Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Young Turk Cenk Uygur Blasts SCUM* For Attacking Rolling Stone For "Outing" McChrystal

*SCUM = So-Called Unbiased Media--Michael Hastings just pushed the Press' relationship with the Military (which NEVER manipulates reporters, of course) back into that tricksy, antagonistic ground, just when everybody was happy with "cooperation." Reporters aren't supposed to be 'friends' with their sources...

And, lovely as she is, and as elegant and soothing and "privileged' as her posh, toff-y accents are, it appears Lara Logan's no better than a sluttish chambermaid for the powerful...

Thursday, June 24, 2010


More of that "Good, Old CYCBI," SCROTUS Edition

The Court's nominal "liberal" leader, JP Stevens, concurred with the majority, convinced apparently by the persuasive power of Solicitor General Kagan's arguments that there is SOME speech that may be subject to prior restraint.

Here's the take-away, if you haven't the patience to read the whole thing (advised): "The lesson here is that Barack Obama and the Democrats may have talked a different talk about civil liberties on the campaign trail, but they are committed to the same vicious policies as their predecessors. The Obama administration is willing to curtail all of our civil liberties in pursuit in the name of what was once Bush's "war on terror"--but is now wholly Obama's."

Somebody remind me again: what the fuck is this "change" you are all so excited about?

A license to witch-hunt

A Supreme Court decision on the Patriot Act shows where Barack Obama stands.

THE U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a part of the USA PATRIOT Act that criminalizes free speech as "terrorism"--and the Obama administration, which was expected to stop its predecessor's assault on the Constitution, is celebrating the decision as a victory.

The 6-3 decision of the court, announced June 21, upholds a portion of the 2001 Patriot Act that classifies some speech and other "intangible assistance" as material aid to terrorists.

The justices agreed with the arguments of the Obama administration--specifically, its choice to sit on the Supreme Court, former Solicitor General Elena Kagan, who made the White House's case before the court.

The administration opposed a lawsuit brought by the Humanitarian Law Project that challenged the law's provision that prohibits material support--specifically the giving of "expert advice or assistance"--to groups designated as "terrorist" by the U.S. State Department.

The law project wanted to provide advice to two groups--the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Kurdistan Workers' Party--on peacefully resolving disputes and working with the United Nations. But in his opinion justifying the decision, Chief Justice John Roberts said that the motives of the Humanitarian Law Project didn't matter, and any assistance to a group on the State Department's terrorism list represented "material support."

The consequences of the ruling are far-ranging, as the New York Times pointed out:

The court at least clarified that acts had to be coordinated with terror groups to be illegal, but many forms of assistance may still be a criminal act, including filing a brief against the government in a terror-group lawsuit.

Academic researchers doing field work in conflict zones could be arrested for meeting with terror groups and discussing their research, as could journalists who write about the activities and motivations of these groups, or the journalists' sources. The FBI has questioned people it suspected as being sources for a New York Times article about terrorism, and threatened to arrest them for providing material support.

In a strong dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer, supported by Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, said the court's majority was too willing to believe the government's argument that national security concerns required restrictions on speech and had "failed to insist upon specific evidence, rather than general assertion."

As David Cole, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights, told the Times, "This decision basically says the First Amendment allows making peacemaking and human rights advocacy a crime."

On an individual level, the ruling strengthens the government's ability to pursue the kind of witch-hunts carried out against Palestinian professor Sami Al-Arian or Pakistani student Syed Fahad Hashmi, two of the approximately 150 defendants that the government has charged with violating the material-support provision since 2001.

In Hashmi's case, after enduring nearly four years in solitary confinement, he agreed to plead guilty to a single count of material support for the "crime" of helping an acquaintance store and transport ponchos and waterproof socks that allegedly ended up with al-Qaeda organizations in Pakistan. For this, he has been sentenced to another 15 years in prison.

But the lawyers who argued the case pointed out that the impact goes further--the Patriot Act's material-support provision is so vague that humanitarian groups and journalists and their sources can be ensnared.

Some legal theorists believe the law is so broad that it could be interpreted as criminalizing any speech that could be said to give legitimacy to a terrorist group--for example, those who support the right of Hamas to lead the Palestinian Authority (after being democratically elected), even though the organization is on the State Department list. That's because, as Breyer pointed out in his dissent, the law could have made a distinction between "when the defendant knows or intends that those activities will assist the organization's unlawful terrorist actions" and when they don't--but it fails to do so.

