December 21, 2008 archive

Holder Responds to the Citizens Petition

Please go to and sign the petition!

Not much of a response, but heartening in its own small way….depending on, lol, how you interpret it!

From Attorney General Designate Holder, in response to the The Citizens Petition: Special Prosecutor for Bush War Crimes.

“Enough folks. I hear you.”

The petition was initially set up to relay every signer to Mr. Holders public e-mail address. Since it’s formal launch yesterday, we are now at 1085 signers and growing. In response to AG Designates Holder’s response, we have stopped sending him each signature and comment that appears on the petition and are now collecting all names and comments for eventual submission to AG Designate Holder, the media and members of Congress.

We have since asked Mr. Holder for a formal statement on the petition. We await it eagerly! But we now know that he is aware of the petition, aware of our concerns, and aware that there is a citizens movement aimed at bring Bushco to justice. In other words…it is working!

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Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

U.S. News and Politics Update.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 AP study finds $1.6B went to bailed-out bank execs

By FRANK BASS and RITA BEAMISH, Associated Press Writers

13 mins ago

Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year, an Associated Press analysis reveals.

The rewards came even at banks where poor results last year foretold the economic crisis that sent them to Washington for a government rescue. Some trimmed their executive compensation due to lagging bank performance, but still forked over multimillion-dollar executive pay packages.

Benefits included cash bonuses, stock options, personal use of company jets and chauffeurs, home security, country club memberships and professional money management, the AP review of federal securities documents found.

On Dialogue with Oogedy-Boogedy Bigots

President-elect Barack Obama’s invitation to Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation on January 20th deserves something other than just a visceral negative reaction. Warren’s pre-scientific, homophobic views and his church’s exclusion of gays and lesbians from membership have understandably created an uproar of criticism from the progressive community. But we need to reflect not merely on Obama’s tactic for his inaugural ceremony, but on his long-term political strategy.

First, the numbers: in the 2008 elections exit polls suggested that evangelicals made up 23 to 26 percent of all voters. Barack Obama was the choice of 25 to 26 percent of those evangelicals. Here is an interesting map of the evangelical voting breakdown state-by-state. Note the wide variation in Obama’s evangelical totals: in Iowa and MInnesota he even managed to garner 38 percent of the evangelical vote; in Mississippi, only 9 percent.

How can we expect Obama to deal with the evangelicals during the next four years? Let us ponder the question below the break.

(X-posted at Big Orange.)

Café Discovery: Context, 1962

I was in eighth grade for the first half of 1962 and a freshman, but still at Lake Oswego Junior High at the end of it.  I had my first girlfriend, Bonnie, who became too much of an obsession in my life for quite a few years.  I played a football game in the middle of Typhoon Frieda on October 12.

And music ranged from Nat King Cole to the Beatles.

My back is killing me today, so in lieu of actual writing, I pulled the news from 1962 out of wiki:  every fifth story.  In some cases, I added some comments.

I found it an interesting study.  Maybe you will, too.

Carols ask Congress members: Bring our families home

Armed with a guitar, Santa hats and some terrific antiwar lyrics for Christmas caroling, members of Military Families Speak Out sang out on Iraq Moratorium day Friday, serenading two members of Congress and asking them to bring family members and loved ones home now.

The carolers visited the homes of two Republican House members,Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) and even got a photo and article in the Orange County Register, no easy feat.

The lyrics by Vern Nelson are terrific.  You can find them, for eight different songs, on the Orange Juice Blog  Here’s a sample:

Why the Hell Are We Here?

(tune of Do You Hear What I Hear, Nelson-Alviso 2006)

Said the grunt to his sergeant in Iraq:

Why the hell are we here? (Why the hell are we here?)

Tryin’ to not get shot in the back,

Why the hell are we here? (Why the hell are we here?)

A wife and child wait for me back home,

spending Christmas-time all alone,

spending Christmas-time all alone.

Said the sarge to the Captain in command:

Why the hell are we here? (Why the hell are we here?)

