10/09/2011 archive

Rant of the Week

Bears in Rehab, Bear Terminators & Sanctimonious Enviro-Bears

Ukranian bears quit vodka cold turkey, a terminator bear hunts Stephen, and a California black bear steals a Prius.

2011 NLCS- Cardinals at Brewers Game 1

You may have noticed in my sports reporting I don’t pretend to objectivity.  That doesn’t mean you can’t root for the other team and the play by play is what it is, just that I don’t care if you’re aware that I’m happier if certain teams win.

As I said at the beginning of this year’s Major League Baseball Playoffs I have two distinct prejudices- Junior League teams don’t play Baseball but instead Designated Hitter Derby, a bastardized game designed to protect pitchers from proving their essential offensive uselessness and cowardice in the face of consequences from their injury causing deliberate ‘mistakes’ AND extend the careers of overpriced has beens too old and slow to even play catch.

The other is in favor of teams with compelling underdog stories and from areas not governed by racist corporatists.

So the Cardinals succeed on all counts and the Brewers fail because of Scott Walker.  Sorry Brew Crew.

The Cardinals have a better Bullpen, but their offense has been anemic (on paper they’re superior to the Phillies).  Brewers starters have not pitched to form making them vulnerable.  Today they both pitch the best they have, Carpenter and Greinke, and since both teams hate each other and indulged in a fair amount of trash talk it should be close if not interesting.

On This Day In History October 9

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.

October 9 is the 282nd day of the year (283rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 83 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1967, socialist revolutionary and guerilla leader Che Guevara, age 39, is killed by the Bolivian army. The U.S.-military-backed Bolivian forces captured Guevara on October 8 while battling his band of guerillas in Bolivia and assassinated him the following day. His hands were cut off as proof of death and his body was buried in an unmarked grave. In 1997, Guevara’s remains were found and sent back to Cuba, where they were reburied in a ceremony attended by President Fidel Castro and thousands of Cubans.

Ernesto “Che” Guevara (June 14, 1928 – October 9, 1967), commonly known as El Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat, military theorist, and major figure of the Cuban Revolution. Since his death, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol and global insignia within popular culture.

As a medical student, Guevara traveled throughout Latin America and was transformed by the endemic poverty he witnessed. His experiences and observations during these trips led him to conclude that the region’s ingrained economic inequalities were an intrinsic result of capitalism, monopolism, neocolonialism, and imperialism, with the only remedy being world revolution. This belief prompted his involvement in Guatemala’s social reforms under President Jacobo Arbenz, whose eventual CIA-assisted overthrow solidified Guevara’s radical ideology. Later, while living in Mexico City, he met Raul and Fidel Castro, joined their 26th of July Movement, and travelled to Cuba aboard the yacht, Granma, with the intention of overthrowing U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Guevara soon rose to prominence among the insurgents, was promoted to second-in-command, and played a pivotal role in the successful two year guerrilla campaign that deposed the Batista regime.

Following the Cuban Revolution, Guevara performed a number of key roles in the new government. These included instituting agrarian reform as minister of industries, serving as both national bank president and instructional director for Cuba’s armed forces, reviewing the appeals and firing squads for those convicted as war criminals during the revolutionary tribunals, and traversing the globe as a diplomat on behalf of Cuban socialism. Such positions allowed him to play a central role in training the militia forces who repelled the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing to Cuba the Soviet nuclear-armed ballistic missiles which precipitated the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Additionally, he was a prolific writer and diarist, composing a seminal manual on guerrilla warfare, along with a best-selling memoir about his youthful motorcycle journey across South America. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to foment revolution abroad, first unsuccessfully in Congo-Kinshasa and later in Bolivia, where he was captured by CIA-assisted Bolivian forces and executed.

Guevara remains both a revered and reviled historical figure, polarized in the collective imagination in a multitude of biographies, memoirs, essays, documentaries, songs, and films. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, while an Alberto Korda photograph of him entitled “Guerrillero Heroico”, was declared “the most famous photograph in the world.”

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 23

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com


The resistance continues at Liberty Square, with free pizza 😉

“I don’t know how to fix this but I know it’s wrong.” ~ Unknown Author

Yesterday afternoon Occupy Wall Street expanded from the over crowded Liberty Park with an orderly gathering at Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village


Hundreds of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators streamed across the threshold of Washington Square Park on Saturday afternoon after a spirited but conflict-free march from the financial district.

As a throng of protesters filled the historic public space, at the heart of Greenwich Village, a chant rose up – from voices young, old and in-between – casting their movement as an intractable majority fed up with the nation’s financial inequities.

