Saturday, May 30, 2009

Very interesting video: Mancow is being told he's a liar--by his own party

Seems the right wing is pretty upset that Eric "Mancow" Muller was waterboarded and then declared "It Is Torture!" He is one of their own and has deserted the party line. He is getting quite an education from what he thought would be a fun stunt. As he says now, "Whatever happened to the TRUTH?" A very good question, especially coming from a far right winger. Watch this interview and see what you think... (An extra added attraction is his wife and little daughter wanting to be on national TV and walking back and forth behind him as he is interviewed.) Some things just can't be made up. (~.~)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cookies work, torture doesn't

This is one of the best reasons to try Christ's teaching first. I hope self-proclaimed Christians like Cheney and Bush are listening...

May 28, 2009

No Torture Needed -- Cookies Did the Job

Fascinating piece coming in tomorrow's TIME magazine. Reporter Bobby Ghosh writes, “The most successful interrogation of an al-Qaeda operative by U.S. officials required no sleep deprivation, no slapping or ‘walling’ and no waterboarding. All it took to soften up Abu Jandal, who had been closer to Osama bin Laden than any other terrorist ever captured, was a handful of sugar-free cookies.”

Former interrogator/member of the FBI Ali Soufan, who testified to Congress last month, tells TIME: “He was a diabetic ... We had showed him respect, and we had done this nice thing for him .... So he started talking to us instead of giving us lectures.” Ghosh points out, “Defenders of the Bush program, most notably Cheney, say the use of waterboarding produced actionable intelligence that helped the U.S. disrupt terrorist plots. But the experiences of officials like Soufan suggest that the utility of torture is limited at best and counterproductive at worst.”


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Interesting Interview

Sean Hannity says waterboarding isn't torture, even after this. One wonders, then, why he doesn't fulfill his promise to undergo waterboarding himself? He said he'd do it for charity -- Keith Olbermann offered $1,000 for each second Hannity lasted under the "it's not torture" enhanced interrogation procedure (so-called). But Hannity refuses to honor his commitment. In the meantime, he continues to claim "it's not torture." How can anyone take seriously anything this guy says? What a poor excuse for a human being....

Here's the interview. Judge for yourself which one you believe: Hannity or Mancow? Note, also, that Olbermann followed through with his commitment to donate $1,000 per second -- for Mancow rather than Hannity. He gave $10,000 to Mancow's favorite charity...

Monday, May 25, 2009

An Essay, Beautifully Put!!!

Religious fanatics of all types who put themselves in superior positions to judge others as "sinners" are going to be in for a big surprise at their time of exiting this brief span of life, I think. Fundamentalist Christians, no matter their church affiliation, take pride that they are living their lives in a Christlike manner, asking themselves "What would Jesus do?" in different situations. Yet, in many cases they don't do what Jesus did. It boggles the mind.

The people of Jesus' time hated Samaritans, so Jesus told them the parable of the Good Samaritan and asked them not to judge others by their prejudices. The people of his time also stoned prostitutes to death, but Jesus showed mercy to the prostitute brought before him and told the people, "Let him who is without sin throw the first stone." He told people to "judge not your brother."
(Matthew 7:4) "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye.
" He pointed out to them the hypocrisy of taking pride in one's own "goodness" while judging others, when he told them the story of the Pharisee and the publican praying in the temple. (LUKE 18:9-14)

Religious people who practice their religions according to their own narrow beliefs have given a bad name to religions over the centuries. Think of all the wars that have been fought in the name of God, but were actually fought on the made-up "rules" of men's own minds. It's staggering to contemplate. When I see people wanting to deny equal rights to gays, and doing it in the name of their own distorted ideas about their religion, I want to say to them, "What would Jesus do?" But I know from sad experience that their minds are set, and they wouldn't be able to hear me.

Excerpt from essay below:
If his religion teaches prejudice toward certain people, and if he chooses to accept those dictated prejudices, that's ok with me, right up to the point where he decides those religious prejudices need to be codified into laws that extend the power of his religious beliefs to people who don't share them. Once my former friend decided that gay people should be denied rights, he threw in with a long history of oppression, a history that, ironically, once defined members of his own religion as weird, undesirable, and deserving of scorn from "normal" people, or "real" Christians. Like those who once persecuted members of his own faith, my former friend allied himself with those who would oppress other people out of a misguided sense of moral and personal superiority.

An Episode in the Culture Wars

by Jaime O'Neill

— from the Paradise Post

A few months back, I lost a friend over the issue of gay rights. During nearly two decades of working together, we had differed on a number of issues, none of them threatening to our friendship. He is more conservative than I am, and that seldom bothered me much. He was and is a man who stands by what he believes, and I admire that in people, even when I think they're wrong. He's also a pretty good writer, and I admire that, too. He's been dedicated to education, a teacher devoted to serving students.

He has a real doctorate in English, paper from a real school with real standards, unlike some of my former colleagues who merely racked up a bunch of often bogus units in order to propel themselves up the salary schedule once they'd gotten the degrees that made them eligible to be hired in the first place.

He's a Mormon, and he's been on the receiving end of some prejudice on that front, or had his religion flung in his face when people who disagreed with him ran out of other arguments against one or another position he'd taken. So, during the years I counted him as a distant friend, I did so with both affection and esteem.

All that changed, irrevocably, during the debate over Proposition 8. Prior to that split, I'd known his conservative views on marriage, and I respected those views, and the tradition that sustained them. If he wanted to believe that the Mormon Church shouldn't perform marriages between people of the same gender, then I had no problem with that. But when he moved from that position to advocating that NO ONE of any faith or belief should be allowed to perform such marriages, and that his personal sanction against such marriages should be enforced by laws that govern all, and that gay and lesbian couples would not be allowed the legal rights or respect granted to people like himself even outside of his church, I parted company with him, and lost the respect I'd once held for him.

If his religion teaches prejudice toward certain people, and if he chooses to accept those dictated prejudices, that's ok with me, right up to the point where he decides those religious prejudices need to be codified into laws that extend the power of his religious beliefs to people who don't share them. Once my former friend decided that gay people should be denied rights, he threw in with a long history of oppression, a history that, ironically, once defined members of his own religion as weird, undesirable, and deserving of scorn from "normal" people, or "real" Christians. Like those who once persecuted members of his own faith, my former friend allied himself with those who would oppress other people out of a misguided sense of moral and personal superiority.

I don't even want to deny my former friend and his fellow religionists the right to their sense of superiority. As far as I'm concerned, they can preach against damn near anything they can think to call "sin," and that falls under the heading of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. But when those teachings lead to hate crimes, or when that preaching encourages discriminatory laws, then his freedoms are in conflict with the freedoms of others and, since his freedom to believe and worship as he pleases is not jeopardized by giving others the right to wed, then fair and reasonable people must take sides with those people whose freedoms ARE being denied.

Those old analogies apply here: Your freedom to swing your arms stops at my nose, and your freedom of speech does not include the freedom to yell "fire" in a crowded theatre. In other words, when your rights are in conflict with the rights of others, then those rights must be exercised with responsibility, and must cease at the point harm to others has been demonstrated. As bad as prejudice is, and as much as I hate the sanctimoniousness that paints prejudice in stained-glass colors, what really tore it for me was the dishonesty of the Prop. 8 campaign, the fear mongering that prompted my former friend to stand up at a school board meeting and deliver a grandstanding speech to an audience packed with his co-religionists. In that speech, he promised the audience that if gay marriage became legal, then teachers would begin to school little kids in the legitimacy of the homosexuality. "If you don't believe that will happen," he said, "then I've got a bridge to nowhere to sell you up in Alaska."

It was that little rhetorical flourish that made me decide I no longer needed to count this man among my circle of friends. He knew he was throwing red meat to those who shared his position, knew he was playing to their fears, knew he'd appear to be a stalwart defender of the faith to those who shared his prejudices - including those Mormons on the local school Board who had decided to vote their personal religious beliefs even before that meeting started. But, unlike many who supported Prop. 8, my former friend was smart enough to know that Proposition 8 was not about teachers, not about schools, and most certainly not about indoctrinating young people on the merits of homosexuality in our taxpayer-supported public classrooms.

