Thursday, January 31, 2008
Appearing before Congress for the first time since his confirmation hearings, Attorney General Michael Mukasey continued to duck and wave on the hot subject of waterboarding. He refused to make a straightforward judgement on the legality of the simulated-drowning technique, even in cases where it would involve US citizens.
Mukasey also continued the Bush administration's arguments to block oversight of its warrantless surveillance program, pushing for legal immunity to be given to telecommunications companies as part of an expected spy-law update.
Back in October, Mukasey refused to answer pointed questions from Senators about waterboarding's legality, saying he had not been "read into" the CIA's previous interrogation program that is alleged to have included the practice. Appearing Wednesday, nearly three months into his tenure, Mukasey did not budge much from that position.
Between the plethora of "UMM's" and the artful dodgings of this sub-human bush appointee, it is impossible to sit through this flakes' reasonings. It has long been held the WB'ing is indeed torture. He did acknowledge that if it was done to him he would consider it torture, hmmmmmm.
Another contributor to the growth of an overpowering and authoritarian government that no one except the neo-fascists can appreciate.
Why no Senators scolded MUKcasey shows how embedded in the system they too have become. Not that many years back statements like that would have assured impeachment for dereliction of duty and failure to support The Constitution. Now that is all gone and the dog(Congress) rolls over in anticipation of a belly rub from the chimp-in-chief.
A true patriots nightmare.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The Clintons are a threat to Democrats and the country
By DOUG THOMPSON
Hillary Rodham Clinton is in trouble. Her husband is out of control, Obama is gaining momentum and her once-inevitable run for the White House is stuck in a sea of political mud.
So Hillary wants to do what the Clintons have always done in times of crisis: Cheat.
After agreeing with the Democratic National Committee's decision to punish Michigan and Florida for moving the dates of their primaries up ahead of Super Tuesday, Clinton now wants the rules changed so she can claim delegates from both states.
Why? Because her campaign is in trouble and she needs all the delegates she can get to try and salvage a win against the surging Barack Obama.
This is typical Clinton skulduggery. Bill Clinton built his political career on a disregard for law, ethics and fair play so why should his political partner/wife/co-conspirator be any different?
She's not and that's the danger of Hillary Clinton -- a conniving, ruthless political animal who will do anything to win without regard to the consequences.
Those who know the Clintons best say Bill's mad-dog attack politics of recent weeks is just part of a carefully conceived plan hatched by both to try and recapture momentum lost to Obama.
But the plan may have backfired because Bill, as he so often does, went too far and angered rank and file Democrats. After Sen. Ted Kennedy tried to intervene and counsel the former President to tone down the rhetoric, Bill blew him off and an enraged Kennedy rushed over to the Obama camp with a stirring endorsement.
@ Capitol Hill Blue
Ego trumps common sense handing an opponent a bonus with victory, Bill blew it.
Loose lips sink ships? Well not exactly, but over inflated ego driven attitudes do.
With the bad rhetoric coming from the Clinton camp it is quite easy to dismiss them as divisive. Fade in Obama with supposedly good intentions to whisk away the angst and capitalize on the moment to scoop up the Kennedy's blessings.
Some call it offensive, others cheer. Politics as usual with the moves and ploys that will make or break the next leader of the free world. When the rhetoric stops and the voting begins the delegates will decide who will lead. From there, we the people and Diebold will determine the winner.
Meanwhile calm heads should prevail while we work through this process. Many changes ahead in what is still a political horse race. Youth dominates the electorate as the population ages and we must yield to their thoughts as well.
Another issue is the economy, reporting half the growth today of what it should be will mean another rough ride for Wall Street and investors. The Fed will cut rates but is quickly running out of wiggle room. The Fed is why we are in this pickle to begin with. When we gave the foreign entity (The Fed) control of our financial system we we heading down the road of no return with a financial dead end, we lost our gold and our future to foreign control.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
That was the humorous segment of todays post, now for the not so funny stuff.
Pioneering Blackwater Protesters Given Secret Trial and Criminal Conviction
By Jeremy Scahill, AlterNet. Posted January 29, 2008.
Last week in Currituck County, N.C., Superior Court Judge Russell Duke presided over the final step in securing the first criminal conviction stemming from the deadly actions of Blackwater Worldwide, the Bush administration's favorite mercenary company. Lest you think you missed some earth-shifting, breaking news, hold on a moment. The "criminals" in question were not the armed thugs who gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians and wounded more than 20 others in Baghdad's Nisour Square last September. They were seven nonviolent activists who had the audacity to stage a demonstration at the gates of Blackwater's 7,000-acre private military base in North Carolina to protest the actions of mercenaries acting with impunity -- and apparent immunity -- in their names and those of every American.
The arrest of the activists and the subsequent five days they spent locked up in jail is more punishment than any Blackwater mercenaries have received for their deadly actions against Iraqi civilians. "The courts pretend that adherence to the law is what makes for an orderly and peaceable world," said Steve Baggarly, one of the protest organizers. "In fact, U.S. law and courts stand idly by while the U.S. military and private armies like Blackwater have killed, maimed, brutalized and destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis."
