May 21, 2009 archive

What happened to Obama?

In view of the stunning policy reversals Obama has made in the last few weeks, we must conclude that something significant has happened to change the political positions held by Barak Obama. I believe that there are four possible explanations:

1. Obama has carefully reconsidered his positions and decided to turn away from a lifetime commitment to populist and liberal beliefs to embrace the governing philosophy of the Bush administration.

2. Obama has been persuaded that he must continue Bush administration policies to raise political capital for reforms he wishes to pass in Congress (e.g., national health care).

3. Obama has been coerced by blackmail or some similar mechanism into continuing Bush/Cheney policies.

4. Obama was always a “Manchurian candidate” of the plutocracy, and he deliberately misrepresented his positions during the campaign.

I am leaning toward #4. What do you think?

Docudharma Times Thursday May 21

U.S. Senate Shows

It Has A Spine

A Straw Man  Spine

Thursday’s Headlines:

California, a Broke State, Reels as Voters Rebuff Leaders

Young, gifted and red: the Communist party’s quiet revolution

Paramilitaries ‘abducting Tamil children from Sri Lanka camps’

Exclusive: How MI5 blackmails British Muslims

Irish State ‘colluded with religious authorities to hide child abuse’, report says

Death sentences for Suzanne Tamim murderers

Iraqi forces fret as U.S. unit prepares to leave

Is Somalia in Ethiopian Army’s crosshairs again?

U.S. Outreach On Rough Seas Off Western Africa

Mexico senator takes leave amid scandal

Wider Confidence Lifts Economy From Winter’s Deep, Dark Freeze

By Neil Irwin and David Cho

Washington Post Staff Writers

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The financial system, frozen solid for the past nine months, is in a spring thaw. And it’s happening even though many of the Obama administration’s major rescue programs have yet to get off the ground.

The improvement reflects the combined impact of a wide range of actions, many of them taken with little public attention, according to government officials and private economists. But more important than any single program, the sources say, is a deepening confidence from financial markets that the government is prepared to take aggressive action — a confidence that Obama officials have repeatedly worked to cultivate in speeches and public appearances.

Quarter of a million Sri Lankans face two years in camps

Government is unrepentant about squalid conditions, saying Tamil Tigers must be weeded out from among civilians

Gethin Chamberlain in Colombo, Wednesday 20 May 2009 17.38 BST

Many of the quarter of a million people held in internment camps in Sri Lanka face up to two years behind razor wire, a government official said today.

Despite international concern over conditions inside the camps, the defence ministry spokesman, Lakshman Hulugalle, said Sri Lanka was not prepared to let the UN dictate terms over the length of time people could be held.

A UN spokesman, Gordon Weiss, said he was “shocked” at the revelation, which ran counter to previous government assurances.

“It was our understanding that the government was to return 80% of the people to their homes by the end of the year, or at least try to,” said Weiss.


Obama moves to regain initiative on Guantanamo closure

The president plans a speech to defend his plans in the face of growing opposition. One option may be to hold detainees indefinitely without trial.

By Julian E. Barnes and Josh Meyer

May 21, 2009

Reporting from Washington — President Obama signaled his intention Wednesday to press forward on his plan to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, despite a growing challenge from both political parties and a limited set of options to make his detainee policy work.

In a sign of his lost momentum, the Senate on Wednesday voted 90 to 6 to block funding for the shutdown. The vote followed criticism that the administration was backtracking on Americans’ security.

But Obama, in a bid to retake the initiative, plans an address today to forcefully defend his proposal for closing Guantanamo by year’s end. In the morning speech at the National Archives in Washington, he also will address prospects for a controversial proposal to hold detainees indefinitely without trial, if necessary, and will reassert his argument that closing the prison would advance U.S. security.

“The president signed an order early in his administration to close it, and he intends to keep that promise,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Listening is a lamp that dispels the darkness of ignorance.

–Arya Sura, Jatakamala

(aka Garland of Birth Stories

aka Once the Buddha Was a Monkey)

Phenomena IV: listening



I spent much of my life

speaking in paragraphs

to people who had difficulty


for the end of a sentence

before breaking in

to change the subject

to talk about them

their thoughts

not mine

which lay unfinished

by the side

of the conversation

with my ideas

drifting away


probably forgotten

if not evaporating

into nothingness

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 6. 2008

Not keeping us safe from terrorists!

The Republicans and Harry “honorary Republican for the week” Reid have been arguing that it’s terrible, awful for terrorists to be allowed into the country in order to go straight to maximum security prison. Ignoring for a second that terrorists are allowed free rein over the country as long as they’re Christian and white and therefore can’t be racially profiled, I have other problems with this.