Or, if he wasn't smart enough to know that, then he surely should have been. And, as a teacher himself, he should have known that schools are public institutions, supported by people of all manner of belief, and attended by children who come from homes that span a range of lifestyles. In view of all that, the loss of this particular friend hardly seems like much of a loss at all.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

California: State of Paralysis

By Paul Krugman

Who would have thought that America’s largest state, a state whose economy is larger than that of all but a few nations, could so easily become a banana republic?On the other hand, the problems that plague California politics apply at the national level too.

Not a surprise that Cheney was the real president all those years

by Cenk Uygur

We interviewed Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, the former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, on The Young Turks and he had some very interesting things to say. Including:

"Cheney was co-president. I'd go further than that and say that for national security issues and other critical issues Cheney was the President."
"I found the incredible arrogance and lack of humility of the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, to be stunning almost right off the bat."

Referring to the decision to abuse detainees:

"I don't think there's any question it goes to Cheney. I'm increasingly of a mind that a lot of it goes to Cheney and stops there. Not just because of the president's disinclination to do detail, but I also think that Cheney kept some things from the president.
Lawrence Wilkerson: They should have what I would call reference authority. In other words, they should be able to turn it over to the appropriate authorities for prosecution, and a recommendation should be rendered with that if they believe laws were broken and they believe the proper authorities ought to take action.

Cenk Uygur: Dick Cheney seems to have an equivocal answer on Face the Nation when asked, "Did the president know about this abuse?" and he said, "Well I think he should have known" or something along those lines. Is there some chance that Dick Cheney just flat out gave the orders and didn't tell the president?

Lawrence Wilkerson: Absolutely! In my mind I have no problem believing that. I have no problem at all believing that.

You can watch the whole interview and read the transcript here:



The real reason Cheney is out there, with his daughter Liz, defending himself and his legacy (proving he was really the president those 8 long years), has now been revealed by Liz. He is afraid of being held responsible for his crimes (as well he should be!). He doesn't want to be prosecuted for lying to start a war and for increasing terrorism during his 8-year reign as puller of the puppet strings.  He and Liz are out there on the circuit, desperately trying to save his neck and what is obviously more his legacy than the idiot Bush's. 

If Liz is trying to become a front-running candidate for president in 2012, that is a heart-warming thought to all of us nasty lib'ruls out here. How juicy it will be to watch her and Sarah vie with each other for the top slot on the ticket. And if Sarah gets top place and Liz gets 2nd place, we could have a rerun of the Bush/Cheney administration: an idiot president whose strings are being pulled by a Cheney.  I wonder how many Americans would vote for such a ticket? (~.~)


Liz Cheney, perhaps inadvertently, admitted that part of the reason we've seen Dick Cheney more in the last two months than we did in the eight years of the Bush administration is that he is very nervous that there will be investigations and prosecutions in his future:

(M)any in the media have asked why Cheney — someone who had avoided the media at all costs during his eight years as vice president — would be airing his opinions in such a forceful and public way. Indeed, Cheney himself has answered this question, claiming he is speaking out because he believes that torture and other Bush administration anti-terror policies — many of which Obama is abandoning — were “exactly the right thing to do” and that “there isn’t anybody there on the other side to tell the truth.”

In turn, media figures have answered the question in much the same way. “I think he genuinely believes we are threatened now more because of what Obama is doing,” MSNBC’s Pat Buchanan has said. CNN’s David Gergen said, “I think Dick Cheney almost has a Churchillian view of this, and that is somebody has got to stand up and be the voice in the wilderness.” But while the narrative of Cheney’s motives focuses mainly on the righteous, it has all but ignored the selfish — that Cheney is trying to muddle the public debate with the goal of reducing public support for a criminal inquiry into the torture regime that he authorized.

Last night on CNN, however, Cheney’s daughter Liz revealed that fear of prosecution is indeed a motivating factor in the former vice president’s current media campaign:

L. CHENEY: I don’t think he planned to be doing this, you know, when they left office in January. But I think, as it became clear that President Obama was not only going to be stopping some of these policies, that he was going to be doing things like releasing the — the techniques themselves, so that the terrorists could now train to them, that he was suggesting that perhaps we would even be prosecuting former members of the Bush administration.

Sad that this "Get Daddy Out Of Jail Free" ploy seems to have all the news outlets lapping it up with nary a word on what the motives might be for a former Vice President to break with protocol and criticize a sitting President (and by doing so, implicitly admitting that Cheney--not Bush--was in charge). Can you imagine how the right wing noise machine would have gone into overdrive if Clinton had started criticizing Bush for not taking the al Qaeda threat seriously at the beginning of his presidency? By all reports, that's what happened. Richard Clarke was demoted, his reports ignored, and then 9/11 happened on their watch. And now terrorism has increased worldwide four-fold. However, even with this miserable track record (kept from the public by these media outlets eager for a Cheney appearance), Cheney thinks his opinion has any value to the discussion?

You can see the larger Anderson Cooper interview at VideoCafe.

Some speculate there may be a more pecuniary motive to Cheney's sudden appearances (twelve in nine and a half days over four networks). Of course, Liz Cheney may also be trying to establish herself as a credible candidate in 2012 too:

The hottest Republican property out there isn't former Vice President Dick Cheney but his daughter Liz, who has taken to the airwaves to defend her dad and the whole Bush administration on national security and Guantánamo Bay issues. Liz Cheney, who followed the former veep's hard-hitting speech criticizing President Obama's policies with a CNN appearance, is becoming so popular in conservative circles that some want her to run for office. "She's awesome. Everyone wants her to run," said a close friend.


Rational voices are trying to be heard in the GOP

Tom Ridge and Colin Powell are trying to save their party from extinction.  Lots of luck, fellows!  The far right wingers have battened down the hatches on their brains and don't want to hear anything reasonable. Rove and Limbaugh and Beck and Coulter are their leaders...and they just love that "dear" old guy Cheney. And Sarah Palin is right up there on their list of candidates to run for president in 2012. My own opinion: let them alone. They are doing exactly what they should be doing: making themselves relics of the past.  They have already destroyed what the Republican party used to be. Their only support now is in the south, and only 22% of the population now define themselves as Republicans. The destruction of the neocon abomination their party has become cannot come soon enough!

By Sam Stein

Asked to choose Sunday between Rush Limbaugh and Colin Powell as a Republican he could support, former Bush confidant and conservative firebrand Karl Rove sided with the brash talk radio host.

Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Rove was posed the same question asked of former Vice President Dick Cheney: What type of Republican best represents the party?

"[Cheney] sided with Limbaugh. Do you?" asked host Chris Wallace.

"Yes, if I had to pick between the two," replied Rove, who earlier acknowledged that Powell was -- despite what his conservative critics say -- a Republican. "But, you know what? Neither one of those are candidates," he continued. "Neither one of those are going to be people who are offering themselves for office."

The remarks reflect what is a continuing and in some ways growing divide within the GOP. As Rove appeared on Fox, an interview of Powell defending his brand of Republicanism was set to air on CBS' "Face the Nation." Meanwhile, on CNN, former Homeland Security Chair and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge was being asked about his prescription for GOP resurgence. Ridge made two points rather unorthodox to contemporary conservative thought. He disputed Cheney's assertion that the country was less safe under Obama. And he made it clear that Limbaugh was more hindrance than help, calling the conservative talk radio host "shrill."

RIDGE: I think a lot of our commentators are being shrill. I mean, I don't disagree --


RIDGE: Yes, Rush Limbaugh has an audience of 20 million people. A lot of people listen daily to him and live by every word. But words mean things and how you use words is very important.

KING: I want to be clear, though. You think Rush is among those being too judgmental, too shrill?

RIDGE: Well, I think Rush articulates his point of view in ways that offend very many. It's a matter of language and a matter of how you use words. It does get the base all fired up and he's got a strong following. But personally, if he would listen to me and I doubt if he would, the notion is express yourselves but let's respect others opinions and let's not be divisive.

Let's lead our party based on some principles that have been very much a part of who we are for decades. And let's be less shrill in terms of -- and particularly, let's not attack other individuals. Let's attack their ideas. Let's explain in a rational, thoughtful, responsible and reasonable way why our ideas and our approach are more acceptable and why they should be more acceptable to the average citizen.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Suicides of Soldiers Are Mounting

THANK YOU, DICK CHENEY, DONALD RUMSFELD, and PUPPET BUSH for the lies you contrived and the unnecessary war you started, into which you sent these young soldiers.  Their deaths and the deaths of more than 4,000 others, plus the maiming of thousands of others, are all on your heads.