A month after the Nisour Square massacre, on Oct. 20, a group of about 50 activists gathered outside Blackwater's gates in Moyock, N.C. There, they reenacted the Nisour Square shooting and staged a "die-in," involving a vehicle painted with bullet marks and blood. The activists stained their clothing with fake blood and dramatized the deadly shooting spree. Some of the demonstrators marked Blackwater's large welcome sign -- with the company's bear claw in a sniper scope logo -- with red hand prints. The demonstrators believed these "would be a much more appropriate logo for Blackwater," according to Baggarly. "We're all responsible for what is happening in Iraq. We all have bloody hands." It took only moments for the local police to respond to the protest, the first ever at Blackwater's headquarters. In the end, seven were arrested.
The symbolism was stark: Re-enact a Blackwater massacre, go to jail. Commit a massacre, walk around freely and perhaps never go to jail. All seven were charged with criminal trespassing, six of them with an additional charge of resisting arrest and one with another charge of injury to real property. "We feel like Blackwater is trespassing in Iraq," Baggarly later said. "And as for injuring property, they injure men, women and children every day." The activists were jailed for five days and eventually released pending trial.
When their day in court arrived, on Dec. 5, the activists intended to put Blackwater on trial, something the Justice Department, the military and the courts have systematically failed to do. Their action at Blackwater, the activists said, was in response to war crimes, the killing of civilians and the fact that no legal system -- civilian or military -- was holding Blackwater responsible. The Nisour Square massacre, they said, "is the Iraq war in microcosm."
But District Court Judge Edgar Barnes would have none of it. So outraged was he at Baggarly, the first of the defendants to appear before him that day, that the judge cleared the court following his conviction. No spectators, no family members, no journalists, no defense witnesses remained. The other six activists were tried in total secrecy -- well, secret to everyone except the prosecutors, sheriffs, government witnesses and one Blackwater official. Judge Barnes swiftly tried the remaining six activists behind closed doors and convicted them all. It was as though Currituck, N.C., became Gitmo for a day.
It's not unusual for a judge to clear a courtroom when there is a disruption by the public. Nor is it rare for judges to try to prevent activists from turning the tables and attempting to put the government -- or in this case a mercenary company -- on trial. But witnesses that day report that there was no disruption -- and the defendants say they were immediately cut off when they strayed from the narrow scope of the trespass charge to discuss Blackwater's actions or the war. So why clear the courtroom? That may be a question for Judge Barnes in the end, but it's hard not to view his conduct through the same veil of secrecy that shrouds all of Blackwater's actions -- and the seemingly endless lengths to which the Bush administration will go to protect Blackwater.
That was certainly how the activists saw it. "He didn't want people influenced by our message," Baggarly said. "There have been hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in Iraq. If we're going to speak about that, nobody is allowed to hear it."
The North Carolina chapter of the ACLU quickly stepped in, saying it knew of no similar action in any previous criminal trials in the state. "It's a clear violation of constitutional rights, not only of the defendants but the press and public," said Katy Parker, the group's legal director. "They have a right to a public trial, so any trial that goes on behind closed doors is a farce." She added, "We are very concerned about this reported disrespect for the laws of our land by a member of the judiciary, especially in a controversial and politically laden case such as this." The ACLU filed a complaint against Barnes with the North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission, asking it to investigate him.
Secret trials? WTF??? Could fascism be even more entrenched into American society than previously thought? Well I tell you what, January next year the Democrat elected needs to get right on the goon squads and put them back in hell where they came from.
Blogging from the house today, enjoying the liquid diet prep for the colonal invasion ahead tomorrow, fresh coffee in the corner and fruit juice on the side, dig in!
Monday, January 28, 2008
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sen. Edward Kennedy, who bears one of the most famous names in politics and is a leading liberal voice in the Congress, will endorse Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign on Monday, Democratic sources said.
Kennedy, the youngest brother of assassinated President John F. Kennedy and a veteran senator from Massachusetts, intends to announce his support for Obama at American University in Washington, a source close to the senator said.
He will be accompanied by his niece, Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the late president, who has already endorsed Obama.
She wrote in Sunday's New York Times that Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, seems able to inspire people the way her father did a half century ago.
Asked about the impending endorsement by the second most senior member of the U.S. Senate, Obama told reporters on his campaign plane that he would let Kennedy speak for himself.
I'm running on minimum computer so nothing fancy today. Go ahead and and help yourself to the coffee and two day old donuts!
Sunday, January 27, 2008
From our friend Hajji:
My brief conversation with Barack Obama…
Right after he finished a damn fine talk to a few thousand folks, he sorta made a bee-line toward stage right, where our crew of volunteers had been signing up hundreds of people to go door-to-door in their neighborhoods to remind people to vote today...Judging by the numbers I’m staring at….I'm thinking it kinda worked…..
BHO: (reaching out to shake my hand) Hey!
Hajji: Hey! Thank you!
BHO: (eyeing my “Volunteer for Change” Badge) Thank YOU!
Hajji: I just wanted to come down to see if you’re really “The Guy”.
BHO: Well, what do YOU think?
Hajji: I think you are.
BHO: Then let's go get 'em!
He spent the next 45 minutes being mobbed for handshakes all across the front of the amphitheater.
The crowd was truly amazing and about the most apparently diverse crowd I've ever seen for anything other than the “diplomatic immunity” line at the NYC DMV.
