Saturday, June 28, 2008

sir! no sir!

Sir! No Sir! - The GI Revolt

saturday reads


"I refuse to vote," said Blessed Manyonga in Chitungwiza. "If they ask me I will say I lost my identity card. I will not vote for my own oppression."

Conyers Issues Subpoena to DOJ for Valerie Plame Documents

State Department auditing Blackwater contract

Foreclosere Mix Up
A Nigerian couple who immigrated to Austin a decade ago thought they had finally made it in America. On May 7, they closed on their first home in the States, buying a $283,000 Cedar Park house that had been headed for foreclosure.

It seemed like a good deal to Bobo and Joy Dickson. They did everything right, they thought. They got a mortgage lender, signed the papers, had the title put in their name .

But on May 14, they came home from work at their janitorial services company to find that all their furniture, family heirlooms, personal photos, clothes, even their daughter's piggybank, had disappeared.

After filing a theft report with the Cedar Park Police Department, the Dicksons were given the news. In a mix-up over whether the home was still facing foreclosure, Field Asset Services was hired to drill open the doors and seize the belongings.

Texas Medical Association rescinds endorsement of Sen. Cornyn (R-Box Turtle).

Republican Family Values

Today Now!: How To Pretend You Give a Shit About the Election

Friday, June 27, 2008

friday reads

War criminals David Addington and John Yoo "testify" before the House Judiciary Committee:

Spencer Ackerman

If last week's Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on torture represented a watershed of disclosure, today's long-awaited testimony from David Addington and John Yoo reached the opposite extreme. Coerced into testifying under oath after years of resistance and obstruction, both controversial torture advocates labored tirelessly to tell a House panel as little as possible.

TPM Muckraker
Between David Addington failing to submit testimony, and John Yoo forgetting his words, not a whole lot was cleared up by the House Judiciary Committee's hearing on interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay.

But on the bright side Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), did manage to clarify a very important question. Just what branch of government is the Vice President in?

Crooks and Liars
David Addington today offered a preposterous reason for refusing to answer a question about whether or not he was party to talks about torture with his superiors — al-Qaeda may be watching CSPAN and he can’t give away any information that may benefit them. Really.

It seems like both of them are being evasive but for completely different reasons. Addington ought to be held in contempt of Congress for just plain contemptuousness. As Scott Horton noted on Pacifica's coverage, he clearly believes himself to be smarter than all the Representatives in the room, and he has no problem bullying them around the way he reportedly bullies everyone in the executive branch. He also doesn't mind lying about his role in designing torture tactics after a personal trip to Guantanamo. He essentially said, according to Horton, that the world is very dangerous and the threat is not yet over, implying that Congress had better back down with all the questioning and recognize that absolutely anything can be done in the name of protecting the country...


Now Yoo, on the other hand, seems afraid for his life and livelihood. He is trying not to answer any question too fully, is stretching out every answer to run out the clock on the questioners, is debating the meaning of words like "implemented," and is consulting with two lawyers on practically every question. He's trying to explain away the Convention Against Torture and generally throw up enough mud to resist any real answer. He's constantly citing Justice Department guidelines that restrict his testimony, too. Over and over he makes the claim that he was simply a lawyer providing legal advice. Of course, at the Nuremberg trials the precedent was set that lawyers whose advice was used to commit war crimes are culpable in those activities. If the policy is to go to the very limit, and the lawyer sets the limit, then he is creating the policy. Yoo can't wiggle off the hook... at least in an international court of law. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 gave some debatable measure of immunity to most of this crowd for their crimes.

Sen. Russ Feingold and Sen. Chris Dodd have managed to delay the FISA Amendments Act until after the July 4th recess.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who has introduced measures to impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, said Thursday that oil executives who secretly met with the vice president in 2001 should be held criminally liable for pushing an illegal war.

