Friday, December 17, 2010

The US is not a democracy

SecDef Gates, with the apparent support of President Obama, has openly declared that the US is not a democracy.

Gates: Public opinion can't sway Afghan commitment

WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the U.S. can't let public opinion sway its commitment to Afghanistan.

Gates says it's the responsibility of leaders to focus on the public interest and the long-term implications of U.S. involvement in the region.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Americans to view the country's effort in Afghanistan as aimed at protecting their families and their future.

Gates and Clinton spoke Thursday at the White House following President Barack Obama's remarks on a newly finished classified report on the Afghan war.

Its very simple, in a free country that is a democracy, public opinion does matter. Because in a free democracy, power resides with the people. Government officials exist only to represent the will of the people and to execute (ie, the executive branch) the will of the people.

When government officials stand up and tell you to your face that public opinion does not matter, then what they just told you is that you do not live in a free democracy.

Note that the remarks followed President Obama's at the same event. Which most likely means that they were pre-approved by the White House. And if not, Mr. Obama certainly didn't grab a microphone and object to these anti-American, anti-democracy statements. Remember, Mr. Obama could call Mr. Gates into his office and fire him at any time. Cabinet officials only serve at the pleasure of the President. If Gates isn't fired for saying this, then its the same as if Obama says it.

Gates and Obama .... the USA is no longer a free democracy.

The USA needs a democracy movement. Are there any unused colors left? The Turquoise movement? The Puce movement?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Torture of Bradley Manning

The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning's detention By Glenn Greenwald

Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old U.S. Army Private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, has never been convicted of that crime, nor of any other crime. Despite that, he has been detained at the U.S. Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia for five months -- and for two months before that in a military jail in Kuwait -- under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture.


Since his arrest in May, Manning has been a model detainee, without any episodes of violence or disciplinary problems. He nonetheless was declared from the start to be a "Maximum Custody Detainee," the highest and most repressive level of military detention, which then became the basis for the series of inhumane measures imposed on him.

From the beginning of his detention, Manning has been held in intensive solitary confinement. For 23 out of 24 hours every day -- for seven straight months and counting -- he sits completely alone in his cell. Even inside his cell, his activities are heavily restricted; he's barred even from exercising and is under constant surveillance to enforce those restrictions. For reasons that appear completely punitive, he's being denied many of the most basic attributes of civilized imprisonment, including even a pillow or sheets for his bed (he is not and never has been on suicide watch). For the one hour per day when he is freed from this isolation, he is barred from accessing any news or current events programs.


In his widely praised March, 2009 New Yorker article -- entitled "Is Long-Term Solitary Confinement Torture?" -- the surgeon and journalist Atul Gawande assembled expert opinion and personal anecdotes to demonstrate that, as he put it, "all human beings experience isolation as torture." By itself, prolonged solitary confinement routinely destroys a person’s mind and drives them into insanity. A March, 2010 article in The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law explains that "solitary confinement is recognized as difficult to withstand; indeed, psychological stressors such as isolation can be as clinically distressing as physical torture."

For that reason, many Western nations -- and even some non-Western nations notorious for human rights abuses -- refuse to employ prolonged solitary confinement except in the most extreme cases of prisoner violence. "It’s an awful thing, solitary," John McCain wrote of his experience in isolated confinement in Vietnam. “It crushes your spirit." As Gawande documented: "A U.S. military study of almost a hundred and fifty naval aviators returned from imprisonment in Vietnam . . . reported that they found social isolation to be as torturous and agonizing as any physical abuse they suffered." Gawande explained that America’s application of this form of torture to its own citizens is what spawned the torture regime which President Obama vowed to end:

This past year, both the Republican and the Democratic Presidential candidates came out firmly for banning torture and closing the facility in Guantánamo Bay, where hundreds of prisoners have been held in years-long isolation. Neither Barack Obama nor John McCain, however, addressed the question of whether prolonged solitary confinement is torture. . . .

This is the dark side of American exceptionalism. . . . Our willingness to discard these standards for American prisoners made it easy to discard the Geneva Conventions prohibiting similar treatment of foreign prisoners of war, to the detriment of America’s moral stature in the world. In much the same way that a previous generation of Americans countenanced legalized segregation, ours has countenanced legalized torture. And there is no clearer manifestation of this than our routine use of solitary confinement . .

We don't use piano wire and electrodes. But that doesn't mean we don't torture. Read the quote by John McCain again. We, as a nation, are subjecting this young man to torture that crushes the spirit. That's always the saddest thing when one sees interviews with torture victims. The psychological scars that it leaves for a lifetime.

And all of this because the young man actually believes in freedom and democracy. Freedom means that power resides with the people. The rulers only represent the people. But a free democracy can not exist without the people knowing what the rulers are doing. Without that knowledge, any elections or other mechanisms by which the people choose their rulers become charades without meaning. Its the knowledge of what the government is doing that allows a free people to decide to approve those actions, or to make changes to reject them. When the government hides this information behind a veil of secrecy, they are staging a coup that removes the power from the people and places in the hands of the officials who decide what the citizens get to know.

One could say that 98% of the American people voted in favor of parties that support the torture of Bradley Manning, the arrest of Julian Assange, and the censorship and suppression of Wikileaks. But is this truly the opinion of the American people, when the very documents that Wikileaks is allowing the world to see show just how completely the policies of this government differ from what their official version tells the American voters?

The American people consistently tell pollsters that they oppose torture. They consistently say they want our soldiers home from the wars. The American people consistently oppose the commission of war crimes. Yet, the same citizens vote for political parties and candidates who conduct torture, and keep the wars and all their inherent crimes going and going and going.

Which leaves this as the question. Are we seeing that the American people lie to pollsters about their opposition to torture and these wars? Or, are we seeing elections that simply show how completely they are lied to by their politicians and government? Do 2% of the American people oppose torture? Or do some 60% of the American people oppose torture?

We can only know the answer to that question if the American people know the truth about their government. Bradley Manning acted in support of freedom and democracy in the most fundamental way possible. In response, this nation that prides itself as the champion of freedom and democracy is subjecting him to soul crushing torture. Instead, we should be giving Bradley Manning a medal.

BTW, at times in the last few weeks, typing into your browser has only revealed the censorship policies of the US government, as all you would get was a Site Not Found error. If that happens again, you can find wikileaks, by using a site like this one that will forward you on to one of wikileaks many and moving locations around the world. Or, as of today, this site has a list of wikileaks mirrors around the world. The links on the left of this site have been updated to point to this services.

