The Joe Blow Report 2

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The “Torture” Debate

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greenwald_art

UPDATED BELOW – UPDATE II

Glenn Greenwald says and we quote in part. You can read his blog here.

Three key rules of media behavior shape their discussions of “the ‘torture’ debate”

(3) The single most sacred Beltway belief is that elites are exempt from the rule of law.  Amidst all the talk about how prosecutions would destroy post-partisan harmony and whether torture “works,” it is virtually impossible to find any media star discussions about the fact that torture is illegal and that those who order, authorize or engage in torture are committing felonies.  That is because — other than for fun sex scandals and other Blagojevich-like sensationalistic acts — the overriding belief of the political class is that elites (such as themselves) have the right to break the law and not be held accountable.

Amazingly, when it comes to crimes by ordinary Americans, being “tough on crime” is a virtually nonnegotiable prerequisite to being Serious, but when it comes to political officials who commit crimes in the exercise of their power, absolute leniency is the mandated belief upon pain of being dismissed as “shrill” and extremist.  Can anyone find an establishment media pundit anywhere — just one — who is advocating that Bush officials who broke the law be held accountable under our laws?  That view seemsactively excluded from establishment media discussions.

The OLC memos that were released last week reflect a deeply corrupted, criminal and morally depraved political class (see this video clip for a strangely affecting demonstration of that fact –linked fixed), but our media stars are a vital reason why that has happened.  It cannot be overstated the extent to which they are nothing but appendages of, servants to, political power (as one Twitter commentator said today about this painfully vapid videofrom the painfully vapid David Gregory:  when media stars say “my reporting,” what they usually mean is: “this is what I was told to repeat”).  These three media rules repeatedly shape how they talk about government actions, and these rules are particularly pronounced as the establishment media now is finally forced to discuss what to do about the fact that our highest political leaders repeatedly broke our most serious laws.

Be sure and read the complete article – The Sacred Elite and SoHum, CA.

That elite-protecting consensus is the central affliction of America’s political culture.  It explains not only how we continuously shield our elites from the consequences of their crimes, but also explains the reason such crimes keep happening.  If you constantly announce to a small group of people that they will be able to break the law with impunity, you are rendering inevitable future rampant criminality. That’s just obvious.

It’s not just “the central affliction of America’s political culture.” It’s the central affliction of America”!

UPDATE :: Friday, April 24, 2009

Here’s a link to  local blog SoHum Parlance II that has a thoughtful and meaningful comment that’s worth reading. Now lets see if these worthless Democrats have the guts to prosecute these high-ranking criminals. Of course Obama put the screws to that when he became complicit with his first foray into Pakistan.

UPDATE II

Democratic complicity and what “politicizing justice” really means

UPDATE:  Just to underscore how continuously Democrats are complicit in thwarting the rule of law in the United States:   one of Obama’s most impressive and rule-of-law-defending appointees, Dawn Johnsen, has had her nomination as OLC Chief blocked for months by the Right, and the office of a key Democratic Senator — Ben Nelson — just told Greg Sargent that Nelson “is all but certain to vote against Johnsen,” substantially increasingly the GOP’s chances of preventing her from becoming head of the OLC.  That’s our bipartisan Washington establishment in a nutshell:  key Bush torture architects such as John Rizzo and Bush intelligence policy defenders such as John Brennan are able to remain in positions of high power in the Obama administration, while those, like Johnsen, who want accountability for government crimes are considered fringe, extremist and unfit for office.

Read the complete commentary.

–Joe

Is This THE Obama You Voted For?

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barackobama_changeIf so, then you’ll want to read Glenn Greenwald’s article on Salon for SATURDAY APRIL 11, 2009 08:41 EDT:

Obama and habeas corpus — then and now

Greenwald’s concluding comments: “So that Barack Obama — the one trying to convince Democrats to make him their nominee and then their President — said that abducting people and imprisoning them without charges was (a) un-American; (b) tyrannical; (c) unnecessary to fight Terrorism; (d) a potent means for stoking anti-Americanism and fueling Terrorism; (e) a means of endangering captured American troops, Americans traveling abroad and Americans generally; and (f) a violent betrayal of core, centuries-old Western principles of justice. But today’s Barack Obama, safely ensconced in the White House, fights tooth and nail to preserve his power to do exactly that.”

