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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Gates Hails Soldier Photographed In Pink Boxers

Your job is safe Matey!!!!!
Fun read with photo here in the new NYT "Lens" blog: The story behind the front page photo on May 12 that showed a few U.S. soldiers fighting the Taliban, one of them in pink boxer shorts. AP photog David Guttenfelder snapped it. UPDATE: AP sends along prepared text for Secretary of Defense Gate's remarks at the Intrepid in NYC tonight:
“Sometimes the public recognition isn’t always expected – or necessarily welcomed. Specialist Zachary Boyd recently was enjoying a well-deserved sleep when his post in eastern Afghanistan came under enemy attack. He immediately grabbed his rifle and rushed into a defensive position clad in his helmet, body armor, and pink boxer shorts that said 'I Love New York.'
"Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on your perspective – an AP photographer was there for a candid shot, a photo which ran shortly thereafter on the front page of the New York Times. Boyd later told his parents that: 'I may not have a job anymore after the president has seen me out of uniform.'
"Well, let me tell you, the next time I visit Afghanistan I want to meet Specialist Boyd and shake his hand. Any soldier who goes into battle against the Taliban in pink boxers and flip-flops has a special kind of courage. And I can only wonder about the impact on the Taliban. Just imagine seeing that – a guy in pink boxers and flip-flops has you in his crosshairs – what an incredible innovation in psychological warfare. I can assure you that Specialist Boyd’s job is very safe indeed.”
Also, here's how the Fort Worth daily, in Boyd's hometown, covered the episode. -- Greg Mitchell LinkHere

Obama: White House Has Been "Terrific" For Family Life

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says being in the White House has been "terrific" for family life _ at least compared with the campaign, when the family was not often in the same place at the same time.
Obama tells C-SPAN in an interview airing Saturday that he has "this pretty nice home office' and is home for dinner just about every night he's in Washington.
He says he can read to his two daughters and then can tell him about their day. He's also seen some of their soccer games.
The president says his family thinks of itself as being like any other family. In his words, "We've got some issues like every other family has that they have to work through."
But in general, Obama says the first family doesn't feel a lot of stress. LinkHere

Obama Picks First African American NASA Chief

HOUSTON — The nation's turbulent space program will be run by one of its own, a calming well-liked former space shuttle commander.
President Barack Obama on Saturday chose retired astronaut Gen. Charles Bolden to lead NASA. He also named former NASA associate administrator Lori Garver as the agency's No. 2. If confirmed, Bolden, who has flown in space four times and was an assistant deputy administrator at one point, would be the agency's first black administrator.
Bolden would also be only the second astronaut to run NASA in its 50-year history. Adm. Richard Truly was the first. In 2002, then-President George W. Bush unsuccessfully tried to appoint Bolden as the space agency's deputy administrator. The Pentagon said it needed to keep Bolden, who was a Marine general at the time and a pilot who flew more than 100 sorties in Vietnam.
"Charlie knows NASA and the people know Charlie; there's a level of comfort," especially given the uncertainty the space agency faces, said retired astronaut Steve Hawley, who flew twice in space with Bolden.
Bolden likely will bring "more balance" to NASA, increasing spending on aeronautics and environment missions, working more with other nations in space, and emphasizing education, which the president often talks about when it comes to space, said former Johnson Space Center Director George Abbey, a longtime friend.
"He's a real leader," Abbey said Saturday. "NASA has been looking for a leader like this that they could have confidence in." LinkHere


Published: May 23, 2009
WASHINGTON — The United States is now relying heavily on foreign intelligence services to capture, interrogate and detain all but the highest-level terrorist suspects seized outside the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, according to current and former American government officials.
The change represents a significant loosening of the reins for the United States, which has worked closely with allies to combat violent extremism since the 9/11 attacks but is now pushing that cooperation to new limits.
In the past 10 months, for example, about a half-dozen midlevel financiers and logistics experts working with Al Qaeda have been captured and are being held by intelligence services in four Middle Eastern countries after the United States provided information that led to their arrests by local security services, a former American counterterrorism official said.
In addition, Pakistan’s intelligence and security services captured a Saudi suspect and a Yemeni suspect this year with the help of American intelligence and logistical support, Pakistani officials said. The two are the highest-ranking Qaeda operatives captured since President Obama took office, but they are still being held by Pakistan, which has shared information from their interrogations with the United States, the official said.
The current approach, which began in the last two years of the Bush administration and has gained momentum under Mr. Obama, is driven in part by court rulings and policy changes that have closed the secret prisons run by the Central Intelligence Agency, and all but ended the transfer of prisoners from outside Iraq and Afghanistan to American military prisons. LinkHere

Generals Find Suicide a Frustrating Enemy

As Numbers Continue to Climb, Top Officers Meet Monthly to Look for Answers
By Ann Scott Tyson and Greg Jaffe
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, May 23, 2009
It was just past midnight in Afghanistan when Brig. Gen. Mark Milley appeared on the video screen in the Pentagon conference room to brief some of the Army's top generals on a sobering development: his unit's most recent confirmed suicide.
A 19-year-old private, working a night shift at his base, had shot himself a few weeks earlier. "There was no indication that he would harm himself, he had not been seen by the chaplain, no intimate relationships," Milley said, running through warning signs.
In the Pentagon, Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the Army's vice chief of staff, homed in on one detail. The soldier worked a job that often entailed long, solitary hours. In scouring the Army's suicide statistics, Chiarelli had noticed a slight suicide increase among those who worked such positions. Milley said that going forward none of the 20,000 soldiers under his command would routinely work by themselves.
For more than two hours, Chiarelli, Army personnel chief Lt. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle and a roomful of other generals combed through the facts surrounding a dozen of the Army's latest suicides, with commanders from Afghanistan, Iraq, the Horn of Africa and bases throughout the United States participating in a video teleconference. LinkHere

