Saturday, April 18, 2009

Count One

UN torture investigator: Obama has broken International law from

Bear in mind, this is not the opinion of some nobody like myself. The following is the opinion of the United Nation's lead investigator into torture. Therefore, the following can be taken as the comments of an expert.

“Like all other contracting states to the UN convention against torture, the US has committed to conduct criminal investigations of torture and to bring all persons to court against whom there is sound evidence,” Manfred Nowak, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on torture, told Austrian weekly paper Der Standard.

“They are party to the convention and the convention is very, very clear,” Nowak told the paper. “The fact that you carried out an order doesn’t relieve you of your responsibility.”

“In a brief telephone interview with The Associated Press, Manfred Nowak [...] said the United States had committed itself under the U.N. Convention against Torture to make torture a crime and to prosecute those suspected of engaging in it,” reported the San Francisco Chronicle.

So, we now have an expert in a field stating openly that Barrack Obama is in violation of international law. That does not mean he's guilty. But it does mean that in a society that respected laws and the constitution that impeachment hearings into this case should be begun. When you have an international expert stating that the leader of your country is in violation of international law, a lawful society would take steps to correct the problem.


Tearing the Whole Building Down: The Dead in Greensboro by Ron Jacobs on

Ok, so I'm a Deadhead! Can't wait for them to work their way westward on this tour!

A jam that began with Haynes singing "Caution, Do Not Stop On Tracks" from the Anthem of the Sun album proceeded into a rhythm section performance that had its roots in the place in the human soul that resides somewhere between the Garden of Eden and the future we do not know. That's a mighty big space, but this rhythm crew can fill it like no other. Entwined in the rhythm section's recital were guitar notes that seemed to come from that space Sun Ra called the place. The rhythm section solo came back around with another hippie classic titled "Cosmic Charlie" from the 1969 album Aoxomoa and then bassist Lesh lent his vocals to "New Potato Caboose"--a song that sometimes sounds like it was written by Arnold Schoenberg after he attended a blues club on acid.

So, I'd always picked up some of the deadhead philosophy. When the world gets too crazy, throw a party and dance!

Heartless powers try to tell us what to think
If the spirit's sleeping, then the flesh is ink.
And history's page, it is thusly carved in stone
The future's here, we are it, we are on our own.

If the game is lost then we're all the same
No one left to place or take the blame.
We will leave this place an empty stone
Or this shinning ball of blue we can call our home

So the kids they dance, they shake their bones
And the politicians are throwing stones
Singing ashes,ashes all fall down, ashes,ashes all fall down
-- from "Throwing Stones" by the Grateful Dead

More War.

US Threatens to Invade Eritreaby Jason Ditz on

The Daily Telegraph quotes one source as saying “There are consequences for working with al-Shabaab when President Obama cannot afford to look weak on terrorism.”

Thank Gawd we elected the 'anti-war' candidate in the elections so this era of invasions and wars is over.

Al-Shabaab? This is a threat to the safety and security of American citizens? Hardly. They appear to be a Somali resistence movement. If left alone, it seems rather far-fetched that they would attack Americans in America. Of course, now that we aren't leaving them alone, all of us in America are probably now a bit less safe. At the cost of more billions of dollars and more lives of American soldiers.

Thank Gawd we put the anti-war candidate into the White House.

Friday, April 17, 2009

US as ‘Nation Builder’: Delusions of Omnipotence

US as ‘Nation Builder’: Delusions of Omnipotence
by William Pfaff on
If I judge an article by its ability to make me think, this one gets an "A". Let me just focus on this last bit right at the end.

There is an important book, The Power Problem, just coming out in the United States (Cornell University Press), which puts forth the case that American military power naturally invites excessive or irrelevant use, and that the habits of mind created by military supremacy have caused the United States to be less safe than otherwise, less free, more vulnerable, and less able to do the things that fundamental national security demands.

Its author, Christopher A. Preble, is a former officer in the U.S. Navy and is head of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute. He argues, as many others do, that the United States has a level of military power that it doesn’t need, has limited utility against stateless enemies and insurgents, and causes confusion between military strength and national power, the latter being the ability to actually produce a desired effect. It is a good and lucid book and deserves a wide audience.

I'd take that analysis one step further. Its the very act of creating this concentration of power in the US federal government that has cost us some of our democracy and liberties at home. Think not only of the military power under the control of those who control the US government, but think also of the economic power. If you control the US government, not only do you get to decide whether entire countries get torn apart militarily, but you also get to decide who makes hundreds of billions of dollars in profits. These days, you also get to decide who gets trillions of dollars in 'bailout' money.

Now, ask yourself this question. What do you think that greedy and power-hungry people will do to gain and keep control of that concentration of power? Then ask the appropriate follow-up question. Do you feel that American citizens have put enough effort into making sure that both their election systems are unquestionably honest and that their rights and liberties as American citizens have been protected? Given the sorts of people that such a great concentration of power would attract, have Americans done enough since WWII to protect and defend their democracy and liberties from such people?

Now, add this to Mr. Pfaff's analysis of whether having this level of military power has made us more or less safe as citizens? Are we better off with or without this power?

Thomas Jefferson is known for favoring decentralized power where control of the power stays as close to local communities as possible. The Department of Homeland Security just declared this to be an 'extremist' philosophy.

