May 15, 2013 archive

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Un-American

Cornel West: ‘They say I’m un-American’

Hugh Muir, The Guardian

Sunday 12 May 2013

“We elected a black president and that means we are less racist now than we used to be. That’s beautiful. But when you look at the prison industrial complex and the new Jim Crow: levels of massive unemployment and the decrepit unemployment system, indecent housing: white supremacy is still operating in the US, even with a brilliant black face in a high place called the White House. He is a brilliant, charismatic black brother. He’s just too tied to Wall Street. And at this point he is a war criminal. You can’t meet every Tuesday with a killer list and continually have drones drop bombs. You can do that once or twice and say: ‘I shouldn’t have done that, I’ve got to stop.’ But when you do it month in, month out, year in, year out – that’s a pattern of behaviour. I think there is a chance of a snowball in hell that he will ever be tried, but I think he should be tried and I said the same about George Bush. These are war crimes. We suffer in this age from an indifference toward criminality and a callousness to catastrophe when it comes to poor and working people.”

Can you not cut the president some slack, I ask? Think of what he faced. What did you expect? “I worked to get him elected,” he says, almost indignant. “And I would do it again because the alternative was so much worse. But at the same time, I have to be able to tell the truth. I thought he was going to be a dyed-in-the-wool liberal rather than a weak centrist. I thought he would actually move towards healthcare with a public option. I thought he was going to try to bail out homeowners as he bailed out banks. I thought he would try to hit the issue of poverty head-on.”

He and Obama, the first-time candidate, talked. And then West attended 65 events drumming up support. “He talked about Martin Luther King over and over again as he ran. King died fighting not just against poverty but against carpet-bombing in Vietnam; the war crimes under Nixon and Kissinger. You can’t just invoke Martin Luther King like that and not follow through on his priorities in some way. I knew he would have rightwing opposition, but he hasn’t tried. When he came in, he brought in Wall Street-friendly people – Tim Geithner, Larry Summers – and made it clear he had no intention of bailing out homeowners, supporting trade unions. And he hasn’t said a mumbling word about the institutions that have destroyed two generations of young black and brown youth, the new Jim Crow, the prison industrial complex. It’s not about race. It is about commitment to justice. He should be able to say that in the last few years, with the shift from 300,000 inmates to 2.5 million today, there have been unjust polices and I intend to do all I can. Maybe he couldn’t do that much. But at least tell the truth. I would rather have a white president fundamentally dedicated to eradicating poverty and enhancing the plight of working people than a black president tied to Wall Street and drones.”

Around the Blogosphere

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The main purpose our blogging is to communicate our ideas, opinions, and stories both fact and fiction. The best part about the the blogs is information that we might not find in our local news, even if we read it online. Sharing that information is important, especially if it educates, sparks conversation and new ideas. We have all found places that are our favorites that we read everyday, not everyone’s are the same. The Internet is a vast place. Unlike Punting the Pundits which focuses on opinion pieces mostly from the mainstream media and the larger news web sites, “Around the Blogosphere” will focus more on the medium to smaller blogs and articles written by some of the anonymous and not so anonymous writers and links to some of the smaller pieces that don’t make it to “Pundits” by Krugman, Baker, etc.

We encourage you to share your finds with us. It is important that we all stay as well informed as we can.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

This is an see Open Thread.

There is something going on other that the “Three Gates.”

From our friends at Corrente, economics contributor, follow letsgetitdone:

and a note from comprare levitra generico spedizione veloce lambert about the outage at FDL that has been off line since yesterday. We are keeping out fingers crossed that prednisone sod 15mg soln side effects Jane gets her server issues resolved soon. You can follow Jane’s tweets here for the latest on the site.

At AMERICAblog, from John Aravosis:

(I know I said no “gates” but it’s John)

and from Gaius Publius:

David Dayen writing at New Republic, tells us how smarter shareholders are becoming activists and are about to claim their biggest “scalp”:

At his blog, Beat the Press, Dean Baker:

From CounterPunch:

From the gang at Crooks and Liars:

From the contributors at Grist:

Mike Konszal at The Next New Deal:

At New Economic Perspectives, Dan Kervick:

The last words from Charles P. Pierce on The Clan of the Red Beanie and Responsible Gun Ownership.

Obama DOJ: What First Amendment

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

I’m proud to be here as you host World Press Freedom Day.  So everybody from the American press corps, you should thank the people of Costa Rica for celebrating free speech and an independent press as essential pillars of our democracy.

