May 6, 2009 archive

Ready For An Openly Gay Supreme Court Justice?

Would it matter to you if the nominee to the Supreme Court which President Obama is going to shortly pick were openly gay or lesbian? The Dog is going to assume his readers are liberal and would care less about a Justices sexual orientation than about her or his views on the law. After all, we don’t seem to care the current Justices are all heterosexual so what difference should it make, right?

Just Say No to Torture Immunity

Sen. Feinstein and the Senate Intelligence Committee are presently conducting a secret investigation of Bush’s torture, rendition and imprisonment program to determine future US torture policies. Given the current climate favoring the investigation and prosecution of Bush officials, a lawyer would have to be crazy to advise clients to “interview” or testify even at a secret probe without immunity or a similar deal.

The problem is that if Feinstein provides immunity to any of the witnesses, then this Feinstein probe may interfere with any subsequent Congressional investigations (Leahy/Whitehouse or Conyers) and prevent prosecutions of wrongdoers because oftentimes immunity is dished out to the big cheese rather than the grunts. While some think of the Attorney General as being the decision maker in charge of who is provided immunity, it is the politicians who decide the fortunate ones entitled to this get-out-of-jail card of Congressional immunity.  

Four at Four

  1. The LA Times reports the Red Cross backs reports of Afghan civilian deaths.

    Villagers said dozens of people — including women, children and elderly men — were killed while sheltering in crowded civilian compounds as fighting raged in the area Monday. About two dozen insurgents were thought to have died in the confrontation as well. Provincial officials Tuesday put the number of dead around 70.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross said its representatives in the area saw dozens of corpses that had been pulled from the rubble in two separate locations in the district. Spokeswoman Jessica Barry in Kabul said the dead included women and children.

    The Washington Post reports Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expresses regret for civilian casualties in Afghanistan.

    Referring to an airstrike in western Afghanistan Monday that Afghan officials and foreign relief workers say killed dozens of civilians, Clinton expressed “my personal regret, and certainly the sympathy of our administration, on the loss of civilian life in Afghanistan.” She told Karzai: “We deeply regret it. We don’t know all of the circumstances or causes. And there will be a joint investigation, by your government and ours. But any loss of life, any loss of innocent life, is particularly painful. And I want to convey to the people of both Afghanistan and Pakistan that . . . we will work very hard, with your governments and with your leaders, to avoid the loss of innocent civilian life. And we deeply, deeply regret that loss.”

    On top of the loss of life, the real problem is the Obama administration doesn’t “deeply, deeply regret” the loss of life enough to stop the air strikes. Each bomb and missile that we use in Afghanistan is an admission our strategy has failed.

    Meanwhile, the LA Times reports President Obama prepares for talks with presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Two days of talks are planned, “Afghanistan to overhaul a painstakingly developed security strategy that was unveiled only five weeks ago but already has become badly outdated. The three countries spent months developing their plan to combat an Islamic insurgency centered in eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border. But growing militant activity in Pakistan is forcing them to hastily switch focus.”

    The NY Times adds the Pakistani president tries to assure the U.S. over the Taliban. “President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan met privately for 90 minutes with members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee”. His “presentation, however, left some members confused and disappointed, according to a person who attended the meeting. He said little about how the Pakistani government planned to regain momentum in the fight against the militants. And when he asked for financial assistance, he likened it to the government’s bailout of the troubled insurance giant, American International Group.”

    The United States has become the punchline to an international joke.

    Meanwhile, Pakistan is up to their old con game. The NY Times adds Pakistan claims combat gains before U.S. talks.

Four at Four continues with governmental reports, another two bombs in Baghdad, and a stealth nationalization plan for Bank of America.

We’ve got it……now what do we do with it?

And “it” is delicious!

From marriage equality to sticking it to Scalia, to the Spanish court saying……uh, guys you gonna do anything about this or do we have to???

From the Pentagon…

To Capitol Hill…

To the Banksters needing to still be bought out…

To the Southern Republicans pretending to get ready for the South to rise again.

The old order is crumbling…..FAST.

In watching The Republicans especially, as they flounder and whine and cast desperately about for a life raft……….and come up with only the anchor of Rush Limpbaugh

Without the power of the Bushco government behind the lies to prop them up artificially and give them some shred of credibility….

The much touted Reality Creation of the Rovian Republicans is falling like the house of cards that nominally smart folks (us)always knew it was.

The 2010 Midterms are now just about a year and a half away….and the voters still hate Republicans. And the Republicans have shrunk their party to the size that it could be put in a bathtub and…it IS drowning.

Back in the days when the Dems were still a minority and the Dem leadership told us they were absolutely powerless without a majority…

Back in the days of the impeachment wars when we were told over and over again we don’t have the votes….