When you see that Site Not Found error, you may think Wikileaks has been defeated. But remember, the one thing they really, really don't want you to know is that there is resistence everywhere. Wikileaks is alive and well. But they could use your support and a donation if you can give it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Corporate Prisoner

Lawyer Cites Visa, MasterCard as Assange’s Release Delayed

British Judge Howard Riddle may have approved Julian Assange’s release on bail, but the WikiLeaks founder remains held for at least another 48 hours over a pair of rows with the Swedish government and America’s major credit card providers Visa and MasterCard.

The Swedish government has appealed Assange’s release on grounds that he poses a flight risk. The judge’s terms of release would require him to submit to a curfew, electronic tagging, and to report to the police every evening.

But perhaps the bigger problem is that the assorted supporters of Assange who are putting up the 240,000 pounds in bail are being told that they have to put up the entire amount in cash, because Visa and MasterCard have barred contributions to WikiLeaks.

According to Assange’s lawyer, who insists that the detention is turning into a show trial, he was told credit cards could not be used for the bail. Visa and MasterCard denied having put any bar on making payments to the British court system.

The 48 hour delay in Assange’s release for the appeal appears to be little more than a formality, as Judge Riddle has expressed annoyance at Swedish lawyers’ refusal to produce any evidence against Assange in their extradition request. The struggle to come up with all that money in cash might take a bit longer.

So, lets see ... just so I understand this.

There's no evidence to hold Mr. Assange. The British judge is criticizing Swedish officials for their 'refusal to produce any evidence against Assange'.

But, Mr. Assange is still in jail. Apparently because Visa and MasterCard want him in jail.

The rather obvious question would seem to be, if there is no evidence produced against Mr. Assange he, why is he forced to produce 240,000 British pounds in order to gain his freedom? For a fair and just legal system, the rather obvious course to take when there is no evidence against a prisoner is to release them. Instead, despite the lack of any evidence, Mr. Assange is forced to surrender 240,000 in cash, and then submit to harsh restrictions that force him to check in with authorities every day.

Gee, I wonder what they do when they actually have evidence against someone?

The way this is going, when someone shows up with the required 240,000 to gain the freedom of the man against whom there is no evidence, they'll probably be arrested just for carrying so much cash. After all, if you don't use Visa and Mastercard and instead carry large sums of cash, you are automatically regarded as suspicious and a probably criminal.

Welcome to the world where the banks run everything. If Visa and Mastercard want you in jail, then you stay in jail. Who cares about courts? Who cares about evidence? Who cares if you have friends who have the where-withal to meet this ridiculous bail amout? Visa and Mastercard want him in jail, so they refuse to process the payments. Thus, Visa and Mastercard appear to have a final veto on anyone being released from jail.

Hopefully, someone leaks the diplomatic cables between USA and Sweden and Great Britain over this fiasco. It seems rather obvious that indispensable nation that promotes freedom around the world is responsible for both the weak charges against Assange as well as this farce in the British courts.

And, aren't you glad you elected Obama and got so much change from what Bush would have done in this situation? Ever get the feeling that Obama spends his days staring at a sign on his desk that reads "What Would Dubya Do?" before making every decision?

Love those around you. Give them love this holiday season, instead of gifts. And if you do feel the need to buy them something, pay with cash. Don't use your Visa or Mastercard. Pay with good old fashioned cash, and hit them where it hurts them.

Update: Now its apparently the British government overturning the ruling of its own judge and deciding to arbitrarily keep Mr. Assange in prison. This is why the colonies decided that some sort of basic ground rules in the form of state and federal constitutions were a necessity to secure real libery.

Which reminds me. We just had Bill of Rights day. A celebration of the time when the ruling elite of this country gave in and allowed the people of this country to have a Bill of Rights. In exchange with, we the people of this country allowed the government to form and gave it certain powers to protect and secure our liberties. Remember that without the Bill of Rights, the Constitution would never have been approved.

The Bill of Rights are not optional guidelines to be enforced only when convenient. Instead, these are the rules set by the American people for the US government as the essential conditions for the very existence of the US government.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Lets take a look at the nation's priorities after two years in Obamaland.

-- Bush's tax cuts for the rich are good and should stay in place. The Democrats didn't make any serious effort to repeal these, not even when they temporarily held a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. No surprise, since most of these Democrats are millionaires themselves.

-- Defense spending rises the first two budgets. Now the Democrats appear to be fighting to keep it as high as possible. It certainly does not seem to be viewed as a place to cut the deficit.

-- Same goes for 'intelligence' spending, and that giant bucket of corporate pork known as the Dept of Homeland Security.

-- Wall Street gets anything they want. When they say they need hundreds of billions of dollars, they get it. When they say they want the Fed to take over all the bad debt that the Wall Street pryamid schemes created, the Fed is glad to do so. No one gets prosecuted for a con that turned non-verified signature loans into AAA rated securities. No serious reform of Wall Street.

-- For everyone else who might want a hand in this worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, everyone gets a cold shoulder. Oh, the defecit is so bad that there's no help available. And now, we get the good news that we have to give away our retirements to corporate America to pay for all the billions that get spent everywhere else.

The rich are spending a lot of money on TV ads and bought columnists and editorials about the 'deficit' right now. And of course, its anything that doesn't benefit the rich, like Social Security and Medicare, that has to be jetisoned to solve this so-called crisis.

But hey, here's an alternate deficit reduction plan.

-- Put taxes back to where they were before Bush Jr took office.
-- End the wars. That's hundreds of billions a year of 'off-budget' money we can save.
-- Cut back on Defense, Intelligence spending, and on Homeland Security.

On Defense, we spend more than the rest of the world combined. And most of the rest of the top ten are our allies like England and France. We spend way, way, way too much on our military.

On Intelligence, these are the people who didn't see 9-11 coming. And who didn't see the fall of the Berlin Wall. From Iraq to Iran, our 'intelligence' community mainly seems paid to produce what the White House wants to see. Surely we can just outsource the writing of these fictional intelligence estimates to some Indian tech writers online and save some money here.

On Homeland Security, that's mostly just pork. Here's an example for your holiday travel ... those big full body scanners that take the naked pictures of you in the airports. Thing is, they don't work. Oh, they cost millions and millions of dollars. So somewhere out there is a company that's happen to have gotten the contract, probably with the help of a well-paid, uh, well-contributed to, congress-critter. But, they don't detect non-metal stuff like explosives all that much better than metal detectors. The tech has been around for 20 years, and no one thought this would work until it became someone's highly intrusive pork barrel project. You are being virtually strip searched to improve some corporation's profits and to keep contributions flowing to some congress-critter. Have a happy holiday in corporate America. Surely there's some deficit trimming to do this tree.

-- End corporate welfare and close corporate tax loopholes.

Now, I'm not the CBO, so I can't score such a plan. But, I'm guessing all of the above provides plenty of cuts to the deficit, and at the same time frees up enough money that we can have some real stimulus to those of us who don't get million-dollar wall street bonus checks.