~President Obama

Remarks by President Obama and President Chinchilla of Costa Rica in a Joint Press Conference, in National Center for Art and Culture San Jose, Costa Rica, 10 days ago.

That was so ten days ago. The news broke that Obama Department of Justice had secretly seized two months of phone records of the Associated Press reporters and editors.

The government would not say why it sought the records. Officials have previously said in public testimony that the U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have provided information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot. The story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al-Qaida plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States.

In testimony in February, CIA Director John Brennan noted that the FBI had questioned him about whether he was AP’s source, which he denied. He called the release of the information to the media about the terror plot an “unauthorized and dangerous disclosure of classified information.”

Prosecutors have sought phone records from reporters before, but the seizure of records from such a wide array of AP offices, including general AP switchboards numbers and an office-wide shared fax line, is unusual.

The president and CEO of AP, Gary Pruitt sent a letter protesting the “massive and unprecedented intrusion” (pdf):

Last Friday afternoon, AP General Counsel Laura Malone received a letter from the office of United States Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. advising that, at some unidentified time earlier this year, the Department obtained telephone toll records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to the AP and its journalists. The records that were secretly obtained cover a full two-month period in early 2012 and, at least as described in Mr. Machen’s letter, include all such records for, among other phone lines, an AP general phone number in New York City as well as AP bureaus in New York City, Washington, D.C., Hartford, Connecticut, and at the House of Representatives. This action was taken without advance notice to AP or to any of the affected journalists, and even after the fact no notice has been sent to individual journalists whose home phones and cell phone records were seized by the Department.

There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters. These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations, and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know.(my emphasis)

h/t to Marcy Wheeler who points out the two months, April to May of 2012, that were of interest covered the period that, now CIA Director, John Brennan had rolled out his drone propaganda campaign:

That would mean they’d get the sources for this Kimberly Dozier story published May 21 [..]

Within 10 days of the time Dozier published that story, John Brennan had rolled out an enormous propaganda campaign – based on descriptions of the drone targeting process that Brennan’s power grab had replaced, not the new drone targeting process – that suckered almost everyone commenting on drones that drone targeting retained its previous, more deliberative, targeting process, the one Brennan had just changed.

And that propaganda campaign, in turn, hid another apparent detail: that UndieBomb 2.0, a Saudi sting had actually occurred earlier in April, and that UndieBomb 2.0 preceded and perhaps justified the signature strikes done at the behest of the Yemenis (or more likely the Saudis).

Marcy listed the timeline of the AP stories that were focused on Brennan and the undie bomber. However, it was after the Dozier story that  Brennan began his propaganda campaign to cover up how illegal and uncontrollable the drone program is.

Comparing this to Nixon and Watergate, Charles P. Pierce goes full throttle on why Eric Holder should be fired:

This isn’t hard. This is what made Egil (Bud) Krogh famous. This is what got people sent to jail in the mid-1970’s. This is the Plumbers, all over again, except slightly more formal this time, and laundered, disgracefully, even more directly through the Department Of Justice. And of course, this is not nearly good enough. And even if you point out, as you should, that the AP is hyping this story a little — The government “secretly” obtained the records? Doesn’t that imply that nobody knew the records had been seized? Wasn’t there a subpoena? The phone companies knew. — the ignoble clumsiness of this more than obviates those particular quibbles.

The White House on Monday said that other than press reports it had no knowledge of Justice Department attempts to seek AP phone records. “We are not involved in decisions made in connection with criminal investigations, as those matters are handled independently by the Justice Department,” spokesman Jay Carney said.

That is all my arse. At the least, this was a counter-terrorism operation. (Why else would Brennan have been questioned already?). Which puts the whole business inside the White House. And you’d have to be a toddler or a fool to believe that Eric Holder could go off on his own and take as politically volatile a step as this. But, let us take the White House at its word. Eric Holder did this by himself. He should be gone. This moment. Not only is this constitutionally abhorrent, it is politically moronic. Nobody likes the press, I will grant you that, but the administration is soft if it thinks the public distrusts the press that much. And to have this genuinely chilling revelation emerge simultaneously with the Benghazi, Benghazi!, BENGHAZI! mummery and the IRS dumbassery is pretty much a full broadside below the water line of this administration’s credibility. Good god, this is going to be one long-ass summer.

Pres. Obama needs to do damage control starting with throwing Holder to the wolves. I suspect this will be the next congressional investigation in an effort to not just derail Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign but to build a case for impeachment of Obama for abuse of his executive powers. A long hot summer, indeed.

