February 15, 2008 archive

Four at Four

  1. Here’s a headline I never thought I’d see from the 110th Capitulation Congress. The Hill reports Bye-bye bipartisanship.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the Senate legislation is unacceptable because it grants immunity from lawsuits to telephone companies that shared private records with government officials. Pelosi said the legislation should also make clear that the administration’s authority to eavesdrop relies entirely on legislative statute and not on any executive powers granted to the president under the Constitution.

    Pelosi told reporters Thursday that she would allow the intelligence community’s broader surveillance authority to lapse, forcing its members to obtain warrants from the special court set up by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) until the House and Senate can reach agreement on a reauthorization bill.

    Democrats say that Senate Republicans deliberately slowed the passage of intelligence legislation in that chamber to put House leaders in a tight spot of having to either accept the Senate version or allow surveillance authorization to lapse.

    The Republican strategy seems almost to have worked. Democratic leaders were in position to take up the Senate bill Thursday after they passed a rule Wednesday evening to allow them to vote on “any bill related to foreign intelligence.”

    But their spines stiffened overnight. On Thursday, House Democrats claimed that allowing the authorization to lapse for a few weeks would pose no danger to the American people, bracing themselves for an expected onslaught of Republican accusations that Congress is imperiling national security.

    President Bush has nothing to offer but fear,” said Pelosi.

    The Washington Post has more in House defies Bush on warrantless wiretaps.

    Several Democrats said yesterday that many in their party wish to take a more measured approach to terrorism issues, and they refused to be stampeded by Bush. “We have seen what happens when the president uses fearmongering to stampede Congress into making bad decisions,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). “That’s why we went to war in Iraq.”

    White House officials and their allies were angry that the Democrats did not “blink,” as one outside adviser said. The decision to defy the White House came in the form of a weeklong adjournment of the House yesterday afternoon.

    Pelosi said she instructed committee chairmen to begin talks with their Democratic counterparts in the Senate, who this week supported the administration’s position on the surveillance bill, suggesting that a compromise might be possible in the coming weeks.

    Nancy — don’t start that whole “compromising” with Bush and the Republicans thing again… that’s how America gets into these messes.

Four at Four continues below the fold. I’m not telling what’s there so you’ll have to leap below the fold to see…

Why are people surprised? NIU and other shootings

Hey all,

Forgive me for being blunt here but I wonder why people get surprised that this happens and say they cannot understand the motivation behind it. These things never shock or surprise me because it is really a logical extension of humans who are put under stress with no support systems. Follow me over the flip..

Torture, Lies and Videotape At Gitmo

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


Still Guantanamo

Every day it just gets worse.  Today (h/t to Smintheus at dKos), Prof Mark Denbeaux of Seton Hall University Law School (with assistance from many others) released a report (pdf format) on interrogations at Gitmo.  It’s a shocker.  Among other things it says that there have been 24,000 “interrogations” at Gitmo and that all of them have been videotaped.

Join me inside the wire.  

Nineteen years, three months, fifteen days

That’s how long it’s been since the day I brought two ten-week-old kittens home to live with me.  I named them Archy and Mehitabel.

Tokyo Declaration: Twelve Well Known Brands Vow to Fight Global Warming


In a “Tokyo Declaration” announced today, Sony, Nokia and ten other well known brands have announced that they will work with the World Wildlife Fund to involve their suppliers, customers and transportation partners in the fight to halt global warming:

Tokyo – A business group including leading companies such as Sony, Nokia and Nike has come together to present the Tokyo Declaration, a joint call to tackle the urgent issue of climate change. Signing the declaration at the Climate Savers Summit 2008 held by WWF and Sony in Tokyo today, a dozen business leaders highlighted that the world’s greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by more than 50 percent by 2050, and that emissions must peak and start to decline within the next 10 to 15 years in order to keep global warming below the dangerous threshold of 2 degrees Celsius.

More below the fold…

Pony Party: Colbert is back!

It’s not like I spend a lot of time watching TV to begin with, but during the WGA strike, I completely stopped watching two of my favorites: the Colbert Report and The Daily Show. For the first time in a long time,  I vegged and watched last night’s (2/13/08) Colbert Report.  

These two interviews with SuperDelegates Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D-NY) and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) were very funny. It seems rare to find politicians with a sense of humor.  

I imagine Spitzer is going to be president someday.   He really has the charisma and the brains.  As a New Yorker he is enthusiastically in support of Clinton.          

Spitzer on The Colbert Report

Thanks–And Wish Me Luck

First of all, I want to thank everyone who read “I Hate Writing About Myself….” and provided their stories, helpful advice, and kind words. This sort of thing is what I like about Docudharma. If you were all here, I’d give you all big hugs!

