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Archive for the ‘Democrats as cancer’ Category

Kerry is a lost cause

Posted by Charles II on June 5, 2013

You may recall that former Guatemalan president Rios Montt was convicted of mass murder for directing the massacre of the Ixil Indians, part of the mass murder of 250,000 people in the roughly 40-year repression initiated by and abetted by the US. In the course of Montt’s trial, the bloody role of current Guatemalan president Otto Fernando Perez Molina emerged. The judge and prosecutor received very public death threats, but they and the witnesses bravely carried the trial to its inevitable end: Montt was convicted.

Then the Constitutional Court, presumably acting at the behest of Perez Molina and the other mass murderers who have not faced justice, arbitrarily reached in and annulled Montt’s conviction. Montt is unlikely to face any punishment greater than the inconvenience of having to go to court. And so Perez Molina is off the hook, too.

And so this is how John Kerry, meeting with Perez Molina, greeted him:

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Thank you very much. Muchas gracias. Estoy encantando de estar aqui en Guatemala y (inaudible) con el Presidente Perez Molina. Gracias.

I want to begin, if I may, by expressing the condolences of all Americans for the loss of life of nine Guatemalans in Oklahoma City in the tornado last month. We know that that is a deep pain for the families, and I bring you the President’s condolences and the condolences of the American people.

… Let me begin by congratulating you, Mr. President, on the enormous progress that you have made with respect to your justice system, the strengthening of your justice system, the independence of that system. And obviously, we are appreciative for your reciprocal law enforcement initiatives that benefit both of us we believe.

I also would express our appreciation for the way in which you have led your internal – your security efforts and particularly citizen protection efforts.

I also want to thank you for your leadership with respect to the professionalization of police, which is very important, and also your efforts to make sure that we live up to the standards of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala. Needless to say, that is so important to Guatemala’s standing on a global basis and we appreciate your efforts.

I realize that diplomacy involves not saying things publicly that would lead to an irreconcilable break. But Kerry has just congratulated Perez Molina for having turned the justice system into a sham, for having demonstrated that Guatemalan impunity extends to confessing the crime and walking undisturbed away.

John Kerry was a man I deeply respected for a long time. He showed courage in battle and then he showed the courage to say that the war in which he fought was wrong.

And now, he’s saying that everything he said and did before was an opportunistic lie.

Posted in Democrats as cancer, impunity, Latin America, State Department | Comments Off on Kerry is a lost cause

Krugman on the case: ALEC under the spotlight/updated

Posted by Charles II on March 26, 2012


What is ALEC? Despite claims that it’s nonpartisan, it’s very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects: the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on. Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally writes them…

Many ALEC-drafted bills pursue standard conservative goals: union-busting, undermining environmental protection, tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. ALEC seems, however, to have a special interest in privatization… some of the most prominent beneficiaries of privatization, such as the online education company K12 Inc. and the prison operator Corrections Corporation of America, are, not surprisingly, very much involved with the organization.

Did I mention that ALEC has played a key role in promoting bills that make it hard for the poor and ethnic minorities to vote?

Who is ALEC?

Altria Group American Bail Coalition AT&T Inc.
Bayer AG Coca-Cola Co. Diageo PLC Energy Future Holdings Corp.
Exxon Mobil GlaxoSmithKline Intuit Inc. Johnson & Johnson
Koch Industries Kraft Foods Peabody Energy Pfizer Inc.
PhRMA Reed Elsevier Inc. Reynolds American Salt River Project
State Farm Insurance United Parcel Service Wal-Mart Stores

and which politicians do they own? Here are the top 20.

John Boehner (R-Ohio Eric Cantor (R-Va) Richard Burr (R-NC Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) Pete Sessions (R-Texas) Dave Camp (R-Mich.) Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) James Clyburn (D-S.C.) Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) Fred Upton (R-Mich.) James DeMint (R-S.C.) John Thune (R-S.D.) Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) Rob Portman (R-Ohio)

Nancy Pelosi is #96.

