Sunday, May 31, 2009
“This offense is a grave one that implicates the national security of the United States,” Judge Pauley said, adding, “Why it took the government 23 years to charge Mr. Kadish is shrouded in mystery.”
He also wondered why Mr. Kadish had been allowed to plead guilty to a single charge that seemed to understate the seriousness of his crime.
“It’s clear,” Judge Pauley said, “that the government could have charged Mr. Kadish with far more serious crimes.”
At one point, Judge Pauley questioned a prosecutor about the 23-year “hiatus,” as he put it, in the bringing of charges.
The prosecutor, Iris Lan, said that it was not until last year that the F.B.I. had been able to “put all the pieces together.”
“There’s no mystery behind it,” Ms. Lan said. “It’s just what happened.”
“It’s a mystery to me,” Judge Pauley said tartly. “I’m wondering what happened.”
Hey judge, wake up and smell the coffee. This is Israel we are talking about. Spying for that country is never a big deal. The Obama justice department recently decided to drop the prosecution of two AIPAC staffers, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, who gave defense department documents to Israel. The Attorney General concluded that no crime had been committed. That's funny, a pentagon employee named Larry Franklin was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in jail for providing documents to the two men. Not to worry about Franklin, he isn't in jail. It wouldn't look good for him to be behind bars when Rosen and Weissman still walk the streets. Whatever.
The spy in this case, Ben-Ami Kadish, plead guilty to not registering as a foreign agent, paid a $50,000 fine and walked out of court a free man. He was a civilian employee of the U.S. army and gave documents to Israeli agents in the early 1980s. He says he wasn't paid for his services, but when the judge demanded the fine be paid within 60 days, Kadish replied, "No problem."
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I am glad the former Minnesota governor is unequivocal in his assessment that water boarding is torture. I am not glad that he still allows himself to be called a navy seal.
KING: You were a Navy SEAL.
VENTURA: That’s right.
This evening he did just that on the Keith Olbermann show on MSNBC. Ventura did say that he was a member of the Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) which is true, but he didn't correct Olbermann when he introduced him as a seal. This story is old, ten years old in fact, and shouldn't be an issue any longer.
". . . the Governor's office confirmed that Ventura had been a member of an Underwater Demolition Team (UDT), and not an elite Navy SEAL. But, they argued that because the two entities merged under the SEAL banner in 1983, UDT's can now refer to themselves as SEALs, even though in Ventura's case, his active military service ended ten years before the merger occurred-- . . .
In print articles and broadcast appearances, Ventura lets interviewers refer to him as a Navy SEAL, or an ex-Navy SEAL--which they routinely do--without correcting them."
No wonder Americans are so uninformed. The corporate media doesn't know how to fact check. Google makes it easier than ever you know.
Monday, May 25, 2009
As always, Glenn Greenwald brilliantly dissects the Obama indefinite detention policy and why it is so horrific. As always, he then punks out and refuses to make the case for opposing him. I told him so personally in this little missive.
"Ambinder doesn't mean me personally or exclusively; he means people who are criticizing Obama not in order to harm him politically, but in order to pressure him to do better."
What is wrong with wanting to harm Obama politically? You spell out clearly why his indefinite detention plan is so terrible, but then you apologize for opposing him and justify that opposition in terms of wanting to help him.
I suggest you focus on helping yourself and 300 million other people. Obama couldn't care less about us. He is as cynical as they come. He will do what he can get away with and it is pretty clear that he will get away with making imprisonment without charge legal.
Who in congress will oppose him? Will it be the republicans, or Pelosi, or Reid? Will the congressional black caucus stand up? The answer is a resounding "no" to all of the above. In the past they have all either gone along with the program or remained silent, which amounts to the same thing.
Stop worrying about helping Obama. That is the sure pathway to political hell. Stand up for what is right and legal, whether it helps or hurts him is irrelevant. To do otherwise makes you and I just chumps in his eyes and potentially his next victims.
