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“This is not change,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero correctly told the Associated Press. “Candidate Obama ran on a platform that would reform the abuse of state secrets, but President Obama’s Justice Department has disappointingly reneged on that important civil liberties issue.”

Rope…

A Gallup Poll released February 12 revealed that 62 percent of Americans want to investigate or criminally prosecute Bush administration officials who authorized torture in the so-called “war on terror.” But even hough President Obama has said numerous times that “nobody’s above the law,” on February 10 he used the Bush administration’s “state secrets” gambit to quash a lawsuit attempting to penalize some of those involved in renditioning torture subjects.

Dope

Vice-Admiral Albert Church: US abused/tortured prisoners to death in Afghanistan

The ACLU has managed to acquire incompletely redacted Federal documents that substantiate charges that US interrogators indeed did abuse/torture prisoners to death in Afghanistan as early as 2002.

Find the documents here.

http://www.aclu.org/images/torture/asset_upload_file293_38710.pdf

A chilling passage from the report by Vice-Admiral Albert Church:

The behavior alleged in the Deember 2002 Bagram death cases was clearly abusive, and clearly not in keeping with any approved interrogation policies or guidelines. In both instances the deaths followed interrogation sessions in which unauthorized techniques were allegedly employed, but in both cases these sessions were followed by further alleged abusive behavior outside of the interrogation booth.

The second page of the report details prisoners

being handcuffed to objects above their heads in order to keep them awake. Additionally, interrogations in both incidents involved physical violence, including kicking, beating, and the use of “compliance blows” which involved striking the PUC’s legs with the MP’s knees. In both cases, blunt force trauma to the legs was implicated in the deaths. In one case a pulmonary embolism developed as a consequence of blunt force trauma…

Hope?
@ OnTheWilderSide

from Greens for Greens

CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

On the Rocks

By ALEXANDER COCKBURN

I write these words at the end of a week in which:

A new Democratic president, Barack Obama, via his Attorney General, has explicitly endorsed Bush’s policy on renditions and Bush’s refusal to recognize the jurisdiction of US courts in any legal proceedings in this regard; also a week in which Obama’s solicitor general has explicitly endorsed Bush’s policy on enemy combatants.

I write not long after the New York Times reported that state welfare rolls are actually shrinking in months when unemployment has risen to real totals of 17 and 18 per cent – 1.7 million in Dec and Jan, hence when more and more people are in desperate straits.

Nope

I told ya….

  • William Grigg predicts that Obama will be worse than Bush.
  • obama

  • Steve Funk writes
    • Less foreign military interventionism? NOPE
    • Ending the insane war on drugs? NOPE
    • Defunding G.W. Bush’s “faith-based initiatives”? NOPE
    • Halting illegal government wiretaps and repealing FISA? NOPE
    • No more taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street and big business? NOPE
    • Cutting reckless government spending and reducing the $10+ trillion federal debt? NOPE
    • Reforming our doomed Social Security program? NOPE
    • Reducing the influence of PACs and lobbyists? NOPE
    • Lifting the Cuban trade and travel embargo? NOPE

    gay-obama-5

  • Becky points out that Obama was partially responsible for the passage of gay-bashing Prop. 8 in California. He did nothing to stop pro-Prop 8 forces from calling millions of people with a recording of him saying “I believe marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God is in the mix.” He did not campaign against the measure.

    Becky writes:

    Ironically, it was the huge black turnout, triggered by their enthusiasm to put [Obama] in the the White House, that ensured passage of Proposition 8. Exit polls show it was opposed by whites, Latinos were evenly split, and favored overwhelmingly by African-Americans.

(Much) more to come…..

Cope:

Knappster’s post on Liberaltarians, and my comments…

“Liberaltarianism” in its 2008 regeneration simply meant that libertarians placed dismantling the Bush Administration’s catastrophic civil liberties and foreign affairs policies so much higher on the agenda than fiscal restraint (which neither conservatives nor liberals embrace today anyway) that they were willing to hold their noses, close their eyes and pull the lever for Obama — despite knowing full well what the budgetary ramifications would be.

Think of the Republicans and Democrats like the meth and heroin a junkie shoots.

Junkie gets too spun out on meth, and shoots some H to come down. Junkie gets too low with H and shoots some more meth to spin back up. It’s a toxic mix.