A taste of torture

Cheney mixing apples and oranges
The Myth of A few bad Apples? You Decide

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No Detainee left behind

Congressional Republicans Don't Buy Own Party's Pelosi Attacks

Everything they do now will backfire, because they just cannot stand to be in the minority, and they are going ape over it.
Will GOP attacks on Nancy Pelosi backfire?
After a one-two punch from Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney, House Minority Leader John Boehner and other Republican lawmakers worry that their party has overplayed its hand on Nancy Pelosi.
The Republicans’ fear: Gingrich’s call for Pelosi’s ouster has set an unattainable goal, and Cheney’s jabs at her during a speech Thursday will allow Democrats to portray the controversy as a partisan attack by one of the GOP’s most polarizing figures.
“If the story becomes about us and not her, it’s a problem for us,” said a senior Republican lawmaker.
Boehner has been working to cool off other Republicans who want Pelosi’s scalp. He fears that, if Republicans move to call for Pelosi’s ouster — as Gingrich did — before laying out a case for an investigation first, then they will have squandered a major opportunity to cut into Pelosi’s authority.
He’s not the only one worried about going too far, too fast.
“I can’t speak for [Gingrich], but I think most members of the House believe that whether it’s this issue or something else, we have a procedure if there are questions of impropriety or wrongdoing on the part of any member,” said Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.), ranking member of the Armed Services Committee and a former member of the intelligence committee. “If that system is gonna stay together, I think we have to respect or implement it.”
Rather than advocating Pelosi’s ouster, House GOP leaders Thursday pushed a resolution calling for an intelligence committee investigation into the truth of her claim that the CIA misled her. The House voted 252-172 not to consider it. LinkHere

Powell Planning To Answer His Right-Wing Critics In TV Appearance This Weekend

Sen. John Thune (S.D.), a member of the GOP leadership in the Senate, said Powell is "one of the greatest leaders of our generation, and he is at heart a Republican."

Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Under intense fire from the right, former secretary of state Colin L. Powell is preparing to answer his Republican critics this weekend in a television appearance that is likely to add fuel to his long-standing feud with top conservatives in his party.
The appearance will come just days after Powell, one of the country's leading black political figures, told an audience in Boston that a new Republican Party is "waiting to emerge." Earlier this month, he said the party is in "deep trouble" because "Americans are looking for more government in their life, not less."
Powell's current battle with the right flank of the GOP is a continuation of a war that began in November 1995, when he announced that he would not be a candidate in the 1996 presidential race. With an apparent eye on 2000, he said he would change his lifelong political registration from independent to Republican and begin a quest to move the party toward what he considered its natural home in the center LinkHere

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mancow Get Waterboarded: Conservative Radio Host Say It's Torture

Isn't he the big mouth on Faux News?
Erich "Mancow" Muller, a Chicago-based conservative radio host, recently decided to silence critics of waterboarding once and for all. He would undergo the procedure himself, and then he would be able to confidently convince others that it is not, in fact, torture.
Or so he thought. Instead, Muller came out convinced.
"It is way worse than I thought it would be, and that's no joke," Mancow said. "It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back... It was instantaneous... and I don't want to say this: absolutely torture."
"I wanted to prove it wasn't torture," Mancow said. "They cut off our heads, we put water on their face... I got voted to do this but I really thought 'I'm going to laugh this off.' " LinkHere

Gates: Guantanamo "Taint" On U.S. Reputation

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the Obama administration had no choice but to order the shutdown of the prison at Guantanamo because "the name itself is a condemnation" of U.S. anti-terrorism strategy. In an interview broadcast Friday on NBC's "Today" show, Gates called the facility on the island of Cuba "probably one of the finest prisons in the world today." But at the same time, he said it had become "a taint" on the reputation of America.
Gates has served both President George W. Bush and now Barack Obama at the Pentagon. In an interview taped Thursday aboard the retired World War II-era aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, the defense secretary said that once the decision was made to close Guantanamo, "the question is, where do you put them?" He said Obama would do nothing to endanger the public and said there has never been an escape from a "super-max" prison in this country.
Of criticism the president's plan would jeopardize people's safety, Gates said: "I think that one of the points ... was that he had no interest whatsoever in releasing publicly detainees who might come back to harm Americans."
Gates said that "we have many terrorists in United States' prisons today," and he decried "fear-mongering about this." LinkHere

Abu Ghraib Ties To Gitmo Shown By DOJ Memos
Yesterday, in his remarks at the American Enterprise Institute, former Vice President Dick Cheney protested that everyone had Abu Ghraib all wrong!
In public discussion of these matters, there has been a strange and sometimes willful attempt to conflate what happened at Abu Ghraib with the top-secret program of enhanced interrogations.
At Abu Ghraib, a few sadistic prison guards abused inmates in violation of American law, military regulation, and simple decency. For the harm they did to Iraqi prisoners and to America's cause, they deserved and received Army justice.
And it takes a deeply unfair cast of mind to equate the disgraces of Abu Ghraib with the lawful, skillful, and entirely honorable work of CIA personnel trained to deal with a few malevolent men. But maybe there has been a "willful attempt to conflate what happened at Abu Ghraib with the top-secret program of enhanced interrogations," precisely because the two things are infinitely conflatable! Dan Froomkin takes on the issue in a report on Nieman Watchdog today and finds that Cheney's words just don't comport to observable reality: LinkHere

Col. Wilkerson: "Cheney Kept Some Things From the President"

