January 2009 archive

269 War Crimes!

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Political scientist Michael Haas has just published a book titled George W. Bush, War Criminal?: The Bush Administration’s Liability for 269 War Crimes.

Lefty Bloggers RULE!!!

My title might be a bit of an overstatement (ruh-roh), but its a reaction to just reading James Walcott’s The Good, The Bad, and Joe Lieberman in his annual roundup of winners and losers at Vanity Fair. This is one of the most entertaining pieces I’ve read in a long time!

In his summary of “winners,” after giving a bit of due credit to Plouffe and Axelrod for running Obama’s campaign “with a supersonic hum and a minimum of bared ego,” he jumps right to one of my favorite bloggers, Al Giodano (where I first learned of this article).

The first to grasp the portent of what was taking shape was the prophet of the Obama paradigm shift, the journalist/activist/online editor/blogger Al Giordano, who, as a student of the teachings and tactics of community organizer Saul Alinsky (whose Rules for Radicals is the guerrilla guide for domestic insurgents), divined the advantage that Obama’s small-donor base gave him against old-school juggernauts. In a prescient article for The Boston Phoenix in September 2007, …”It is Obama’s history as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago-and the application of that experience to organizing his campaign-that is making the 2008 cycle distinct from previous ones. Where [Howard] Dean failed to convert his donor-activist base into effective organization, Obama is apparently writing the book on how to do it.”

Emphasis mine because look how early he made that prediction!

Who’s up next? None other than Nate Silver from FiveThirtyEight. How cool is this description by Wolcott?????  

Open Thread


A one and a two and a thread.  

The crash of 2008 and the prospects for 2009

Original article, by Nick Beams, via World Socialist Web Site:

Whenever a historical review is made certain years attract attention because of the decisive events with which they are associated. The years 1914, 1929, 1933, 1939 and in more recent times 1956 and 1989 are some that come to mind. The year 2008 is destined to join this group.

Docudharma Times Friday January 2

Reflecting On The Bush Legacy?

Here’s Some Reflections: Incompetent: Abusive: Destroyers Of The Constitution And The Bill Of Rights

Reflect On That  

Friday’s Headlines:

Two Advisers Reflect on Eight Years With Bush

Iraq plans to close Iranian dissidents’ border camp

Gazans face ‘humanitarian crisis’ as Israeli raids intensify

Russia cuts off the gas supply to Ukraine

Vatican divorces from Italian law

Sri Lankan troops enter Tamil Tigers stronghold of Kilinochchi

Town Asks Kung Fu Monks for Tourism Blessings

Ghana presidential revote due in sole district

U.N. Tackles Rising Threat of Urban Hunger in Africa

No stamp of approval for Mexico bureaucrats

War and peace: Israel’s military and political options

Six days after launching Operation Cast Lead, Tel Aviv ponders whether to send the tanks in or seek a settlement with Hamas

Ian Black, Middle East editor

The Guardian, Friday 2 January 2009

Six days into Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in the Gaza Strip Israeli leaders are considering a range of military and political options that depend on what happens in a fast-moving situation with many variables they do not control. Developments on the ground, international diplomatic activity and Arab reactions will determine what happens next. Echoing the 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon, there is Israeli confusion and disagreement over tactics, strategy and what will constitute a victory. But Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, said yesterday he did not want a long war. The main scenarios are these:

Continuing air attacks

After more than 500 bombing missions by aircraft and helicopters with a claimed 95% success rate, high-value Palestinian targets are running out. Israeli claims of “surgical strikes” will be measured against credible reports of civilian casualties.

Climate scientists: it’s time for ‘Plan B’

Poll of international experts by The Independent reveals consensus that CO2 cuts have failed – and their growing support for technological intervention

By Steve Connor, Science Editor and Chris Green

Friday, 2 January 2009

An emergency “Plan B” using the latest technology is needed to save the world from dangerous climate change, according to a poll of leading scientists carried out by The Independent. The collective international failure to curb the growing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has meant that an alternative to merely curbing emissions may become necessary.

The plan would involve highly controversial proposals to lower global temperatures artificially through daringly ambitious schemes that either reduce sunlight levels by man-made means or take CO2 out of the air. This “geoengineering” approach – including schemes such as fertilising the oceans with iron to stimulate algal blooms – would have been dismissed as a distraction a few years ago but is now being seen by the majority of scientists we surveyed as a viable emergency backup plan that could save the planet from the worst effects of climate change, at least until deep cuts are made in CO2 emissions.



Steel Industry, in Slump, Looks to U.S. Stimulus


Published: January 1, 2009

The steel industry, having entered the recession in the best of health, is emerging as a leading indicator of what lies ahead. As steel production goes – and it is now in collapse – so will go the national economy.

That maxim once applied to Detroit’s Big Three car companies, when they dominated American manufacturing. Now they are losing ground in good times and bad, and steel has replaced autos as the industry to watch for an early sign that a severe recession is beginning to lift.

The industry itself is turning to government for orders that, until the September collapse, had come from manufacturers and builders.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Tin Ear


Constant sound

like a million



in my head

I experience

no silence

and probably

shall not

until I die

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–March 3, 2008

Late Night Karaoke

Your Mission: Talk

INXS – Don’t Change

Eco Corruption Harms Wildlife

Government investigations found that officials responsible for protecting endangered species have violated the law, censored scientists and manipulated data to limit recovery  of species facing extinction in order to protect financial interests of industries instead.  Many oppose Bush’s rampant violations of our rule of law governing human rights and civil rights but say we should move on. But, the lack of any accountability has caused illegal conduct to be silently accepted and spread like a virus infecting most substantive issues, including the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We face a catastrophic loss of species globally, the inability to provide the beauty of sustained biodiversity for future generations as well as financial repercussions.  Taxpayers will pay for the investigations and the “unnecessary expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars to re-issue decisions” as well as the expensive costs of litigation filed to compel the government to comply with the rule of law.

