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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Countries that are party to the torture convention have the authority to investigate torture cases, especially when a citizen has been abused.

Spanish Court Weighs Criminal Investigation Over Torture For 6 Former Bush Admin Officials
LONDON — A high-level Spanish court has taken the first steps toward opening a criminal investigation against six former Bush administration officials, including former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, on whether they violated international law by providing a legalistic framework to justify the use of torture of American prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, an official close to the case said.
The case was sent to the prosecutor’s office for review by Baltasar Garzón, the crusading investigative judge who ordered the arrest of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The official said that it was “highly probable” that the case would go forward and that it could lead to arrest warrants.
While the move represents a step toward ascertaining the legal accountability of top Bush administration officials for allegations of torture and mistreatment of prisoners in campaign against terrorism, some American experts said that even if warrants were issued their significance could be more symbolic than practical, and that it was a near certainty that the warrants would not lead to arrests if the officials did not leave the United States.
The complaint under review also names John C. Yoo, the former Justice Department lawyer who wrote secret legal opinions saying the president had the authority to circumvent the Geneva Conventions, and Douglas J. Feith, the former under secretary of defense for policy.
The move was not entirely unexpected, as several human rights groups have been asking judges in different countries to indict Bush administration officials. One group, the Center for Constitutional Rights, had asked a German prosecutor for such an indictment, but the prosecutor declined.
Judge Garzón, however, has built an international reputation by bringing high-profile cases against human rights violators as well as international terrorist networks like Al Qaeda. The arrest warrant for General Pinochet led to his detention in Britain, although he never faced a trial. The judge has also been outspoken about the treatment of detainees at Guantánamo Bay.
Spain can claim jurisdiction in the case because five citizens or residents of Spain who were prisoners at Guantánamo Bay have said they were tortured there. The five had been indicted previously. The Spanish Supreme Court overturned the conviction of one of them in 2006, saying that Guantánamo was “a legal limbo” and that no evidence obtained under torture could be valid in any of the country’s courts.
The 98-page complaint, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, is based on the Geneva Conventions and the 1984 Convention Against Torture, which is binding on 145 countries, including Spain and the United States. Countries that are party to the torture convention have the authority to investigate torture cases, especially when a citizen has been abused.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Holbrooke Draws Comparisons To Rwanda In Advocating Obama's AfPak Policy


The rollout of Barack Obama's Afghanistan-Pakistan policy has largely focused on a variety of military and diplomatic objectives, from the training of forces to serve in both country's armies and police forces to procedures to eradicate the drug trade crippling the Afghan economy.
In a briefing with reporters on Friday, however, Obama's chief ambassador to the region, Richard Holbrooke, offered a humanitarian justification for the administration's approach. And he did so by drawing parallels to one of America's most glaring failures on this front: the genocide in Rwanda.
Defending Obama's policy as being appropriately fluid and open to new proposals, Holbrooke noted that simple adjustments, like influencing the mediums of communication in the region, could have major humanitarian effects.
The National Republican Congressional Committee is poised to release a new ad for their man in the race to fill a vacant House seat in New York. The ad, titled "National Tragedy," beats up on Democratic candidate Scott Murphy for refusing to say he'd advocate the death penalty for the perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The ad comes on the same day a new poll showed that Republican Jim Tedisco's steadily-dwindling lead among likely voters had become a four-point deficit. Poll respondents said they viewed the Tedisco campaign as "more negative" than his opponent's.

Rep. Eric Cantor Says Hedge Fund Tax Rate Must Stay Low to Help Small Businesses

WATCH: Cantor Defends Hedge-Fund Billionaires

Under the current system, some billionaire hedge fund managers pay a lower tax rate than average workers, like schoolteachers or firemen. Last time Congress tried to close the loophole, in 2007, Cantor held closed-door meetings with lobbyists to try to block the move. In the end, the proposal got through the House but couldn't pass the Senate.
The prospects of passage are better this time, unless Cantor can whip up enough opposition.

DNC Web Ad: The Number Zero, Brought To You By The Party Of N-O

White House Joins In Mockery Of GOP Budget Plan

Republicans have gone from "the party of 'no' to the party of 'no detail.'"

