January 13, 2009 archive

Happy 50th Birthday, Alaska!

I am so very proud to be markin’ the 50th anniversary of Alaska becomin’ part of these great United States!  Alaska became the 49th state in 1959.  I must apologize though, because technically I’m wishin’ Alaska a belated happy birthday since statehood became official on Jan 3rd, 1959.  Wouldn’t you know it, I needed a few extra weeks there to realize that 2009 – 1959 = 50!  But what the heck, we’ll be celebratin’ all year with things like commemorative license plates and commemorative stamps.  As you can see it’s a very pretty stamp, but unfortunately can only be used to ship extremely large packages:

Four at Four

  1. The Washington Independent reports Schlozman broke federal law and lied to Congress. Bradley Schlozman was a central person in the U.S. attorney firing scandal. From the report:

    The evidence in our investigation showed that Schlozman, first as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General and subsequently as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Acting Assistant Attorney General, considered political and ideological affiliations in hiring career attorneys and in other personnel actions affecting career attorneys in the Civil Rights Division. In doing so, he violated federal law – the Civil Service Reform Act – and Department policy that prohibit discrimination in federal employment based on political and ideological affiliations, and committed misconduct. The evidence also showed that Division managers failed to exercise sufficient oversight to ensure that Schlozman did not engage in inappropriate hiring and personnel practices. Moreover, Schlozman made false statements about whether he considered political and ideological affiliations when he gave sworn testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee and in his written responses to supplemental questions from the Committee.

    The Independent adds Schlozman emails indicate a Republican voter suppression strategy.

    The report released this morning by the Justice Department is a pretty damning account of the tenure of Bradley Schlozman, the infamous U.S. attorney and head of (politicizing) the Civil Rights Division. at the department. The report details email conversations between Schlozman and “voter rights” guru Hans von Spakovsky, who was special counsel to the assistant attorney general.

    The email exchanges solidify what reports on the U.S. attorney firing scandal suggested: that the politicization at the agency was part of a coordinated effort to disenfranchise voters, at the expense of Democratic candidates.

    And the Washington Post adds Study finds rightwing ideology fueled Justice Department hirings. The DoJ inspector general’s extensive study of department’s hiring practices between 2001 and 2007 found “former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bradley Schlozman, favored employees who shared his political views and derided others as ‘libs’ and ‘pinkos'”.

    “The report’s release was delayed by more than six months after inspector general agents referred the case for possible prosecution by authorities in the District. But prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s office declined to pursue the matter last week, according to lawyers involved in the case.”

Four at Four continues Bush administration officials cash in, Congress set to restore the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and EPA creates big loophole for major polluters.

Fictional Character Driving Torture Fictions

Hey Wingers!


He is a FICTIONAL character. In FICTIONAL situations. In a FICTIONAL world.

While it has become painfully and horribly and tragically clear that you do NOT live in the Real World, but in your own little reality bubbles where things like FACTS are ignored and dismissed if they don’t fit your little FICTIONAL narratives…..I regret to inform you that yes indeed…..


Sorry to be the one that has to tell you…again.

And btw, HERE is the key passage uttered by your FICTIONAL hero:

In answer to your question, am I above the law? No, sir. I am more than willing to be judged by the people you claim to represent. I will let them decide what price I should pay.

He, even though he is a FICTIONAL character, has a better grasp of the reality and morality of torture than you, who are allegedly NOT fictional. He knows torture is wrong, illegal, and immoral…..and is willing to stand up to pay the price for his actions and convictions.

You apparently DON’T know that torture is wrong, illegal, and immoral. And have no convictions what so ever.

Oh and btw, the ACTOR who plays Jack has this to say……

“You torture someone and they’ll basically tell you exactly what you want to hear, whether it’s true or not, if you put someone in enough pain,” Sutherland said last year.

Pardon The CIA

No, seriously.

Ok, maybe not pardon, but immunize them from prosecution.

Like it or not…and BOY do I not like it….the CIA is necessary. Well, let me rephrase. The United States needs a robust and effective Intelligence apparatus. What initials we refer to it by is not that important. What is important is that we have am Intelligence gathering agency. Preferably a law abiding one. Definitely a non-politicized one. And VERY definitely, one that does not torture. And certainly one that, unlike our current CIA, does not maintain a network of secret prisons, torture ships, and a dedicated rendition airline.

