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Liberal Outrage

Due Process Too Bothersome

It's amazing that what with Gonzales getting his feet put to the coals over the firing of the U.S. Attorneys, the Justice Department has the balls to demand anything at all. I shouldn't be surprised at this point, but i can't help being amazed at the amount of shamelessness these people have.

Lawyers for some of the 385 prisoners still at the US's Guantanamo prison have condemned a Justice Dept. request for tighter restrictions on client visits. The lawyers say their jobs are already near-impossible and that claims they are security threats and inappropriately pass information to media are really attempts to further diminish the already severely limited scrutiny Guantanamo receives. They say prisoner unrest is in reaction to jail conditions, not their instigation, and that all of their information goes through military censors.

Under the proposals, filed earlier this month in Washington DC, lawyers would be restricted to just 3 visits with an existing client, correspondence they send to their clients would be vetted by military intelligence officers and government officials would be empowered to prevent lawyers from having access to secret evidence used by military tribunals to decide whether the prisoners were "enemy combatants".


Meanwhile, a long running hunger strike protesting conditions in the prison is still going on at Gitmo. The inmates have been force-fed thru their noses with tubes, which i've read is quite painful and really just another form of torture.

Let's re-state that these are people who have been locked up in Guantanamo, or some other military prison, for years, with no charges brought against them and no trial. Yet the military insists they're so dangerous and conspired agaist the U.S. Well, if they did, let's hear the evidence and get them tried and convicted. Unless, you're not done torturing them for a forced confession. The Spanish Inquisition wasn't really that long ago, was it?

By min | April 27, 2007, 3:29 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

My goodness, someone is feeling inadequate

Poor guy.

Whatever you do, don't tell him about this. It's all he's got left.

By fnord12 | April 18, 2007, 1:20 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link

It's Ok

I just want you to know, i checked all the blogs and nothing happened today that you need to be outraged about. So feel free to just relax and play a video game or something.

By fnord12 | April 12, 2007, 5:06 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Have you been in any peace marches?

Here, by way of TPM.

When I tried to use the curb-side check in at the Sunport, I was denied a boarding pass because I was on the Terrorist Watch list. I was instructed to go inside and talk to a clerk.

I presented my credentials from the Marine Corps to a very polite clerk for American Airlines. One of the two people to whom I talked asked a question and offered a frightening comment: "Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that." I explained that I had not so marched but had, in September, 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the Web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the Constitution. "That'll do it," the man said.

By fnord12 | April 9, 2007, 2:30 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

More alarmists

LA Times:

The driest periods of the last century - the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and the droughts of the 1950s - may become the norm in the Southwest United States within decades because of global warming, according to a study released Thursday.

The research suggests that the transformation may already be underway. Much of the region has been in a severe drought since 2000, which the study's analysis of computer climate models shows as the beginning of a long dry period.

The study, published online in the journal Science, predicted a permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest - one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation.

The data tell "a story which is pretty darn scary and very strong," said Jonathan Overpeck, a climate researcher at the University of Arizona who was not involved in the study.

Richard Seager, a research scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University and the lead author of the study, said the changes would force an adjustment to the social and economic order from Colorado to California.

"There are going to be some tough decisions on how to allocate water," he said. "Is it going to be the cities, or is it going to be agriculture?"

Seager said the projections, based on 19 computer models, showed a surprising level of agreement. "There is only one model that does not have a drying trend," he said.

Philip Mote, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington who was not involved in the study, added, "There is a convergence of the models that is very strong and very worrisome."


For the U.S., the biggest problem would be water shortages. The seven Colorado River Basin states - Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and California - would battle each other for diminished river flows.

Mexico, which has a share of the Colorado River under a 1944 treaty and has complained of U.S. diversions in the past, would join the struggle.

Inevitably, water would be reallocated from agriculture, which uses most of the West's supply, to urban users, drying up farms. California would come under pressure to build desalination plants on the coast, despite environmental concerns.

"This is a situation that is going to cause water wars," said Kevin Trenberth, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

"If there's not enough water to meet everybody's allocation, how do you divide it up?"

Officials from seven states recently forged an agreement on the current drought, which has left the Colorado River's big reservoirs - Lake Powell and Lake Mead - about half-empty. Without some very wet years, federal water managers say, Lake Mead may never refill.

By fnord12 | April 9, 2007, 1:15 PM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Comments (8)| Link

You will believe what we say because we are ABC news

This is worth sitting through the "free pass" ad to read.

Key excerpt:

In response to my central point -- that a story of this magnitude and potential impact should not be passed on without at least some information enabling an assessment of the credibility of the sources (or, at the very least, should include an explanation as to why such information was being concealed) -- Schneider's response was that there is a way for the reader to assess the credibility of the story. Namely, because ABC News and the reporters in question have "proven over a long period of time" that they are "very reliable" (Brian Ross won a Peabody Award), the fact that they have assessed this story as credible is, by itself, sufficient to render it newsworthy

This is the same shit that got us into the Iraq invasion.

By fnord12 | April 9, 2007, 12:59 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Most foolish something, anyway

A Fox news affiliate's poll on April Fools' Day. The question was who is the most foolish American.

