April 2, 2009 archive

ACTION NEEDED, to Help Tammy and Vets

Yesterday they had the hearing, finally, on the Tammy Duckworth and Scott Gould nominations to the Veterans Administration.

During the hearing Senator Burr, of North Carolina, stated he had some questions he wanted to pass on to Tammy in written form and have answered. I thought that very odd at the time as the reason for these hearings is to have the nominees answer questions, also if there were more than he thought his alloted time would take he had plenty of time to have already written and sent to her, this hearing had already been delayed far to long, especially as we need these personal in place with these two theaters still on going and Afghanistan ramping up.

Four at Four

  1. The LA Times reports Afghanistan ‘enemy combatants’ can make their case in U.S. court. U.S. District Judge John Bates “ruled today that prisoners in ‘the war on terror’ can use courts in the United States to challenge their detention at” the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. military wants more troops deployed in Afghanistan. “Gen. David H. Petraeus disclosed yesterday that American commanders have requested the deployment of an additional 10,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan next year”… He said the Pentagon has not yet forwarded the troop request to the White House.” I wonder is this part of Petraeus 2012 presidential strategy?

    The NY Times adds Friday’s NATO meeting will highlight strains on Afghanistan. When they meet for the 60th anniversary of NATO, leaders “must face the harsh reality that NATO’s first military mission outside Europe is failing in a way that risks fracturing the alliance.”

    Nearly all of the additional troops being sent by European NATO-members to AFganistan this summer are there to provide security for the elections this summer and “not be permanently deployed.” Certainly implies U.S. deployment are permanent.

    While across the border in Pakistan, The Guardian reports of a Video of a girl’s flogging as Taliban hand out justice. A two-minute video showing a burka-clad “teenage girl being flogged by Taliban fighters has emerged from the Swat Valley in Pakistan, offering a shocking glimpse of militant brutality in the once-peaceful district, and a sign of Taliban influence spreading deeper into the country.”

    “Please stop it,” she begs, alternately whimpering or screaming in pain with each blow to the backside. “Either kill me or stop it now.”

    A crowd of men stands by, watching silently. Off camera a voice issues instructions. “Hold her legs tightly,” he says as she squirms and yelps.

    After 34 lashes the punishment stops and the wailing woman is led into a stone building, trailed by a Kalashnikov-carrying militant.

Four at Four continues with lax oversight of State Department mercenaries, monkey-wrenching student faces two-count federal felony, and Russia re-proposes replacing the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

A Revolutionary Statement?

(London)British Prime Minister Gordon Brown declared today that “the banking secrecy of the past must come to an end.” He said that is one of the key components in an agreement on global economic recovery and reform reached at today’s G20 conference in London.

Brown said hedge funds will now be regulated under a reformed global banking system.

The agreement stipulates regulation of credit rating agencies and sanctions for tax havens.

Leaders of the G20 nations on Thursday declared that “the era of banking secrecy is over”, calling for the immediate publication of a list of countries that fell short of international standards.

A blacklist of countries that were unwilling to co-operate on information sharing ran to six countries as talks began on Thursday. But the threat of being named convinced Brunei, Guatemala and Malaysia to agree to begin implementing reforms. This left Costa Rica, the Philippines and Uruguay to be “named and shamed” on a list, expected to be published by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The politicians threatened to take action against “non-co-operative jurisdictions, including tax havens”, asking the OECD to report back by November’s meeting of finance ministers in Scotland. They said: “We stand ready to deploy sanctions to protect our public finances and financial systems.”

If the Ruling Class can no longer hide their loot from scrutiny and taxes, doesn’t that change everything?

One thing it will change for sure…

Whoever comes up with the new way to hide illegal and ill-gotten assts first is going to get VERY, VERY RICH!

Any ideas? I’ll settle for one tenth of one percent!

Prosecuting Those Responsible.

(After quantifying US casualties on September 11, 2001.)

These measurements obviously did not capture the full meaning of September 11. A familiar terrorist threat announced itself that day with frightening new proximity and ambition. But decision made in the White House, in response, had incomparably greater impact on American interests as a society.

Barton Gellman in Angler – The Cheney Vice Presidency, page 132.

It is entirely by design that bringing abusers of power to justice will be riddled with setbacks. The Bush 43 leaders and high level advisors used deliberate sleight of hand to insure their prosecution was improbable. They are counting on the fact that the decision to prosecute them is entirely political, and that willingness to to spend political capital for crimes gone by will be small. But they’ve also fortified their steps with subtleties that make it harder to figure what went wrong.

It will take a lot more than just energizing the left wing behind the cause and supporting Senator Leahy to bring lawbreakers to justice. We have to convince the American mainstream if we are going to make prosecution happen. A mainstream that has demonstrated time and again that they are certain to miss the subtlety.

Good Thoughts and Prayers for Nightprowlkitty

NPK is having some medical issues.

She wants and needs some privacy on the details etc, and it looks like she will be fine, but she could use some good healing energy from all of us over the next few days.

She is getting the help she needs and is in good spirits, all things considered, so there is no need for sorrow or concern. But she could use some strength and support right now.

I’ll do what I can to pass along any info, as her privacy concerns and strength allow. But for now get out yer prayer rugs or light a candle or whatever your particular practice calls for and send her some nice soft healing energy and ….


But, as she has asked…..Don’t make a big fuss!

Strategy Break

A ramble on next steps.

Yesterday in the Daily Kos diary about Holder dropping the conviction against Ted Stevens, I was assured by many good folks that Holder is secretly developing a case against The Bush Torture Program.

Despite the fact that there has been no evidence to that effect that anyone could point to. It is after all a SECRET investigation…so that Cheney doesn’t know they are hunting him!