“placed dismantling the Bush Administration’s catastrophic civil liberties and foreign affairs policies so much higher on the agenda than fiscal restraint”

What about the Bush gang’s lack of fiscal restraint, worst since either LBJ or FDR in growth level terms, and worst ever in absolute terms? What about the Clinton gang continuing the Iraq embargo for eight years, putting more people in prison for drugs than any administration before him, proposing everything which eventually came to be in the use-a-patriot act, etc? What about Obama voting for all these kinds of policies in the Senate, and promising more of the same on the campaign trail (IE more war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, no timetable or complete withdrawal in Iraq, no marijuana legalization, etc.)

Whether you vote for a Democrat or Republican, either will make foreign policy, civil liberties, *and* government spending much worse.

Democrats as a cure for Republicans and Republicans as a cure for Democrats are both very bad ideas.


… which puts them in the position of having to deal with a whole new set of problems, this time coming from the direction that, in desperation, they endorsed.

Yes, kind of like a pit and pendulum situation.

I’ll be interested to see which ways today’s “liberaltarians” go over the next couple of years.

I suppose that would depend on which ones.

More Liberaltarianism discussion at NFV posted yesterday by Deaconstruck…



Mope….

Kn@ppster:

Year: —8.

An outgoing president has escalated a long conflict into full-blown war, ultimately to popular displeasure. He is not seeking re-election. His party rejects its anti-war wing and nominates a “stay the course” candidate.

The opposing party nominates, and elects, a candidate running on nebulous “new leadership will end the war and win the peace” rhetoric.

The new president introduces “bold” economic policies, including wage controls.

1968 or 2008?

LBJ or GWB?

Eugene McCarthy or Ron Paul?

Richard Nixon or Barack Obama?

The more things change …

agnewbiden

Same guy? Think about it … ever seen’em together?



What does that leave? The Pope? Well, hear ya go.

zombimage3838368g

Bdee, bdee, bdee….

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Rasmussen
reports that

Libertarian voters make up 4% of the nation’s likely voters and they favor Barack Obama over John McCain by a 53% to 38% margin. Three percent (3%) would vote for some other candidate and 5% are not sure. These results, from an analysis of 15,000 Likely Voter interviews conducted by Rasmussen Reports, challenges the conventional wisdom which assumes that strong support for a Libertarian candidate would hurt John McCain.

In June, Rasmussen Reports asked 15,000 Likely Voters if they were fiscally conservative, moderate, or liberal and if they were socially conservative, moderate, or liberal. This created a total of 16 possible combinations (not sure was a fourth option for both questions). However, 87% of voters fit into one of seven combinations. Libertarians, defined as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, are the smallest of these seven combinations.

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originally posted by GE at IPR. Headline by Fred Church in the comments.

In response to House GOP leader John Boehner’s comments to Reason‘s Dave Weigel — that conservatives considering a vote for Bob Barr “might as well vote for Barack Obama” — the LP has issued a press release with harsh words for the GOP and its leadership.

Libertarian Party spokesperson Andrew Davis said that Boehner’s comments “reflect the same fallacy of thought that has put America in its current situation, with neither Republicans or Democrats offering the solutions voters want to hear.”

Davis also said Boehner’s comments were “a symptom of the same delusion that cost Republicans control in 2006.”

Read the entire release here.

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The Moderate Voice, “None of the Above”

March 5, 2008 by Pete Abel

—————————————————————————————————–

“As I grow older, I regret to say that a detestable habit of thinking seems to be getting a hold of me.” – H. Rider Haggard

“A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices.” – William James

—————————————————————————————————–

So which is it? Am I an aging addict of the detestable habit of thinking, or am I merely rearranging my prejudices? Honestly, I’m not sure, but I do know this much: The libertarian impulses of my youth and the stoic conservatism of my early adult years are gradually giving way to the doubts of middle-age – doubts that are centered on two questions:

(1) Do I really believe smaller government and lower taxes are the cures to what ails us?

(2) When people are hurting and in need, is it appropriate for their government to turn away, claiming, “That’s not our issue; it should be resolved by individuals and the free market”?

Libertarian conservatives don’t doubt the answers to these questions. They respond “yes,” to both, without hesitation, without equivocation.