The report from DHS' Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines right-wing extremism in the U.S. as "divided into those groups, movements and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups) and those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely

Note the way that they not only link people who support Mr. Jefferson's philosophy with hate-groups, but that they are considered to be equally extremist by the government. Given that opinion, its no surprise that the US government now regards support for the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution as a sign of extremism. The 10th Amendment is the one that reads ...

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Do we really have a situation where a government regards support for elements of the Constitution, the legal document that defines and legitimizes that government, as an extremist action?

Now, think some more about this great concentration of power we've allowed to be created in the US government.

Help out Cindy!

Hello, I'm still on Cindy Sheehan's email list. Right now, what she is trying to do is to retire the debt she incurred while running against Nancy Pelosi in the last election. If you can help her out, please try to do so.

Dear Friend,

Today, we had a set-back!

Do you want the good news or bad news first?

Here goes:

Good news: we raised 1500.00 since yesterday.

Bad news: Our tax liability has grown by one thousand dollars…the longer we go without paying that the higher it goes.

Debt Still Owed:

11,000 to taxes (Federal and state)
6100.00 PR firm
2400.00 back rent

Now, we owe 19,500.00

To DONATE online

To DONATE by check.

How about a test of your injustice barometer?

Bailout Indignation by Ralph Nader on

How about a test of your injustice barometer?

You might think that the reckless, avaricious, giant corporations, having shrunk the economy, cost millions of jobs and then demanded that taxpayers be dunned for years into the future for multi-trillion dollar bailouts, would show contrition, regret, or self-restraint of their power over Washington.

Forget it. They’re baaack! Their greed and power are revving up big time to bring Washington and you the taxpayer, you the parent, you the consumer, you the worker, to your knees.
Here is a sample of the appalling dynamics of corporate greed and continuing over-reach each day in your nation’s capital.

Hey, I'm sure they feel like they bought our government fair and square and can do whatever they want with it. After all, why else would they have pumped all those millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of Obama and the other Democrats?

Someday we'll learn that the politicians we should surely distrust are precisely the ones we see on TV all the time. If you see a politician on the TV, you should know that it took big bags of corporate money to get them there. The politicians on the TV will never be the ones on our side.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Are you for peace? Or are you a Democrat?

With Obama in office, liberals learn to love war. by Justin Raimondo in American Conservative.

The big truth is that the antiwar movement has largely collapsed in the face of Barack Obama’s victory: the massive antiwar marches that were a feature of the Bush years are a thing of the past. Those ostensibly antiwar organizations that did so much to agitate against the Iraq War have now fallen into line behind their commander in chief and are simply awaiting orders.

Are you for peace? Or are you a Democrat? People are going to have to take sides on that question, as it becomes obvious that Obama and the Democrats plan to continue and expand these wars.

At least we will be able to clearly separate those who truly believe in the peace movement from those for whom it was just a campaign prop. And not just on the question of being for or against war? This is rapidly becoming true across a whole range of 'progressive' causes.

The key is not to let the betrayal of the Democrats stop us or even slow us down. We must hold true to what we believe, and let the Democrats walk away if they so desire. They'll quickly realize that they need us to beat the Republicans in elections and will soon be back to lie to us again before 2010.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Obama's raids and Obama's camps

Snatch-and-Jail Justice? by Dave Lindorff on

Now things are much worse. Lawyers who have tried to defend some of the victims of INS roundups report that many detainees are subjected to what can only be termed torture—things like having themselves slammed into walls or pushed down stairs while arms and legs are manacled, having their teeth smashed out, being left outside in cold rain or blazing sun, kept from sleeping for days at a time. Sound like Guantanamo or Bagram? In fact, there is little difference.

and ...

Not so surprisingly, an appalling one in 10 Hispanic Americans reported in 2007 that they had been stopped by law enforcement and asked to prove that they were citizens or were in this country legally.

Ahem. Those kinds of numbers are the description of a police state, folks.

There is a simple solution to this problem. It’s in the Constitution, actually. It is the Bill of Rights protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures (Fourth Amendment), and against arrest “without due process of law” (the Fifth Amendment), as well as the right to “a speedy and public trial” and to “assisstance of counsel” (The Sixth Amendment).

How long do we go into Obama's term before these actions become Obama's actions? He could stop it simply by picking up the phone and telling a cabinet secretary that it ends now.

Democrats Letting Net Neutrality Die

Democrats Letting Net Neutrality Die by Jason Miller at

The Democrat rope-a-dope strategy of the last few years is coming back around to kill Net Neutrality. The initial plan was simply to let Republicans have enough rope to hang themselves. Congressional Democrats ignored calls for investigations and impeachment of members of the Bush Administration because doing so allowed them to drop all blame square on their opponents’ shoulders for everything without putting themselves under undue scrutiny. A few years of doing absolutely nothing was tantamount to lying low while Republicans destroyed themselves so Democrats could take over…and continue to do nothing.

and ...

You might have also noticed, like we have, that while anything the RIAA and the MPAA want goes right through Congress like crap through a goose, network neutrality legislation (wanted by the people who currently have no money) languishes and dies in committee.

Gee, what a shock. A bunch of Democrats, with big bags of corporate money in their accounts, favor corporations over citizens. What a surprise.

Add to this the data point from a week or so ago about how the "Employee Free Choice Act" is dying a similar death in the Democratic Congress. This is today's Democratic party. They use issues like this during the campaigns to help win elections, but then don't follow through once elected.