Daily Archive: 01/20/2011

Jan 20 2011

Bradley Manning Petition

Oliver North’s Pre-Trial Conditions for UCMJ Violations Dramatically Different than Bradley Manning’s

By: Jane Hamsher, Firedog Lake

Thursday January 20, 2011 9:35 am

David House is the only person aside from Bradley’s lawyer who visits him regularly. He recently wrote about Bradley’s conditions here at FDL, which include severe restrictions on his ability to exercise, communicate or even sleep. Manning has not been convicted of any crime, nor is there a date for any court hearing. The New York Times recently reported that these techniques are being used to induce Manning to flip on Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

I don’t recall Oliver North being subjected to anything like that while he was awaiting trial.

Over 30,000 people have signed the petition. We’d like to get it up to 50,000 by the time David delivers them. I promise to be a faithful videographer and bring back video of David’s experience with the petitions, to the extent that it is allowed on the base.

Jan 20 2011

Breasts in the News.

From Wonkette via Atrios and just too hilarious (and true) not to quote-

WaPo Newsroom Upset Because Black Lady With Boobs Hosts WaPo Webcast

by Ken Layne, Wonkette

11:50 am January 20, 2011

America’s strangest joke of a newspaper is the Washington Post, an Onion-style bland suburban daily that seems to shrink deeper into itself each morning. With a news section full of utterly random paragraph-sized chunks from yesterday’s washingtonpost.com and a bizarre op-ed section featuring press releases submitted by the offices of politicians and the confused yammerings of senile embarrassments like Richard Cohen, the paper appears to be nothing less than an elaborate satire of Washington’s dull insularity and tunnel vision. But, according to accountants, it’s actually a very real cash drain on the Kaplan for-profit education scam company that owns the WaPo. So we are also subjected to endless humiliating attempts to make the paper “relevant” or “for the YouTube,” and the most recent effort goes where the Washington Post has rarely ventured before: to the black part of town – the black part of town with boobs, in fact.

We watched a few minutes of this amateurish video on Tuesday, we think, and almost posted something then, but we had second thoughts because who cares, right? Well, apparently, the entire white male staff of the Washington Post cares, a lot, because having this lady with her boobs doing a webcast is somehow going to erode the WaPo brand more than, oh, three decades of boot-licking journalistic mediocrity.

Jan 20 2011

BFFs

High-profile Dem lawyer flacking for African strongman

Lanny Davis is now Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo’s man in Washington, as violence engulfs the African country

By Justin Elliott, Salon.com

Tuesday, Dec 21, 2010 10:54 ET

You’re the leader of a small African country facing an international outcry after reversing the results of a presidential election and dispatching your forces to suppress and kill opposition protesters. What do you do to turn the tide and keep your grip on power?

Call Lanny Davis.

The columnist and former special counsel to Bill Clinton specializes in lobbying for controversial corporate and foreign clients, particularly those seeking Democratic representation in Washington. But even for Davis, taking on Ivory Coast leader and flagrant human rights violator Laurent Gbagbo as a client, as he did this week, seems to cross some kind of line.

D.C. law firm to aid Ivory Coast opposition leader

THE INFLUENCE INDUSTRY

By Dan Eggen, Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, January 20, 2011

One of Washington’s top law firms has signed on to represent Alassane Ouattara, an Ivory Coast opposition leader who has been recognized as the winner of a disputed presidential election in that country.

In papers scheduled to be filed with the Justice Department on Thursday, Covington & Burling said it will “provide advice on international legal and policy matters” to Ouattara as he continues to try to take over from the ousted president, Laurent Gbagbo. The work will be done free of charge as part of the firm’s pro bono services, officials said.

The decision follows controversy late last year over former Clinton administration counsel Lanny Davis, who registered to become Gbagbo’s lobbyist in Washington after the disputed election Nov. 28. Davis, whose firm collected $300,000 in fees, said last month that he was severing the agreement with Gbagbo.