Our country has changed for the better only when citizens demand it without regard for the political fortunes of people who are doing them harm. If you don't stand up and make the case for opposing Obama, your brilliant words ultimately will mean nothing.
New York NY
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Hallelujah! A few progressives may be turning against Obama. It is about time.
Rachel Maddow says it. Obama is asserting presidential powers that even Bush did not. Once again we have a president who pisses on the constitution, but this one has the gall to announce that he will do so while standing in the national archives. What a bastard!
In the future I prefer dumb presidents. People don't like them and let them get away with less. No more smooth talking smarty pants presidents. They get away with advocating indefinite detention without trial and very few will fight them.
Develop a legal regime? Preventive detention? Ten years behind bars? How could we be any worse off if McCain had won? I am proud to say that I didn't vote for Obama. It is a tradition that I plan to uphold every four years. The jackass party will not get my vote in a presidential election ever again.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Many events are being held tomorrow in solidarity with Troy Davis. Davis is awaiting execution in Georgia after 20 years on death row. His conviction for murdering a cop is based on nothing more than now recanted witness testimony.
I will be in Union Square here in New York City between 6 and 8 tomorrow night. Link here to find an event near you.
"The American Left may not be much, but it won't be anything at all until it ditches the Democrats."
One of my favorite websites has linked to little old me. Many thanks to them. It is quite a compliment.
The subject of that post was Obama's future Supreme Court appointee, whomever he or she may be. Those of us who advocate ditching the democrats are constantly told that the power to remake the federal judiciary is so important that our other concerns must be over looked.
Yet Obama makes it clear that he won't appoint a liberal. He will consult with the republicans before making his choice. What a little bastard.
Actually, I should thank him. His constant perfidy only helps me make the case against him.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Barack Obama can't without choking on the words. BET reporter Andre Showell, not Andrea, asked Obama about high levels of black unemployment at the over hyped 100 day press conference.
I remembered this moment when I was interviewed last Saturday by Warren Jones on WBOK. I was joined by my BAR colleague Bruce Dixon and by Larry Pinckney of Black Commentator. Unfortunately the interview isn't available online.
Warren asked about Obama's non-response to the unique problem of black unemployment. He was only willing to talk about the rising tide lifting all boats, and not about black people specifically and not without also mentioning latinos, lest he be accused of singling us out for assistance.
I remembered the question and I remembered that Obama mumbled the words African American towards the end of his response. Check it out starting at 46 minutes 21 seconds and lasting until about 48 minutes 49 seconds.
Al Schumann at Stop Me Before I Vote Again hits the nail squarely on the head in assessing Pelosi and the not so new revelations that she knew all about torture yet said and did nothing about it.
Even in the most generous interpretation of her actions, Pelosi is the worst kind of politician. She lacked the street smarts to cope with experts in plausible deniability. She leapt into the role of useful idiot. She lacked the sense of self-preservation, never mind integrity, to sound an alarm once it was clear she'd been set up as a patsy. She was stupidly eager to collude with vicious thugs, and now she's paying the smallest possible price for it. She's an accessory to crimes against humanity, she walked into the role with her eyes wide open, and she shows no signs of remorse. Worse, I'll bet she gets reelected easily. She's perfectly representative of her defenders."
Sorry I can't come up with a more lyrical title, but I'm cutting to the chase this morning. It is official, he will keep military tribunals. Just as I said in Black Agenda Report last week.
Just a few days ago, he announced he will not release photos of prisoners being tortured. The phony bastard claimed that doing so would endanger the troops. What a crock.
It seems that Dick Cheney has won after all. His seemingly bizarre series of interviews have done the trick, and the craven Obama has caved. He was never one to buck the system and now he is obeying the rules. The first one of those is "Don't f_ _k with the rulers."
He didn't get to be president without knowing rule number one.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
The full interview is here. Glen tells us how the Obama administration sabotaged the Durban II conference. Slavery, genocides, indigenous rights, and immigrant rights have all been swept under the rug because Israel wants to silence condemnation of its human rights abuses.