Security was excellent. Metal detectors, tons of local cops, omnipresent Treasury agents and spotters on every rooftop, not to mention a Women’s Rugby Team whose destructive capabilities I’ve first-hand witnessed, whom I’ve been bled on by, danced with (don’t ask to see THOSE pics) whom I’ve admired and been out-drank by since my little Katie-bear was Captain.
I’ve been waiting from reports from some of the people I know who weren’t really rabid BHO supporters to see what they thought.
But that was yesterday…THIS was today…
Today, half a MILLION people, in a state where many still write-in Strom Thurmond out of muscle-memory and habit, turned out to vote for Democratic candidates.
Only 2 counties went to other candidates today. Oconee , the extreme Northwestern, went to John Edwards while Myrtle Beach ’s Horry County , where widespread machine problems were reported during the Repugnicon primary, went to Mrs. Bill (“STFU!” you’re staining your LEGACY!) Clinton.
Congrats to both of them for such strong showings in the northerwesternmost and northeasternmost counties!.
The most surprising county win for Obama was……ahem….…you guessed it!…PICKENS county, whose reputation of being more red than your average bulbous clown nose turned out over 15% of eligible voters, including repugs, liberts, indies, greens and commies (I don’t really know, but assume there was at least one) to squeak out a 1%victory by Obama over NATIVE SON, John Edwards in a freekin’ DEMOCRATIC primary!
Now, before you get all “His father worked in a MILL” on me, remember that I voted, with glee and conviction TWICE for the man in double-ought-four, and respect him and continue to wish him success and a place on the National Democratic Ticket.
Our “Target Precinct” comprising most of downtown Easley, SC…where I spent my morning hours learning more about what happens when people come out to vote than I ever thought possible (AND witnessed an actual I-vote voting system problem at start up, film at 11) recorded…get this kids, I’m gonna type it BIG….
78% of voters for…Barack Obama!
It wasn’t easy…weeks of intensive canvassing, thousands of Easley people who were phoned…probably tens of thousands of times (some maybe just TODAY) turned out to “Mash that Big, Red, “Vote” button.”
I must admit that there were many times today I could’ve cried from the conversations I heard. As a “Certified Poll Observer” I was forbidden from interacting with voters directly, but I was deeply touched by what I heard and saw.
In the afternoon, I was relieved at the polls so that I could make some of those thousands of calls. So many times, there were people who wanted to vote, but hadn’t because they simply couldn’t get out to vote. More than a few of them were only a few blocks away from their voting locations, but couldn’t hoof it, so were “just sittin’ this one out”.
So I was got some “Mapquest “(gods bless ‘em) magic maps and filled up the tank.
“Baby Blue”, the Isuzu Rodeo donated by Dr.Lagleva so that Spanky could have some wheels when he got home from Iraq transmogrified into the “Obama” GOTV shuttle.
I picked up some voters, dropped ‘em at the Polls…raced to pick up a few more, dropped them off and took the first couple, smiling and laughing and sporting “I VOTED” stickers, dropped them off at the drugstore and then delivered some more to the polls.
I met some folks today, lots of folks. They were from everywhere with tutti-frutti DNA and all-the-way backgrounds.
They were all shades and all histories and all human and all people and all souls and all WORTH it!
Each and every one of ‘em was worth the few days of my time that I’ve given to the cause. They kept thanking me for being there, but my gratitude toward them is a deluge that washes over me, a respite from the drought that I hope will continue to flow through the valley to nourish all our souls.
What an uplifting day for me. I’m hardly worthy of the pride I feel right now. I’m gonna hafta see my massage pal, Dennis, to work out the kinks I’ve developed, just from patting myself on the back so much. Brief celebrations, hugs and handshakes and “Attaboy’s” from the “paid staffers” before I started looking for the big party…
…but I instead found that while we’re out here celebrating, jumping up and down in rhythm to the beat of our swollen hearts, thumping our chests in victory over another couple of pretty good choices while taking in the glorious view from the lofty heights afforded, we suck in the political O2 like the first gasp of a newborn whose first cry is only to make room for the second, life-giving breath….
…While we gloat…those “paid staffers” (at least the ones not currently texting me from the bar in Columbia, U owe me BIG!) are packing up their worn and sticker-covered bags and heading out to Jersey, to Cali, to Texas then Honolulu, to Tennessee and to Topsham, to suffer the (Singapore) slings and outrageous arrows of grass-roots, grass-skirts and even that Maui Grass misfortune of Political Hamlet dwelling. (oh! To admit to have inhaled, who among us hasn’t? Which, among us have yet to EX-hale?)
Bless them, each and every one… Paid pennies for their sleepless nights… Fed by whatever happens to have been donated (what was it with that CASE of apricot preserves, 20 loaves of white bread and only ONE jar of chunky peanut butter?) sleeping where ever and driving what ever for thousands of miles.
Who then are the REAL Zealots, then? Is it those of us who creep out of our warm homes into our own comfortable community, who sleep in our own beds, who only slightly change the regular flow of our lives so that we can wear the pin of our chosen candidate? Is it WE, who hanker for a hand-shake and a quick word with “THE” one, who may or may not become “THE GUY or GAL” we choose to hang our hopes upon?
Or is it those who travel with “The Show”? Is it those who descend on our states to promote, to organize, to galvanize, to mobilize, to accessorize our bumpers, our lawns, our chests…to tattoo our very hearts with the logos of our hopeful Heroes?
The passion is the same. The intensity is the same. The dedication is the same.