First of all: 9/11. Terrorists didn’t just come here. They came here and hijacked planes from American airports. After this happened, Republicans panicked about immigration. Most of the 9/11 hijackers got here legally.

Then: the anthrax attacks. Not only were terrorists here but they were never even discovered. They’re probably still somewhere around. awesome.

Third: remember the freaking FLIGHT SCHOOLS?

There were al Qaeda flight schools in the United States for years, and the FBI and others had been investigating them for years. And the Republicans, who I guess care a lot about American safety, openly mocked President Bill Clinton for saying Osama bin Laden was a threat and tried to say it was a case of “Wag the Dog.” So while the president was trying to fend off terrorists from attacking us, Republicans were denying that such a threat existed.

And now we’re letting them control the message and Harry Reid is saying that we will never, ever allow terrorists on American soil. Because the Republicans are so tough and manly and THEY never did.

Last week, the F.B.I. acknowledged the existence of a memorandum written last summer in which an agent in its Phoenix office urged his superiors to investigate Middle Eastern men who had enrolled at American flight schools and who might be connected to Mr. bin Laden.

This article is really interesting for a lot of reasons. The FBI knew of this, which isn’t surprising. The government, who’s saying now that they kept us safe all this time, wasn’t prepared to keep us safe.

The Phoenix memorandum, along with the disclosure this week that President Bush was warned in August of the possibility that Al Qaeda might be planning hijackings, have been seized on by lawmakers as evidence that the government missed signals of the coming attacks.

The disclosure they’re referring to of course is the PDB titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike US” and talked about using planes. I feel so safe! And if you think that, hey, well, at least they started torturing after 9/11 which kept us safe, you should read this:

Mr. Murad, who was captured in the Philippines in 1995 and convicted in New York[…]Murad’s confession formed a basis for an analysis prepared for United States intelligence agencies in 1999. The analysis warned that bin Laden terrorists could hijack a jet and fly it into government buildings like the Pentagon.

So they found out about the threat of bin Laden not from torture but from actual investigative work and interrogations.

The article goes on to note that his confession is on video.

These flight schools were in the US as well as other countries, here’s one that trained terrorists in Florida:

Officials at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach confirmed Thursday that the FBI has sought information on Waleed Al Sheri, 25, who graduated in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical science — the four-year school’s commercial pilot training degree.

The FBI is also investigating Mohamed Atta, 33, and Marwan Al Sheri, 23. Law enforcement sources said they were looking at a possible family link between Marwan and Waleed Al Sheri.

So think about that next time Republicans talk about never allowing terrorists here.

In another case, they outright admit that they suck:

(CBS)  Law enforcement officials say the government kept hijacking ringleader Mohammed Atta’s roommate from entering the United States on at least four occasions but didn’t track his money transfers that led directly to the eventual hijackers.


But they added the CIA had no information before Sept. 11 linking him to terrorism.

Nonetheless, experts said Bin al-Shibh’s actions highlight the challenges in stopping future terror attacks.

His repeated failed efforts to enter the country did not trigger an investigation. And there was no effort to track his finances.

When Bin al-Shibh failed to enter, Moussaoui was sent in his place and made it into the country with $35,000 in cash and a plan to train to fly jetliners, officials say.

They found all of this out, by the way, using legal means. It was just after the fact. They used FISA warrants and monitored foreign conversations. They tracked money and wire transfers. They even found videos made by these people discussing these events.

It gets worse:

A State Department official said Wednesday there is still no mechanism, even in the aftermath of Sept. 11, to flag a foreigner who is turned down repeatedly for visas for suspicions like those that surrounded Bin al-Shibh.

Also this guy was planning on heading to a Minnesota flight school. That’s where his replacement, Moussaoui, was picked up.

This is also quite terrifying, these are the people named by intelligence officials in 2002 who were giving information to stop terrorist attacks:

Officials identified the three others as Abu Zubair, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, and a man known by his nom de guerre, Riyadh the Facilitator. Abu Zubaydah has been extensively interrogated since his capture and has provided important information, American officials say. Interrogation of others in custody have provided new insights into Al Qaeda’s structure and operations, they add.

Well with what those people are saying, I’m SURE we can prevent attacks. Or something. And nothing they’re saying is a lie and nothing our administration is saying is a lie.

Remember Cheney’s “pretty well confirmed” statement that has been mentioned over the years and was most recently reiterated during Rachel Maddow’s takedown of Cheney?

Dick Cheney: ‘Well, what we now have that’s developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that — it’s been pretty well confirmed that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack. Now, what the purpose of that was, what transpired between them, we simply don’t know at this point, but that’s clearly an avenue that we want to pursue.’

