The Washington Post reports Advocates for action on global warming chosen as Obama’s top science advisers. “The appointments of Harvard University physicist John Holdren as presidential science adviser and Oregon State University marine biologist Jane Lubchenco as head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which will be announced tomorrow, dismayed conservatives but heartened environmentalists and researchers.”
“Holdren and Lubchenco have argued repeatedly for a mandatory limit on greenhouse gas emissions to avert catastrophic climate change.”
The Guardian reports Bush shoe protester has been beaten, Iraqi judge says. “The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George Bush was beaten afterwards and had bruises on his face, the investigating judge in the case said today… The reporter, Muntazer al-Zaidi, had bruises on his face and around his eyes, said the judge, Dhia al-Kinani said.”
“Kinani said a complaint about Zaidi’s treatment had been filed on his behalf and court officials ‘will watch the footage to identify those who have beaten him … He was beaten and we filed a case for that. Zaidi did not raise a complaint and he can drop this case if he wants to.'”
The NY Times reports NATO takes further step to renew relations with Russia. “The secretary general of NATO had lunch on Friday with the Russian ambassador to the organization, beginning the ‘conditional and graduated re-engagement’ with Moscow that NATO foreign ministers approved earlier this month.” This is a “step toward more normal relations after the brief Georgian-Russian war in August.”
The Oregonian reports the Downturn brings an upturn for Portland-area libraries.
While the book-selling business might be struggling, book lending is thriving from Portland to Vancouver.
Multnomah County Library, the busiest library system in the nation, saw a 7.3 percent jump in circulation from January — when some experts say the recession started — through November. During that same time last year, circulation rose just a half-percent. The library’s card registrations also have soared 12.8 percent this year after dipping 5.6 percent in 2007.
Libraries across the metro area are reporting similar circulation and membership gains. It’s the same nationwide.
This is one reason why we pay taxes to create institutions for the public good. Sharing the burden is more cost-effective than private ownership. Public libraries are one of the best things about the United States. Libraries are paid for by taxes no taxes, no libraries.
December 19, 2008 archive
Dec 19 2008
Dec 19 2008
On Friday morning, George W. Bush announced he would allow the Treasury Department to use a small fraction, $13.4 to $17.4 billion, of the $700 billion financial bailout to help automakers GM and Chrysler.
While normally Bush would have just let the automakers go bankrupt, he explained in a televised speech before the U.S. markets opened. “But these are not ordinary circumstances. In the midst of a financial crisis and a recession, allowing the U.S. auto industry to collapse is not a responsible course of action,” Bush said.
Then shortly after Bush’s finished his remarks, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced that he needed more money. According to the Washington Post, Paulson noted that “that nearly all of the funds remaining at his disposal have now been committed for a loan to the nation’s automakers.”
The message being crafted is that helping the automakers forced the Bush administration to ask the second half of the bailout money. The message has been developing over the past two weeks.
Dec 19 2008
Dear Attorney General Designate Holder,
We the undersigned citizens of the United States hereby formally petition you to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in War Crimes.
These crimes are being euphemistically referred to as “abusive interrogation techniques” by such respected figures as Senator John McCain. These are euphemisms for torture. Torture is a War Crime. Waterboarding is a War Crime. The CIA has admitted waterboarding detainees. Recently, Vice President Cheney has brazenly admitted authorizing the program that lead to waterboarding, other forms of torture too numerous to list, and ultimately, the deaths by homicide of detainees.
As Major General Antonio Taguba, the Army general who led the investigation into prisoner abuse at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison has stated:
“After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”
A bipartisan panel of senators has concluded that former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other top Bush administration officials bear direct responsibility for the harsh treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, and that their decisions led to more serious abuses in Iraq and elsewhere.
We the undersigned citizens demand a full and thorough investigation immediately upon your taking office. This investigation should be pursued no matter where it may lead and no matter what the political implications may be. To this end, we remind you that you work not on behalf of or for the President or the Congress, but for the People of the United States of America and for Justice itself.
The United States is a representative democracy. The actions of our government officials are done in the name of its citizens. War Crimes have been committed in our name. Torture has been done in our name. The only way to clear our name of War Crimes is to repudiate them through the aggressive prosecution of each and every person involved to the full extent of the law through the appointment of a Special Prosecutor.
Dec 19 2008
My two cents, which, before the collapse of the stock-market, was worth much more.
When I first got to the left-o-sphere in the summer of 2004 I remember watching as our opponents taunted us with the fact that everyone we supported in elections lost.
“0-19” was the taunt. “Don’t bother with them, they’re 0-19!”
But then came the 2006 midterms and the 2008 election and we were “0-19” no longer.
And yet… we still have yet to get one fucking thing actually done.
Iraq War… not yet. FISA… nope. Torture… Lieberman (recently)… drilling… even impeachment (for some).
I can’t, honestly, think of one legislative victory this community can tally on the “good gals” side.
And, I, for one, worry its because we’re increasingly seen as the FAR left.
Dec 19 2008
UPDATE 2: Please ignore my whining below, as while I was sleeping, others were actually….doing stuff! If it weren’t against internet etiquette I would delete the whole sorry mess!
