June 18, 2009 archive

Update on Torture Accountability Action Day…With bonus protest coverage!

From AfterDowningStreet.org

A Rally Near You Next Thursday

A coalition of human rights organizations too lengthy to list here but available on the website has planned a day of action: Torture Accountability Action Day, June 25th, 2009. That’s next Thursday.

In Washington, D.C., we will gather for a rally at 11 a.m. in John Marshall Park (501 Pennsylvania Avenue NW) and march at noon to the Department of Justice. If the DOJ does not agree to appoint a special prosecutor or to meet with us and discuss it, those who are so inclined will engage in nonviolent protest led by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance.

Also on June 25th, there will be rallies in San Francisco, CA; Pasadena, CA; Boston, MA; Salt Lake City, UT; Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; Las Vegas, NV; Honolulu, HI; and Anchorage, AK. Details here: http://tortureaccountability.w…

In Washington, D.C., more actions will follow, organized by the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International. There’s a congressional hearing following the rally and protest, and then an evening speaker on the 25th, an all-day conference on the 26th, and a 24-hour vigil at the White House on Saturday the 27th. Details here: http://tassc.org/index.php?sn=309

Check the websites of the ACLU, Amnesty International, and other groups in the coalition for other actions in Washington and around the country this week.

Documenting Your Compliance

Got a lawyer?  Is he “on retainer”?

This episode of Lasthorseman’s Apocalyptic Times comes direct to you from a local registry of deeds.  The deeds registry used to be about who owned property.  That is so pre-911 mindset though and has been recently expanded to cover a host of New World Order doublespeak Orwellianisms.

Samples include “Suggestion of Death”,”Certificate of Compliance”, and my personal favorite “Vacation of Judgement”.

Four at Four

  1. The Guardian reports the Obama administration is criticized over failure to disclose coal dump locations. Democratic leaders and environmental groups are upset by the administration’s “refusal to publicly disclose the location of 44 coal ash dumps that have been officially designated as a ‘high hazard’ to local populations.” The ash dumps “contain a toxic soup of arsenic and heavy metals from coal-fired electricity plants”.

    The Obama administration’s excuse for keeping the public in the dark is “terrorism fears”.

    “Right now we have a blanket gag order,” Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who heads the Senate environment and public works committee told a press conference last week.

    “We are losing what we cherish in America: the citizens’ right to know.”

    “There is a huge muzzle on me and my staff,” she said. “They’re putting ridiculous restrictions on me.”

  2. Senator John Kerry, in an op-ed in the NY Times, writes “With Iran, Think Before You Speak“.

    The grass-roots protests that have engulfed Iran since its presidential election last week have grabbed America’s attention and captured headlines – unfortunately, so has the clamor from neoconservatives urging President Obama to denounce the voting as a sham and insert ourselves directly in Iran’s unrest…

    There’s just one problem. If we actually want to empower the Iranian people, we have to understand how our words can be manipulated and used against us to strengthen the clerical establishment, distract Iranians from a failing economy and rally a fiercely independent populace against outside interference. Iran’s hard-liners are already working hard to pin the election dispute, and the protests, as the result of American meddling…

    We can’t escape the reality that for reformers in Tehran to have any hope for success, Iran’s election must be about Iran – not America. And if the street protests of the last days have taught us anything, it is that this is an Iranian moment, not an American one.

Four at Four continues with light pollution endangering bats, the disappearing Milky Way, and native grasses may help clean up pollution.

The Public Health Care Experiment in the 1950s

We once had a Public Health Care Program.

It was in the 50s.

We needed it because our children were dying. And those that didn’t die were often disfigured and horribly crippled.

And it affected rich and poor alike. Those with and without insurance, jobs, and money.

In fact, it is still a threat in the third world.

As you can tell, that Health Care Program was a failure….because nobody remembers.

It was Polio, Infantile Paralysis.

Planning Day! A United Issues Front?

The Next Step…..is obviously bringing all the Issue People together into one effective United political force.

