Friday, June 24, 2011

Shall We Have: A Cantor Collapse, A DeMint Depression, A Cuccinelli Dictatorship, A McConnell Rape Of State, Or Their Ass Is Grass And We’re The Lawn Mowers Sending The Republicans To The Rot Of The Mulch Pile?

Shall We Have:  A Cantor Collapse, A DeMint Depression, A Cuccinelli Dictatorship, A McConnell Rape Of State, Or Their Ass Is Grass And We’re The Lawn Mowers Sending The Republicans To The Rot Of The Mulch Pile?

Eurasia Review

As long as the reformist opposition was considered the primary challenge to the regime's stability, the conservative establishment focused most of its efforts against it. Once the regime succeeded in suppressing the reformists, it was ready to deal ...
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House Speaker John Boehner has joined forces in an odd coalition with the left to declare President Obama’s continued military action in Libya a dangerous and potentially unconstitutional power grab because Obama failed to consult Congress sufficiently about the mission. Boehner is moving a bill today that will attempt to force Obama to end the mission by cutting off its funds.

But Boehner’s fellow Republican, David Addington, who was Dick Cheney’s chief of staff and the lawyer behind many of the most controversial and aggressive legal positions taken by the Bush White House, says Congress is the one making the power grab and that Obama’s mistake is that he has been too weak in resisting the Hill.

“Is it constitutional for the Congress, by passing a law, namely the War Powers Resolution, to command the President of the United States to withdraw military forces? In my view, no,” Addington said in an interview this week with TIME. Under Article 2 of the Constitution, the president has broad powers as commander-in-chief over the military.
Addington admits that no president has been willing to explicitly tell Congress to stuff the War Powers Resolution. “No president has just written down in plain English and mailed off to the Congress, ‘Look, this thing is unconstitutional. Forget it,’” Addington says. “They always use that fancy ‘this is not inconsistent with the war powers resolution,’ or ‘this is consistent with it.’”
But Addington thinks the President has tied himself in knots by deciding not to confront Congress. “There’s only two ways out of this. One is to say the War Powers Act doesn’t apply. The other is to say it applies, but it’s unconstitutional,” says Addington. Obama chose to go with the argument, provided by State Department and White House Counsel lawyers, that the War Powers Resolution didn’t apply because U.S. troops are not engaged in the “hostilities” the act requires be authorized after 60 days.

That’s hard to believe, since the U.S. is engaged in both manned and unmanned strikes against Libya and stands ready to do search and rescue in the country. “To say you have precision strikes and you’re prepared to provide search and rescue if somebody goes down in Libya sounds like hostilities, using the plain meaning of that word to most people,” says Addington. “So he sort of sacrificed credibility to avoid having to take the constitutional position.”
Instead of deferentially avoiding the question of Congress’ right to constrain the Libya mission, Addington says, Obama should have been explicit in telling Congress to back off. “The president would’ve been in a more sensible position,” Addington says. “By saying… the War Powers Resolution is an unconstitutional attempt by Congress to give military commands to the president.”

How the Right-Wing Fascist Machine Disseminates Propaganda

I just watched Robert Greenwald’s film clip, Koch Brothers Exposed, and was blown totally away at the operation of a brilliant propaganda machine, making that of Hitler and Goebbels in comparision appear infantile and primitive. This is a propaganda machine well thought out, organized, and orchestrated.
First, the Koch Brothers and other corporatist interests fund millions of dollars to these right-wing think tanks of economists and political scientists, as the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, Mercatus Center, Reagan Foundation, et al, to write the script that these donors want to disseminate to the general public. These think tanks are sort of like screenwriters or script writers, composing and writing the dialogue that the donors want published to the American public.
Then attractive economists and political scientists of these organizations make guest appearances on the media, such as Fox Business, or the Kudlow Report, Neil Cavuto’s Your World, and Fox News, reading the carefully crafted orchestrated scripts in an effort to get the word out.
The next step then is that the media mouthpieces, such as Lawrence Ludlow, Britt Hume, Gretchen Carlson, et al, start repeating this script as if it’s gospel since it emanated out from these so-called think tanks. This is the important segment missing in the Hitler-Goebbels propaganda strategy. These supposed news reporters and journalists add a touch of credibility and veracity and objectivity to the propaganda. Robert Greenwald and Bernie Sanders refer to this phenomenon as the “echo chamber”.
Lastly, our politicians then repeat almost word-for-word what has been said over and over by the think tanks and the media personalities on talk shows such as “Hardball” (which in my opinion should now be renamed “Softball”): e.g., last night Kay Bailey Hutchison just repeated their script on raising the Social Security age to Chris Matthews, who then exclaimed in his sycophant manner that she should run for President of the United States. Gosh.
For those of you interested in seeing this excellent clip by the Brave New Foundation on the “Echo Chamber”, please see, Counter the Koch Billions. Protect Social Security. Will you help Senator Sanders expose the Koch Echo Chamber? Video Transcript.