The difference is the difference between involvement and COMITTMENT.
The Chicken and its egg versus the Pig and its bacon…
Which are YOU?
I wanna be the PIG!
…and I’m ready to WRASSLE!!!
-Tom Hodges, Pickens County
Great job Hajji!! Walking the walk while others merely talk the talk.
Maybe you could swing a cabinet post if he gets elected!
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Hajji sent me this pic from Obamas' SC rally, looks like he got pretty close up to snap it.
I'm surprised he could get that close to the guy with security and all. Looks like a big crowd too.
George W. Bush is famous for his attachment to a painting which he acquired after becoming a “born again Christian.” It’s by W.H.D. Koerner and is entitled “A Charge to Keep.” Bush was so taken by it, that he took the painting’s name for his own official autobiography. And here’s what he says about it:
So in Bush’s view (or perhaps I should say, faith) the key figure, with whom he personally identifies, is a missionary spreading the word of the Methodist Christianity in the American West in the late nineteenth century.
Wilhelm Heinrich Dethlef Körner (you see why he used initials, though he later Anglicized this as William Henry Dethlef Koerner) was born in Germany and immigrated to a small town in Iowa as a young tot. He made his way over time to Chicago and worked as an illustrator for the Chicago Tribune. He married Lillian Lusk, a well-know graphic artist in her own right, and moved to Battle Creek, Michigan, where he worked for Pilgrim Magazine. He and his wife scrimped and saved to finance a move to New York City. They were after more formal art training and to establish a position as artists in the heart of the publishing industry. They made it to New York in 1907, and they were very successful.
In fact, Koerner’s principal employer through the core of his career was Harper’s Magazine. Koerner published 55 feature illustrations in Harper’s, the first in 1910 and the last in 1925. You can view them here. Koerner was not exclusive to Harper’s, however, he also did important works for the Saturday Evening Post, McCall’s and Collier’s among other publications, and he did a brisk business for the book trade, again very heavily for Harpers Brothers, and he pioneered commercial illustration (Koerner did the first box artwork for C.W. Post’s Grapenuts, for instance). His serious work after 1907 focused heavily on the American West, and he clearly was one of the key “Golden Age” illustrators. His work is famous for dramatic images which for me are consonant with the age of Teddy Roosevelt—they suggest ruggedness, love for the outdoors, a strong sense of adventure and risk-taking. His paintings are packed with motion, and at times rather dramatic motion. I was not able to find much about Koerner and his sense of religion, through it is very clear that he did not engage in public displays of religious fervor and religious themes are absent entirely from his work.
So Bush’s description of “A Charge to Keep” struck me as very strange. In fact, I’d say highly improbable. Now, however, Jacob Weisberg has solved the mystery. He invested the time to track down the commission behind the art work and he gives us the full story in his forthcoming book on Bush, The Bush Tragedy:
Thursday, January 24, 2008
By Tim Starks, CQ Staff
The Senate on Thursday will renew efforts to move legislation that would overhaul the ground rules for electronic surveillance, amid numerous political and procedural challenges.
In floor remarks Wednesday evening, lawmakers began to debate the measure (S 2248). But late Wednesday night, Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell , R-Ky., still had not agreed on floor procedures for consideration of the bill, which faces a filibuster threat from Christopher J. Dodd , D-Conn., who opposes an immunity provision for telecommunications providers, and from other critics of the measure.
Both factors contributed to Reid’s decision to pull the bill off the floor just before the holiday recess in December.
Some familiar political pressures are mounting, too, as the clock runs out on a temporary extension (PL 110-55) of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA, PL 95-511). The extension expires Feb. 1.
In a speech Wednesday, Vice President Dick Cheney called on Congress to give the executive branch the expanded spying authority he said it needs to defend the nation against terrorists. The administration pressed a similar argument in August, persuading lawmakers to enact a temporary law authorizing expanded spying powers.
With little chance of Congress reaching agreement on a FISA overhaul by Feb. 1, Democrats in both chambers are urging a one-month extension of the temporary law. Republicans have resisted until now, but they have not ruled out an extension entirely.
Reid said the Senate would work through the weekend if necessary to complete action on a full rewrite of the law.
My question is; why is this even a question?
If The Constitution means anything the "probable cause" part should more than make the decision.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Sibel Edmonds’ State Secrets Privilege Gallery
Sibel Edmonds is now naming names. 21 of them.
Or rather, just 21 photographs. On a page. Without comment. At her JustACitizen.com website. The page is simply titled "Sibel Edmonds’ State Secrets Privilege Gallery".
Surely there's nothing violative about that, right? Rogues gallery though it may be.
Sibel maven, Luke Ryland, has done us the favor of putting names to the faces, adding that "we can reasonably presume that they are the 21 guilty people in her case."
Here are those names, sectioned into three groups, as Edmonds has grouped the photos in her own "Gallery":
Current and former Pentagon and State Department officials...
* Richard Perle
* Douglas Feith
* Eric Edelman
* Marc Grossman
* Brent Scowcroft
* Larry Franklin
Current and former congressmen...
* Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Ex-House Speaker
* Roy Blount (R-MO)
* Dan Burton (R-IN)
* Tom Lantos (D-CA)
* ? (Photo simply a box with question mark in it)
* Bob Livingston (R-LA), Ex-House Speaker
* Stephen Solarz (D-NY)
The 3rd group includes people who all appear to work at think tanks - primarily WINEP, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
* Graham E. Fuller - RAND
* David Makovsky - WINEP
* Alan Makovsky - WINEP
* ? (Photo simply a box with question mark in it)
* ? (Photo simply a box with question mark in it)
* Yusuf Turani (President-in-exile, Turkistan)
* Professor Sabri Sayari (Georgetown, WINEP)
* Mehmet Eymur (Former Turkish Spy Chief MIT)
More @ BRADBLOG
Sibel Edmonds, the former FBI translator who has been under a Bush administration gag order for the past 5 years, has now begun to disclose some of the classified information she has been prohibited from revealing.
"A WHISTLEBLOWER has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets," reports Great Britain's Sunday Times in the lede of their front page exclusive, headlined "For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets."
In the article, just filed tonight, Edmonds reveals details overheard on wiretaps she translated during her time at the FBI, just after 9/11. Her disclosures to the Times reveal a maze of nuclear black market espionage involving U.S. Defense and State Department officials, that resulted in the sale and propagation of nuclear secrets to Turkish and Israeli interests. In turn, that information was then sold to Pakistan and used by A.Q. Kahn for development of nuclear weapons. The secrets were subsequently proliferated to Iran, Libya, North Korea, and potentially al-Qaeda's Osama bin Laden, just weeks prior to September 11th, 2001.
And here too
Smoking gun? Oh yea! more like smoking cannon!
How long do you think this story will be relegated to the internets and kept out of the MSM? Evil doers-O-plenty willing to sacrifice it all for a few bucks. So many angles and curves it is difficult for me to comprehend the depth to which some will go for financial gain and power.
Truly Ugly Americans.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
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NEW YORK - Wall Street plunged at the opening of trading Tuesday, propelling the Dow Jones industrials down more than 400 points after an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve failed to assuage investors fearing a recession in the United States.
U.S. markets joined stock exchanges around the globe that have fallen precipitously in recent days amid concerns that a downturn might spread around the world.
The Fed’s decision to cut its federal funds rate to 3.50 percent and the discount rate, the interest it charges to lend directly to banks, came a week before the central bank’s regularly scheduled meeting, a sign that the Fed recognized the seriousness of the world financial situation.
Monday, January 21, 2008
“Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it’s nonviolence or nonexistence. That is where we are today.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. And I want to thank God, once more, for allowing me to be here with you.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A nation that continues year after year
to spend more money on military defense
than on programs of social uplift
is approaching spiritual death.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Cowardice asks the question - is it safe?
Expediency asks the question - is it politic?
Vanity asks the question - is it popular?
But conscience asks the question - is it right?
And there comes a time when one must take a position
that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular;
but one must take it because it is right.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
American military researchers are working to uncover and harness the most terrifying chemical imaginable: that most primal odor, the scent of fear.
Pheromones are chemicals released by animals as signals to their own kind: for sex, for territorial marking, and more. They're often detected in the olfactory membranes. But there's more to pheromones than attraction. Many animals have an alarm pheromone which is used to signal danger; aphids, for example, use it to cause their fellow lice to flee.
Now, the US Army is trying to track down and harness people's smell of fear. The military has backed a study on the "Identification and Isolation of Human Alarm Pheromones," which "focused on the Preliminary Identification of Steroids of Interest in Human Fear Sweat." The so-called "skydiving protocol" was the researchers' method of choice.
The authors collected sweat, urine, blood, saliva, ECG, respiration, and self-report measures in 20 subjects (n=11 males and n=9 females) before, during, and immediately following their first-time tandem skydive, as well as before, during, and immediately following their running on a treadmill for the same period of time. Measurements between the test (skydive) and control (exercise) conditions were made on consecutive days, each experiment precisely matched to the minute between subjects and between conditions to prevent diurnal confounds. Emotional states were monitored using brief standardized questionnaires. For most of the observed compounds, men showed an increase in the compound emission during acute emotional stress, while women showed either no change or a decrease in emission of the compound.
In a lecture given at a 2007 Congress on Stress, the researchers hint at what their study found:
Our findings indicate that there may be a hidden biological component to human social dynamics, in which emotional stress is, quite literally, “contagious."
Clicking the lighted words leads to some interesting reading, I have merely scratched the surface myself but progress I shall despite my minds tendency to wander on to other things.
By JEFF D'ALESSIO
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/18/08
The flurries won't start falling across metro Atlanta until Saturday afternoon, according to the latest forecast from the National Weather Service.
At 10 a.m. Saturday, forecaster Vaughn Smith told the AJC the Weather Service had downgraded its metro Atlanta forecast from 3 inches to 1 inch for most of the area.
*little nippy out there*
Thursday, January 17, 2008
WASHINGTON, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a long-time free trade skeptic, warned on Wednesday that the United States may come to regret allowing major Wall Street banks to sell sizable ownership stakes to foreigners.
"These big bankers and fund managers will stop at nothing for a profit, even at the price of our national security. They are selling out America," said Kaptur, a 13-term lawmaker who is now the senior female Democrat in the House of Representatives.
Many U.S. banks are recording big losses on subprime mortgage market investments. To patch up their books, some are turning to overseas sources for capital injections.
