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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 06/10/2007 - 06/17/2007
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"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Another Kool-Aid Overdose

Think Progress has the Emergency Room Report.

Snow: President Bush Is ‘On The Frontlines’ Of The Iraq War ‘Every Day’

In today’s White House press briefing, reporter Helen Thomas asked Tony Snow if there are “any members of the Bush family or this administration in this war.” Stunningly, Snow claimed that President Bush is actually on the “frontlines” of the war in Iraq:

Q: Are there any members of the Bush family or this administration in this

SNOW: Yeah, the President. The President is in the war every

Q: Come on, that isn’t my question –

SNOW: Well, no, if you ask any
president who is a commander in chief –

Q: On the frontlines, where

SNOW: The President.

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Israel Analysis Micorcosm Of the NeoCon USA?

Thanks to Naomi Klein at The Nation for an interesting analysis. It makes clear connections to the real reason why NeoCons like their New World Order.

Laboratory for a Fortressed World

Editor's Note: This article has been updated with additional detail on recent developments in Gaza.

Gaza in the hands of Hamas, with masked militants sitting in the president's chair; the West Bank on the edge; Israeli army camps hastily assembled in the Golan Heights; a spy satellite over Iran and Syria; war with Hezbollah a hair trigger away; a scandal-plagued political class facing a total loss of public faith.

At a glance, things aren't going well for Israel. But here's a puzzle: Why, in the midst of such chaos and carnage, is the Israeli economy booming like it's 1999, with a roaring stock market and growth rates nearing China's?

Main stream media quotes administration friendly economist Friedman to explain the boom in Israel as support of venture capital and youthful innovation. There is an alternative explanation that points to the true reason for Middle East destabilization.
Here's another theory: Israel's economy isn't booming despite the political chaos that devours the headlines but because of it.(emphasis added) This phase of development dates back to the mid-'90s, when Israel was in the vanguard of the information revolution--the most tech-dependent economy in the world. After the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, Israel's economy was devastated, facing its worst year since 1953. Then came 9/11, and suddenly new profit vistas opened up for any company that claimed it could spot terrorists in crowds, seal borders from attack and extract confessions from closed-mouthed prisoners.

Within three years, large parts of Israel's tech economy had been radically repurposed. Put in Friedmanesque terms: Israel went from inventing the networking tools of the "flat world" to selling fences to an apartheid planet. Many of the country's most successful entrepreneurs are using Israel's status as a fortressed state, surrounded by furious enemies, as a kind of twenty-four-hour-a-day showroom--a living example of how to enjoy relative safety amid constant war. And the reason Israel is now enjoying supergrowth is that those companies are busily exporting that model to the world.

This is truly the vision of the NeoCon New World Order. Fortress enclaves of Elites and their deluded middle class indentured servants. Outside, the barbaric masses that are regularly culled in order to test new weapons and tactics. Weapons and tactics needed to control the servants within the Elite fortress enclaves.
... Israel now sends $1.2 billion in "defense" products to the United States--up dramatically from $270 million in 1999. In 2006 Israel exported $3.4 billion in defense products--well over a billion more than it received in US military aid. That makes Israel the fourth-largest arms dealer in the world, overtaking Britain. (emphasis added)

Just a reminder who the #1 arms dealer in the world is--The USA.
Much of this growth has been in the so-called "homeland security" sector. Before 9/11 homeland security barely existed as an industry. By the end of this year, Israeli exports in the sector will reach $1.2 billion--an increase of 20 percent. The key products and services are high-tech fences, unmanned drones, biometric IDs, video and audio surveillance gear, air passenger profiling and prisoner interrogation systems--precisely the tools and technologies Israel has used to lock in the occupied territories.

And that is why the chaos in Gaza and the rest of the region doesn't threaten the bottom line in Tel Aviv, and may actually boost it. Israel has learned to turn endless war into a brand asset, pitching its uprooting, occupation and containment of the Palestinian people as a half-century head start in the "global war on terror." (emphasis added)
It's no coincidence that the class projects at Ben Gurion that so impressed Friedman have names like "Innovative Covariance Matrix for Point Target Detection in Hyperspectral Images" and "Algorithms for Obstacle Detection and Avoidance." Thirty homeland security companies were launched in Israel in the past six months alone, thanks in large part to lavish government subsidies that have transformed the Israeli army and the country's universities into incubators for security and weapons start-ups (something to keep in mind in the debates about the academic boycott).

Since Israel began its policy of sealing off the occupied territories with checkpoints and walls, human rights activists have often compared Gaza and the West Bank to open-air prisons. But in researching the explosion of Israel's homeland security sector, a topic I explore in greater detail in a forthcoming book (The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism), it strikes me that they are something else too: laboratories where the terrifying tools of our security states are being field-tested. Palestinians--whether living in the West Bank or what the Israeli politicians are already calling "Hamasistan"--are no longer just targets. They are guinea pigs.

So in a way Friedman is right: Israel has struck oil. But the oil isn't the imagination of its techie entrepreneurs. The oil is the war on terror, the state of constant fear that creates a bottomless global demand for devices that watch, listen, contain and target "suspects." And fear, it turns out, is the ultimate renewable resource.(emphasis added)

Israel uses these devices to protect themselves from enemies outside their border.
NeoCons, via the NSA, have repeatedly demonstrated their desire to use tech. for monitoring their enemies within our border.
The war in Iraq,Afghanistan and the global war on terror are really just convenient manipulations.
Yes, there are very dangerous extremists that want to destroy our way of life and we must defend ourselves from them. That's a fact, no matter how it came about.
It is also an absolute fact that not all of those extremists are in the Middle East.
Some of the most dangerous ones are here, in America. We elected them to office. We admire them as Senators, Congressmen, and even Presidents.
I say again, read the NeoCon writings and learn about their plans for us all. They don't try and hide it. Their arrogance and disdain for the common people won't allow them to hide it.

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Privatizing our military

better add "support our mercenaries" to your "support our troops" ribbons...

as the wapo points out, our highly-paid, fast-growing, private armies are "surging" right along with those poor, under-paid grunts... no wonder bush doesn't go to any funerals for our soldiers who die in iraq... if he did, he'd have to go to the funerals of private contractors too and that might not look so good...

The U.S. military has never released complete statistics on contractor casualties or the number of attacks on privately guarded convoys. The military deleted casualty figures from reports issued by the Reconstruction Logistics Directorate of the Corps of Engineers, according to Victoria Wayne, who served as deputy director for logistics until 2006 and spent 2 1/2 years in Iraq.

Wayne described security contractors as "the unsung heroes of the war." She said she believed the military wanted to hide information showing that private guards were fighting and dying in large numbers because it would be perceived as bad news.

"It was like there was a major war being fought out there, but we were the only ones who knew about it," Wayne said.

and it continues to grow...
The security industry's enormous growth has been facilitated by the U.S. military, which uses the 20,000 to 30,000 contractors to offset chronic troop shortages. Armed contractors protect all convoys transporting reconstruction materiel, including vehicles, weapons and ammunition for the Iraqi army and police. They guard key U.S. military installations and provide personal security for at least three commanding generals, including Air Force Maj. Gen. Darryl A. Scott, who oversees U.S. military contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The military plans to outsource at least $1.5 billion in security operations this year, including the three largest security contracts in Iraq: a "theaterwide" contract to protect U.S. bases that is worth up to $480 million, according to Scott; a contract for up to $475 million to provide intelligence for the Army and personal security for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and a contract for up to $450 million to protect reconstruction convoys. The Army has also tested a plan to use private security on military convoys for the first time, a shift that would significantly increase the presence of armed contractors on Iraq's dangerous roads.

i find it deeply disturbing that the security of three commanding generals is being handled by private contractors... what kind of an impression does it leave on soldiers in the field to see their commanding general surrounded by private contractors...? an even better question is, what does it do to morale...?

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We might possibly consider doing something in the future on a voluntary basis, perhaps, but, then again, maybe not

al gore comments on the so-called g8 "agreement" on climate change...
It was a disgrace disguised as an achievement... .

The eight most powerful nations gathered and were unable to do anything except to say "We had good conversations and we agreed that we will have more conversations, and we will even have conversations about the possibility of doing something in the future on a voluntary basis perhaps."

and we'll plan to come again next year, depending, of course, on where the conference is held, and assuming it doesn't rain or isn't too hot, and the protestors aren't kicking up too much of a fuss...