Lawrence Wilkerson Denounces Bush Administration

We interviewed Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, the former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, on The Young Turks and he had some very interesting things to say. Including:
"Cheney was co-president. I'd go further than that and say that for national security issues and other critical issues Cheney was the President."
"I found the incredible arrogance and lack of humility of the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, to be stunning almost right off the bat."
Referring to the decision to abuse detainees:
"I don't think there's any question it goes to Cheney. I'm increasingly of a mind that a lot of it goes to Cheney and stops there. Not just because of the president's disinclination to do detail, but I also think that Cheney kept some things from the president. LinkHere

Tom Ridge: Cheney Is Wrong About Obama

The last 8 years of lies, do not go away that easily. Too many lives lost both Military and Iraqi.
In an interview airing this Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," former Bush Administration Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge told John King that he thinks former Vice President Dick Cheney is wrong in his assertion that the Obama administration has made the country less safe. Ridge also expressed disappointment in President Obama's characterization of the Bush administration.
KING: You had the intelligence. You served in a very sensitive position in those days after 9/11. Do you believe we are less safe today, because of steps taken by President Obama?
RIDGE: I do not.
KING: You disagree with Dick Cheney then?
RIDGE: Yeah, I disagree with Dick Cheney. But I also disagree with the approach both men are taking. [...]
At the end of the day as Americans, e pluribus Unum. We're in this together. And at the end of the day, it is a challenge that we're going to need to confront together.
The full interview, in which Ridge discusses Sen. Arlen Specter's senate seat and criticizes Rush Limbaugh, will air Sunday. LinkHere

Obama Commencement Address 2009: U.S. Naval Academy

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama promised graduating midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy on Friday that, as their commander in chief, he will only send them "into harm's way when it is absolutely necessary."
In his first address to military graduates, Obama also pledged to invest in the men and women who defend America's liberty, not just in the weapons they take with them into battle.
"I will only send you into harm's way when it is absolutely necessary, and with the strategy, the well-defined goals, the equipment and the support that you need to get the job done," the president told more than 1,000 graduates during a sun-splashed ceremony at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. LinkHere

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President signing military spending reform

American Idealogues

Australia signs anti-torture protocol

Source: Sydney Morning Herald
May 22, 2009 - 3:39PM
Australia's prisons and immigration detention centres could soon be subject to international torture inspections, the federal government says.
Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland says the government signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture this week.
The protocol obliges parties to allow international inspections of its places of detention, such as jails, to ensure people are being properly treated.
By signing the protocol Australia has taken a huge step towards ratification, something Mr McClelland says he's confident will occur with the support of states and territories ...

Review of 'Don't ask' underway

WASHINGTON – The White House insisted Thursday that officials are working to overturn a policy that bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, pushing back against Pentagon assessments that such efforts were low priorities and Democratic activists' complaint of slow progress.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters that President Barack Obama is committed to reversing the Clinton-era policy of "don't ask, don't tell," which blocks gays' service if they disclose their sexual orientation. Congress would have to take action to change the policy. Recent polls indicate the ban and the "don't ask, don't tell" policy are losing support. LinkHere
Okay I sent a reply to one of his emails, couldn't get through on his comments page so what the heck, I asked the question
Mr President,
I need you voice on,
Are you taking notice Mr President
Are you standing by your troops, who served their country honourable. Or is it just another platitude like the last administrations.
This is sheer Madness
New President. New Congress. No Change. Here is the latest evidence of what our country is losing under the law that prevents gay men and women from serving openly in the armed forces of the United States.
Lieutenant Colonel Victor J. Fehrenbach, a fighter weapons systems officer, has been flying the F-15E Strike Eagle since 1998. He has flown numerous missions against Taliban and al-Qaida targets, including the longest combat mission in his squadron's history. On that infamous September 11, 2001, Lt. Col. Fehrenbach was handpicked to fly sorties above the nation's capital. Later he flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has received at least 30 awards and decorations including nine air medals, one of them for heroism, as well as campaign medals for Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He is now a flight instructor in Idaho, where he has passed on his skills to more than 300 future Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force weapons systems officers.
Since 1987, when Fehrenbach entered Notre Dame on a full Air Force ROTC scholarship, the government has invested twenty-five million dollars in training and equipping him to serve his country, which he has done with what anyone would agree was great distinction. He comes from a military family. His father was a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, his mother an Air Force nurse and captain. Lt. Col. Fehrenbach has honored that tradition.
And the Air Force is about to discharge this guy, a virtual poster boy for Air Force recruiting, because he is gay? Someone has to be kidding.
video at:::
Kangaroo Down Under.
Blow me down, I even got an answer, where there's a will there's a way

Who Is Dick Cheney? Questions and Answers

A thug that should be charged with war crimes, that's who Cheney is

The stark contrast between Dick Cheney and President Obama bespeaks the contrast in devotion to this country and its citizens.
President Obama respects and values America and all for which and for whom it stands. Dick Cheney on the other hand, simply does not. That's who Dick Cheney really is.