And of course, its silly to be trying to cut the deficit in the midst of a depression in the first place. That's so Herbert Hoover. But that's today's Democrats. Herbert Hoover would be right at home in this modern Democratic Party.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Europe knows how to respond

Over 50,000 Students Protest in London over Planned Cuts to Education Funding

Europe knows how to respond when the government wants to drastically harm people's lives in order that the bankers can make more money.

An estimated 52,000 students took to the streets of London on Tuesday to protest government plans to increase university tuition fees while cutting higher education funding by 40 percent. The demonstration was one of the biggest student protests in decades and the largest turnout against the British government’s austerity measures that were announced last month. We speak with Johann Hari, a columnist for the London Independent.

Johann Hari ....
Now, we know from history that bad leaders can be stopped from doing even more terrible things by public pressure. You know, one of the examples I used is Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were both presented with programs—with proposals by the Pentagon to launch a nuclear strike on Vietnam. And we know from the classified minutes that have now been released, they didn’t do it, not because they thought it was a bad idea, but because, as Lyndon Johnson said it, "Can you tell me how long it would take for the protesters to break over the White House wall and lynch their president if I did that?" So we know very clearly from history, the more you protest, the more obstacles you put in the way of bad leaders doing terrible things. Now, I have no doubt all those Vietnam protesters who went out felt they had failed. And it’s true they couldn’t do enough to stop the killing of three million Vietnamese and 56,000 Americans. But those people who went home from that protest thinking they had failed had in fact prevented a nuclear war. I think that’s a really good example of how protest has effects that we may not realize at the time, but it has a huge ripple effect that can be very positive for years afterwards.

Obama needs to look out of his window and see a few million pissed off Americans.

And, next election, Obama and the Democrats need to see Americans moving away from their pro-war, pro-wall street political party. Haven't we had enough of this yet?

We need politicians that will look out for ordinary working Americans, instead of always doing whatever the Pentagon and Wall Street wants him to do.  And that sure as heck ain't the Democrats.

So we know very clearly from history, the more you protest, the more obstacles you put in the way of bad leaders doing terrible things.

And speaking of bad leaders doing terrible things, keep reading below.

The Real Obama

Now that the mid-term elections are done, and Obama and the Democrats can drop their fake pretensions of not being Republicans, we now see Obama's agenda.

-- Cut Social Security. He wants to raise the retirement age and cut cost of living increases.
-- Cut Medicare.
-- Cut corporate taxes
-- Leave the Bush tax cuts in place
-- Extend the war in Afghanistan by another three years.
-- End middle-class tax breaks.
-- Cut public television.

Obama Deficit Commission Criticized for Proposals to Slash Social Security, Medicare
Axelrod: Admin to Accept Extension of Bush Tax Cut for Wealthy
U.S. to Extend Afghan Pullout Deadline to 2014

Oh, the Democrats will run their usual scam, in that they'll say its those awful Republicans who are making them do this.

So, lets see. When Obama and the Democrats had both Houses of Congress, they did nothing. They didn't expand social security benefits, they didn't expand medicare, they didn't lower the retirement age. They didn't raise corporate taxes. They didn't end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama and the Democrats didn't even try to do any of these things. Basically, they kept the Bush era policies rolling along as best they could in the face of the mass public opposition that had elected the Democrats.

Now, the Republicans take control of one house of the Congress, and suddenly Obama turns over control of all policy to the Republicans. Remember how the Senate can block anything with a filibuster? Apparently Obama feels that the current majority in the Senate can't even slow down the Republican majority in the House.

The key thing to realize is that the Democrats do not oppose the Republicans. When the Republicans are in power, the Democrats don't filibuster and don't stop anything that the Republicans want to do. When the Democrats are in power, they protect Republican policies and then try to do their best to let the Republicans do whatever they want to do.

If you want to solve the deficit, here's a short list.
-- stop spending hundreds of billions of dollars every year on the wars. That's a sizeable percentage of the trillion dollar a year deficit.
-- Cut the trillion dollars a year that we spend on 'defense'. We spend more than the rest of the world combined on 'defense'.
-- Stop giving Wall Street trillions of dollars any time they ask for it.
-- End the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthy.
-- Stop the Republican policies of always cutting corporate taxes.

Obama of course will try to duck the blame for this. But, he's the one who appointed Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles to lead a commission to cut the deficit. He picked a Republican who's always wanted to see anyone who's not a millionaire starving in the streets. And he picked a Democrat who's on the board of Morgan Stanley.

This might not be the final deal. But of course, today's Democrats who always stick it to working people will 'compromise' with the Republicans. So, they'll give the Republicans most of what they want. Then the Republicans will reject the deal, and then Obama will give them most of the rest of what the Republicans want. All of this will occur while Obama and the Democrats try to get everyone to believe the strange message that we need to vote Democrat to stop this. They'll be hoping that no one notices that we voted Democrat and this was what we got.

This is Obama and the modern Democrats. Get out your magnifying glass to try to tell the difference between Obama and Ronald Reagan and Herbert Hoover. And as usual, the Democrats were just lying their rears off in the last election, because they sure weren't spending millions of their wall street dollars telling the people that this is what the Democrats were going to do.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Democrats’ broken promises

The Democrats’ broken promises by Phil Gasper

What this picture leaves out is the social role of the Democratic Party and the interests that it ultimately serves. Politics is not a pure battle of ideas. It is a struggle between different social classes to defend and advance their interests and to determine who will control how society is run. While the Democrats have historically represented themselves as the party of working people and oppressed minorities, in reality they are tied to protecting the interests of corporate America and the capitalist system just as much as the Republicans are, despite their differences in ideology. It is this and not primarily a failure to craft the right message that explains the broken promises.

There is also one other crucial factor that Lakoff and others like him ignore. While consciousness has moved to the left in the United States, that has not yet cohered into a political movement that can mobilize large numbers of people to fight for a progressive agenda. In the absence of such a movement, there is no pressure on the Democratic Party to enact reforms that will benefit working-class Americans rather than big business. When such movements exist, as in the 1930s and 1960s, politics can shift very rapidly to the left. It is no coincidence that it was during these decades that the most important gains were made by workers, the poor, racial minorities, and other oppressed groups.

For those who are angry at the Democrats’ for their broken promises, the solution is not offering better ways of packaging the party’s message, but building an independent movement on the ground that can fight both for immediate reforms and pose the vision of a different kind of society in the future.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


On election night, every time I turned on the TV, what I heard were Democrats coming up with one excuse after another for their election defeat. I heard about 'enthusiasm gaps'. I heard about how historically the party in power loses mid-term elections. I heard long discussions about why the Democrats 'get-out-the-vote' efforts didn't seem to work.