“We are the 99 percent,” they yelled, referring to the movement’s slogan. Some banged drums. Others poked placards with various slogans toward blue skies on an unseasonably warm October weekend. Septuagenarians were in the crowd; one man walked a toddler on his feet.

Gothamist has some great updates and pictures

H/T to Yves Smith at her blog, naked capitalism, for this video:

If you go to YouTube to watch this video, there is an interactive transcript that follows the dialog.

On the Real News Network, Michael Hudson discusses some possible ideas for reforming finance to deal with the concerns raised by the OccupyWallStreet movement. I’ve noticed both here and on some news stories I heard in passing on MSNBC on Friday that the OccupyWallStreet movement has already succeeded in expanding the space of what is now being discussed as remedies.

What’s the matter with Mike Bloomberg?

Old Man Bloomberg Tired Of Occupy Wall Street’s Attempts To “Destroy Jobs”

In his weekly radio address, billionaire autocrat Michael Bloomberg took the opportunity to criticize the groups of students, labor unions, and other demonstrators who haven taken to Lower Manhattan to protest the state of our economy. “They’re trying to take away the tax base we have, because none of this is good for tourism,” Bloomberg said, apparently unaware that the tourists are eating it up and that some of the protesters are tourists themselves. He also claimed that those in Zuccotti Park were “trying to destroy the jobs of working people in this city.”


Bloomberg began talking about the protests after a caller who claimed to live above Zuccotti Park said the park was “unusable” and complained of the group’s “incivility.” The mayor said “he couldn’t agree more.” According to the Times he also compared the protests to those in Vietnam for a second time in a week, noting that today’s anti-war protesters are respectful of veterans. “The Vietnam War, which was my generation, we treated our vets who came back terribly, just terribly,” he said. So, these protests are analogous to Vietnam in that they’re both pointless, job-killing nuisances?

He needs to allay the fears of his billionaire bankster buddies who are afraid that they might have to join Bernie Madoff in a federal prison.

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis 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”.

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with Christiane Amanpour: Ms. Amanpour will have an exclusive interview with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

At the roundtable, with George Will, political strategist Matthew Dowd, Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, will be joined by Mississippi governor and former RNC chairman Haley Barbour to size up the race for the Republican nomination.

Rumor has it that Jesse Lagreca, aka MinistryofTruth at Daily Kos, is booked to appear on “This Week”.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Bob Schieffer interviews two Republican presidential candidates: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and businessman Herman Cain and a roundtable with CBS News political analyst John Dickerson; CBS News Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes; and Washington Post Columnist .

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests, Howard Fineman, The Huffington Post Senior Political Editor, Katty Kay, BBC Washington Correspondent, Dan Rather, HDNet Global Correspondent and Lizzie O’Leary, Bloomberg TV Washington Correspondent who will discuss these topics:

Is America Beginning A Long-term Decline?

How Is Chris Christie Making Mitt Romney Look Unacceptable?

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Mr. Gregory will have interviews with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Insights and analysis from Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Co-author of “All the Devils are Here,” Vanity Fair’s Bethany McLean, and Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin on the economy. the jobs bill and latest on race for the White House.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Guests are Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann. Also a discussion about jobs and the economy with guests Mark Zandi, Chief Economist of Moody’s Analytics, Peter Baker, White House Correspondent for the New York Times, and Ron Brownstein, CNN Senior Political Analyst.

Peter Dreier: Victory! Transforming Occupy Wall Street From a Moment to a Movement

The protesters challenging the big banks and the super-rich won a dramatic victory in Los Angeles on Thursday, as I describe below. OneWest Bank, the biggest bank based in Southern California, and Fannie Mae, stopped their foreclosure and eviction against Rose Gudiel, a working class homeowner, in response to a brilliantly executed protest movement by community and union activists.

The question facing the activists is this: Is the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon a moment of protest or a movement for sustained change? Will Rose Gudiel become the Rosa Parks of a new economic justice movement?


It appears that this convergence of Occupy Wall Street (which has now spread to dozens of cities) and the unions and community organizing groups — that have been working for years to spark a movement like this — may be happening. They now face the dilemma confronted by the American Left for years: Can they bring together visionary calls for radical change with specific demands for immediate reform?

Glenn Greenwald: The CIA’s impunity on ‘torture tapes’

That the CIA could destroy its videotapes of 9/11 conspirator interrogations without penalty is a shocking abuse of democracy

Lee Hamilton and Tom Kean – the co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission – are the prototypical Wise Old Men of Washington. These are the types chosen to head blue-ribbon panels whenever the US government needs a respectable, trans-partisan, serious face to show the public in the wake of a mammoth political failure. Wise Old Men of Washington are entrusted with this mission because, by definition, they are loyal, devoted members of the political establishment and will criticise political institutions and leaders only in the most respectful and restrained manner.