John N. Mitchell

John Newton Mitchell (September 15, 1913 – November 9, 1988) was the Attorney General of the United States from 1969 to 1972 under President Richard Nixon. Prior to that, he was a noted New York municipal bond lawyer, director of Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign, and one of Nixon’s closest personal friends; after his tenure as Attorney General, he served as director of Nixon’s 1972 presidential campaign. Due to his involvement in the Watergate affair, he was sentenced to prison in 1977, serving 19 months.



During his successful 1968 campaign, Nixon turned over the details of the day-to-day operations to Mitchell. Allegedly he also played a central role in covert attempts to sabotage the 1968 Paris Peace Accords which could have ended the Vietnam War. After he became president in January 1969, Nixon appointed Mitchell attorney general while making an unprecedented direct appeal to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover that the usual background investigation not be conducted. Mitchell remained in office from 1969 until he resigned in 1972 to manage President Nixon’s successful reelection campaign



Mitchell believed that the government’s need for “law and order” justified restrictions on civil liberties. He advocated the use of wiretaps in national security cases without obtaining a court order (United States v. U.S. District Court) and the right of police to employ the preventive detention of criminal suspects. He brought conspiracy charges against critics of the Vietnam War, likening them to brown shirts of the Nazi era.

He expressed a reluctance to involve the Justice Department in some civil rights issues. “The Department of Justice is a law enforcement agency,” he told reporters. “It is not the place to carry on a program aimed at curing the ills of society.” However, he also warned activists, “watch what we do, not what we say.” According to biographer James Rosen, he “did more than any executive branch official of the twentieth century.” Near the beginning of his administration, Nixon ordered Mitchell to go slow on desegregation of schools in the South as part of Nixon’s “Southern Strategy”. After being instructed by the Federal courts that segregation was unconstitutional and that the Executive Branch was supposed to enforce the rulings of the Courts, he somewhat reluctantly complied and threatened the withholding of Federal funds for schools that were still segregated as well as threatening legal action against them.



In 1972, when asked to comment about a forthcoming article that reported that he controlled a political slush fund used for gathering intelligence on the Democrats, he famously uttered an implied threat to reporter Carl Bernstein: “Katie Graham’s gonna get her tit caught in a big fat wringer if that’s published.”



On February 21, 1975, Mitchell was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury and sentenced to two and a half to eight years in prison for his role in the Watergate break-in and cover-up, which he dubbed the “White House horrors”. The sentence was later reduced to one year to four years by United States district court Judge John J. Sirica. Mitchell served only 19 months of his sentence, at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, a minimum-security prison, before being released on parole for medical reasons. Tape recordings made by President Nixon and the testimony of others involved confirmed that Mitchell had participated in meetings to plan the break-in of the Democratic Party’s national headquarters in the Watergate Hotel.[citation needed] In addition, he had met, on at least three occasions, with the president in an effort to cover up White House involvement after the burglars were discovered and arrested.

Cartnoon

On This Day In History May 15

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.

Click on image to enlarge

May 15 is the 135th day of the year (136th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 230 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1776, the Virginia Convention instructs its Continental Congress delegation to propose a resolution of independence from Great Britain, paving the way for the United States Declaration of Independence.

The Virginia Conventions were a series of five political meetings in the Colony of Virginiaduring the American Revolution. Because the House of Burgesses had been dissolved in 1774 by Royal Governor Lord Dunmore, the conventions served as a revolutionary provisional government until the establishment of the independent Commonwealth of Virginia in 1776.

The fifth convention began May 6, 1776 and met in Williamsburg. On May 15, the convention declared independence from Britain and adopted a set of three momentous resolutions: one calling for a declaration of rights for Virginia, one calling for establishment of a republican constitution, and a third calling for federal relations with whichever other colonies would have them and alliance with whichever foreign countries would have them. It also instructed its delegates to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia to declare independence. Virginia’s congressional delegation was thus the only one under unconditional positive instructions to declare independence; Virginia was already independent, and so its convention did not want their state, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, to “hang separately.” According to James Madison’s correspondence for that day, Williamsburg residents marked the occasion by taking down the Union Jack from over the colonial capitol and running up a continental union flag.

On June 7, Richard Henry Lee, one of Virginia’s delegates to Congress, carried out these instructions and proposed independence in the language the convention had commanded him to use: that “these colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states.” This paved the way for the American Declaration of Independence, which also reflected the idea that not one nation, but thirteen free and independent states were aborning on the east coast of North America.