"Instead," as lawyer Wendy Kaminer noted in The Atlantic, "the majority gave the administration a blank check to criminalize political speech specifically intended to advance peace."

The ruling also fails to acknowledge that there are almost no checks on the ability of the State Department, under the direction of the Secretary of State, to designate groups as "terrorist"--and that those decisions are often based on political calculations.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

THIS RULING will be seen as another win for the Supreme Court's right wing, now led by Chief Justice Roberts, a Bush appointee. But it's also claimed as a victory by the Obama administration--and in particular, its former Solicitor General and current Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, who argued the government's case in February.

Kagan has been criticized as too liberal by some conservative Republican senators, but this case shows she fits in squarely with the majority of justices who support expanding presidential power at the expense of our rights.

In fact, that's one of the reasons she was chosen to join the court. She agrees with the Obama administration's fundamentally conservative position on these "war on terror" issues.

Barack Obama was expected by millions of people who voted for him to challenge George Bush's shredding of the Constitution. But a year and a half into his presidency, not only is the U.S. prison camp at Guantánamo Bay still up and running, but the Obama White House has explicitly upheld Bush administration policies on trial by military commissions, rendition of prisoners to allied regimes where torture is legal, warrantless wiretapping and the use of executive powers to hinder the prosecution of U.S. officials for illegal acts.

One of the latest outrages is the case of Yemeni detainee Mohamed Hassan Odaini. The government has concluded that Odaini did nothing wrong--but the Obama administration has refused to release him, and instead has fought vehemently in court to keep him imprisoned at Guantánamo. As's Glenn Greenwald wrote:

[T]he Obama administration is knowingly imprisoning a completely innocent human being who has been kept in a cage in an island prison, thousands of miles from his home, for the last eight years, since he's 18 years old, despite having done absolutely nothing wrong...

If you're willing to work to keep a person whom you know is innocent imprisoned, what aren't you willing to do? What decent human being wouldn't be repulsed by this? I don't care how many times someone chants "Pragmatism" or "The Long Game" or whatever other all-purpose justifying mantras have been marketed to venerate the current president; these are repellent acts that have no justification.

Of course, none of this is new for the Obama administration; it's consistent with their course of conduct from the start.

The lesson here is that Barack Obama and the Democrats may have talked a different talk about civil liberties on the campaign trail, but they are committed to the same vicious policies as their predecessors. The Obama administration is willing to curtail all of our civil liberties in pursuing the name of what was once Bush's "war on terror"--but is now wholly Obama's.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Preserving the Appearances: Some Easy Reading For Judge Fuckwad Feldman

He quashed the presidential moratorium deep-water drilling today. May his ass drop into the shitter the next time he changes his robes.

Turns out, the Judge was probably NOT an impartial mediator of this dispute, cuz he owned a couple of chunks of stock in enterprises whose profitability were being limited as long as the moratorium persisted.

Judge Fuckwad Feldman is a big judicial cheese, so he may have forgotten the question of recusal. He's Big Deal Fuckwad Feldman and does whatever the fuck Big Deal Fuckwad Feldman WANTS to do.

And latterly, that's been to dabble in ahwl. Hizzoner Judge Big Time Fuckwad Feldman apparently is so deeply into ahwl, Texaco's got a rig on his asshole.

Yo, Fuckwad? Here's the pertinent statute, homework for tonight, you fatuous pig:

TITLE 28 > PART I > CHAPTER 21 > § 455

§ 455. Disqualification of justice, judge, or magistrate judge
(a) Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
(b) He shall also disqualify himself in the following circumstances:

(1) Where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding;
(2) Where in private practice he served as lawyer in the matter in controversy, or a lawyer with whom he previously practiced law served during such association as a lawyer concerning the matter, or the judge or such lawyer has been a material witness concerning it;
(3) Where he has served in governmental employment and in such capacity participated as counsel, adviser or material witness concerning the proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy;
(4) He knows that he, individually or as a fiduciary, or his spouse or minor child residing in his household, has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding;
(5) He or his spouse, or a person within the third degree of relationship to either of them, or the spouse of such a person:

(i) Is a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, or trustee of a party;
(ii) Is acting as a lawyer in the proceeding;
(iii) Is known by the judge to have an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding;
(iv) Is to the judge’s knowledge likely to be a material witness in the proceeding.