But there was one word conspicuously absent from these discussions. "Change". You remember that word, don't you? Two years ago, Mr. Obama always spoke from a podium with the word "Change" plastered onto the front. Mr. Obama stood underneath giant banners that read "Change". Mr. Obama's speechwriters seemed to have the competitions on how many times they could put the word "Change" into his speeches.

And, if you want to know why the Democrats just went down in defeat, the word "Change" is the answer. Mr. Obama and the Democrats ran for office promising "Change", and they failed to deliver. Even worse, Mr. Obama and the Democrats failed to even try to deliver.

The sad thing is that the best politics for Mr. Obama and the Democrats would have been to be very aggressive in trying to deliver "Change". With that strategy, if the Republicans were to try to block this popular President, then that would have set the Republicans up as being the party going down to an historic defeat in these elections.

Instead, the Democrats adopted the same Republican policies that had ruled the country since Mr. Obama's favorite President, Ronald Reagan. This combined with a massive spin effort to try to fool their base into believing that they really had delivered "Change". But with the bizarre notion that somehow everyone had missed this fact.

The Democrats apparently based this campaign on the assumption that the American people are stupid. I heard one Democrat analyst talking about how Mr. Obama and the Democrats had cut everyone's taxes but weren't getting credit for it. This assumes the American voters are stupid. Does he think that no one notices how much they pay in taxes when they file every April? If our taxes had gone down by any significant amount, does he think we are all too stupid to have noticed? Somewhere down in the decimal points, he's probably factually correct. Maybe our taxes did go down. But not so much that anyone could notice without pulling out last year's tax return and getting out a magnify glass to see the "Change".

Meanwhile, an antiwar majority in America has tried in two straight elections to end the wars by voting Democrat. Anti-war America elected a Democrat majority in Congress to end the wars in 2006. Then they sent Mr. Obama and even more congressional Democrats to Washington in 2008 for the same purpose, to end these wars. Instead, what they got was first the Democratic congress serving to guarantee Mr. Bush's war funding. Then they got Mr. Obama expansions of these wars in Afghanistan and into Pakistan. Then just before the election, they got raids on antiwar activists, and talk just before the election of sending 'hunter-killer teams' into Yemen. In other words, "No Change."

Americans had been telling pollsters for years that their biggest issue was health care. The Democrats had always twisted this into trying to insure a few more of the uninsured. A worthy cause, but only a fraction of the health care concerns that Americans have had. This redirecting of the issue ignores all the problems with insurance companies denying care and coverage. And it ignored for-profit hospitals charging $3 for an aspirin or $20 for a bag of salt water.

What the Democrats did once they were in Washington was to immediately take any real health care reform off the table. Instead, the Democrats made it very clear that protecting the profits of some of the most hated corporations in America was their top priority. After all, Obama alone had gotten $30 million from big health corporations in the last election. So, the CEO's of those companies were getting private meetings to plan health care 'reform' in Mr. Obama's oval office, while advocates of single-payer were being led out of the Democrat's congressional hearing rooms in handcuffs.

What we got handed to us as 'health care reform' was instead a plan to help corporate profits at the expense of the health and wallets of Americans. The Democrats passed a four year ban on any reform of health insurance. That's just the opposite of what the "Change" the voters were asking for. The American voters were not asking for the Democrats to prevent any health care reform for four years. And American voters were certainly not asking to be forced into becoming mandated customers of the very corporations from which they were crying for help and protection.

Last night, the Democrats were on the television talking about how they aren't getting any credit for their reforms. I'd say the Democrats were getting exactly the credit they deserved.

Meanwhile, another fact that the American voters keep telling pollsters is that they think corporations and Wall Street have too much power in America. Again, the Democrats did just the opposite. The first week in power in January 2009, the Democrats ran around telling everyone that we had to pass bailouts of hundreds of billions of dollars for Wall Street. Remember how that just had to be passed on a Tuesday, because if we waited until Thursday to open our treasury to the Wall Street robber barons then we would all be doomed?

Then we saw the Democrats pass a 'Wall Street reform' bill that was so loophole ridden and useless that Wall Street cheered when it passed.

And in this election, where voters were telling the pollsters the obvious fact that in the middle of the biggest "downturn" since the Great Depression that their biggest concerns were the economy and jobs. The Democrats responded to this by giving Americans the economic policies of Mr. Obama's favorite President, Ronald Reagan. The Democrats gave hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars to Wall Street in the hopes that some of this might trickle down to the rest of us. Then, when Americans asked for some real stimulus or job creation programs, Mr. Obama told us that all the money was gone, that we had a big deficit, and that ordinary Americans were going to have to be responsible for their own recovery.

Given all of that, is it any surprise that the American voters rejected this bunch of Democrats yesterday?

None of this was coming from the mouths of the Democrat spin machine on the television last night. We heard of all sorts of reasons why the Democrats lost. But the one thing that they would not say is that the Democrats had lost because they had failed to deliver the "Change" they'd promised.

Overall, I feel that last night was a major victory for the progressive movement and the left in general. It may not seem like it with the Republicans in charge of the House, but look at it this way. The Democrats will certainly run on "Change" again. In a country where a majority of the voters have been telling pollsters that they think the country is moving in the wrong direction for decades now, its become standard operating procedure for politicians to run on "Change". We even get the strange sight of incumbents running on "Change" because the idea is so popular with the voters.

So maybe, just maybe, somewhere deep within the bowels of the corporate Democrat political machine, maybe a smart analyst is thinking the thought that maybe the next time the Democrats get power, that they should actually deliver some real "Change".

That's the good news. In the long run, last night the American voters took a positive step forward towards actually getting some "Change" by defeating the politicians who had failed to deliver what they had promised. We were not getting any "Change" today no matter who won last night's elections. But, with this defeat of the politicians who had failed to deliver, we sent a powerful message that tells future politicians that they had better plan on delivering the "Change" that they so easily promise in every election.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Which Party Supports You.

In American politics, usually the question is what party do you support. But, in a representative democracy, the question should be, which party supports you and supports what you believe?

Remember, if you vote Democrat or Republican and they win, you get exactly what they promised you. Which is more war and a government that serves corporate America a whole lot more than it serves you.