For Cenk Uygur’s interview of Robert Greenwald, the producer of this very important clip, please see,Social distortion. Does the GOP suffer from social insecurity? Cenk Uygur June 22 2011 video transcript.
Please get involved and organized now; tomorrow may be too late: the rich and multinational corporations are kicking our ass.

Fighting Words: DeMint Warns Republicans They May Be 'Gone' if They Support ...
ABC News
During the 2010 midterm elections, DeMint played key role in several high-stakes Republican primaries, supporting insurgent conservatives often at odds with partyleaders. Many of those insurgents -- including Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of...See all stories on this topic »
House GOP Leaders Says It’s Time For Obama Get Involved

Republican negotiators walked away from bipartisan deficit reduction talks between Congress and the White House on Thursday, saying the bargaining sessions had reached an impasse over tax increases Democrats are insisting must be part of any eventual deal.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, two top GOP members on a six-member congressional delegation that had been meeting regularly with Vice President Joseph R. Biden, said President Obama must now get personally involved if the conversations are going to go any further.
“Each side came into these talks with certain orders, and as it stands the Democrats continue to insist that any deal must include tax increases,”Mr. Cantor said in a prepared statement.
Soon after Mr. Cantor’s exit, Mr. Kyl quickly followed. A senior Republican aide said the senator felt that without Mr. Cantor — the sole House Republican participant — the group essentially was dead.
The move exacerbates the tension and raises the political stakes for both sides to cut a deal on spending ahead of what the administration is an early August deadline to raise the federal borrowing limit and avoid what could be a catastrophic default on the government’s debts.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president is prepared to take a more active role in working with Capitol Hill to reach a deal, and played down the notion that talks had ground to a halt.
“It is always been the case that these talks would proceed to a point where the remaining areas of disagreement would be addressed by [congressional] leaders and the president,” he said.
Mr. Biden said it was time for congressional party leaders to push the talks forward.
“The goal of these talks was to report our findings back to our respective leaders,” the vice president said in statement released Thursday evening. “The next phase is in the hands of those leaders, who need to determine the scope of an agreement that can tackle the problem and attract bipartisan support.”
Despite the at-times confrontational rhetoric, there were signs the two sides were keeping the lines of communication open.
Mr. Carney told reporters that House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, had met unannounced with Mr. Obama at the White Houseon Wednesday evening. The meeting was at the president’s initiative, and the first known encounter between the two men since their widely publicized round of golf last weekend.
There were no details on what the two men discussed.
Mr. Obama had demanded the high-level negotiations in April, and charged the panel with coming up with budget reforms that Congress will accept in exchange for raising the government’s debt ceiling. Republican leaders, pressed by a large contingent of new tea party-allied members, have demanded major spending cuts and reforms as their price for agreeing to another debt ceiling hike.
The talks are being conducted behind closed doors and even party leaders said they are not privy to all the details being discussed, though the outlines are clear: Republicans say the federal red ink should be reduced through spending cuts, while Democrats argue tax increases should also be on the table.
After 11 meetings, Republicans said the talks have gone as far as they can without Mr. Obama becoming personally involved.
Mr. Cantor said the group has made progress identifying “trillions in spending cuts” and “established a blueprint that could institute the fiscal reforms needed to start getting our fiscal house in order.” He also praised Mr. Biden’s “leadership in bringing us this far.”
But he and Mr. Boehner said tax hikes that Democrats are proposing are a non-starter because they can never pass the House, which the GOP controls.
“Those talks could continue, if they’re willing to take the tax hikes off the table,” Mr. Boehner told reporters.
Mr. Kyl agreed any deficit-reduction proposal featuring new spending and higher taxes wouldn’t be supported by his GOP colleagues.
“President Obama needs to decide between his goal of higher taxes or a bipartisan plan to address our deficit. He can’t have both,” said Mr. Kyl in a statement issued jointly with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican. “We need to hear from him.”
Democrats accused Republicans of abandoning the talks at a critical moment.
“Although there is no doubt that there were some very difficult issues that needed to be decided,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat and member of the Biden group. “The speaker of the House said it was time for an adult moment. Adult moments mean it’s time for making tough decisions.”
The Biden panel has been trying to hammer out a deal to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling — the legal limit that the federal government can borrow money to pay for its operations and debt obligations.
Congressional leaders of both parties, along with the White House, economists and Wall Street agree the debt ceiling must be raised.
Exceeding the limit could lead to a U.S. default on its loans, a scenario that would damage the nation’s credit rating and could trigger another financial crisis.
Republicans, in addition to not wanting taxes raised, say any deal must include spending cuts that exceed the amount the ceiling is raised — at least $2 trillion.
Democrats argued they have been willing to compromise on many GOP spending cut demands, and accused Republicans of “playing chicken with the economy.”
“This is not the time to be giving up on our economy,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat. “It appears [Republicans] have given up. … Democrats are not going to give up on the American people.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, bristled at the Republicans’ portrayal of their tax position, suggesting that only the corporate world — not average Americans — would pay more.
“Yes, we do want to remove tax subsidies for big oil. We want to remove tax breaks for corporations that send jobs overseas. The list goes on,” Ms. Pelosi said. “I don’t know if that’s a reason to walk away from the table when we’re trying to find a balanced approach.”
But many in Washington and on Wall Street worry that if the stalemate continues deep into July, the financial markets — fearing a deal won’t be made — would react negatively.
Mr. Cantor didn’t rule out returning to the group later if the taxes issue was settled.
But Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, accused Mr. Cantor of buckling to pressure from the far right of his party.
“I think that Republicans are quietly coming to the realization that it will take Democratic votes to pass any debt-ceiling agreement,” Mr. Schumer said. “Leader Cantor clearly got spooked by how this final deal has to come together.”