Who is Dick Cheney? Really?
What is the man doing?
Is he a patriot?
Does he love America?
Does he fear for the safety of its citizens?
Is he a statesman who values what America stands for?
Does he value its history?
Here are some answers:
He is exercising his right to express himself. But given the responsibility inherent in having served high profile terms in government and given the content of his recent pronouncements set against the current instability of the economy at home and abroad he is, in the exercise of that right, practicing nothing less than sedition.
This is a man who arranged to be deferred from military service five times yet has stood behind the crucifying of actual war heroes like Max Cleland and John Kerry and behind the devaluing of all those American soldiers who went into engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan underfunded, under-supplied and under-protected, as well as their care after they had so nobly served.
He has been behind the unprecedented manipulation and gutting of the Constitution of the United States, taking power from The People and placing it squarely in the Oval Office.
He has presided over the spreading of paranoia and fear across the psychological expanse of this country in order to execute his personal agenda of profit.
He has determined that America take a unilateral course of aggressive action in order to secure its position as the world's only super power.
He values his country's history the way Machiavelli valued his. To him, American history is not the story of a people struggling with the responsibility of freedom for all men and women, a concept that is not instinctive in the human animal but one which must be fought for and nurtured with precision and care. For Dick Cheney rather, his behavior both private and public points clearly to a man who has disdain for his country and the people who live in it, who views America as a business which has turned only a paltry profit, hasn't flexed its muscles with sufficient cruelty, has employed too little civil restraint, has given too much freedom to a people who neither deserve nor have the intelligence to understand it.
And even though he clothes himself in the trappings of the patriot, he is in fact the traitor in our midst. His recent media tour, again while within his right, is every bit as disturbing and incendiary as the vitriol that issues forth from the froth-flecked mouths of religious zealots who cry for holy war. His pronouncements about the various dangers to our country -- dangers he and his cadre of neo-con co-conspirators have helped create and/or exacerbate -- are not well-meant warnings but attempts to extend his nefarious influence over the national landscape, to keep people jittery and vulnerable enough to preserve his own relentless agenda of personal profit and perpetual power.
With the help of his ministry of propaganda Fox News and the autonomous bilge pump Limbaugh, Dick Cheney broadcasts his fear mongering messages, fomenting a shadow illegitimate movement more potentially virulent than any media-fanned terror of Swine Flu and exploiting the very fear he helped to create. If not dealt with, if his actions are left unchallenged and unchecked, the potential for civil division and instability is greater than it has been since the days leading up to the Civil War. LinkHere

Now that will be interesting, wonder if they have the *****!!!!!!!

Palin Rejects Stimulus Funds, Dares Legislature To Override Veto

Alaska loses.
Democratic Alaska Senator Mark Begich responded quickly, pointing out the hypocrisy of the Governor's position, asking for earmarks and rejecting the stimulus.

Gov. Sarah Palin dropped the hammer today on $80 million from the state budget. Her cuts include the $28.6 million in federal stimulus money designated for energy relief. Even though Juneau, Fairbanks and Anchorage municipalities are already complying with the federal building codes, Palin turned money down for weatherization and energy assistance to avoid the building requirements statewide. The governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, negotiated taking the money without a statewide code.
Alaska has the highest energy costs in the nation. Alaska has two seasons; winter and construction. Now would be the best time for window replacement, weatherization, etc.
In a "bring it on" move, Palin dared the legislature to over-ride her veto. I just spoke to a state legislator about the chances of a special session being called. It is possible, if not, the next session is January 2010.
Last fall, Governor Palin allocated $740 million in one time "energy bail-out" checks to every citizen in Alaska.
This year, $28.6 million is turned down. LinkHere

"Phony Moralizing" and "Feigned Outrage."

Democrats and Republicans may have found an area of agreement: Dick Cheney should keep on campaigning for the GOP cause.
Cheney's apparently endless retirement speaking tour culminated Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute, where he savaged Barack Obama and dismissed criticism of torture as "phony moralizing" and "feigned outrage." Republican poll numbers have continued to crater in the weeks since Cheney first took to the talk-show circuit, but GOP senators told the Huffington Post Thursday afternoon that they think the former vice president will rally voters to their cause.
"I'm sure he can help some," said South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. "I hope he helps where he can. I like the vice president."
Graham qualified that he doesn't see Cheney, 68, as the future of the Republican Party, leaving that role to "some young governor or somebody out there that will emerge over time." LinkHere
Cheney's War Against Obama
His war isn't against terrorism. It's against Obama.
It was almost like an episode from Bloggingheads.tv. On the one side was President Obama speaking on national security in a measured and statesmanlike way. On the other side was former vice-president Dick Cheney trying to speak on national security in a measured and statesmanlike way.
It wasn't even close. Obama deftly wove his own personal saga and faith in American values with its future. His indictment of the Bush administration wasn't something that Obama wanted to deliver--as he made it clear, he wants to move on. Cheney's campaign to hail his own record forced Obama to recount, once more, why it was that the Bush administration besmirched America's Constitution, why "enhanced interrogation" didn't enhance American security but directly jeopardized it.
Once again, Cheney, by contrast, offered a deceptively consoling vision of an America that can't lose its moral bearings because any measures that are deemed necessary to protect it are, by definition, just and righteous. Why is anyone even listening to him? The failure of the Bush administration's foreign policy has been patently obvious--a morass in Iraq, a resurgent insurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan--note that Obama did not include Iraq as part of the struggle against terrorism--and the collapse of American standing around the globe.
But since even Democratic Senators seem to be cowering before the idea of shuttering Guantanamo, it's worth briefly examining Cheney's modus operandi once again. In his speech at the American Enterprise Institute, which the Weekly Standard first posted, Cheney deployed a number of familiar tactics.
First, he revived the bogus claim that Saddam Hussein was working hand-in-glove with al-Qaeda: "We had the anthrax attack from an unknown source. We had the training camps of Afghanistan, and dictators like Saddam Hussein with known ties to Mideast terrorists."
Second, he depicted the Democrats as woefully out of touch with reality, trapped in a law enforcement approach when it comes to national security: "You can look at the facts and conclude that the comprehensive strategy has worked, and therefore needs to be continued as vigilantly as ever. Or you can look at the same set of facts and conclude that 9/11 was a one-off event - coordinated, devastating, but also unique and not sufficient to justify a sustained wartime effort. Whichever conclusion you arrive at, it will shape your entire view of the last seven years, and of the policies necessary to protect America for years to come."
But as Obama pointed out, the Bush administration didn't really have a strategy, but an ad hoc policy towards prosecuting terrorists. Furthermore, Obama has not, and did not, say that 9/11 was an isolated event. In fact, he courageously noted that he cannot promise that another attack will never take place. But he also made it clear that stopping terrorism is his number one priority. Does that sound like someone who is asleep at the switch? Like a president, who, when listening to a CIA briefer warning about a looming al-Qaeda attack, says, "All right. You've covered your ass now." LinkHere