That is why it was so remarkable when Hamilton and Kean, on 2 January 2008, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times repeatedly accusing the CIA and the Bush White House of knowingly “obstructing” their commission’s investigation into the 9/11 attack. As many imprisoned felons can attest, the word “obstruction” packs a powerful punch as a legal term of art signifying the crime of “obstruction of justice”, and yet, here were these two mild-mannered, establishment-protecting civil servants accusing CIA and Bush officials of that crime in the most public and unambiguous manner possible.

Alexander Cockburn: U.S. and Saudi Relations on Oil

Pose a threat to the stability of Saudi Arabia, as the Shiite upsurges are now doing in Qatif and al-Awamiyah in the country’s oil-rich Eastern Province, and you’re brandishing a scalpel over the very heart of the long-term U.S. policy in the Middle East. The fall of America’s ally, the Shah of Iran, in 1979 only magnified the strategic importance of Saudi Arabia.

In 1945, the chief of the State Department’s Division of Near Eastern Affairs wrote in a memo that the oil resources of Saudi Arabia are a “stupendous source of strategic power and one of the greatest material prizes in world history.” The man who steered the Saudi princes towards America and away from Britain, was St. John Philby, Kim Philby’s father, and with that one great stroke he wrought far more devastation on the Empire than his son ever did.

These days, the U.S. consumes about 19 million barrels of oil every 24 hours, about half of them imported. At 25 percent, Canada is the lead oil supplier. Second comes Saudi Arabia at 12 percent. But the supply of crude oil to the U.S. is only half the story. Saudi Arabia controls the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ oil price and adjusts it carefully with U.S. priorities in the front of their minds.

Douglas Rushkoff: Think Occupy Wall St. is a Phase? You Don’t Get It

Like the spokesmen for Arab dictators feigning bewilderment over protesters’ demands, mainstream television news reporters finally training their attention on the growing Occupy Wall Street protest movement seem determined to cast it as the random, silly blather of an ungrateful and lazy generation of weirdos. They couldn’t be more wrong and, as time will tell, may eventually be forced to accept the inevitability of their own obsolescence.

Consider how CNN anchor Erin Burnett, covered the goings on at Zuccotti Park downtown, where the protesters are encamped, in a segment called “Seriously?!” “What are they protesting?” she asked, “nobody seems to know.” Like Jay Leno testing random mall patrons on American History, the main objective seemed to be to prove that the protesters didn’t, for example, know that the U.S. government has been reimbursed for the bank bailouts. It was condescending and reductionist.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Secret US memo made legal case to kill Anwar al-Awlaki

Document provided justification for acting despite an executive order banning assassinations


The Obama administration’s secret legal memorandum that opened the door to the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born radical Muslim cleric hiding in Yemen, found that it would be lawful only if it were not feasible to take him alive, according to people who have read the document.

The memo, written last year, followed months of extensive interagency deliberations and offers a glimpse into the legal debate that led to one of the most significant decisions made by President Obama – to move ahead with the killing of an American citizen without a trial.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Euro crisis spreads and puts the world economy at risk

Rupert Cornwell: Capitalism’s heart occupied – where will it all lead?

‘Crisis level’ floods threaten Bangkok

South Sudan’s Kiir in Khartoum for key talks

TEPCO orchestrated ‘personal’ donations to LDP

F1: Suzuka

So once again Lewis Hamilton is under fire for McLaren’s pit lane miscues.

Even after shouldering the burden for their mistake in not sending him out soon enough to guarantee at least a hot lap if not the pole (this isn’t a decision the driver makes) washed up has been Nigel Mansell and the rest of the Formula One establishment jump all over him for daring to suggest that Schumacher’s cutting the corner on the grass was ‘dangerous’.

Just like fucking skiing folks, the burden is on the overtaking driver to make a clean pass and don’t bother trying to tell me this isn’t all about lingering Scuderia Marlboro UPC bias.

In other great moral triumphs, Bernie and the teams are going to discuss once again whether they should be supporting an anti-Shiite dictatorship in Bahrain or if it’s even safe to do so since the oppressed class are the ones making your beds and serving your drinks.

Of course I didn’t pee in it sahib.

The deeper you look at things the more you discover class struggle everywhere and sports are no exception.  That’s one of the reasons I bring them to your attention.  They’re not just simple diversions but microcosms of society at large and if you don’t think the fate of great empires can turn on small events I encourage the study of Justinian and the Blue/Green riots.

Speed coverage repeats at 3:30 pm.

Kobayashi advances from 10th to 7th because he at least attempted a fast lap in Q3.  Apparently Rosberg and Liuzzi will race, making the 107% rule officially a joke.

Pretty tables below the fold.