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Better get out of the way of the DOJ front door or they'll run you over

they're not leavin' cuz they wanna stay at home with the wife and kids, mow the lawn, and fire up the grill...
Mike Elston, chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, has become the fifth Justice Department official to resign after being linked to the firings of several U.S. attorneys:
Elston’s resignation is effective at the end of next week. Reached Friday afternoon, he confirmed his plans to leave but would not say why.

Elston is a key figure in several recent Justice Department scandals.

the rats that are the best swimmers left a few weeks ago, but, even tho' the bushco ship of fools is still rapidly taking on water, it's still floating, and there's a few that still seem determined to stick it out... i don't want to ruin anybody's evening, but can you picture karl rove, alone in a lifeboat with george bush, both wearing life vests, trying desperately to signal passing ships...? wait... that's not a picture that would RUIN anybody's evening... silly me...

(thanks to think progress...)

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911 Questions:Ok, you asked for it.....

Ok, if you really want me to get technical.
After all, I am an Engineer.
This is a very limited excerpt from one of thousands of analyses done on the WTC collapse. I suggest you visit the whole article to see the photos,etc. Again, the is just one appendix article that recommends further analysis.
I very strongly recommend that everyone visit Scholars for 9-11 Truth and Justice

Jonathan Barnett
Ronald R. Biederman

R. D. Sisson, Jr.

CLimited Metallurgical Examination
C.1 Introduction
Two structural steel members with unusual erosion patterns were observed in the WTC debris field. The first appeared to be from WTC 7 and the second from either WTC 1 or WTC 2. Samples were taken from these beams and labeled Sample 1 and Sample 2, respectively. A metallurgic examination was conducted.

C.2 Sample 1 (From WTC 7)
Several regions in the section of the beam shown in Figures C-1 and C-2 were examined to determine microstructural changes that occurred in the A36 structural steel as a result of the events of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent fires. Although the exact location of this beam in the building was not known, the severe erosion found in several beams warranted further consideration. In this preliminary study, optical and scanning electron metallography techniques were used to examine the most severely eroded regions as exemplified in the metallurgical mount shown in Figure C-3. Evidence of a severe high temperature

Ok, are your eyes glazing yet? I happen to enjoy reading things like this. All the women in my life point this out as one of the main reasons I am currently single.
Point is, there is sulfur deposited on the melted steel. At the temperatures the steel experienced, this is highly unusual when you take it in the overall context.

The origin of the steel shown in Figure C-9 is thought to be a high-yield-strength steel removed from a column member. The steel is a high-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steel containing copper. The unusual thinning of the member is most likely due to an attack of the steel by grain boundary penetration of sulfur forming sulfides that contain both iron and copper. Figures C-10, C-11, and C-12 show the region of severe corrosion at different levels of magnification.

I think I'm done mentally waterboarding you now. I just wanted to prove the point that these studies are done by actual scientists.
Let's skip to the conclusion of this body of analysis.

Suggestions for Future Research

The severe corrosion and subsequent erosion of Samples 1 and 2 are a very unusual event. No clear explanation for the source of the sulfur has been identified. The rate of corrosion is also unknown. It is possible that this is the result of long-term heating in the ground following the collapse of the buildings. It is also possible that the phenomenon started prior to collapse and accelerated the weakening of the steel structure. A detailed study into the mechanisms of this phenomenon is needed to determine what risk, if any, is presented to existing steel structures exposed to severe and long-burning fires(emphasis added).

This is my main point in this whole issue.
If we don't know technically why something happened, we don't know if it can happen again by accident or on purpose.
There is another paper that makes a very strong technical case for the type of sulfur observed being introduced by an outside substance. Oddly enough, it's the same type of sulfur deposit you get on steel when you use Thermite explosive in controlled implosions. I will let you explore that yourself and evaluate the evidence in the privacy of you own thoughts

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I should know better than to be reading about why the U.S. needs a "warrior mentality"

it's a big mistake to start off the day reading crap like this... i should have known better from the title of the article, the source in which it was originally printed, and the author...

points of visceral nausea...
  • War is a fact of the human social condition...
  • [A]ny policy lacking martial vigor—any policy that fails to communicate a warrior spirit—only makes war more likely.
  • [A] leader ... sanctions every manner of deceit provided it is necessary to gain strategic advantage [and]is never swayed by public opinion...
  • Americans as a people are ever further removed from any semblance of a warrior spirit...
and if those weren't bad enough, he keeps right on going...
[O]ur near obsession with finding ways to kill others at no risk to our own troops is a sign of strength in our eyes alone. To faithful or merely nationalist enemies, it is a sign of weakness, even cowardice.


Never-say-die faith, accompanied by old-fashioned nationalism, is alive in America. It is a match for the most fanatical suicide bombers anywhere, but with few exceptions, that faith is confined to our finest combat infantry units—and to specific sections of the country and socio-economic strata from which these “warriors” (as they like to call themselves) hail.


That kind of faith is receding in America among a social and economic class increasingly motivated by universal values: caring, for example, about the suffering of famine victims abroad as much as for hurricane victims at home. Universal values are a good in and of themselves, and they are not the opposite of faith. But they should never be confused with it. You may care to the point of tears about suffering humankind without having the will to actually fight (let alone inconvenience yourself) for those concerns. Thus, universal values may pose an existential challenge to national security when accompanied by a loss of faith in one’s own political values and projects.

kaplan, in this 5000+ word article, loaded with multi-syllabic, professorial jargon, literary and historical references, and examples drawn from his time spent with "real warriors," is a perfect example of the phony intellectual justification of a military-industrial complex, and money and power-hungry elites forever focused on endless violence, war, death, and destruction to maintain the world they've created for themselves... it's worth reading if for nothing else than to gain a full appreciation for the minds behind our country's behavior in the world... remember, it's men like kaplan who provide much of the theoretical horsepower for those in our government who are calling the shots... i find it to be a profoundly cold and twisted world view, particularly in its repudiation of universal values, but certainly accurate in depicting the mindset that drives our foreign policy...

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

When a prof at the Naval War College says the war is lost, should we listen?

if a professor at the naval war college falls in the woods and there is nobody there to hear him, does he make a sound...?
Christopher J. Fettweis, an assistant professor of national-security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, wrote this article for the Los Angeles Times.

[A]s any sports fan can tell you, the only thing that feels worse than a loss is an upset. An upset demands explanation and requires that responsible parties be punished.

The endgame in Iraq is now clear, and it appears that the heavily favored United States will be upset. Once support for a war is lost, it is gone for good; there is no example of a modern democracy having changed its mind once it turned against a war. So we ought to start coming to grips with the meaning of losing in Iraq.

The consequences are likely to be profound, throwing American politics into a downward spiral of bitter recriminations the likes of which it has not seen in a generation. It will be a wedge that politicians will exploit for their benefit. The Vietnam syndrome divided this country for decades; the Iraq syndrome will be no different.


Were our founding fathers here, they would surely look on Iraq with horror and judge that the nation they created had fundamentally lost its way. If the war in Iraq leads the United States to return to its traditional, restrained grand strategy, then perhaps the whole experience will not have been in vain.

Either way, the Iraq syndrome is coming. We need to be prepared for the divisiveness, vitriol, self-doubt and recrimination that will be its symptoms. They will be the defining legacy of the Bush administration and neoconservatism's parting gift to America.

i stew daily over our continuing, essentially unaddressed, constitutional crisis, but it's impossible to ignore our other unfolding u.s. disaster - iraq... why, why, why, can't we just get the hell out...? oh, yes, i know, the intent has NEVER been to leave... we are there for the oil, for the power, for the permanent bases we are building there to assert our hegemony in the middle east... still in all, we need to get out... we need to stop sending people to be killed for nothing but the greed of the power and money-hungry elites... we urgently need to figure out how to put a stop to letting those people rule our lives...

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9/11 truth: "We are trained not to question authority and to follow it blindly even into the abyss."

Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory
by David Ray Griffin

here's an interesting book i happened to stumble across... this is the blurb from publishers weekly as it appears on amazon...
An emeritus professor of theology with no previous interest in conspiracy theories, Griffin has dedicated himself since 2003 to the "9/11 truth" movement, a group committed to "exposing the falsity of the official theory about 9/11," and this book is a thorough, highly detailed attempt to do just that. As Griffin aptly notes, "the assumption that conspiracy theories are inherently irrational" has recently taken root in American culture, making any attack on the official government record instantly dismissible, but Griffin takes to the difficult task with solid reasoning and true zeal. All but the most dogmatic readers will find Griffin's evidence-from the inconsistencies between NORAD tapes and the 9/11 Commission Report to rigorous exploration into the physics of the collapse-detailed and deeply unnerving. For instance, Griffin considers the fact that firefighters were told, five hours before the fact, that building WTC 7 was going to collapse, despite "the fact that WTC 7 was not hit by a plane, that the available photographs show no large fires, and that fire had never caused a steel-frame high-rise to collapse." Another chilling passage looks at the Pennsylvania crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 through the testimony of those first to arrive, who were unanimous in finding "no recognizable plane parts, no body parts." For anyone who doubts the government's truthfulness regarding the WTC terrorist attack, this well-researched volume will give you a trough full of ideas to chew on.

and if that doesn't pique your curiosity, check this review from a canadian-based site recently recommended to me, called the center for research on globalization...
Claims of incompetence will always remain the theme that would prevail, in order [to] justify the occurrence of 9/11. It is more benign than complicity and treason, and would disguise the military state in the flag of democracy. It is also an acceptable scenario in the minds of the fearful herds, because it would help them correlate to their own incompetence, and to the lack of control in their own lives. In addition, when a federal agency claims incompetence for its mistakes, it will receive more control, funding and resources, and will eventually expand to a bloating level in order to reduce these mistakes. Ironically, whenever an error occurs, it is usually blamed on that same bloated bureaucracy that was expanded to begin with to resolve that same problem. It is an interesting cycle, nevertheless a vicious one.

the debunking of the incompetence myth associated with 9/11 resonates strongly with me because i happen to believe there has been no incompetence in the 6 1/2 years of the bush administration... on the contrary, they have been extraordinarily successful, systematically, methodically, relentlessly pursuing their agenda of creating fear and a complaint populace, slowly erasing our constitutional freedoms, and accruing unchecked power never before seen in our country, all the while pocketing vast floods of money from lucrative contracts... and, as richard skaff, the above reviewer, says so well...
We are trained not to question authority and to follow it blindly even into the abyss. It is biblical! You don't reveal the truth and question the establishment or you will be banished from the Garden Eden and crucified!

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Another nut that is in need of cracking

Media Matters has the full story.
From the June 12 edition of the Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club:

ROBERTSON: The question would be, ladies and gentlemen, if a million Christians want to go to Saudi Arabia and say, "We want to pray," you can't pray in Saudi Arabia. You can't have religious literature in Saudi Arabia. You can't get together in Bible study groups in Saudi Arabia. As far as having special places for foot-washing and all that, no way. You will abide by Sharia law because they're in control.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have to recognize that Islam is not a religion. It is a worldwide political movement meant on domination of the world. And it is meant to subjugate all people under Islamic law.

Islam is not a religion??????? Will someone please pass me the nut-crackers?

Actually, Pat, we have to recognize that the 700 Club is not a religion. It is a Neo-con political movement meant on domination of the world.

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Here's a shock

These guys in the administration are such crooks. Why should the children of this Nation obey any law at all. Even the people who are supposed to uphold the law are crooks.
Courtesy of the Washington Post.

DOJ Investigates if Gonzales Tried to Influence Aide's Testimony

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 14, 2007; 1:50 PM

The Justice Department is investigating whether Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales sought to influence the testimony of a departing senior aide during a March meeting in Gonzales's office, according to correspondence released today.
"This is to confirm that the scope of our investigation does include this matter," wrote Glenn A. Fine, the inspector general, and H. Marshall Jarrett, counsel of the Office of Professional Responsibility.

The disclosure could represent a serious legal threat to the embattled attorney general. Fine's office is empowered to refer matters for criminal prosecution if warranted.

The revelation also broadens the publicly known contours of the internal Justice Department investigation, which is examining the removal of the prosecutors as well as whether any laws or policies were violated in the hiring of career prosecutors, immigration judges and others.

In a May 23 appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, Goodling testified that Gonzales had laid out his general recollection of events surrounding the prosecutor dismissals during a meeting between the two in March, as Goodling was preparing to leave the department. Gonzales asked whether Goodling "had any reaction to his iteration," and she said the conversation made her "a little uncomfortable" because of ongoing investigations into the issue, according to her testimony.

"I didn't know that it was maybe appropriate for us to talk about that at that point, and so I just didn't," Goodling testified. "As far as I can remember, I just didn't respond."

Gonzales has said in a statement that he "never attempted to influence or shape the testimony or public statements of any witness," including Goodling, and that his comments "were intended only to comfort her in a very difficult period of her life."

The meeting occurred several days after OPR had begun its probe into the U.S. attorney firings on March 14. Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee in April that he had not talked to any potential witnesses about the firings "because of the fact that I haven't wanted to interfere with this investigation and department investigations."
The Justice Department did not have an immediate comment on today's development.

Another shock. I'm actually surprised that they let this info. out at all. It may be a ruse to make us think they actually have some internal integrity at the DOJ. The worst part of all of this is that anybody with any sense at all knows these creeps are always trying to influence things behind the scenes.
I must agree with the Administration in one respect, much of this is political theater. I'm far from convinced that the Waxman, Specter and Leahy really will follow through on their side with the subpoenas. Maybe the internal DOJ investigation will make better headway? Not likely.
All this crap is enough to give an Atheist religion.
I actually find myself thinking about praying that I am wrong. I really hope I am, but experience tells me to be wary.

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Send Scooter to Guantánamo - the best idea I've heard in a long time

it makes elegant sense, doesn't it...?
Send Scooter Libby to Guantánamo -- Or Shut It Down

There's A Special Place for Those Who Endanger our National Security...

Scooter Libby participated in "outing" a covert CIA operative and was convicted of lying about it. The Senate should call for him to serve his time in Guantánamo -- or they should shut it down forever.

Today a judge ruled that Scooter Libby must begin serving his prison sentence while his appeals are being heard. Libby, of course, participated in the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame -- thus endangering our national security -- and was convicted and sentenced to thirty months in jail for perjury and obstruction of justice.

Well, we have a special suggestion. Why shouldn't Scooter Libby serve his sentence at the Guantánamo Bay prison? After all, the Bush Administration asserts that things are just fine there, and Libby -- unlike many at Guantánamo -- has in fact been convicted of a crime that endangered our national security.

Let's ALL tell the Senate to send Libby to Guantánamo -- or shut down the 'American gulag' for good.

Many conservatives would argue that conditions at Guantánamo just wouldn't be right for Libby. If that's the case, why the double standard? Why not shut it down and give the prisoners there access to a fair trial in our judicial system?

When it's clear that the U.S. is responsible for the torture and abuse of prisoners -- including many who have been detained for years without being charged with any crime -- our standing in the world community is irreparably harmed. If it's not good enough for Libby, it ought to be shut down.

Take action now!

what a terrific idea...! wish i'd thought of it...!

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Scooter to go to jail

reggie walton rules on scooter libby...
He is not a flight risk or danger to the community, but I don’t see the issues raised as close, so I deny his request to be released pending appeal. I will allow him to self report, but unless I am overruled, he will have to report.

I will rule on the obstruction charge sentence to 30 months, to perjury 24 months, to false statements 6 months, all to run concurrently.

Robbins: Ask for a stay the surrender pending filing motion.

Walton: Denied. Mr. Libby, you have right to appeal.

judge walton, obviously pissed, had an interesting comment on the amici curiae brief...
Robbin: Going back to appointments clause. Your honor has received an amicus brief.

Walton: With all due respect, these are intelligent people, but I would not accept this brief from a first year law student. I believe this was put out to put pressure on this court in the public sphere to rule as you wish.

Robbins: These 12 scholars believe this is a close question.

Walton: If I had gotten something more of substance from them, maybe.

you do the crime, you do the time...