Nasty, Nasty, darn those republicans get down and dirty.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Speaking in Tongues"


Without a doubt, many of the attacks from the far-right against President Obama have amounted to nothing more than the political equivalent of speaking in tongues. The attacks are only marginally more coherent than Steve Carell's Brick Tamland character fromAnchorman shouting "LOUD NOISES!" for the sake of shouting something. Anything.
The most ridiculous of the loud noises are the ones that entirely ignore the legacy of the previous president. Specifically, the very same people making the loudest noises about President Obama have also spent the last eight years spastically applauding President Bush's worst trespasses every step of the way. The far-right's staggering disregard for the significant flaws of the former Republican president confounds logic when measured against their ridiculous attacks on the current president.

ATTACK: President Obama took a vacation to Hawaii.
REALITY: President Bush set a record for presidential vacations during two wars and a major hurricane.
ATTACK: President Obama's budget could
double the national debt.
REALITY: President Bush's spending actually did.
ATTACK: President Obama is "shredding the Constitution."
REALITY: You mean there's a Constitution left to be shredded?
ATTACK: President Obama chuckled while talking about bailing out the auto industry.
REALITY: President Bush routinely smirked and grinned while talking about the significantly more serious issues of war and military casualties.
ATTACK: President Obama is
incompetent.
REALITY: Do I even need to do the list?
ATTACK: President Obama is presiding over
a one-party fascist government.
REALITY: This is not a joke.
So. Loud noises!

Amen, Been there done that, more than one time, certainly know the feeling.


Thursday's White House's 'Open for Questions' summit was the latest in a line of innovative mediums by which the president has communicated to and with the public. It also was one of the most personal.
At two points during the roughly hour-long session, Barack Obama offered rather intimate autobiographical anecdotes to underscore the need for -- and the administration's commitment to -- massive health care reform.
The first came during a give and take with an SEIU nurse, who discussed (rather than questioned) the need for preventive care and education. After expressing his "bias" in favor of nurses, Obama brought the topic around to his daughter and the sense of dread he felt when she was diagnosed with meningitis.
"When Sasha, our little precious pea, she got meningitis when she was three months old," said Obama. "The doctors did a terrific job, but frankly, it was the nurses that were there with us when she had to get a spinal tap and all sorts of things that were just bringing me to tears. And we've got a problem in this country, which is we have a shortage of nurses."
Later in the session, he was pressed on the need to have insurance companies cover preexisting conditions, and once more dipped into his personal story.

Infectious Laughter: The Epidemiology of a Smear

Wankers.

The Rethug Media Whores are at it again, after all they did so well the last eight years, didn't they with their fair and balanced news.!!!!!

WATCH: The Laugh Heard 'Round The World

Hell yeah Obama keep laughting, at least we don't have to watch Georgie and Cheney sneering at the world.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Truth and Silence

US moves to suppress evidence in Gitmo trial
THE US has threatened to stop sharing intelligence with Britain if information on a British terrorism detainee in Guantanamo Bay is made public.
The High Court in London ruled on Wednesday that details of a legal challenge, brought by Binyam Mohamed, a British resident held at the American base, must not be released because a withdrawal of intelligence co-operation by the US would lead to a "considerable increase" in the dangers Britain faced from terrorism.
But the court expressed dismay that a democracy "governed by the rule of law" would seek to suppress evidence "relevant to allegations of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, politically embarrassing though it might be".
A statement by Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones that lawyers for the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, had made clear that the threat by the US represented too great a risk to national security to be ignored had caused alarm in Britain.
British newspapers pointed out that the threat to re-evaluate the sharing of intelligence between Britain and America had emerged just 24 hours after Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, made much of the "special relationship" between the two countries.
The judges' statements reveal that top-secret documents, which form the linchpin of the case, refer to "torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment".
LinkHere

US risks Iraq reconstruction mistakes


The United States risks repeating the same mistakes in Afghanistan that have led to billions of dollars being squandered in Iraq on its reconstruction, US auditors warned Wednesday.
The warnings come just days before President Barack Obama is due to unveil his new strategy for Afghanistan, which is expected to include an increase in reconstruction aid and civilian assistance.
Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that he estimates between three and five billion dollars had been wasted in the US effort to rebuild Iraq since 2003.
Bowen, who has been overseeing Iraq's reconstruction since 2004, said he recently met the head of a US electrical company operating in Afghanistan that had also worked in Iraq.
"He said, 'Mr. Bowen, I've read everyone of your reports. And you're right, there was significant waste,'" Bowen said.
"But then he said, 'I want to tell you that the same thing is going on in Afghanistan now," that there's significant waste, and that the lessons learned from Iraq are waiting to be applied effectively in Afghanistan," Bowen said.
Unless Afghanistan reconstruction efforts "draws upon the lessons learned in Iraq, substantial waste of taxpayer dollars will occur," Bowen warned.
The main problem is that the US government "lacks an accepted doctrine for how to rebuild a failed state and a structure capable of mobilizing resources on the required scale," he added.

