatives
  • Jimmy Carter Video
  • Remarks Ken Salazar
  • Kennedy Family Tribute Video
  • Remarks Joe Kennedy III Candidate for the US House of Representatives, Massachusetts
  • Live Performance Ledisi
  • Remarks Robert Wexler President of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace Former Member of the US House of Representatives, Florida

8:00 PM – 9:00 PM

  • Remarks R.T. Rybak Mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota Jared Polis Member of the US House of Representatives, Colorado
  • Stronger Together Video: Reproductive Choice
  • American Voices Remarks Maria Ciano
  • Remarks Nancy Keenan President of the National Abortion Rights Action League – Pro-Choice America (NARAL)
  • Progress for People Video: American Veterans
  • American Voices Remarks Nate Davis
  • Remarks Tammy Duckworth Candidate for the US House of Representatives, Illinois Former Assistant Secretary of the US Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Lincoln Chafee Governor of Rhode Island
  • James E. Clyburn Assistant Democratic Leader and Member of the US House of Representatives, South Carolina
  • Progress for People Video: Health Care
  • American Voices Remarks Stacey Lihn
  • Remarks Xavier Becerra Democratic Caucus Vice Chair and Member of the US House of Representatives, California

9:00 PM – 10:00 PM

  • Ted Strickland Former Governor of Ohio
  • Kathleen Sebelius
  • Rahm Emanuel Mayor of Chicago, Illinois Former White House Chief of Staff
  • Remarks Kal Penn Actor/Producer Former Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement
  • Remarks Craig Robinson and Maya Soetoro-ng Brother of Mrs. Obama and Sister of President Obama
  • Stronger Together Video: Equal Pay
  • Remarks Lilly Ledbetter Women’s equality leader and namesake of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
  • Deval Patrick Governor of Massachusetts

10:00 PM – 11:00 PM

  • Martin O’Malley Governor of Maryland
  • Introduction of Keynote Speaker Julian Castro Joaquin Castro Brother of Mayor Julian Castro Candidate for the US House of Representatives, Texas
  • Keynote Address Julian Castro Mayor of San Antonio, Texas
  • Michelle Obama Video and Remarks Elaine Brye
  • Remarks Michelle Obama First Lady of the United States
  • Benediction Jena Lee Nardella Founder and Executive Director of Blood: Water Mission

I’d say the highlights are Robert Wexler, Lincoln Chaffee, and Michelle Obama.  A variation TheMomCat noted is that Michelle Obama will be scheduled after the keynote, minimizing Chris Christie comparisons.

In looking at the agenda it seems the Democrats are putting more emphasis on pre-recorded contentent.

A Jim Blaine story-

I helped produce a folly of the myth of Persephone, a deeply symbolic piece about a young girl’s coming of age with incense and readings and a world beat sound track with live dancing and acting.

Performed by a cast of whomever we could scrape together and subject to 2 or 3 hours of make up and costume and choreography.

How to create this silk purse?  Pre-recording.  Teleprompters are for wimps.  Dual cassettes with live cast and 8 hours in the studio later you end up with something you hope the fireworks will distract from.

“Ok, now at the end of this song you all end up in a circle around Persephone.  Dragon?  Where’s the Dragon?  I need the Dragon on Stage now.”

The point?  There never was a bullier old ram…  oh.  Well, simply that while it may seem like a lot when you read it, the Republican convention was full of it too.

I removed all the “The Honorables” because none of them are.

Sep 04

Cartnoon

Another NFL Referee-like replacement.  Originally appeared here May 12, 2011.

To Hare is Human

Sep 04

On This Day In History September 4

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 4 is the 247th day of the year (248th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 118 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1886, Apache chief Geronimo surrenders to U.S. government troops. For 30 years, the mighty Native American warrior had battled to protect his tribe’s homeland; however, by 1886 the Apaches were exhausted and hopelessly outnumbered. General Nelson Miles accepted Geronimo’s surrender, making him the last Indian warrior to formally give in to U.S. forces and signaling the end of the Indian Wars in the Southwest.