Reverse Payola

The smearing of Lara Logan

Thursday, June 26, 2008

thursday reads

Motion to invoke cloture to preceed on the FISA bill passes 80 - 15

Senators voting NAY to a surveillance state:
Biden (D-DE)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Dodd (D-CT)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Wyden (D-OR)

Too busy to even bother to vote:
Clinton (D-NY)
McCain (R-AZ)
Obama (D-IL)

Remarks of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold Opposing H.R. 6304, FISA Amendments Act of 2008

This legislation has been billed as a compromise between Republicans and Democrats. We are asked to support it because it is a supposedly reasonable accommodation of opposing views. Let me respond as clearly as possible: This bill is not a compromise. It is a capitulation.

This bill will effectively and unjustifiably grant immunity to companies that allegedly participated in an illegal wiretapping program – a program that more than 70 members of this body still know virtually nothing about. And this bill will grant the Bush Administration – the same administration that developed and operated this illegal program for more than five years – expansive new authorities to spy on Americans’ international communications.

If you don’t believe me, here is what Senator Bond had to say about the bill: “I think the White House got a better deal than even they had hoped to get.” And House Minority Whip Roy Blunt said this: “The lawsuits will be dismissed.”

JP: I Am Howard Beale

Matthew Yglesis: Lies, damned lies and John McCain

Euro 2008 TV Blackout: "the most annoying balls-up imaginable"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

wednesday reads

Sen. Chris Dodd Speaks in Opposition to FISA Bill on Floor of U.S. Senate:

Mr. President: I rise—once again—to voice my strong opposition to the misguided FISA legislation before us today. I have strong reservations about the so-called improvements made to Title I. But more than that, this legislation includes provisions which would grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that apparently have violated the privacy and the trust of millions of Americans by participating in the president’s warrantless wiretapping program. If we pass this legislation, the Senate will ratify a domestic spying regime that has already concentrated far too much unaccountable power in the president’s hands and will place the telecommunications companies above the law.


As all of my colleagues know, I have long fought against retroactive immunity, because I believe, quite simply, it is an abandonment of the rule of law. I’ve fought this with everything I had in me—and I haven’t waged this fight alone.


None of our fellow Americans will have their day in court.

What they will have is a government that has sanctioned lawlessness.


I am here today because of a pattern—a pattern of abuse against civil liberties and the rule of law. Against the Constitution—of which we are custodians, temporary though that status may be.

And I would add that had these abuses been committed by a president of my own party, I would have opposed them, every bit as vigorously.

I am here today because warrantless wiretapping is merely the latest link in a long chain of abuses.

Scott Horton: Will the National Surveillance State Prevail Again?

The State Department announced today that U.S. Ambassador to Albania John L. Withers II is under investigation by the Department's inspector general for his alleged role in the fast-broadening scandal over Pentagon contractor AEY, Inc., which supplied ammunition made in China decades ago to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

A former high-ranking Justice Department official broke the law and another official violated department policies by weighing the political leanings of law students and young attorneys who were applying for coveted internships and jobs, according to a Justice Department watchdog's report made public Tuesday.

The Editors: O’er the land of the free-EEEEEE!!! …

McSame, WWIII and the Draft

Tomgram: Nick Turse, The Pentagon's Stealth Corporations

The Rude One on Preznit bu$h playing with his balls

Violet Blue: Can Google Trends Be Used for Community Standards?

Pepe Escobar - Iraq story buried by US networks

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

tuesday reads

Russia joins the war in Afghanistan.

A federal appeals court for the first time has rejected the military's designation of a Guantanamo detainee as an enemy combatant.

An American ambassador helped cover up the illegal Chinese origins of ammunition that a Pentagon contractor bought to supply Afghan security forces, according to testimony gathered by Congressional investigators.

What Bush's Torture Attorneys Wanted from SERE

Feingold: ‘Farce’ wiretap deal could be hiding ‘impeachable offense’

Glenn Greenwald: The New Republic Syndrome

Monday, June 23, 2008

monday reads

Juan Cole: The Real State of Iraq

Tomgram: Finally, the Oil...

Haditha victims' kin outraged as Marines go free

Police raided the headquarters of Zimbabwe's opposition party Monday, a day after its leader withdrew from a presidential run-off vote against Robert Mugabe because of pre-poll violence condemned by the international community.

Preparations for the 2010 census are a shambles.

R.I.P. George Carlin

I'm completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.