Cuccinelli Goes After Another Federal Regulation

Seeks partners for FCC suit against ‘net neutrality


Wading into another fierce ideological battle, Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II has announced plans to sue regarding new federal regulation of the Internet and has urged other states to jump on board his fight against “net neutrality.”
Calling the regulations the “most egregious of all violations of federal law,” Mr. Cuccinelli told The Washington Times on Thursday that he will begin in July or August to gather support from other attorneys general and private partners for a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission.
“They have no respect for the courts, no respect for the states, no respect for the Constitution, no respect for federal law,” Mr. Cuccinelli, a Republican, said during an appearance on Capitol Hill at a lunch meeting of the National Italian-American Foundation.
Mr. Cuccinelli has engaged the federal government in legal battles related to other hot-button political issues, including health care and climate change. The net neutrality issue has become a cause celebre for Republicans who fear the Obama administration is attempting to control the Internet.
The regulations were approved Dec. 21 by the five-member board of the FCC over the objections of its two Republican members and are expected to go into effect this summer.
They are designed to prevent broadband providers — companies such as AT&T and Verizon, which control the infrastructure of the Internet — from interfering with how companies such as Google, Netflix or a small startup use the lines. The goal is to keep cyberspace free from interference and guarantee that consumers can reach any website they want at the prices and speeds they are used to.
The regulations have been challenged on several fronts. Verizon and MetroPCS filed a lawsuit this year contesting the agency’s authority to enforce net-neutrality rules. They filed suit in the same Washington, D.C., federal appeals court that issued a ruling curbing FCC authority last year.
On a largely party-line vote in April, the House voted 240-179 to repeal the FCC regulations, but the agency has the support of the Democrat-controlled Senate and of President Obama, who appointed FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
Democrats argue that the Internet needs oversight so that entrepreneurial, startup ventures such as Facebook and eBay can be protected from the telecommunications giants.
Republicans see the FCC action as a federal power grab and have argued that the unregulated Internet has flourished without government oversight. They further contend that the FCC is usurping congressional authority with the new “rules of the road.”
That is a concern near and dear to Mr. Cuccinelli, who has built his record as attorney general on challenges to federal authority.
“In the face of a court order where the FCC was told ‘you may not regulate the Internet,’ they said, ‘Well, we’re going to do that anyway,’ ” he said.
“That is just extraordinary to me.”
A lawsuit challenging net neutrality would be the latest in a string of lawsuits filed by Mr. Cuccinelli, whose 18 months in office have been marked by efforts to halt regulation of greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency, overturn a federal mandate for individuals to purchase health insurance and require the University of Virginia to turn over controversial climate-change research documents.
Mr. Cuccinelli said that with a record like that, few doubt it anymore when he threatens to sue.
“Our credibility isn’t a problem anymore,” he said.
Globe and Mail - Colin Freeze - ‎9 hours ago‎
One Taliban suspect was feared dragged to death. Another may have been driven to his grave in the back of a Ford Ranger. Still others were said to have been executed behind buildings. The secret probe of these complaints was known as Operation ...