Lanny Davis’ African human rights disaster

When Davis was hired by Equatorial Guinea, the lobbyist said things would change there. They haven’t

By Justin Elliott, Salon.com

Wednesday, Jan 5, 2011 11:01 ET

Last April, when Democratic lobbyist Lanny Davis was hired by the government of Equatorial Guinea, he declared himself the “reform counsel” for the longtime dictator of the small, oil-rich African nation. Davis’ fee was $1 million per year plus expenses, and he and his client, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, promised widespread reforms and a new respect for human rights.

But today, human rights advocates who track Equatorial Guinea tell Salon that nothing has changed there and that Davis appears to be engaged in little more than a whitewashing exercise designed to rehabilitate the image of the Obiang regime on the international stage. And despite a direct promise by Davis to a reporter in June that political prisoners in Equatorial Guinea would be released, that has not happened.

Joe Lieberman – The Model Purple Senator

Lanny Davis, The Huffington Post

Posted: January 19, 2011 04:28 PM

In 1970, I was in the bathroom with a towel over my ears. In the living room, surrounded by my parents and friends, there you were — the sandek at the bris — holding my 8-day-old son Seth for the 3,000-year-old Jewish ceremony while the rabbi made the magic cut. I awarded you the title of godfather for doing me (and Seth) that great favor.

In 2000, you stood at the podium as the vice presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, the first Jew to be so honored, and I sat next to your mother, both of us crying, as you began your acceptance speech, in genuine wonder and awe: “Is this a great country, or what?”

In 2006, you lost a Democratic primary in Connecticut because your liberal base wouldn’t forgive you because you genuinely believed a democratic Iraq without Saddam Hussein was worth going to war over. I disagreed with you on that position. But I also knew that you were and always would be a progressive Democrat — that you had voted over 90 percent of the time with your fellow Democratic senators.

On primary night, when you had lost, I stood heartbroken in your hotel suite in Hartford, Conn. My son and your godson, Seth, now 36 years since the magic cut, arrived.

“So sorry, Godfather,” Seth said.



There is something especially sad that you, an important symbol of decency in politics, should pick this week to announce your retirement — the week after the murderous violence in Tucson, Ariz., left so many people in America frightened of the atmosphere of violence and polarization that has become the hallmark of our politics in too many places.

You will be missed, Sen. Lieberman — just at the time where the role of a “bridge-builder” between Democrats and Republicans, between liberals and conservatives, is needed more than ever.

You showed it is possible to be a genuine liberal Democrat on the major issues — but still able to work with Republicans, with conservatives, and be trusted by them. You were the model “purple” politician.

Jan 20 2011

The New Drinking Game: Anthony Weiner’s “Half Time Report”

We may have lost Alan Grayson to a teabagger but we still have Anthony Weiner calling the plays and the players at half time in the HCR bill repeal debates in the House. Sometimes the House provides some really great entertainment.

WEINER: There have basically been three formations of the argument by the Republicans. First, they start by making things up, you kind of have to wonder if any of them actually read the bill…”130,000 new agencies” – NOT TRUE. “New IRS agents” – NOT TRUE. “Death Panels” – NOT TRUE. “Members aren’t covered” – NOT TRUE. “No Tort Reform in it” – NOT TRUE. You know, I want to just advise people watching at home playing that now popular drinking game of “you take a shot whenever Republicans say something that is not true,” please assign a designated driver, this is going to be a long afternoon!

If this “game” continues over the next two years, the need for liver donors is going to increase exponentially.

Jan 20 2011

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Robert Reich: The Real Economic Lesson China Could Teach Us

Highlighting today’s summit between Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Obama is China’s agreement to buy $45 billion of American exports. The president says this will create more American jobs. That’s not exactly right. It will create more profits for American companies but relatively few new jobs. . . . . .

But the prosperity of America’s big businesses has become disconnected from the prosperity of most Americans.

Republicans say the answer is to reduce the size and scope of government. But without a government that’s focused on more and better jobs, we’re left with global corporations that don’t give a damn.

China is eating our lunch. Why? It has a national economic strategy designed to create more and better jobs. We have global corporations designed to make money for shareholders.