As a follow-up, yesterday was something of a rough day–because I knew after having read many of the comments I needed to see a doctor and get started on meds in spite of my reluctance due to the cost….

Bandar Bush on Hot Seat for Bribes and Threats: The Serious Fraud Office is not Amused

According to this story in the Guardian, today, Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia and former Prime Minister Tony Blair are in trouble. Apparently Bandar took a billion pounds as a bribe from the multinational defense contractor and arms producer, BAE, to pressure the British government into halting fraud investigations into BAE activities. Bandar is said to have threatened the British government that they would allow further terrorist attacks to take place in Britain if they continued investigations.

Saudi Arabia’s rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.

Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced “another 7/7” and the loss of “British lives on British streets” if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence.

Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE.

Mission Accomplished – The Door to Iraq’s Oil Will Soon Be Open

George W. Bush, his neo-con backers, his supporters in Congress, from both sides of the isle, the establishment media, the MIC and on Wall Street have accomplished their mission in Iraq. If there was ever any doubt about what that mission was then perhaps this article from Asia Times will make it clear. The article is rather long  and so I’ll try to provide some of the highlights here. The blockquotes are from that article.

And, as former Fed Chief Alan Greenspan wrote in his memoir – The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World. “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil.”

It appears that John McCain might well get his wish – 100 years of US occupation of Iraq.

Iraqi Oil Minister Shahristani is described in this article as being “not too religious, not too political, not too secular and not too pro-American. He is a Shiite who was imprisoned by Saddam Husein and held in solitary confinement by Saddam Hussein for 10 years. He is now the Oil Minister of Iraq.

Shahristani finds himself in an enviable position as a creator of wealth for the Western world. He holds the key to the door that opens out to the magical world of Iraqi oil.

The Dishonesty Plague

We think of plagues as widespread outbreaks of disease affecting our bodies. The worst recorded plague was the Black Death bubonic plague that killed about one third of the population of Europe in the 14th century. Today, modern nations have conquered the old biological plagues, but a new kind of plague bedevils us: a plague of institutional dishonesty.

The past year has brought revelations of steadily deteriorating conditions in financial institutions. The consistent and widespread character of the problem points to a single cause, the steady advance and normalization of dishonest practices in the financial community. This process of exponentially increasing corruption has now reached an inflection point where serious damage is being caused, as financial markets seize up and major institutions are threatened with collapse.

Yet nowhere in the commentariat is this problem honestly assessed. It is viewed as a mysterious glitch that calls for a quick fix. This essay addresses how institutional dishonesty became a plague and how we can cure ourselves.

On Superdelegates, Michigan and Florida.

Ok…let’s see a show of hands!  

George McGovern: Iraq worse than Vietnam; we failed to learn

George McGovern, whose run for president as a peace candidate helped end the Vietnam war, has endorsed the Iraq Moratorium, saying that the Iraq war is even worse than Vietnam because the US should have learned a lesson from its disastrous Vietnam policies.

Today is Iraq Moratorium #6, which asks opponents of the war and occupation to take some action, big or small, to show that they want the war to end and the troops to come home.  Inspired by the Vietnam Moratorium, it is a loosely-knit grassroots effort which lists more than 100 antiwar events happening across the country today on its website.

“Common sense helped end the mistaken war in Vietnam.  Common sense citizen action can end the mistaken war in Iraq.  That’s why I support the Iraq Moratorium.”

“I wish our leaders today had a little more knowledge of history,” McGovern said in a talk in Milwaukee this week.  “It seems I spent half my life opposing that (Vietnam) war.”

McGovern said he remembered telling his daughter, Susan, that “even good things can come from tragedy.  Vietnam was such an obvious blunder that we’ll never again go down that road.”

McGovern was overcome with emotion and had to pause to collect himself when discussing “the loss of 58,000 wonderful young Americans” in the Vietnam War.  “To this day, I can’t walk past that black marble wall (the Vietnam Memorial)… without losing my composure, yet here we are going down that same road again, 4,000 wonderful young Americans,” McGovern said.

McGovern called Iraq “a hopeless bloody mess” and said that “in some respects, it is even worse than Vietnam because we had Vietnam as a lesson and our leaders ignored it.”

“The transcendent issue in ’72 was the war in Vietnam,” McGovern said. “We’ve got another transcendent war issue that just has to be resolved.” Although some consider the economy the top issue, the nation’s economic difficulties are rooted in the war, he said.

He was in Milwaukee to attend an event for his grandson, Sam McGovern-Rowen, who is a candidate for alderman in Tuesday’s primary election.

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