Back in the days when republicans were feared, and not a national laughing stock….

We were told that if we ever got a Super-Majority, then ….by god and gumption look out for what “we” (establishment Dems) would do!!!

Well we now have a shaky filibuster proof majority.

And it sure looks like come 2010 we are going to have a solid Super-Majority.

So……what are we going to do with it?

Heads, sticks, and prosecuting torture memo authors.

Ladies and gentleman, if I may have your ear.

The DoJ is making noises like they will not prosecute the people who wrote the memos that “rationalized” using torture. (See Edger’s diary.) This is tragic because, with the exception of the high-ranking Bush officials who conspired to make these opinions the rule of law, the memo writers are the most complicit criminals on the list. They were the sleight-of-hand smiths who made the torture program possible. There are few involved who can approach the vulgarity that these lawyers attained.

We cannot take these prosecutions off the table and self-consistently seek justice.

UPDATED: DOJ Inquiry Suggests No Prosecutions Of Torture Memo Authors

Crossposted from Antemedius

A new draft Department of Justice report, not yet approved by Attorney General Eric Holder, is recommending that Bush administration torture memo authors Jay Bybee, John Yoo, and Steven Bradbury not be prosecuted, but will apparently ask for disciplinary reprimands and/or disbarment by state bar associatons.

“The report by the Office of Professional Responsibility, an internal ethics unit within the Justice Department, is also likely to ask that state bar associations consider possible disciplinary action, including reprimands or even disbarment, for some of the lawyers involved in writing the legal opinions, the officials said,” reported the New York Times.

“The conclusions of the 220-page draft report are not final and have not yet been approved by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. The officials said it is possible the final report might be subject to revision, but they did not expect major alterations in its main findings or recommendations.”

“Lawyers familiar with the process said the department’s willingness-as recently as this week-to solicit responses from the former officials indicated that there were no plans to conduct a criminal investigation,” reported Politico. ‘They don’t let you comment if they’re going to refer you for prosecution,’ said one former Justice Department official, who asked not to be named.”

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

An Opened Mind XXXI

Art Link


Dominance Games

Why is there demand

for our spacetime

our attention


with only one side

your side

in answering

a question

that essentially

has no

correct answer

or maybe

has many?

Demanding an answer

does not make one exist


does not generate


Is there no room

for diversity

of thought

in your world?

Who are you?

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–January 19, 2007

Late Night Karaoke

Bob Marley

Do you want investigations, or, a public kangaroo court?

There are a whole slew of things I want to write about coming out in the news, but, this one needs to be written NOW.

There are only two ways to go on torture; a) There are investigations, or, b) There is a continued public kangaroo court that means nothing.  There cannot be both.

Follow me after the fold…

Obama Guantanamo Bay Closure An “Open Question”?

Crossposted from Antemedius

On January 22, 2009 newly inaugurated President Barack Obama to great fanfare signed an Executive Order requiring that the Guantanamo Bay prison “shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order“.

That was more than three months ago.

Today the Wall Street Journal reports that:

Top House Democrats raised tensions with the White House on a key foreign policy goal, rebuffing a request for funding to begin closing the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

President Barack Obama has sought $80 million to begin the process of closing the controversial detention facility, as part of broader legislation needed to continue funding for the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Unveiling the House version of war spending bill, House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D., Wisc.) didn’t include the funds, complaining that the administration has not yet developed a clear plan to wind down operations at Guantanamo and relocate the detainees, either abroad or in the U.S.

“When they have a plan, they’re welcome to come back and talk to us,” Mr. Obey said.

Mr. Obama has issued an executive order ordering the facility be shut down in one year. The administration still has some authority to shift dollars around the budget to help begin the process. But Mr. Obey suggested a “concrete plan” will be needed before lawmakers approve any direct funding to shutter the facility.

The White House had no immediate comment on Mr. Obey’s bill.

When asked in late April about President Obama’s plans to shut down the controversial “war on terror” prison, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said  “I think that question is still open“.

Escalation of Drone Use Risks Fueling Militancy and Increasing Instability in Pakistan

Friends, as you know I have raised the issue of strike drone use by the U.S. in Pakistan on a few occasions. I am currently working on this issue, and a few others, with Avaaz. Please find below a joint entry with my new Avaaz colleague and friend Brett Solomon. Cheers, Raj

With daily news reports suggesting that the democratically elected government of Pakistan is struggling to contain militancy within its borders, Americans and Pakistanis alike are waiting to see how the new U.S. policy, outlined in late March by President Obama, impacts the crisis.

There is a feeling that sustained U.S. and international focus is needed because the militant groups that grew so rapidly under the military government of General Musharraf are threatening the internal security of nuclear-armed Pakistan. This instability is also harming efforts to bring peace and security to bordering Afghanistan.