William K. Black: ‘An Economic Philosophy That Has Completely Failed’

I get President Obama’s “regulatory review” plan, I really do. His game plan is a straight steal from President Clinton’s strategy after the Republican’s 1994 congressional triumph. Clinton’s strategy was to steal the Republican Party’s play book. I know that Clinton’s strategy was considered brilliant politics (particularly by the Clintonites), but the Republican financial playbook produces recurrent, intensifying fraud epidemics and financial crises. Rubin and Summers were Clinton’s offensive coordinators. They planned and implemented the Republican game plan on finance. Rubin and Summers were good choices for this role because they were, and remain, reflexively anti-regulatory. They led the deregulation and attack on supervision that began to create the criminogenic environment that produced the financial crisis.

The zeal, crude threats, and arrogance they displayed in leading the attacks on SEC Chair Levitt and CFTC Chair Born’s efforts to adopt regulations that would have reduced the risks of fraud and financial crises were exceptional. Just one problem — they were wrong and Levitt and Born were right. Rubin and Summers weren’t slightly wrong; they put us on the path to the Great Recession. Obama knows that Clinton’s brilliant political strategy, stealing the Republican play book, was a disaster for the nation, but he has picked politics over substance.

Dana Milbank: Hu Jintao meets the free press

Something about human rights just doesn’t translate for Chinese President Hu Jintao. . . . . .

After the leaders’ standard opening statements full of the blah-blah about bilateral cooperation, the Associated Press’s Ben Feller rose and asked a gutsy, forceful question. . . .

Hu, however, ignored that question in favor of the gentler one from his employee at Chinese television. As luck would have it, Hu was perfectly prepared for the question, and, in his reply, looked down to read statistics from his notes.

Reporters glanced at each other, puzzled over Hu’s ignoring of Feller’s question. During the interminable translation into Mandarin of Hu’s answer to the Chinese reporter’s question, Obama flashed a grin at Gibbs.

Hu, his forehead shining, had another plant waiting in the crowd, a reporter from the state-run Xinhua news agency. But before Hu could get that lifeline tossed his way, the microphone went to the American side, where Nichols demanded an answer to the human-rights question. This time, Hu couldn’t claim it was lost in translation.

“China is a developing country with a huge population and also a developing country in a crucial stage of reform,” he explained. “In this context, China still faces many challenges in economic and social development, and a lot still needs to be done in China in terms of human rights.”

No wonder Hu doesn’t like questions: He might have to give an honest answer.

Jan 20 2011

On This Day in History January 20

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

January 20 is the 20th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 345 days remaining until the end of the year (346 in leap years).

On this day in 1801, John Marshall is appointed the fourth Chief Justice of the United States. Marshall (September 24, 1755 – July 6, 1835) was an American jurist and statesman whose court opinions helped lay the basis for American constitutional law while enhancing the role of the Supreme Court as a center of power. Marshall was the fourth Chief Justice of the United States, serving from 1801 until his death in 1835. He had served in the United States House of Representatives from 1799 to 1800, and was Secretary of State under President John Adams from 1800 to 1801. Marshall was from the Commonwealth of Virginia and was a leader of the Federalist Party.

The longest-serving Chief Justice of the United States, Marshall dominated the Court for over three decades (a term outliving his own Federalist Party) and played a significant role in the development of the American legal system. Most notably, he reinforced the principle that federal courts are obligated to exercise judicial review, by disregarding purported laws if they violate the Constitution. Thus, Marshall cemented the position of the American judiciary as an independent and influential branch of government. Furthermore, the Marshall Court made several important decisions relating to federalism, affecting the balance of power between the federal government and the states during the early years of the republic. In particular, he repeatedly confirmed the supremacy of federal law over state law, and supported an expansive reading of the enumerated powers.

