Subject to Change, version 2.0
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Sunday, June 12, 2005

Pentagon gives no excuses for terror suspect treatment.

Washington | June 13

AFP - The US military on Sunday offered no excuses for interrogation techniques used on a Saudi terror suspect at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying his questioning followed a "detailed plan" and that prevention of new attacks justified the means. The retort followed publication of a secret document detailing the military's handling of Mohammed al-Qahtani, suspected of being the 20th hijacker on September 11, 2001, that suggested his interrogators may have used a combination of forced hydration and denial of bathroom facilities to pressure him for information. The revelation has left some US lawmakers aghast, with Republican Senator Chuck Hagel openly suggesting "a vacuum of leadership" at the Pentagon.

 TIME has the story of detainee #063(al-Qahtani) and the interrogation log.


 [The Agonist]
10:48:00 PM    

Officers say force alone can't win Iraq.

GOP begins to bail on Iraq; White House disputes on Bush; 1,701 dead.

[The Raw Story | A rational voice - Alternative news]
10:46:25 PM    


 It's official. BushLand is BizarroWorld. Eric Umansky writes: Eric Umansky: Payrolls in Iraq: The LAT reports that the Iraqi government is considering doing serious layoffs. I have no doubt the government is full is slacker workers and plenty of others who don't show up. Still, in the midst of a growing insurgency, creating thousands of pissed-off unemployed men seems like Bad Idea Jeans. But here's what really caught my eye is this bit buried deep down: On Sunday, members of Iraq's elite police commando units, heralded by U.S. and Iraqi officials as a key to stemming the insurgency, staged a protest outside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, saying they hadn't been paid in four months, witnesses said. WTF? Now, there are all sorts of commando units out there. But anybody heard reports of this before? Swopa? Praktike?...

 [Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal]
3:03:50 PM    

The Worsening of the Income Divide: Why Peak Oil Will Hit Hard.....

Bill Moyers amazes me. He does it again in this speech, entitled "Losing the American Revolution," which has very little, at least prima facie, to do with peak oil.

Well, at least not until you start thinking about it.

When you start thinking about what $4/gal gasoline does to our economy, further worsening existing problems and inequities, especially those dealing with wealth concentration, etc., that have already been getting worse over the past few decades.

Then you starting thinking about what an already disparate class structure looks like after the coming problems hit with full force. It could get quite ugly.

Here's some quotes from the article/speech:

"For years now a relatively small fraction of American households have been garnering an extreme concentration of wealth and income as large economic and financial institutions obtained unprecedented levels of power over daily life. In 1960 the gap in terms of wealth between the top 20 percent and the bottom 20 percent was 30-fold. Four decades later it is more than 75 fold. (See Joshua Holland, AlterNet, posted 4/25/05 )

Such concentrations of wealth would be far less of an issue if everyone were benefiting proportionally. But that's not the case. Statistics tell the story. Yes, I know—statistics can cause the eyes to glaze over, but as one of my mentors once reminded me, "It is the mark of a truly educated man [or woman] to be deeply moved by statistics."

Let's see if these statistics move you.

While we've witnessed several periods of immense growth in recent decades, the average real income of the bottom 90 percent of American taxpayers - that's a heap of people - fell by 7 percent between 1973 and 2000. (ibid )

During 2004 and the first couple of months this year, wages failed to keep pace with inflation for the first time since the 1990 recession. They were up somewhat in April, but it still means that "working Americans effectively took an across-the-board pay cut at a time when the economy grew by a healthy four percent and corporate profits hit record highs as companies got more productivity out of workers while keeping pay raises down." (ibid )

Believe it or not, the United States now ranks the highest among the highly developed countries in each of the seven measures of inequality tracked by the index. While we enjoy the second highest per capita GDP in the world (excluding tiny Luxembourg), we rank dead last among the 20 most developed countries in fighting poverty and we're off the chart in terms of the number of Americans living on half the median income or less. (ibid )

