June 23, 2009 archive

Bob Herbert: Villain or Hero? An Overview of Our Time.

Let us speak, my friends, in terms of pure logic. Free of personal, emotional, or political considerations.

A highly respected national columnist speaks a plain, and when stripped of personal, emotional, or political considerations, obvious truth:

Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House.

Americans should recoil as one against the idea of preventive detention, imprisoning people indefinitely, for years and perhaps for life, without charge and without giving them an opportunity to demonstrate their innocence.

Can anyone disagree with that? It is after all, the very basis of the Rule of Law. Innocent until proven guilty. Proven guilty with due process of law. That IS the very basis of Human Rights, right? That The State can’t just go around locking people up willy nilly. It is THE slippery slope.

Once you decide “some people” can be locked up without proof….and without due process, what is to stop The State from expanding the category of “some people” to include “some more people?”

Can anyone, if they put aside personal, emotional, or political considerations, disagree with that?


Four at Four

  1. The world’s greatest polluters met in Mexico, according to the UN, with the goal of “speeding up the stalling climate negotiation process… Poorer nations are proposing deep cuts from rich countries which, from a historical point of view, are most responsible for today’s climate problems.”

    AFP reports Mexico seeks help for developing nations on climate change. Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón asked for financial help for poorer nations to meet global climate goals. Developing countries need to be able to “count on sufficient (economic) stimulus and incentives to meet their commitments,” Calderon said.

    “We have to break certain patterns, certain old ways of thinking,” Calderon said. Mexico recently declared it would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by “50 million tonnes per year — the first developing country to make such a unilateral commitment.”

    The finger-pointing has gone on for more than a decade without humanity taking a single step forward in the fight against climate change,” Calerdon added as reported by Reuters.

    “The world needs to cut emissions by 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 if the worst effects of climate change are to be avoided, according to the United Nations’ Climate Panel.”

    In related news, The Guardian reports the upcoming Copenhagen climate change treaty backed by ‘Hopenhagen’ campaign. As part of a global marketing push “launched under the umbrella strapline ‘Hopenhagen‘, the campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of the UN meeting in Denmark in December.”

  2. Back in the United States, Greenwire via the NY Times reports Lobbying frenzy begins as the House climate bill heads to the floor. “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan to bring a major climate and energy measure to the floor Friday has prompted a whirlwind of lobbying.”

    “20 U.S. companies and electric utilities published full-page ads in several Washington newspapers calling for the bill’s passage.” And no wonder, they are. According to the LA Times, the legislation provides “financial incentive to keep burning coal” and environmental groups “say the bill could set off a boom in the construction of new coal plants because of provisions that would restrict legal efforts to block such projects.”

    The legislation would create a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases.

Four at Four continues with two op-eds on climate change: one advocates a wartime footing, the other advocates eliminating the war machine, an update from Iraq, China on trees versus food, and Obama on the public option for healthcare.

To the propagandist at the Jerusalem Post…

…who claims that as a woman named Helen Freedman walked past

CodePink’s protest of Israeli war crimes against Gaza

at an event in Manhattan on Sunday,

she “…was verbally assaulted by shouts of “You swine!”

and “Hitler should have killed all of you.”



Why was Underdog’s Sanford Diary Deleted?

It seemed pretty innocent to me.

MSNBC supports white supremacists unless they fire this man

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

What does Pat Buchanan have to do to get fired from MSNBC, show up to work in a white sheet?

    Yes, Virginia, there is a white supremacist on MSNBC.

    His name is Pat Buchanan.

    Some of Pat Buchanan’s previous statements include these quotes.

    “Take a hard look at Duke’s portfolio of winning issues and expropriate those not in conflict with GOP principles, [such as] reverse discrimination against white folks.”


    And yes, that is David Duke whom Pat is referring to.

    Sadly, that is just the beginning, and it barely even scratches the surface.

