Monday, December 1, 2008

Headlines - Monday

God's one and only true church, the one that has been paying millions in lawsuits for priests that molested little boys, tells parishioners that they have committed a mortal sin if they voted for Obama. - and they'd better confess or they'll risk losing their "state of grace" by receiving communion sacrilegiously. 

There are some brave souls trying to do something about this. Check out Whale Wars on Animal Planet - h/t Jeff
Hitmen charge $100 a victim as "honor" killings rise:

Before the invasion of Iraq, the Union of Iraqi Women gave women basic constitutional rights. They could go to work and college, wear what they wanted, and get married or divorced in civil courts. After George W. Bush illegally invaded, the UIW was dismantled, because it was affiliated with Saddam's Baath party. Now, violence against women has greatly increased, and instead of asking for equal rights, Iraqi women are asking for the very "right to live."

Heckuva job, George.


Why is Saxy Chambliss groping his granddaughter?                                                                     


The American Taliban strike again, Kentucky passes a law that requires Homeland Security to credit God;

The law that organized the Homeland Security office first lists Homeland Security's duty to recognize that government itself can't secure the state without God, even before mentioning other duties, which include distributing millions of dollars in federal grants and analyzing possible threats.

The religious language was tucked into a floor amendment by Riner and passed the General Assembly overwhelmingly. It lists the office's initial duty as "stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth."

Included in the law is a requirement that the office must post a plaque at the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center with an 88-word statement that begins, "The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God."


As you know, Eric Holder is being considered for Attorney General. Glenn Greenwald says that Holder's involvement in the Chiquita matter is just principled, zealous representation of his client akin to the heroic souls that have taken the mantle of defending Gitmo detainees.

I've seen some attempts to criticize Holder based upon clients he has represented while in private practice, most notably his defense of Chiquita Brands in a criminal case brought by the DOJ arising out of Chiquita's payments and other support to Colombian death squads. Attempts to criticize a lawyer for representing unsavory or even evil clients are inherently illegitimate and wrong -- period. Anybody who believes in core liberties should want even the most culpable parties to have zealous representation before the Government can impose punishments or other sanctions. Lawyers who defend even the worst parties are performing a vital service for our justice system. Holder is no more tainted by his defense of Chiquita than lawyers who defend accused terrorists at Guantanamo are tainted by that.

bmaz disagrees:

The key that Greenwald is putting in the wrong lock is that those ethical standards of guaranteed zealous representation, like the detainees at Gitmo and other defendants are entitled to, apply to formally charged actual criminal defendants.

Chiquita, their executives, offices and board, et al. were not. Instead, what you had here was a dirty as mud corporation that had been illegally and immorally playing both sides a third world country's violent terrorist/factional problem, sometimes clandestinely with the CIA, including drug running and attendant money laundering, but always for the benefit and profit of Chiquita. You then have this complicit company, whose powerful Board member Rod Hills (and his wife, Carla Hills, a powerful former DOJ official and significant voice with the Bush Administration) is a major friend, supporter and donor to the Bushies, conspiring with the Bush DOJ to whitewash and cover up all this muck. And that is what Holder and the DOJ, together, did.

This from Marcy Wheeler gives a good description of the Chiquita situation:

The Sentencing Memorandum the government filed in the Chiquita case reveals something rather interesting. Chiquita was an equal opportunity terrorist supporter. You see, from 1989 to 1997, Chiquita paid protection money to FARC and ELN, left wing terrorist groups. Then, after FARC and FLN were declared terrorist groups in 1997, Chiquita switched sides, paying protection money to right wing terrorist group AUC instead. Of course, Chiquita got in trouble because, in 2001, after the US declared AUC a terrorist organization, Chiquita kept right on paying their protection money, presumably having no other side to flip to. I guess it's nice not to be bound by ideology in your support of terrorist organizations.

In spite of funding the AUC long after Chiquita became aware they were breaking the law, the government is recommending that Chiquita be able to keep half of its profits from doing business under the protection of a terrorist organization. They're recommending a fine of half their profits, when the maximum fine was twice their profits for the period.