Twenty years ago, I would have been similarly clear-headed. I’m no longer so sure and, apparently, neither is 13-year Republican Congressman Steve Chabot of Ohio. According to a Feb. 19 article at Politico:

… Chabot has earned a 97.5 percent lifetime rating from The American Conservative Union and has largely stuck to the Republican ranks, except to oppose some pork-laden spending bills.

But when foreclosures in his hometown of Cincinnati skyrocketed, Chabot found himself aligned with Democrats — and against his party’s leaders, his conservative colleagues and the White House.

Chabot’s bipartisan dalliance illustrates how tough economic times could erode the Republican conference that House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is counting on to blunt Democratic victories running up to the November elections.

So, let me get this straight: When rock-solid conservatives learn that their constituents are suffering, they suddenly decide government should do something about it?

Read the rest of this thought-provoking post by Pete Abel on The Moderate Voice.

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Something stinks in the Sooner State.

Oklahoma voters were the only voters with no choices for president on their ballot except Bush Skull and Kerry Bones in 2004, and Oklahoma is one of 5 states that doesn’t permit write-ins, so Oklahoma voters who wanted to vote for someone other than Bush or Kerry in 2004 completely lost their right to vote (Source: Ballot Access News). In order to be on the ballot, an independent candidate or alternative party has to get signatures equal to 5% of the last vote cast, which is the hardest standard in the country, and they have to get 10% of the vote to keep their place on the ballot, second behind only Alabama with 20%. Half of the state legislative races go completely unopposed. The Oklahoma Supreme Court refused a challenge to this edict, and the feds have no jurisdiction.

Currently, there is an
effort
underway to change this crazy scheme by initiative, but Oklahoma makes it hard to get issues on the ballot by initiative. Statute initiatives must get the signatures of 8% of the voters, which is among the highest percentages among states which allow citizen initiative, and constitutional amendments need 15%, tied with Arizona for the highest percentage required by any state that allows constitutional amendments by citizen petition according to a chart by
National Voter Outreach. The signatures have to all be gathered within 90 days, and then the State Supreme Court can hold up approval for the vote to take place by over a year.

After you gather the signatures, you have to print the names of everyone who signed on the back of the page. Imagine having to do that several hundred times after you get back from a hard day of asking people to sign and getting run out (or attempted) of every location imaginable, public and private, or having to flip the page over and ask busy people to print their name a second time for every single signature – especially when working on more than one issue. Yep, it sucks, and is one of the most asinine rules I have encountered in petitioning in 27 states plus DC over the past ten years. And there are some very asinine rules out there, such as New England states requiring signatures from every city to be on a separate page, and Massachusetts ruling that any tiny tear, food stain, stray pen mark or writing outside the box disqualifies a whole page of signatures.

To make matters worse, in a decision in the case of Yes on Term Limits v. Savage, U.S. District Court Judge Tim Leonard upheld a challenged Oklahoma state law (in effect since 1969) banning out of state residents from being ballot petition circulators and signature-collectors there. Who, exactly, is a state resident? People move all the time. Some more frequently than others. Some people don’t predictably live in one place long enough to get a mortgage or apartment lease, so we prefer to live in motels or stay with friends (I resemble this remark). Some people don’t even have a place to live at all. Does that mean we should lose our right to petition the government for redress of grievances?

Shortly after this ruling, as Brian Doherty reports at Reason Magazine,

longtime libertarian political activist Paul Jacob was indicted on felony charges in Oklahoma for conspiracy to defraud the state, along with Susan Johnson of National Voter Outreach and Rick Carpenter of Oklahomans in Action.

It isn’t Jacob’s first time with the guns of the state aimed at him. He served five months in jail in 1984, after a year on the run, for refusal to register for the draft.

In his interview about the arrest with Brian Doherty, Paul Jacob explains:

(more…)

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Bush monkeyFrom Reuters:

President George W. Bush’s approval rating has dropped to 29 percent in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Wednesday, his lowest mark ever in that survey, which also found only 23 percent approved of the job Congress was doing.” President George W. Bush’s approval rating has dropped to 29 percent in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Wednesday, his lowest mark ever in that survey, which also found only 23 percent approved of the job Congress was doing.

Bush’s approval rating slid 6 points from 35 percent in April, NBC said, citing a decline in support within his own Republican Party. Sixty-six percent said they disapproved of Bush’s job performance.

