Monday, February 1, 2010

Secret Prisons, Economy Freak-Out, Sarah Snippets

Hamid Karzai
Anand Gopal
Lee Siegal
E J Dionne Jr

"Alito's inability to restrain himself during the State of the Union address brought to wide attention a truth that too many have tried to ignore: The Supreme Court is now dominated by a highly politicized conservative majority intent on working its will, even if that means ignoring precedents and the wishes of the elected branches of government." -E J Dionne Jr
"It’s bad enough being an American citizen and watching the GOP’s brick-wall naysaying to every Obama proposal. But the frustration is even worse if you are also, or once were, the parent of a 3-year-old." - Lee Siegal

The first two links above deal with Afghanistan, with Anand Gopal stating that the US military's penchant for raiding houses in the middle of the night and taking people to the prison at Bagram Air Force base is the main cause of turning the Afghan citizens against them. Add the UN Report on Human Rights which is critical of the CIA's policy since 2001, of asking other governments to help in the detainment and interrogation of prisoners, who are then sent to secret prisons: "Officials found that secret detention "may even amount to a crime against humanity... Despite clear laws that outlaw the secret detention of prisoners in both war and peace,"

The list of countries is pretty much what you would expect, they would all receive lots of money from the CIA for lending that helping hand: "The UK, Canada, Australia and Germany...  Jordon, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and possibly Uzbekistan of holding prisoners on behalf of the CIA." The problem with these detention centers is that a person can "disappear" and there is no record for the family to find out if they are living or dead, much like in Iran and China. The Obama administration did recently release the names of 650 people being held at Bagram, but there are also American citizens who have been held for years without being charged of a crime in federal detention facilities throughout the US, most notably in New York.

As expected, many of these countries are loudly saying what a crock this report is, a bunch of hoo-ha and hearsay, why we would never help deprive any of our citizen's rights, no matter how much we were bribed... This is another piece of Dick Cheney's legacy, how he helped revive the CIA, which had been in the doldrums until after 9/11, and could even have been disbanded for being too incompetent. Now, we can be proud of the kind of predators without conscience we have hired. Not much difference between a terrorist and a CIA field operative anymore, is there?

When I first saw the $3.8 trillion that is President Obama's proposed budget, I got a bit sick to my stomach. Amounts in the trillions were unheard of when I was a kid; a trillion was just an imaginary number that we'd never have to use in reality. It seems that we will never be able to reduce the debt in my lifetime. In defense, Mr Obama said: We won't be able to bring down this deficit overnight, given that the recovery is still taking hold and families across the country still need help... We will continue . . . to do what it takes to create jobs,"

The head of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, reacted and proved that he didn't understand what was in the budget: "Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele promptly denounced the budget proposal, charging that it sets the stage for "economic stagnation" and uses gimmicks to hide "binge spending." there are no hidden gimmicks, it's all out there, as painful as a mole trapped outside at high noon...
"None of this stuff is the kind of bold sweep you're hoping Obama will bring to the management of government." - Paul Light

In a sunopsis of the biggest winners and losers in the budget, click on this link. The winners are:

1. K-12 education. Despite the straitened times and his freeze on overall discretionary spending, Obama is increasing federal funding for public education, one of the three main areas of his domestic agenda, alongside energy and health-care reform. The Education Department's proposed budget is up by nearly $3 billion, or more than 6 percent.

2. Research and development. Also preserved is spending on research and development in renewable energy and other areas, which the administration argues is crucial to sustained economic growth. The Energy Department is up nearly $2 billion, or more than 7 percent. The National Science Foundation is up more than 8 percent.

3. State governments. State governments, dreading the winding down of the support they received from last year's economic stimulus package, get a short reprieve -- $25 billion for a six-month extension of the increased federal match for Medicaid costs.

4. Highway and transit contractors. Contractors have been worrying about the infrastructure spending in the 2009 stimulus package starting to wind down, even as the construction industry continues to suffer some of the highest unemployment of any sector. The budget includes $100 billion toward a new "jobs bill," of which additional infrastructure spending will be a major component. The budget also puts toward $4 billion toward a new "National Infrastructure Innovation and Finance Fund," intended to attract private investment to only the most worthy projects.

5. Defense Department. Even aside from the spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military's budget is on the rise -- the budget provides $549 billion toward the Defense Department's base budget, a 3.4 percent increase.

6. Nuclear power companies looking at building new plants. The budget would let the Energy Department guarantee an additional $36 billion in loans for building new nuclear power plants (on top of an existing $18 billion in loan guarantees).

Even though I agree that the $100 billion for jobs programs is needed, most of it goes to governments that are laying off their staff, and I doubt if they will be hiring any new people. $30 billion for small businesses seems like too small an amount by comparison. In Colorado, it's estimated that we will loose another 3,200 jobs nest year despite any stimulus package. Consumers make up 70% of the spending economy, and if we don't have jobs, we don't have money to spend. I had problems keeping my cat fed last month, and I worry about the next few months, which promise to be brutal...

"My book, 'Going Rogue,' is dedicated to you -- to Patriots -- who fight for freedom!" ...

One person who is helping to stimulate the economy is Sarah Palin. She has used $63,000 dollars from her political action committee, SarahPAC, to buy copies of her book "Going Rogue" to send to those who have donated to her committee. So if you donated to SarahPAC you got a copy of the book, if you donated over $25 you bought copies for other donors, which is very kind of you, and it is tax deductible as well as helping to make her book a best seller.

She will still be speaking and earning $100,000 at the upcoming Tea Party Convention in Nashville, and she just publicly supported Rand Paul for his race in Kentucky. Rand is the son of Ron Paul, Libertarian gadfly from Texas. Rand at times sounds more conservative than his father, his thoughts are not as well organized, so I doubt that his career will eclipse his father. And it appears he may be a compulsive liar as well, since Sarah has not really made any public statement one way or the other about him, but  SarahPAC made a donation to his campaign. Sarah may not even have been aware of the decision to make the donation, and now she probably will remain silent on the subject and tell Rand to not make such a big deal about it, please.

A lot of noise is being made about moving the trial out of New York for the KSM show. Nobody really thought that it would be held in New York, that is the first thing that a defense lawyer would do, ask for a change of venue because you cannot get the resemblance of a fair trial there. But it makes for exhaustive headlines over the past week, and it provided some catharsis for those who like their revenge in the form of poetic justice... which reminds me, send in the clowns...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi! Thanks for commenting. I always try to respond...