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What to do when subpoenas are ignored

i'm reposting the majority of a post i put up back at the end of april because i think it gains greater relevance every day...
i confess to being one of the members of the great unwashed blogosphere referred to by kagro x in his commendable efforts to point out another option available to congress in its response to requests and subpoenas related to oversight investigations that are being ignored by the bush administration... the most widely-discussed option, contempt of congress, would entail automatic involvement of the justice department, which, as we now so clearly realize, would be problematic to say the least... however...
Under the inherent contempt power [PDF], the individual is brought before the House or Senate by the Sergeant-at-Arms, tried at the bar of the body, and can be imprisoned. The purpose of the imprisonment or other sanction may be either punitive or coercive. Thus, the witness can be imprisoned for a specified period of time as punishment, or for an indefinite period (but not, at least in the case of the House, beyond the adjournment of a session of the Congress) until he agrees to comply. The inherent contempt power has been recognized by the Supreme Court as inextricably related to Congress’s constitutionally-based power to investigate.

here's kagro x's thoughts...
The most obvious benefit of inherent contempt is that it's conducted entirely "in-house," that is, entirely on the authority of the legislative branch. The most obvious drawback? Spending time on a trial. Well, that and the scene of having the Sergeant at Arms and the Capitol Police physically barred from entering the White House to arrest those who've defied subpoenas.

But is there another choice? What other power, besides impeachment, does the Congress have in its arsenal to enforce the "subpoena power" we were all told this election was about? There are no other direct options, only oblique approaches to using indirect leverage.


Let's face it: if the "administration" simply refuses to budge, the Congress either has to fold its tent and go home, or enforce on its own authority the subpoena power the American people voted for. Given that we've reached this impasse -- and we knew it was coming -- over an investigation into the hyper-partisan and hyper-politicized nature of the U.S. Attorneys, inherent contempt proceedings would appear to be the first and most direct resort of Congress in enforcing its mandate.

It would also appear to be the last stop short of impeachment. And with that remedy currently "off the table," Congress needs to speak -- and speak soon -- about how it intends to protect its prerogatives.

so, how do we help our congressional representatives to prepare...? again, kagro x...
Study up a bit on what happens when the subpoenas are defied. Learn about inherent contempt. Then drop a friendly line to your Members of Congress, expressing your support for the investigations the Congress is conducting, and urging them to think ahead and game out the "administration's" refusal to acknowledge the legislature's power as a co-equal branch. Let them know that when push comes to shove, you'd support enforcing that power through the inherent contempt procedure, and ask them if they're aware of it.

Sure, we'll get non-committal responses drafted by staff. But that doesn't mean there's no consideration for our communications going on inside the office. When Members get multiple letters, faxes and emails on the same subject -- even just a few -- it raises some notice among the staff. That's the way the system is designed. And when they several letters raising something that's otherwise as obscure as inherent contempt, you'll definitely be raising eyebrows.

it makes perfectly good sense to me, particularly since i have been ranting and raving about getting bushco removed from office in the most expeditious manner possible... i have never been keen on impeachment, simply because of the time and effort involved... leaving george, dick and the rest of the criminals in office and free to continue attacking the foundations of the republic while an impeachment process drags on doesn't address the urgency... however, the option of inherent contempt, something i was not aware of, ought to be out on the table just as much as contempt of congress and impeachment... write your representatives in congress as kagro x suggests... there's nothing to lose and everything to gain...

we simply CANNOT sit idly by while the bush regime continues its lawless rampage over every fundamental principle our country was founded on...

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Bill banning interim USA appointments still unsigned and interim appointments still being made

the criminal cowboy who has the nerve to call himself our president seems to take perverse delight in seeing how many ways he can negate the constitutionally-mandated separation of powers, legislation passed by the united states congress and its duly elected members, and the will of the american people...

from raw story

On June 4, the Congress sent S. 214, the Preserving United States Attorney Independence Act of 2007, to President George W. Bush. The bill overturned a measure stealthily passed by the Republican-led Congress in 2006 that allowed the Attorney General to indefinitely appoint US Attorneys on an interim basis. Critics said the provision was intended to do an end-run around the standard Senate confirmation process for US Attorneys.

The bill passed the Senate by a 94-2 margin on March 20, and also cleared the House of Representatives by a 306-114 vote on May 22. The President has yet to sign or veto the bill.

so, in the meantime...
"It just so happens the [Senate Judiciary Committee] got notice yesterday, that on June 16, George Cardona's 210 days as Acting U.S. Attorney in the Central District of California will have run out and the Attorney General will appoint him as an interim U.S. Attorney at that time. (i.e. still using the end-run authority because Bush has slow-walked signing the bill)," [Tracy Schmaler, a spokeswoman for Senator Leahy] wrote.

this kind of lawlessness simply cannot be tolerated... it's time to revisit the "inherent contempt" provision, which i will drag out once again in a subsequent post...

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A question for John Conyers: "Do you think Bush and Cheney have been behaving themselves lately?"

there's a lot more articulate passion to be had from rusty1776 over at daily kos and it's well worth the time to click over there and read all of it... however, here's the guts...
Why did you introduce your Impeachment resolution in 2005 but won't call for Impeachment hearings NOW? Do you think Bush and Cheney have been behaving themselves lately? Is that it? You may have forgotten, but that House Judiciary Committee Chairman's gavel isn't your gavel, it's OUR gavel. You work for US. You need to start pounding that gavel in IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS.

You did NOT take this oath of office:

"I, John Conyers Jr, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States if I can get enough votes and have enough time, against all enemies, foreign and domestic, except George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove; that I will bear selective faith and periodic allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation with several mental reservations and purposes of evasion because I'm a politician and that's what we do for a living; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter if Speaker Pelosi lets me. So help me God."

You took THIS oath of office:

"I, John Conyers Jr, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

The responsibilities imposed on you by your oath of office are very evident, Chairman Conyers.

The high crimes and misdemeanors committed by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are very evident, Chairman Conyers.

The Constitutional power granted to the House of Representatives to Impeach for high crimes and misdemeanors is very evident, Chairman Conyers.

You have to begin Impeachment hearings.

If you aren't going to honor your oath of office, you don't deserve to represent us in Congress.

rusty opened his comments with this, something that cuts right to my core, particularly now, with two more subpoenas having been issued...
Subpoenas aren't essential, Chairman Conyers, IMPEACHMENT IS. Subpoenas will either be ignored, or Bush's thugs will just say "I don't recall" a hundred times and then go home and laugh at you.

it's past time to start the real fight... and if we don't get cranking pretty soon, we might as well just forget about it...

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Robert Parry on our fragile republic

robert parry writes on just how precarious the decision on al-marri really is and how bush might still have his claim to unfettered power upheld in the courts...
By a two-to-one margin, a federal appeals court has repudiated George W. Bush’s right to snatch a civilian off the streets of America and hold the person indefinitely without trial. But the makeup of the three-judge panel was a fluke, with two Clinton appointees comprising the majority.

The proportion of Republican appointees to Democrats on the full U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, is the opposite, eight-to-four Republican. So, the Bush administration retains high hopes that the full court will agree to review the case of Ali al-Marri and grant the President the authority he wants.

The case, which tests the limits of Bush’s claims to “plenary” – or unlimited – powers as Commander in Chief, eventually is expected to reach the U.S. Supreme Court where Bush has four of nine justices solidly in his corner – Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

Assuming the roster of the Supreme Court remains the same, the swing vote is expected to be Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is considered a loyal Republican – the author of the December 2000 ruling awarding Bush the White House – but who has objected to some elements of Bush’s expansive presidential authority.


Civil libertarians hailed the al-Marri ruling as a significant defeat for Bush’s vision of an imperial presidency. But the fragility of the judicial consensus holding the line against the President's "plenary" powers signals that the battle to sustain the Founders’ vision of a Republic based on the rule of law and recognizing “certain unalienable rights” is far from over.

i was extremely gratified to see any court anywhere in the land standing up for our constitution and the historical principles of our judicial process, something it seems that the bush administration is dead-set on destroying... no, we aren't out of the woods, not by a long shot, but a step at a time is better than nothing...

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Begone, Lurita, and never darken my door again

think progress quotes henry waxman from today's house oversight committee hearings...
In today’s House oversight committee hearing with GSA administrator Lurita Doan, chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) told Doan that she should resign:
I have to say, this is my opinion, but it’s unusual for me to ever call for the resignation of a federal official. But in your case, I don’t see any other course of action that will protect the interests of your agency and the federal taxpayer. No one can be an effective leader who has abused the trust of her employees, and threatened to deny promotions and bonuses to employees for telling the truth. And no one can be an effective leader who has lost the public’s confidence, politicizing the agency and violating the federal Hatch Act, yet that is exactly what you have done.

i predict that waxman's strongly worded suggestion that doan resign, will, just like gonzo's failed no-confidence vote, merely strengthen bush's resolve to keep her... otoh, in big picture terms and, given the other crises that are biting bush around the ankles, lurita is most definitely expendable... however, i just can't see bush allowing it to look like he's acceding to waxman's request... it would be totally out of character...