While Geronimo (Chiricahua: Goyaale, “one who yawns”; often spelled Goyathlay or Goyahkla in English) said he was never a chief, he was a military leader. As a Chiricahua Apache, this meant he was one of many people with special spiritual insights and abilities known to Apache people as “Power”. Among these were the ability to walk without leaving tracks; the abilities now known as telekinesis and telepathy; and the ability to survive gunshot (rifle/musket, pistol, and shotgun). Geronimo was wounded numerous times by both bullets and buckshot, but survived. Apache men chose to follow him of their own free will, and offered first-hand eye-witness testimony regarding his many “powers”. They declared that this was the main reason why so many chose to follow him (he was favored by/protected by “Usen”, the Apache high-god). Geronimo’s “powers” were considered to be so great that he personally painted the faces of the warriors who followed him to reflect their protective effect. During his career as a war chief, Geronimo was notorious for consistently urging raids and war upon Mexican Provinces and their various towns, and later against American locations across Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas.

snip

In 1886, General Nelson A. Miles selected Captain Henry Lawton, in command of B Troop, 4th Cavalry, at Ft. Huachuca and First Lieutenant Charles B. Gatewood to lead the expedition that captured Geronimo. Numerous stories abound as to who actually captured Geronimo, or to whom he surrendered, although most contemporary accounts, and Geronimo’s own later statements, give most of the credit for negotiating the surrender to Lt. Gatewood. For Lawton’s part, he was given orders to head up actions south of the U.S.-Mexico boundary where it was thought Geronimo and a small band of his followers would take refuge from U.S. authorities. Lawton was to pursue, subdue, and return Geronimo to the U.S., dead or alive.

Lawton’s official report dated September 9, 1886 sums up the actions of his unit and gives credit to a number of his troopers for their efforts. Geronimo gave Gatewood credit for his decision to surrender as Gatewood was well known to Geronimo, spoke some Apache, and was familiar with and honored their traditions and values. He acknowledged Lawton’s tenacity for wearing the Apaches down with constant pursuit. Geronimo and his followers had little or no time to rest or stay in one place. Completely worn out, the little band of Apaches returned to the U.S. with Lawton and officially surrendered to General Miles on September 4, 1886 at Skeleton Canyon, Arizona.

The debate still remains whether Geronimo surrendered unconditionally. Geronimo pleaded in his memoirs that his people who surrendered had been misled: his surrender as a war prisoner was conditioned in front of uncontested witnesses (especially General Stanley). General Howard, chief of Pacific US army division, said on his part that his surrender was accepted as a dangerous outlaw without condition, which has been contested in front of the Senate.

In February, 1909, Geronimo was thrown from his horse while riding home, and had to lie in the cold all night before a friend found him extremely ill. He died of pneumonia on February 17, 1909 as a prisoner of the United States at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. On his deathbed, he confessed to his nephew that he regretted his decision to surrender. He was buried at Fort Sill in the Apache Indian Prisoner of War Cemetery

Sep 04

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning


Art Glass 3

Sep 04

Exposing the Lies in the 2012 Democratic National Platform

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The Democratic National Convention formally convenes at 5 PM EDT in Charlotte, North Carolina. The 2012 Democratic National Platform was released to the press Monday afternoon. I haven’t read it in its entirety but  I was drawn to read the housing section because of these two tweets from FDL‘s David Dayen:

Stabilizing the Housing Market and Hard-Hit Communities.

For more than a decade, irresponsible lenders tricked buyers into signing subprime loans while too many homeowners got in over their heads by buying homes they couldn’t afford. But when the housing bubble burst, it hurt everyone, including responsible homeowners who played by the rules, but saw their home values decline and their neighbors’ houses sit vacant. The housing market’s dramatic collapse did more than punish millions of innocent Americans; it also triggered the economy’s downward spiral into recession. President Obama took swift action to stabilize a housing market in crisis, helping five million families restructure their loans to help them stay in their homes, making it easier for families to refinance their mortgages and save hundreds of dollars a month, and giving tax credits to first-time home buyers. He also cracked down on fraudulent mortgage lenders and other abuses that contributed to the housing crisis. Democrats have held the largest financial institutions accountable by requiring them to provide relief for homeowners still struggling to pay their mortgages and to change practices that took advantage of homeowners. Democrats also understand the importance of helping communities fightback against the foreclosures that threaten entire neighborhoods, which is why the President proposed to expand the successful neighborhood stabilization efforts in his American Jobs Act. Too many people still owe more on their homes than they are worth. That is why Democrats are fighting to give every responsible homeowner the chance to refinance their home, spurring investment in communities that have been hit hardest by foreclosure, and taking whatever steps we can to avoid more foreclosures. The President remains committed to creating an economy that’s built to last, where homeownership is an achievable dream for all Americans

Emphasis mine

David is right, this has to be the most outrageous lie since Paul Ryan took to the stage at the RNC Convention.