Obama Curtails Bush's Policy of 'Preemption'

Washington Post:
It Let Federal Rules Override State Laws
President Obama continued to reverse his predecessor's policies this week by undoing a controversial Bush administration rule known as "preemption" that used federal regulations to override state laws on the environment, health, public safety and other issues.
Read the whole story: Washington Post

Arianna Discusses Cheney's Speech On CNN: "Same Delusional Stuff He Believed When He Was Vice President"

Arianna appeared on CNN's s"Situation Room" this evening to discuss the day's news along with Tony Blankley. They discussed whether Nancy Pelosi has anything to be worried about as House Speaker and Cheney's speech today defending the Bush administration's practices. LinkHere

Reid Shifts On Gitmo After Obama Speech

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday he was open to discussing with President Obama the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay and the relocation of detainees.
That discussion will include the possible relocation of detainees to the United States to stand trial and, if convicted, be sent to prison. But Reid did not back off his previously stated opposition to such a transfer, stopping short at a willingness to talk about it. LinkHere
Guantanamo has become the symbol of the severe missteps that our country took in recent years. Sen. Patrick Leahy: Time to Support the President and Close the Facility at Guantanamo Bay
President Obama said in his campaign and he has repeated since the first days of his presidency that we must keep our nation safe and secure, but we must do it in ways consistent with our values. Now that is a sentiment I share, and one that I voiced in hearings and statements for years as well. And to President Obama's credit and to the benefit of the Nation, he has worked since his first day in office to turn these words into action and to make our national security policy and our detainee policy consistent with American laws and American values. And that, in turn, makes us more secure.
I have supported President Obama in these steps, and I will continue to do so. That is why I have voted against amendments to withhold funding to close the Guantanamo detention facility and to prohibit any Guantanamo detainees from being brought to the United States. These amendments undermine the good work the president is doing, and they make us less safe, not safer.
I believe strongly, as all Americans do, that we must take every step we can to prevent terrorism, and we must ensure severe punishments for those who do us harm. As a former prosecutor, I have never shied away from harsh sentences for those who commit atrocious acts. I point out that at times, I've requested -- and gotten -- for people I prosecuted, life sentences where they served without parole.
I believe strongly that we can ensure our safety and security, and bring terrorists to justice, in ways that are consistent with our laws and values. When we have strayed from that approach -- when we have tortured people in our custody, or sent people to other countries to be tortured, or held people for years without even giving them the chance to go to court to argue that they were being held in error -- we have hurt our national security immeasurably. Our allies have been less willing to help our counter-terrorism efforts. That's made our military men and women more vulnerable and our country less safe. Terrorists have used our actions as a tool to recruit new members, which means we must fend off more enemies. Worse still, we have lost our ability to respond with moral authority if other countries should mistreat American soldiers or civilians.

Michael Moore's Financial Collapse Documentary Gets Release Date

NEW YORK — Michael Moore's documentary about the economic crisis will hit theaters on Oct. 2.
The announcement was made Thursday by Overture Films and Paramount Vantage.
The film is not yet titled. Moore earlier planned to make it more broadly about America as an empire. Instead, the documentary explores the causes of the global economic meltdown. Moore has called it "the biggest swindle in American history."
The division between rich and poor is old territory for Moore, who broke through 20 years ago with "Roger & Me" _ about General Motors closing a plant in his hometown of Flint.
Moore won the Academy Award for best documentary in 2003 for "Bowling for Columbine."

Death is to quick for him, locked up for life neverto see the outside is justice.

WORLD Ex-Soldier Spared Death Penalty For Iraq Murders
PADUCAH, Ky. — An ex-soldier convicted of raping and killing an Iraqi teen and murdering her family was spared the death penalty Thursday after jurors couldn't agree on a punishment for the brutal crime.

Steven Dale Green, 24, of Midland, Texas, will instead serve a life sentence in a case that has drawn attention to the emotional and psychological strains on soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In March 2006, after an afternoon of card playing, sex talk and drinking Iraqi whiskey, Pfc. Green and three other soldiers went to the home of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi near Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad. Green shot and killed the teen's mother, father and sister, then became the third soldier to rape the girl before shooting her in the face.
Federal jurors who convicted Green of rape and murder on May 7 told the judge they couldn't agree on the appropriate sentence after deliberating for more than 10 hours over two days. Their choices were a death sentence or life in prison without parole. Since they could not unanimously agree on either sentence, life in prison had to be the verdict.
"It's the better of two bad choices," said his father, John Green, who sighed as the verdict was read.
His son will be sentenced Sept. 4 by U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell.
Green's attorneys never denied his involvement in the attack, instead focusing on building a case that he didn't deserve the death penalty. Former Marines and other soldiers with whom Green served testified that he faced an unusually stressful combat tour in Iraq in a unit that suffered heavy casualties and didn't receive sufficient Army leadership while serving in Iraq's "Triangle of Death."
Jurors declined to comment as they were escorted out of the courthouse. LinkHere

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ani't that the truth!!!!!!!!