'Total Nonsense'

Rahm Talks To Larry King About Family, Stress (VIDEO)

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Nation editor: Republicans are no longer 'terrified' of Cheney

Former Vice President Dick Cheney's highly public criticism of President Barama Obama has been making even some Congressional Republicans nervous.
According to Chris Hayes, editor of The Nation, their reaction is perfectly understandable, both because Cheney is "toxic" and because Republicans "don't have anything to fear" from him anymore.
"You'd have to be a total moron not to understand the politics of Dick Cheney," Hayes told MSNBC's Keith Olberman on Tuesday. "He's a toxic figure politically. ... He left office as probably one of the least popular figures, the most distrusted figures in American life.
"The Hill on Monday had quoted half a dozen Republicans who "are telling Dick Cheney to go back to his undisclosed location and leave them alone to rebuild the Republican Party without his input."

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Condoleezza Rice On Jay Leno: Says She Won't Criticize Obama Like Cheney Is (VIDEO)

Barack Obama isn't the only political figure making the late night rounds. Jay Leno had former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on his show last night, less than a week after the President's appearance. Leno asked Rice about whether she misses her job, thinks Bush was misunderstood and whether Dick Cheney should stop criticizing Obama. In what could be perceived as disapproval toward Cheney's recent disparaging comments about the Obama administration, Rice told Leno that we "owe them our loyalty and our silence". Rice made a point to let the audience know she was agreeing with her former boss, George W. Bush, who said the same thing last week

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Agreeing to Disagree


'Shortest In History'

President Barack Obama said all the right thingson 60 Minutes, according to Jonathan Turley. But no mere verbal rebuff to the former vice president will see the law upheld.If Obama would step out of the way and allow prosecutors to look at evidence of alleged Bush administration war crimes, "it would be the shortest investigation in history," Turley said on a Monday episode of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.

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FOX contributor Newt Gingrich is upset:

That isn't really fair to Newt, though. Gingrich has only been divorced twice so far. There was Jackie, his former high school math teacher, who he divorced as she was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery, and Marianne, who he married shortly after divorcing Jackie, and with whom he was still married when he began his relationship with Callista -- an affair that occurred around the time he was promising to never give another speech as Speaker of the House without mentioning the Lewinsky scandal. He and Callista are still married.
Anyway, in fairness to Gingrich, that's only two divorces.
UPDATE: Maybe Gingrich was just getting a head start on displaying the enthusiasm of the convert. Chris Cillizza reported today:
Gingrich To Become a Catholic Saturday: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will officially convert to Catholicism this Saturday at St. Joseph's in Washington, D.C. The move has long been planned -- the New York Times Matt Bai mentioned it in a profile of Gingrich last month -- and will allow Gingrich and his wife, Calista, to practice the same faith. (Gingrich was a Baptist for much of his life.) Let the "what does this mean for 2012" speculation begin!
So he isn't even a Catholic yet, and he's already lecturing Notre Dame about how best to uphold Catholic values. Nice.

AIG has a culture of complicity. "

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Bush missing from USA Today/Gallup poll response options to question about AIG bonuses

RELATED
Major media outlets yet to report IG testimony implicating Bush administration in AIG bonuses

Despite jumping on -- and in some cases advancing -- false Republican claims that congressional Democrats are responsible for AIG executive bonuses, major media outlets have yet to report that Neil Barofsky, a Bush-appointed special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), confirmed in March 19 congressional testimony that the Bush administration Treasury Department knew about the AIG bonus contracts and did not insist on their abrogation as a condition of AIG's receiving bailout money through a stock purchase agreement signed by AIG and the Bush Treasury Department. LinkHere

Media Matters - Memo to the media: Where's W?

The media's refusal to involve the Bush administration in any of a wide array of stories about the economy deprives their consumers of the very analysis of policies that would help them understand and evaluate proposals to address the crisis. Regardless of one's assessment of the Obama ...