Petitioning For Change: January 01 Recap


Appoint a Special Prosecutor for the Crimes of the Bush Administration

President-elect Obama recently said, “if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in coverups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law.

Attorney General-designate Eric Holder recently said top Bush Administration officials “authorized the use of torture, approved of secret electronic surveillance of American citizens, secretly detained American citizens without due process of law, denied the Writ of Habeus Corpus to hundreds of accused enemy combatants, and authorized the use of procedures that both violate international law and the United States Constitution.

The Bush administration has refused to investigate its own crimes and President Bush may issue blanket pardons before he leaves. President Obama must appoint a Special Prosecutor – ideally Patrick Fitzgerald – to fully investigate these crimes and prosecute those responsible to demonstrate that we are truly a Nation of Laws and no one – including the President – is above the law.

Bob Fertik (President of Democrats.com), New York, NY Dec 06 @ 06:02AM PST

First round voting for the Ideas for Change in America Competition closed at midnight on December 31, 2008.

This idea finished in 2nd Place in the Government Reform category and has therefore qualified for the final round. Final round voting will run from January 5th – 15th, and voting totals will be reset at zero for all qualifying ideas to ensure an equal playing field.

Special Offer!

The makers of Docudharma are overstocked, everything must go! Well not everything…..but in this case, special New Years Wishes! Here is how our Special Offer works, you just write down your wish for the New Year, and Docudharma will ship it out to you um, soon!

But wait!! That’s not all!!! If you are among the first 10,000 wishers to order, you will also receive TWO MORE wishes! That’s right! THREE WISHES all for free….and double your money back if they don’t come true!

You won’t find this offer on other blogs so write NOW to ensure that you receive your two bonus wishes!!!  

Four at Four

  1. The Washington Post reports Obama and Pelosi to discuss scope of economic package. This Monday, President-elect Barack Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi will meet in person to “discuss the scope and timing of the economic recovery package, which Obama has said will be his first priority upon being sworn into office. Pelosi has said her goal is to have the legislation on the new president’s desk and ready to be signed on Jan. 20.”

    However after approving billions for unnecessary wars and favors for the wealthy that contributed to the downfall of the U.S. economy, now “Republicans and conservative Democrats are raising concerns about the impact on the federal deficit of spending hundreds of billions on an array of projects with little vetting by Congress. Lawmakers now expect a spending package of between $675 billion and $775 billion.”

  2. The LA Times asks Will the stocks’ slide get even worse?

    With the current recession already a year old, most economists expect a turnaround in the second half of 2009. If the market follows the usual script, stocks should show a significant pickup beginning in the first quarter of the new year…

    However, “some investment professionals caution against putting too much faith in historical trends. This recession has been different from most, rooted in the bursting of the housing bubble and magnified by a credit crunch unlike anything the world has experienced in modern times…

    One key issue is that there still is little confidence that the housing market is bottoming… Economists at Goldman Sachs & Co … [project] that U.S. home prices, on average, will drop 15% more over the next year…

    Demographics also may be a weight on the market: Many aging baby boomers are likely to be selling stocks to fund their retirement or to shift to less volatile investments such as bonds…

    With the dive in share prices in 2008, the bull market gains of this entire decade already are gone: The Dow is down 24% since Dec. 31, 1999.

  3. The NY Times reports Iraq plans to open more oil fields to bidding. “Iraq announced on Wednesday that it would begin a second round of bids to license international oil companies to develop 11 oil and gas fields or groups of fields. Iraq’s oil minister, Hussain al-Shahristani, said at a news conference that he hoped that these fields could be producing 2 to 2.5 million barrels of oil a day in three or four years. The goal, he said, is to produce 6 million barrels a day in four or five years, up from the current 2.4 million.”

  4. The Guardian reports NASA scientist James Hansen warns Obama that Climate change policies are failing. “Current approaches to deal with climate change are ineffectual, one of the world’s top climate scientists said today in a personal new year appeal to Barack Obama and his wife Michelle on the urgent need to tackle global warming.”

    Hansen wrote that there is a “profound disconnect” between public policy on climate change and the magnitude of the problem as described by the science. He praised Obama’s campaign rhetoric about “a planet in peril”, but said that how the new president responds in office will be crucial. The letter contains a wish list of three policy measures to tackle global warming.

    Hansen lambasts the current international approach of setting targets to be met through “cap and trade” schemes as not up to the task…

    First, he wants a moratorium and phase-out of coal-fired power stations – which he calls “factories of death” – that do not incorporate carbon capture and storage…

    Second, he proposes a “carbon tax and 100% dividend”: a mechanism for putting a price on carbon without raising money for government coffers…

    Finally, Hansen wants a renewed research effort into so-called fourth generation nuclear plants, which can use nuclear waste as fuel.

I HATE New Years Resolutions

Yeah, I said it. And I’ll say it again…I hate New Years resolutions!!!

Most of all, I hate what they’ve become in our culture. A way to mostly look at the superficial qualities of our lives and think that somehow we’ll be happier if we change them. Oh, and there are usually tons of products we can buy that will “help” us achieve them, so its now time to pony up.

Secondly, I don’t think anyone really changes as a result of resolving to do so – at least not in the long term. Most changes that last come about as a result of fearless introspection combined with time and lots of patience.

I’ve written before about the limits I see to willpower. But there is something even more insidious about how most people approach resolutions. For some people (not all), this becomes a time to unleash all of the “shoulds” that have been rolling around in our heads. Most often, these are the shoulds that others in our lives or culture have laid on us as baggage. To resolve to meet those shoulds is usually not only doomed to fail, but negates our own true desires for ourselves.  

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