(Meet the Press, 2001)

Well, um:

They add that they have not received any corroborating evidence to support an initial report from Czech intelligence that Mohamed Atta, one of the Sept. 11 hijackers, met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in April 2001. Many intelligence and law enforcement officials now say they do not believe the meeting took place.

Oh. So, didn’t happen. And remember, though most of the information that was given to the 9/11 Commission was extracted through torture – that was done specifically to GET a link – they found no link:

The Sept. 11 commission reported yesterday that it has found no “collaborative relationship” between Iraq and al Qaeda, challenging one of the Bush administration’s main justifications for the war in Iraq.


But the report of the commission’s staff, based on its access to all relevant classified information, said that there had been contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda but no cooperation. In yesterday’s hearing of the panel, formally known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, a senior FBI official and a senior CIA analyst concurred with the finding.

Despite trying really hard to manufacture a link it did not even fool the 9/11 Commission, the CIA or FBI. And this was under the guise of keeping us safe. SAFE. Really.

And they blatantly lied:

As recently as Monday, Cheney said in a speech that Hussein “had long-established ties with al Qaeda.” Bush, asked on Tuesday to verify or qualify that claim, defended it by pointing to Abu Musab Zarqawi, who has taken credit for a wave of attacks in Iraq.

Feel safer yet?

Back to the New York Times:

American officials believe the disruption has helped prevent about half a dozen — and possibly many more — Qaeda plots in the last year. Officials say that when Abu Zubaydah, Al Qaeda’s operations chief, was captured in Pakistan in March he had several plots in the works, including at least one that was imminent.

IMMINENT! Wow. We almost all died from an imminent plot. Except that it didn’t happen.

Speaking of imminent, their ineptness is apparent here:

The FBI sent the intelligence to its terrorism experts in Washington and New York for analysis and had begun discussing conducting a nationwide canvass of flight schools when the Sept. 11 tragedies occurred, officials told AP.

Right okay.

Here’s more:

Law enforcement officials said in retrospect the FBI believes it should have accelerated the suggested check of U.S. flight schools after Moussaoui’s arrest but does not believe it would have led to the hijackers.

Maybe so.

This is how bad the problem was, even though it was being ignored:

At least one hijacker on each of the four planes was trained at a U.S. flight school, Tucker said. The Times said authorities believe 27 suspected terrorists received pilot training.

Seems like a small number, I guess, but these are people who never want ANY TERRORISTS on US soil. Because that’s bad. If they’re jailed anyway. If they’re free to do whatever, we’ll just be idiots.

And then, this:

Ashcroft said numerous promising leads were being followed up. “The Department of Justice has undertaken perhaps the most massive and intensive investigation ever conducted in this country,” he said. Ashcroft said all possible federal personnel and resources have been committed to the investigation, including thousands of agents and support personnel.

Ooh! And I guess now we’ve seen the results of this investigation by the DoJ. Tortured false confessions, expansion of federal powers even when information was obtained through legal means, ineptness at almost every level, allowing some plots to go unsolved and some terrorists to go without trials – which could lead to more discovery of more information, torture and homicide and all that stuff, and whatever else we don’t know about yet.

All of that happened but none of it made anyone safer and it conclusively made it more difficult to keep America safe. And they’re worried about prisoners.

Late Night Karaoke

Nikai Thursday

Pat Some on the Back, Put Some to the Rod

I was one of the few volunteers. Oh yes, I was paid to screw that bear-paid very well, actually-but I started having second thoughts almost immediately. I realized I was in way over my head when the zoo gates closed behind me and the cages began rattling, the slavering detainees behind the bars smelling fear emanating from my every pore. There was no turning back, though, and the incentives were irresistible, so I trudged into the maw of necessity and received my orders like a good little cadet. The day I was inducted into the Non-Conformity Patrol may have been the first day of the rest of my life, but in many ways it was also the beginning of the end.  

Buhdydharma Is Bad For Daily Docudharma!

Rules, rules, rules.

So, I’m in a meta mood, and I never met a meta I didn’t abhor. Even my own.

I’m an administrator at this site, and my UID is #6, which has all sorts of implications, if you’ve ever been to Portmeiron, Wales or hung out at Daily Kos, so I have some things to say.

First of all, Israel and Palestine both suck. I haven’t decided which sucks worse, but when I do, I will be sure to post all sorts of hateful diaries about it. Because I’m pure.

Second of all, Daily Kos sucks. I could list countless reasons why it sucks. You can list countless reasons why it sucks. Buhdy doesn’t want this to be a Daily Kos bashing site, but I’m an administrator, here, and I want to bash Daily Kos! I haven’t written a thing there since earlier today, and I intend to prove my hatred for the place by not writing anything there ever again, until I feel like it. Which might be tomorrow. But it still sucks.

