March 10, 2009 archive

Prosecuting Those Responsible, Senator Leahy

I write today because I want to think about the root of our trouble with respect to the abuses of power that took place during the W. administration. But I don’t want to talk about anyt particular act that took place — I’d rather talk about the general patterns behind the methods — methods that robbed us of some of our humanity. Let me suggest that if we look for this pattern, we will find that it was systemic during the George W. Bush administration, and if we drive hard at that pattern we will be able to nail down those who are responsible.

This is not a time for hunt and peck. This is a time to look for root cause.

Environmental Justice

I expect that soon we will be hearing more about ideas like “environmental justice” and “eco-equity.” That’s because today, the Obama administration announced that Van Jones has been appointed as the Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. If you haven’t heard of Van Jones before, I’m sure you’ll be hearing about him in the future.


My introduction to Jones came a few years ago when I learned of his work as founder and director of the Ella Baker Center in Oakland, CA. There he fought for justice for juvenile offenders with campaigns like Books Not Bars.

Books Not Bars fights to redirect California’s resources away from youth incarceration and towards youth opportunities. We engage in grassroots campaigns using media advocacy, policy advocacy, grassroots organizing, and alliance building.

Currently, we are working to close California’s abusive, expensive youth prisons and replace them with rehabilitation centers and community-based programs.

You may be wondering what a man with that background knows about green jobs. Follow me below and you’ll see how his life mission progressed.

Four at Four

  1. The NY Times reports a Bomber kills dozens in Iraq as fears of new violence rise.

    A suicide bomber took aim at a group of Iraqi Army officers on their way to a reconciliation conference on the western outskirts of Baghdad on Tuesday, and wild gunfire ensued. A total of 33 people were killed, including two journalists.

    It was the second attack since Sunday to kill more than two dozen people, suggesting a renewed ability by insurgents to mount effective suicide bombings, after a long period in which such attacks were relatively few and less lethal because of heavy security precautions.

  2. The AP reports Top U.S. intelligence officials state Iran does not have key nuclear material, despite what Israel claims. “U.S. National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Maples said Tuesday that Iran has only low-enriched uranium – which would need to be refined into highly enriched uranium before it can fuel a warhead. Neither officials said there were indications that refining has occurred.”

    “Maples said the United States and Israel are interpreting the same facts, but arriving at different conclusions. ‘The Israelis are far more concerned about it,’ Maples told the Senate Armed Services Committee.”

  3. Yesterday McClatchy reported Regulatory reports show 5 biggest banks face huge losses. Despite having already taken $145 in bailout money, Citibank, Bank of America, HSBC Bank USA, Wells Fargo Bank, and J.P. Morgan Chase “still face potentially catastrophic losses from exotic investments if economic conditions substantially worsen, their latest financial reports show… Their ‘current’ net loss risks from derivatives – insurance-like bets tied to a loan or other underlying asset – surged to $587 billion as of Dec. 31.”

    While today, the NY Times reports Stocks push higher on an upbeat memo from Citigroup. Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citigroup, wrote a memo that said “the bank had turned a profit in the first two months of the year, and that its quarterly performance to date, before taxes and special items, was the best since the third quarter of 2007.” He gave “no indication of how much special items, like write-downs or credit losses, would be”.

  4. The Guardian reports Carbon emissions are creating acidic oceans not seen since the dinosaurs. “Human pollution is turning the seas into acid so quickly that the coming decades will recreate conditions not seen on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs, scientists will warn today.”

    “The rapid acidification is caused by the massive amounts of carbon dioxide belched from chimneys and exhausts that dissolve in the ocean. The chemical change is placing ‘unprecedented’ pressure on marine life such as shellfish and lobsters and could cause widespread extinctions, the experts say.”

Ode To Republicanism

Fuck You.

America is not/ well, no longer/ your Country Club

We are not here to make your life easier

By hiding in the shadows to make you comfortable

While you loot our economy

And send us to war

Making us into torturers

While stealing the rights

Our forefathers fought and died for

So casually, with no skin in the game

Just because you can, from your towers of entrenched power

Built on the backs of the poor and downtrodden

And the regular folks who you conned into trust

You have sunken the ship of state

Even as you deny that the waters are rising

You have stolen all the lifeboats

And now walk across our nearly submerged heads to get to them

While wondering where all those screams are coming from

As we drown in the flood your greed

You frantically cast about

For someone beside yourself to blame

But as you now are finding out

Your power can’t protect your tribe

From the vary reality you constructed

In a vain attempt to protect yourself from your own selfishness.

Incompetent, selfish, and greedy

Intolerant, hateful, and needy

If you were us, you would kill you

Because destruction is all that you know

Instead we will merely ignore all your screams

As you have ignored ours for so long

Your privilege will no longer protect you

From the world you have made for us all

And your howls will go mostly unheeded

As you rightfully reap what you’ve sown

You can try to hold on to your ‘riches’

But the world is passing you by

Mexican Drug War: Gun Running from U.S. Suppliers

Gun Dealer Accused Of Selling To Cartels

CBS Evening News: Gun Runners Send Thousands Of Weapons From The U.S. To Mexico, Fueling That Country’s Drug Wars

Rush’s Hot Air … heats the globe

Many in the Republican “base” found John McCain an outrage, his policy views and perspectives abhorrent, not least of which that he deigns to consider reality in stating that Global Warming is a serious issue meriting attention (even if his policy prescriptions aren’t enough).