Issue Position Comparison



Green Party


Invasion and Occupation of
Oppose Support Support
Patriot Act Oppose Support Support
Invasion of
Oppose Supported Supported
Kosovo War Opposed Supported Supported
Military Budget Reduce Increase Increase
Israeli Occupation of West
Bank and Gaza.
Oppose Support Support
Global Warming - Reduction
of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Support Oppose Oppose and Failed to
Right to Choose Support Oppose Support (?)
National Health
single-payer national health
Oppose Oppose
Clean Water Support Oppose Weak Support
Death Penalty Oppose Support Support
Labor: Wages and
Support Oppose Workers Minimal Support
(Global) Corporate
Trade Agreements and Institutions (NAFTA, FTAA, CAFTA,
Restrict Expand Expand
Real Campaign Finance
Reform & Publicly Financed Elections
Support Oppose Oppose
Electoral Reforms &
Support Oppose Oppose
2000 Florida Election -
Congressional Investigation
Support Oppose Oppose
Reform the Presidential
Debate Commission
Support Oppose Oppose
Strict Standards on GMOs
(Genetically Modified Organisms)
Support Oppose Oppose
Oppose Support Support
Drug War Oppose Support Support
Giveaway of public broadcast spectrum to private companies.
Opposed to Deregulation Supported Supported
Bank Deregulation and
Banking Reform
Opposed to bank deregulation. Supported bank
Supported bank
Increased Accounting
Opposed until the Enron
scandal broke.
Other issues on which most
Republicans and most Democrats agree 
-- and Greens

  • Plan Colombia
  • The bombing of Iraqi civilians
  • Refusal to ban landmines
  • Privatization of prisons, other public services and resources
  • Severe penalties for marijuana
  • Big corporate mergers and Wall Street bail-outs
  • Forest logging giveaways
  • Powerful agribusiness lobbies instead of family farms
  • Uncontrolled bio-engineering
  • Increased wiretaps and other surveillance
  • The Defense of Marriage Act

Like most things with the Green Party, the website where this came from seems to be a bit out of date. The last 'news' article is from 2006.

Of course, most of the items still seem relevant today. You just notice that the website talks about Bill Clinton and Al Gore and John Kerry instead of Barrack Obama. The faces and the names change, but the issues don't. And, it also tells you that 4 years of Democrats in control of Congress and 2 years of Democrats having the White House as well have led to absolutely NO CHANGE in these issues.

But, it does mean that a few more should be added to the list.

  • The Green Party opposed the Israeli attack on aid ships on the open sea. The Democrats and Republicans verbally attacked the humanitarians bringing aid.
  • The Green Party supports Wikileaks and the release of the truth that the US government and military knows about our wars. The Democrats and Republicans do not and want prosecutions of those who've told American citizens the truth.
  • The Green Party opposes having Obama's FBI kick in the doors of anti-war activists. The Democrats and Republicans order the raids and do not speak in opposition.

And that's just what comes from the top of my head. Feel free to add other differences in the comments section. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

As usual, the Arabs knew

The Shaming Of America
By Robert Fisk

As usual, the Arabs knew. They knew all about the mass torture, the promiscuous shooting of civilians, the outrageous use of air power against family homes, the vicious American and British mercenaries, the cemeteries of the innocent dead. All of Iraq knew. Because they were the victims.

Only we could pretend we did not know. Only we in the West could counter every claim, every allegation against the Americans or British with some worthy general – the ghastly US military spokesman Mark Kimmitt and the awful chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Peter Pace, come to mind – to ring-fence us with lies. Find a man who'd been tortured and you'd be told it was terrorist propaganda; discover a house full of children killed by an American air strike and that, too, would be terrorist propaganda, or "collateral damage", or a simple phrase: "We have nothing on that."

Of course, we all knew they always did have something. And yesterday's ocean of military memos proves it yet again. Al-Jazeera has gone to extraordinary lengths to track down the actual Iraqi families whose men and women are recorded as being wasted at US checkpoints – I've identified one because I reported it in 2004, the bullet-smashed car, the two dead journalists, even the name of the local US captain – and it was The Independent on Sunday that first alerted the world to the hordes of indisciplined gunmen being flown to Baghdad to protect diplomats and generals. These mercenaries, who murdered their way around the cities of Iraq, abused me when I told them I was writing about them way back in 2003.

And, as I said below, the interesting question is this .... if everyone in the Arab world knew about this, then exactly who was the Pentagon keeping this secret info from? The only answer is the American citizens. And in a system where the citizens represent the sovereign power of the nation (the constitution begins with "We the People"), that's a very undemocratic and anti-American act. Withholding information from the American people is in effect a coup that steals the rightful power of the American people by deciding what the citizens know and what the citizens don't know.

But, written in bleak militarese as it may be, here is the evidence of America's shame. This is material that can be used by lawyers in courts. If 66,081 – I loved the "81" bit – is the highest American figure available for dead civilians, then the real civilian mortality score is infinitely higher since this records only those civilians the Americans knew of. Some of them were brought to the Baghdad mortuary in my presence, and it was the senior official there who told me that the Iraqi ministry of health had banned doctors from performing any post-mortems on dead civilians brought in by American troops. Now why should that be? Because some had been tortured to death by Iraqis working for the Americans? Did this hook up with the 1,300 independent US reports of torture in Iraqi police stations?

Such freedom. The Iraqi puppet government bans any investigations into dead bodies brought in by American troops. And the US military issues orders banning any investigations into allegations of torture or killings by the Iraqi government. And by such beaurocratic measures, we created a hell in Iraq that Iraqis have always told us was far worse than anything under Saddam.

We still haven't got to the bottom of the WikiLeaks story, and I rather suspect that there are more than just a few US soldiers involved in this latest revelation. Who knows if it doesn't go close to the top? In its investigations, for example, al-Jazeera found an extract from a run-of-the-mill Pentagon press conference in November 2005. Peter Pace, the uninspiring chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is briefing journalists on how soldiers should react to the cruel treatment of prisoners, pointing out proudly that an American soldier's duty is to intervene if he sees evidence of torture. Then the camera moves to the far more sinister figure of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who suddenly interrupts – almost in a mutter, and to Pace's consternation – "I don't think you mean they (American soldiers) have an obligation to physically stop it. It's to report it."

The significance of this remark – cryptically sadistic in its way – was lost on the journos, of course. But the secret Frago 242 memo now makes much more sense of the press conference. Presumably sent by General Ricardo Sanchez, this is the instruction that tells soldiers: "Provided the initial report confirms US forces were not involved in the detainee abuse, no further investigation will be conducted unless directed by HHQ [Higher Headquarters]." Abu Ghraib happened under Sanchez's watch in Iraq. It was also Sanchez, by the way, who couldn't explain to me at a press conference why his troops had killed Saddam's sons in a gun battle in Mosul rather than capture them.

Or, try this .... type "Salvador option" into a search engine and see what it turns up for round about 2004. I haven't done it yet, but I remember Rumsfeld and others talking about using the "El Salvador" option in Iraq. This of course meant a repeat of the torture and death squads that the US had unleashed upon El Salvador back when Rumsfeld was serving Obama's favorite president, Ronald Reagan. I suspect there's an evil correlation between those references and the increase in torture and death squad activity we now have documented in these Iraqi war logs.