And the outlook is for more of the same. On the eve of George W. Bush's second inauguration The Economist - not exactly a Marxist rag - produced a sobering analysis of what is happening to the old notion that any American can get to the top. With income inequality not seen since the first Gilded Age (and this is The Economist editors speaking, not me) - with "an education system increasingly stratified with fewer resources than those of their richer contemporaries" and great universities "increasingly reinforcing rather than reducing these educational inequalities" - with corporate employees finding it "harder…to start at the bottom and rise up the company hierarchy by dint of hard work and self-improvement" - "with the yawning gap between incomes at the top and bottom" - the editors of The Economist - all friends of business and advocates of capitalism and free markets—concluded that "The United States risks calcifying into a European-style class-based society."

Let me run that by you again: "The United States risks calcifying into a European-style class-based society."

Or worse. The Wall Street Journal is no Marxist sheet, either, although its editorial page can be just as rigid and dogmatic as old Stalinists. The Journal's reporters, however, are among the best in the country. They're devoted to getting as close as possible to the verifiable truth and describing what they find with the varnish off. Two weeks ago a front-page leader in the Journal concluded that "As the gap between rich and poor has widened since 1970, the odds that a child born in poverty will climb to wealth - or that a rich child will fall into middle class - remain stuck... Despite the widespread belief that the U.S. remains a more mobile society than Europe, economists and sociologists say that in recent decades the typical child starting out in poverty in continental Europe (or in Canada) has had a better chance at prosperity." (Wall Street Journal , page one, 5/13/05)

That knocks the American Dream flat on its back. But it should put fire in our bellies. Because what's at stake is what it means to be an American."

And then you combine that with what we already know about the economics, politics, and geopolitics of the coming of the peak, and my friends, you have the recipe for a very very big fall.

Go to the postings for today

Technorati Tags: , By (profgoose).

 [The Oil Drum]
3:02:27 PM    

Okay, I have a house to clean.

And I'm probably going to get hemorroids from sitting down so much to blog. But this story is worth a read. Apparently, those camps you hear about that are supposed to "fix" gay teenagers are very real and worse than you could imagine. It was just a matter of time before a blogger got swept up into one, and this blogger goes by the name of Zach. He's 16 years old and his reward for being forthcoming with his parents about being gay is that they are bundling him up and sending to "camp" for kids who dare be themselves. The rules of this place are enough to make you want to cry for this kid.

1. LIA wants to encourage each client, male and female, by affirming his/her gender identity. LIA also wants each client to pursue integrity in all of his/her actions and appearances. Therefore, any belongings, appearances, clothing, actions, or humor that might connect a client to an inappropriate past are excluded from the program. These hindrances are called False Images (FI¹s). FI behavior may include hyper-masculinity, seductive clothing, mannish/boyish attire (on women), excessive jewelry (on men), mascoting, and "campy" or gay/lesbian behavior and talk.

2. As non-residential clients, Refuge participants must submit to an F.I. search every morning. With the exception of the very first program day, when they may arrive no later than 9:00 a.m., Refuge clients will arrive daily at the Love in Action campus no later than 8:50 a.m., waiting in a designated area until a staff member meets them to perform the F.I. search and check them in. Refuge clients may not enter any of the client spaces on campus before submitting to an F.I. search. All belongings brought to campus will be searched, including book bags, notebooks, wallets, handbags, purses, etc. Items that violate the F.I. policy or the dress code will be held for the client, to be returned no later than the client¹s last day in program. Clients may request to have their F.I. items returned by filling out a C.O.C.

3. All photographs will be taken for the purpose of sobering re-evaluation. Clients may request to have pictures returned to them via C.O.C.

4. Refuge clients will not be allowed to use personally owned computers during the program, whether on campus or at home/in temporary lodging. Computer stations are normally available on campus when clients need to type something.

5. Clients should report all FI's (with discretion), whether their own or another's, to staff.

The rule I bolded should make it obvious what's going to happen to these kids. Can you imagine having a photo taken of yourself for a "sobering re-evaluation" by a fundie, sex-and-homophobic wingnut?