Just this week, Citigroup Inc (C.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Merrill Lynch & Co Inc (MER.N: Quote, Profile, Research) announced raising $20 billion in capital from investors and sovereign wealth funds, some affiliated with foreign governments in Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere.
Last month, Morgan Stanley (MS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said it sold a $5-billion stake to China Investment Corp. Citigroup earlier sold a large stake to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.
"We're raising money from foreign governments to pump into U.S. banking institutions?" Kaptur said on the House floor.
"Foreign capital indebts us more than the face value of the transaction," she said. "This kind of borrowing means America is no longer free. We owe, and our children will owe ... And they won't owe Uncle Sam. They'll owe the premier of Communist China, the king of Saudi Arabia, the emir of the United Arab Emirates, the bank of Singapore."
Kaptur said: "These creditors won't forget what we owe. They like the influence they are wielding. They will call in their favors to Wall Street, as they are calling in their favors as our troops are staged all over this globe.
"To those candidates who were elected with Wall Street's help and their enormous financial support, they will call." (Reporting by Kevin Drawbaugh; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)
From the US Treasury Dept.
Introduction. The United States has traditionally welcomed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and provided foreign investors fair, equitable and nondiscriminatory treatment with few limited exceptions designed to protect national security. The Exon-Florio provision is implemented within the context of this open investment policy. The intent of Exon-Florio is not to discourage FDI generally, but to provide a mechanism to review and, if the President finds necessary, to restrict FDI that threatens the national security.
The Exon-Florio provision is implemented by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States ("CFIUS"), an inter-agency committee chaired by the Secretary of Treasury. CFIUS seeks to serve U.S. investment policy through thorough reviews that protect national security while maintaining the credibility of our open investment policy and preserving the confidence of foreign investors here and of U.S. investors abroad that they will not be subject to retaliatory discrimination.
The Statute. Section 5021 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 amended Section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950 to provide authority to the President to suspend or prohibit any foreign acquisition, merger or takeover of a U.S. corporation that is determined to threaten the national security of the United States. The President can exercise this authority under section 721 (also known as the "Exon-Florio provision") to block a foreign acquisition of a U.S. corporation only if he finds:
(1) there is credible evidence that the foreign entity exercising control might take action that threatens national security, and
(2) the provisions of law, other than the International Emergency Economic Powers Act do not provide adequate and appropriate authority to protect the national security.
To assist in making this determination, Exon-Florio provides for the President or his designee to receive written notice of an acquisition, merger or takeover of a U.S. corporation by a foreign entity. Once CFIUS has received a complete notification, it begins a thorough review of the notified transaction. In some cases, it is necessary to undertake an extended review or "investigation." An investigation, if necessary, must begin no later than 30 days after receipt of a notice. Any investigation is required to end within 45 days.
Information provided by companies contemplating a transaction subject to Exon-Florio is held confidential and is not made public, except in the case of an administrative or judicial action or proceeding. Nothing in section 721 shall be construed to prevent disclosure to either House of Congress or to any duly authorized committee or subcommittee of the Congress.
Profits at what cost? will it cost us our homes, our businesses, our lives.
Seems to me it is not wise to allow foreign entities to buy up financial losses in the first place, recession or no recession the financial industry has been playing fast and loose with money in order to produce profits like have never been seen before with the big losers being the American people. Now like a kid that gets in trouble and does not want to pay the price for his indiscretions, has someone bail him out so he can continue misbehaving without worry.
The influx of foreign investment is having the same effect temporarily keeping the profits from declining while the foreign entities gather up more and more. Do the financials think they will be able to continue on like this forever? Yup, short sightedness is what got us all into this pickle to begin with. They will wake up one day to find the foreigners are now taking the profits and leaving the little golfers in the cold to fend for themselves.
That would be OK and would be a valuable lesson for the greedy little buggers with the one exception, our monetary based credit system would be subject to foreign control. The statement was made that the Saudis could own Wall Street on four days oil earnings, do we really want that?
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich was missing from the stage at last night’s Democratic debate hosted by MSNBC in Las Vegas after he lost a last-minute legal fight with the network over his participation. Last week, NBC told Kucinich that he had met the criteria for the debate. Then, less than two days later, the network changed the criteria and declared that Kucinich was no longer qualified. On Monday, a Nevada judge ordered NBC to include Kucinich but then NBC appealed the ruling and actively fought to keep him off the stage. On Tuesday night, less than an hour before the debate, the Nevada Supreme Court sided with NBC. Democracy Now! decided to break the sound barrier and give Kucinich a chance to take part. In an exclusive broadcast, we re-braodcast excerpts of the debate and give the Ohio Congressman a chance to answer the questions he might have faced if he hadn’t been been silenced.
We turn now to the Democratic debate held last night in Nevada where Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards sparred for two hours on MSNBC.
Missing from the stage was Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich who lost a last-minute legal fight with NBC over his inclusion in the debate. Kucinich had sued the network after it disinvited him from participating.
On Jan. 9, NBC told Kucinich that he had met the criteria for the debate. Then, less than two days later, NBC changed the criteria and declared that Kucinich no longer qualified.
On Monday, a Nevada judge ordered NBC to include Kucinich but then NBC appealed the ruling and actively fought to keep him off the stage.
On Tuesday night, less than an hour before the debate, the Nevada Supreme Court sided with NBC.