Apparently, Yes We Can

Like his predecessor, George W. Bush, President Barack Obama went to his Office of Legal Council on how to circumvent an executive order banning assassinations, a federal law against murder, protections in the Bill of Rights and various strictures of the international laws of war to “legally” order and successfully carry out the assassination of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki last month in Yemen. According to an article by reporter Charles Savage in the New York Times, the 50 page memorandum was completed in June of last year. It was written specifically in regard to only al-Awlaki and did not examine the evidence against him:

The legal analysis, in essence, concluded that Mr. Awlaki could be legally killed, if it was not feasible to capture him, because intelligence agencies said he was taking part in the war between the United States and Al Qaeda and posed a significant threat to Americans, as well as because Yemeni authorities were unable or unwilling to stop him.

The memorandum, which was written more than a year before Mr. Awlaki was killed, does not independently analyze the quality of the evidence against him.


It was principally drafted by David Barron and Martin Lederman, who were both lawyers in the Office of Legal Counsel at the time, and was signed by Mr. Barron. The office may have given oral approval for an attack on Mr. Awlaki before completing its detailed memorandum. Several news reports before June 2010 quoted anonymous counterterrorism officials as saying that Mr. Awlaki had been placed on a kill-or-capture list around the time of the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec. 25, 2009. Mr. Awlaki was accused of helping to recruit the attacker for that operation.


Other assertions about Mr. Awlaki included that he was a leader of the group, which had become a “cobelligerent” with Al Qaeda, and he was pushing it to focus on trying to attack the United States again. The lawyers were also told that capturing him alive among hostile armed allies might not be feasible if and when he were located.

Based on those premises, the Justice Department concluded that Mr. Awlaki was covered by the authorization to use military force against Al Qaeda that Congress enacted shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 – meaning that he was a lawful target in the armed conflict unless some other legal prohibition trumped that authority.

Mr. Savage goes on to detail how each legal obstacle was  considered and rejected:

The executive order the lawyers concluded only pertained to the assassination of political leaders outside of war;

The statute that makes it illegal to murder of US nationals on foreign soil did apply “because it is not “murder” to kill a wartime enemy in compliance with the laws of war.”;

It concluded that if the operator of the drone was a civilian of the CIA it wold not be a war crime and although it would violate the laws of Yemen, ti would be unlikely that Yemen would seek to prosecute;

Last to be considered and dispensed with were those pesky amendments in the Bill of Rights that guarantee “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” and the right to due process:

The memo concluded that what was reasonable, and the process that was due, was different for Mr. Awlaki than for an ordinary criminal. It cited court cases allowing American citizens who had joined an enemy’s forces to be detained or prosecuted in a military court just like noncitizen enemies.

It also cited several other Supreme Court precedents, like a 2007 case involving a high-speed chase and a 1985 case involving the shooting of a fleeing suspect, finding that it was constitutional for the police to take actions that put a suspect in serious risk of death in order to curtail an imminent risk to innocent people.

The document’s authors argued that “imminent” risks could include those by an enemy leader who is in the business of attacking the United States whenever possible, even if he is not in the midst of launching an attack at the precise moment he is located.

Despite the argument that will be made by the right wing Obama supporters that the memorandum is specific to al-Awlaki, all the arguments that were made to justify his assassination could easily be made against any US citizen anywhwere and may already have been:

   American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions . . . . There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House’s National Security Council . . . . Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate. . . . The role of the president in ordering or ratifying a decision to target a citizen is fuzzy. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor declined to discuss anything about the process. . . .

Glenn Greenwald at Salon in his excellent article considers that al-Awlaki won’t be the last victim:

Officials in the Obama White House and then the President decreed in secret that Awlaki should die.  So the U.S. Government killed him.  Republicans who always cheer acts of violence against Muslims are joined by Democrats who reflexively cheer what this Democratic President does, and now this death panel for U.S. citizens – operating with no known rules, transparency, or oversight – is entrenched as bipartisan consensus and a permanent fixture of American political life.  I’m sure this will never be abused: unrestrained power exercised in secret has a very noble history in the U.S. (Reuters says that the only American they could confirm on the hit list is Awlaki, though Dana Priest reported last year that either three or four Americans were on a  hit list).

Anyway, look over there: wasn’t it outrageous how George Bush imprisoned people without any due process and tried to seize unrestrained power, and isn’t it horrifying what a barbaric death cult Republicans are for favoring executions even when there’s doubt about guilt?  Even for those deeply cynical about American political culture: wouldn’t you have thought a few years ago that having the President create a White House panel to place Americans on a CIA hit list – in secret, without a shred of due process – would be a bridge too far?

The tales of through the looking glass continue.