The Equal Rights Issue People

The Financial Issue People

The Civil Liberties Issue People

The Environmental Issue People

The Anti-War Issue People

The Human Rights Issue People

The Drug War Issue People

The Whoever I Callously Left Out Issue People

All working together in a coordinated fashion, concentrating our numbers to apply the Pressure of The People on the appropriate target, On the current ‘hot’ issue, on the appropriate day.

Using the coordinated power of phone calls, faxes, e-mails, and blog posts.

As well as
one or two “Issues of the Week.” Focusing on the specific Issue of one of the groups, in rotation, to make sure that every group has their specific concerns equally addressed by the United group.

The challenges are the three C’s: Communication, Coordination, and Coherence of Message.

Ideally each group has a loose (to avoid ego and competition problems) leadership committee to coordinate their group….and deal with the inevitable issues arising from Group Action.

This United Front is obviously what is needed. The challenges of Uniting have ALWAYS been the downfall of the Issues and Activist Left.

Will the new technology of the Internet allow us to overcome the historic challenges that have derailed the Left in the past?

Will, haha, the fact that we don;t have to be in the same room to coordinate make the difference? It is time to find out!

Please share your preliminary thoughts, ideas and concerns in the comments. Especially ideas on who, what existing groups, or which individuals, in each of ‘the camps’ we should approach to Unite with.

Let’s get the convo started and go from there!

George W. Bush must STFU!

Simulposted at http://www.dailykos.com/story/…

    Of all the people to criticize President Obama, or any President for that matter, this is by far and away the dumbest and most criminal of them all.

    Ex President and future War Criminal Geogre W Bush had some words to share with Uhmerica yesterday at an event in Erie, PA

   “There are a lot of ways to remedy the situation without nationalizing health care,” Mr. Bush said. “I worry about encouraging the government to replace the private sector when it comes to providing insurance for health care.”

   Asked by the evening emcee at the 104th annual Manufacturer and Business Association meeting if he finds the new president’s policies “socialist,” Mr. Bush started then stopped.

   “I hear a lot of those words, but it depends on…,” he said, breaking off. He later offered a more diplomatic assessment: “We’ll see.”


    Let your Congress critter know that if they stand against a public option on health care reform, they stand with George W Bush.


Rethink Afghan: “I Don’t Want This Kind Of Life”

This video from Robert Greenwald shows civilian casualties in Afghanistan. Some may find this video disturbing.

Here’s what Greenwald says about this part of his film series.

Well-reasoned foreign policy results in more housing and jobs, better health care and education. When that policy consists of applying a military solution to a political problem, however, it results in death, destruction, and suffering. I witnessed the latter during my recent trip to Afghanistan–the devastating consequences of U.S. airstrikes on thousands of innocent civilians.

Crossposted @ the Progressive Electorate and the the Daily Kos  

What Is The Worst Crime Of The Bush Administration?

Asking the Left side of the Blogosphere what the greatest of President Bush’s crimes/sins against this nation was is kind of inviting a shouting match. There are so many to choose from, wars, torture, environmental law changes or lack of enforcement, the list goes on and on. Without an operational definition it is a argument which could consume thousands of words on line or tens of pints at a bar. The Dog is going to provide you with the definition and explain why he thinks there is one overarching act which out shines (if that is the right metaphor for such heinous acts) all others.

Originally posted at Squarestate.net

Does U.S. Poll Rule Out Fraud In Iran?

Western media, along with thousands of Iranians protesting around the world, have formed a rough consensus over the six days since Iran’s Presidential Election that Ahmadinejad’s victory was the result of widespread fraud.

However, a recent Op-Ed in the Washington Post references a rare public opinion poll in suggesting that the election may indeed have been fair.

While there is not enough information to determine whether or not the election was rigged, this poll certainly doesn’t rule out the possibility. If only because the poll’s authors concluded prior to the election that the very same data predicted a relatively close vote.

Yet today, those same authors are claiming that their figures demonstrate the validity of Ahmadinejad’s landslide victory.

Real News Network – June 18, 2009

Does U.S. poll rule out fraud in Iran?

Authors of heavily-quoted poll changed their conclusion to support validity of Ahmadinejad landslide

So I was wondering…

…how many rich, right wing, “big oil sympathetic” Republicans are standing out in the incessantly dumping rain today at the US Open?