Third of all, you’d better be very nice to me or I’ll ban your ass! I like money. Money is good. Give me money, and I promise I won’t ban your ass. Other parts of you, maybe, but not your ass.

Fourth of all, I’m tired of counting. I’m tired. I have a toddler and a newborn, and I’m tired.

So, I guess traffic here has picked up, the past few days. Next thing you know, we’ll be inundated by pootie diaries, and then Keith Olbermann will bless us with his presence, and we can all fawn and drool. I can’t wait!

We haven’t had a good GBCW in quite a while. That’s what you n00bs are here for. We’re going to start picking on you, so some of you can get offended and leave. I can’t wait!

So, welcome everyone. Do your best to offend people and be offended, and you’ll fit right in.  

Climate Change Effects Hugely Unequal Globally

Crossposted from Antemedius

“Climate Change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.”

Last week on May 16, 2009 a collaboration between the British medical journal The Lancet and University College London released the first UCL Lancet Commission report, assessing the impact of global warming on global health, and on populations.

Titled Managing the health effects of climate change (.PDF), the year long study highlights the threat of climate change on patterns of disease, water and food insecurity, human settlements, extreme climatic events, and population migration. The report also highlights the action required by global society to mitigate the health impacts of climate change.

“Climate change,” the report concludes, “is the biggest global health threat of the 21 century.”

But the impact on and cost to human societies globally is hugely unequal, with the populations of developed countries that benefit most from fossil fuels projected to suffer the least, while poorer countries that because of the projected health cost to their peoples have the maximum incentive to prevent climate change have virtually no power to do anything to prevent the changes.

It’s the old story of the comparatively few rich benefiting in comfort at the expense of poverty stricken multitudes.

Redemption Songs

Crossposted from Agent Orange … those who can still rec over there, feel free.

What the Kos?!

Banned for your thoughts….. (83+ / 0-)

Recommended by:

   BrooklynJohnny, Zackpunk, bellatrys, upnatom65, Dazy, Euroliberal, quake, RabidNation, chuckvw, pixella, Larry Bailey, oceanspray, stridergambit, Dallasdoc, mrkvica, RaulVB, White Buffalo, Sychotic1, snakelass, alizard, fritzrth, barbwires, Hillbilly Dem, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, Deward Hastings, bablhous, joanneleon, ChemBob, reflectionsv37, Skid, The Bulldog Manifesto, esquimaux, Do Tell, buhdydharma, fromer, Luminous Animal, Son of a Cat, agnostic, imabluemerkin, Derfel, NewAmericanLeft, shaharazade, crystal eyes, The House, jlb1972, dotdot, Catrina, gustynpip, Moderation, TomP, oldpunk, Greasy Grant, Quicksilver2723, ShempLugosi, temptxan, priceman, pataphysician, hardtoport, pileta, Jacob Bartle, h bridges, CrustyPolemicist, Calfacon, fitz2, elijah311, Crabby Abbey, cgirard, BonnieSchlitz, polar bear, puffmeister, NY brit expat, axel000, JRandomPoster, Johnny Q, farbuska, VoteBlue, FightingRegistrar, page394, AfroPonix, The Rational Hatter, Bidet, Archie2227, sum quod eris

ah well.

Hey, did you ever read Animal Farm?

by Jay Emerson on Wed May 20, 2009 at 10:44:14 AM PDT

[ Parent ]…

I came home from work to this amazingness!

They banned my real name…

Pony Party: Welcome, Noobies!

Pony Party is a relaxation diary.  Please to kick back, enjoy, and add your own pics/lols/YouTubes in the comments.  Now, caption this pic:

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Pony Party is an Open Thread.  Please do not rec the party.

Imminent Peril: Dick Cheney and the Shadow Government

It would be somewhat of a falsehood to say that Dick Cheney has now gone rogue with a national media tour during which he not only defends torture but also undermines the new regime of Barack Obama… Cheney has always been rogue. From even before the day that he as the head of George W. Bush’s vice presidential selection committee chose himself as the best possible candidate this has been a dark and amoral ascent from the bowels of the shadow government to the most powerful man on the planet. The man with the golden Rolodex, chock full of operatives throughout the military industrial complex and a lingering hard on to set things right after the godless commie liberals took down Richard M. Nixon was running the greatest war machine in human history out of the office of the Vice President until a few short months ago. Now, with the onslaught of vicious attacks on the new sitting President and the apparent influence on the policies of the new administration it is obvious and terrifying that Richard B. Cheney has absolutely no intention of going into the good night. He has made it a lifelong mission to betray, destabilize and destroy the United States from within and it is just too close to fruition for him to stop now.

Load more