(c) A judge should inform himself about his personal and fiduciary financial interests, and make a reasonable effort to inform himself about the personal financial interests of his spouse and minor children residing in his household.
(d) For the purposes of this section the following words or phrases shall have the meaning indicated:

(1) “proceeding” includes pretrial, trial, appellate review, or other stages of litigation;
(2) the degree of relationship is calculated according to the civil law system;
(3) “fiduciary” includes such relationships as executor, administrator, trustee, and guardian;
(4) “financial interest” means ownership of a legal or equitable interest, however small, or a relationship as director, adviser, or other active participant in the affairs of a party, except that:

(i) Ownership in a mutual or common investment fund that holds securities is not a “financial interest” in such securities unless the judge participates in the management of the fund;
(ii) An office in an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organization is not a “financial interest” in securities held by the organization;
(iii) The proprietary interest of a policyholder in a mutual insurance company, of a depositor in a mutual savings association, or a similar proprietary interest, is a “financial interest” in the organization only if the outcome of the proceeding could substantially affect the value of the interest;
(iv) Ownership of government securities is a “financial interest” in the issuer only if the outcome of the proceeding could substantially affect the value of the securities.

(e) No justice, judge, or magistrate judge shall accept from the parties to the proceeding a waiver of any ground for disqualification enumerated in subsection (b). Where the ground for disqualification arises only under subsection (a), waiver may be accepted provided it is preceded by a full disclosure on the record of the basis for disqualification.
(f) Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this section, if any justice, judge, magistrate judge, or bankruptcy judge to whom a matter has been assigned would be disqualified, after substantial judicial time has been devoted to the matter, because of the appearance or discovery, after the matter was assigned to him or her, that he or she individually or as a fiduciary, or his or her spouse or minor child residing in his or her household, has a financial interest in a party (other than an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome), disqualification is not required if the justice, judge, magistrate judge, bankruptcy judge, spouse or minor child, as the case may be, divests himself or herself of the interest that provides the grounds for the disqualification
Read up, yer fucking Honner, you venal, sold-out, corrupt, vile old fraud!

Jon Stewart with "Gaslands" Director Josh Fox

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sang Freud: Can You Laugh At The Executioner On The Gallows Step?

If so, then you'll DIE laughing at this shit:

50 Statistics About The U.S. Economy That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

Most Americans know that the U.S. economy is in bad shape, but what most Americans don't know is how truly desperate the financial situation of the United States really is. The truth is that what we are experiencing is not simply a "downturn" or a "recession". What we are witnessing is the beginning of the end for the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen. Our greed and our debt are literally eating our economy alive. Total government, corporate and personal debt has now reached 360 percent of GDP, which is far higher than it ever reached during the Great Depression era. We have nearly totally dismantled our once colossal manufacturing base, we have shipped millions upon millions of middle class jobs overseas, we have lived far beyond our means for decades and we have created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world. A great day of financial reckoning is fast approaching, and the vast majority of Americans are totally oblivious.

But the truth is that you cannot defy the financial laws of the universe forever. What goes up must come down. The borrower is the servant of the lender. Cutting corners always catches up with you in the end.

Sometimes it takes cold, hard numbers for many of us to fully realize the situation that we are facing.

So, the following are 50 very revealing statistics about the U.S. economy that are almost too crazy to believe....
One waits, usually in vain, for the authors of such jeremiads to take up the case of USer military spending as being the key goad and spur to all this defecit expenditure. Such is also the case here, but persevere, because some of the factoids are compelling.

However without a caveat to the effect that such predictions as are implied presume the continuation of current policies.

P.S.: I know it's "sang froid."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Daniel Ellsberg Has Some Authority In Such Matters

Via Der Spiegel, Ellsberg declares:

'Obama Deceives the Public'

Daniel Ellsberg, legendary leaker of the "Pentagon Papers" in 1971, still has a bone to pick with the White House. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, the 79-year-old peace activist accuses President Obama of betraying his election promises -- in Iraq, in Afghanistan and on civil liberties.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Ellsberg, you're a hero and an icon of the left. But we hear you're not too happy with President Obama anymore.

Daniel Ellsberg: I voted for him and I will probably vote for him again, as opposed to the Republicans. But I believe his administration in some key aspects is nothing other than the third term of the Bush administration.

Ellsberg: I think Obama is continuing the worst of the Bush administration in terms of civil liberties, violations of the constitution and the wars in the Middle East.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: For example?

Ellsberg: Take Obama's explicit pledge in his State of the Union speech to remove "all" United States troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. That's a total lie. I believe that's totally false. I believe he knows that's totally false. It won't be done. I expect that the US will have, indefinitely, a residual force of at least 30,000 US troops in Iraq.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What about Afghanistan? Isn't that a justifiable war?