FRIDAY, 24 JUNE 2011 07:45
Wikileaks cables appear to nullify the government’s disclaimer on U.S. military transits at Shannon. ByFionn Dempsey.
Successive Irish governments have claimed they had no reason to doubt U.S. diplomatic assurances that no renditions were occurring through Shannon Airport. This position allowed the Irish government to oblige U.S. interests at the airport, while disclaiming responsibility for any potential criminal uses of Shannon by the U.S. government. However, a close reading of recent Wikileaks cables suggests that the government strongly suspected U.S. wrongdoing at Shannon.
The emerging picture on the government’s internal posture on Shannon follows the recent Concluding Observations from a human rights review by the UN Committee on Torture, where recommendations for a rigorous approach to the issue were coupled with strong criticisms of the Irish government’s lax attitude in the past. As Amnesty International’s Colm O’Gorman noted, the Committee on Torture’s position lines up with the consensus of international and domestic human rights bodies on the Irish stance at Shannon.

In the past, similar reports have been ignored. In December 2007, the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs held a hearing to review a report published by the Irish Human Rights Commission on the subject of extraordinary rendition and Shannon Airport. The report is robustly critical of the Irish government’s inaction, and brings a weight of legal opinion to bear on the subject. A State Department cable, released in full by the Guardian in December 2010, noted with satisfaction how the hearing on the IHRC’s report had sunk without a trace in the Irish media. (More…)

Library Association Takes Up Resolutions in Support of WikiLeaks, Manning
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The American Library Association, in its latest politically tinged move, is poised to vote on a resolution calling for the U.S. military to release Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of leaking reams of classified papers to WikiLeaks

The resolution is one of at least three concerning WikiLeaks on the agenda at the association's annual conference in New Orleans that began Thursday. 

The language in the Manning document directly challenges the Obama administration over Manning's incarceration, claiming President Obama's April statement that Manning "broke the law" may have "prejudiced" his right to a fair trial. The resolution compared the leak to the "courageous action" of Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Vietnam-era Pentagon Papers. 

In calling on the Army to release Manning from pre-trial confinement and "drop the charges against him," the resolution stated that the ALA's interest in the case stems from its support for whistleblowers. 

"The American Library Association has strongly supported the principle of government accountability and the protection of whistleblowers," the resolution said. 

But Matt Philbin, with the conservative Culture and Media Institute, said the group has gotten increasingly political. 

"I suppose they are First Amendment absolutists -- that's their cover anyway. I don't happen to think that's the case. ... I just think this is where their sympathies lie," he said. "This is not your mother's librarian." 

The group was originally founded to "promote library service and librarianship," according to its constitution. A representative for the ALA could not be reached for comment Thursday. It's unclear when the resolutions will come up for a vote. 

The proposal to express support for Manning and WikiLeaks follows other political statements by the ALA and its members. 

Earlier this spring, the ALA was among dozens of advocacy groups that condemned the hearings held by Rep. Peter King on the threat posed by Islamic radicalization in the U.S. 

Another resolution on the table at this week's conference would call on all U.S. government agencies to provide access to documents on WikiLeaks, while the third would express support for WikiLeaks' "rights" to publish leaked government documents. Further, that resolution would urge libraries to "link their websites to the WikiLeaks website." 

