Saturday, July 05, 2008

saturday reads

A film that graphically shows how Robert Mugabe's supporters rigged Zimbabwe's election has been smuggled out of the country by a prison officer. It is believed to be the first footage of actual ballot-rigging and comes as Zimbabwe's president faces growing international pressure.

Iraq will be plunged into a new war if Israel or the US launches an attack on Iran.

Bush at Monticello. Oh, the Irony.

First direct flights between mainland China and Taiwan since 1949.

Gov. Charlie Crist gets a beard.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Birthday America

A Declaration for Our Times

July 4, 1776 - 2008

When in the course of human events the government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the Right of the People to alter it and demand restoration of those Constitutional Principles that have so long assured their Liberty, Safety, and Happiness. Therefore, on the anniversary of our Independence, we offer this new declaration for our times.

The history of this president is one of arbitrary usurpations of power, the effect of which is to establish tyranny through false promises of greater security.

He has created a multitude of secret programs and sent swarms of petty officers to spy on Americans in a misguided effort to combat foreign terrorism. He has invested these agents with sweeping new powers to monitor our conversations and ransack our personal papers and effects without judicial supervision or any reason to believe -- as the Constitution requires -- that a crime has been committed.

He has further claimed the power to disregard legislation that Congress has passed.

He has suspended the laws and treaties against torture, authorized the kidnapping of mere suspects, and transported hundreds of prisoners beyond seas so that no independent judiciary could question the legality of their mistreatment.

He and his supporters in Congress have granted amnesty to the officials who unleashed torture and humiliation upon helpless prisoners, to the disgrace of our nation.

He has denied these prisoners access to attorneys, family, and friends and has claimed the right to try them before military tribunals specifically designed to disregard the most basic principles of law.

He has imprisoned thousands of lawful immigrants for months without charges, under brutal conditions, until his agents, rather than independent courts, decide that they posed no threat.

He has wrapped his usurpations of power and his deprivations of liberty in thick cloaks of secrecy, thereby showing contempt for the rule of law and the proper functions of Congress, the courts, and the press.

At every stage of these oppressions we have sought redress, but our petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.

We, therefore, resolve to resist these usurpations by all lawful means at our disposal. We insist that the powers of our national government be shared by all branches of that government and not concentrated in one alone. And we call upon Congress, the courts, and the press to reassert their constitutional functions and restore the promise that is America.

To these ends, we mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

A Declaration for Our Times

friday reads

Joseph L. Galloway: Gutting the Fourth Amendment

Naomi Klein - Disaster Capitalism: State of Extortion

The World Health Organization Documents Failure of U.S. Drug Policies

Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% - far more than previously estimated - according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian.

Arms Broker Crazy Curt Weldon

Free Trade Heretic Ha-Joon Chang

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Mark Fiore

thursday reads

(AP) The Justice Department is considering letting the FBI investigate Americans without any evidence of wrongdoing, relying instead on a terrorist profile that could single out Muslims, Arabs or other racial and ethnic groups.

New NSA Spying Decision Undermines Arguments for Telecom Immunity (EFF)

Today, Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of the Northern District of California, issued an opinion in Al Haramain v. Bush, one of the cases challenging the NSA warrantless wiretapping program. The Court found that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) preempted the state secret privilege. This important decision is particularly timely, as it undermines key arguments for telecom immunity on the eve of the Senate vote on a FISA bill, set for next week.

Court Ruling Will Expose Viewing Habits of YouTube Users

There is a 10 year backlog on whistle-blower cases. (WaPo)
More than 900 cases alleging that government contractors and drugmakers have defrauded taxpayers out of billions of dollars are languishing in a backlog that has built up over the past decade because the Justice Department cannot keep pace with the surge in charges brought by whistle-blowers, according to lawyers involved in the disputes.

The issue is drawing renewed interest among lawmakers and nonprofit groups because many of the cases involve the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, rising health-care payouts, and privatization of government functions -- all of which offer rich new opportunities to swindle taxpayers.