We, liberal Democrats, cut Blanche Lincoln from the body politic. It’s time for Republicans who are sick of corruption to start doing some surgery of their own.
Update, 3/27: Krugman has come under fire from Corrections Corp of America for accurately describing their relationship to ALEC. CCA says:

* it “is not a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council”
* it “does not and has not ever lobbied for or attempted to promote any legislation anywhere that affects sentencing and detention — under longstanding corporate policy”
* it is not “involved in seeking to influence, promote or lobby for immigration detention policy”

As Krugman says, he lawyered his description of their relationship pretty carefully, presumably because corporate a–holes like to create strawmen to distract from what actually got said and to draw distinctions without a difference. Krugman said that:

* “the penal-industrial complex — prison operators, bail-bond companies and more” play “a key role in promoting bills that make it hard for the poor and ethnic minorities to vote”
* that this “complex has a financial stake in anything that sends more people into the courts and the prisons”
* “some of the most prominent beneficiaries of privatization, such as the online education company K12 Inc. and the prison operator Corrections Corporation of America, are, not surprisingly, very much involved with the organization”

The latter is the only place where CCA’s denials even vaguely approach Krugman’s assertions. What does “involved” mean? It certainly has been intimately involved as a member until quite recently. There’s no reason to think that they have disassociated themselves from ALEC. Let them denounce ALEC for what it is– a shady, anti-democratic means of forcing through legislation that profits business at the expense of the American people, and they can deny being involved.

Posted in capitalism as cancer, Democrats as cancer, Republicans as cancer, The Plunderbund | 9 Comments »

The slave mentality of Congress, unconstitutional detention edition

Posted by Charles II on December 2, 2011

Democrats who do not believe that the Constitution exists:

Lieberman (Lieberman doesn’t believe in the Constitution either, but not a Dem)
Ben Nelson

Republicans who believe that it does:

Rand Paul

You can read Greenwald on how bad this bill is–and how completely out of control the situation was before this bill ratified the suspension of the Constitution–here.

Once again, the rights defined in the US Constitution are not just rules on a piece of paper. They are some of the basic human rights. These include the right to face one’s accusers, to due process and to a speedy trial. Passing laws that fly directly in the face of the Constitution is, in effect, to deny the existence of God and the inherent dignity of Humankind.

This will not end well.

Posted in civil rights, Democrats as cancer | 1 Comment »

In which Senator Carl Levin loses his mind

Posted by Charles II on November 29, 2011

I long ago accepted that most of the people in Washington had lost their minds and the rest were a bit wobbly on reality. I did not think that Carl Levin would be one of them. But read this and see if you don’t think that he has lost all sense of proportion. Also note that one Senator is standing up for sanity. From DemocracyNow:

AMY GOODMAN: The Senate could vote as early as Wednesday on a Pentagon spending bill that could usher in a radical expansion of indefinite detention under the U.S. government. A provision in the National Defense Authorization Act would authorize the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world without charge or trial. The measure would effectively extend the definition of what’s considered the U.S. military’s battlefield to anywhere in the world, even the United States. The measure’s authors, Democratic Carl Levin of Michigan and Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, have been campaigning for its passage in a bipartisan effort. But, the White House has issued a veto threat with backing from top officials including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Director of National Intelligence James clapper, an FBI Director Robert Mueller. The measure was inserted into the full military spending bill after the Armed Services Committee quietly approved it without a single public hearing. Now Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has set Wednesday as a procedural vote day to advance the legislation. For more we’re joined by Daphne Eviatar, Senior Associate with the Law and Security Program at Human Rights First. On Monday, Human Rights First released a letter from 26 retired military leaders urging the Senate to vote against the measure as well as against a separate provision that would repeal the executive order banning torture. Daphne Eviatar joins us in the studio today. Welcome to Democracy Now!. Explain exactly what this legislation is about.