Yesterday, a young AWOL soldier took his life on West Cliff Drive here in Santa Cruz.


Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, May 23, 2009

It was just past midnight in Afghanistan when Brig. Gen. Mark Milley appeared on the video screen in the Pentagon conference room to brief some of the Army's top generals on a sobering development: his unit's most recent confirmed suicide.

A 19-year-old private, working a night shift at his base, had shot himself a few weeks earlier. "There was no indication that he would harm himself, he had not been seen by the chaplain, no intimate relationships," Milley said, running through warning signs.

In the Pentagon, Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the Army's vice chief of staff, homed in on one detail. The soldier worked a job that often entailed long, solitary hours. In scouring the Army's suicide statistics, Chiarelli had noticed a slight suicide increase among those who worked such positions. Milley said that going forward none of the 20,000 soldiers under his command would routinely work by themselves.

For more than two hours, Chiarelli, Army personnel chief Lt. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle and a roomful of other generals combed through the facts surrounding a dozen of the Army's latest suicides, with commanders from Afghanistan, Iraq, the Horn of Africa and bases throughout the United States participating in a video teleconference.

Such meetings are one piece of a broader effort to arrest the Army's rising suicide rate, which has surged to record levels in the past year. In 2008, 140 soldiers on active duty took their own lives, continuing a trend in which the number of suicides has increased more than 60 percent since 2003, surpassing the rate for the general U.S. population.

To deal with the problem, the Army has added to the ranks of mental health and substance abuse counselors. The service also required all units to cease operations for two to four hours to talk about suicide prevention in February and March.

Chiarelli's monthly meetings are the Army's way of sleuthing out patterns and identifying new policies to deal with the trend. In the most recent meeting, conducted last week, commanders were brutally candid about what went wrong -- a mental health screener who missed signs of distress; the failure to take notice when a normally reliable infantryman with three combat tours didn't show up for an Army school; the dangerous interactions of drugs, dispensed to help soldiers deal with combat stress, with caffeine and alcohol.

"It's the most gut-wrenching meeting I go to," Chiarelli said.

After the Afghanistan commander gave his briefing, it was Iraq's turn. Maj. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger described the case of a young soldier who shot himself this year. One aberration in the case: The soldier had received a waiver so that he could take a prescription drug to treat his attention-deficit problem. The drug "when added to caffeine, could cause sleep disorders, and a lack of sleep could lead to impulsive actions," the Iraq commander noted.

"There are a lot of those high-energy drinks being used over there," said Chiarelli, who spent two years in Iraq. "What is that stuff that people drink in Iraq?"

"Rip It," came the chorus around the room, referring to the energy drink that has 100 milligrams of caffeine per eight-ounce can (25 percent more than a can of Red Bull and roughly three times as much as an equivalent amount of Diet Coke). Chiarelli asked an Army doctor attending the meeting to work with his staff to create a simple chart listing the most common drugs that soldiers take for combat stress and explaining how the drugs interact with other substances. "I want it to be something an average platoon sergeant can use," Chiarelli said.

At times Army leaders were frustrated by cases that defied simple explanation. In other instances soldiers simply fell through the cracks. One senior sergeant who had deployed multiple times to Iraq confessed to a fellow soldier that he had frequent nightmares from his first tour. He was binge-drinking. The friend took away his personal gun but never mentioned the sergeant's struggles to commanders. A couple of days later, the sergeant didn't show up for his slot in an Army school.

The normally reliable sergeant's absence should have triggered a red flag, said the senior commander where the soldier was based. It was the second suicide the command had when a soldier was between jobs, and the commander promised that his unit will now maintain contact with troops as they are moving.

As the meeting stretched into its second hour, commanders identified other problems that needed to be fixed. In one case, a U.S.-based soldier who was taking antidepressants returned from his second Iraq tour and checked a box on his post-deployment health survey that he was feeling depressed. The screener who reviewed the form didn't refer the young soldier to the base's mental health counselors for help. A few months later, he took his own life.

The screener erred in not referring the soldier for treatment, said the Army general who briefed the case. But he also complained that the form that the military uses to assess soldiers returning from deployments is outdated and that its questions are overly broad. The questionnaire was developed in the wake of the Persian Gulf war. Chiarelli said he had been promised that a new form would be issued later this summer. "You'd think we would have done it already after seven years of war," he said.

The Army's biggest challenge is that its volunteer force is in uncharted territory. Many soldiers are now in the midst of their third or fourth combat tour, and Army surveys show that mental health deteriorates with each one. Senior Army officials said they are focusing more resources, including extra mental health counselors, where troops are returning from multiple deployments. This year, Fort Campbell, Ky., which is home to the frequently deployed 101st Airborne Division, has had 14 suicides.

"We probably don't know how many mental health care providers we need after eight years of war and three and four deployments," Chiarelli said.

Some of the best information the Army has comes from the individual case studies discussed at the monthly Pentagon conference. Before the meeting ended, Chiarelli pressed his field commanders and fellow Pentagon generals to make sure that the lessons from the 12 cases they had studied that day made their way out into the force.

"We can't just be players in a game of Clue here," he said. "We have to find a formalized way to get these lessons out."


Friday, May 22, 2009

It's not torture -- it's not torture--glub, glub -- IT'S TORTURE!!!

For sure FOX's cowardly Sean Hannity will never do it now -- even though he promised he would undergo it for charity to prove it wasn't torture (and Keith Olbermann has offered to pay $1,000 a second for each second Hannity lasts).  I think all rightwingers who protest this is not torture (including CHENEY) should have to undergo it to see for themselves.  Dr. Evil, would you please stop your talking crusade to save your legacy for just a minute -- and step up here to be first in line?

For video of the conservative Muller being waterboarded and afterwards, see:

One Less Torture Advocate

By Jonathan Chait

Conservative radio shock jock Eric "Mancow" Muller (sample quote: "Obama can keep his "hope", the rest of us would like to keep our money, guns, and God!") decided to prove that waterboarding isn't torture by subjecting himself to it on the air. Of course, as my colleague Chris Orr has pointed out, getting waterboarded for a limited duration under circumstances you control is nothing like being waterboarded as a prisoner. Still, the experiment was interesting:
"The average person can take this for 14 seconds," Marine Sergeant Clay South answered, adding, "He's going to wiggle, he's going to scream, he's going to wish he never did this."

With a Chicago Fire Department paramedic on hand,  Mancow was placed on a 7-foot long table, his legs were elevated, and his feet were tied up.  

Turns out the stunt wasn't so funny. Witnesses said Muller thrashed on the table, and even instantly threw the toy cow he was holding as his emergency tool to signify when he wanted the experiment to stop.  He only lasted 6 or 7 seconds.

"It is way worse than I thought it would be, and that's no joke,"Mancow said, likening it to a time when he nearly drowned as a child.  "It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back...It was instantaneous...and I don't want to say this: absolutely torture."

"I wanted to prove it wasn't torture," Mancow said.

I think the torture debate would be mighty different if more of the conservatives who scoff at waterboarding would try the same thing.


Global Temperatures to rise by 9 degrees by 2100

A new study, which researchers have called "the most exhaustive end-to-end analysis of climate change impacts yet performed", predicts that global warming could be twice as bad as previous estimates had suggested.

Published this month in the Journal of Climate, the MIT-based research found a 90% probability that worldwide surface temperatures will rise at least 9 degrees by 2100.

Pulling from a variety of data sources back in 2007, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) projected temperature increases anywhere from 2 to 11 degrees by the end of the century. Now due to this new data, it looks like the higher range of that projection may be closer to the truth.

The new study was done using 400 applications of a computer model, which included looking at complicated factors such as atmospheric, oceanic and biological systems data, as well as global economic activity. A similar 2003 study had predicted a mere- but still significant- 4 degree increase in global temperatures by 2100, but those models weren't nearly as comprehensive, and they didn't take into consideration economic factors.

The most impactful way to lower the projections would be to significantly reduce human-produced greenhouse gas emissions, according to the researchers.