So Sanchez's message, it seems, must have had Rumsfeld's imprimatur. And so General David Petraeus – widely loved by the US press corps – was presumably responsible for the dramatic increase in US air strikes over two years; 229 bombing attacks in Iraq in 2006, but 1,447 in 2007. Interestingly enough, US air strikes in Afghanistan have risen by 172 per cent since Petraeus took over there. Which makes it all the more astonishing that the Pentagon is now bleating that WikiLeaks may have blood on its hands. The Pentagon has been covered in blood since the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, and for an institution that ordered the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 – wasn't that civilian death toll more than 66,000 by their own count, out of a total of 109,000 recorded? – to claim that WikiLeaks is culpable of homicide is preposterous.

The truth, of course, is that if this vast treasury of secret reports had proved that the body count was much lower than trumpeted by the press, that US soldiers never tolerated Iraqi police torture, rarely shot civilians at checkpoints and always brought killer mercenaries to account, US generals would be handing these files out to journalists free of charge on the steps of the Pentagon. They are furious not because secrecy has been breached, or because blood may be spilt, but because they have been caught out telling the lies we always knew they told.

We've seen the spectacle of a baseball player being charged with lying to Congress over steroid use. Well, now we have very good evidence of much more serious lies being told to Congress. Lies that have killed many human beings, including 4000 plus American soldiers killed in Iraq. Is our Congress investigating these awful lies? Or, is our Congress attacking Wikileaks for exposing these lies? If you don't like the answer you get to that question, then don't vote for an incumbent.

They are furious not because secrecy has been breached, or because blood may be spilt, but because they have been caught out telling the lies we always knew they told.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Must See TV

Today's Democracy Now! is focusing primarily on the Wikileak's posting of the Iraq War Logs. This is must see TV.

WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs Expose US-Backed Iraqi Torture, 15,000 More Civilian Deaths, and Contractors Run Amok

Early in the show, there's a fascinating interview with an Iraqi citizen on the streets of Baghdad. He says what's rather obvious, in that everyone in Iraq already knows this. That its important that there is documentation and evidence of these crimes, but that everyone in Iraq already knows this. That everyone in Iraqi has had people detained and beaten and killed.

If everyone in Iraq already knows what's in these documents, then why is is so important that they be kept secret? Because there's evidence of war crimes in these documents. The UN's chief investigator of torture is already calling on the Obama administration to seriously investigate the facts that are already in the US government's documents. And if there's justice in the world, then that's just step one towards a more serious international investigation.

These documents undermine the war here at home. Here in America, most people have basically been lied to about this war. These are the facts that the American people are not supposed to see. The American people aren't supposed to see how the US condones torture. The American people aren't supposed to see how its soldiers gun down people on the streets from helicopters. The American people aren't supposed to see the horror that we've brought to Iraq.

These documents call into question the very foundations of the Iraq war. First we were lied to and told that we had to invade Iraq to get rid of Saddam's WMDs. Then, when President Bush was doing his comedy act of looking under chairs for the WMDs, the story changed to one where we were in Iraq to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq.

Really? If we are there to defend the civil rights of Iraqis, then why does the US have an official policy of looking the other direction when they found that this happened? If we are there to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq, then why do we have an official policy to ignore reports of torture and abuse when the torture and abuse is being done by our puppet government and our puppet army?

See this show before you vote. Listen to the Obama's administration official spokesperson, and the way he attacks the people who release the truth, and defends the torturers and killers. That's the Democratic party policy. Attack anyone who reveals the truth. The Obama administration has been more aggressive than any previous president in prosecuting those who leak embarrassing facts that they want covered up. The Obama administration continues to attack Wikileaks. I guess that's the part of the FBI that isn't kicking in the doors of antiwar activists. Then the Obama administration is denying that any wrong has been done. The Obama administration is defending the torturers and the killers.

If you vote Democrat, so are you. Please don't vote Democrat. For your own soul, don't be a defender and enabler of torture. Please don't vote Democrat.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Power to the People

Democracy Now! has a fascinating interview with Daniel Ellsberg (of Pentagon Papers fame) about the latest release from Wikileaks.

Here's the part that struck me.
AMY GOODMAN: Dan Ellsberg, can you go back to the language of 793, the law that goes after whistleblowers—


AMY GOODMAN:—and how it can go after journalists, as well?

DANIEL ELLSBERG: It actually can apply—the words are so broad, because they really were intended for espionage, for people who are secretly giving information to an enemy, so they weren’t designed to protect, let’s say, First Amendment or freedom of speech when it comes to giving information to the public. So they talk about wrongfully receiving or holding information that is not authorized for release or giving it to people who are not authorized to receive it. And the people who get it are subject to charge under that.

It often has been said that the AIPAC case, the case of the Israeli lobby here, people who were accused of receiving information, were for the first—who did not have clearances—who were being charged under this law. Barack Obama, by the way, dropped that case, which was brought under Bush. Actually, that was not the first case. In my case, my co-defendant, Anthony Russo, was in exactly the same position. He didn’t have a clearance at that time. He was just receiving the material. He held it; he didn’t return it. At least at that time they had paper he could have returned, in principle, as did the New York Times.

But the wording of the law could apply to readers of the New York Times, which I believe is coming out with this information. They’re not authorized to receive this classified information, even though they may very well have a need, as citizens, to have it. It’s being wrongfully withheld from them, but they’re not authorized to receive. Unless they return it, they are subject—now, that’s not going to happen. But the journalists, indeed, are being put on warning that they may be subject to this.

In a democracy, the people are the holders of sovereign power. The first words of the US Constitution are "We the People" to acknowledge that true power lies with the people, and that they are just loaning some of it to the government in order to have a government that protects and secures their rights.

So, ultimately, in a democracy, its the people who need to know this information. If power lies with the people, then the people have a right to the information they need to exercise that power.

In a democracy, no one could be prosecuted under such language as above, certainly not any citizen in the community with voting rights, because they all are people who have an intrinsic right in a free society to see such information.

Now, I'll concede that you can't have everything free and known. If you are fighting a war, then you can't tell your enemy what you are about to do. But, beyond what should be very strict limits around such truly national security areas, there should be as free as flow as possible about information to the people who are the holders of real power.

If you don't see that, then what you are seeing are other government officials usurping the power of the people by denying them the knowledge they need to make those decisions.

And, look closely at the information in these Wikileaks documents. Are they top secret stuff that if OBL knows it today we are all in danger? Or, are these facts that are embarrassing to the people who want to fight this war? Is is stories of civilians being killed, and documentation that we've killed many, many, many more Iraqis than Americans were killed on 9-11? Is it stories of prisoners being abused? Is it accounts of friendly fire?

