January 12, 2010 archive

Breaking: Democratic Agenda in Jeopardy!

No, I’m not talking about the Massachusett’s election where Martha Coakley is down in the polls, and, if she loses, the Democratically-controlled Senate loses its 60 seat majority.  Yes, it’s a tight race, and, President Obama can’t seem to find the time to go help her campaign.  Big deal.

What IS a big deal is the thought that losing that 60th seat is what will put the Democrats agenda in jeopardy.  

Helene Cooper (NYT): Manufactured Wimp-Taunting

In a piece titled, “The Label Factor: Is Obama a Wimp or a Warrior?” Helene Cooper in the New York Times asserts that,

Like every Democratic president since John F. Kennedy, President Obama is battling the perception that he’s a wimp on national security.

Really?  Whose perceptions are those?

Countdown to January 18: Goldman’s Bonus Day UPDATED

January 18 is a week from today.

This is the day when Goldman Sachs officially announces how much loot it’s going to divide between it’s fellow gangmembers.  

It’s expected to be in the 20 BILLION dollar range.   20 BILLION dollars.    The spoils of crime, divided up in the hideout.  

Will Americans just sit back and let this happen?

Will be there any kind of protest there?  

If not, why not?

Proposition 8: Marriage Equality

Today was the opening salvo in the arguments to overturn Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that denied legal marriage to same sex couples. You can follow the live blogging of the trial at FDL: The Seminal and Firedoglake Covers the Prop 8 Trial

The Courage Campaign is also following with Prop8 Trial Tracker

H/T to Robyn for the link

Sharp Words Open California Same-Sex Marriage Case

SAN FRANCISCO – In the opening volleys in the federal trial over the fate of California’s ban on same-sex marriage, lawyers for both sides were sharply questioned by the judge overseeing the trial, in a case that is being closely watched by gay-rights groups and supporters of traditional marriage nationwide.


Judge Walker set a questioning tone early, repeatedly interrupting an opening statement by Theodore B. Olson, a lead counsel for the plaintiffs – two gay couples who filed their suit in the spring after the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8. The judge asked Mr. Olson why domestic partnerships, which are allowed in California, were not sufficient for gay couples and wondered what kind of evidence would be introduced to show harm to same-sex couples who are not allowed to marry.

Mr. Olson, a prominent conservative litigator whose co-counsel is David Boies, his foe from the 2000 battle over the presidential election, countered that marriage “was a building block of family, neighborhoods and community” in America, and that to deny gays that right was to effectively make them second-class citizens. Proposition 8, he said, “isolated gay men and lesbian individuals and said, ‘You’re different.’ ”


Advocates for Proposition 8, who assert that Californians were well within their rights to establish a definition of marriage, were also pointedly queried by Judge Walker.

Charles J. Cooper, the lead counsel for the defense, opened his case by arguing that limitation of marriage to men and women was a tradition “across history, across cultures and across societies” meant to “channel natural procreative activities between men and women” into stable relationships.

But Judge Walker interrupted Mr. Cooper to ask about other marital benefits like companionship and support, and he noted that there were no restrictions on marriage for heterosexual couples who could not or did not want to have children. The judge also questioned the assertion by Mr. Cooper that same-sex marriage would “radically alter” traditional marriage and could decrease marriage rates for heterosexuals.

It’s good to be King. Seriously.

It’s one of the most disturbing videos I’ve ever seen.   A member of the ruling family of the UAE tortured a man he didn’t much care for, beating him with a board bristling with nails, driving a car over him, and all kinds of nasty, nasty business, displaying a sadism rarely seen in public.   A top-ranking police chief was right there the whole time, letting it happen, in fact enabling it, as they drove out in the desert to do this.

I’m pretty sure I wrote about it here when it went public.   Oh yeah, here it is:   Obama wants to give nukes to the crooks in the UAE.    Sorta flew under the radar, didn’t it?    How many people know anything about our nuclear deal with the UAE?    Yeah, nukes for a psychotic ruling family of a country that can’t even keep its books straight.   Nice.

The videotape of the torture slowed the deal down, but apparently it went through, because, well, corruption wins every time, right?   Gotta go where the money is was, and the money ain’t here any more.

Anyway, here’s a new article on the outcome of this crime:

UAE sheikh acquitted in taped beating

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — A United Arab Emirates sheikh was acquitted Sunday of charges connected to the videotaped beating and torture of an Afghan grain dealer.

Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, a member of the emirates’ ruling family, was charged with rape, endangering life and causing bodily harm in connection with the nearly three-hour long tape shot in 2004 in the desert outside Abu Dhabi, one of the United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf region.

However, the court acquitted Issa on Sunday, ruling he had diminished responsibility for his actions because of the effects of medication his defense attorney claimed he was given. Issa had a “lack of criminal responsibility,” the court found, defense attorney Habib al-Mulla told CNN.

“The judiciary system acquitted Issa based on the evidence presented by the defense that the sheikh was under the influence of drugs given to him,” al-Mulla said. “That deprived him from his poise and caused him to carry out acts that were out of consciousness and that were photographed with the intention for later extortion.”

The tape surfaced last year as a piece of evidence in a federal civil suit filed in Houston, Texas, against the sheikh by his former business partner, Bassam Nabulsi. It caused outrage among human rights groups and in the United States, where senior U.S. officials familiar with the case said the tape delayed the ratification of a civil nuclear deal between the UAE and the United States.

On the tape, Issa is seen along with a private security officer stuffing sand in the man’s mouth.  As the grain dealer pleads and whimpers, he is beaten with a nailed board, burned in the genitals with a cigarette lighter, shocked with a cattle prod and led to believe he would be shot. Salt is poured into his wounds.

In the end, the victim can muster up only weak moans as an SUV is repeatedly driven over him.

So he gets off with the “twinkie defense”.  

I’m sure the videotape cowed anyone who might be considering convicting this guy that it would probably be a pretty bad idea.   I mean, I’m amazed it went this far.   What a joke.   “Yeah, let’s waste everybody’s time and money to put on a little pony show demonstrating that we have this thing called “justice” in the UAE.   I mean, for everybody BUT the ruling family.”

Sure.   Like I said, it’s good to be King.  

And these are our “friends”.   We do nuclear deals with these guys.   We move American businesses to this country (like Halliburton! as American as baseball!)   If the United States was on Facebook, the UAE and this monster would have been one of the first to get “friended”.   So would the guys who torture people for us in Uzbekistan.   BFF’s!  

And on the 18th, Goldman Sachs is handing out 20 BILLION dollars in bonuses (we used to call it “embezzlement”) to its partners in crime.    And nothing will be done.    There won’t even be a protest, apparently, because everybody will have their eyes diverted to, if not Harry Reid’s “scandal”, something new.

I wish I was King.  

If I was King, there would be serious hell to pay.   For some people.   Those who skate.   Those who torture.   Those who murder, and those who steal retirement funds.   They would skate no more.  

And if anyone thinks “oh, this stuff only happens in other countries,” I’ll remind you that Dick Cheney shot a man in the face.    And the man later apologized to Dick Cheney.     Just in case you’d forgotten.

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