During the blog-a-thon I amassed a bunch of emails from people who have issues they wanted to have addressed in the context of a human rights blog-a-thon. I'm sorry I was unable to get to all of them, but eventually most will be posted up during the week.

1:44:31 PM    

Sunday Sermonette: Tai Solarin.

Today's Sunday Sermonette is inspired by the life and work of Tai Solarin (1922-1994), arguably, the most distinguished African humanist of the 20th century. First, a little background on this remarkable figure: Solarin was an indefatigable warrior in the cause...

1:43:13 PM    

Kinsley on the Downing Street Memo.

KINSLEY ON THE DOWNING STREET MEMO....About 30 minutes ago, in an update to last night's post about the Downing Street Memos, I suggested that reporters weren't paying a lot of attention to them because they thought it was old news....

 [Political Animal]
1:39:51 PM    

More on the Rising Cost of Employer-Provided Health Care

Has Ron Scherer of the Christian Science Monitor been reading Angrybear?

An increasing part of production costs in America comes from the price of promises … Now, even with the economy far from a recession, the cost of these promises is becoming a drag. On Tuesday, the size of the drag became more apparent for General Motors, which said it would eliminate 25,000 jobs by 2008 - in part because of the cost of its healthcare commitments, now amounting to about $1,500 per car.
[Angry Bear]
11:47:14 AM    

U.S. Campaign Produces Few Convictions on Terrorism Charges.

By Dan Eggen & Julie Tate | June 12

WaPo - On Thursday, President Bush stepped to a lectern at the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy in Columbus to urge renewal of the USA Patriot Act and to boast of the government's success in prosecuting terrorists. Flanked by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, Bush said that "federal terrorism investigations have resulted in charges against more than 400 suspects, and more than half of those charged have been convicted." Those statistics have been used repeatedly by Bush and other administration officials, including Gonzales and his predecessor, John D. Ashcroft, to characterize the government's efforts against terrorism. But the numbers are misleading at best. An analysis of the Justice Department's own list of terrorism prosecutions by The Washington Post shows that 39 people -- not 200, as officials have implied -- were convicted of crimes related to terrorism or national security. First of two parts...

 [The Agonist]
9:32:19 AM    

Schweitzer to the rescue. Cute.

A Charles County [Maryland] high school's decision to deny a diploma to a senior who wore a bolo tie to graduation didn't offend just the student and his family. Montana's governor is mighty annoyed, too.

"To have some high school say that a bolo tie is not a tie is an outrage," said Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D), who called The Washington Post yesterday after reading an article about 17-year-old Thomas Benya.

"In Montana and anyplace in Indian country, a bolo tie is dressed up," he said. "A tie is a tie."

Schweitzer, who has a collection of more than 30 string ties, called to encourage Benya yesterday and is sending him a Montana state bolo.

He knows how to pick his battles, doesn't he?

[Daily Kos]
9:30:49 AM    

Great Editorial on the DSM.

Geov Parrish in the Seattle Weekly:
I have a three-word response to the media frenzy that followed revelation of the long-secret identity of Deep Throat: Downing Street Memo.

Here's what John Dean, a key Watergate figure, wrote about Dubya's case for the Iraq war in a June 2003 column for "To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be a 'high crime' under the Constitution's impeachment clause."

That's exactly what the Downing Street Memo, first reported a month ago by The Times of London, proves…
Go read the rest. And while you're at it, check out this story at Editor & Publisher, too.

The problems we find in the mainstream press do not plague the alternative media. We need to promote the good work they're doing on behalf of truth and accountability, even as their more well-known counterparts refuse to do the same.

By (Shakespeare's Sister).

[Shakespeare's Sister]
7:43:42 AM    

Conyers Schedules Congressional Hearings on DSM.

They say you can't always get what you want,¦but sometimes you can!