The incredible infrastructure of America’s Industrial Torture Machine shocks the conscience of those whose consciences have not been sledgehammered into oblivion by the continuous parade of immoral actions of the Bush years. Bush and Cheney sold us a new reality of America as torturers and wagers of aggressive war, and apparently, as is our pavlovian consumerist wont, a LOT of Americans bought it. At the price of moral clarity and our national conscience.

As much as I have opposed and reviled the CIA throughout my life as they have traveled the globe toppling legitimate governments, starting wars and shaping the world from behind a black op veil….the CIA has always been a tool. A tool that much like the military, American Presidents use to enforce and extend (see Clausewitz) their foreign policy. At no time in the noxious, stained history of the CIA has that been more poignant than here at the close of the most noxious, stained Presidential administration ever.

As we can see from this:


 One former CIA agent says that every punch, every slap, was individually authorized through Langley:

       The former intelligence officer says the interrogators’ activities were carefully directed from Langley, Va., every step of the way.


“It wasn’t up to individual interrogators to decide, ‘Well, I’m gonna slap him. Or ‘I’m going to shake him.’ Or ‘I’m gonna make him stay up for 48 hours.’ Each one of these steps, even though they’re minor steps, like the intention shake– or the openhanded belly slap, each one of these had to have the approval of the Deputy Director for Operations.

       “. . . . [B]efore you laid a hand on him, you had to send in the cable saying, ‘He’s uncooperative. Request permission to do X.’ And that permission would come. ‘You’re allowed to him one time in the belly with an open hand.'”

   Think about how extraordinary that statement is! Agents in the field, were marionettes, getting directions from the White House basement, relayed through CIA HQ at Langley, about every single blow, every zap, every drop of waterboarding. And Cheney admits it!

   It also turns out that the White House has it’s own interrogation room in the basement. Sounds more like Saddam’s basement than our president’s, doesn’t it?

(Please excuse the triple link! It was the best way to H/T all concerned.)

Victims of bush’s “War on Terror”: Children

On January 12th 2009 President bush gave his final Press Conference to the Nation.

In it he made a number of statements that have been analyzed by many, my take on his answers and spin was his showing how little a man, who is in total denial and lacking any compassion or moral feelings, of how big a failure as a person, and especially as the President, he has been!

In one of his answers he said this:

Moving Forward? Here Are The Rules.

And in the naked light I saw

Ten thousand people, maybe more.

People talking without speaking,

People hearing without listening,

People writing songs that voices never share

And no one dared

Disturb the sound of silence.

Fools said I, you do not know

Silence like a cancer grows.

Hear my words that I might teach you,

Take my arms that I might reach you.

But my words like silent raindrops fell,

And echoed

In the wells of silence

Here are the rules.

The other day George Will, of all people, was comparing Obama refusing to prosecute Bush and Cheney to Ford pardoning Nixon.

If a far right crazed wingnut can get it right, why can’t the rest of us?

This comparison is one that we can use to good effect, but only if we do it continuously and loudly.

A friend of mine a couple of days ago, a nearly unquestioning Obama supporter, said to me, and I quote:

No argument from me.  Ford should have been stood against the wall and shot for that pardon.  Nixon cooling his heels in the clink for a few years would have prevented this mess, no doubt.

Ford’s pardon of Nixon was the beginning of the end of any hope Ford had of being politically effective, and absolutely killed his future chances for reelection.

So let’s see… if Obama doesn’t want a political blood bath that might define his first term as him being a bush enabler and a torture excuser and might drown him, then he’ll tell Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor, and answer Fertik’s question directly himself, instead of hiding behind excuses and Joe Biden, since according to Biden it is not the job of the president or the vice president, but of the Justice department.  

Progressive Feedback Works: Obama Drops Business Tax Break

In meetings last week, several Democratic Senators were critical of Barack Obama’s inclusion of a $3,000-per-job tax credit for business in the stimulus plan as potentially unworkable and unikely to create jobs.  See Sen. Harkin: Obama’s Plan looks like “trickle-down”; Summers: “Message Heard, Loud and Clear” (referring to Senators Kerry, Conrad and Harkin).

Obama is serious about collaborative decision making.  He listened and has now acted:

Bowing to widespread Democratic skepticism, President-elect Barack Obama will drop his bid to include a business tax break he once touted in the economic stimulus bill now taking shape on Capitol Hill, aides said last night.

WaPo: Obama Shelves Jobs-Credit Proposal, Democrats Said $3,000 Tax Incentive Could Be Abused by Businesses

More about progressive feedback and why it’s essential to Obama and all of our success, after the fold.