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Let the constitutional crisis begin

there's another one of these (PDF) with sara taylor's name on it...

from think progress...
These are the first subpoenas delivered to the White House regarding the attorney firings. The House Judiciary Committee issued the subpoena to Miers, and the Senate Judiciary Committee issued the subpoena to Taylor.


CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin reports, “The White House has made clear it will cite executive privilege for conversations that took place within the White House on the U.S. attorney matter, and if the people with those conversations happen to have subsequently left the White House, that doesn’t matter. They’re still going to cite executive privilege, and these people are not going to be allowed to testify anytime soon, it appears, if the White House remains as it has been. … Even if they want to testify.”

fine... let's get the goddam show on the road... and this better not end up like condi's subpoena that's been floating around out there, unenforced, since april 25...
On a party-line vote of 21-10, the House of Representatives' Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved a subpoena for Rice, which was quickly issued.

and it, too, was accompanied by the same raft of executive privilege horseshit...
[T]he administration said it might fight the subpoena, citing a legal doctrine that can shield a president and his aides from having to answer questions from Congress.

"Those matters are covered by executive privilege," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, moving toward a possible legal showdown with the Democratic-led Congress.

no more screwing around, congress, and that means BOTH of you, patrick leahy and henry waxman... the time for niceties is long gone... we're in a constitutional war and the sooner we face that fact, the quicker we can get on with reclaiming our country...

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"A system called 'democracy' now gives peasants something called 'the vote'”

newsweek's howard fineman on bush's suicide mission on immigration policy...
Though I’ve never heard him use the term, my guess is that George W. Bush sees himself as a hacendado, an estate owner in Old Mexico.

That would give him a sense of Southwestern noblesse, duty-bound not just to work “his” people, but to protect them as well.

His advisor, Carlo Rove, has explained that a system called “democracy” now gives peasants something called “the vote.” It would be shrewd, Rove said, for hacendados to grant their workers’ citizenship.

That’s the best explanation I have for why Bush is in the midst of what may be a suicide mission on immigration policy—embarrassing for him and ruinous for his party.

fineman nails it with the "us vs. them" thinking, but fails completely to point out just who has been pouring gasoline on that fire virtually every day since 9/11...
As always, conservatives, who thrive on alienation, are spoiling for a fight. Now they have found it. Among the branch of conservatism fixed on “Us v Them” thinking, the enemy for decades was Communism. After the fall of The Wall, the “neocons” found a replacement Them in jihadist Islam. The old America-Firsters—what we used to call “isolationists,” who distrust foreign commitments—now have a homeland Them, in the form of 12-20 million illegal immigrants, most from Mexico.

i would hope george would feel free to embark on as many of these "suicide missions" as he cares to... the sooner he succeeds, the better off the country and the rest of the world will be...

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"The sound of Mr. Gonzales not being defended was deafening."

what's to defend...?
The most remarkable thing about the debate on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales this week was what didn’t happen. Barely a word was said in praise him or his management of the Justice Department. The message was clear even though the Republicans prevented a no-confidence vote through the threat of a filibuster — a tactic that until recently they claimed to abhor. The sound of Mr. Gonzales not being defended was deafening.

that there is no one to defend gonzo besides bush, and that the no-confidence vote failed is a look into the national mirror... our government and our elected leaders have completely abandoned any semblance of accountability, adherence to the rule of law, or respect for the constitution... as has been the case for the past 6 1/2 years, there seems to be nowhere to go but down...

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Third Party Thinking

I don't know if this is what ProfMarcus had in mind for good news, but whenever I see a cogent argument for abandoning the two party system for a multiparty system, I am encouraged. I think the Prof would be as well.
Hats off to Greenhut. Read his whole article at the OC Register.

A pox on both their parties
I'm leaving the GOP, but not for the Democrats
Senior editorial writer and columnist
Last weekend, I announced my not-so-Earth-shattering decision to leave the Republican Party. In the era of George W. Bush, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Arnold Schwarzenegger, I simply have had enough.

Me too, Dude.
Here's my chance to elaborate a little further.

The country has devolved so much into a two-party system that many folks believe that if you abandon one party, you must necessarily take up common cause with the other one. Yet if a restaurant gives you a choice between eating food laced with rat poison or with arsenic, you might want to eat somewhere else, even if it's a long drive until the next rest stop and even if the new restaurant hasn't gotten great reviews.
So ... no, I have not become a Democrat. I haven't criticized Democrats too much in recent months, mainly because it's so pointless.

Thank the Gods that there is still some good old American common sense. The restaurant analogy is perfect.
He gives a good technical explanation of why the Dems aren't an alternative as well. Mostly because they want to continue making gov't larger and more intrusive.
He also points out the new twist, Repubs want big intrusive gov't now, too.

That's why I stuck so long with the Republican Party, seeing it as – in a two-party system – the only counterbalance to the above-outlined lunacy. But the GOP has become just like the Democrats in pandering to special interest groups, advocating for large government, supporting new entitlements and social programs. Sure, Republican socialism goes only two-thirds as far as Democratic socialism. And, sure, Republicans are half-hearted about the new wasteful domestic programs they propose. But Republicans have their own agenda that truly excites them. It's even more expensive than the Democratic agenda, in terms of dollars and liberty.

Republicans seem to unite on one thing: support for war. Whenever America attacks a nation – an increasingly common phenomenon, under either party's watch – Republicans are in the front row, cheering. Never mind that the founders opposed a foreign policy devoted to slaying foreign dragons.

That last sentence is a great point. The Founders all felt war was a trap that would break the back of liberty. War was for the defense of home and property, not a foreign policy tool.
There are great people in both parties, and some good ideas that come from members of those parties. But, in general, I'd say a pox on both houses.

Now, for the answer to the question that most people have asked me: What party am I joining? Nothing wrong with registering as "Decline to State" and avoiding any new entangling alliances. But I'll hang around the GOP long enough to vote in the Republican primary for Rep. Ron Paul, the only consistent defender of freedom in Congress. Then I'll probably re-register as a big "L" Libertarian, if they don't mind having me. I've got some issues with the Libertarian Party – i.e., I wish it were more serious about fielding winnable candidates in local races, and it has sported some weird candidates on the ballot at times. But it's filled with good, albeit cantankerous folks who love freedom. So I should fit in pretty well.

I reiterate, me too, Dude. I think the Libertarians have a great overall political philosophy. I have the same concerns as Greenhut, but the problems are very workable.
Here is the key. The time for the Libertarian party to begin a very vocal run for '08 is NOW!
They can't wait to start raising money and fighting the inevitable court cases the Repubs and Dems will launch against them. The two parties always try to prevent Libertarians from even being heard, let alone get on a ballot.
This next election is the right time. Americans are ready for the most real and meaningful change to come along in 90 years, a new multiparty system.
Remember, E Plurbus Unum.

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One of "THOSE" days

i'm casting about for posting material and am finding my heart just isn't in it... stories like fred thompson adding liz cheney to his a'buildin' campaign team just don't give me much hope... yesterday, i was buoyed by the story from the three-judge panel in richmond, ruling against "ememy combatant" status, but, ya know, i feel like i'm grasping at straws... bush, cheney, gonzo, and rove are still in place, people are still dying all over the damn place in iraq, and the bushies are still taking their daily dump on our constitution... maybe brother tim or jim can muster a bit more motivation than i can and give you something interesting to read and ponder... i'm gonna teach my class this evening and not think about anything else... (unless, of course, something BIG hits the fan...! LOL...)

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Paul McNulty "may suddenly be feeling a little talkative"

that would be nice...

from salon...

Paul McNulty, who has announced his resignation as deputy attorney general and -- in the wake of attempts by Gonzales and Monica Goodling to implicate him in the U.S. attorney mess -- may suddenly be feeling a little talkative.

think progress confirms...
ThinkProgress has confirmed with the House Judiciary Committee that McNulty’s hearing will be Tuesday, June 19, at 1:00 PM.

drag him in front of the committee and, if he doesn't sing like a canary, bring in jack bauer, and have jack use a few "enhanced interrogation techniques" until he spills the beans...

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Begging for money to defend Scooter

jeralyn received a letter from mary matalin (PDF) soliciting money for scooter's legal defense fund... break out the tissues... bottom line...?

what i'd like to know is what happened to her hubby...?

seems to me if carville can sign the letter of support for scooter (PDF), he can also sign the fund-raising letter...