Earlier this year, the Pentagon announced it was moving Manning from the Marine base at Quantico, Va., to Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Though the decision followed widespread criticism surrounding Manning's treatment at Quantico, the Pentagon said at the time the Kansas-based facility was chosen because it would better suit his "health and welfare needs." 

Manning has been in military custody for about one year, during which his lawyer has filed multiple complaints. 

But the Obama administration has defended its incarceration of Manning over the historic WikiLeaks breach. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley was forced to resign in March after he called Manning's treatment "counterproductive and stupid."

Gary Johnson: The WikiLeaks Candidate

That other former two-term governor of a southwestern state with three members of Congress -- you know, the one who isn't getting 6000-word magazine profiles -- talks to Russia Today's and praises WikiLeaks. Alyona Minkovski asks whether Johnson would crack down on the site or prosecute Julian Assange.

No, I would not. I think that they are the messenger, and that if it wasn't WikiLeaks it would be someone else. I wasn't really surprised at any of the information that has been let out. I haven't been made aware of any information that's been let out that's led to a loss of life... Government needs to be transparent! The more transparent that government is, the better off we all are. Basically, everything we see out of WikiLeaks is what we theorized was actually the truth!

This isn't quite what other Republicans say, although six months away from the heat of the scandal, it doesn't sound off-base. 


CAIRO – Thirty-two representatives of 18 institutions in Syria, Libya and Yemen were instructed at a three-day training program in Cairo last week led by Palestinians drawing on their own experience on how to monitor, document and establish legal files on war crimes and crimes against humanity to qualify them for legal action to prosecute the perpetrators of such suspected crimes.

The program also dwelt on the concept and practice of human rights and human rights violations, universal jurisdiction and prosecution of war criminals, UN inquiry missions, incorporating human rights standards into national laws, the International Court and its procedures, and coping with traumatized human rights workers in the field.

This was the first ever human rights training program held in the Arab world under the auspices of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDR), and was conducted under the heavy shadow of popular uprisings and violence by governments towards civilians sweeping over their countries.

Among the PCHR’s team of instructors were its director Raji Sourani, Legal Director Iyad al-Alami; Field Research Director Ibtisam al-’Aydi, and Training Director Bassam al-Aqra.

Cairo was chosen as the venue for its symbolic importance in recent Arab events, and “(this training program) will be followed by other courses soon,” said Sourani.

It was important, stressed Ezz Eddin al-Asbahi, Director of the Rehabilitation Center of Human Rights Information in Yemen “to disseminate the culture of prosecuting war criminals in the Arab world.”


JERUSALEM – Iranian militias from the elite Revolutionary Guard and the Al-Quds force commanded by General Qassem Suleimani are actively operating throughout Syria to help crush the civil uprising to keep Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his regime in power.

The Iranians are not only shooting at demonstrators and supplying the Syrian army with sniper rifles and communications systems to disrupt the country’s internet networks.

The Revolutionary Guard initiated and organized dozens of busloads with Ahmed Jibril’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) for the mass border demonstrations against Israel in the Golan Heights on Nakba Day May 15 (the catastrophe of the 1948 UN Partition Plan) and Naksa Day on June 5 (the humiliating defeat in the Six Day War of 1967) an unnamed senior Israeli source told Haaretz daily on Wednesday.

Syrian residents and local media reported spotting bearded men (banned in the Syrian Army) in military uniform speaking poor Arabic and Farsi among themselves, initially in the southern town of Daara where the demonstrations began and then in other places in Syria, the senior Israeli source said.

Also, the mass Palestinian riots that broke out in the Yarmuk refugee camp the day after the border demonstrations on the Golan Heights were in angry protest of Jibril’s failure to pay $1,000 to every participant and $10,000 to the families of anyone who became a martyr, killed in a confrontation with Israeli forces, Haaretz learned.

The 14 dead were killed by Jibril’s bodyguards who feared he would come to harm by the incensed masses.

According to the Israeli source desertions from the Syrian army have so far been limited to the lower ranks below battalion commander where resentment is brewing because regular forces and military security forces have been used to suppress demonstrations.

The demonstrations will continue as suppression grows harsher. Ultimately to end the conflict, a political agreement will be reached between senior Syrian army officers and leaders of the ruling Alawi community to remove Assad from power and to guarantee the safety and security of their members, the Israel source said.

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