DAPHNE EVIATAR: OK, first of all, the legislation is 680 pages long, and so one reason this has been able to get through so quietly is that the controversial provisions [Amendment 1107] are just three or four provisions within this huge package. The ones that we’re particularly concerned about, are for—-specifically the one you mentioned about creating a system of indefinite military detention within the United States by statute…

DAPHNE EVIATAR: … another very controversial provision in the bill and what the administration has particularly objected to, is the mandatory military custody provision which would say anyone suspected of terrorism in any way connected to Al Qaeda would have to be put into military custody. So, the government wouldn’t even have the option. So, all these FBI investigations that are thwarting terrorist attacks and local police investigations, immediately that would have to be turned over to the U.S. military, and that would become a military action here in the United States, on U.S. soil.

AMY GOODMAN: What about the [Mark, not Tom] Udall Amendment?

DAPHNE EVIATAR: The Udall Amendment would basically table this.

AMY GOODMAN: Who are the military leaders who have signed on to the letter that you released this week?

DAPHNE EVIATAR: Those are retired generals and admirals, very senior people. Many of the same people who stood behind President Obama when he signed an executive order on his second day in office banning the use of torture and closing the CIA’s secret prisons. So many of those same people are saying, you know what, this is not a good idea.

DAPHNE EVIATAR: … the third provision, which I didn’t have a chance to talk about is just that it extends the transfer restrictions. It means you can’t transfer anyone out of Guantanamo. And the worst thing, and this is also something very few people have realized, but, Secretary Panetta mentioned this recently, is it would prevent the transfer of detainees out of Bagram and Afghanistan. So, we have about 3000 detainees being detained indefinitely in Afghanistan at the Bagram Air Base. Now, the U.S. wants to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. This would make it almost impossible to do that, because you wouldn’t be able to transfer these detainees to Afghanistan because Afghanistan could never meet the conditions that are set out in the bill to accept detainees from the United States.

[In addition, legislation proposed by Senator Kelly Ayotte of NH would authorize torture]

OK, so in summary: Carl Levin has proposed suspending our obligations under international treaties and the US Constitution to permit indefinite detention by the military of anyone, even a US citizen inside the United States, on the mere suspicion of being involved in terror. If your neighbor doesn’t like you and anonymously calls in saying, “She talks to people who look foreign to me,” even if those people happen to be your British exchange student, that’s enough to send you to Guantanamo. And, he wants to keep us in Afghanistan forever so that we can hang onto 3000 people at Bagram. Either that or, in effect, transfer them abroad into a gulag. And, just as a bonus, Kelly Ayotte wants to authorize torture for anyone who lands up in the Gulag Archipelago the Levin-McCain legislation would create. This despite the fact that numerous senior military commanders think it’s a bad idea.

Our military leaders do not want torture, since that would make them war criminals under existing treaties:

Our military and intelligence agencies have made clear they do not want this issue revisited. In 2009 they unanimously reported they had all the authority they needed to effectively interrogate. Responding to calls to bring back “enhanced interrogation techniques,” when he was commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan last year, General Petraeus unequivocally stated “we should not go there.”

Fortunately, the ACLU has made it easy for you to write to your state’s senators here.

Posted in civil rights, Democrats as cancer, Guantanamo, torture, totalitarianism | Comments Off on In which Senator Carl Levin loses his mind

Maybe Russ Feingold would re-consider (Obama delays ozone standards)

Posted by Charles II on September 2, 2011

Go read Hunter.

This is one of those gratuitously obnoxious things that none of the public and all of the worst corporations are in favor of: failing to regulate ozone even as loosely as Bush wanted to.

Russ, please run for president [*].

* Or any non-corrupt Democrat with enough name recognition and favorables to be able to draw 30% of the delegates. At this point, that might be enough for the superdelegates to decide that Obama is not going to get a vanity run at the expense of the country.

Posted in Democrats as cancer, Obama Administration | Comments Off on Maybe Russ Feingold would re-consider (Obama delays ozone standards)

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