While complex factors such as human economic activity can be difficult to quantify exactly in a computer model, it's increasingly clear that those kinds of factors have a significant impact on global climate. As this study portrays, the more comprehensive and sophisticated our computer models get, the grimmer the news.

In other words, as our models become increasingly more accurate compared to previous models, global warming reveals itself as more acute rather than less. And it becomes much more apparent just how large of an impact human-induced factors can have on climate change.


Who is Dick Cheney? Q & A

By Steven Weber

Who is Dick Cheney? Really?

What is the man doing?

Is he a patriot?

Does he love America?

Does he fear for the safety of its citizens?

Is he a statesman who values what America stands for?

Does he value its history?

Here are some answers:

He is exercising his right to express himself. But given the responsibility inherent in having served high profile terms in government and given the content of his recent pronouncements set against the current instability of the economy at home and abroad he is, in the exercise of that right, practicing nothing less than sedition.

This is a man who arranged to be deferred from military service five times yet has stood behind the crucifying of actual war heroes like Max Cleland and John Kerry and behind the devaluing of all those American soldiers who went into engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan underfunded, under-supplied and under-protected, as well as their care after they had so nobly served.

He has been behind the unprecedented manipulation and gutting of the Constitution of the United States, taking power from The People and placing it squarely in the Oval Office.

He has presided over the spreading of paranoia and fear across the psychological expanse of this country in order to execute his personal agenda of profit.

He has determined that America take a unilateral course of aggressive action in order to secure its position as the world's only super power.

He values his country's history the way Machiavelli valued his. To him, American history is not the story of a people struggling with the responsibility of freedom for all men and women, a concept that is not instinctive in the human animal but one which must be fought for and nurtured with precision and care. For Dick Cheney, rather, his behavior both private and public points clearly to a man who has disdain for his country and the people who live in it, who views America as a business which has turned only a paltry profit, hasn't flexed its muscles with sufficient cruelty, has employed too little civil restraint, has given too much freedom to a people who neither deserve nor have the intelligence to understand it.

And even though he clothes himself in the trappings of the patriot, he is in fact the traitor in our midst. His recent media tour, again while within his right, is every bit as disturbing and incendiary as the vitriol that issues forth from the froth-flecked mouths of religious zealots who cry for holy war. His pronouncements about the various dangers to our country -- dangers he and his cadre of neo-con co-conspirators have helped create and/or exacerbate -- are not well-meant warnings but attempts to extend his nefarious influence over the national landscape, to keep people jittery and vulnerable enough to preserve his own relentless agenda of personal profit and perpetual power.

With the help of his ministry of propaganda Fox News and the autonomous bilge pump Limbaugh, Dick Cheney broadcasts his fear mongering messages, fomenting a shadow illegitimate movement more potentially virulent than any media-fanned terror of Swine Flu and exploiting the very fear he helped to create. If not dealt with, if his actions are left unchallenged and unchecked, the potential for civil division and instability is greater than it has been since the days leading up to the Civil War.

The stark contrast between Dick Cheney and President Obama bespeaks the contrast in devotion to this country and its citizens.

President Obama respects and values America and all for which and for whom it stands. Dick Cheney on the other hand, simply does not. That's who Dick Cheney really is.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Irish Catholic priests and nuns abused children in their institutions

An excellent movie was made about this kind of abuse years ago called The Magdalene Sisters.  It is horrific to think of how the Catholic Church kept its trusting members under so much control for centuries -- telling them they would go to hell if they even ate meat on a Friday, and their babies would go to Limbo if they weren't baptized from "original sin."  And, all the while, abuse like this was going on within its "hallowed" walls.  Another documentary that should be a must-see for everyone is: Deliver Us From Evil. You can rent it and The Magdalene Sisters from Netflix. Information does provide freedom.

It is interesting to contemplate how people are kept captive within various institutions, political and religious, and are ruled by FEAR.  The powerful elite of all big institutions have mastered the way to control the naive masses.  Make them fearful and paranoid, and they will do the bidding of the masters. Think about it: Corporations do rule the world -- and they are not only in the business world. They permeate our entire earthly tribal culture.  Some of the worst abusers of people are the ones who proclaim themselves to be the holy protectors of the naive and innocent. It is in their best interest to keep people ignorant and afraid--and to make them believe they have to trust the leaders who then say, "Don't worry. We will protect you. We will save you."  Dick Cheney is a perfect example of this kind of leader. Take a good look at him and listen to his words. He rules by instilling fear and dread in the population.  He himself is ruled by fear: fear that he will lose his power, his money, and his "legacy."  He was afraid to serve in the Vietnam War, yet has no compunction about sending other people's children into the present war he created out of lies.  He is still out there on the circuit, even though he is no longer in Washington, trying desperately to save his name and legacy by telling yet more lies.

Look carefully and follow this thread through politics, religion, big business, the pharmaceutical industry, the A.M.A., the military, the N.R.A., etc., etc.  Scare tactics are their herding tools -- keeping the people frightened is their business because it leads to BIG profits!!! Very few people break free of these controlling entities and see through their tactics. Yet, it is essential that we do so, in order to bring a new kind of energy to our planet--one that will end wars and lead to true peace and brotherhood. Dennis Kucinich is about the only politician I know who has seen this clearly and who speaks out about it.  The rest of them go along to keep the power and the money flowing to them.  That's the way the world is structured now. But if the people wake up and decide to change it, it can be changed.  A shift in consciousness is necessary, and perhaps the children who are being born onto this planet now will provide that shift. As more crimes are revealed and the old rigid thinkers and naysayers die out, perhaps a new and brighter energy will take their place, and Earth will see a new day. I certainly hope so!

Children in Irish Catholic-run institutions suffered horrific abuse: report

  • May 21, 2009 - 12:52PM

Thousands of children living in Catholic-run institutions in Ireland were subjected to decades of horrific abuse while authorities stood by and did nothing, a damning report has revealed.

The long-awaited report, released in Dublin on Wednesday, outlined the terror of rampant sexual abuse, rapes and beatings inflicted on thousands of children over a 60-year period by priests, nuns and lay staff.

It said that, while complaints were made, government and church officials did nothing to stop the abuse, choosing instead to punish children who complained or transfer pedophiles and other perpetrators to new institutions.

The findings were based on a nine-year inquiry by the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse which heard evidence from 2500 men and women who used to live at Catholic reform schools, workhouses, orphanages and other children's homes.

Some victims said that, while the 2500-page report vindicates their claims about the widespread abuse they suffered, they were disappointed at the report's failure to name perpetrators or recommended any charges.  (Reminds one of the Obama administration giving a "slide-by" to Cheney and Bush and their evil neocon cohorts who dismantled our Constitution, removed our rights, and authorized torture. Oh no, let's not hold anyone in the hierarchy responsible for these crimes against humanity. Let's just "look forward" and pay no attention to what happened in the past. Because of this attitude of those in power, the same kinds of abuse will continue in the future. There are no consequences to the actions of the "elite" who perpetrate the crimes -- so they will continue to occur. Sadly, this is the way it is on planet Earth at the present time. Power and greed rule, and the little people suffer.)

"It didn't go far enough, it didn't give us justice," spokesman John Kelly, who spent two years in care, told reporters.

"We need to see those who committed the abuse, who are alive, prosecuted.

"This inquiry is deeply flawed, it's incomplete and many might call it a whitewash."

Several of the 100 institutions investigated by the commission were run by the Sisters of Mercy and Christian Brothers.

Many abuse victims fled Ireland as soon as they were old enough to start a new life in Britain, Australia and the United States.

One of the report's shocking findings was that sexual abuse was "endemic in boys' institutions", where children were subjected to improper touching, fondling and violent rapes.

"The management did not listen or believe children when they complained ... At best, the abusers were moved, but nothing was done about the harm done to the child.

"At worst, the child was blamed and seen as corrupted by the sexual activity, and was punished severely."

Girls were also preyed on by male employees and visitors, but they were more likely to suffer "pervasive, severe, arbitrary and unpredictable" corporal punishment.

The report said the Department of Education knew "violence and beatings were endemic" within the institutions.

"Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from," it said, adding they were regularly belittled, ridiculed, criticised and humiliated.

Girls and boys also endured poor standards of care, often going hungry while wearing threadbare or wet clothes.