Ev’ry week it seems I lose a man.

Why the hell are we here? (Why the hell are we here?)

A roadside bomb planted in the night

filling ev’ry moment with fright;

There’s no way to win such a fight.

Said the Captain to the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

Why the hell are we here? (Why the hell are we here?)

In this civil war in Iraq?

Why the hell are we here? (Why the hell are we here?)

Each bomb we drop only makes things worse;

and our choosing sides is perverse

in this Sunni/Shia universe.

Said the troops to the Congressman back home

Time to bring us back now! (Time to bring us back now!)

Congressman all comfy back home,

Time to bring us back now! (Time to bring us back now!)

This war, this war, has gone on far too long,

Can you hear the words of our song-

Getting out will make us- more strong!!!

A report from that action, and reports and photos from others across the country, are available at the Iraq Moratorium website.

Sunday music retrospective: 1962, Part II

1962:  Part II

Little Eva:  The Loco-Motion

A Revolutionary Soul

This essay is a bit of a re-write of one I wrote this time last year.

This week some of us will have a few days off from work and many will also gather with family for times rich in history and tradition. While the days that I celebrated all this as a christian are long gone, I usually like to take a few minutes around this time of year to reflect on the life of Jesus.

I have come to the conclusion that, while he was not god, Jesus was a truly revolutionary soul. As is so often the case, we have for the most part, corrupted what he had to say. The christian fundamentalists have done this by focusing almost exclusively on his birth and death…completely ignoring what he did and said while he was alive. Perhaps that’s because his words call us to a place that is difficult for many of us to go.

One of the most powerful messages he gave was the beatitudes.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,

for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,

for they shall possess the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice,

for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,

for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,

for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Sunday music retrospective: 1962, Part I

1962:  Personal Favorites

Booker T. & the M.G.s:  Green Onions

A World Enslaved

There are now more slaves on the planet than at any time in human history. True abolition will elude us until we admit the massive scope of the problem, attack it in all its forms, and empower slaves to help free themselves.


21st-century slaves: 300,000 children are in domestic bondage in Haiti.

Not ready to “Make Nice”

The music is easy music but the underlying motivation for having posted it is one of great unease.

JeffLieber opined on DD that it is our own fault we have no influence on government.

THEY are avoiding us because they simply do not think that we — the FAR LEFT — can be reasoned with.

THEY believe, and somewhat rightly so, that we are much more interested in clinging to our self-righteous fury then in being able to manage our disappointments and seeking compromise so they show up when its time for the cash or the grass-roots jolt of energy and then disappear when it comes time to legislate.

THEY believe we are the extremists, no more “reality based” than those at Little Green Footfungus because every slight seems to wipe away YEARS of good governance on issues we care about.

I will counter below, as OPOL did brilliantly in his own counter-essay. I’ll let his delineation of the crimes stand. He said it perfectly, and spoke for me on that account.

We have to deal with these guys…and not by making nice with them.  These people are dangerous.  Our laws are meant to protect us from people like this, and we need to see that they do.  This is no time to look the other way.

Do I want truth and reconciliation?  No sir!  I want trials and convictions.  We can talk about reconciliation after we’ve settled a few accountability issues.  How about someone taking responsibility for a change?

The video will tell you I’m not ready to make nice either.

Docudharma Times Sunday December 21

Never Forget That

The Bush Administration Has Violated U.S. And

International Law

Sunday’s Headlines:

They’re living with cancer and little else

‘Baghdad Clogger’ suffered brutal beating after arrest

Israeli blockade ‘forces Palestinians to search rubbish dumps for food’

Mugabe turns back on power-sharing

Lavish life of Mugabe’s looter-in-chief

Singer known as ‘a favourite of Hitler’ has libel case thrown out

Sarkozy drops reform amid fears of riots

India Debates Siege Suspect’s Legal Rights

North Korean refugees may face trial in Myanmar

As Outlook Dims, Obama Expands Recovery Plans


Published: December 20, 2008

WASHINGTON – Faced with worsening forecasts for the economy, President-elect Barack Obama is expanding his economic recovery plan and will seek to create or save 3 million jobs in the next two years, up from a goal of 2.5 million jobs set just last month, several advisers to Mr. Obama said Saturday.