From the September 1 New York Times Editorial: Still No Justice for Mortgage Abuses:

The Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight, the monitor of the settlement, released a preliminary report last week showing that 138,000 homeowners had received some form of relief from March 1 through June 30. That is roughly the number that would have been expected under various aid programs in effect before the settlement. Worse, with some three million borrowers now in or near foreclosure, according to Moody’s Analytics, it is nowhere near the level of relief needed to fix the housing market. [..]

Short sales are better than foreclosures, in part because they prevent vacancies that depress house values. But they are not punishment for wrongdoing in any meaningful sense; rather, they allow banks to get higher prices for underwater properties than they could have gotten in foreclosure sales.

Nor do they fulfill the settlement’s main purpose: to keep underwater borrowers in their homes by reducing the principal on their mortgage loans. According to the monitor’s report, $8.7 billion of debt has been written off in short sales versus only $750 million of principal reduction from loan modifications.

And the fraud continues, thanks to MERS. Don’t let the rosy housing price increases fool you:

(N)ew foreclosures continued to be filed – 256,000 people had a foreclosure added to their credit reports in the June quarter – but that figure was the lowest since mid-2007, the Fed said.

In stark contrast to this improving backdrop are the legal battles still being waged over wrongful foreclosure practices. The glacial progress in these cases is not surprising, given the crowded courts and combatants’ usual stalling tactics.

What is surprising is the fresh evidence these cases are turning up of cockeyed mortgage practices, during both the boom and the bust. As these matters are adjudicated, perhaps we will finally learn whether these practices were intended or accidental. [..]

A foreclosure from Ohio highlights this problem. The facts from this matter are central to a prospective class action filed by a borrower, who contends he was charged improper court costs and legal-related fees in his foreclosure.

The case involved legal moves taken against a bank in 2007 that did not even have an interest in either of the two mortgage liens associated with the foreclosed property. Even though the bank should never have been dragged into the matter, it was – generating $775 in court costs and legal fees paid by the borrower, documents show. Only two years later, during the discovery process, did it emerge that the bank had no ownership in the underlying property.

That $775 may not sound like much. But Paul Grobman, a lawyer in New York who represents the borrower, said he believed the collection of what he called improper legal charges is rampant in foreclosures.

Here is the entire platform:

Document the lies.

 

Sep 04

Obama Will Not Prosecute Torture

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

We know that the Obama administration was determined to never prosecute any of the main architects of the Bush regime torture program, or close Guantanamo. Last week while everyone was focused on the Republican Party Convention in Tampa, the Department of Justice announced that it is formally ending its investigation of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program with out bringing criminal charges:

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced Thursday that no one would be prosecuted for the deaths of a prisoner in Afghanistan in 2002 and another in Iraq in 2003, eliminating the last possibility that any criminal charges will be brought as a result of the brutal interrogations carried out by the C.I.A.

Mr. Holder had already ruled out any charges related to the use of waterboarding and other methods that most human rights experts consider to be torture. His announcement closes a contentious three-year investigation by the Justice Department and brings to an end years of dispute over whether line intelligence or military personnel or their superiors would be held accountable for the abuse of prisoners in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Mr. Holder had stated that the DOJ would not charge any of the interrogators if they had acted strictly in accordance with the department’s legal advice. Thus giving legitimacy to the “we were just following orders” defense that was rejected when used by German war criminals at Nuremberg. Mr. Holder just thumbed his nose at established international law, as well.

The lame excuse that there is a lack of solid evidence is just ludicrous, as David Dayen wrote in his article at FDL News Desk:

This was the investigation headed by John Durham, the federal prosecutor selected in August 2009 to look into charges of torture in CIA interrogations during the Bush Administration. We know plenty about those charges. The Justice Department released a previously classified document around the same time that they named Durham to lead the investigation, detailing the methods they used to interrogate suspects, including plenty of metMr. Obamahods that a plain reading would consider to be torture. This included waterboarding, stress positions, mock executions, threatening with handguns and power drills, vowing to kill or rape members of a detainee’s family, and inducing vomiting. [..]

In July 2010, federal judge and former Bush-era Justice Department official Jay Bybee, who wrote many of the Administration’s guidelines on interrogation, admitted to a House committee that CIA personnel never asked for approval for many of the interrogation techniques they used, that they went further than the prescribed guidelines from him, and that the ones he did prescribe were used excessively. Even if you believe that Bybee’s techniques were legal and did not violate federal and international conventions against torture, his testimony revealed clearly that CIA interrogators broke the law. Despite this prima facie evidence of unauthorized interrogation, the investigation went nowhere.

