Thursday, December 18, 2008

Prosecuting Bush and Cheney for Torture

Prosecuting Bush and Cheney for Torture by Dave Lindorff on

There is no mention of the obvious point that if crimes have been committed—and in the case of the authorizing of torture, which is banned by both international treaties to which the US is a signatory, and by US law, which folded the torture bans into the US Criminal Code for good measure, they clearly have been—the president and his incoming attorney general have a sworn obligation to prosecute them. That’s what “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” means, after all.

A “politically fraught” step? That should apply to not prosecuting criminals, should it not?

Mr. Lindorff is making a point that I've been trying to make for awhile about the Democrats. This thread runs back through events like the launching of the Iraq war and the question of impeachment of President Bush. That is that the Democrats are willing to sell out the Constitution of the United States for their own short term political gain.

We see it here. As Mr. Lindorff points out, President Obama is about to take an oathc to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foriegn and domestic. The very core idea of the Constitution is that we are a nation of laws. This is different from the rule of kings where the whim of the king sets the law. Instead, the principle at the very foundation of the American system is that there are laws that apply to all people, and that all people are subject to the same laws.

It is the duty of a government official, or an 'officer of the court' to report crimes that they know about. It is the duty of the Justice Department to investigate crimes they know about. This is not a political decision. This is not optional depending on the political situation. If laws have been violated, then its the responsibility of officials in the Justice Dept to investigate these and prosecute these as needed. And when Mr. Obama takes that oath of office, surrounded by 20,000 troops and police, in January, then he is giving his solemn oath that he will make sure this happens.

The Democrats have been very critical of the Republicans for 'playing politics' with the appointments of US Attorneys, and also of the various politically motivated investigations aimed at Democrats.

But, isn't it exactly the same thing if President Obama and his Justice Dept are making decisions to not to prosecute government officials who have broken the law based on politics? Obama promised 'change' in his campaign. But it looks like we still have the same old same old where its politics who determines who gets investigated and prosecuted, and not the law or the facts.

The Man in the Hat

The Man in the Hat by Phillip Doe on

Newspapers like the Denver Post refer to Salazar as a centrist. Apparently this is some sort of code meant to suggest a person Obama can be comfortable with, just as he seems to be comfortable with Ivy League retreads from Wall Street and the Clinton administration. But the Obama campaign was about “CHANGE” – I still have that sign. I hope it means something because millions of people who don’t give a damn about centrism or any other ism are depending on it.

Unfortunately, from where I sit, Ken Salazar as Secretary of Interior does not represent change, as Obama promised. Salazar represents defending the status quo and always has.

I'm also a Colorado resident these days. And likewise, I wasn't all that thrilled with Ken Salazar being given a cabinet appointment by President Obama. Ken Salazar has always been generally a reliable Republican vote in the Senate, despite the (D) after his name. For instance, he was a part of the 'Gang of Seven', which were Senators who got together to block any filibusters of Bush's judicial appointments ... thus insuring all of the worst of Bush's right-wing judges successfully made it to the bench.

Some 11,000 US troops to work during inauguration

Some 11,000 US troops to work during inauguration AP via

11,500 military troops in DC for the inaguration. Joined by another 8,000 police officers.

In 2004, we saw the spectacle of President Bush talking about 'freedom' during his inagural speech, while anyone who dared to shout out an contrary messages, dared to hold up a sign, or even wear a t-shirt with a contrary message was hauled out of the crowd by police.

Sounds like we have another great spectacle of democracy coming up, controlled by 20,000 troops and police.

The article says of course that these troops are there for 'anti-air' defense, 'medical support' and 'ceremonial' purposes. But, just below this post you can see how the US military likes to play semantic games with their 'mission' in order to be able to do whatever they wanted.

And, if anyone wanted to know what NORTHCOM was doing, note that the general making this announcement is the commander of NORTHCOM and this is a NORTHCOM operation.

Generals Propose a Timetable for Iraq

Generals Propose a Timetable for Iraq on

Basically, the Pentagon trying both to push Obama into keeping troops in Iraq for longer than what he said in the campaign. And also to break or get around the recently signed SOFA with Iraq.

For instance, this legal agreement we signed with the Iraqi government says all US forces should be withdrawn from Iraqi cities by next summer. Here's the Pentagon's response ....

One way commanders say they will try to meet that first deadline is by effectively reassigning combat troops to training and support of the Iraqis, even though the difference would be in some cases semantic because armed American troops would still go on combat patrols with their Iraqi counterparts.

The participants at the Chicago meeting did discuss the deadline for all American combat troops to be withdrawn from Iraqi cities by June, as outlined in the agreement with the Iraqi government. A person familiar with the talks said those at the meeting discussed whether the Iraqis would allow “remissioned” combat forces to remain in Iraqi cities after June. Mr. Gates and Admiral Mullen did not rule out the idea that Iraqis might permit such troops, the person said.