Out of all those rich, right wing, “big oil sympathetic” Republicans, how many of them are still utterly convinced that global warming is a myth?

Credo has a nice action page for communicating with Congress about the upcoming Global Warming bill, which Republicans and complicit Democrats are trying to nerf.

And as usual, the Germans are both better informed and give more of a shit than anyone here…

Global War on Terror: How Long, at What Cost?

War Without End?

Is this Global War on Terror going to last forever? Has it already changed our nation from an historically defensive Athens to an offensive Sparta whose military looks everywhere for trouble and finds it? Who is calculating the cost-to-benefit ratio of sending Green Berets and other Special Operations troopers into remote corners of the world to assassinate suspected terrorists?

Ever since the Vietnam War, our presidents have ushered members of Congress into the grandstand where they can boo or cheer military decisions but not make them, despite what the Constitution says right there in Article 1, Section 8: “The Congress shall have power to provide for the common defense.”

Docudharma Times Thursday June 18

Every night in Tehran millions of people stand on their balcony and support Sea of Green by chanting ‘Allah Akbar’ – #Iranelection

Thursday’s Headlines:

In Poll, Obama Is Seen as Ineffective on the Economy

Alexander Lebedev: coming in from the cold with British media plans?

Northern Ireland: further racist attack against Romanians in Belfast

Robert Fisk: Secret letter ‘proves Mousavi won poll’

Iraqi Oil Minister accused of mother of all sell-outs

Pakistan tries to turn tribesmen against Taleban leader with trade blockade

China and Russia pressure N Korea

Top Somali warlord: willing to talk?

Gun flow south is a crisis for two nations

Iran treads lightly in a culture of martyrs

A Tiananmen-style massacre there would create a new set of heroes for the protest movement.

By Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim

June 18, 2009

Reporting from Tehran — Neither side can drown out the other. Both so far are exercising a measure of restraint. But as authorities try to rein in Iran’s most serious unrest since the Islamic Revolution, they face a diverse opposition united in its rejection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his policies.

After days of ignoring or dismissing the criticism, authorities appear to have recognized that they’re unable to use their hold over electronic communications networks and state-controlled broadcasting to quell the protests over Friday’s election. They have started implementing a softer approach in public. But they may not understand the depth of the problem they face.

Global Insurance Fraud By North Korea Outlined

Government Has Collected Millions Of Dollars on Large, Suspicious Claims

By Blaine Harden

Washington Post Foreign Service

Thursday, June 18, 2009

For Kim Jong Il’s birthday, North Korean insurance managers prepared a special gift.

In Singapore, they stuffed $20 million in cash into two heavy-duty bags and sent them, via Beijing, to their leader in Pyongyang, said Kim Kwang Jin, who worked as a manager for Korea National Insurance Corp., a state-owned monopoly.

Kim said he helped arrange the shipment and watched in February 2003 as the cash was packed. After the money arrived, Kim Jong Il sent a letter of thanks to the managers and arranged for some of them to receive gifts that included oranges, apples, DVD players and blankets, Kim said.

“It was a great celebration,” he said.

The $20 million birthday present and the gratitude of its recipient, who is known as the Dear Leader, were annual highlights of a sophisticated global insurance fraud that North Korea has concocted to provide its communist leadership with hard currency, said Kim, who spent five years as an executive of the state insurance company in Pyongyang and worked for a year at its banking subsidiary in Singapore before defecting to South Korea.


Gay Couples Express Hope Over Benefits Extension

By Steve Vogel

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, June 18, 2009

As Candy Holmes eyes retirement after 33 years of work for the Government Accountability Office, a major worry clouds her outlook.

Her partner, a clergywoman with limited health insurance, is not covered by the health or retirement benefits that Holmes receives from the federal government.

“I’ve been without benefits for my partner the entire time,” said Holmes, an information technology manager at the GAO. “Thank God we have not had any major illness. If we had, I’m not sure how we could manage.”The presidential memorandum signed yesterday afternoon by President Obama extends some benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers, among other things allowing them to be included in the long-term-care insurance program. But it still leaves them without federal health and retirement benefits. That will require the passage of legislation now before Congress.

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