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Who Is the Real Barack Obama?

“I’m not searching for ways to criticize Obama. I wish I could be writing paeans celebrating the restoration of the Constitution and the rule of law. But these actions — these contradictions between what he said and what he is doing, the embrace of the very powers that caused so much anger towards Bush/Cheney — are so blatant, so transparent, so extreme, that the only way to avoid noticing them is to purposely shut your eyes as tightly as possible and resolve that you don’t want to see it, or that you’re so convinced of his intrinsic Goodness that you’ll just believe that even when it seems like he’s doing bad things, he must really be doing them for the Good. If there was any unanimous progressive consensus over the last eight years, it was that the President does not have the power to kidnap people, ship them far away, and then imprison them indefinitely in a cage without due process. Has that progressive consensus changed as of January 20, 2009? I think we’re going to find out.”

Read the complete article on Salon. Or continue,

It was once the case under the Bush administration that the U.S. would abduct people from around the world, accuse them of being Terrorists, ship them to Guantanamo, and then keep them there for as long as we wanted without offering them any real due process to contest the accusations against them.  That due-process-denying framework was legalized by the Military Commissions Act of 2006.  Many Democrats — including Barack Obama — claimed they were vehemently opposed to this denial of due process for detainees, and on June 12, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Boumediene v. Bush, ruled that the denial of habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo detainees was unconstitutional and that all Guantanamo detainees have the right to a full hearing in which they can contest the accusations against them. Read the rest of this entry »

Greenwald Nails the Whores in America

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greenwald_artBritain’s bizarre reaction to war crimes allegations: investigations needed

Preventing a judicial ruling on the power to imprison without charges


Amy Goodman reports: Lawmakers Debate Establishing “Truth Commission” on Bush Admin Torture, Rendition and Domestic Spying

MICHAEL RATNER, human right attorney and president of the Center for Constitutional Rights and author of the book The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld:

 You know, I won’t say I’m exactly biased here, but I think essentially that the Leahy commission is an excuse for non-prosecution. It’s essentially saying, “Let’s put some stuff on the public record. Let’s immunize people. And then,” as he even said, “let’s turn the page and go forward.” That’s really an excuse for non-prosecution. And in the face of what we’ve seen in this country, which is essentially a coup d’etat, a presidential dictatorship and torture, it’s essentially a mouse-like reaction to what we’ve seen. And it’s being set up really by a liberal establishment that is really, in some ways, in many ways, on the same page as the establishment that actually carried out these laws. And it’s saying, “OK, let’s expose it, and then let’s move on.”

And he even says, he says what we’re going to do with the truth commission is we’re going to look and see what mistakes were made. I mean, just ask the hundred people who were tortured in the secret sites about what mistakes were made, or ask the 750 people at Guantanamo, or ask the people at Abu Ghraib. This is not about mistakes. This is about fundamental lawbreaking, about the disposal of the Constitution, and about the end of treaties. So I think, actually, that Leahy’s current proposal is extremely dangerous. I call it the lame commission or basically an excuse for non-prosecution.

Joe’s got some “HOPE” to sell. Real cheap.
–Joe

An Argument For Prosecution

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The New Yorker

The New Yorker

The Story – The New Yorker

The Hard Cases

Will Obama institute a new kind of preventive detention for terrorist suspects?

by Jane Mayer – February 23, 2009

Her comment on Democracy Now about President Obama’s reluctance to prosecute and uphold the law. Read the whole interview with her and Glenn Greenwald.

This whole setup during the Bush years was a criminal situation, where you’ve got our government working with other governments doing things that were war crimes and violations of all kinds of rights. And the question for the Obama administration is whether they’re going to treat these things as criminal, or are they going to—they’re on the spot—are they going to cover them up? Right now, they’re trying to move forward and not get bogged down in what they see as something that’s divisive, politically poisonous, you know, a political problem for them.

I think it’s going to turn out to be a mistake for them to do this. I think they’ve—because these questions are going to keep popping up again and again.

War Crimes and American Exceptionalism

by Glenn Greenwald in Salon written February 19, 2009

It cannot be emphasized enough that those who are arguing against criminal investigations for Bush officials are — whether consciously or implicitly — arguing that the U.S., alone in the world, is exempt from the laws and principles which we’ve been advocating and imposing on other countries for decades.  There is simply no way to argue that our leaders should be immunized from criminal investigations for torture and other war crimes without believing that (a) the U.S. is and should be immune from the principles we’ve long demanded other nations obey and (b) we are free to ignore our treaty obligations any time it suits us.