In the poll, 62 percent of Republicans approved of Bush’s job performance, down from 75 percent in April. Thirty-two percent of Republicans in the latest poll disapproved of Bush’s performance, up from 21 percent in April.

NBC tied the drop in Republican support to Bush’s efforts to promote an immigration reform measure that many conservative Republicans oppose. Polls have also shown a decline in Bush’s popularity due to the war in Iraq tied the drop in Republican support to Bush’s efforts to promote an immigration reform measure that many conservative Republicans oppose. Polls have also shown a decline in Bush’s popularity due to the war in Iraq.

The latest poll also found Americans growing more discontented with the Democratic-led Congress, with 64 percent disapproving of Congress’ job performance. Only 23 percent approved, down 8 points since April.

Sixty-eight percent believe the United States is on the wrong track. Only 19 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction — the lowest number in nearly 15 years, NBC said.

The poll of 1,008 adults conducted from Friday to Monday had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

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Jimmy CarterCRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) – The White House on Sunday fired back at former President Jimmy Carter, calling him “increasingly irrelevant” a day after Carter described George W. Bush’s presidency as the worst in history in international relations.Carter, a Democrat, said on Saturday in an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that “as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history.”White House spokesman Tony Fratto had declined to react on Saturday but on Sunday fired back.“I think it’s sad that President Carter’s reckless personal criticism is out there,” Fratto told reporters. “I think it’s unfortunate. And I think he is proving to be increasingly irrelevant with these kinds of comments.”Carter has been an outspoken critic of Bush, but the White House has largely refrained from attacking him in return. Sunday’s sharp response marks a departure from the deference that sitting presidents traditionally have shown their predecessors.In the newspaper interview, Carter said Bush had taken a “radical departure from all previous administration policies” with the Iraq war.“We now have endorsed the concept of pre-emptive war where we go to war with another nation militarily, even though our own security is not directly threatened, if we want to change the regime there or if we fear that some time in the future our security might be endangered,” Carter said.In a separate BBC interview, Carter also denounced the close relationship between Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.“Abominable. Loyal, blind, apparently subservient,” Carter said when asked how he would characterize Blair’s relationship with Bush.”I think that the almost undeviating support by Great Britain for the ill-advised policies of President Bush in Iraq have been a major tragedy for the world,” Carter said.Carter, who was president from 1977-1981 and won the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for his charitable work, was an outspoken opponent of the invasion of Iraq before it was launched in 2003. [Source: Reuters.com]

Across the blogosphere, conservatives are now making the rather shocking claim that 9/11 occurred as a result of Jimmy Carter’s policies. In a way, it’s amusing, since most of those bloggers are too young to even remember the Carter presidency. As a middle-aged left Libertarian, I remember it well. Jimmy Carter was the first president I ever voted for, although he lost that time around to Ronald Reagan. I voted for Carter because he is a humanist who believes in a strict policy of non-military intervention in international affairs, opting instead for diplomacy, except if our national security is directly threatened. After all, I was alive during Vietnam, and during the height of the Cold War, so that was (and will always be) an extremely important issue for me.

At the same time, it’s typical that conservatives would find a way to blame the actions of George W Bush – decades after Jimmy Carter left office – on a liberal. After all, they can’t blame themselves for re-electing a known warmonger who openly advocates torture and the erosion of our civil rights …. can they?

Let’s compare the two presidents.

Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize. George W. Bush couldn’t even win second prize in a beauty contest on Monopoly.

Jimmy Carter is known as a peace-advocating diplomat, and a humanitarian. George W Bush is known as a lying, draft-dodging, bloodthirsty warmongerer.

Don’t blame a man, who advocated peace, for a war that started decades after he left office. And don’t just dismiss him because he dared to say what many, if not most, politically active Americans are already thinking.

Put the blame where the blame is due. This is a war based on lies and deceptions, all of which are directly traceable and attributable to the Bush administration. There were no WMDs, folks, and Bush knew there were no WMDs; but he attacked Iraq anyway because they might one day get WMDs. Huh? I’m still scratching my head about that one. Now, Bush wants to attack even more countries, and the Democrats have already backed off the promises they made when they were elected, to end the war in Iraq. Is it therefore any wonder that third parties are more attractive than ever to voters during the 2008 presidential election cycle? (more…)

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