"Our villages are not where the terrorists are. And that's what we kept telling the U.S. administration, that the war on terrorism is not in the Afghan villages, not in the Afghan homes. Respect that. Civilian casualties are undermining support in the Afghan people for the war on terrorism and for the, the, the relations with America. How can you expect a people who keep losing their children to remain friendly?"
Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan
Tough luck Hamid. Bush and now Obama say that your people have to die. If they live they could turn into al-Qaeda or the Taliban. They are better off dead and it is for their own good.
What would you expect from a guy named Cutie? Alberto Cutie, pronounced koo-tee-AY, is the host of a Spanish language talk show. Called Father Oprah, he is a Roman Catholic priest who was recently caught in a full state of pitch and woo with a divorced woman.
I like scandal as much as the next person, but there is a serious issue here. Cutie admitted he had a romantic relationship with the woman and was immediately removed from his parish. I for one was glad that he was involved with another adult. Some of his colleagues who were accused of molesting minors were allowed to remain in the church for years, shuffled from parish to parish, as they continued their assaults on unsuspecting victims.
So get your love on Father Cutie. Life is too short to worry about what the vatican thinks.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
(Mr. Fish cartoon)
A Very Bad Week
Where to begin? David Souter announced his resignation from the Supreme Court. Sounds good to have a republican appointee retiring during a democratic administration, but all is not what it seems.
"I will seek somebody who is dedicated to the rule of law, who honors our constitutional traditions, who respects the integrity of the judicial process and the appropriate limits of the judicial role. I will seek somebody who shares my respect for constitutional values on which this nation was founded, and who brings a thoughtful understanding of how to apply them in our time.
As I make this decision, I intend to consult with members of both parties across the political spectrum."
Well, f_ _ k me. I'm sorry to have dropped the old F bomb twice in one day, but I have had enough. When we speak out against the democratic party we are always told to remember the power of judicial appointments. It is terribly important for a democratic president to be able to put his stamp on the judiciary.
OK, if that is the only great thing about a democratic president, why should I be happy that he is planning to consult republicans about his choice? Obama has a 68% approval rating and the republican party has a paltry 21% approval rating. If he can't fight for a liberal on the court what the hell can he fight for?
Limits on the judicial role? What does that mean? It sounds very right wing to me, but then again so does Obama.
Sorry, but we would be no worse off if John McCain were president. No I wouldn't want to look at him and Cindy, who if they did live in the White House would be living together for the first time in years, but let's stick to substance shall we.
The United States government is openly undermining the elected president of Pakistan, a man was sentenced to five years in prison for broadcasting Hezbollah, AIPAC spies got off scot free, and Bush policy on Guantanamo continued seemlessly. The Employee Free Choice Act is declared dead on arrival, thanks to democratic senators who also killed "cram down" legislation that would have allowed renegotiated mortgage agreements in case of bankruptcy.
Well, Arthur Silber is posting again, so there was one bright spot after all.
Barack Obama is going to do what George W. Bush would not. His Defense Secretary, and Bush Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, told congress that Guantanamo detainees will be held on U.S. soil after the prison is closed.
Now the New York Times reports that the Obama administration will revive the military tribunals they once criticized.
So what was that about change? There is nothing like that coming any time soon to this country. As my friend and fellow blogger Arthur Silber pointed out,"Any individual who rises to the national political level is, of necessity and by definition, committed to the authoritarian-corporatist state. The current system will not allow anyone to be elected from either of the two major parties who is determined to dismantle even one part of that system."
Don't listen to any nonsense about polls or opposition from republicans. Obama won't dismantle the Bush era system because doing so would jeopardize the very foundations upon which the entire political system is built. Truly changing anything that Bush did would send a signal that the rulers don't like. If he changes Bush policy who knows what is next? He might get crazy and actually promote democracy or something and we just can't have that.