October 18, 2007 archive

Send Chris Dodd some love


Vote Down Michael ‘Is Waterboarding Torture?’ Mukasey

The New York Times continues to cover the Senate confirmation hearings for Bush Attorney General nominee Michael B. Mukasey. As the general consensus built for a Mukasey confirmation, doubts have crept in through the cracks, as it became obvious Mukasey was as adept at parsing his language regarding torture as former Justice Department head, the despised Alberto Gonzales.

This came out more clearly today, when Mukasey told a dubious Senate panel that he didn’t even know what waterboarding, a well-publicized CIA torture technique, was. Really. Would I make this stuff up?

“Is waterboarding constitutional?” he was asked by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, in one of today’s sharpest exchanges.

“I don’t know what is involved in the technique,” Mr. Mukasey replied. “If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional.”

Thanks, TR

My husband and I have an ongoing discussion that will probably always be ongoing. I spit on the Republicans. He reminds me that Teddy Roosevelt, a man who helped bring the idea of conservation to the national stage, and brought forth action to support it was a Republican.Of course, later on he wasn’t. I remind him that his atheist, mildly environmentally conscious point of view would not be particularly welcome in today’s party. He admits in the end he has no “party”, I admit I am not sure I have one either. This is how  moderate conservatives and liberals end up being married. We don’t need to be bipartisan because neither of the two parties accurately represents us.

Four at Four

This is an OPEN THREAD. Here are four stories in the news at 4 o’clock to get you started.

  1. After four years of waiting for the Bush administration to get the electricity working again, James Glanz of The New York Times reports that “Iraq has agreed to award $1.1 billion in contracts to Iranian and Chinese companies to build a pair of enormous power plants, the Iraqi electricity minister said Tuesday.” Of course, the news of this deal is not sitting well with U.S. military officials who claim Iran’s involvement could “mask military activities”.

    The Iraqi electricity minister, Karim Wahid, said that the Iranian project would be built in Sadr City, a Shiite enclave in Baghdad that is controlled by followers of the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr. He added that Iran had also agreed to provide cheap electricity from its own grid to southern Iraq, and to build a large power plant essentially free of charge in an area between the two southern Shiite holy cities of Karbala and Najaf…

    The agreements between Iraq and Iran come after the American-led reconstruction effort, which relied heavily on large American contractors, has spent nearly $5 billion of United States taxpayer money on Iraq’s electricity grid. Aside from a few isolated bright spots, there was little clear impact in a nation where in many places electricity is still available only for a few hours each day.

    A Chinese company, Shanghai Heavy Industry, will construct a new power plant in Wasit at an estimated cost of $940 million. The plant could add 1,300 megawatts of electricity to Iraq’s power grid, which currently has a total capacity “of roughly 5,000 megawatts.”

  2. News from the Washington Post that Tough punishment is expected for B-52 nuke warhead errors. “The Air Force has decided to relieve at least five of its officers of command and is considering filing criminal charges in connection with the Aug. 29 ‘Bent Spear’ incident in which nuclear-armed cruise missiles were mistakenly flown from North Dakota to Louisiana, two senior Air Force officials said yesterday.”

    A formal announcement, according to WaPo is expected tomorrow “along with the detailed findings of an internal, six-week investigation into how a B-52 bomber crew mistakenly flew from one military air base to another with six nuclear warheads strapped to its wings.” “A colonel commanding one of the Air Force wings is likely to be the highest-ranking officer to be relieved”. “Letters of reprimand will be issued to several enlisted service members” and criminal charges may possibly follow.

  3. Spiegel reports that Bloodstained rubies fund Burmese regime. “Large, deep red rubies from Burma command prices of tens of thousands of euros per carat, making them the most exclusive stones a gemstone dealer can offer.”

    The Burmese military regime forces workers to extract the precious stones under brutal conditions in its heavily guarded mines. Roughly 90 percent of the global supply of rubies comes from Burma. According to eyewitness accounts, mining bosses mix amphetamines into the workers’ drinking water to boost productivity. Sometimes children also work in the muddy mines…

    There are no exact figures for the junta’s gem trade. Estimates of the amount of income generated by the business range as high as hundreds of millions of dollars per year. At the state-organized gem auction in Yangon, where only middling quality stones come under the hammer, the regime has taken in some $300 million so far in 2007.

Below the fold is today’s “Guns of Greed”.

