December 8, 2009 archive

White House wants suit against Yoo dismissed.

White House wants suit against Yoo dismissed.

Obama administration saying federal law does not allow damage claims against lawyers who advise the president on national security issues. While I do not know if that is actually the case, or should be, in the absence of criminal charges not being brought for the last 5 plus years, is there any hope left that Yoo will face justice for his actions?

Yoo was represented by the DOJ, and now being defended at taxpayer expense by attorney, Miguel Estrada, who says the case interfered with presidential war making authority and threatened to “open the floodgates to politically motivated lawsuits” against government officials.

While the Office of Professional Responsibility has been investigating Yoo’s advice to former President George W. Bush since 2004, which according to the WH has the power to recommend professional discipline or even criminal prosecution, and of course it is now the end of 2009 without action!

The Obama administration has asked an appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing former Bush administration attorney John Yoo of authorizing the torture of a terrorism suspect, saying federal law does not allow damage claims against lawyers who advise the president on national security issues.

In the current lawsuit, Jose Padilla, now serving a 17-year sentence for conspiring to aid Islamic extremist groups, accuses Yoo of devising legal theories that justified what he claims was his illegal detention and abusive interrogation. The Justice Department represented Yoo until June, when a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that the suit could proceed. The department then bowed out, citing unspecified conflicts, and was replaced by a government-paid private lawyer. Yoo’s new attorney, Miguel Estrada, argued for dismissal in a filing last month, saying the case interfered with presidential war-making authority and threatened to “open the floodgates to politically motivated lawsuits” against government officials. The Justice Department’s filing Thursday endorsed the request for dismissal but offered narrower arguments, noting its continuing investigation of Yoo.

Read more:…

Coalition building… how do we do it?

I’ve had many thoughts and reactions that I never got around to articulating. Yesterday,  I left off one in particular in mid – thought: “What if…?”


Im posting this Essay to provide a space for brainstorming … ideas, strategies, tactics…  

“Thank goodness people are starting to leave the left.”

As usual, Glenn’s sharp eye has picked up on what a lot of people here have noticed too.

My friend the president

By Glenn Greenwald,

Tuesday, Dec 8, 2009 10:09 PST

Over the past couple of days, Andrew Sullivan has linked to and published protests from various individuals who are quite angry that people “on the left” are being so mean to President Obama, and several of them are so upset that they have decided they are “leaving the left,” whatever that might mean.  What’s most striking about these valiant defenses of Obama is how utterly devoid they are of any substantive points and how, instead, suffuse with weird, even inappropriate, emotional attachments they are.  These objections are grounded almost exclusively in (a) a deep-seated conviction that President Obama is a good and just man who means well; (b) their own rather intense upset at seeing him criticized; and (c) a spitting ad hominem fury of the type long directed by Bush followers at any critics of their leader, and generally typical of authoritarian attacks on out-groups critics.

After watching slack-jawed for a few minutes, I quickly realized that there was nothing unusual at all about their reaction to Palin.  This was exactly what led so many Bush followers to defend him no matter what he did — as he tortured and invaded without cause and chronically broke the law.  He was, like most of them, a “good Christian” who had a nice family and meant well, and thus, while he might err, he was not capable of any truly bad or evil acts.  Anyone who criticized him too harshly or too viciously was, by definition, revealing something flawed about themselves.  None of the specific arguments mattered.  None of it had to do with reason.  Like Palin’s admirers, Bush’s were convinced of the core goodness of his character, and they thus loved him and hated those who suggested that there was something deeply wrong in what he was doing.

The similarity between that mentality and the one driving the Obama defenses posted by Sullivan is too self-evident to require any elaboration.  Those who venerated Bush because he was a morally upright and strong evangelical-warrior-family man and revere Palin as a common-sense Christian hockey mom see Obama as an inspiring, kind, sophisticated, soothing and mature intellectual.  These are personality types bolstered with sophisticated marketing techniques, not policies, governing approaches or ideologies.  But for those looking for some emotional attachment to a leader, rather than policies they believe are right, personality attachments are far more important.  They’re also far more potent.  Loyalty grounded in admiration for character will inspire support regardless of policy, and will produce and sustain the fantasy that this is not a mere politician, but a person of deep importance to one’s life who — like a loved one or close friend or religious leader — must be protected and defended at all costs.