An Indiana teacher who used a much lauded bestseller, The Freedom Writers Diary, to try to inspire under-performing high-school students has been suspended from her job without pay for 18 months.

A federal judge threw out a new Indiana law requiring bookstores and other retailers to register with the state and pay a $250 fee if they want to sell sexually explicit material. (via Bookslut)

Wired on Wikileaks

The value of the dollar hass dropped by 41% against the euro during the bu$h's term in office.

A Warning For Young Workers: The Up-Escalator May Be Broken

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

wednesday reads

China Inspired Interrogations at Guantánamo (NYT)

The military trainers who came to Guantánamo Bay in December 2002 based an entire interrogation class on a chart showing the effects of “coercive management techniques” for possible use on prisoners, including “sleep deprivation,” “prolonged constraint,” and “exposure.”

What the trainers did not say, and may not have known, was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American prisoners.

The recycled chart is the latest and most vivid evidence of the way Communist interrogation methods that the United States long described as torture became the basis for interrogations both by the military at the base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Milt Bearden: Truth Is Out on CIA and Torture

The president of Mongolia has declared a state of emergency after rioting sparked by allegations of election fraud left five dead, more than 300 injured and hundreds in detention.

SEOUL - It is going to be a long hot summer of mass protest, skyrocketing prices and diehard opposition to the conservative government of President Lee Myung-bak.

Crooked Timber: Blogs, Participation and Polarization

Brad Reed: A shorter version of our long national nightmare.

Tomgram: Rick Shenkman, American Stupidity

Trading sex for gas.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

music is happiness

The Octopus Project

tuesday reads

After a two-week fact-finding tour of U.S. prison and detention facilities, a U.N. human rights investigator has blasted the administration of President George W. Bush for a rash of shortcomings in the country's flawed justice system and continued violations of the rule of law.

Nukes & Spooks: So, IARPA was born. Did Total Information Awareness die?

Turkey's chief prosecutor laid out his arguments Tuesday to have the Islamist-rooted ruling party banned for seeking to undermine secularism in a landmark case before the country's highest court.

John Yoo's Attempt to Discredit a Critic

emptywheel: DOJ's Attempt to Shield Obstruction of Justice

Colorado is one among of handful of states where hundreds of firefighters, paramedics, police, and even corporate employees are being trained to hunt down and report a broadly defined range of “suspicious activities.” They’re called Terrorism Liaison Officers. The federally supported initiative trains them to look out for “observed behavior that may be indicative of intelligence-gathering or pre-operational planning related to terrorism.”

Evo Morales loses another one in Bolivia

Desperate in Milwaukee

John Cole offers up a VP for McSame.

Viva the DFH©!

Recycling theft is on the rise.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Blood for Oil

Bill Moyers on Big Oil and Iraq:

Oh no, they told us, Iraq isn't a war about oil. That's cynical and simplistic, they said. It's about terror and al Qaeda and toppling a dictator and spreading democracy and protecting ourselves from weapons of mass destruction. But one by one, these concocted rationales went up in smoke, fire, and ashes. And now the bottom turns out to be the bottom line. It is about oil.

Dave Chappelle - President Black Bush

monday reads

Seymour M. Hersh: The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran.

The UN today challenged African leaders to negotiate a political settlement in Zimbabwe at the opening of an African Union summit attended by Robert Mugabe.

France's foreign minister calls Zimbabew's government illegitimate.

Tomgram: The Urge to Surge

A comprehensive transatlantic pact clearing the way for the unprecedented supply of private data on European citizens to the American authorities is to be promoted by France in support of the US-driven campaign to combat terrorism and transnational crime.

Fox News, Alabama Attorney General team up against ‘voter fraud’

The latest Republicon ratfuck

Swift boat veterans — especially those who had nothing to do with the group that attacked Senator John Kerry’s military record in the 2004 election — want their good name back, and the good names of the men not lucky enough to come home alive.

Spain - 1 : Germany - 0

Yes, it's been a very hot month in Austin.