In a briefing to reporters last week in Balad, Iraq, General Odierno said that some American forces would remain in a support role in Iraqi cities beyond the June deadline. He said that the troops would be deployed at numerous security outposts in urban areas to help support and train Iraqi forces. “We’ll maintain our very close partnership with the Iraqi security forces throughout Iraq even after the summer,” he said.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rep. Dennis Kucinich on His Battle With the Banks

Rep. Dennis Kucinich on His Battle With the Banks by Rep. Dennis Kucinich on

Once they were as gods, but the deities of the American banking system are now in ruins, plunged from their pedestals into the maw of taxpayer largesse. Congress voted to give the banks $700 billion, lifting them temporarily out of their sepulcher of debt, while revealing a deep truth about the condition of America’s financial powers:

They never had the money they said they had as they constructed their debt-based monetary system which now lies in ruins. Their decisions on behalf of depositors, shareholders and investors were lacking in basic integrity and common sense. Green gods bailing out with their golden parachutes.

There was a time when their power was real. Come with me to Cleveland 30 years ago today.

Mass Actions on the 6th Anniversary of the Iraq War - March 21, 2009

Mass Actions on the 6th Anniversary of the Iraq War - March 21, 2009 on ANSWER's web page.

Mass Actions on the 6th Anniversary of the Iraq War - March 21, 2009
Bring All the Troops Home Now - End All Colonial Occupations!
Fund People's Needs, Not Militarism & Bank Bailouts!

Marking the sixth anniversary of the criminal invasion of Iraq, thousands will take to the streets of Washington D.C. and other cities across the U.S. and around the world in March 2009 to say, "Bring the Troops Home NOW!" We will also demand "End Colonial Occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Everywhere," and "Fund Peoples’ Needs Not Militarism and Bank Bailouts." We also insist on an end to the war threats and economic sanctions against Iran.

The ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) is organizing for unified mass marches and rallies in Washington D.C., Los Angeles (a Southern California regional action), San Francisco, Chicago, Miami and other cities on Saturday, March 21, 2009. Stay tuned for more details on the L.A. action, including organizing and volunteer meetings. Months ago we obtained permits for sixth anniversary demonstrations. ANSWER has been actively involved with other coalitions, organizations, and networks to organize unified anti-war demonstrations in the spring of 2009. ANSWER participated in the National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations that was held in Cleveland, Ohio on June 28th-29th and attended by 450 people, including many national and local anti-war coalitions. The National Assembly gathering agreed to promote national, unified anti-war demonstrations in the Spring of 2009

I've never been a big fan of ANSWER. The times I've been around them, they can be a pain over trying to claim all the credit, hog all the speaker spots on the platform, etc ... ie, all the little organizational details that go on behind the scenes during a rally.

BUT, if they are the ones organizing a big anti-war march, then that's it. This is something where we need unity and numbers to appear together. Splitting and holding a different march just because you don't like the group organizing it is self-defeating. Thus, mark your calendars ... antiwar marches in several cities on 3/21/2009!

Waiting on a President to Do the Right Thing

Waiting on a President to Do the Right Thing by Ron Jacobs on

One of the main 'antiwar' groups, "United for Peace and Justice" has decided to abandon any attempt to protest the wars and instead protest Wall Street. Not that I don't think Wall Street should be protested, but its a strange action for an 'antiwar' group. Apparently they only oppose wars while Republicans are in the White House.

Like I said before, as long as these groups continue to speak for us without listening to what we have to say, nothing will change. As long as self-avowed leadership organizations like UFPJ refuse to unite with other segments of the antiwar movement and work all-out to end the occupations now and not in 2012, the antiwar movement will never be effective. Even if you voted for him, if the man in the White House is not ending the wars and occupations you are against, then that policy must be opposed.

Given the recent decision by the 100 or so UFPJ delegates to reject a spring 2009 unified protest against Washington’s war and to move away from protest politics that might be seen as against Obama (the future face of Washington’s policies), it might be time for the antiwar rank and file that have appeared by the tens of thousands at protests in DC and elsewhere to create a new movement that does want to end the occupations and wars before the end of 2009.

Amen! Remember, WE are the antiwar movement. Not a bunch of self-appointed 'leaders' who have the time and money to go meet at a conference somewhere. WE need to be organizing an anti-war march in DC. From the article, it sounds like there might be some attempt to do this in April 09. The article just says that UPFJ has decided they can't join a protest against Democratic wars, but the hint is that someone else is. I'll see if I can find out more.

If not, WE need to start such a protest on our own. People are dying every day, and that doesn't become 'right' just because a Democrat is President.