The report made 21 recommendations for the Irish government, including building a permanent memorial to victims as well as providing them with counselling and improving Ireland's child protection services.

The head of the Catholic church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, said he was "profoundly sorry and deeply ashamed that children suffered in such awful ways in these institutions".

Christian Brothers spokesman the Reverend Edmund Garvey said the religious congregation was "deeply sorry" for the hurt caused to so many children.

"In advance, the Christian Brothers apologize openly and unreservedly to all those who have been hurt either directly or indirectly as a result of the deplorable actions of some Brothers, or by the inaction or inappropriate action of the congregation as a whole," he said.

The Sisters of Mercy also apologized, saying: "We accept that many who spent their childhoods in our orphanages or industrial schools were hurt and damaged while in our care."


Unfortunately, this is all too true!

Politicians and their Corporate Masters
By Jon Faulkner

The presidency is a chance, for a man or woman, to join the elite - the upper echelon of society. That is its chief attraction. The trick to getting elected, and to make it look like there was an election, is to promise things the candidate knows he can’t deliver. The candidate knows perfectly well that a large percentage of the electorate know he can’t deliver, but will rationalize their votes with, “I chose the lesser of two evils.” The candidates always uses the same theme. It’s all about change even though the candidate realizes a large percentage of the electorate know that any change will be only incremental tokenism - a sop to the voters. Universal health care comes to mind.

All of the privileges corporations enjoy did not come about over night. Corporate lobbyists spent many years, and many billions, bribing politicians to engineer the current climate of corporate privilege. Obama is only one in a long line of presidents who owe his office to corporate king makers. It is extraordinary that so many Americans seem to be taken by surprise, or are entirely unaware that corporations, and not government, are in charge. Dick Durbin is the Democratic Senator from Illinois. Said he, “The banks are the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. Frankly, they own the place." There’s a refreshing bit of honesty, and from a career politician.

During Clinton’s first term, Welfare was replaced with the “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.” Congress, by design, had forgotten to ad the addendum, “Corporations Excused.” According to the Census Bureau, of 14 million Americans receiving welfare, less than five million were adults, and 90% of that number were woman. Welfare costs were about one percent of the annual federal budget. The government had begun its retreat from compassionate consideration for those Americans who are less fortunate. If however, the banks and other corporations break themselves by their egregious acts of irresponsibility, they will be showered with taxpayer cash.

Many corporate welfare cases establish addresses overseas in various tax havens, and end up paying less taxes than a married couple earning $50,000 to $70,000 a year. Dick Cheney was the CEO of the poster child of corporate welfare, Halliburton. Faced with criminal indictments for fraud, bid rigging, bribery and gross profiteering in a war zone, Halliburton fled the U.S. for the United Arab Emirates. In May of 2007 Cheney attended Halliburton’s going away bash with other shareholders. The revelers were given sticks with which to beat a paella stuffed with cash. Taxpayer cash. Cheney walked away from the Vice Presidency at least $35 million richer, not including his annual salary from Halliburton of $1,000000. Dick saw no conflict of interest.

While Cheney was Vice President, Halliburton established a slush fund to bribe Nigerian officials. This was at a time when the federal law against “bribery of foreign public officials in commercial negotiations” was in effect. While serving as CEO, Cheney would have been responsible for Halliburton’s books which show clear evidence of violating the “U.S. Corrupt Foreign Practices Act.” Cheney is a thief, and worse, he’s a war criminal. He and Bush collaborated to commit more criminal acts than any previous administration since George Washington’s.

After eight years of Bush the ruling class knew it was time to give the democrats a turn. Obama is the perfect messenger of change. McCain had too much baggage, but Obama is not only black - a sea change in itself, but he is also articulate and convincing. Obama’s abandonment of his campaign promises were quickly lost in media smoke. Emerging from the smoke were the usual assortment of republican doomsayers who predictably condemned Obama as they always condemn democrats - as tax and spend liberals. The democrats rejoined with, “the Bush Administration skyrocketed the nation’s debt to $11 trillion!" The all important ritual of reinforcing the myth of two political parties was underway.

In 2000, 51.3% of total eligible voters turned up at the polls. Junior was “elected” by about one quarter of all eligible voters. In 2008, 56.8% of all eligible voters turned out. That election marked the highest voter turnout in 40 years. A little better than a quarter of all eligible voters put Obama in office. This is hardly representative democracy, and the politicians, with their corporate masters know it. Americans, it seems, have their heads firmly stuck in the sand. They have been easy pickings for the corporate thieves, with their political accomplices, who have been robbing them of their money, and their freedoms, for decades. Somehow, millions of Americans remain fast asleep, and even support known thieves such as Bush and Cheney.

Any first year law student knows that professionals, doctors, lawyers, corporate CEO’s and politicians are held to a higher degree of accountability. Because the public has invested its trust in, for instance doctors, who perform surgeries or prescribe medications doctors must be held to a higher standard of behavior. Corporations violate the public trust at every turn because there‘s not much profit in trustworthiness.

Elected officials are in positions that can bring harm to those who elect them to public office. Bush and Cheney have set a clear precedence that future administrations are above the law. Congress, whose sworn duty it is to investigate and prosecute such outrages as Bush and Cheney are guilty of, only postures and blusters and fools no one. No democracy can long remain inviolable if its leaders need not conform to the same laws its citizens must obey.


Very interesting 9-minute long video on UFOs

Seems like this is interesting information (to put it mildly :-) ) to share with others!

Have you noticed that there have been more and more UFO programs on TV lately? Discovery channel, History channel, Natl. Geographic channel--it seems almost every week there is some kind of UFO program being shown. Makes me wonder: is our government trying to prepare the people to accept the idea that we really are not alone in this universe? And that we have already been contacted/visited by extraterrestrials? Other countries' governments have already put out that kind of information to their citizens -- France, England, Belgium and Russia, for example. There is much to discover on this subject, and we are only at the beginning....

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts, after you view the video. If it interests you, you might also want to watch a longer video:
DISCLOSURE PROJECT: Two hours of FASCINATING information from extremely credible military and government employee witnesses.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Adam Lambert's Incredible Voice

Watch this video of The Prayer....with Adam Lambert and Noa Dori. If Adam doesn't win the American Idol title tonight/tomorrow, it really doesn't matter. Kris Allen will be an artist of some talent and scope. But Adam is in a whole different league. With his voice and looks, he already has the potential to be a star of the magnitude of Elvis Presley.

To me, his voice is of that perfect quality that so rarely comes along. Patsy Kline was the last woman singer with that kind of voice that hits every note perfectly, phrases the song to perfection, and touches the heart with its amazing clarity and almost divine soulfulness. Adam and Patsy: the voices of angels. Patsy left the earth way too early -- I hope Adam is around for a very long time -- and that he not only will perform rock, which is his favorite venue, but also lend that angelic voice to songs that deeply stir the soul. We need that kind of singer and song these days.

Jesse Ventura, a Goldwater Conservative, speaks his mind

And I agree with every word he says!!!  Jesse was on Faux News' Sean Hannity show as well -- and was the first person I've ever seen on Hannity's show who didn't allow Hannity to overtalk him. He definitely made far more sense than Hannity (but, admittedly, that's not hard to do).  I wish he would have reminded Hannity that he (Hannity) had promised he would be waterboarded when he interviewed Charles Grodin.  When Hannity denied waterboarding is torture, Grodin asked him if he would be waterboarded and Hannity said, "Sure -- for charity."  Well, Keith Olbermann has promised $1,000 a minute to a charity of Hannity's choice (since doubled to $2,000 a minute)--for each minute that Hannity endures the "enhanced interrogation technique" that Hannity refuses to acknowledge is torture.  Hmmm...we haven't heard another word on that subject from Hannity ever since.  No waterboarding is yet scheduled for him. He is a perfect example of the "courage" shown by the chicken hawks in the Republican party. So willing to send others to do the dirty work -- but always opting out of anything dangerous for themselves. Cheney, Bush, Hannity--all cut from the same yellow bolt of cloth.

You can't say that about Ventura -- a former Navy SEAL who served in Viet Nam, was waterboarded himself and calls it torture, and who says the truth: George Bush was the worst president in our time. I'd go one further -- "in ANY time."  To see a short video of Ventura's performance on the Hannity show, go to:

The Body Speaks His Mind: Obama Should Listen
By Bill Gallagher

"You give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour and he'll confess to the Sharon Tate murders."
-- Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura on CNN's Larry King Live show.