Well, what does the Glorious Leader of the Republican Party have to say about this?

“Despite the hysterics of a few pseudo-scientists, there is no reason to believe in global warming.” Rush Limbaugh, 1993

Ah, words that could warm the cockles of even the cold heart of George “Will-ful Deceit” Will.

Campaigning 101 – Finding A Campaign Manager

The Dog has done his level best to try to give aspiring politicians every single chance to be scared off by the enormity of the task they are taking on by throwing their hat into the ring. So far it does not seem to have sunk in nor actually sent anyone screaming for the hills. The Dog is very proud of all of you silly people for being this resolute. That is the good news. Now for the bad news, it is time to get down the real nitty-gritty of this process. This installment of the Campaigning 101 is going to talk about finding a campaign manager.  

Docudharma Times Tuesday March 10

Tuesday’s Headlines:

Obama’s Order on Stem Cells Leaves Key Questions to NIH

Dalai Lama calls Chinese rule in Tibet ‘hell on Earth’

Sri Lanka suicide bombing targets government ministers

Ulster police chief defiant after officer killed

What do cars and cows have in common? No, not horns

US, Iran seek to stop Afghan narco-traffic

Palestinians launch unity talks

Q & A

Sudan opposition leader discusses detention

Tsvangirai tribute set for Harare

Colombians Snap Up Hostages’ Memoirs

US Supreme Court holds to narrow interpretation of the Voting Rights Act

Critics say the ruling on ‘crossover’ districts could reduce the political clout of minorities.

By Warren Richey | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

from the March 10, 2009 edition

The federal Voting Rights Act does not authorize vote dilution lawsuits in voting districts in which a particular racial or ethnic group comprises less than 50 percent of the voting age population.

In a 5 to 4 decision announced on Monday, the US Supreme Court rejected a claim that so-called minority crossover districts qualify for protection under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA). Instead, the court’s conservative wing embraced a narrow view of the law.

Crossover districts are those in which a cohesive minority voting population can elect candidates of its choice by forming a coalition with cross-over votes from whites or other non-minority voters.

The case is important because it establishes ground rules that will apply nationwide during the redrawing of voting districts following the 2010 census. It could result in a reduction of minority districts by encouraging district drafters to pack traditional minority districts with more than 50 percent minority voters, rather than aiming for widespread distribution across several voting districts.

UN report condemns Britain over torture cases

UK hid illegal acts and breached basic human rights of detainees in US rendition programme, report finds

Richard Norton-Taylor, Monday 9 March 2009 19.24 GMT

Britain is condemned today in a highly critical UN report for breaching basic human rights and “trying to conceal illegal acts” in the fight against terrorism.

The report is sharply critical of British co-operation in the transfer of detainees to places where they are likely to be tortured as part of the US rendition programme. It accuses British intelligence officers of interviewing detainees held incommunicado in Pakistan in “so-called safe houses where they were being tortured”.

It adds that Britain, and a number of other countries, sent interrogators to Guantánamo Bay in a further example of what “can be reasonably understood as implicitly condoning” torture and ill-treatment. It said the US was able to create its system for moving terror suspects around foreign jails only with the support of its allies.



Obama’s Budget Faces Test Among Party Barons


Published: March 9, 2009

WASHINGTON – What the Democratic barons of Congress liked best about President Obama’s audacious budget was his invitation to fill in the details. They have started by erasing some of his.

The apparent first casualty is a big one: a proposal to limit tax deductions for the wealthiest 1.2 percent of taxpayers. Mr. Obama says the plan would produce $318 billion over the next decade as a down payment for overhauling health care.

But the chairmen of the House and Senate tax-writing committees, Senator Max Baucus of Montana and Representative Charles B. Rangel of New York, have objected to the proposal, citing a potential drop in tax-deductible gifts to charities.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


Walled In



maybe both

sometimes neither

our choice

or at least

it should be


for our souls

and yours

if you want it

for you

and your children

your grandchildren

generations to come

the future


to live

all the colors

of the rainbow

of gender

as well as skin

The walls

around you

between us

will fall

if you stop

believing in them

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 6. 2008

Late Night Karaoke

Escape To Pina Colada’s

Torturers To Binyam: “We’re going to change your brain”

David Rose at the British paper The Mail got the scoop that was former Guanatanamo prisoner Binyam Mohamed’s “world exclusive” post-release interview. Entitled “How MI5 colluded in my torture: Binyam Mohamed claims British agents fed Moroccan torturers their questions”, the article presents a brief biography of Mr. Mohamed’s troubled life, including the experience of racial prejudice in the United States (Binyam is Ethiopian-born), abandonment by his father, and later the adoption of his mother’s religion, Islam.

But the article’s most sensational sections describe his torture by Pakistani, Moroccan, and U.S. officials, who all the while were in collaboration with British intelligence services, who not only were feeding them questions, but also withholding exculpatory evidence as well. The torture was horrendous:

Obama Should Sign The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Because…

Obama should sign thethe Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples because…

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