Politics as Pro Wrestling

Oh man, there is nothing like Corporate Ponies holding a Nuremberg Rally. Can you believe this shit? When it was Bush was driving the car, we all wanted to go home.

Now that Obama gots the keys, these supposed doves go nationalistic at the drop of a hat, out of which they pull a hawk and want to fly more troops directly into the imperial wars!

Across the Poniesosphere sites that had call for marches and donations to the cause of peace, now blow the trumpet of war. Unfucking real.

It was then that it hit me.

Politics has become pro wrestling, but with less believable plot lines.

As Obama has said recently, the news is pretty unserious. Infotainment has supplanted real discourse turning our national government into ab epic Hulk Hogan versus Ric Flair title match.

For months before the showdown, the election itself, we have people yelling into the microphone about how much they love America, and how they are going to win this for America!

It’s the same shit, and instead of those B Rate “sports”casters that the WCW or whatever the fuck they are called now uses, we have Pop Bear O’Reilly and Keith O hyping the crowd inbetween bouts.

And the Poniesosphere is just fan art for this political pro wrestling.

When the plot line changes and now Hulk Hogan has to accept the darkside of Sgt. Slaughter to fight the Iron Sheik and his dreaded Camel clutch, they howl for the Sheik to feel the wrath of the Axe Bomber and the Atomic Leg Drop.

Remind them of this fact and they will say Obama campaigned on it. If Obama campaigned for you to run off a cliff, you still going to do it? Just because Obama says we going to jump of that cliff?

It’s ridiculous as their attacks on Grayson or the Little Woodland Critter Dennis Who Married That Smoking Elf or anyone else shows they do not care about the policies.

They just want to cheer and be winning for once. Hulk Obama can do no wrong, because he is doing it for America.

Those of us who are not fans of political wrestling will never understand why we can’t just have government based on sound policy and actual civics. We are to dumb apparently, to understand that infotainment is high discourse these days.

The the howling of two wrestlers, one in red and one in blue, howling for each others’ throat for 24 hours a day, never about what is really going on in this country.

It is a political media commodity meant to absorb the time of the political class in an epic game of World of Wresting and steal the oxygen away from anybody who wants to ask any real questions.

And if you point out that political wrestling is fake, you will have an angry Corporate Pony on your hand.

In Closing, here is

Ric Flair the Republican:

Hulk Hogan the Democrat:

Iron Sheik, The Taliban


Crossposted at this real shithole I hang out at.  

Afternoon Edition

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

Now with World and U.S. News.  50 Story Final.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 127 killed in spate of Baghdad blasts

by Ammar Karim and Prashant Rao, AFP

1 hr 24 mins ago

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Five massive vehicle-borne bombs rocked Baghdad on Tuesday, killing 127 people, including women and students, and wounding hundreds in the third co-ordinated massacre to devastate the city since August.

The attacks undermined the government’s claims of improved security and came hours before the war-torn country said its general election, the second since the US-led ouster of dictator Saddam Hussein, would be on March 6.

A security spokesman said the attacks — four by suicide attackers driving cars or minibuses and targeting key government buildings — bore “the touch of Al-Qaeda.”

“45 minute” Saddam claim came from Taxi Driver

Remember the Bush administration’s claim that Saddam Hussein could launch a WMD attack on the United States in 45 minutes time?

It was one of the centerpieces of his claims as to why we “needed” to go to war.

Well, turns out that claim came from ….. (drum roll please) ……

A taxi driver.

I’m not making this up.