In court filings, NBC painted itself as the victim. Attorneys for the network wrote, “Mr. Kucinich’s claim is nothing more than an illegitimate private cause of action designed to impose an equal access requirement that entirely undermines the wide journalistic freedoms enjoyed by news organizations under the First Amendment.”
Attorneys for NBC also argued, “A television station does not have to grant unlimited access to a candidate debate. If anyone’s First Amendment rights are being infringed, they are MSNBC’s.”
In his lawsuit, Kucinich argued NBC – which is owed by General Electric – illegally shut him out of the debate because of his views.
The lawsuit states, “The exclusion of Kucinich undermines the purposes of the Federal Communications Act and is a blatant violation of the Act because of the media’s obligation to operate in the public interest… NBC revised its criteria to specifically exclude the diverse and anti-war voice of Kucinich and his grass-roots supporters.”
The lawsuit went on to say “The debate is not a true presidential primary debate without including all credible candidates, but instead is effectively an endorsement of the candidates selected by NBC.”
Today, Congressman Dennis Kucinich joins us in Washington. We have decided to give him a chance to take part in last night’s debate in our own way. We will play excerpts of the debate and give the Ohio Congressman a chance to answer the questions he might faced if he hadn’t been been silenced. This is the debate NBC and General Electric didn’t want you to hear. Dennis Kucinich, welcome to Democracy Now.
@ Democracy Now
MSNBC is no better than the corporation that controls it.
Hill and O have been chosen to be the Democratic front runners, not by the will of the people but the will of the corporation, GE. There is method to their madness which I believe is readily apparent, they feed at the Government trough along with Halliburton, Lockheed, and the rest, make no mistake, these people work for the Bush-Cheney crew and their efforts to clean out the Federal coffers at the taxpayers expense.
Hill and O have been chosen to go up against the Rethugs because of their minority status, to level the playing field against the Rethug candidates. If they were two white men they would pose a greater threat to the corporate plan at vote manipulation with the electronic voting machines and whatever dirty tricks they can muster. Take the example of John Edwards an invisible candidate and chosen to be so by the Media in order to promote the less electables instead.
Closet racism is alive and well in this country and so is the womens rights issue.
Their chance of being elected is right around the 50% mark which incidentally allowed the doofus-N-chief to snag his seat.
Kucinich is right to challenge GE and MSNBC and I hope it reveals the real reason that Hill and O are being so heavily promoted.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
From the 'snowballs chance in hell' category.......
Interesting approach to GITMO, bomb the bejesus out of it! after removing the people of course.
Joint Chiefs Chairman: Close Guantanamo
Monday January 14, 2008 10:46 AM
By ROBERT BURNS
AP Military Writer
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) - The chief of the U.S. military said he favors closing the prison here as soon as possible because he believes negative publicity worldwide about treatment of terrorist suspects has been ``pretty damaging'' to the image of the United States.
``I'd like to see it shut down,'' Adm. Mike Mullen said Sunday in an interview with three reporters who toured the detention center with him on his first visit since becoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff last October.
His visit came two days after the sixth anniversary of the prison's opening in January 2002. He stressed that a closure decision was not his to make and that he understands there are numerous complex legal questions the administration believes would have to be settled first, such as where to move prisoners.
The admiral also noted that some of Guantanamo Bay's prisoners are deemed high security threats. During a tour of Camp Six, which is a high-security facility holding about 100 prisoners, Mullen got a firsthand look at some of the cells; one prisoner glared at Mullen through his narrow cell window as U.S. officers explained to the Joint Chiefs chairman how they maintain almost-constant watch over each prisoner.
Mullen, whose previous visit was in December 2005 as head of the U.S. Navy, noted that President Bush and Defense Secretary Robert Gates also have spoken publicly in favor of closing the prison. But Mullen said he is unaware of any active discussion in the administration about how to do it.
``I'm not aware that there is any immediate consideration to closing Guantanamo Bay,'' Mullen said.
@ The Guardian UK
Nothing screams world class thugs more than the detention of so-called enemy combatants in a 21st Century Gulag like GITMO. The cause of all this unjust injustice? 9/11.
9/11 gave the Rethugs all the reason they needed to implement their world domination schemes with impunity. You don't like it? well maybe you would rather be killed by Islamo-Fascists.
In other, much stranger news, someone stole a spacecraft and took off with the USAF hot on their tail. Actually it was a supposed UFO.
STEPHENVILLE, Texas (AP) — In this farming community where nightfall usually brings clear, starry skies, residents are abuzz over reported sightings of what many believe is a UFO.
Several dozen people — including a pilot, county constable and business owners — insist they have seen a large silent object with bright lights flying low and fast. Some reported seeing fighter jets chasing it.
"People wonder what in the world it is because this is the Bible Belt, and everyone is afraid it's the end of times," said Steve Allen, a freight company owner and pilot who said the object he saw last week was a mile long and half a mile wide. "It was positively, absolutely nothing from these parts."
While federal officials insist there's a logical explanation, locals swear that it was larger, quieter, faster and lower to the ground than an airplane. They also said the object's lights changed configuration, unlike those of a plane. People in several towns who reported seeing it over several weeks have offered similar descriptions of the object.
Machinist Ricky Sorrells said friends made fun of him when he told them he saw a flat, metallic object hovering about 300 feet over a pasture behind his Dublin home. But he decided to come forward after reading similar accounts in the Stephenville Empire-Tribune.