Ahahahahahah, I love it

Go back into hiding, GOP begs Dick Cheney

Congressional Republicans are telling Dick Cheney to go back to his undisclosed location and leave them alone to rebuild the Republican Party without his input.

Displeased with the former vice-president's recent media appearances, Republican lawmakers say he's hurting  GOP efforts to reinvent itself after back-to-back electoral drubbings.

The veep, who showed a penchant for secrecy during eight years in the White House,has popped up in media interviews to defend the Bush-Cheney record while suggesting that the country is not as safe under President Obama.

Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) said, “He became so unpopular while he was in the White House that it would probably be better for us politically if he wouldn’t be so public...But he has the right to speak out since he’s a private citizen.”

Another House Republican lawmaker who requested anonymity said he wasn’t surprised that Cheney has strongly criticized Obama early in his term, but argued that it’s not helping the GOP cause.

The legislator said Cheney, whose approval ratings were lower than President Bush’s during the last Congress, didn’t think through the political implications of going after Obama.

Cheney did “House Republicans no favors,” the lawmaker said, adding, “I could never understand him anyway.”

Cheney’s office declined to comment for this article.       LinkHere

Monday, March 23, 2009

Obama: We Can't "Govern Out Of Anger"

Obama Interview - 60 Minutes pt 1 of 3
Obama Interview - 60 Minutes pt 2 of 3
Obama Interview - 60 Minutes pt 3 of 3

Jindal Versus The Volcano

Alaskans fume over Jindal volcano-monitoring gripe

With Monday's massive volcano eruption in Alaska likely to leave Anchorage and Gov. Sarah Palin's hometown covered in ash, a Democratic strategist sends over the reminder that just a month and a half ago, another up-and-coming Republican star, Gov. Bobby Jindal, mocked the very notion of volcano monitoring.

Speaking in the non-State of the Union rebuttal, the Louisiana Republican said that instead of spending $140 million "for something called 'volcano monitoring,'" Congress "should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C."

It was a comment not well received among geological experts and one that now seems to pit Jindal against Palin on a minor but important spending provision.

Then and now, the U.S. Geological Survey, which will receive the stimulus money for volcano monitoring, had been keeping track of several active volcanoes across the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii and, of course, Alaska.

Another Michele Bachmann Radio Eruption

Save the fetus, forget the child!!!!

Palin On Stimulus Funds: Thanks, But No Thanks...(Actually Thanks)

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin faced bipartisan criticism and an angry protest back home after deciding to reject federal stimulus funds. That might be why her Lieutenant Governor is now saying she didn't decide anything.

Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell showed up to deliver Palin's message - that she's not necessarily "rejecting" the money, but wants a public debate on how it's spent and whether it would cost the state in the long run.

Among the questions: Is the governor's team trying to have it both ways - saying "no" to the money while leaving the door open to spending it?

You know what we've got? We've got trash in the White House.

Who's the Trash?
Tammy Bruce Calls The Obamas "Trash In The White House"

Tammy Bruce, guest host for Laura Ingram's radio show, had some harsh words for First Lady Michelle Obama.

Discussing the first lady's visit to a Washington D.C. classroom last week, Bruce incredulously recalled Obama's story about wanting to get A's in school and called out her use of a "weird, fake accent."

"That's what he's married to," Bruce said. "...You know what we've got? We've got trash in the White House. Trash is a thing that is colorblind, it can cross all eco-socionomic...categories. You can work on Wall Street, or you can work at the Wal-Mart. Trash, are people who use other people to get things, who patronize others, who consider you bitter and clingy..."

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

JUSTICE

Coming Soon: Declassified Bush-Era Torture Memos
By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball | NEWSWEEK

O’Reilly: If Cheney had ‘an assassination squad,’ he would have killed Seymour Hersh ‘a long time ago.’

During a speech at the University of Minnesota last week, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh claimed that the Bush administration had employed “an executive assassination ring” that “reported directly to the Cheney office.” In an Boston Herald op-ed today, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly mocked Hersh’s claim, saying “If Cheney really had such a crew,” reporters like Hersh would have already been killed:

The other day, left-wing muckraker Seymour Hersh went on MSNBC and said he had information, provided by the usual anonymous sources, that Dick Cheney was running an assassination squad out of the White House.

I have but one simple observation: If Cheney really had such a crew, Hersh would have been dead a long time ago, and so would most everybody at MSNBC.

LinkHere

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