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Bush's watch snatched off his wrist in Albania

as a frequent traveler to the balkans and other areas of the world where i always tend to pay closer attention to what's going on around me, i find this just too funny...
George W Bush was visibly cheered when he received a hero's welcome in Albania at the weekend, with Albanians draped in the Stars and Stripes reaching out to hug him and shake his hand.

But perhaps the leader of the Western world should have exercised a little more caution and followed the standard advice to travellers in the Balkans to keep an eye on their belongings.

watch it and judge for yourself...

forever in denial and stonewall mode, the white house responds...

A White House spokeswoman denied today that that the President had been robbed. She also denied other Albanian reports that Mr Bush's watch did fall off during the vigorous walkabout but that it was returned to a bodyguard. Instead the spokeswoman said that Mr Bush had removed it himself. "He took it off," she said.

yep, they love him all right...

(note: this is not and should not be a reflection on either albania or the balkans... most everybody knows you should take the same precautions in big cites and crowds everywhere...)

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Reconstructing the conditions in a CIA secret detention cell - refining the techniques

the section of the Parliament Assembly of the Council of Europe, Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights report entitled, Secret detentions and illegal transfers of detainees involving Council of Europe member states: second report (PDF), is excerpted in full by stephen soldz in his weblog, Psyche, Science, and Society... we - all of us - very much need to know what is being done in our name... please click over there and take the time to read it...

here's some of soldz' thoughts...

In this description we can see the results of decades of CIA study, aided by many psychologists and psychiatrists, of how to destroy human beings, the fruits of its MKULTRA program and the detailed implementation of the in the KUBARK (PDF) and other torture manuals.

One of the problems the CIA faced in conducting their research on soul-destruction was the lack of available research subjects who could be subject to the full panoply of techniques or what they called “terminal experiments.” It is thus likely that the CIA’s psychologists, like Scott Shumate (who, according to his biographical statement “has been with several of the key apprehended terrorists”), were not involved solely in the construction of this hell, but also in studying its effects so as to better refine the techniques.

curious as always, i followed soldz' link and took a look at the KUBARK (PDF) interrogation manual... what i found was a document dated july 1963 that contained 131 pages of very detailed instructions for interrogators... it's all quite interesting and, when you get to page 85, section IX entitled, The Coercive Counterintelligence Interrogation of Resistant Sources, it really starts to get interesting...

items... (remember, this material was published in 1963... just imagine how much more "refined" it has become since then...)
  • is advisable to keep the subject upset by constant disruptions of patterns
  • The more complete the place of confinement eliminates sensory stimuli, the more rapidly and deeply the interrogatee will be affected. Results produced only after weeks or months in an ordinary cell can be duplicated in hours or days in a cell which has no light (or weak artifical light which never varies), which is sound-proofed, in which odors are eliminated, etc. An environment still more subject to control, such as a water-tank or iron lung, is even more effective.
  • The available evidence suggests that resistance is sapped principally by psychological rather than physical pressures. The threat of debility - for example, a brief deprivation of food - may induce much more anxiety than prolonged hunger. ... Meals and sleep granted irregularly, in more than abundance or less than adequacy, the shifts occurring on no discernible time pattern, will normally disorient an interrogatee and sap his will to resist more effectively than a sustained deprivation leading to debility.
  • [W]hereas pain inflicted on a person from outside himself may actually focus or intensify his will to resist, his resistance is likelier to be sapped by pain which he inflicts on himself. ... When the individual is told to stand at attention for long periods, an intervening factor is introduced. The immediate source of pain is not the interrogator but the victim himself.
  • Just as the threat of pain may more effectively induce compliance than its infliction, so an interrogatee's mistaken belief that he has been drugged may make him a more useful interrogation subject than he would be under narcosis.
ok, enough of that... as i said earlier, it's important that we know what's taking place in our name...

(thanks to larisa for giving me the initial links to this expedition to the dark side...)

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Totally Outrageous!!!

This is just another example of the State chipping away at our rights. Thanks to Johann for pointing this out to me in a comment on another post.

Courtesy of Matt Miller at

Wiretap case dims prospects of man, 18
Recording traffic stop brought felony count
Monday, June 11, 2007
Of Our Cumberland County Bureau
Brian D. Kelly didn't think he was doing anything illegal when he used his videocamera to record a Carlisle police officer during a traffic stop.
Making movies is one of his hobbies, he said, and the stop was just another interesting event to film.

Of course he didn't think it was wrong. Why would it be?
Now, he's worried about going to prison or being burdened with a criminal record.
Kelly, 18, of Carlisle, was arrested on a felony wiretapping charge, with a penalty of up to 7 years in state prison.
Kelly is charged under a state law that bars the intentional interception or recording of anyone's oral conversation without their consent.

They explain that this law was designed to protect individuals from having damaging audio recordings made without their knowledge.
"Obviously, ignorance of the law is no defense," District Attorney David Freed said. "But often these cases come down to questions of intent."
According to police, Kelly was riding in a pickup truck that had been stopped for alleged traffic violations.
Police said the officer saw Kelly had a camera in his lap, aimed at him and was concealing it with his hands. They said Kelly was arrested after he obeyed an order to turn the camera off and hand it over.
The wiretap charge was filed after consultation with a deputy district attorney, police said.

Wiretapping? What the hell are they talking about? The kid had the camera in his hand.
Kelly said his friend was cited for speeding and because his truck's bumper was too low. He said he held the camera in plain view and turned it on when the officer yelled at his pal.
After about 20 minutes, the officer cited the driver on the traffic charges and told the men they were being recorded by a camera in his cruiser, Kelly said.
"He said, 'Young man, turn off your ... camera,'" Kelly said. "I turned it off and handed it to him. ... Six or seven more cops pulled up, and they arrested me."
Police also took film from his pockets that wasn't related to the traffic stop, he said.

The state may record you, you may not record the state.
The outcome hinges on whether the person had a malicious intent, Freed said.
Carlisle Police Chief Stephen Margeson said allowing Kelly to plead to a lesser charge might be proper.
"I don't think that would cause anyone any heartburn," he said. "I don't believe there was any underlying criminal intent here."

How kind, they might let him plead to a lesser charge.
Everybody seems to agree that this kid had no malicious intent. Also, he was filming an event occurring in public. A Cop is certainly a reasonable figure to tape if he isn't undercover.
So why was he even charged?
This is a good example of how complicated and obscure laws will be used against unsuspecting citizens to process them into the justice system octopus.
Where is the malicious intent in this situation? Could it be with law enforcement sending multiple officers to arrest a kid with a video recorder during a traffic stop, then locking him up for 26hrs. and threatening to scar his permanent record.
That sounds like terrorism to me.

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Solid reason vs. Rove's talking points on Gonzo

two major media outlets, more often than not known for defending (or at least not attacking) bush, aren't at all happy that gonzales is still in office...

USA Today

Blame monumental stubbornness, misplaced loyalty or failure to grasp reality. Whatever the reason, President Bush insists on keeping Alberto Gonzales, an old friend and legal adviser, as attorney general.


Monday's vote doesn't — and shouldn't — mean that the Gonzales case is closed. Questions about the prosecutors' firings remain, ones that can be answered only by White House officials, including political adviser Karl Rove.

The White House has said it will allow the officials to testify only in private, with no transcript and not under oath. That's flatly unacceptable.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has authorized subpoenas for the officials. Now it's time to get to the bottom of the White House role in the firings and, just as important, in running the department.

The Justice Department and the American people deserve better than a discredited, wounded attorney general. Even if the Senate can't muster enough votes to pass a no-confidence resolution, it's long past time for the president to channel his legendary loyalty away from his old friend and toward the public interest.

[T]wo fundamental points: First, the president's apparently unshakable confidence in his attorney general is sadly misplaced. Second, the disturbing behavior uncovered in the investigation of the firing of U.S. attorneys cannot be dismissed as mere partisan politics, as much as the president would like to do so. Partisan politics was at work, yes, but in Mr. Bush's Justice Department...


Mr. Gonzales was the wrong choice to become the nation's chief law enforcement officer, and his conduct on the job has only served to underscore his unfitness.

meanwhile, george and the other loyal bushies stick to their scripted talking points...

our prez...

"This process has been drug out a long time, which says to me it's political," President Bush said yesterday. "There's no wrongdoing. . . . And therefore, I ascribe this lengthy series of news stories and hearings as political."

tony snow

The Senate took time out to perform a little political theater Monday.