It’s just as simple as that:  one must embrace both of those premises in order to argue for a bar against criminal investigations.  And that’s particularly true for those who argue that Bush officials should not be held liable for what they did either because (a) DOJ lawyers said it was legal and/or (b) Congress provided retroactive immunity to the torturers.  As documented below, those are two of the most common and most universally discredited excuses in Western justice.

That fact may not lead anyone to change their minds about investigations and prosecutions, but those who are arguing for immunity for Bush officials ought to at least be honest and admit that they don’t care about our treaty obligations and the principles we spent decades advocating for others because those rules — for whatever reasons (e.g., we’re special; we have too many other important things to do; we’re the strongest and so nobody can make us do anything) — don’t apply to us.  Those who oppose criminal investigations and prosecutions should acknowledge that this is what they believe (or at least are willing implicitly to embrace).  Why pretend otherwise?

You can read why the arguments for no prosecutions are really just more poison for America. It’s rather compelling. The Democrat’s (and other collaborators’) gutless worrying about their political appearance are on the brink of doing exactly what the so-called terrorist’s want. A Constitutional America ceases to exist when the “government” can imprison someone – anyone without charge indefinitely on a mere unsubstantiated accusation. The so-called terrorist did not need to attack America, the had George Bush and all his gutless Democrats doing it for him.

–Joe

‘You Must Hate Your Neighbor As Yourself’

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cagle-piggyHate your neighbor? Only if they’re Republicans.

I just found out that my home, conservatively speaking, depreciated 16.4 percent and the Republican’s are responsible. That’s a lot of money flat gone in one year!

Not only that but the dirty b******’s are fighting the stimulus package that’s preconditioned on more political smoke-blowing double-talk rather than enforce the law. Talk about a pack of mongrel dogs!

Report: $9.7 Trillion Government Tab in Financial Crisis
Bloomberg News estimates the economic stimulus package would raise the government tab in addressing the financial crisis to $9.7 trillion. In addition to the Wall Street bailout and the current stimulus plan, the US government is believed to have lent or spent more than $8 trillion through the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The $9.7 trillion figure would nearly be enough to pay off every mortgage in the nation.

This is what we can look forward to according to this economist and professor of public affairs at the University of Texas:

JAMES GALBRAITH: The stimulus package is a very good bill, and it should pass. It will not, by itself, deal with the economic crisis that we’re in. I think we should be very clear about that. Expectations for an early turnaround should not be—you know, should not be very high. A clear—a major problem that we face is that the stimulus package is sized so that it will work only if the revival of credit, which is part of the plan that the Treasury is announcing today, also works. And the problem is that that plan is still, I think, not well designed and is not likely to succeed. I think it actually, in many ways, misconceives the nature of the credit problem that we have, and therefore is very unlikely to succeed at bringing about an early revival of credit markets, of housing markets, of consumer credit markets, automobile loans, and the rest. Now, we could talk about that, but I think it’s very important to understand that this spending package is really geared to the success of this other piece, and this other piece is much more problematic than the spending package is.

What should happen today, BUT probably won’t:

JAMES GALBRAITH: Well, the crucial question is, on what terms does the Treasury plan to guarantee or to repurchase or to otherwise deal with the bad assets that the banks have? These assets are mortgage-backed securities. They are securities derived from subprime loans that were made in an atmosphere of regulatory laxness and complicity and fraud, basically, during the Bush administration, which came to take over the system of housing finance and to infect it with assets which nobody trusts, which nobody can value. And nobody really knows what’s in the files, what’s on the loan tapes of those—that underlie those securities. So the question that I think we need to ask is, before we issue a public guarantee, does the Treasury of the United States plan to conduct a meticulous audit of the assets that underlie the securities that they’re expecting to take off the banks’ books, so that we, the taxpayer, can have an idea of what, if anything, these securities are worth?

And the problem is that when you—the little bit of checking that has been done appears to reveal that a very large fraction of these securities contain, on the face of it, misrepresentation or fraud in the files. And so, we are looking at an asset which nobody, no outside investor doing due diligence on behalf of a client for whom they have some responsibility, would touch. And that is the issue. That’s the problem.