Dodd Places Hold On FISA Telco Amnesty

Let the DoddMania begin:

The Military Commissions Act.  Warrantless wiretapping.  Shredding of Habeas Corpus.  Torture.  Extraordinary Rendition.  Secret Prisons.

No more.

I have decided to place a “hold” on the latest FISA bill that would have included amnesty for telecommunications companies that enabled the President's assault on the Constitution by illegally providing personal information on their customers without judicial authorization.

I said that I would do everything I could to stop this bill from passing, and I have. 

It's about delivering results — and as I've said before, the FIRST thing I will do after being sworn into office is restore the Constitution.  But we shouldn't have to wait until then to prevent the further erosion of our country's most treasured document.  That's why I am stopping this bill today.

Thank you Senator Dodd. You make me proud to be a supporter of your candidacy for President.

Rush Supports Children of Marines and Federal Law Enforcement

After Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wasted taxpayer’s money by attempting to smear a private citizen and to put unprecedented pressure on his employer, Rush took the personal attack in stride and found a way to turn the whole thing around in a way to support the children of fallen Marines and Federal Law Enforcement officers.

Check out the current bids:

Click on “View & Bid” to see the full details of the auction, as well as to see a high-resolution scan of the actual letter. Print out our own copy as a memento!

Whatever the high bid turns out to be Rush has committed to MATCHING IT and is challenging the 41 Senators who signed the letter to do so as well. Will they? How much do THEY support the Children of fallen Marines and Federal Law Enforcement?

And they say Republicans don’t care …


Seven Wars in Five Years

Things could be worse than they are right now.

Gen. Wesley Clark in his new book mentions two conversations he had with another general at the Pentagon two weeks after 9-11 and then six weeks after that:

the first one, two weeks after 9/11, yielded a bit of gossip from one of his fellow generals, who told him that the invasion of Iraq had already “basically” been decided on. The second visit, six weeks later, revealed more shocking news from the same source. Clark asked if the Iraq invasion plan was still on, and the answer he got was chilling:

“‘Oh, it’s worse than that,’ he said, holding up a memo on his desk.
‘Here’s the paper from the Office of the Secretary of Defense [then Donald Rumsfeld] outlining the strategy. We’re going to take out seven countries in five years.’ And he named them, starting with Iraq and Syria and ending with Iran.”

Video below.

Gore is Wrong

Crossposted at Daily Kos
“Gore is wrong”. That’s right. I stole that line. Because it’s true. Al Gore is wrong when he says that fighting Global Warming is a moral issue, not a political issue. It is the biggest political issue in the world today. More than any other, it cries out for a policitcal solution at the highest national and international level. Gore knows this. He can’t NOT know it. He’s gone as far as he can lobbying governement leaders and CEO’s. It’s time to lead, but he needs a movement to make his leadership unstoppable, and to maximize his unique and hard-earned credibility around the world. He’s clearly waiting for that movement to happen, to come forward. And it is. It’s happening. Even the media narrative on him is beginning to change. Now it’s all a matter of timing and momentum. And here’s why…

“What is ‘law’ anyway?”

Kagro X has a very important post up over at The Great Orange Satan.

What is “law,” anyway? Is it the stuff that Congress passes in public and that you can read in order to be able to obey it? Or is it just anything that can in practice frighten you into obeying? If you can be sent to jail, or immunized from suit, or whatever, based on a secret showing that you relied in “good faith” on a memo an “administration” official gives you (and literally nothing more — and perhaps even a lot less), you really have to ask yourself that question. What. Is. Law?

Down to the Crossroads

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Throughout the history of mankind, there have been many, many turning points, many times we have stood at the crossroads and decided where to go. In fact you could say what we read in our history books is a written record of those crossroads, or at least the record of the results of the decisions made there.

The two that leapt into my mind this morning were the election of Lincoln and Roosevelt, the right men at the right time….with no CLEAR indication of their greatness before they were elected. Where would we and the world be now if different men, lesser men, had been in their place?

And no this is not JUST about Al Gore!

Pony Party: Good morning america

I’m writing this to you from a room without a bed (its calling my name softly from down the hall) at four in the morning.  So chances I’ll be here when it publishes are slim, and worse yet, I’m forced to skimp on content.

The Power of Doing Something


Thanks for the available play on words for the title, Big A.

Real quick today, so much stuff to do.

We have a lot of fun in blogosphere land. This group here in particular has a good time.

This isn’t a guilt trip essay or anything, but I’ve been thinking I need to do more, to accomplish more, to see actual real progress on the issues that matter.

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