June 14, 2008 archive

Please Tell Fallen Farm Worker’s Family We Care

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the tragic and preventable death of 17-year-old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez.  She who died due to heat stroke while laboring in a Stockton area vineyard when the company failed to provide her with the shade and water required by California law.  Her body temperature was 108.4 degrees when she was finally taken to a hospital nearly two hours after she collapsed.  Doctors found after her death that she was two months pregnant.

To date no one from the companies involved has had the decency to express condolences to Maria’s family.

snip

We want to let Maria’s family know that people from all over North America care about this tragedy-that people from all walks of life and of all backgrounds recognize the value of Maria’s life and death. Tell the family that you share the sorrow of Maria’s death and pledge to do what you can, so other farm worker families do not have to endure the same agony.

Now, the United Farm Workers are asking people to sign a condolance card to her family.

Sign Here

More, after the fold.  

Death Blow to the Empire

The Bushco plan for Iraq….permanent bases to achieve and enforce energy hegemony in the Middle East, just failed. For some unfathomable reason, the Iraqis don’t seem to want America to build 58 bases ad permaently occupy their country.

WAPO:

BAGHDAD, June 13 — The Bush administration’s Iraq policy suffered two major setbacks Friday when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki publicly rejected key U.S. terms for an ongoing military presence and anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for a new militia offensive against U.S. forces.

Why do the Iraqis hate America?

Oh yeah, we invaded ad occupied their country by lyig to the world and for no discernible reason except Neo-con dreams of empire…..and have been killing them for six years or so….with various war crimes like torture and using chemical weapons…WMD… on civilians thrown in for Public Relations purposes.

The Surge has only “worked” for one reason….a truce with Sadr. That is over now.

Every faction not currently holding US granted power right now wants the Yankees to go home. Bush/McCain cannot afford to “surrender” and their obvious and fatal incompetence at diplomacy has just reached the high water mark in trying to force the Iraqi people to accept permanent occupation, which has now been forcefully rejected. If Sadr keeps his word, Iraq is about to get very ugly.

If Sadr aligns with all of the other factions that want America gone….and mounts a real offensive backed by the Iraqi people…..well….140,000m troops and a broken military aren’t going to cut it. Bush/McCain will be forced to react, the only question is how. They have no more cards to play, and they are in the middle of a election where they are forced to pretend that all is well. When it isn’t. George Bush’s dreams of empire are about to crumble in the face of a people he has woefully oppressed and abused, and has now found the only possible way of uniting…..mobilizing them to kill Americans.

Heckuva job, Georgie.

Meanwhile…. Next Door… a little Protest

Turns out the CAW (Canadian Auto Workers Union) are still the feisty, ornery, bunch I remember them to be from my days as a youth riding association member in the NDP.

Irked by plans to and shut down auto plants in Ontario ( just recently after a CBA was signed ) they have staged a

blockade of GM in Oshawa. The truck plant there is to be closed causing the loss of 2600 jobs.

GM reacted predictably filing a court injunction….

GM filed the injunction request Thursday, arguing the protest is keeping 900 people away from work and hampering day-to-day operations

Funny thing protest can actually work.

Now, in this case it only works temporarily as a Judge has ordered the protest to be stopped and the union members and their supporters to vacate the area by Monday.

However the Judge also had this to say….

But in his decision, Ontario Superior Court Judge David Salmers also chastised the auto giant, saying it acted deceitfully in announcing the closure of a truck plant in Oshawa by the end of 2009 just three weeks after reaching a collective bargaining agreement with the CAW

The union replied this way….

“As of 7 a.m. Monday morning, General Motors can have their building back, and not until,” Buckley said Friday after the ruling. “I’m more than satisfied with the judge’s decision.”

Must Read: Behind the Republican Attack on Science

Over at big Orange, The Open Science Thread

by DarkSyde has a link at the bottom to a very enlightening story…

Why the Right Wing Attacks Science at Effect Measure lays out the war on science, and it’s been going on for 30 years, and escalated for the last 16…

“Kucinich’s Articles of Impeachment: A Three-Part Guide”

An “FYI” post. The 35 articles are quite dry and time consuming to read.