Raw Story:

The ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee has scheduled hearings on the 2002 minutes between senior British and American officials which asserted that intelligence was "being fixed" to support the case for war in Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

The hearings, which will be held next Thursday, will bring renewed attention to what is being called the "Downing Street memo," actually official minutes of a secret 2002 meeting.

Conyers office has revealed that they will introduce new documents that corroborate the Downing Street Memo at the hearings June 16.

Among those scheduled to testify are Joe Wilson, former ambassador and weapons of mass destruction expert; Ray McGovern, a 27-year CIA analyst, used to do presidential daily briefings for Ronald Reagan; Cindy Sheehan, a mother who lost her son in Iraq combat; and John Bonifaz, the Boston constitutional lawyer who has called for a resolution of inquiry into what he sees as impeachable offenses in the president's false pretenses for war.

The Democratic Judiciary staffer said the overwhelming online response to Conyers' push on the Downing Minutes has further proven that pressure on issues can be built outside the mainstream press.

Go get ’em!

(Hat tip Republic of T.)



John Conyers also links on his blog to his diary at dKos on the topic, in which he says (in part):

This hearing is just one step in an investigation that I am commencing that will literally span the Atlantic. I am in touch with British officials and former U.S. intelligence officials and I am determined to get to the truth.

At the hearing, I will disclose information found to date, which includes the public release of newly discovered documents. While none of these documents are as damning as the DSM, they nonetheless bolster the accuracy of it.

There is another point that has been missed of late. An article I read a week ago, I can't remember where, quoted a right wing blogger as proclaiming this a dead issue and further stating that this was a test of the progressive netroots. Implicit was his contention that we were failing that test. A week later, the President was forced to respond (inadequately) to a question about it. We have passed the test.

Thanks again for your help and support. This is just the beginning.

Thank you, Congressman.

By (Shakespeare's Sister).

[Shakespeare's Sister]
7:41:59 AM    


A Non-story the media can afford to ignore?

As Daffy Duck would say, "My feathered fanny!"
If you haven't signed the letter yet, get going.

IMMEDIATE UPDATE: Oh, my mistake... it's actually 497,901!

That sound you hear is Bush wetting his pants.

(Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Cross-Post Squarepants!)

By (Paul the Spud).

[Shakespeare's Sister]
7:37:33 AM    


Somebody call a wahhhhhhhhhmbulance! Big baby and apparent lunatic James Sensenbrenner unceremoniously and abruptly ended the hearings on the Patriot Act today because he didn't like what he was hearing and walked out.

Blink. Blink.

Go read Pam, because I'm seriously too tired to bother writing another post on how the GOP is drunk with power and inexplicably determined to flush our entire democracy down the turd tunnel.

By (Shakespeare's Sister).

 [Shakespeare's Sister]

7:34:37 AM    

San Francisco Chronicle Editorial on DSM.

Most excellent:

There should be no statute of limitations -- or shortness of public attention span -- on an issue that cuts to the core of this government's integrity and credibility. Congress must fully investigate the actions in Washington that led the highest officials in Great Britain to be convinced that the Bush administration was hell-bent on war and working to concoct a rationalization for it.
Read the rest.

(Hat tip Poverty Barn.)
By (Shakespeare's Sister).

[Shakespeare's Sister]
7:33:21 AM    

Hot Damn.
The first day I've actually engaged in a social life in weeks and what do I miss? The leaking of a new British memo confirming that it was necessary to create the conditions for the legality of the Iraq War. The London Times reports (emphasis mine):

The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier.

The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair's inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was necessary to create the conditions which would make it legal.

This was required because, even if ministers decided Britain should not take part in an invasion, the American military would be using British bases. This would automatically make Britain complicit in any illegal US action.

The document said the only way the allies could justify military action was to place Saddam Hussein in a position where he ignored or rejected a United Nations ultimatum ordering him to co-operate with the weapons inspectors. But it warned this would be difficult.

It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject, the document says. But if he accepted it and did not attack the allies, they would be most unlikely to obtain the legal justification they needed.