In the growing national debate over torture, most of the recent attention goes to the ghoulish "I knew everything" Dick Cheney and the disingenuous "I knew nothing" Nancy Pelosi. But a refreshing and sincere voice, without a self-serving agenda, has emerged offering experience, expertise and conviction to the discussion as others confuse, distract and waffle.

Former Minnesota Governor, and former professional wrestling performer and commentator, Jesse "The Body" Ventura is also a former Navy SEAL, who served in the elite unit during the Vietnam War. In his training, Ventura was actually waterboarded. He avoids weasel words in describing the experience.

"It is torture," Ventura told CNN's Larry King. "It is drowning." We have long passed a point in this discussion where mealy-mouthed language and euphemisms can be tolerated. Only five categories of people now continue to argue that waterboarding is not torture - those trying to cover-up their vile crimes, the uninformed, the delusional, the stupid, and the insufferable partisans. Some fit into several categories.

Ventura, a non-lawyer, went on to say, with perfect reason and legal precision, words our president has yet to utter. "I would prosecute every person who was involved in that torture," Ventura declared. "I would prosecute the people who did it; I would prosecute the people that ordered it, because torture is against the law."

Why is it that Ventura, usually known for his physical brawn, and rarely recognized for his intellectual gifts, can say with such clarity and moral conviction that which the former Harvard Law Review president and constitutional law professor, Barack Obama, refuses to say?

The issue of torture demands leadership, courage and candor, not calculation and deference to real or perceived public opinion. The issue reaches into the soul of our national identity. Are we a people committed to the rule of law or do we allow those who proclaim to be our sole saviors and personally anointed protectors to break and ignore laws of their choosing?

Should we permit a President, or, more aptly in our recent national experience a Vice President, with no public debate or legislative authority, to assert authority and declare powers not found in the constitution and never before exercised? How should we deal with the claim of executive authority that asserts no accountability to the Congress, nor to the courts nor to the faithfulness to the Constitution and ultimately embraces a betrayal of the people?

Most importantly though, embracing torture is morally repugnant and plunges our nation into barbarism and diminishes and degrades a society held up to the world as a model of democratic institutions.

How can we possibly justify people acting in the name of our government engaging in the brutality that marks totalitarian regimes and then claim the behavior is to preserve liberty? Can a nation that endorses torture continue as a beacon of hope, land of the free, and the shining city on the hill for the world to emulate?

The lovers of torture and truth deniers scored a major victory when President Obama reversed his position and announced he is ordering government lawyers to oppose the release of photographs of detainees undergoing "enhanced interrogation." Urged by military leaders and the CIA, Obama argues release of the photos and graphic images might further enflame the Islamic world and jeopardize U.S. troops in the field.

There are many problems with those arguments. First of all the horrific torture techniques photographed at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq, brought there by some of the same CIA types and contractors that first employed them at Guantanamo and in secret prisons around the world, already have done immeasurable, and perhaps irreparable damage to America's image in the Islamic world.

Americans are an especially visual people. If they read about torture they often shrug. Show them the pictures and they will take notice. The video tapes of the interrogations have already been destroyed.

People in the CIA, and likely the White House, ordered that cover-up to eliminate the "best evidence" and in doing so committed numerous felonies. As many as 20, maybe more, detainees died in U.S. custody. Is it not reasonable to wonder if a prime motive for destroying the tapes was to cover-up murders?

The problem is not releasing the pictures, it's what the pictures will show - acts of barbarism reasonable people will conclude are, in fact, torture. If we only had printed accounts and narratives of what happened at Abu Ghraib instead of the incendiary and despicable photographs, the torturers - like the infamous Lynndie England - would never have been prosecuted - just like the higher ups who encouraged her behavior and walked away scot-free.

Obama is allowing himself to slip into Cheney world, spiking the torture photos and continuing the military tribunals and indefinite detentions of "enemy combatants." Obama must confront the horrible crimes of the past. His hollow words about "looking forward" weaken the nation and simply delay the inevitable confrontation with the horrors committed during the Bush-Cheney years in the name of the American people.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must confront her own culpability in the torture legacy and stop trying to re-write history and distance herself from her own participation in briefings where waterboarding was discussed.

Pelosi's accusation that CIA briefers lied to her was reckless and her tortuous explanations and obfuscations about what she knew and when she knew it should end. She is playing right into the hands of the members of the torture wing of the Republican Party (is there any other?) who want the debate to be over peripheral issues.

Pelosi's denials, her failure to be forthright and claim that even had she objected it would not have thwarted torture, are positions that distract from the central issue. Pelosi should be saying torture is morally wrong, illegal and ineffective. She should apologize if her actions or failures to act enabled Bush and Cheney's torture agenda - end of story

Last week, former FBI agent Ali Soufan testified before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing and told lawmakers "enhanced interrogation techniques" were "unreliable and ineffective" and "as a result, harmful to our efforts to defeat al-Qaeda."

Soufan, who speaks fluent Arabic, began with an FBI colleague the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah and quickly developed a rapport with the al-Qaeda operative captured after being severely wounded. According to a Newsweek Magazine report, "They nursed his wounds, gained his confidence and got the terror suspect talking. They extracted crucial intelligence - including the identity of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as the architect of 9/11 and the dirty-bomb plot of Jose Padilla - before CIA contractors even began their aggressive tactics."

Soutan's testimony - based on experience - not watching Fox's "24" is most valuable. He said without reservation, "The Informed Interrogation Approach outlined in the Army Field Manual is the most effective, reliable, and speedy approach we have for interrogating terrorists. It is legal and has worked time and time again."

Soufan was outraged when he saw CIA contractors abusing detainees and Newsweek reports he called one of his bosses saying "I swear to God, I'm going to arrest these guys." Shortly thereafter FBI Director Robert Mueller ordered all his agents to stop participating in CIA interrogations.

Soufan testified the Army Field Manual worked well. "It was a mistake to abandon it in favor of harsh interrogation methods that are harmful, shameful, slower, unreliable, and ineffective and play directly into the enemy's handbook," he concluded.

Soufan - with first-hand knowledge - said the CIA hired thugs who used "amateurish, Hollywood-style interrogation methods," adding "many claims made in the memos about the success of the enhanced techniques are inaccurate."

Funny how the twisted, torture lovers on Capitol Hill and the right-wing shouting mob dutifully regurgitate Dick Cheney's talking points and never quote Soufan, an experienced interrogator who has actually done the work and seen the results. Cheney and his "amen chorus" also preach the lie that waterboarding "saved lives."

The opposite is true. Bush and Cheney used the 9/11 attacks as a pretext to invade Iraq which had nothing whatsoever to do with al Qaeda terrorism. Torture was the tool used to try to establish that nonexistent link.

Writing in the Washington Note, an online political journal, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (Ret.), former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, learned why Cheney was so committed to torture. "Its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at preempting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al Qaeda," Wilkerson argued.

The next shoe to drop in the terror saga will be the CIA's Inspector General's report on what happened to the video tapes of the interrogations. Wilkerson told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, "I have no problem whatsoever understanding and knowing in my own mind that those tapes were destroyed either with the permission - tacit or otherwise - of the Vice President's office or by direct order of the Vice President's office."

One person who would have appeared on those tapes was Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al-Qaeda member from Libya captured in Pakistan in late 2001. The CIA interrogated him in Afghanistan and he was then sent to Egypt for torture. He "confessed" he knew of Iraq training al-Qaeda operatives in the uses of chemical and biological warfare and promised access to nuclear WMDs.

Cheney was ecstatic. Torture worked and al-Libi's tortured confession became the centerpiece of the successful propaganda campaign the mainstream media helped sell that Saddam Hussein had WMDs and was hell bent on providing them to al Qaeda.

Al-Libi was shipped off to Guantanamo where he was kept away from lawyers, journalists and Congressional investigators. He recanted his statements and in 2006, Al-Libi was returned to Libya where he was imprisoned without a trial.

Heba Morayef, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, visited al-Libi in the Abu Salim prison in Tripoli on April 27th - just last month. She told Reuters he "looked well, but was unwilling to speak," saying to her, "Where you were when I was being tortured in American prisons?"