Kerry Backs Pelosi: CIA Lied To Me About Contras And Cocaine
House Minority Leader John Boehner pushed on Thursday for a bipartisan panel of lawmakers to investigate the veracity of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's claim that the CIA lied to her about whether it was waterboarding detainees.
"Her allegation that the CIA lied to her and that they misled Congress ... is a very serious charge," said Boehner (R-Ohio). "The Speaker has had a full week to produce evidence to back up her allegations, and I'm frankly disappointed that she has not done so."
The Central Intelligence Agency would never lie to Congress about breaking the law, would it?
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) knows a little something about that. During the late 1980s, he led a two-and-a-half year investigation into the CIA, the Nicaraguan Contras and cocaine trafficking, and the senator was on the receiving end of CIA deception.
So, would the CIA ever lie?
"In the case of one person who was tried and convicted, they lied. He overtly lied and was prosecuted for it by the government of the United States," said Kerry just off the Senate floor. "He was the director of operations for the region."
The CIA's inspector general later opened a second investigation looking into the matter and also determined that the agency was aware of the Contra involvement in drug trafficking, did nothing to stop it and in fact interceded with the Drug Enforcement Administration to block investigations -- and then misled Congress about it.
Besides drug trafficking, the Contras were also funded by proceeds from illegal arms sales to Iran. The CIA lied to Congress about that too, numerous investigations found. LinkHere

Oliver North Questioned - Rex 84 Exposed During Iran Contra

Any thing jump out at you, they where the same thugs in power!!!!!!!

Recognise any of the names?

The Contras, Cocaine, and Covert Operations
The CIA's Alan Fiers later recalls North's involvement with the Noriega ... (These plans were apparently aborted when the Iran-Contra scandal broke in ...

Christic Institute RICO Iran Contra CIA
Christic Institute RICO Ronald Reagan George Bush Iran-Contra Iran Contra guns for drugs Oliver North Louis Tambs CIA Nicaragua.
A Witness List for House Hearings on Vol II of the CIA's Inspector ...
Tom Clines - Retired CIA Deputy under former Laos and Saigon Station Chief Ted Shackley. Convicted during Iran-Contra of tax evasion in connection with ...
Iran-Contra Era
IRAN-CONTRA ERA. C.I.A. & DRUGS FACT SHEET. "Without the Honduran military there would have been no Contras. $14 million [to finance arms] came from drugs. ...
www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ciadrugs/factsheet.html - 36k - Cached - Similar pages -
In The 80s - The Iran Contra Scandal
26 -- Duane Clarridge, ex-head of the CIA's Western European Division, is indicted for allegedly lying about his knowledge of Iran-Contra. .

When does this thug finally go away?

Didn't listen to the thug, his time was up in November, when he was wheeled of the stage to the waiting car. Or so I thought.
Obama Vs. Cheney: How The Pundits Called The Fight
From the very first--the notion that those who oppose his policies saw 9/11 as a "one-off"--Cheney proceeded to mischaracterize, oversimplify and distort the views of those who saw his policies as extreme and unconstitutional, to say nothing of the views of the current Administration. This is the habit of demagogues. Cheney's snarling performance was revelatory and valuable: it showed exactly the sort of man Cheney is, and the sort of advice he gave, when his location was disclosed. I hope he continues to speak out. We need his voice to remind us what we've happily escaped. LinkHere
Thats the only one that counts for me!!!!!!


WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has interviewed federal appeals court judge Diane Wood for the Supreme Court, one of the face-to-face meetings he's holding with finalists, officials said Wednesday. The move signals Obama is getting closer to one of the most far-reaching decisions of his presidency.
Wood, who serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago, is among a small number of people being seriously considered for the high court. She was in Washington on Wednesday for a conference at Georgetown University. Wood declined to answer questions about the Supreme Court position at the event.
Four months into his presidency, Obama has the opportunity to nominate someone who could serve on the high court for decades. The Democratic president's choice is not expected to shake up the ideological makeup of the court; Justice David Souter, who is retiring, has been a reliably liberal vote.
The White House is not commenting on whom Obama is interviewing.
Officials familiar with Obama's deliberations spoke on condition of anonymity because the White House has kept details of the process private.
Wood, 58, was nominated for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by then-President Bill Clinton in 1995 and confirmed by the Senate. Her career includes teaching at the University of Chicago law school, where she also served as associate dean. LinkHere