My apologies folks, after pushing apparently a bit to much due to my current physical situation I just slept like the dead for over twelve hours and literally just woke up!!! I feel like a kid who didn’t do his home work, lol. On the day I was hoping to launch, I have nothing, NOTHING!!! And everyone is depending on me…..aaaargh!
In my belief system that can mean only two things….one I am a schmuck! Two…it is not quite time to launch, for some unknown reason. (besides the fact that ….I am a schmuck!)
So…one more comment period.
A request for promotional ideas.
And a request for ideas info, and support essays and material for an appendix that documents the torture and rendition and coverup in more detail.
Dec 19 2008
We wait and watch, with baited breath President Obama’s decisions about who will serve in senior positions in the Administration.
When it comes to the critical issues of climate change and the creation of a clean energy future, some appointments have created great elation, fostering hope for Change toward something better.
Euphoria has, more than once, shifted to confusion with appointees whose devotion to and experience for creating a sensible path forward remain (generously speaking) open to question.
That confusion (dismay even) can shift quickly, as it did today.
Yesterday, we had news of three absolutely stunningly impressive appointments when it comes to the arenas of science, global warming, and energy.
Today is a day for great elation and Hope. Let us hope that tomorrow provides reason for more elation.
Dec 19 2008
Today, while perusing articles at ColorLines, I was struck by several that had to do with what it means to be Muslim in America.
Their lead story is by Seth Wessler and is titled Silenced in the Classroom. It tells the story of Khalil Gibran International Academy, started in NYC in 2007.
The Khalil Gibran school was to have been a refuge in the midst of post-Sept. 11 New York City, a place where a mixed group of Arabic speakers and non-Arabic speakers would learn together. The school, which opened in 2007 with a sixth-grade class, was designed to grow into a middle and high school in the spirit of the more than 65 dual-language schools in New York City, which teach in Spanish, Creole, Russian and other languages. By graduation, it was expected that Khalil Gibran students would have a command of Arabic and an understanding of the cultural context in which the language exists.
Dec 19 2008
Sponsored by Docudharma.com and Democrats.com: A Citizen’s Petition to Attorney General-Designate Eric Holder asking him to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in War Crimes.
You can read and/or sign the Petition for a Special Prosecutor to Investigate Bush War Crimes here, or by clicking on the Badge below.
To embed the Petition Badge linking to the Petition on your blog or website, copy the code from the box above, and paste it where you want the badge to display.
Optionally, you may want to add the following text above or below the badge on your site:
You can also embed the Citizens Petition For Special Prosecutor promotional video on your blog or website to help promote awareness of the petition:
Embed this video on your site:
From President-Elect Obama’s Change.org
“Ideas For Change In America”
Appoint a Special Prosecutor for the Crimes of the Bush Administration:
President-elect Obama recently said, “if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in coverups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law.”
Attorney General-designate Eric Holder recently said top Bush Administration officials “authorized the use of torture, approved of secret electronic surveillance of American citizens, secretly detained American citizens without due process of law, denied the Writ of Habeus Corpus to hundreds of accused enemy combatants, and authorized the use of procedures that both violate international law and the United States Constitution.”
The Bush administration has refused to investigate its own crimes and President Bush may issue blanket pardons before he leaves. President Obama must appoint a Special Prosecutor – ideally Patrick Fitzgerald – to fully investigate these crimes and prosecute those responsible to demonstrate that we are truly a Nation of Laws and no one – including the President – is above the law.
– Bob Fertik (President of Democrats.com), New York, NY Dec 06 @ 06:02AM PST
Dec 19 2008
“The more you begin to investigate what we think we understand, where we came from, what we think we’re doing, the more you begin to see we’ve been lied to, we’ve been lied to by every institution…”
— Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Zeitgeist
“The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.
— Hunter S. Thompson
The entire global economy depends not just on politicians and economists and crooked financial industry executives who make decisions for the world, but on transportation; planes, trains, trucks, and automobiles.
Nothing gets delivered. Nothing gets anywhere. Not food, Not goods. Nothing. Anywhere. Without transportation.
And all of our transportation systems depend on oil and cannot function without oil.
Transportation is the heart that pumps the blood to drive the economy. Energy, oil, is the nourishment that enables the heart to keep on pumping.
What happens when the heart stops pumping? The body, the economy, dies.
Fatih Birol is the chief economist of the International Energy Agency (IEA), and each year publishes the World Energy Outlook, the forecasting report that governments all over the world use to know what energy supplies will be available when planning development of transportation strategies and systems to keep the economy humming along.
Systems that will use the energy Birol’s report tells them will be available to power that development.
George Monbiot is the author of the best selling books Heat: how to stop the planet burning; The Age of Consent: a manifesto for a new world order and Captive State: the corporate takeover of Britain; as well as the investigative travel books Poisoned Arrows, Amazon Watershed and No Man’s Land. He writes a weekly column for the Guardian newspaper. He lives in mid-Wales with his daughter Hanna.
Britain’s leading green commentator, George Monbiot, talks to Fatih Birol at the IEA in the Real News video below, who reveals for the first time a startling and worrying prediction for the date of peak oil.