Elizabeth de la Vega has done a wonderful job of simplifying them for easier consumption and understanding, and they enumerate all of George Bush’s crimes since he took office.

Maybe more people will understand these articles and comprehend the nature of Bush’s offenses now, not having to wade through the legalese.

de la vega translates them into plain english that no one has any excuse for not getting, now.

Kucinich’s Articles of Impeachment: A Three-Part Guide

By Elizabeth de la Vega

The Public Record

Saturday, June 14, 2008

It is entirely possible to be a reasonably well-informed citizen of the United States and not know that on June 9, 2008, Representative Dennis Kucinich (D. Ohio) took to the floor of the House of Representatives and spent over four hours reading thirty-five Articles of Impeachment against President George W. Bush.


Even worse, it is not merely possible, but likely, that the vast majority of people who have been more than willing to ignore or ridicule those charges have not read them.  Or, if they have read them, they have found the allegations and citations so overwhelming they just switch off their minds.  Perhaps surprisingly, I understand this phenomenon quite well. I spent many years attempting to present complex and disturbing information to people in the context of criminal indictments and cases.  And the truth is that legal documents are confusing to everyone, including lawyers. Much as I hate to admit it, for example, I have never been able to plow through our family will, so for all I know, our very meager estate has been designated by my husband to be held in trust for the care and feeding of ferrets.

But the House Judiciary Committee does not, of course, have the luxury of being so cavalier.  For the past seven years, we have watched as evidence of President Bush’s deceit, contempt of Congress and abuse of power has piled up like rank seaweed on a beach.  We cannot, in this summer of 2008, simply step around it and pretend it’s not there. There is a constitutional process to follow and we must follow it.  If the threat of terrorism is not a reason to disregard the constitution – and it is not – then surely neither is an election.

So I have decided to offer some help, a modest contribution in the one area I know best: the presentation of charges.  It’s a Three-Part Guide to the Articles of Impeachment.  There is nothing fancy here — no sarcasm, no vitriol and no cynicism.  Part I is a chart that itemizes the Articles of Impeachment with a subheading and a longer description. Part II is also a chart which itemizes U.S. and international laws that are implicated by the charges in the Articles of Impeachment.  (Quite properly, not every impeachable offense is based on a specific legal violation.)  In Part III I present an opening statement setting forth – just as a prosecutor would do before a trial – what the evidence would show with regard to these allegations.  

Forward them around, if you would.  At the very least – before we decide to ignore it –we should all clearly and unflinchingly apprehend the nature and scope of this executive misconduct and its consequent human misery and damage to our country.

Part I:   kucinich-bush-articles-of-impeachment.pdf

Part II: kucinich-bush-articles-of-impeachment-violations.pdf

[Updated June 27, 2008 4:00 AM PST]

Part III: Opening Statement to the House Judiciary Committee Regarding the Articles of Impeachment

I want to speak to you about the Articles of Impeachment Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced on June 9, 2008.  There are, as you know, thirty-five of them and they allege violations of just about as many U.S. and international laws.

When I first sat down to write this statement, I planned to discuss the evidence and the law that relates to some of those violations, just as I would do if I were presenting a case to a jury at the beginning of a trial. But I’ve decided not to do that. Instead, I am going to follow the wise counsel Abigail Adams gave to her husband John and just speak plainly.

I believe that most of you know what the evidence would show.

You know that the President has admitted violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. You know that the President of the United States has admitted committing a crime, but there has been no consequence.

You know that the President has caused his subordinates and agents to refuse to comply with duly-authorized subpoenas from Congress. It has happened over and over again.

And many of you are lawyers, some former prosecutors and even judges: You know what the law says about criminal responsibility. Under the law of the United States, anyone who “willfully causes an act to be done which if directly performed by him or another” or who “aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures” the commission of an act is just as culpable as the person who commits the act. That is not some strange legal theory — it’s what your professors would have called “black-letter law.”