Obama's New Electorate: Poll Shows GOP Deteriorating

In seven short years, the American electorate has radically changed, as voters' priorities have shifted to the economy and away from such wedge issues as abortion and gay rights, as well as away from the threat of terrorism and from the war in Iraq, according to a comprehensive survey released Thursday morning by the Pew Research Center.
From 2002 to 2009, voters' partisan identification has moved from virtual parity -- 43 percent Republican and 43 percent Democratic at the height of George W. Bush's popularity in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 -- to a massive Democratic advantage today of 53 to 36, a 17 percentage point split, by far the largest difference in the past two decades.
The Pew survey is a testament to the miscalculations of the Bush administration and of the Republican leadership in Congress. The two were handed an extraordinary opportunity to build on an outpouring of public support in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Instead, those chances to revive a Republican majority were squandered on a mismanaged invasion of Iraq and dissipated by ill-advised culture war offensives, as well as by disclosure of corrupt lobbying and spending scandals in Congress under Republican rule.
"There is an enormous amount of material about the deterioration of the Republican Party in this survey," Andy Kohut, who runs the Pew Research Center, told the Huffington Post. The GOP is currently 88 percent non-Hispanic white; it has grown steadily older, from an average of 45.5 years in 2000 to 48.3 years in 2009; it is increasingly dependent on self-identified white evangelicals (35 percent of today's GOP, on Southerners (39 percent of today's GOP), and on voters who describe themselves as conservative (66 percent of today's Republican electorate). Those who espouse conservative views on the family, homosexuality and civil liberties -- a population which was in the majority in 1987 -- have fallen to the 50 percent level or below, the Pew survey found.
"The Republican Party is facing formidable demographic challenges," Kohut wrote in a report describing the new Pew findings. "Its constituents are aging and do not reflect the growing ethnic and racial diversity of the general public. As was the case at the beginning of this decade, Republicans are predominantly non-Hispanic whites (88%). Among Democrats, the proportion of non-Hispanic whites has declined from 64% in 2000 to 56%, as Latinos and people from other racial backgrounds have joined the ranks of the Democrats."
The issue environment has, in addition, become much more favorable to the Democrats. When voters were asked "What One Issue Would Matter Most in Your Presidential Vote?," the number identifying Iraq and Afghanistan fell from 22 to four percent between 2004 and 2009. "Moral values" dropped from 27 percent to 10 percent during the same period. Conversely, the percentage identifying the economy and jobs has more than doubled, from 21 to 50 percent, with smaller, but still significant, gains for voters selecting health care and education as the most important issue.
"The decline in the importance of moral values as an issue in a possible election has come across the board, but the drop has been especially large among Republicans and working-class voters," Kohut wrote. "In 2004, 45% of Republicans cited moral values as their top issue; now just 21% do so, compared with 47% who mention the economy and jobs....Slightly more than half (51%) of older white working-class Republicans and leaners cited moral values in 2004; now just 23% do so."
While Republican identification has nosedived, the percentage of voters who say they are conservative has remained consistent through this decade. In 2009, 38 percent of voters described themselves as moderate, 37 percent as conservative and 19 percent as liberal -- the same split found in every Pew survey over the past nine years. LinkHere

Ed Schultz Defends Obama Against Entire Cast Of Morning Joe

Media Monitor Brian Cohoon sends us this clip of MSNBC's Ed Schultz appearing on Morning Joe and running a four on one gauntlet over the transfer of detainees from GITMO. LinkHere

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FBI Breaks Up Plot To Bomb NYC Synagogue

Colbert Hates Yoo: Takes On Philadelphia Inquirer For Hiring Torture Defender

Yes, yes, I know, I did it again. In the grand tradition of using John Yoo's name to create dad-jokesque headlines, I too am to blame. But I never tortured anyone physically, so hopefully you'll let me off the hook.
When the news broke that torture memo author John Yoo was hired by the "Philadelphia Inquirer" to write a monthly column, readers were none too happy.
Colbert addressed this topic in detail last night, discussing the decision to hire Yoo and predicting the titles of his upcoming columns. LinkHere

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President Barack Obama vigorously defended his plans to close the Guantanamo prison camp on Thursday and promised to work with Congress to develop a system for imprisoning detainees who can't be tried and can't be turned loose.
Obama conceded that some would end up in U.S. prisons and insisted those facilities were tough enough to house even the most dangerous inmates.
The president spoke one day after the Senate voted resoundingly to deny him money to close the prison in Cuba, but Obama said he was still determined. And he decried arguments used against his plans.
"We will be ill-served by the fearmongering that emerges whenever we discuss this issue," he declared.
"There are no neat or easy answers here," Obama said in a speech in which he pledged anew to "clean up the mess at Guantanamo." Speaking at the National Archives, Obama said he wouldn't do anything to endanger the American people.
He noted that roughly 500 detainees already have been released by the Bush administration. There are 240 at Guantanamo now.
Obama said opening and continuing the military prison "set back the moral authority that is America's strongest currency in the world." LinkHere

Feingold blocks measure commemorating Reagan’s birth

Good for you Feingold, give them some of their own back, they played their little games for the last 8 years.
Source: Raw Story
The 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth is just around the corner. Not surprisingly, Republicans are looking to pass legislation commemorating the centennial of his birth.
But Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) is standing in their way.
The Wisconsin Democrat says his refusal to let the Reagan bill move to a vote in the full Senate has nothing to do with maligning President Reagan. Instead, he says he’s trying to have a “noncontroversial” measure passed.
Feingold wants to attach an amendment to the bill that would create two commissions to examine the internment and restrictions of German and Italian Americans and Jewish refugees during World War II. A similar measure passed the Senate in 2007 but failed when included in a larger immigration bill. LinkHere

Closing Guantanamo And Ousting Harry Reid

Bob Cesca
Some good news:
Nearly half of Nevadans have had enough of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as the powerful Democrat heads into his re-election campaign, a new Las Vegas Review-Journal poll finds.
Adding 2... Just for fun, Harry Reid's fantasy:

I'm definitely not alone in suggesting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has to go -- especially now that the Democrats have somehow joined with the poisonous Republicans to block the president's executive order closing the detention facility at Guantanamo. Good job, Harry. I'm sure the Republicans will fall over themselves to reciprocate the gesture, you know, because they're all about cooperating with the Democratic agenda.
For too many years with Harry Reid at the helm, we've been watching as this ineffectual mope skulks his way around the Hill -- allowing one successful Republican filibuster after another, while simultaneously enabling ridiculous and disingenuous Republican talking points, if not repeating them outright.
Comparing Harry Reid to the cartoon character Droopy Dog would be both a compliment to Reid and very much an insult to Droopy who, while being a forlorn slow-talker, was actually quite savvy and speedy for a canine with a sluggish metabolism. Harry Reid, on the other hand, is only savvy and speedy when it comes to inexplicably capitulating to the historically marginalized and unpopular Republicans.
Indicative of the worst kind of Democrat, he's a wimp of highest order: a pushover substitute teacher type -- you remember the ones -- standing up there at the chalkboard with a crumpled, submissive posture, quietly begging for everyone to take their seats, while not realizing that cafeteria coleslaw is being clandestinely stuffed into his pants pockets.
Maybe I'm being unfair. How else, though, should we regard the majority leader when he steps up to a microphone and gurgles out the following nonsense about Guantanamo: LinkHere