I was also told that since torture wasn’t a “personal issue” to the average guy, it was a low priority.

The helpless dependence on the benevolence of Holder, and the general apathy to the idea of torture prosecutions as the very embodiment of justice itself, combined with the hailing of letting a Republican Criminal walk free as the embodiment of the Return of The Rule of Law was eye opening. I have been naive, lol. I thought people cared about the concept of justice itself.  But nooo, Bush has destroyed that. At least til we get through this Bardo of Bush, the social and political hangover, nothing matters but politics.

A couple of years ago that would have pissed me off to no end, as the opponents of impeachment when it was continuously and loudly insisted that justice HAS to be dependent on political considerations.

Now I view it as valuable input.

Judge Rules Afghanistan Detainees Have Right to Challenge Detention in Court

From the BBC:

A US judge has ruled that foreign suspects held by the US in Afghanistan have the right to challenge their detention in US civilian courts.

Judge John Bates denied the motion by the US government to withhold the right to three detainees at Bagram air base.

The US Supreme Court ruled last year that detainees at Guantanamo had such a right. The justice department later said those held at Bagram did not.

Judge Bates said the cases were essentially the same.


“Today, a US federal judge ruled that our government can not simply kidnap people and hold them beyond the law,” lawyer Ramzi Kassem was quoted as saying by the Washington Post.


Upholding the rule of law.

Will the Obama adminstration appeal this?  I hope not.

Update I: More details here in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04…

A federal judge on Thursday ruled that some prisoners held by the American military in Afghanistan have a constitutional right to challenge their imprisonment in United States civilian courts, delivering a rebuke to a claim of unfettered executive power advanced by both the Bush and Obama administrations.

In 53-page ruling, Judge John D. Bates of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia said that three detainees at the United States Air Force base at Bagram are “virtually identical” to detainees at the Navy base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and so they have the same legal rights that the Supreme Court last year granted prisoners held there.

All three detainees are non-Afghan citizens who said they were captured outside Afghanistan and have been imprisoned for years without trials. Arguing that they are not enemy combatants, the detainees want a judge to review the evidence against them and order their release under the right known as “habeas corpus.”

Think about that: “delivering a rebuke to a claim of unfettered executive power advanced by both the Bush and Obama administrations”.

Unfettered executive power, a position supported by President Barack Obama, who claimed to be a constitutional law scholar.  

It’s time for justice, not unfettered executive power.

On the trad blog, I can’t say that, because President Obama is always right there.  But here at docudharma, truth is more important than political tribalism and idolatry.

Thanks, buhdy, for what you have created here.

Postcard from the Drug War


This is a true story. Almost. And, it’s almost fiction. But not. I should know. I was there.

Sen. Leahy Bails on Truth Commission?! The Senator responds…

* Note: Cross posted at GOS and Antemedius

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Senator Leahy has posted a statement on his website, which states, in part, that he is still actively pursuing the “Truth Commission” idea.

So, I guess somebody is listening?

For those here who have been active in pressuring the Obama administration to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Bush administration War Crimes, (or if you’re even passingly interested in seeing some accountability at all for the grave misdeeds of Bush, Cheney, Feith, Addington, Yoo, et al), there’s some very bad news that seems to have flitted under the collective radar.

~more after the fold~  

In which Chlorosilane shakes her groove thang

Chlorosilane, that ordinarily virulent harbinger of toxic chemical doom, is bustin’ a move today.

Now why would that be? It might be because today I read in Newsday that there has been a

42 million dollar stimulus package designated for the cleanup of the Brookhaven National Lab nuclear reactor sites. Chlorosilane is clearly getting a big jazz out of this.

Breaking away from Chlorosilane’s joyful performance art for a moment, let’s flash back to early February, 1986, where a gaggle of geeks were holding a going away party for a skinny little nerdling of theirs who was in the process of joining the Air Force. You’ll want to take note of Jeff. He’s the guy on the extreme left.

Soapblox Upgrade

Earlier this morning Soapblox upgraded our site and moved us to a new server location.  There is currently a problem with the data on the User pages.  Essays, comments and ratings are not showing up.  I noticed this yesterday when pacified showed me a preview site and he did something to fix it right away.  When I woke up this morning I saw the same thing on our live site and I immediately contacted him about it.  As soon as he gets the message I assure you the problem will be fixed.  All the data is still there.    

UPDATE: The User data issue has been resolved.

A new problem seems to be that some people have lost their TU status.  Please post below if you can no longer see the Hidden Comments link.

One of the new features that I have just implemented is using radio buttons for the comment ratings.   I think this is a nice improvement over the drop-down list.  There will be no more inadvertent Wrongs!

The YouTube embed problem has also been fixed.  You no longer have to edit the code to remove these parameters:  name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always”

There will also be a change in how the URLs appear.  Any essays prior to this date will still use the old format.  

Please report any bugs you notice in Comments.  Hopefully other than the user data problem there won’t be any issues.  

The Political Fallout: Obama And The Economy

Crossposted from Antemedius

April 02, Gallup:

   Obama is enjoying a high 61 per cent job approval rating in America for his handling of foreign affairs, but has suffered a marginal slump in public backing on his tackling of the financial crisis, a national opinion poll has said.

   The approval on the foreign front is up by seven points since February, the Gallup said in its latest opinion poll on Obama released yesterday.

   His job approval rating for handling the economy at 56 per cent is down by a slight margin of three points. This is, however, higher than his rating for handling the federal budget deficit of 49 per cent, it said.

Real News – April 2, 2009

Chomsky on critical support, Pt3

Chomsky: It should be remembered that Germany went to the depths of barbarism in 10 years

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