I’m thinking about this elementary rule of criminal law as I write today — June 26, 2008. Because I’m listening to some of you question the infamous former Office of Legal Counsel Attorney John Yoo and the Vice-President’s lawyer David Addington. And even as you ask tough and often heated questions about secret legal opinions memos and definitions of torture, I have no doubt most of you know that none of this horrific reign of terror on the part of the United States would have occurred if President Bush had not signed a memo on February 7, 2002 declaring that Al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners would not be protected by the Geneva Conventions.

I know, in other words, that most of you are well aware that the President is responsible — factually, legally and as a matter of common sense — for the torture and abuse of prisoners that has occurred as a result of his authorization.

You also know that the President has himself deceived us and caused others to deceive us about this torture and so many other things: nuclear weapons in Iraq, Iraq and 9/11, the alleged threat from Saddam Hussein, a possible threat from Iran, illegal detentions, nuclear weapons, money, death and injury to our own soldiers, government contracts, the response to Hurricane Katrina, our civil liberties, our voting rights, the cost of Medicare, the firing of U.S. Attorneys, the very air that we breathe.

And throughout nearly eight years of these frauds and machinations, we have heard parsings of White House statements, and arguments about “literal truth” ad nauseum –even though, as most of you know, these legal-sounding discussions were almost entirely beside the point and, of themselves, a sham. The law of fraud is very clear and well-established. It makes no difference whatsoever whether the President did or did not make statements that were literally untrue. Literal truth is only a defense to a perjury charge. It is irrelevant to the crime of fraud which — reflecting our everyday experience — prohibits all kinds of deceit: false pretenses, outright lies, representations that are misleading even if they are literally true, deliberate concealment of material information, half-truths, and statements made with reckless indifference to the truth. These are principles that prosecutors advocate to jurors every day as they try to convict people who have used fraud to steal government funds, take families’ homes, or deprive the elderly of their life savings.

I believe that most of you — from both sides of the aisle — understand and appreciate all too well what the nature and scope of this President’s law-breaking, deceit and abuse of power has been. And it is precisely because you know all of these things that you would like nothing better than to just forget about it and move on.

Please do not do that.

Why do I say this? Because the continued success of government in this country, including, of course, the criminal justice system, depends upon a most fundamental and simple precept: No person is above the law. When I first started as a prosecutor, judges would sometimes phrase it more archaically: The law is no respecter of persons. But however it’s phrased, this basic premise has never changed. In the United States of America, regardless of a person’s station in life or political affiliation, he is entitled to be judged — and must be judged — according to the same laws as every one else.

What happens to this fundamental principle if after all these congressional investigations revealing widespread fraud, legal violations and gross misconduct by the President, Congress decides to do nothing?

What happens is that you will have chosen to up-end the bedrock upon which this nation has stood for over two hundred years. You will be telling the world that the 110th Congress has decreed that the President of the United States is not subject to the same laws as every one else. From now on, this radical, if unspoken, about-face will never be far from the minds of prosecutors, defense attorneys, defendants, victims and jurors when they hear a judge declare that a verdict must be rendered in accordance with the law, and without bias or sympathy towards either side. All of us who depend upon the fairness of the criminal justice system — and upon whom the fairness of that system depends — will know, in short, that it’s rigged.

Now, am I suggesting that every time anyone introduces Articles of Impeachment against the President, Congress is obligated to proceed forward with them? Absolutely not. But it does fall to you — if you are to fulfill your oaths as defenders of the Constitution — to consider them carefully in light of the applicable law, just as any responsible prosecutor would do when deciding whether to proceed with an investigation.

If you fail to do this — if you put this roiling mess on the back burner and walk away from the stove — you will have made a staggeringly-radical and consequential decision to undermine the Constitution and the criminal justice system. And you will have made this choice without discussion or debate — without, in fact, doing anything at all. It would be, I’m sorry to say, a shameful display for this Fourth of July, 2008.