Ellsberg: I think that there's an inexcusable escalation in both countries. Thousands of US officials know that bases and large numbers of troops will remain in Iraq and that troop levels and bases in Afghanistan will rise far above what Obama is now projecting. But Obama counts on them to keep their silence as he deceives the public on these devastating, costly, reckless ventures.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You doubt not only Obama's missions abroad but also his politics back home in the US. Why exactly are you accusing the president of violating civil liberties?

Ellsberg: For instance, the Obama administration is criminalizing and prosecuting whistleblowers to punish them for uncovering scandals within the federal government …

SPIEGEL ONLINE: … Such as the arrest, confirmed this week, of an Army intelligence analyst for leaking the "Collateral Murder" video of a deadly US helicopter attack in Iraq, which was later posted online at WikiLeaks.

Ellsberg: Also, the recent US indictment of Thomas Drake.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Drake was a former senior official with the National Security Agency (NSA) who provided reporters with information about failures at the NSA.

Ellsberg: For Obama to indict and prosecute Drake now, for acts undertaken and investigated during the Bush administration, is to do precisely what Obama said he did not mean to do -- "look backward." Of all the blatantly criminal acts committed under Bush, warrantless wiretapping by the NSA, aggression, torture, Obama now prosecutes only the revelation of massive waste by the NSA, a socially useful act which the Bush administration itself investigated but did not choose to indict or prosecute!

Bush brought no indictments against whistleblowers, though he suspended Drake's clearance. Obama, in this and other matters relating to secrecy and whistleblowing, is doing worse than Bush. His violation of civil liberties and the White House's excessive use of the executive secrecy privilege is inexcusable.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Why would Obama reverse himself?

Ellsberg: He's a good politician. He said what he needed to say to get elected, and now he's just taking advantage of the office. Like any administration before, his administration caters to the profits of big corporations like BP and Goldman Sachs -- even though I think BP won't get off that easily this time. His early campaign contributions, the big corporate contributions, came from Wall Street. They got their money's worth.

In fact, during the campaign of 2008, three candidates were backed by Wall Street: Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. If you look at the rhetoric, the most promising was John Edwards. Too bad he turned out to be a jerk.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: But Obama has been very verbal about his criticism of Wall Street.

Ellsberg: His actions are totally uncoupled from his public statements. I don't even listen anymore. He has turned 180 degrees. Another example: His promise to filibuster a law giving the phone companies legal immunity for any role they played in the Bush's domestic eavesdropping program. Then he not only voted not to filibuster it, he also voted for the law -- against the wishes of his backers.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Do you think that will backfire for the Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections?

Ellsberg: I don't think what Obama is doing is the best way to get votes. But it's the best way to get campaign contributions.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You were the ultimate whistleblower. In 1971, you leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, revealing that the government was well aware the Vietnam War couldn't be won. You changed history but were vilified and prosecuted for it. Would you still do it today?

Ellsberg: I wouldn't wait that long. I would get a scanner and put them on the Internet.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Would that still have the same impact?

Ellsberg: If the Pentagon Papers came online today all at once, the government wouldn't be tempted to enjoin it. Back then, we got this long duel going between newspapers and the government. In the end, 19 newspapers ended up putting up parts of the documents, day after day after day. It created this ongoing scandal. I don't think it would have the same impact online as having it in the Times.
Yup. Ellsberg is in no position to KNOW explicitly the details of Prez Shamwow's deceptions via the War Dept, as he was when the Pentagon Papers passed through his hands in the late '60s. But his analysis of Prez. Shazama's domestic intel plans seem right on, in light of known facts and actions.

And he's right, too, that the imprimatur of the NYTimes added credibility to the revelations that would be/is absent from the on-line "news" environment.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Guess What? Campaign Ads DO Have Consequences

The CONSUMATE ad-man, Stan Freeberg, had already admitted to anyone who was paying attention that, contratry to the pious proclamations by ad school profs that ads were only supplying a demand for information (i shit you not), ads CREATED demand--and primarily by repetition...It makes a difference if you can buy five spots per hour, instead of only one or two.

Money talks; big ad buys affect poll results

A new statewide poll shows Republican challenger Rick Scott has vaulted past Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum in the race for governor.

And Jeff Greene, another wealthy candidate financing his own first statewide race, has surged into a dead heat with U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami Gardens, in the U.S. Senate race.