The convention amended, and on June 12 adopted, George Mason‘s Declaration of Rights, a precursor to the United States Bill of Rights. On June 29, the convention approved the first Constitution of Virginia, which was also the first written constitution adopted by the people’s representatives in the history of the world. The convention chose Patrick Henry as the first governor of the new Commonwealth of Virginia, and he was inaugurated on June 29, 1776. Thus, Virginia had a functioning, permanent, republican constitution before July 4, 1776 — uniquely among the thirteen American colonies.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


Egg 26: The Demon Within

Prisoners of War

Before I even spoke to G. I knew he had been a prisoner of war.  I knew nothing else but that.  

It had been long ago that he had spent much of his youth in a German concentration camp but that had left an indelible mark G. would carry to his grave.  Though I worked alongside G. for many years, I never knew more except that he was German.

It couldn’t have been more different than with a boss I worked for for a short time who had been a prisoner as a child of the Japanese along with his missionary parents during WWII. You had to know him well to hear any brief mention of the experience.  

Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were in worse condition than Amanda Berry when they emerged from at least nine years in captivity at the home of Ariel Castro…

The sources said DeJesus and Knight were gaunt and had closely cropped hair when they were freed.

http://www.ndtv.com/article/wo…

As just a wild guess, Berry’s youth may have saved her from the worst.  Her daughter seems to have been treated well by the psychopath.

Putting all captives in the same box is much the same as claiming to know anything about people on the basis of their imaginary race.  I have wondered if maybe DeJesus might have suffered more with longer lasting consequences than even Knight since Knight’s life was apparently already a living hell before her captivity.

A woman hired as one of a group of counselors for some abused women and girls in a notorious case would sit and listen with wide-eyed horror and interject only occasionally with such helpful phrases as “ohmigod.”

At least that counselor listened.

I think few do.  The iconic original counselor, Sigmund Freud, considered his clients greatly inferior, bubble-headed beings since they were women.

A paleontologist told his class that all paleontologists were lumpers or splitters.  Every paleontologist would love for the lumpers to be right because it’s so difficult to deal with constantly growing numbers and complexity of fossil species.  The trouble was, said the paleontologist, the splitters were far more intelligent.

It seems to me to be a work requirement for counselors to be rigid, deaf lumpers.

Best,  Terry

 

Late Night Karaoke

Chronic Tonic-Mother’s Day

originally published at VOTS

As a family we were never the Hallmark Card picture of any holiday, but we celebrated and enjoyed them just the same. Mother’s Day was no exception. We never did anything over the top, just cards and flowers for mom, gifts when we were flush, and a nice family dinner. The non-moms get to clean up and that is pretty much how it went for most of my life.

Now, here is where I’ll tell you a little something about my mom. My mom was smart, funny, the Aunt who was everybody’s favorite, and notoriously hard to buy a gift for. You could try, but if she opened that bugger and wasn’t thrilled with what was inside? Oh! There was no hiding that, she just couldn’t pretend. That is hard on a kid. Happily, as she got older, she started collecting things, Seraphim Angels for one, giving us all an easy out. Just add to her collection and she’d be pleased as punch. That’s over now. There’s no more pleasure or displeasure, just a distracted sense of–Oh, is it Mother’s Day?

It shouldn’t be this hard, yet somehow it is. I can’t even explain it. I loved my Grandmother as much as one could possibly love another human being, and I helped nurse her through her final year on this earth right here in the room where I sit. A series of strokes took her mobility, her speech and finally her life, and that was very hard, but it wasn’t like this. The doctor told us all that we took much better care of her than she would have ever received in long term care, she was never alone, she was always surrounded by family who loved her. It was at this time that my mother got a promise from me–no less for you, Mom, never will you be abandoned to strangers, not on my watch. That’s a promise she’s reminded me of at times over the years, not lately, because she doesn’t remember, but I do.

Dementia has stolen the Mom I knew, but not the Mom I love. Even if she doesn’t know if we’re mother and daughter or sisters that day, she still knows that she loves me and I love her. As I stood at the stove on Mother’s Day I heard her come into the kitchen, and I turned to her, “Do you need something, Mommy?” She came to me and hugged me, her eyes welling up, said my name and “Thank you, thank you so much for…” then the strings of that emotional corset pulled so tight– I couldn’t breath for a moment, my throat threatened to lock and leave me unable to speak. I heard her murmur something about what I do for her and I managed to get out, “No, we do for each other, we always have.” She pulled back and she was smiling, “Yeah, we do, don’t we?” and then she wandered away.

And that hug, it was a gift, a beautiful gift to me. But what I wouldn’t give for just one more stink-eye from Mom over a bad gift.