Draft Board Realities and Gender-Based Arguments

This post is written in response to a very well-crafted argument against the resumption of military conscription.  What I will say is that I have engaged in hypothetical discussions at times about what the resumption of a draft would produce in reality, versus what goals and reforms we might assume would transpire as a result.   I’m not entirely sure that I agree that those who advocate the return of conscription are making specious or at best hypocritical arguments.  Though I am opposed to war in all forms, one cannot disagree that war shapes so much of our consciousness and influences who we are as both Americans and humans to a degree that we are sometimes unaware of its complete impact.  War and warfare is that pervasive and it is that enmeshed in who we are as a people that merely criticizing it from the outside may not simply be sufficient.

In another online forum, I suggested that perhaps if women were included in the draft that their presence might successfully overturn gender-based inequalities and begin to reform Patriarchal excesses.   A previous generation of Feminists believed that the way to be recognized as the equals of men was to de facto refine the idea of masculinity by building it into its own image and idealized notion.   Feminists of today have taken special care to embrace their femininity and sex while simultaneously redefining both in an effort to also reshape repressive ideas of masculinity and manhood.   Gender as a social construct has become especially problematic to many, since transgender and intersex rights have turned conventional gender norms and gender arguments completely upside down.   If applied to current draft regulations, it could easily raise a huge to-do.  

The truth of the matter is that if a draft were resumed today, only men would be drafted.   My argument, which again was set forth purely as food for thought, was that if women wished for full equality with men then they ought to seriously consider lobbying to be included as part of the process.   My rationale for this was that women have for far too long been seen purely as keepers of the hearth and home and that their presumed status solely as nurturing figures and caregivers is restrictive and based on assumption, rather than reality.   Another huge can of worms that goes along with this is that if Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell were ever to be revoked and if LGBTs were allowed to serve openly in the armed forces, the draft laws as written would apply to gay men, but not to lesbians.   One gets in thornier territory than that when the question of trans men, trans women, and intersex individuals enters the picture.   When we are only now beginning to confront the fact that what constitutes “male” and what constitutes “female” is far more fluid than any of us could have ever before believed, then we see what happens when the gender binary falls unforgivably short.    

I seek not to seem ignorant or unaware of draft board realities.   My own father did not serve in Vietnam because of his high draft number.   By sheer luck, the highest number called for his group was 125 and, since the system focused on date of birth to determine draft status, his announced number 215 worked out in his favor.   Still, Dad was labeled 1-A (available for military service) and taking no chances he continued to pursue a college degree and served for a time as a state trooper, since both of these options made it unlikely that he would be forced to serve in combat.   I do recognize that if those times were our own, then as now, those unable to afford college or so poor that they could not use the privilege of middle class or upper class affluence to their benefit, advantages that most of us take for granted—they would be the first to go.   My grandfather used his business connections with the people at the local county draft board to ensure that his sons did not go to Southeast Asia.   In business, in politics, and in all of capitalism, ultimately it comes down to precisely who you know.    

Assuming the draft was (God forbid) ever resumed, perhaps a brand new group of underprivileged souls would be sent off to fight and die.   It’s not as though gay men live and are born only in affluent cities, states, or regions.   Nor is homosexuality a phenomenon relegated purely to Whites.   Perhaps the recent transitioned trans man, fresh from top surgery finds zirself for the first time as a prime target to be forced to fight for a country that still hasn’t quite acknowledged the unique struggles of transgenders.   One would hope that if this situation were ever to come to pass that it would not force trans men to be disinclined to undergo the process of claiming a gender of which they were not assigned at birth while desperately seeking to feel authentic to who they are inside.   One would also hope that resentment would not build within the gay community due to the unfortunate fact that gay men could be sent off to die but gay women could not.