If that is indeed the case, then I think it’s fair to conclude that the large banks, which the Treasury is trying very hard to protect, cannot in fact be protected, that they are in fact insolvent, and that the proper approach for dealing with them is for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to move in and take the steps that the FDIC normally takes when dealing with insolvent banks.

And the sooner that you get to that and the sooner that you take these steps, which every administration, including the Bush administration, actually took in certain cases—replacing the management, making the risk capital take the first loss, reorganizing the institution, guaranteeing the deposits so that there isn’t a run, reopening the bank under new management so that it can begin to function again as it should have all along as a normal bank—the sooner you get to that, the more quickly you’ll work through the crisis.

The more you delay and the more you try to essentially prop up an institution whose books have already been poisoned, in effect, by this—the practices of the past few years, the longer it will take before the credit markets begin to function again. And as I said before, the functioning of the credit markets is absolutely essential to the success of the larger package, of the stimulus package and everything else, in beginning to revive the economy.

Maybe I can’t do anything about President Obama’s gutless inability to holdhate01 George Bush, his people, and the banks accountable for their crimes, but I certainly can those that I know were responsible for installing and supporting that rogue regime for the past decade. I can show them how the Second Commandment works.


New Class of Ruling Elite To Hate

Not much hope in this “no-plan”:

MICHAEL HUDSON: (Obama recover plan is no good.) Because it’s not leading to recovery at all. It’s now up to $12 trillion. It’s a giveaway to the banks, to the creditors, without a single penny for actual debt reduction. And I had thought that at least half a percentage point, $50 billion, was going to be to write down troubled mortgage debtors, but it turns out that not a penny of mortgage debt is going to be written down. When the banks have lent more money than a mortgage owes, with 38 percent, the government is going to create its own debt to come in and make up the difference, so the debt is going to continue to grow exponentially, and it’s way beyond the ability of the economy to pay. If people have to pay the amount of debt that they have now, there won’t be any money to buy goods and services, companies will not sell as much, they’ll invest less, they’ll hire less, and they’ll continue to downsize.

And what’s happened is that this is the greatest transfer of wealth really in American history. It’s doubled the American debt. The closest parallel I can think of is William the Conqueror’s conquest of England. He came with a military band, conquered the land and imposed taxes over the whole land, basing it all on the Domesday Book, what—the rent could be squeezed out. In this case, the rip-off has been non-military. The bankers have done insider dealing to get the government to give them or guarantee them $12 trillion of bad loans they’ve made, many of them fraudulent.

And then they’re trying to blame the poor for all this, as if the poor are somehow exploiting the rich by taking out more loans than they can pay. Yesterday, Senator McCain said—he warned that all of this debt was going to be paid by the future generation, and we’re exploiting them. But that’s not how to think of it at all. When you have a debt that goes to a future generation, you have taxpayers paying to bondholders, just like in the nineteenth century you had the western states paying to the eastern states. So what you’ve done is given $12 trillion to the richest one percent—or ten percent of the population, and you’ve indebted the economy and the government to them for the next hundred years. You’ve created a new class of ruling families. –Updated February 13, 2009

–Joe

The GOP (Republicans) –a Parasite That Murdered Its Host

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Bush Fiddles Alright  

Bush Fiddles Alright


Len Hart

Only the GOP in America or the Nazi party in Germany could have destroyed a nation so efficiently and have the nerve to brag about it. Now, as we prepare to witness a collapse not seen since that of Rome, we conclude that Bush Jr finished the job begun by Reagan, that is the economic destruction of the United States –its economy, its education, its source of wealth, its future, its security!

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Beware the Psychopath, My Son

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I make the effort to share this information because it gives me, at last, a plausible answer to a long-unanswered question: Why, no matter how much intelligent goodwill exists in the world, is there so much war, suffering and injustice? It doesn’t seem to matter what creative plan, ideology, religion, or philosophy great minds come up with, nothing seems to improve our lot. Since the dawn of civilization, this pattern repeats itself over and over again.

The answer is that civilization, as we know it, is largely the creation of psychopaths.  . . .

>>Read the rest of the article<<

Written by Joe Blow

May 12, 2008 at 9:58 pm

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