We knew that that was the government's recommendation for a fine. What is new, though, is that the government has decided not to indict the well-connected Republican lawyer Roderick Hills for recommending his clients engage in ongoing criminal behavior. Perhaps Michael Chertoff had something to say about that decision. You see, Hills alleged that Michael Chertoff, the guy who's in charge of our Homeland Security, okayed Chiquita's ongoing payments to right wing terrorists. The government denies those allegations in its Sentencing Memorandum.

The Department of Justice never authorized defendant Chiquita to continue under any circumstances the Company's payments to the AUC--not at the meeting on April 24, 2003, nor at any other point. To be sure, when first presented with this issue at the meeting on April 24th, Department of Justice officials acknowledged that the issue of continued payments was complicated. But this acknowledgment did not constitute an approval or authorization for defendant Chiquita to continue to break the law by paying a federally-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

But I guess they weren't confident enough in their own side of the story to take that to court.

And so it happens that another well-connected Republican with ties to funding terrorism gets off scot free.

Holder didn't represent a charged criminal with protected rights in relation to an active prosecution, he conspired with an unethical and corrupt Justice Department to cover up and conceal crimes. This is a far cry from the heroic zealous public defender type of representation Glenn Greenwald, and others, are painting for Holder.

No, Holder is a lot closer to a mob consigliere than principled defender of justice. He should be treated as such. And if you want the Department of Justice to get serious about business and financial fraud, which this country desperately needs, we sure need someone diametrically different than Eric Holder.

You got to know when to hold them and when to fold them. Fold Holder.

### / Starry Night Software

If you have a clear sky tonight, check out the show that Venus and Jupiter will be giving as they line up next to the crescent moon. Time, just after sunset. Location, look to the southwest in the sky.


Creationism: the latest in military suicide prevention:  

This is insane. Not only are they substituting religious propaganda for mental health counseling, they're making it mandatory.


Goose-stepping into the future

The Department of Defense is assigning 20,000 troops to domestic security.

That is just so wrong on so many levels. If the Pentagon can assign 20,000 troops to that duty, then the better choice is to bring the National Guard home from Iraq and Afghanistan and use the National Guard for that role.

Assisting in times of domestic emergency is a traditional job of the Guard. They are the ones who train for that and they are helping their local communities when they do so. It is part of the reason for the National Guard; trained forces under the command of the state government.

Giving the active duty Army a domestic role is anathema to the the intellectual underpinning of our democracy. Of all of the things that the Founding Fathers feared, using military troops in policing roles were very high on the list.

But let's face it: The Bush Administration has not, does not, and for fifty more days, will not give a bleep about maintaining a civil democracy. They are fascists to the core. Every time the Bush Administration has had a chance to militarize anything or to cut back on civil liberties and freedom at home, they have jumped at it.

Congress should zero out the funding for this program.
The Bush administration backed off proposed crackdowns on no-money-down, interest-only mortgages years before the economy collapsed, buckling to pressure from some of the same banks that have now failed. It ignored remarkably prescient warnings that foretold the financial meltdown, according to an Associated Press review of regulatory documents.
To mark World AIDS Day, Saddelback Pastor Rick Warren is hosting a Civil Forum on Global Health at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Warren will present President Bush with the first "International Medal of PEACE" from the Global PEACE Coalition in recognition of his unprecedented contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases. The "International Medal of PEACE" is given for outstanding contribution toward alleviating the five global giants recognized by the Coalition, including pandemic diseases, extreme poverty, illiteracy, self-centered leadership and spiritual emptiness. The Bush administration reports that its AIDS initiative helped treat two million people living with HIV/AIDS.

What does it mean when a recipient of this medal is the direct cause of extreme poverty, illiteracy, self-centered leadership and spiritual emptiness? I guess in Pastor Rick Warren's warped sense of reality one out of five ain't too bad.


Remember when the Postal Service actually did its job?


In a Washington Post op-ed today, a former Special Operations interrogator who worked in Iraq in 2006 sharply criticizes American torture techniques as ineffective and dangerous. "Torture and abuse cost American lives," he writes.

The writer, who used a pseudonym for the article, adds that when he switched his team's techniques to a rapport-building method, they found enormous success. One detainee told the author, "I thought you would torture me, and when you didn't, I decided that everything I was told about Americans was wrong. That's why I decided to cooperate."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Should aboriginal whaling also be stopped?