Nomination

Marshall was thrust into the office of Chief Justice in the wake of the presidential election of 1800. With the Federalists soundly defeated and about to lose both the executive and legislative branches to Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans, President Adams and the lame duck Congress passed what came to be known as the Midnight Judges Act, which made sweeping changes to the federal judiciary, including a reduction in the number of Justices from six to five so as to deny Jefferson an appointment until two vacancies occurred. As the incumbent Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth was in poor health, Adams first offered the seat to ex-Chief Justice John Jay, who declined on the grounds that the Court lacked “energy, weight, and dignity.” Jay’s letter arrived on January 20, 1801, and as there was precious little time left, Adams nominated Marshall, who was with him at the time and able to accept immediately. The Senate at first delayed, hoping that Adams would make a different choice, such as promoting Justice William Paterson of New Jersey. According to New Jersey Senator Jonathan Dayton, the Senate finally relented “lest another not so qualified, and more disgusting to the Bench, should be substituted, and because it appeared that this gentleman (Marshall) was not privy to his own nomination”. Marshall was confirmed by the Senate on January 27, 1801, and received his commission on January 31, 1801. While Marshall officially took office on February 4, at the request of the President he continued to serve as Secretary of State until Adams’ term expired on March 4. President John Adams offered this appraisal of Marshall’s impact: “My gift of John Marshall to the people of the United States was the proudest act of my life.”

Jan 20 2011

Six In The Morning

Let The Show Trials Begin After All Who Needs Real Jurisprudence      



U.S. Prepares to Lift Ban on Guantánamo Cases

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is preparing to increase the use of military commissions to prosecute Guantánamo detainees, an acknowledgment that the prison in Cuba remains open for business after Congress imposed steep new impediments to closing the facility.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is expected to soon lift an order blocking the initiation of new cases against detainees, which he imposed on the day of President Obama’s inauguration. That would clear the way for tribunal officials, for the first time under the Obama administration, to initiate new charges against detainees.

Jan 20 2011

A Netroots Nation Proposal ? I Need Your Thoughts

(Cross posted to Daily Kos, Firedoglake, and Docudharma)

I’m thinking of putting together a proposal to have a discussion/roundtable/panel at Netroots Nation this coming June 16th – 19th, in Minneapolis.

We need to the energy back into the anti-torture/pro-accountability movement. This issue will not go away, as much as we want to close our eyes because it is so painful.

My purpose for the panel/discussion/roundtable is to find ways and start the planning for a concerted effort to get torture and accountability back on the nation’s agenda.

I need YOUR help.

Even if you are not going to be there, I need YOUR help.

Pull up a chair, and let’s talk.

Jan 20 2011

Prime Time

Pretty much premiers.  Nova has 2 that Neil deGrasse Tyson was whoring on The Daily Show last night.

I never got to say goodbye to my father. There’s questions I would’ve asked him. I would’ve asked him how he felt about what his company did, if he was conflicted, if he ever had doubts. Or maybe he was every inch of man we remember from the newsreels. I saw young Americans killed by the very weapons I created to defend them and protect them. And I saw that I had become part of a system that is comfortable with zero-accountability.

Mr. Stark! What happened over there?

I had my eyes opened. I came to realize that I had more to offer this world than just making things that blow up. And that is why, effective immediately, I am shutting down the weapons manufacturing division of Stark Industries.

Later-

Dave hosts Martin Short and Darius Rucker.  Jon has Paul Clemens, Stephen Ron Reagan Jr..  Conan hosts Natalie Portman, Chris Pratt, and Keyshia Cole.

Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you: he really is an idiot. I implore you, send him back to his father and brothers, who are waiting for him with open arms in the penitentiary. I suggest that we give him ten years in Leavenworth, or eleven years in Twelveworth.

You’re a brave man. Go and break through the lines. And remember, while you’re out there risking your life and limb through shot and shell, we’ll be in be in here thinking what a sucker you are.

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Jan 20 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Tunisian leader vows ‘total break’ with old regime

by Dario Thuburn, AFP

1 hr 42 mins ago

TUNIS (AFP) – Tunisia’s interim president on Wednesday promised a “total break” with the past and hailed “a revolution of dignity and liberty,” as prosecutors opened a vast inquiry against the previous leader.

Investigators will look into the extensive domestic and foreign assets held by former president Zine El Abdine Ben Ali, who resigned abruptly on Friday and fled to Saudi Arabia after a wave of social protests against his regime.

“Together we can write a new page in the history of our country,” Foued Mebazaa said in an address to the nation in which he also vowed to ensure an amnesty for political prisoners, media freedoms and an independent judiciary.