One now understands why Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, for all its flaws, is still in force.   But I do understand my history, as well, and I know that the Twenty-Sixth Amendment raised the uniform voting age in this country from 21 to 18.   A compelling argument raised by young Vietnam War Protesters, which stated that young men who were being drafted and sent to die in the jungles were without the right to vote in or vote out the legislators who were in charge of making that awful decision—this push led to resolute action.   Quite unlike the legislative logjam we are now facing today in other reform measures, the process of enactment and ratification was not a particularly contentious one and it didn’t take long for the amendment to take effect.   When I consider today how many eighteen to twenty year olds only vote when the name Obama is on the ballot, it really makes me sad.   Yet, at least that right exists, and at least combined effort towards good produced satisfactory results.   We might learn from that when it comes down to pushing our own unique ends and aims.   If we are going to increase the scope and span of conscription, an act so unfair and so completely unjustified as to border on complete evil, perhaps we might be forced to learn some lessons and to confront the hypocrisies that don’t merely influence some, but influence all.        

Information you might like to have direct access to.

As you may already know, I have my own blog site,  What you may not know is that soon, very soon, it might no longer be around.  To make a long story short, a while back I made an online donation to someone who'd been asking for them to maintain what he called a news web site.  I found my PayPal account banned thereafter, with the company refusing even to accept my payment information.  It turns out that the guy I gave money to runs a forum that contains adult content, and PayPal has a zero-tolerance policy for adult content.  This being the case, he is on PayPal's shit list, and anyone and everyone who donated to him is similarly locked out.  It's my own fault for not taking the time to verify where my donation through PayPal was going.  Unfortunately, it has consequences that will probably result in my blog being shut down.

 The reason for this shut-down has to do with soapblox only accepting payments through PayPal.  They don't have any other method for paying for a soapblox blog.  The issue was never resolved.  I have gone months without receiving any invoice whatsoever, since PayPal handled that matter.  Nor has the soapblox owner responded to my e-mails since earlier this year.  I don't know when or if Progressive Independence will stay past the end of the year. So before this happens, if it happens, I want to share with you the links I've set up that allow visitors and members alike to gain access to information.  The greatest weapon we on the left have is information, because voters and activists cannot accomplish anything substantive without it.  Part of P.I.'s mission involves providing the tools necessary.  In that vein, here are the links I currently have on the web site, which are below the jump.

Blogging and The Left

Hyperbole Alert! Unbridled Rant! Not for those with heart conditions or high blood pressure or who are prone to fainting spells and pearl clutching! Read at your own risk!

As the entire Left Blogosphere mourns the death of Daily Kos as an activist site due to every goddam activist there getting hounded, smeared, vilified, attacked, dogpiled, wolfpacked  and personally demeaned in the most vile detestable ways that humans are capable of on the internet by Obama “supporters”…..supporters that routinely and daily practice EVERY negative ethic of politics and partisanship that Obama himself condemns as being what is wrong with politics….we have to ask ourselves, what now?


Quote from Jay Elias, in response to the plethora of “I Got This” graphics

Health care: Book Review, Do Not Resuscitate (reprised)

This is a book review of John Geyman’s book Do Not Resuscitate: Why the Health Insurance Industry Is Dying, and How We Must Replace It.  Here I argue that the rereading of this book is especially timely as Congress nears the last stages of preparation for a vote upon “health insurance reform” nears.  We need to remember, now of all times, that the fight for health care for all is nowhere near over.

(Crossposted at Orange)

Open Future


Help, I’m Surrounded

RawStory this morning:

More Americans believe in angels than humans’ role in global warming

More Americans believe in guardian angels than humans’ role in global warming, according to recent polls.

A Pew poll released late last month found that just 36 percent of Americans believe humans are responsible for accelerating global climate change, which scientists say mushroomed after the industrial revolution due to humans’ dependence on carbon-based fuels.

Carbon dioxide, which is produced by the combustion of oil, coal and other fuels, was ruled a “dangerous” threat to public health by the Environmental Protection Agency Monday. It increases the propensity of the earth’s atmosphere to retain heat.

But a near-consensus from scientists doesn’t have Americans convinced. The Pew poll found that while

57 percent believe that the earth’s climate is changing, just 36 percent believe that humans are responsible. 77 percent believed that global warming existed in Pew’s poll conducted in 2007.

The 36 percent who believe in human-caused climate change is fewer than the number of Americans who apparently believe they’re protected by guardian angels, some 55 percent, according to a poll published in 2008.

Load more