Even Mr. Obama’s more ambitious goal would not fully offset as many as 4 million jobs that some economists are projecting might be lost in the coming year, according to the information he received from advisers in the past week. That job loss would be double the total this year and could push the nation’s unemployment rate past 9 percent if nothing is done.

The new job target was set after a meeting last Tuesday in which Christina D. Romer, who is Mr. Obama’s choice to lead his Council of Economic Advisers, presented information about previous recessions to establish that the current downturn was likely to be “more severe than anything we’ve experienced in the past half-century,” according to an Obama official familiar with the meeting. Officials said they were working on a plan big enough to stimulate the economy but not so big to provoke major opposition in Congress.

Bush E-Mails May Be Secret a Bit Longer

Legal Battles, Technical Difficulties Delay Required Transfer to Archives

By R. Jeffrey Smith

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, December 21, 2008; Page A01

The required transfer in four weeks of all of the Bush White House’s electronic mail messages and documents to the National Archives has been imperiled by a combination of technical glitches, lawsuits and lagging computer forensic work, according to government officials, historians and lawyers.

Federal law requires outgoing White House officials to provide the Archives copies of their records, a cache estimated at more than 300 million messages and 25,000 boxes of documents depicting some of the most sensitive policymaking of the past eight years.



Executive Pay

After years of watching the top echelons of corporate management take home billions, shareholders want to know: Will inflated pay packages get slashed?

By David S. Hilzenrath

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, December 21, 2008; Page F01

Angelo R. Mozilo, whose Countrywide Financial came to symbolize the failings of the mortgage industry, took home more than half a billion dollars from 1998 to 2007, including $121.7 million from cashing in options last year alone. Charles O. Prince, who led Citigroup to the brink of disaster, was awarded a retirement deal worth $28 million. Now, in a show of purported restraint, top Wall Street executives are going without bonuses.

If you’re angry that so many executives got paid so much for screwing up so spectacularly, you might take solace in the fact that shares they still hold have lost value, too. But if you think executive pay is finally succumbing to the force of gravity — if you’d like to believe that an epic destruction of investor wealth will fundamentally and permanently change the way chief executives are paid, or that you, dear shareholder, have the power to join forces with others just like you and create a more rational order — don’t bet on it.

The Man: Attorney General-Designate Eric Holder Jr.

President-Elect Barack Obama announced on December 1 that he has nominated Eric H. Holder, Jr. to serve as Attorney General, to take over the running of The Department of Justice in Obama’s incoming administration from current AG Michael Mukasey.

Mr. Holder has been a partner with the law firm Covington & Burling LLP since 2001.

Mr. Mukasey since his appointment as Attorney General, like all representatives of Mr. Bush have done, has waffled, spun, twisted in the wind, squirmed, sweated, excused, equivocated, and otherwise bullshitted America and the world as George Bush’s acolyte under hot lights and pointed interrogations from Congress over evidence of torture ordered at the highest levels of the Bush administration, the president and vice president, that the least informed people in the world all know is well defined, immoral, and illegal under international law, US law, and international treaties. (see addendum)

A war crime, in simpler terms. A war crime that Vice President Cheney has in recent days confessed publicly that the Bush administration intentionally engaged in.

Mr. Holder is the target of the new Docudharma/ sponsored Citizens Petition for a Special Prosecutor to Investigate Bush War Crimes. Don’t forget to sign the petition if you haven’t already.

Who is Eric Holder? What are his views and philosophy on the questions of torture, war crimes, secret prisons hidden away from the rule of law, and Bush’s “war on terror”?

What can we expect his reactions to be to the petition? We have only his own words and background to look to for clues.

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