Open Thread


The long and winding thread.

Live streaming NOW: “Shaping the Obama Administration’s Counterterrorism Policy”

Quick heads up: Bruce Schneier is part of a 4 person panel speaking RIGHT NOW – 9am EST – at the second day of this two-day conference at the CATO Institute in DC.

Video and audio live streaming live NOW (9am EST).  

Docudharma Times Tuesday January 13

Bush Holds His

Final Press Conference And

Lies Out His…… He Also Acts Like A Spoiled Child

Tuesday’s Headlines:

Southern California fire chiefs debate stay-and-defend program

Demands grow for Gaza war crimes investigation

As US withdraws, will Al Qaeda in Iraq find new openings?

Spain’s high-speed trains win over fed-up flyers

Step aside, Sartre: this is the new face of French intellectualism

Ethiopia troops ‘leave Mogadishu’

Exclusive: Pirate tells how five drowned

Pakistan tested by battles with Al Qaeda, Taliban

Race to the death over Kashmir waters

Vatican suggests excommunicating Mexican drug traffickers

Israeli forces step up offensive as UN chief tours

By Nidal al-Mughrabi, Reuters

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Israeli forces tightened their hold on the outskirts of the city of Gaza today as United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon pressed for a ceasefire in the fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants.

In clashes on the edges of the city, Israeli forces killed 12 gunmen, some of them Hamas members, medical workers said.

“We are tightening the encirclement of the city,” Brigadier General Eyal Eisenberg told reporters touring Israeli positions.

UN Secretary-General Ban was heading to the region for a week of talks with leaders in Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Syria aimed at ending the bloodshed.

“My message is simple, direct, and to the point: the fighting must stop. To both sides, I say: Just stop now,” Ban told reporters before his departure.

As more Chinese lose jobs, protests grow bolder

Economic woes shining a light on social issues

By Ariana Eunjung Cha

BEIJING – For months, the Communist Party had been able to deflect anger about factory closings toward the companies themselves. The party managed to come off as the benevolent savior by handing out cash to make up for unpaid salaries. The strategy stopped working at the Jianrong Suitcase Factory in late December.

When offered 60 percent of their wages to disband their protest and go home, the workers pushed back at riot police sent to keep them locked in their factory compound in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan. According to several witnesses, more than 100 irate workers broke through the cordon, some shouting, “There are no human rights here!”



Obama’s Plan to Close Prison at Guantánamo May Take Year


Published: January 12, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama plans to issue an executive order on his first full day in office directing the closing of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, people briefed by Obama transition officials said Monday.

But experts say it is likely to take many months, perhaps as long as a year, to empty the prison that has drawn international criticism since it received its first prisoners seven years ago this week. One transition official said the new administration expected that it would take several months to transfer some of the remaining 248 prisoners to other countries, decide how to try suspects and deal with the many other legal challenges posed by closing the camp

Dear SHGirl, from America

Wow, only a couple days, and look at all the replies I got on my first post “I Want to go to America”!!!!!

Some were kind of funny. I know how to swim. Dang.

Splashbaby, Iowa:

Wow, skankhatergirl. Are there bombs blowing up every day where you live? That must be scary. Its so safe here. What is Israel like? I like to swim a lot, I’m going to be on the Swim Team when I get to High School. Are there lakes and pools there? Or is it a big desert? I’d love to be your friend!!! I’ll teach you to swim. I’d love to go to a rave but my parents would totally kill me for that. But we have dances at our Jr High that are kewl too. You could come to those.

PS: Who do you think is thehottest band?

Some were really mean.

L.A.Starr367, California:

Don’t come to LA. There’s too many of dark people here already. Some Chicano skank stole my boyfriend, and we already hate the immigrants we got. Why can’t we white people stick together? I waz gonna kick her butt, but my old boyfriend stuck up for her, and so did my former so-called best friends. They called me hater. They ain’t ever seen hate like I’m gonna give them. Like I said, don’t come to my school, we don’t need no Jew girls either.

Sounds like SHE is skankier than the Skank at my school. OK, LA is out. But, I only got the one like that, the rest were nice.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning



You desire that I engage

in discussion

concerning the relative value

of War

You wonder

why I resist

The only wars

having merit

are the ones

too seldom fought

When do we fight

hunger and disease

bigotry and ignorance

neglect and greed?

Fighting these doesn’t require

armed conflict

but rather the engagement

the minds and hearts

the imagination and cooperation

of good people

Will we never try?

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–March 20, 2008

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