Why are these documents so secret that the American people can't see them? This isn't the plans for our next great offensive in Afghanistan. This is the dirty laundry that they don't want people to know.

In a democracy, for the people to make an informed decision on whether to continue a war or to bring the troops home, then the people need to know all the information they can about that war. Not just the shiny propaganda picture of Americans liberating the fictional city of Marjam, but the real stories of what this war really does. What happens when the US military decides to set up a check point?

Never forget this war was sold to Americans by lies. Iraq has WMDs, or so we were told. Now we know that was a lie. Saddam was a nasty man, but his capability to hurt Americans was very limited. Did we really need to fight this war? Over 4,000 Americans have died. According to these Wikileaks documents, the Pentagon accounts for 66,000 Iraqi civilians.

They don't want you to know those facts. They don't want you to know how many people have died. They want to fly the coffins home and night and ban the media from the funerals. They want to say that they don't count Iraqi civilian deaths, so don't even ask.

Now we know. Well over 4,000 Americans are dead because of this war. That's more than OBL killed on 9-11. Over 66,000 Iraqi civilians are dead because of this war. Was it worth it? Was making sure that Saddam didn't hurt us with his fictional WMDs worth over 100,000 dead bodies?

That's the questions you aren't supposed to ask. That's why they don't want you to know those numbers, so you can't ask a question like that one. Because to me, that question shows that these Wars of Terror have been a horrible mistake. And that the first step of recovering from that mistake is to end them all as soon as possible.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Logan's Dad

Emily Guzman got onto the very end of Democracy Now! today. With just the few seconds left to give the name of this website.

Her husband has been detained by immigration officials for nearly a year. He was originally here on work visas under NACARA. But, after a very quick scan of the page, my question is, if he's married to an American citizen, then how is there any question as to whether he's allowed to be here.

The larger piece on Democracy Now was about immigration processes. ICE officials have the power to ask a judge to sign a deportation order with no hearing on the facts. Many judges sign many of these. Of course, the arrest reports of the ICE agents often have mistakes (who does perfect paperwork), and the judges who do check on these before they sign them have found cases of legitimate US citizens under threat of deportation because of mistaken ICE agents.

This is why the serfs started demanding trial by jury many, many, many moons ago under the Magna Charter. This is why the US Constitution requires a trial by jury of one's peers. Because even honest and conscientious officials make mistakes. And because not all officials are both honest and conscientious.

visit and see if you can make up your mind as to what case Ms. Guzman's husband falls under.


For the last few days, the Pentagon has been screaming trying to intimidate WikiLeaks into not publishing the material that came to them, and also trying to pressure any media that they could intimidate into not publishing the data.

Now we know why.

Guardian website on the 'war logs'
Wikileaks website on the 'war logs'

Includes stories on "How the US ignored Torture", a secret tally of Iraqi civilian deaths (something about which the Pentagon's spokespersons have always denied existence), "No Further Action" by US military to claims of abuse, the "Grim Toll at the Checkpoints", "Men Who Tried to Surrender Killed", "How Friendly Fire Became Routine", and a map of every death in Iraq.

In other words, a lot of stuff that the generals at the Pentagon have been trying to hide during this war.

Of course, the people who committed this act of freedom in letting the world see this info are under attack.  Wikileaks is under attack.  Its financial sources are under attack. Its founder had a strange on again off again rape charge suddenly filed against him.  And just before the release of this information, Wikileaks was under attack by 'very skilled' hackers.

Who is defending freedom?

Freedom is about power, and who controls it.  In a free society, the power resides with the people.  Of course, in order for that to work, the people need information.  For instance, a free society can not make an informed decision on whether to continue a war when it does not know the costs of the war.  According to these US military documents, 66,000 civilian deaths were counted by the US military.

For what?  To rid Iraq of WMD's it didn't have?  The US has killed 66,000 people in a war that the US did not need to fight to defend itself.  The people of the US were lied to in the beginning about the reason for this war when the government and the media spun their lies about WMDs.  And now, we know that the government has been covering up 66,000 civilian deaths, plus many other tales of abuse.

When the government lies to the people, when the government hides facts from the people, then the government is usurping the power that rightly belongs to the people.  That's a government and a military that are taking power from the people into their own hands by deciding what it is the people know.

When you get a chance to know what the government doesn't want you to know, you should go find out.  Follow the link above to the Guardian articles.  Or, go visit Wikileaks.  Its your duty as a free citizen to know what your government doesn't want you to know.  There's probably no act that's more American than that.

Oh, and just in case you think this is all stuff from the Bush years .....
As recently as December the Americans were passed a video apparently showing Iraqi army officers executing a prisoner in Tal Afar, northern Iraq. The log states: "The footage shows approximately 12 Iraqi army soldiers. Ten IA soldiers were talking to one another while two soldiers held the detainee. The detainee had his hands bound … The footage shows the IA soldiers moving the detainee into the street, pushing him to the ground, punching him and shooting him."

The report named at least one perpetrator and was passed to coalition forces. But the logs reveal that the coalition has a formal policy of ignoring such allegations. They record "no investigation is necessary" and simply pass reports to the same Iraqi units implicated in the violence. By contrast all allegations involving coalition forces are subject to formal inquiries. Some cases of alleged abuse by UK and US troops are also detailed in the logs.

That's on Obama's watch. SOP of US military under Obama to ignore complaints of abuse and torture if they occurred under our puppet governments military and police units.

If we weren't sure of whether Obama has committed impeachable offenses, now we know. A system of command that routinely ignores reports of war crimes and crimes against humanity is a war crime. And the highest of leaders are held responsible for such a crime. Its their job to make sure that this doesn't happen.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Supreme Court Financial Disclosure forms.

This came to me via a MoveOn mailing list concerning their Move To Amend iniative. Looks like it originated with Congressional Quarterly. Supreme Court justices are required to file financial disclosure forms. Here's the links to those.

CQ MoneyLine Reference

Justices of the Supreme Court

Updated: August 2010

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

Financial Disclosure Forms: 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009
Residence: Chevy Chase, Md.
Born: Jan. 27, 1955; Buffalo, N.Y.
Religion: Roman Catholic
Family: Wife, Jane Marie Sullivan Roberts; two children
Education: Harvard U., A.B. 1976, J.D. 1979
Military Service: None
Occupation: Lawyer
Experience: D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, 2003-05

Confirmation: President Bush announced July 19, 2005, that Roberts would replace retiring Justice O'Connor; however, when Chief Justice Rehnquist died on Sept. 3, 2005, the president then nominated Roberts as chief justice. Roberts was officially nominated as chief justice Sept. 6, 2005, by George W. Bush to succeed William H. Rehnquist and confirmed as chief justice Sept. 29, 2005, by a yea-nay vote of 78-22.