"Mothers may tell their children that money can’t buy happiness, but what these results show is that money can buy enough television ads to make political neophytes serious contenders," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "It certainly doesn’t hurt with Greene or Scott that this is shaping up to be the year of the anti-establishment candidate."

The Quinnipiac Poll showed Scott, a wealthy Naples businessman who has been flooding television with advertisements, leading McCollum by double digits -- 44 percent to 31 percent -- in a GOP primary.

In the Democratic primary, Meek clings to a 29-27 percent lead over Greene, a Palm Beach County real estate investor who is another "deep pockets" newcomer financing his own campaign.

But there were large numbers of undecided voters in both parties. Quinnipiac said 60 percent in both parties said they could change their minds before the Aug. 24 primaries.

The winner of the Democratic Senate nomination will face Gov. Charlie Crist, running as an independent, and Republican Marco Rubio in November. The GOP nominee for goveror will face Democrat Alex Sink and independent Bud Chiles in the general election.

"Around the country, challengers to so-called career politicians seem to be doing well, and these showings by Scott and Greene certainly fit very well into that trend," said Brown.

Scott's television barrage has driven state Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, out of the race. His former company, Columbia/HCA, paid the largest Medicare fraud fine in history, $1.7 billion, while Scott was in charge -- which he mentions in some of his advertising, while saying he took responsibility although he was not criminally charged.

McCollum has recently putting out daily statements about Scott's "fraud files." A Quinnipiac poll on Wednesday indicated either McCollum and Scott would beat Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the likely Democratic nominee for governor, or independent challenger Lawton "Bud" Chiles.

Arizona's controversial immigration law looks like a big factor. Quinnpiac found that 86 percent of Republicans approve of it, and Scott promises in his advertisements to bring such a law to Florida. Those ads also feature a quote from McCollum, saying "we don't need that law" in Florida.

Despite his former company's fraud penalties, the poll said 40 percent of Republicans view Scott favorably and 12 percent disapprove of him, while 46 percent didn't know enough about him to form an opinion. McCollum, a Republican congressman for 20 years now running his fourth statewide race, was viewed favorably by only 41 percent of Republicans and unfavorably by 19 percent with 36 percent not having an opinion.

The poll was conducted last week among 814 Republicans and 785 Democrats. It has a margin of error or plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Some Slim Shred of Sanity Still Prevails In Prescott, AZ

A member of the City Council, a goitered, gloating gringo named Blair, had (operant case: past) a radio program on the local rightwing out-flow, on which he berated the city for prominently featuring the physiognomy of a child whose physical characteristics were distinctly non-caucasian. This 'diversity" drove Blair into a tizzy, and he prevailed upon the school-board, at least initially, to modify the image on the building, and lighten the skin-tone of the central and most prominent figure in the mural. The Board agreed, until the story hit the web and the national reaction began to pour into parochial, little Prescott.

"On June 5th, 2010 in Prescott, AZ, Miller Valley Elementary School principal Jeff Lane and Prescott Unified School District Superintendent Kevin Kapp admit they made a mistake and apologize for their decision to lighten children's faces on the "Go Green" mural painted on the side of the school."

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Genau! EXACTLY Right!

By the end of his term, Prez Shamwow is supposed to become the most detested black man in America since Johnnie Cochran or OJ Simpson...and thereby prepare the way for the recrudescence of Bushevism--Jeb this time...

The Peace prize is the centerpiece of Shamwow's "legacy." It's set up as a kind of consolation prize. He's only gonna be a one-termer, but they'll give him a few token 'victories" to assure his "place in history." For example, he'll be remembered as "Rooseveltian": FDR for 'health care reform,' Teddy for "financial regulation reform," and wise and foreward-looking for an 'energy bill,' and maybe even an "immigration bill," so that when his only term ends in 2012, and he's become the most detested black in Americaq since OJ, he can still join the pantheon of noble black people in Murka, with MLK, and DuBois, and Washington, et al...the apotheosis of Tokenism.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Case for "Clean Elections"

(Which misses the obvious point that if elections actually meant anything, the elites wouldn't let the Middull Murkin proletariat anywhere near a polling booth)

January 06, 2009 — "Clean Elections: Changing the Face of America" is a video narrated by journalis "Clean Elections: Changing the Face of America" is a video narrated by journalist Bill Moyers on the influence the Clean Elections movement--or publicly financed elections--has had on politics and campaigns in Maine, Arizona, and North Carolina. The video includes interviews from politicians and citizens from Arizona and Maine as well as comments from national organizations including Public Campaign, Common Cause, and Democracy Matters.