Gonzales doesn't deserve this. He is a man of great dedication and integrity.


The best way ... to create the foundation for some comity and cooperation in the nation's capital — is to stop slinging mud and start rolling up sleeves.

Real work beckons.

and orrin hatch...
This is purely a publicity stunt, designed to put something on the president's desk to embarrass him.


The nation's business waits while this fishing expedition continues.

real work, stunt, theater, partisan, fishing expedition, slinging mud, politics, publicity, no wrongdoing, man of integrity... note them well... they're all the same, they're all from the dark and twisted mind of karl rove, and, for sure, you haven't heard the last of them...

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Is there no end to this guy?

Capital Hill Blue has this AP story
I think we've got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq," Lieberman said. "And to me, that would include a strike over the border into Iran, where we have good evidence that they have a base at which they are training these people coming back into Iraq to kill our soldiers.

This quote, at this time, has my head spinning. Some may call LIEberman a 'piece of sh*t', but I liken him more to a bad case of diarrhea.

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BUSH'S government, not OUR government

i'm glad we got THAT little issue cleared up...
They can have their votes of no confidence, but it's not going to make the determination about who serves in my government," Bush said in Sofia, Bulgaria, the last stop on a weeklong visit to Europe.

53-38, and specter, snowe, and norm coleman all voted for it, and that miserable, rotten, worthless, piece of shit, joe lieberman, voted against it... what a piece of work that guy is...

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The Police State Is Already Here

This is really terrifying. This should have never been in court in the first place, let alone gone this far.
This is as bad as Nifong during the Duke rape case.

Courtesy of Trey Ellis at the
If you were watching CNN this afternoon you saw incredibly compelling television. Genarlow Wilson, the Georgia high-school homecoming king and 3.2 G.P.A. student, sentenced to ten years for receiving consensual oral sex from a fifteen-year-old when he was seventeen, was finally freed by a judge. The Soviet-styled sentencing was overturned after the state of Georgia had already wasted two years of this young man's life.

It seemed that the Kafkaesque nightmare was over and this young black Georgian could finally get on with his life.

Yet moments later Georgia District Attorney Thurbert Baker faxed the celebrating family of young Mr. Wilson that he was appealing the verdict.

As Monroe County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilson stated in his decision to free Genarlow Wilson, "If this court or any court cannot recognize the injustice of what has occurred here, then our court system has lost sight of the goal our judicial system has always strived to accomplish....If any case fits into the definitive limits of a miscarriage of justice, surely this case does."

The people who prosecuted this case are either crooks or extremists.
Thurbert Baker must have gone to the same law school as Gonzales. And the worst part of all, the kid still sits in jail while the creeps who prosecuted him are immune to any accountability.
I have been convinced for some time that our Democracy is gone, cases like this just reinforce that belief.
The Gestapo might come for you, next.

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A heartfelt tribute to someone I lost

when i read this article in today's nyt, it was like a kick to the stomach... my dear good friend, julian, whom i had met in mexico and who had honored me by making me the padrino to his daughter, was killed and his body returned to mexico precisely as the article states...

Gabriela Acevedo, at a memorial for her brother Héctor,
who was working illegally in Arkansas when he died in a
car crash with two other young men. His body, like those
of many Mexicans who die in the United States, was repatriated.

Last year, Mexican consulates across the United States recorded 10,622 shipments of bodies for burial back home, 7 percent more than in 2005 and 11 percent more than in 2004. The consulates, which do not track the immigration status of the deceased, spent $4 million in 2006 to help repatriate bodies to Mexico, up from $3.4 million in 2005.

julian tried three times to get over the border, each time paying money he couldn't afford to coyotes to smuggle him across... on the fourth try, he made it and joined his brother in kansas, working construction... in october 2004, he was killed in a car crash on a kansas highway... i miss him...

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Specter to vote for no-confidence?

i'll believe it when i see it...
The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Monday he will vote for a no-confidence resolution against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, after long questioning the leadership and independence of President Bush's longtime friend.

specter doesn't exactly have credibility in matching his actions to his words...

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Four years in military custody as an "enemy combatant" without being charged gets whacked

hot damn...! the courts are coming out of their shell and starting to uphold the constitution and demonstrate the real value of our founders' insistence on separation of powers...
President George W. Bush cannot order the military to seize and indefinitely detain a Qatari national and suspected al Qaeda operative, the only person being held in the United States as an "enemy combatant," an appeals court ruled on Monday.

In a major setback for Bush's policies in the war on terrorism adopted after the September 11 attacks, the appellate panel ruled 2-1 the U.S. government had no evidence to treat Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri as an "enemy combatant." The court ordered him released from military custody.

"The government cannot subject al-Marri to indefinite military detention. For in the United States, the military cannot seize and imprison civilians -- let alone imprison them indefinitely," Judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote.

Al-Marri has been held in a U.S. Navy brig in Charleston, South Carolina, for about four years without any charges.

The ruling sent the case back to a federal judge in South Carolina with instructions to direct the secretary of defense to release al-Marri from military custody within a reasonable period of time.

The government can transfer al-Marri to civilian authorities to face criminal charges, initiate deportation proceedings, hold him as a witness in a grand jury proceeding or detain him for a limited period of time under the Patriot Act, an anti-terrorism law.

i've just violated the fair-use rule by taking the entire nyt story, but, i gotta tell ya, this is HUGE... with recent events in guantánamo, powell speaking out yesterday, and now this, maybe there's some momentum building to get our country on track... this is good news... VERY good news...

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A Victory For The Constitution

Let's hope this is a trend.

06/11/2007 12:02:41 EST Court Rules in Favor of Enemy Combatant
Associated Press Writer

RICHMOND, Va. - The Bush administration cannot legally detain a U.S. resident it believes is an al-Qaida sleeper agent without charging him, a divided federal appeals court ruled Monday. The court said sanctioning the indefinite detention of civilians would have "disastrous consequences for the constitution - and the country."
In the 2-1 decision, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel found that the federal Military Commissions Act doesn't strip Ali al-Marri, a legal U.S. resident, of his constitutional rights to challenge his accusers in court.

It ruled the government must allow al-Marri to be released from military detention.

Al-Marri has been held in solitary confinement in the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C., since June 2003. The Qatar native has been detained since his December 2001 arrest at his home in Peoria, Ill., where he moved with his wife and five children a day before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to study for a master's degree.

"To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the President calls them 'enemy combatants,' would have disastrous consequences for the constitution - and the country," the court panel said.

Al-Marri's lawyers argued that the Military Commissions Act, passed last fall to establish military trials after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, doesn't repeal the writ of habeas corpus - defendants' traditional right to challenge their detention.

Maybe this guy is a terrorist or extremist supporter. I don't know the details.
All I know is that if he is a citizen, he is protected by habeas corpus and must be charged, and tried in the light of day. Then we all can know if he is guilty or not. It's how I would expect to be treated as a citizen.
I would really like to know if this guy is what they say. If he is, he should receive the appropriate punishment.
As long as he gets a fair trial, whether he deserves it or not, we can sleep with a clear conscience.

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"Baseball... been berry berry good... to me."

"Baseball... been berry berry good... to me." - Garrett Morris as Chico Escuela on SNL, as spoken to "Hane" Curtin

glenn greenwald expresses the same view about the "pardon scooter libby fever" i've been peddling lately (here and here)...
"Beltway crime" is an oxymoron, at least when it is committed by a high-level political official. In exactly the way they treated all prior acts of lawbreaking by Bush officials as innocuous political controversies, the Beltway press speaks of Lewis Libby's felonies as being something other than a "real crime," all so plainly based on the premise that Libby -- as a dignified member in good standing of the elevated and all-important Beltway court -- ought to be exempt from the type of punishment doled out to "real criminals" who commit "real crimes."


There are many reasons why the political press fails to investigate and uncover real wrongdoing on the part of the government, but a leading reason is that they do not see lawbreaking as genuinely wrong or the lawbreakers as corrupt. These are their friends and colleagues -- their socioeconomic peers and, with increasing and disturbing frequency, their spouses and family members -- and while Important Bush Officials might be "guilty" of engaging in harmless and perfectly accepted political "hardball," they are never genuinely bad people engaged in genuinely bad acts. And they certainly do not belong in criminal courtrooms or prison.