Telephone: 202-479-3000 | Web:
Supreme Court of the United States | One First St., N.E. | Washington, D.C. 20543

Samuel A. Alito Jr.

Financial Disclosure Forms: 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 pdf
Residence: New Jersey
Born: April 1, 1950; Trenton, N.J.
Family: Wife, Martha-Ann Bomgardner; two children
Education: Princeton U., A.B. 1972; Yale U., J.D. 1975
Military Service: None
Occupation: Lawyer; federal prosecutor
Experience: Assistant U.S. attorney, 1977-80; U.S. attorney, 1987-90; U.S. Court of Appeals 1990-present

Confirmation: Nominated Nov. 10, 2005 by George Bush to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor and confirmed Jan. 30, 2006, by a yea-nay vote of 58-42.

Telephone: 202-479-3000 | Web:
Supreme Court of the United States | One First St., N.E. | Washington, D.C. 20543

Stephen G. Breyer

Financial Disclosure Forms: 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009pdf
Residence: Cambridge, Mass.
Born: August 15, 1938; San Francisco, Calif.
Religion: Jewish
Family: Wife, Joanna Hare; three children
Education: Stanford U., A.B. 1959; Oxford U., B.A. 1961; Harvard U., LL.B. 1964
Military Service: None
Occupation: Law clerk; lawyer; professor; congressional aide
Experience: U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 1981-94 (chief judge, 1990-94)

Confirmation: Nominated May 13, 1994, by Bill Clinton to succeed Harry A. Blackmun and confirmed July 29, 1994, by a yea-nay vote of 87-9.

Telephone: 202-479-3000 | Web:
Supreme Court of the United States | One First St., N.E. | Washington, D.C. 20543

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Financial Disclosure Forms: 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 pdf
Residence: Washington, D.C.
Born: March 15, 1933; Brooklyn, N.Y.
Religion: Jewish
Education: Cornell U., A.B. 1954; Harvard U., 1956-58; Columbia U., LL.B.,J.D. 1959
Family: Husband, Martin Ginsburg; two children
Military Service: None
Occupation: Lawyer; law professor
Experience: U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, 1980-93

Confirmation: Nominated June 14, 1993, by Bill Clinton to succeed Byron White and confirmed August 3, 1993, by a yea-nay vote of 96-3.

Telephone: 202-479-3000 | Web:
Supreme Court of the United States | One First St., N.E. | Washington, D.C. 20543

Anthony M. Kennedy

Financial Disclosure Forms: 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 pdf
Residence: Sacramento, Calif.
Born: July 23, 1936; Sacramento, Calif.
Religion: Roman Catholic
Family: Wife, Mary Davis; three children
Education: Stanford U., A.B. 1958; Harvard U., J.D. 1961
Military Service: National Guard, 1961
Occupation: Lawyer; professor
Experience: 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 1976-88

Confirmation: Nominated Nov. 30, 1987, by Ronald Reagan to succeed Lewis F. Powell Jr., and confirmed Feb. 3, 1988, by a yea-nay vote of 97-0.

Telephone: 202-479-3000 | Web:
Supreme Court of the United States | One First St., N.E. | Washington, D.C. 20543

Antonin Scalia

Financial Disclosure Forms: 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 pdf
Residence: McLean, Va.
Born: March 11, 1936; Trenton, N.J.
Religion: Roman Catholic
Family: Wife, Maureen McCarthy; nine children
Education: U. of Fribourg (Switzerland); Georgetown U., A.B. 1957; Harvard U., LL.B. 1960
Military Service: None
Occupation: Lawyer; professor
Experience: Office of Telecommunications Policy general counsel, 1971-72; assistant U.S. attorney general, 1974-77; U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, 1982-86

Confirmation: Nominated June 24, 1986, by Ronald Reagan to succeed William H. Rehnquist and confirmed Sept. 17, 1986, by a yea-nay vote of 98-0.

Telephone: 202-479-3000 | Web:
Supreme Court of the United States | One First St., N.E. | Washington, D.C. 20543

David H. Souter

Financial Disclosure Forms: 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 pdf
Residence: Weare, N.H.
Born: September 17, 1939; Melrose, Mass.
Religion: Episcopalian
Family: Single
Education: Harvard U., A.B. 1961; Oxford U., 1961-63; Harvard U., LL.B. 1966; Oxford U., A.B. 1989, M.A. 1989
Military Service: None
Occupation: Lawyer
Experience: N.H. assistant attorney general, 1968-71; N.H. deputy attorney general, 1971-76; N.H. attorney general, 1976-78; N.H. Superior Court, 1978-83; N.H. Supreme Court, 1983-90; 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 1990

Confirmation: Nominated July 25, 1990, by George Bush to succeed William J. Brennan Jr., and confirmed Oct. 2, 1990, by a yea-nay vote of 90-9.

Telephone: 202-479-3000 | Web:
Supreme Court of the United States | One First St., N.E. | Washington, D.C. 20543

John Paul Stevens

Financial Disclosure Forms: 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 pdf
Residence: Chicago, Ill.
Born: April 20, 1920; Chicago, Ill.
Religion: Protestant
Family: Wife, Maryan Mulholland Simon; four children
Education: U. of Chicago, A.B. 1941; Northwestern U., J.D. 1947
Military Service: Naval Reserve, 1942-45
Occupation: Lawyer; law instructor
Experience: U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 1970-75

Confirmation: Nominated Nov. 28, 1975, by Gerald R. Ford to succeed William O. Douglas and confirmed Dec. 17, 1975, by a yea-nay vote of 98-0.

Telephone: 202-479-3000 | Web:
Supreme Court of the United States | One First St., N.E. | Washington, D.C. 20543

Clarence Thomas

Financial Disclosure Forms: 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 pdf
Residence: Savannah, Ga.
Born: June 23, 1948; Savannah, Ga.
Religion: Roman Catholic
Family: Wife, Virginia Lamp; one child
Education: College of the Holy Cross, A.B. 1971; Yale U., J.D. 1974
Military Service: None.
Occupation: Congressional aide; lawyer
Experience: Mo. assistant attorney general, 1974-77; assistant secretary of Education, 1981-82 (for civil rights); Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chairman, 1982-90; U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, 1990-91

Confirmation: Nominated July 1, 1991, by George Bush to succeed Thurgood Marshall and confirmed Oct. 15, 1991, by a yea-nay vote of 52-48.

Telephone: 202-479-3000 | Web:
Supreme Court of the United States | One First St., N.E. | Washington, D.C. 20543

Sonia Sotomayor

Financial Disclosure Forms: 2009 pdf