    At the bottom of this diary there are e-mail addresses where you can demand that this racist hack be given das boot for the hateful bile he spews forth, bile which has no place in 2009 or America in any year.

On Keeping Your Allies As Allies

There can be no doubt we face many problems and crises as a nation at this time. Most of these are the direct results of the misanthropic mismanagement of the Republican Party over the last eight years of so. This combined with a change in controlling party has put the Democrats and a the Political Left in general in a place where they are expected to clean up the mess and do it right now. This is a huge opportunity, but it will only happen if we can stay together as a coalition. This is the challenge the Dog would like to talk about today.

Originally posted at Squarestate.net

New music for a revolution?

There is an element within the opposition to the current regime that has nothing to do with Mousavi, (or in fact, any of the present leadership), who want a secular, democratic and free Iran.

Iran: Forget The Math, Do The Violence


All of the obvious questions about the accuracy of the vote count don’t mater, according to the Iranian Government because, well, because the Government says that the accuracy of the voting doesn’t matter, Ahmadinejad won, and if you disagree about that Fact, don’t dare show up on the streets to protest, or else.  Or else what?  Or else you die.

The New York Times makes all of this crystal clear:

Iran’s most powerful oversight council has refused to nullify the contested presidential election just one day after it announced that the number of votes in 50 cities exceeded the number of eligible voters there by three million, Iranian state television said Tuesday, further tarnishing a presidential election that has set off the most sustained challenge to Iran’s leadership in 30 years.

On Press TV, the English-language state television satellite broadcaster, Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, the spokesman for the Guardian Council, declared: “If a major breach occurs in an election, the Guardian Council may annul the votes that come out of a particular affected ballot box, polling station, district, or city.”

“Fortunately, in the recent presidential election we found no witness of major fraud or breach in the election,” he said.

“Therefore, there is no possibility of an annulment taking place.”

The math here is quite something.  Forget the oppositions numbers.  The official story is that the number of voters in 50 cities was 3,000,000 more votes than there are eligible voters, but folks, there’s nothing the matter with that.  Why? Because there are no witnesses.  The numbers are admittedly bogus, by 3 million votes or more, but that’s not enough to annul an election. Evidently, in Iran the numbers don’t speak for themselves.

This kind of illogic, of course, reinforces criticism and stirs up more demonstrations.  And it raises major questions:

How did the government manage to count enough of the 40 million paper ballots to be able to announce results within two hours of the polls closing? How is it that Mr. Ahmadinejad’s margin of victory remained constant throughout the ballot count? Why did the government order polls closed at 10 p.m. when they often stay open until midnight for presidential races? Why were some ballot boxes sealed before candidates’ inspectors could validate they were empty? Why were votes counted centrally, by the Interior Ministry, instead of locally, as in the past? Why did some polling places lock their doors at 6 p.m. after running out of ballots?

These are important questions.  They are not going to be answered.  The Government has its own answer for all of this.  The answer, to no one’s particular surprise, is more repression and more violence and more threats of repression and violence.  The answer is what happened to Neda Agha-Soltan.  Or the answer is what happened to 19-year-old Kaveh Alipour and the $3,000 bullet fee.  The number of answers is, I fear, going to grow rapidly.

The Iranian government has apparently decided that further demonstrations will not be tolerated and that the state will now try to end them.  The prospect looms of something even more horrible than Tiananmen Square.

Please keep the demonstrators in your thoughts and prayers.

cross-posted from The Dream Antilles



Docudharma Times Tuesday June 23

72% Of All

Americans Support

Health Care Somehow

The Senate Can’t

Figure That Out

Tuesday’s Headlines:

Homeland Security said to kill spy satellite plan

Nicolas Sarkozy says Islamic veils are not welcome in France

President of Ingushetia gravely injured in suicide car bombing

Pakistan rival of Taliban chief shot dead ‘by own bodyguard’

Oil boom threatens the last orang-utans

Neda – the tragic face of Iran’s uprising

Iraq hit by fresh wave of attacks

Ethiopian troops return to Somalia

Could ‘land grab’ by Tsvangirai’s niece overshadow Zimbabwe progress?