On May 10, Andy Worthington, an independent journalist and historian reported Al-Libi was dead. A Libyan newspaper provided little detail simply noting Al-Libi "was found dead of suicide in his cell" and "without specifying the date and method of suicide."

Tom Malinkowski of the Washington Office of Human Rights Watch demanded a "full and transparent investigation" into the death. Calling Al-Libi "an embarrassment to the Bush administration." Malinowski told the Pentagon Post, "He was Exhibit A in the narrative that tortured confessions contributed to the massive intelligence failure that preceded the Iraq war."

Jesse Ventura is certainly correct in saying he could get Dick Cheney to "confess to the Sharon Tate murders." Cheney and Charlie Manson, the mastermind of the Tate murders actually have much in common. Both relied on fear and intimidation to get their loyalists to do their dirty work, while covering their own roles in percolating horrible violence, in the name of transforming the world.

There are differences too. Manson has much less blood on his hands than Cheney and the reach of his evil could never rival Big Dick's. Manson is in prison; Cheney should be but will escape responsibility and consequences for his vile deeds.

Jesse Ventura has got his number. "I don't have a lot of respect for Dick Cheney," he told Larry King. "Here's a guy who got five deferments in the Vietnam War. Clearly he's a coward. He wouldn't go when it was his time to go and now he's a chicken hawk. Now he's this big tough guy who wants this hard-core policy and he's the guy that sanctioned all this torture by calling it enhanced interrogation techniques."

Ventura's candid statements of experience-based truth are a valuable addition to the debate on torture and he understands the well spring of Cheney's sick political soul and the man who brought so much evil to the world. "George Bush is the worst president in my lifetime," he said. Well said. "The body's" mind deserves our attention.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Obama can't turn the page on Bush -- YET

He'd better soon call an investigative commission to look into all the crimes of the evil Cheney/puppet Bush administration.  Too much information is coming out -- and it can't all be swept under the carpet, no matter how hard Obama tries. Read the VERY interesting column by Frank Rich that will appear in tomorrow's NY TIMES (link below).  You'll see how Rumsfeld presented war reports to Bush with BIBLE verses attached. Not that Rumsfeld is so religious--no, but he knows Bush is and that was one way of manipulating Bush into thinking all was well while Cheney and Rumsfeld did whatever the hell they wanted.  Here's just one example:  the Worldwide Intelligence Update for April 3 bullied Bush with Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Including, as it happened, into a quagmire.)

There are many dots yet to be connected, and not just on torture. This Sunday, GQ magazine is posting on its Web site an article adding new details to the ample dossier on how Donald Rumsfeld’s corrupt and incompetent Defense Department cost American lives and compromised national security. The piece is not the work of a partisan but the Texan journalist Robert Draper, author of “Dead Certain,” the 2007 Bush biography that had the blessing (and cooperation) of the former president and his top brass. It draws on interviews with more than a dozen high-level Bush loyalists.

Draper reports that Rumsfeld’s monomaniacal determination to protect his Pentagon turf led him to hobble and antagonize America’s most willing allies in Iraq, Britain and Australia, and even to undermine his own soldiers.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Obama Makes a Terrible Mistake

...By Not Releasing Torture Photos
by Cenk Uygur

This is an unbelievable moment. Dick Cheney's PR offensive over the last month actually worked. Barack Obama just crumbled and will follow Cheney's command to not release the new set of detainee abuse pictures.

By the way, if you hadn't figured it out by now, that's why you saw every Cheney in the world on television arguing that torture works and that releasing more information would gravely harm the troops. They weren't worried about what was already released; they were worried about what was going to get released. They were trying to pre-empt the most damaging thing of all - the pictures that show the torture.

Just talking about torture doesn't really do it for the American people. But when they see pictures, they get it. That's why Bush had to apologize profusely and throw a few low-level soldiers under the bus when the Abu Ghraib pictures came out. You think there would have been anywhere near that level of controversy or accountability (such that it was) without the pictures?

How many Americans have heard of Bagram Air Base and how we tortured people to death there? A scant few. How many would have heard of it if there were pictures of detainees shackled from the ceiling in a Palestinian hanging or bleeding to death? Pictures are worth a billion words.

You know why? Television! If something isn't on television, it didn't happen. And television producers are obsessed with visuals (makes some sense since it's a visual medium, but their obsession winds up dumbing down the news if there aren't any pictures or video to go along with an important story).

Television has a multiplier effect. The New York Times story on how we beat a man named Dilawar to death at Bagram just sits there and whoever reads it, reads it. And then, it's done. On television stories spread and multiply and get spread to other channels and other mediums. Television doesn't just report the news; it decides what the news is.

So, that is what this whole fight has been about - the pictures. And now Obama adopted Cheney's position that it endangers national security to release the pictures and he will be saddled for the rest of time with the obligation to fight Cheney's battle for him. And anytime any reasonable person makes a case that as a free and open democracy we should know what our government did, the right-wing will counter with, "Even Obama thinks it endangers national security!"

The reason why this is such a maddening argument is that it is so f'in obvious that the real problem isn't releasing the pictures; it's what we did in the pictures. The argument that Obama so stupidly accepted just now shifts the blame from the people who committed the abuse to the people who want to uncover it and put an end to it.

If you released the pictures and show how the "enhanced interrogation" memos directly led to these abuses, there would be no more torture debate. Everyone could see with their own eyes the horrific results of torture. Now instead, Obama has not just protected the torturers, but empowered them. They now get to claim they tried to protect America and that anyone who tries to show their misdeeds endangers America.

The news reports will tell you that Obama listened to his generals on this. Yes, who put Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. Ray Odierno in their current positions? Oh yes, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Very fair and balanced advice you would get from them. This isn't about protecting the troops; it's about protecting their own behinds. They might have been in the chain of command that allowed this abuse to happen. Expecting unbiased advice from them is ridiculous.

Now, it looks to the rest of the world that we are trying to hide something, that we have not turned over a new leaf, that it is the same old lies and duplicity - and that Obama is on it. This was colossally stupid.

And to add insult to injury, we have to reconcile ourselves to the fact that Dick Cheney still runs DC no matter how unpopular and despicable he is. He still has the Democrats eating out of his hand. Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.

There should be an overwhelming Democratic and media revolt over this decision. The Democrats cannot be like the Republicans and bow their heads at all of the president's decisions. They should fight him tooth and nail on this. Don't hold your breath. Other than Feingold and a few others, they will all immediately lay down.

But I come back to a question that keeps popping back up - are there any real journalists in this country? Has everyone become so obsessed with access and so cowed by possible governmental reaction that they don't actually do their job anymore? They seem so damn frightened by what the big, bad government might say about them.

If there's a real journalist in this country, they will get their hands on those pictures and release them to the world. We did what is in those pictures. The longer we cover it up, the more culpable we all become. Not showing the pictures doesn't make the reality of what happened go away. It only aids and abets the torturers who did the crimes and stained this country's name. They should all be thrown into the sunlight. This is what the press is supposed to do.

Now, are so-called journalists going to act or are they going to just sit there and take it again? We're going to find out if we have attack dogs in the press that uncover the truth as it actually is or if we just have a bunch of lap dogs that can't wait for their master to give them the crumbs off his table.  This is a litmus test. Is this an free and open country, or isn't it?


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Igor" Cheney Unleashed

Cheney is trying to protect his legacy as puppet master of the president of the U.S.  Even the puppet now knows enough to stay away from his former string-puller, as the Bush family tries to rise from the ashes of the debacle Cheney made of their family's image. The Bushes think it's Jeb's turn and are desperately trying to insert him as the GOP's leader, now that his black sheep brother has faded into the background after bringing the U.S. to its knees. Maureen Dowd's description of Cheney as popping out of his dungeon, with scary organ music blaring, makes one think that "Igor" should be his middle name. The first name his parents gave him is appropriate for him, that's for sure.  He's definitely a dick.


by Maureen Dowd

When Bush 41 was ramping up to the Gulf War, assembling a coalition to fight Saddam, Jimmy Carter sent a letter to members of the U.N. Security Council urging them not to rush into conflict without further exploring a negotiated solution.