—–  
Copyright © 2008 Elizabeth de la Vega

Elizabeth de la Vega is a former federal prosecutor with more than 20 years of experience. During her tenure, she was a member of the Organized Crime Strike Force and chief of the San Jose Branch of the US attorney’s office for the Northern District of California.  

The author of  “United States v. George W. Bush et al,”  she may be contacted at ElizabethdelaVega@Verizon.net or through Speakers Clearinghouse.

 

Should Bush be Hung or Face Life Imprisonment? Buglioisi says he should stand trial for MURDER!

Should George Bush face the death Penalty or life imprisonment?

If proven guitly of murder those two choices would have to be considered. Would Texas be the site of the execution or imprisonment?

According to Vincent Bugliosi the president should be prosecuted for murder. Vincent Bugliosi is considered by some the greatest prosecutor in America. Here’s a portion of his interview with little known “non towering” journalist, Amy Goodman.

http://www.democracynow.org/20…

The Dilemma of Black Patriotism

route66 has a diary up about today, Flag Day here in these United States.


I was going to post up something I found recently that attempts to explain some recent occurances on the meaning of ‘Patriotism’, and a tie in with ‘route66’ diary is appropriate on this day.


After all I’m one of the millions, in this country, who have been called ‘UnPatriotic’ for having not walked in lockstep with the criminal cabal, and their followers, who have led this country into it’s extreme failed policies of an Occupation built on Lies and Fixed Intelligence and done in All Our Names!

Iraq war could cost taxpayers $2.7 trillion

World-Wide-Military-Expenditures_MINE

Must be a sign of the apocalypse.  The MSM catches up to Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, a former senior official in the US Department of Commerce, who wrote The Three Trillion Dollar War.

How about some straight talk on abortion, Senator McCain?

A week or so back, I created a bit of a stir with a diary whose title referred to SCOTUS overturning Roe.  And while I make no apologies for the title, I did only talk about McCain’s “fondness” for judges like Alito, Scalia and Roberts, and how he would like to appoint SCOTUS justices in their mold.

McCain’s positions on abortion have been, even for someone who is firmly on the anti-privacy and choice side of the ledger, all over the road.  But the least odious of the miserable positions that he takes is that he would like to see the decision revert back to the states, where a good number of states already have “trigger laws” on the books, which would effectively ban the right for a woman to have control over her personal private medical decisions.

The Embed War Dividend

Editor and Publisher gave note to a study recently by sociologist Andrew M Lindner about the impact of how embedded reporters framed the initial invasion and ultimately provided significant positive angles for the public to consume.

The study analyzed content from articles written by both embedded reporters and other sources ( ie reporters who were independent from the process) and found this direct conclusion.

Lidner found that journalists embedded with American troops emphasized military successes more often than they covered consequences for Iraqi citizens

I would argue that this initial framework has continued to influence coverage to this day. While the struggles and horrors Iraqi citizens face do get coverage, even much of the moderate anti war sentiment in this country tends to focus on getting our troops home ( and rightly so ) and their ongoing struggles with getting appropriate health care for physical and emotional damage. We still don’t talk much about how badly we fucked up the daily lives of citizens there. Even if we packed up and left today, the humanitarian crisis would spiral for years to come, an argument often manipulated by hawks to justify staying in a military role. Instead of a Marshall Plan, we got a nice big trough for contractors. And we haven’t been very generous with offering a place for refugees.

Few western countries have accepted Iraqis. Sweden has been the most welcoming, granting asylum to almost 9,000 Iraqis in 2006, almost 20 times more than the United States and about half the total for all of Europe that year

According to the Center For American Progress there have been

More than 4 million: Estimated number of Iraqis displaced since the 2003 invasion

Many have been displaced in their own country.

Since the start of the war…. the United States has admitted

5,742: Total number of Iraqis resettled to the United States as of January 24 (2008)

Our lofty goal for 2008?