"You hear about big bass or big buck in the area, but this is a different deal," Sorrells said. "It feels good to hear that other people saw something, because that means I'm not crazy.
@ The AP
Hey maybe they can swing by DC and upload the Administration to the moon, OOPS! forgot, they are already there.
Monday, January 14, 2008
10,000 hopefuls keep eyes open for Wal-Mart job
By HELENA OLIVIERO
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/11/08
For the fourth consecutive day, people waited in long lines Thursday for a shot at a job at a new Wal-Mart in DeKalb County, pushing the total number of applicants beyond 10,000.
That's four times the entire population of Avondale Estates, the community next to the planned Memorial Drive store.
Beginning Monday, after virtually no advertising or any signs, the throngs of hopeful applicants continued to pour into a church converted into a job processing center — all vying for only 350 to 400 available jobs, according to Wal-Mart officials.
The job-seeking frenzy may be a peek into a larger economic picture. A report from the U.S. Labor Department last week indicated a surprising plunge in job creation by private employers in November, with new jobs far below the level needed to keep pace with population growth.
Christine Roberts, a 39-year-old married mother of six, is hoping to get a job at the Wal-Mart deli. Roberts, who has long worked as a nursing assistant in Sandy Springs, wants a job closer to her Decatur home. At the Memorial Drive store, "I could walk to work," she said Thursday after filling out her application.
Wal-Mart has long declined to reveal starting salaries at the store, but reports that the average hourly wage for regular full-time associates is $10.65 an hour.
Kamal Oliver, an employment and training analyst with DeKalb Workforce Development, a county organization that helped facilitate Wal-Mart's job fair this week, said the turnout dwarfed the numbers of job hunters who applied for a job last year at the Wal-Mart on Chamblee Tucker Road in north DeKalb County.
"This says to me that a lot of people are looking for work," he said.
A robust economy indeed! Wally Mart is the future of the consumer economy where we work at the retail stores to afford to shop there for our survival needs, food, clothing etc. Economic meltdown is near with the lack of jobs and lack of affordable housing. No longer will we be able to depend on a life structured by Wall Street and their grandiose plans, we work till we die, they wallow in all the money.
Gotta love that!(Sarcastically he sez)
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Today at HUFFPO
WASHINGTON — The nation's intelligence chief says waterboarding "would be torture" if used against him or if someone under interrogation actually was taking water into his lungs.
But Mike McConnell, in a magazine interview, declined for legal reasons to say whether the technique categorically should be considered torture.
"If it ever is determined to be torture, there will be a huge penalty to be paid for anyone engaging in it," McConnell told The New Yorker, which published a 16,000-word article Sunday on the director of national intelligence.
The comments come as the House Intelligence Committee investigates the CIA's destruction of videotaped interrogations of two al-Qaida suspects. The tapes were made in 2002 and destroyed three years later, over fears they would leak. They depicted the use of "enhanced" interrogation techniques against two of the three men known to have been waterboarded by the CIA.
The mere fact that this topic of waterboarding is even debatable in the first place, screams of illegality, admitting to it's use by arguing for it.
We have been conditioned to accept violence as a fact of life somehow, and the end justifies the means.
Progress leading to profit at any cost. No wonder things are so messed up. It remains to be seen if we will support man's inhumanity to man or rebel against it an make progress lead to peace and generosity.
Meanwhile the torture issue must be addressed and standards applied equally, the Army manual defines this more than any other document. America used to be seen as a beacon on horizon for the oppressed, now we are the oppressors. It is unacceptable for us to continue promoting torture as an acceptable tool for interrogation.
Time to stop.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
How to Build a Homeland Security Campus in Seven Steps
By Michael Gould-Wartofsky
Free speech zones. Taser guns. Hidden cameras. Data mining. A new security curriculum. Private security contractors... Welcome to the new homeland security campus
From Harvard to UCLA, the ivory tower is fast becoming the latest watchtower in Fortress America. The terror warriors, having turned their attention to "violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism" -- as it was recently dubbed in a House of Representatives bill of the same name -- have set out to reconquer that traditional hotbed of radicalization, the university.
Building a homeland-security campus and bringing the university to heel is a seven-step mission:
1. Target dissidents: As the warfare state has triggered dissent, the campus has increasingly become a target gallery -- with student protesters in the crosshairs. The government's number one target? Peace and justice organizations.@ ALTERNET
Just when you thought it was safe to go to school, this happens. Looks mighty damn fascist to me, over the top, beyond just security. Scary bastards.
Humanity has come so far in time but has matured so little. Control, control, is the mantra, we must control. Why? To retain the fascist-corporate symbiance that drives the money machine, the profits must go on!
It's a shame really, so many great people have advanced technology to be able to better manage power production and use to reduce our impact on the environment, but the corporatistas will have none of that. So we go on, submitting to the corporatista control through fascist means in order to keep our luxuries, nice homes, big cars, big screen TV's, we sell our selves to the devil to keep the 'junk' flowing into our veins, fine example of humanity we are.
Well regardless, the Sun will rise tomorrow and another day will begin, whether we we are here or not. The experiment 'Planet Earth' is a unique one, a living breathing life sustaining planet seeded with a species of learning and reasoning humans to see if they could co-exist in harmony with their world.
There is still time.