Feeling the Squeeze, Exclusive Country Clubs Get the Common Touch

Money-Losing Country Clubs Are Opening Their Doors To The Public
UNIONTOWN, Pa. -- Their standing dinner reservation at the country club is for 6:30 p.m., because at least that much never changes. Every Wednesday night, Charles and Mimi Cluss dress in pleated slacks and suit jackets and drive to the manicured playground where Uniontown's elite have gathered for 101 years. It is like a "second home," Charles says of the place where he finalized deals for his lumber company and hosted weddings for two daughters. Except on this night in mid-May, he no longer knows what to expect.
"I wonder if it will be loud and rowdy," Charles says.
"I wonder if they will still have the crab legs," Mimi says.
Last month, Uniontown Country Club opened its dining room to the public for the first time -- a change that has blurred the social hierarchy in this mountain town south of Pittsburgh. The economic crisis and shifting demographics have left Uniontown, population 13,000, without enough wealthy residents to sustain a private club, so now UCC caters to the everymen it was created to exclude. Instead of handpicking its members from a waiting list, UCC advertises in the local paper, has relaxed its dress code and features a menu designed for what the new chef calls "budget-conscious eating." Out: the filet mignon for $30. In: super nachos for $7.95.
"We've gone from chichi to Chi-Chi's," one member says. LinkHere


Olbermann WTF Moment: Rush Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh has challenged MSNBC to not mention him or have any of their guests comment on him for 30 days. At first blush this seems a rather strange challenge for the controversial radio host to issue considering he is never one to shy away from attention. In Countdown's "WTF Moment" tonight, Olbermann thinks he's ferreted out the real reason: Limbaugh just can't take the scrutiny anymore. LinkHere

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GOP name game.

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Gingrich speaks out against Pelosi

Obama's secret meeting.

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Ex-agent: When did questioning CIA become un-American?

Since Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi suggested that the CIA misled her in 2002 concerning its use of waterboarding, the Republican Party has been attempting to paint her claims as outrageous.
Former CIA special agent and radio host Jack Rice finds the Republicans’ outrage unconvincing. He told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Tuesday, “What’s extraordinary here is the idea that if you would ever question the CIA, now all of a sudden somehow it’s anti-American.”
“What’s extraordinary to me is that I’ve seen the Republicans do this over and over,” Rice explained. “They will wrap something in the flag … and they will put a little lapel pin on it that says ‘national security.’ And if you ask a question about it, somehow you’re anti-American. And that’s what they’ve been trying to do to Nancy Pelosi for about six years.”
Rice has no illusions about the CIA’s vulnerability to pressure during the Bush administration. “Anybody who believes that an administration can’t push the Agency to do something is really missing the point,” he told Olbermann. “The fact that they can push the Agency and say, ‘This is what I’m looking for’ … will drive them to do certain things that may or may not be true — and that’s a big part of the problem that we’re facing right now.”
Rice believes, however, that Pelosi may yet have the last laugh. “I think in some ways she should be laughing, because in a way this is what she wanted,” he stated. “She wants the government to look at what the Agency did and didn’t do. It’s never been about her. It’s about us.” LinkHere

New Palestinian cabinet takes power, widening rift

The Palestinian rift widened on Wednesday after a new government, again headed by Western-backed Salam Fayyad took power, with Hamas categorically rejecting the cabinet.
Fayyad and the new ministers took the oath of office in the West Bank town of Ramallah on Tuesday, a day after a fifth round of reconciliation talks between president Mahmud Abbas's secular Fatah faction and the Islamist Hamas movement ended in Egypt without a deal.
The premier and the previous cabinet resigned in early March to pave the way for a unity deal between the two factions which have been at loggerheads since Hamas seized power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007.
The Islamists were quick to denounce the new cabinet, which does not include any members of the Islamic Resistance Movement and comes ahead of Abbas's first official meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington on May 28.
"This government is illegal and we will not recognise it," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said in a statement, adding that, with its creation, Abbas was "deliberately sabotaging the Palestinian dialogue."
Analysts said the new government would only deepen the divide between Abbas's West Bank-based leadership and the Islamist masters of Gaza.
"The new government will entrench the divide between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip," said Mahdi Abdel Hadi, a political analyst.
"The (intra-Palestinian) differences are too big. This cabinet will not be able to bridge them and, on the contrary, is likely to exacerbate them," he said.
The divisions were on stark display on Tuesday, when Hamas prevented two Fatah members who are due to be ministers in the new cabinet from leaving Gaza to take the oath of office in Ramallah.
Others said the new government was formed as a result of pressure by Washington ahead of the meeting between Abbas and Obama. LinkHere

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Waterboarding may just be 'the tip of the iceberg'

A military attorney who represented a now-freed Guantanamo detainee told CNN on Wednesday that waterboarding is only “the tip of the iceberg”
Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Yvonne Bradley was the lawyer for Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian national who was arrested by the Pakistani government in April 2002 on suspicion of being a member of al Qaeda. He was then shuffled through a series of CIA “ghost prisons” before being imprisoned at Guantanamo for five years. Last winter, President Obama ordered him released to the United Kingdom, where he had been a legal resident.
Bradley told CNN that when she was first assigned to represent Mohamed, she did not question he was a hardened terrorist, because “my government was saying these were the worst of the worst.” However, she now says, “There’s no reliable evidence that Mr. Mohamed was going to do anything to the United States. LinkHere

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