The suggestions that the allies use the UN to justify war contradicts claims by Blair and Bush, repeated during their Washington summit last week, that they turned to the UN in order to avoid having to go to war. The attack on Iraq finally began in March 2003.

There has been a growing storm of protest in America, created by last month's publication of the minutes in The Sunday Times. A host of citizens, including many internet bloggers, have demanded to know why the Downing Street memo (often shortened to the DSM on websites) has been largely ignored by the US mainstream media.
(Including the 427 members of the Big Brass Alliance.)

Who, I wonder, is our friendly British Deep Throat? Whoever it is, I'm  fucking glad they care more about holding our president accountable for his actions more than most of the members of our own government.

More information on this as it becomes available.

In other news, the AP has done a fine piece on the Downing Street Memo, and the Washington Post has gotten in on the action, too.

By (Shakespeare's Sister).

[Shakespeare's Sister]
7:31:53 AM    

Why Oh Why Are We Ruled by These Liars? (And We Could Use a Better Press Corps...).

The Downing Street Memo acquires more steam: Ministers were told of need for Gulf war "excuse"

 - Britain - Times Online: Michael Smith:

MINISTERS were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal. The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier... since regime change was illegal it was “necessary to create the conditions” which would make it legal. This was required because, even if ministers decided Britain should not take part in an invasion, the American military would be using British bases.... The paper was circulated to those present at the meeting, among whom were Blair, Geoff Hoon, then defence secretary, Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, and Sir Richard Dearlove, then chief of MI6.... The document said the only way the allies could justify military action was to place Saddam Hussein in a position where he ignored or rejected a United Nations ultimatum.... But it...

 [Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal]
6:39:32 AM    

Dismember of Congress.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Orkin) was not too happy yesterday to see the House controlled by his party nonetheless endorse legislation supporting federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. The margin of the vote, 238-194, wasn't enough to override President...

6:37:47 AM    

It Just Gets Weirder and Weirder.

If, as the AP is speculating, Sen. John Cornyn gets nominated for the Supreme Court, he'd better watch his back. After all, just a few months ago there was this guy -- a Senator, no less! -- named John Cornyn...

 [Ezra Klein]
6:36:37 AM    

Why I Can't Hate Nick Kristoff Indefinitely.

Guest blog from the fabulous Lindsay, returning to Pandagon to help us with the blog-a-thon.

Sure, Kristoff buys Thai prostitutes for self-promotional purposes, but he also made this multi-media presentation for the New York Times: The Illiterate Surgeon.

I think this might interest Pandagon readers. It's appropriate for the AI drive because it dramatizes a few of the connections between development, women's health, and human rights. It's the story of a
woman named Mamitu, a onetime victim of an obstetrical injury known as vesico-vaginal fistula whose condition was surgically corrected at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia.

As the segment explains, fistula is a complication of childbirth that afflicts approximately 2 million women in the developing world. Most fistulas occur in teenage girls during their first labour. Because their pelvises are small, the baby's head can become trapped under the pelvic bone. If the pressure isn't relieved in time, the baby will die and the mother's perineum will be ripped in two, causing urine and/or feces to leak through the vagina. Women who suffer fistulas are typically abandoned by their husbands and banished by their communities. Sometimes they are simply left to die.

After Mamitu was cured, she stayed on at the hospital as an informal apprentice. Today she's one of the world's leading fistula surgeons. She trains doctors from all over the world to perform this procedure. Now a successful middle aged woman, Mamitu is also completing her primary school education in night school.

Kudos to Kristoff for not being too squeamish to talk about vaginas in a voiceover. I didn't know he had the balls, so to speak.

6:35:39 AM    

Better Late than Never.

Nearly 4 years into the GWOT and the Pentagon is just starting to think about network disruption. The delays are being blamed on bureaucratic infighting. This would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

WT. "DOD is pushing a strategy...

[John Robb's Weblog]
6:34:32 AM    

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