The first President Bush and other Republicans in Washington considered this treasonous, a former president trying to thwart a sitting one, lobbying foreign diplomats to oppose his own country on a war resolution. In 2002, when Bush Junior was ramping up to his war against Saddam, Al Gore made a speech trying to slow down that war resolution, pointing out that pivoting from Osama to Saddam for no reason, initiating “pre-emptive” war, and blowing off our allies would undermine the war on terror.

Charles Krauthammer called Gore’s speech “a disgrace.” Michael Kelly, his fellow Washington Post columnist, called it “vile” and “contemptible.” Newt Gingrich said that the former vice president asserting that W. was making America less safe was “well outside the mark of an appropriate debate.”

“I think the president should be doing what he thinks is best as commander in chief,” Gingrich said flatly. Now, however, Gingrich backs Dick Cheney when he asserts that President Obama has made America less safe.

Asked by Bob Schieffer on Sunday how America could torture when it made a mockery of our ideals, Cheney blithely gave an answer that surely would have been labeled treasonous by Rush Limbaugh, if a Democratic ex-vice president had said it about a Republican president.

“Well, then you’d have to say that, in effect, we’re prepared to sacrifice American lives rather than run an intelligent interrogation program that would provide us the information we need to protect America,” Doomsday Dick said.

Cheney has replaced Sarah Palin as Rogue Diva. Just as Jeb Bush and other Republicans are trying to get kinder and gentler, Cheney has popped out of his dungeon, scary organ music blaring, to carry on his nasty campaign of fear and loathing.

The man who never talked is now the man who won’t shut up. The man who wouldn’t list his office in the federal jobs directory, who had the vice president’s residence blocked on Google Earth, who went to the Supreme Court to keep from revealing which energy executives helped him write the nation’s energy policy, is now endlessly yelping about how President Obama is holding back documents that should be made public.

Cheney, who had five deferments himself to get out of going to Vietnam, would rather follow a blowhard entertainer who has had three divorces and a drug problem (who also avoided Vietnam) than a four-star general who spent his life serving his country.

“Bush 41 cares about decorum and protocol,” said an official in Bush I. “I’m sure he doesn’t appreciate Cheney acting out. He is giving the whole party a black eye just as Jeb is out there trying to renew the party.”

Cheney unleashed, egged on by the combative Lynne and Liz, is pretty much the same as Cheney underground: He’s batty, and he thinks he was the president.

W. admired Cheney’s brass (he used another word) but grew increasingly skeptical of him, the more he learned about foreign policy himself, and the more he got pulled into a diplomatic mode by Condi in the second term. There were even reports of W. doing a funny Cheney imitation and that it dawned on him that Cheney and Rummy represented a scofflaw, paranoid Nixon cell within his White House.

“Toward the end, 43 was just as confused as anybody about what makes Cheney tick,” said a Bush family loyalist.

Cheney’s numskull ideas — he still loves torture (dubbed “13th-century” stuff by Bob Woodward), Gitmo and scaring the bejesus out of Americans — are not only fixed, they’re jejune.

He has no coherent foreign policy viewpoint. He still doesn’t fathom that his brutish invasion of Iraq unbalanced that part of the world, empowered Iran and was a force multiplier for Muslims who hate America. He left our ports unsecured, our food supply unsafe, the Taliban rising and Osama on the loose. No matter if or when terrorists attack here — and they’re on their own timetable, not a partisan red/blue state timetable — Cheney will be deemed the primary one who made America more vulnerable.

W.’s dark surrogate father is trying to pull the G.O.P. into a black hole of zealotry, just as the sensible brother who lost his future to the scamp brother is trying to get his career back on track.

When Cheney was in the first Bush administration, he was odd man out. Poppy, James Baker, Brent Scowcroft and Colin Powell corralled Cheney’s “Genghis Khan” side, as it was known, and his “rough streak.” Cheney didn’t care for Powell even then.

But with W., “Back Seat” — Cheney’s Secret Service name in the Ford administration — clambered up front. Then he totaled the car. And no amount of yapping on TV is going to change that when history is written.


Saturday, May 09, 2009

TIME magazine article on the GOP

The Really Big News is that Joe the Plumber has quit the Republican party.  OH NO!  Who will Sarah Palin pick now for her Vice Presidential running mate when she runs for President in 2012?

Read article at:,8599,1896588,00.html


Steele Is Leaving 'Em Speechless

by Nicole Belle

RNC Chairman Michael Steele, guest-hosting for radio talk show host Bill Bennett, got all gangsta and up in the grill of them libruls for actually wanting a Supreme Court Justice to be "empathetic" and what not:

STEELE: Good morning y’all, we’re back in the house. We’re talking a little bit of Constitution and a little bit Supreme Court. And a whole lot of saving America’s judicial system and saving our rights as citizens and not having empathetic judges decide cases, but rather judges who are actually understanding the rule of law and what the Constitution and those laws are all about. And how to apply the facts to the law and the law to the facts. And adjudicate my case. I don’t need some judge sitting up there feeling bad for my opponent because of their life circumstances or their condition. And short changing me and my opportunity to get fair treatment under the law. Crazy nonsense empathetic. I’ll give you empathy. Empathize right on your behind. Craziness.

Oh my. How far the Party of Lincoln has fallen. Hard to imagine this on Bill "If you aborted every black baby, we'd have a lower crime rate" Bennett's show, isn't it?

Steele is celebrating his 100th day in office. Those nice folks at ThinkProgress have put together a kind of celebratory video of the greatest hits of his first 100 days.  You can see it at


Speaking of the crazy minority....

Obama's Mustard Preference Becomes Full-blown Right Wing Attack

When you can't get the majority to follow you on any of your other B.S. against Obama, try the old tried-and-true "mustard attack."  This is how ridiculous the Republicans are getting these days in their desperation at the irrelevance of their party in today's world.  If they don't stop this nonsense, soon the men in the white coats will be gathering them up and taking them to the Happy Valley Rest Home.

Friday, May 08, 2009

In the Name of Womanhood and All Humanity

Mother's Day is Every Day
by David Swanson

Imagine that tomorrow you begin to feel ill and rush to the hospital where you are eventually diagnosed with a horribly debilitating and probably incurable disease. Within a week your body and mind have deteriorated drastically. You cannot dress yourself. You have difficulty getting out of a chair or walking at all. You have no control over your bowels. You literally lack the sense to come in out of the rain or not wander into traffic. You are a danger to yourself and require a fulltime caregiver, one or more people of infinite patience and devotion who can turn their own lives into the handling of your life 24-7. And what if there is nobody who can do that for you? What if you are on your own?

And then what if there is someone, a single person, who can do everything you require and more, and be grateful for the opportunity to do it, do it with joy and love, and slowly and magically restore your faculties so that over a period of five to ten years you gradually regain your mental and physical abilities? What would your gratitude be to such a person? Would it be measurable?

Most of us began life in such a situation, and our mothers -- with a lot of help from our fathers -- provided just this unfathomably devoted service, and then some. What we owe them is infinite.

But now imagine the point of view of the 24-7 loving caregiver, educator, counselor, parent. A mother's life is poured into a child's life drop by drop, leaving behind in the mother no regret, no resentment, but ever increasing love and adoration. What would be the attitude of a mother, then, to the idea of shipping her child off to kill and be killed in a foreign land for the amusement and enrichment of a handful of wealthy fools without the heart of an insect? Resistance, yes, but also horror, and incomprehension, rage, fury, desperation, and despair.

Mother's Day was created not so that we could be grateful to our mothers (and buy them plastic crap and pre-written notes) but so that mothers could engage with the world as an organized force of mothers, placing a greater value on human life than someone might who had never raised a human child. Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation reads in part:

"Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
"All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
"We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
"To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

It is in this spirit that CODE PINK: Women for Peace has organized a 24-hour vigil in front of the White House on Mother's Day. It is in this spirit that every day should be mother's day, every day father's day, every day a day of preserving and protecting the most precious little creatures we have ever cared for or anyone else has cared for.

Every single day on which we read a number, the number of people killed by our latest bombing in Afghanistan or Pakistan, we should picture that number as a gathering of people, and we should picture each of those people's mothers. And we should be deeply ashamed with the bottomless shame of a mother who has failed her own child. And we should act, together, nonviolently, lovingly, with such intensity that the war makers suddenly sense themselves interlopers who have accidentally stepped between a mother bear and her cub.