There is no class of people more defensive of the prerogatives of political power than our "journalist" class, even though, in a healthy and functioning democracy, the exact opposite would be true.

as i've said before, why would those who have worked so hard for their success repudiate the very system that bestowed it on them...?

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Are extraordinary rendition flights continuing, operated by Blackwater?

A CASA-212 Aviocar, registration number N964BW,
owned by Blackwater, lands at the RAF Mildenhall airbase in
Suffolk, United Kingdom, a week ago Saturday

when i was working for united airlines, i discovered that there's an entire sub-culture out there of "plane-spotters," no doubt genetically linked to that other genre, train-spotters... at heart, i suppose i'm one myself, although not nearly passionate enough to devote any serious time to it... anywayz, plane-spotters around the world have been doing a great service to all of us by identifying, tracking, monitoring, and photographing cia flights... this story would not have surfaced had it not been for their diligent efforts...

from the uk daily mail...

The row over CIA 'torture flights' using British airports has deepened following fresh evidence that a plane repeatedly linked to the controversial programme landed in the UK just days ago.

The plane was logged arriving at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk last weekend, and watching aviation experts said the aircraft, piloted by crew clad in desert fatigues, was immediately surrounded on the runway by armed American security forces.

Its registration number, clearly visible on the fuselage, identifies it as a plane which the European Parliament says has been involved in 'ghost flights' to smuggle terrorist suspects to shadowy interrogation centres abroad.

Records show the plane is owned by Blackwater USA, a CIA contractor described as "the most secretive and powerful mercenary army on the planet". An eyewitness, who previously worked as an RAF electronic warfare expert, said that as the plane - a CASA-212 Aviocar - taxied to a stop on the runway it was met by a US military Humvee.

The vehicle contained four US security policemen armed with M16 assault rifles, who accompanied the camouflaged crew to the airport terminal.

this comes hard on the heels of last week's report confirming cia secret prisons... equally interesting is that a little digging turned up that the plane is listed in a report provided last november for the european parliament...

With a range of 2,000 miles, the flight was tracked
in U.S. airspace, and then likely refueled in Greenland,
the U.K., Malta, and the near Middle East, before heading
to Afghanistan or Iraq.

A report last November by a European Parliament committee placed the plane - registration number N964BW - on a list of "companies and aircraft used by the CIA for extraordinary rendition flights". The plane was previously registered with the Bolivian army, and has been pictured on the ground in the Afghan capital Kabul within the past year.

The American Federal Aviation Authority lists the plane as being operated by two companies, Aviation World Wide Services and a sister company, Presidential Airways.

The European Parliament report describes these as shell companies operating as subsidiaries of Blackwater USA, "an important contractor for the CIA and the US military" which bases the planes in Malta.

Research by a further group, The American Centre for Media and Democracy, claims that flight-tracking internet technology shows the plane landed at least twice in the first six months of 2006 at Camp Peary, the U.S. naval reservation in Virginia known as The Farm and widely alleged to be a CIA training facility.

Tracking technology shows that the plane was en route from Canada to Greenland two days before it was sighted at Mildenhall: the internet software does not extend beyond American airspace, but the expert explained that its route would be consistent with a refuelling stop in the Arctic - it only has a range of about 2,000 miles - followed by a further refuel in East Anglia, before heading to Malta.

From there it could 'leapfrog' from US bases in the former Soviet states bordering Afghanistan on to Kabul.

i can't imagine anyone so naive as to believe both that the cia secret prisons are not still in operation and that extraordinary rendition is not still underway... such naivete - or deliberate blindness - is equivalent to believing that domestic wiretapping is being conducted through fisa or that bush will dump alberto gonzales... as atrios says, na ga happen...

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According to Novak, Bush is losing 2x with the R's, on both Gonzales and Libby

the r's think it's outrageous that bush isn't pardoning libby and even more outraged that he's retaining gonzo... at least they're thinking straight on that last one... tough shit, george... just add 'em to the list of people who hate you...

novak in the wapo today...

Washington lawyer Victoria Toensing: "If the president can pardon 12 million illegal immigrants, he can pardon Scooter Libby."


In contrast, Republican insiders are enraged by Bush's retention of Gonzales, whom they consider a political and governmental disaster.

and so, simply put, here's what novak says the r's want (never admitting, of course, that it's what HE wants too)...
[T]wo possibilities are talked about in Republican circles: Let Gonzales go, and pardon Libby. That might push Bush's approval ratings even lower, but it sure would hearten his base.

good god, the man is so out of touch...! first of all, if the r's REALLY wanted gonzo gone, they wouldn't be ready - as they are at this very moment - to scuttle the gonzo no-confidence vote... and even though george, via tony snow, said yesterday that gonzo's going to stay no matter what, they could at least go on the record strongly in opposition to keeping him... but, as i've said, they're not going to do that because they know intuitively that, like jericho, if they cut the cord now, the walls will definitely come a'tumblin' down (see previous post)...

i won't go in to the pardoning of libby other than to say that doing so would be a complete perversion of our justice system... but the other thing that blows me away is the suggestion that bush should try to appease his base even if it means he falls further in the polls... who the hell IS the base these days...? the religious right has pulled away, rightly so after being dumped by the side of the road, so novak must be referring to the likes of fouad ajami, or robert bork and his 8 other constitutional lawyers politically-connected elite buds, who not only can see themselves in libby's shoes, but are also preparing the ground for possible similar action on cheney's behalf... what novak doesn't mention, either because it hasn't occurred to him or because he's blind to the degree to which this elite "base" will try to game the system, is that bush, by pardoning libby, might also be assuring a pardon for himself later on...

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

As the Gonzales no-confidence vote approaches, think of this: "Words seem inadequate in the face of such blithe noncompetence"

strong stuff...
Dan Metcalfe says he thought he had seen it all as a former senior Justice Department lawyer whose career stretches back to the Watergate scandal of the Nixon administration.

Over the years, Metcalfe says, he has taken pride in being able to work with Republican and Democratic administrations as director of the department's Office of Information and Privacy, which he co-founded in 1981.

But he says he has never seen anything quite like Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.

Metcalfe, 55, retired in early January, just before the storm erupted over the dismissal last year of nine U.S. attorneys. The House and Senate Judiciary committees are investigating whether the prosecutors were fired in order to squelch political investigations against Republicans or failing to aggressively pursue voter fraud charges against Democratic-leaning groups.

In an interview, Metcalfe said, "I think the way in which the firings themselves were handled was abominable, the way in which the ensuing controversy was handled was abysmal, and the way in which Gonzales has handled himself is absolutely appalling."

"As a long-term Justice Department official, I am embarrassed and increasingly incensed that he is still in there," he said.


Sheer political expediency, avoidance of individual responsibility, defensive personal aggrandizement, irresponsible "consensus" decision-making, disregard for long-standing practices and principles — it was all there, and it was tainted at most every turn by unprecedented White House involvement.


To put it mildly, it's hard to imagine that anyone but the most die-hard political appointees at the Justice Department would have any confidence in Gonzales today — and even that small amount of support would be based on blind loyalty rather than painful reality.


It is the arrogance of power, the palpable disdain for the rule of law, and the utter disregard for the Justice Department's integrity that brings this so very close to the Watergate era.


Gonzales has now shown himself to be so lacking as to defy complete description; words seem inadequate in the face of such blithe noncompetence. Suffice to say that his standing relative to other attorneys general comports with how this president compares with his own predecessors.

it's difficult for me to comprehend a former senior doj official making statements like that and not having them set the country on fire... it shows just how effectively we've been dumbed down and how much we prefer our narcotic consumer pleasures to the responsibilities of citizenship... we're behaving just like congress, sticking our heads in the sand and hoping it all blows over soon...

i'll repeat what i said earlier... the r's are going to stick by bush and vote against the no-confidence measure, it will fail, bush and gonzo will congratulate themselves for pulling off another one, the dems will put their tails between their legs, continue with their various hearings, and warm themselves with fantasies of what they could be with a little more testosterone... but it's like the little dutch boy, sticking his finger in the dike, trying to hold back the sea - when it goes, it's going to go in a rush...

the r's know, if they abandon george now, the dike will most definitely give way, and they'll be standing right there, dead center, watching an oncoming wall of water... it's the classic rock and a hard place dilemma... there's only one thing left to do, and that's for congress to re-assert - aggressively re-assert - its role as a separate but equal power under the constitution, whatever form that may take... the crisis is upon us, and, even though congress is wishing mightily for it to go away, it's not going to... it's time to stand up and fight...

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