From the very start of his administration Pres. Obama and his officials have shielded the Bush torturers from all accountability, despite his campaign promise to have his Justice Department thoroughly investigate any charge of torture because no one is above the law. Then, even before he was inaugurated Mr. Obama declared that he was apposed to any of these investigations declaring  “we must look forward, not backward.”

Glenn Greenwald writing for The Guardian, reviews the timeline of decisions that has lead to a whitewash of the “war on terror crimes.”

Throughout the first several months of his presidency, his top political aides, such as the chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel and his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, publicly – and inappropriately – pressured the justice department to refrain from any criminal investigations. Over and over, they repeated the Orwellian mantra that such investigations were objectionable because “we must look forward, not backward“. As Gibbs put it in April 2009, when asked to explain Obama’s opposition, “the president is focused on looking forward. That’s why.

On 16 April 2009, Obama himself took the first step in formalizing the full-scale immunity he intended to bestow on all government officials involved even in the most heinous and lethal torture. On that date, he decreed absolute immunity for any official involved in torture provided that it comported with the permission slips produced by Bush department of justice (DOJ) lawyers which authorized certain techniques. “This is a time for reflection, not retribution,” the new president so movingly observed in his statement announcing this immunity. Obama added:

   “[N]othing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past … we must resist the forces that divide us, and instead come together on behalf of our common future.” [..]

(I)n August 2009, Holder announced a formal investigation to determine whether criminal charges should be brought in over 100 cases of severe detainee abuse involving “off-the-books methods” such as “mock execution and threatening a prisoner with a gun and a power drill”, as well as threats that “prisoners (would be) made to witness the sexual abuse of their relatives.” But less than two years later, on 30 June 2011, Holder announced that of the more than 100 cases the justice department had reviewed, there would be no charges brought in any of them – except two.

Glenn goes on to discuss the evidence in those two brutal cases that the justice department has now closed without charges and how the Obama administration even shut down investigations by Spain and Germany:

Moreover, Obama’s top officials, as WikiLeaks cables revealed, secretly worked with GOP operatives to coerce other countries, such as Spain and Germany, to quash their investigations into the US torture of their citizens, and issued extraordinary threats to prevent British courts from disclosing any of what was done. And probably worst of all, the Obama administration aggressively shielded Bush officials even from being held accountable in civil cases brought by torture victims, by invoking radical secrecy powers and immunity doctrines to prevent courts even from hearing those claims.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has prosecuted whistleblowers with a vigor that has surpassed all other presidents. In the NY Times article, Mr Holder noted one case in his announcement:

While no one has been prosecuted for the harsh interrogations, a former C.I.A. officer who helped hunt members of Al Qaeda in Pakistan and later spoke publicly about waterboarding, John C. Kiriakou, is awaiting trial on criminal charges that he disclosed to journalists the identity of other C.I.A. officers who participated in the interrogations.

Glenn appeared on Democracy Now with host Amy Goodman to discuss Mr. Holder’s announcement. During the seven minute interview they also discussed Clint Eastwood’s conversation with an empty chair at the RNC Convention,

Mr. Holder covers up the evidence, allows the real criminals to walk, instead prosecuting those who spoke out about the crimes.

Is this the change we are suppose to believe in and vote to reelect?  

Sep 04

Happy Labor/Mauer Day

I actually went to get hay today.  The local grain store was closed but Home Depot and the super wally world, both open.  The private lakefront yuppie community did large fireworks last night(not the stuff you can buy in New Hampshire).   So my question to you is, was there a last blast or can we not afford that in these uncertain times.  We spent the day working on the new farm.  Traffic seemed light and gas is almost 4 bucks.  In my new country setting I am seriously debating not even bothering to register to vote.  I am happier not cluttering my mind with second veil stuff.  That plus a farm day is long and winter is coming.  A to do list does not work when you spend hours looking for unpacked tools someplace in the new garage.  Never had a garage before.

Sep 04

Michael Steele

Michael Steele

As Aired

Part 1

Part 2

In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: Not necessarily to Win, but mainly to keep from Losing Completely.

Sep 04

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Our regular featured content-

And these featured articles-

Write more and often.  This is an Open Thread.

The Stars Hollow Gazette