And finds that the rate of decline of oil production that Birol and The International Energy Agency have been giving to governments around the world for the past few years has been simply an assumption – a guess – based on no research at all.
Dec 19 2008
Today is Iraq Moratorium #16.
It is a day to interrupt business as usual and take some action to end the war and occupation of Iraq.
Join a group action or do something yourself. Write a letter. Send an email. Call your Congress members. Wear a button or armband to work or school. Donate to your favorite peace group. Or do something more creative. You’ll find lots of ideas on the Iraq Moratorium website.
Since the monthly actions, on the Third Friday of the month, began in September 2007 more than 1,500 events in 43 states and 260 communities have been listed on the website, and many more have gone unreported.
Be part of it. The war has to stop, and we have to stop it.
Dec 19 2008
I looked up the etymology of torture, it’s from the French, and among other descriptions I noticed the word “twisting.”
Try to put aside for just a brief moment any outrage, fear, anger, any high emotion that automatically occurs when the subject of torture, and more specifically, institutionalized torture a’la Woo/Cheney, etc. comes to mind.
Just for a brief moment.
Twisting. For some reason that makes me think of someone taking a beautiful sacred mesa and brutally mining it so that it is utterly destroyed.
In other words, taking something useful and making it useless.
I recently read a wild novel by the equally wild Whitley Streiber, 2012, a Philip K. Dickian paranoia trip with some interesting notions, one being that there are monster people (somewhat lizard like but who can mimic human beings if necessary) who want to enslave our souls and the sacred spots on the planet were put there to keep the monsters’ giant “lenses” from working and stealing every human’s soul with a weird sparkly light that when poured over a person basically turns them into a zombie.
Well, that’s a terrible review, but I found the notion interesting in the sense that we have sacred places on our planet for a real reason, not just some mumbo jumbo hooie or sentimental “tree hugging’ motive. Winter Rabbit, among others, has enlightened me to the reality of why human beings need sacred spaces. And Streiber just gave a jazzed up high tech paranoid illustration of that in his book. But for me, the conclusion is the same. Sacred places, the word “sacred” itself, is a part of our human condition, and can be a very instructive teacher if we open ourselves to learn. I’m sure all of us here have experienced the sacred, but the word itself is either laughed at or “twisted” by fundamentalists of every stripe into something awful.
When we raze mountaintops and destroy sacred spaces, we are twisting something valuable into something not only useless but dangerous and toxic.
Why would we as a society do that? And why would we allow others to do that as a regular mode of business?
Dec 19 2008
By The Time Bush Bails Out
The Big Three
It Will Be Just Another
In A Long List Of Failures
NASA’s spending is under scrutiny
Obama’s transition team wants to know about the agency’s basic money management, including cost overruns.
By Mark K. Matthews and Robert Block
December 19, 2008
Reporting from Washington — Most nights it’s possible to look skyward with a pair of cheap binoculars and see a $100,000 mistake circling the Earth. The glowing object — an orbiting NASA tool bag — was lost last month by an astronaut during a routine spacewalk.
The canvas-and-acrylic caddy contained two grease guns, a scraper, a trash bag and some wipes, hardly cutting-edge technology. So why did it cost $100,000?
NASA officials said they had no answer to that question — beyond the fact that, as spokesman Allard Beutel put it, “space flight is expensive.” That expense is drawing serious scrutiny from the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama.
Of 74 questions submitted to the agency by Obama’s NASA transition team, more than half asked about basic spending issues, including cost overruns.
UN tribunal jails Rwanda genocide mastermind for life
Theoneste Bagosora, country’s defence chief of staff, denies directing massacre of 800,000 by Hutu militia
An international court has sentenced the mastermind of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Theoneste Bagosora, to life imprisonment in what prosecutors hailed as the most significant verdict of its kind since Nuremberg.
The five-year trial of Bagosora, who was the chief of staff in Rwanda’s defence ministry, established that he oversaw a complex and extensive conspiracy to commit genocide, including years organising and arming the “Interahamwe” militia which led the killing of about 800,000 Tutsis in 100 days.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, sitting in Tanzania, heard that in April 1994 he personally ordered the murder of individual politicians, including Rwanda’s moderate prime minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimina, and the killing of 10 Belgian peacekeepers to drive the UN out. Bagosora then unleashed the genocide against the Tutsi minority, mobilising the general Hutu population to support the Interahamwe and the army in the mass killings.
W. Mark Felt, Watergate Deep Throat, Dies at 95
By TIM WEINER
Published: December 19, 2008
W. Mark Felt, who was the No. 2 official at the F.B.I. when he helped bring down President Richard M. Nixon by resisting the Watergate cover-up and becoming Deep Throat, the most famous anonymous source in American history, died Thursday. He was 95 and lived in Santa Rosa, Calif.His death was confirmed by Rob Jones, his grandson.
In 2005, Mr. Felt revealed that he was the one who had secretly supplied Bob Woodward of The Washington Post with crucial leads in the Watergate affair in the early 1970s. His decision to unmask himself, in an article in Vanity Fair, ended a guessing game that had gone on for more than 30 years.