12,000: Target for Iraqi refugee admittance in 2008 fiscal year. A goal that will be impossible to meet at the current admittance levels.

Imagine a brave and foolish political candidate trying to campaign on the issue of trying to admit more than the target number during these tenuous economic times. Of course that would speak to our desire as a nation for accountability and we don’t want to talk about that.

Imagine what would have happened if reporters got embedded with Iraqi citizens or humanitarian organizations. How many reporters, or for that matter any of us could tolerate the conditions necessary to do that? But we couldn’t have that. Too many perspectives add complexities. Complexities could undermine victories. For whom I am not certain.  

Docudharma Times Saturday June 14



“Dick! The Supreme

Court Says Those Evil

Doers At Guantanamo

Have The Right To

Habeas Corpus!”

“…Whatever

Hay-Bee-Ass

Korp-Iss Is.”  




Saturday’s Headlines:

Alaska’s ‘golden goose’ is a fish

In Kenya’s hotbed of postelection violence, a bishop sows seeds of peace

South African court bans trials of vitamin treatments for Aids

Thousands swell ranks of marchers to demand that Musharraf goes

Taleban jail raid frees hundreds  

Gaza prisoners in bid to lift ban on family visits

Al-Sadr forms elite wing to fight US forces

Irish Rebuff Sends Europe Reeling  

Protests spread as prices soar

Key Iraqi Leaders Deliver Setbacks to U.S.

Premier Rejects Terms of Proposed Pacts; Cleric Reactivates Militia


By Amit R. Paley and Karen DeYoung

Washington Post Foreign Service

Saturday, June 14, 2008; Page A01

BAGHDAD, June 13 — The Bush administration’s Iraq policy suffered two major setbacks Friday when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki publicly rejected key U.S. terms for an ongoing military presence and anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for a new militia offensive against U.S. forces.

During a visit to Jordan, Maliki said negotiations over initial U.S. proposals for bilateral political and military agreements had “reached a dead end.” While he said talks would continue, his comments fueled doubts that the pacts could be reached this year, before the Dec. 31 expiration of a United Nations mandate sanctioning the U.S. role in Iraq.

USA

In Midwest, Rising Waters and Fears of Worse

By SUSAN SAULNY and MONICA DAVEY

Published: June 14, 2008


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – All around the Midwest, the water just kept rising.Even as this city was nearly shuttered on Friday, its sandbagged downtown submerged in the biggest flood ever recorded here, people in Des Moines began evacuating and other Iowa towns thought about it. In Wisconsin, stretches of major roads were closed and tornadoes struck. Some in Michigan had no power. Elsewhere, there was no train service, no drinking water, no end in sight.

On Trade

You’re talking history, right? I’m talking now. Because down here, it’s still “Who’s your old man?” ‘Til you got kids of your own and then it’s, “Who’s your son?” But after the horror movie I seen today… Robots! Piers full of robots! My kid’ll be lucky if he’s even punchin’ numbers five years from now. And while it don’t mean shit to me that I can’t take my steak knives to Dibiago and Sons, it breaks my fucking heart that there’s no future for the Sobotkas on the waterfront!

~Frank Sobotka, The Wire

One of my favorite concepts in economics is the Theory of the Second Best.  While it can be a bit technical, in summary, the theory is that if, for whatever reason, the required conditions for the optimal outcome are impossible to achieve, the second best outcome may require deviating from the conditions which were required to make the optimal outcome possible.  To use an analogy, most Democrats preferred ranking of the last three candidates for President was Obama, Clinton, McCain.  But one of the required steps to the optimal outcome of Obama’s election was his nomination, which made the second best outcome impossible.

The second-best problem is one which has particular resonance for me as a libertarian.  Many libertarians allied themselves for years with the Republican party, to try and establish the required conditions for a libertarian state.  However, the outcome of a libertarian state is further away than ever; responsibly, a libertarian must consider which of the desired conditions for our optimal outcome are negotiable in order for us to achieve our second-best outcome.  Of course, this is hardly only true for libertarians.

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