Iran elections: Guardian council says ‘no fraud or breach’ in poll

• Ruling body stands by Ahmadinejad victory

• British embassy begins evacuating families of staff

Julian Borger and agencies

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 23 June 2009 07.25 BST

Iran’s state television today reported that the country’s top electoral authority has ruled out annulling the results of the disputed 12 June election, in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was named the winner.

A spokesman for the guardian council, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, was quoted by Iran’s state-run English language Press TV as saying the organisation had found “no major fraud or breach in the election”. As a result, he said, the results would not be annulled.

Ahmadinejad’s main challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has called the election a fraud, insisting he is the true winner.

The wonder of Mars in its seasonal glory

The astonishing diversity of the Red Planet’s landscape is captured by the world’s most powerful camera, reports Science Editor Steve Connor

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The most powerful camera that has ever been used to survey another planet is capturing spectacular pictures of the surface of Mars to reveal a rich tapestry of geological features. Located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a Nasa probe launched in 2005, the HiRise camera has already taken detailed images of the outlines of ancient extra-terrestrial seas and rivers – the first unambiguous evidence that shorelines once existed on the Red Planet.

The camera has also witnessed in high-resolution detail the moment when the warmth of the Martian spring forced puffs of dust through the thin polar caps of dry ice – solid carbon dioxide – to form weird “starburst” patterns on the surface of the planet.

“Spring on Mars is quite different from spring on Earth because Mars has not just permanent ice caps, but also seasonal polar caps of carbon dioxide,” said Candice Hansen-Koharcheck, of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“What happens on Mars, we think, is that as the seasonal ice cap thins from the bottom, gas underneath the cap builds up pressure. And where gas under the ice finds a weak spot or a crack, it will flow out of the opening, often carrying a little dust from the surface below.”


At Least 6 Killed in Red Line Crash

THE IMPACT: Train Strikes Another, Injuring Scores, Stalling Commute

By Lena H. Sun and Maria Glod

Washington Post Staff Writers

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One Metro train slammed into the back of another on the Red Line at the height of the evening rush yesterday, killing at least six and injuring 70 others in the deadliest accident in Metrorail’s 33-year-history.Metro officials expected the death toll to rise to at least nine.

The impact of the crash was so powerful that the trailing train was left atop the first train. Witnesses told stories of rescues and people helping others amid the chaos. Firefighters had to use heavy rescue equipment to cut open the cars to reach people trapped inside, and D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) said fire officials were still going through the trains last night to make sure they had recovered all the bodies.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

For as long as space endures,

for as long as living beings remain,

until then may I too remain,

to dispel the misery of the world.

–Shantideva, The Bodhicaryavatara

(The Way of the Bodhisattva)

Phenomena XXVII: living


Short Circuit

Sapient spark

arc of life

light and heat

radiant energy

signifying something

So much potential

so often diminished

grounded through

selfishness and greed

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 4, 2008

Considered Forthwith: House Education and Labor Committee (Public Option Sighting)

Welcome to the 13th installment of “Considered Forthwith.” Sorry I missed getting this up here over the weekend.

This weekly series looks at the various committees in the House and the Senate. Committees are the workshops of our democracy. This is where bills are considered, revised, and occasionally advance for consideration by the House and Senate. Most committees also have the authority to exercise oversight of related executive branch agencies.

First, I want to note the committee monitoring project that Meteor Blades has announced over on the GOS. I hope to take part and invite anyone else who is participating to see my list of links at the end of this diary for more information about specific committees.

This week, I will look at the House Education and Labor Committee, yet another committee with jurisdiction over health care reform. The big news: we have a public option sighting!

Late Night Karaoke


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