Looking at the data, the host declared... Britney Spears the winner.

By fnord12 | April 6, 2007, 1:11 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

Seymour Hersh interview

From Rolling Stone. Excerpt:

Did America learn anything from Vietnam? Was there a lesson in the way that war ended that could have prevented this war from starting? You mean learn from the past? America?

No. We made the same dumb mistake. One of the arguments for going into Vietnam was that we had to stop the communist Chinese. The Chinese were behind everything -- we saw them and North Vietnam as one and the same. In reality, of course, the Chinese and the Vietnamese hated each other -- they had fought each other for 1,000 years. Four years after the war ended, in 1979, they got into a nasty little war of their own. So we were totally wrong about the entire premise of the war. And it's the same dumbness in this war, with Saddam and the terrorists.

On the other hand, I would argue that some key operators, the Cheney types, they learned a great deal about how to run things and how to hide stuff over those years.

From the press?
Oh, come on, how hard is it to hide things from the press? They don't care that much about the straight press. What these guys have figured out is that as long as they have Fox and talk radio, they're OK in the public opinion. They control that hard. It kept the ball in Iraq in the air for a couple of years longer than it should have, and it cost Kerry the presidency. But now it's over -- Iraq's done. A lot of the conservatives who promoted the war are now very much against it. Some of the columnists in this town who were beating the drums for that war really owe an apology. It's a sad time for the American press.

What can be done to fix the situation?
[Long pause] You'd have to fire or execute ninety percent of the editors and executives. You'd actually have to start promoting people from the newsrooms to be editors who you didn't think you could control. And they're not going to do that.

What's the main lesson you take, looking back at America's history the last forty years?
There's nothing to look back to. We're dealing with the same problems now that we did then. We know from the Pentagon Papers -- and to me they were the most important documents ever written -- that from 1963 on, Kennedy and Johnson and Nixon lied to us systematically about the war. I remember how shocked I was when I read them. So . . . duh! Nothing's changed. They've just gotten better at dealing with the press. Nothing's changed at all.

Depressing, as usual.

By fnord12 | April 6, 2007, 1:06 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Are You Freakin Kidding Me?

Cheney's still pushing the Al-Qaida/Saddam meme. What the hell is in this guy's Kool-Aid?

Vice President Dick Cheney repeated his assertions of al-Qaida links to Saddam Hussein's Iraq on Thursday as the Defense Department released a report citing more evidence that the prewar government did not cooperate with the terrorist group.
"[Abu Musab al-Zarqawi] took up residence there before we ever launched into Iraq, organized the al-Qaida operations inside Iraq before we even arrived on the scene and then, of course, led the charge for Iraq until we killed him last June," Cheney told radio host Rush Limbaugh during an interview. "As I say, they were present before we invaded Iraq."

However, a declassified Pentagon report released Thursday said that interrogations of the deposed Iraqi leader and two of his former aides as well as seized Iraqi documents confirmed that the terrorist organization and the Saddam government were not working together before the invasion.

The Sept. 11 Commission's 2004 report also found no evidence of a collaborative relationship between Saddam and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network during that period.

If he doesn't believe it and is just trying to perpetuate the lie, it seems like a weak strategy. I doubt they'd win over any new people. And i don't think it will bring back the people who initially supported the invasion but have since gotten sick of it. I just think there are newer, shinier things to use to stimulate the mouth foamers. And really, the Democrats voting thru that bill to bring the military home is enough to do it by itself. They don't need to know about al-Qaida or Saddam or any of that. As it's been demonstrated, nobody remembers who al-Qaida's supposed to be anyway. He just needs to stand there and say it's a bad bill. He doesn't really need to try to come up with reasons. I mean, they never have before. Why start now?

And if he does believe what he's saying, he's a nutjob. I mean, he is a nutjob. No doubt about it. This just adds another dimension to his psychopathology.

By min | April 6, 2007, 9:02 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Telepathic control or what?

Go see here for video.

It would almost be comical if these people weren't deranged psychopaths who've taken over our government.

By fnord12 | April 4, 2007, 3:57 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Hey and it worked, too. Imagine that.

Blair: "Throughout, we have taken a measured approach, firm but calm, not negotiating but not confronting, either.""

By fnord12 | April 4, 2007, 3:20 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Down With The Electoral College

One more state has signed on to the agreement to bypass the Electoral College and go with the popular vote. Unfortunately, NJ is not that state.

The Maryland state senate recently passed a bill that would allow the nationwide popular vote - instead of the Electoral College - to determine presidential elections. The bill has been passed on to the state's House of Representatives.
This year, Arkansas, Colorado and Hawaii joined California in signing the agreement.

Gee, imagine that. Revising the system so that your vote actually counts for something. Crazy.

By min | April 4, 2007, 2:45 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (4)| Link

The Public Library as an Asylum for the Homeless

This one's pretty close to home.

Some good excerpts:

In bad weather -- hot, cold, or wet -- most of the homeless have nowhere to go but public places. The local shelters push them out onto the streets at six in the morning and, even when the weather is good, they are already lining up by nine, when the library opens, because they want to sit down and recover from the chilly dawn or use the restrooms. Fast-food restaurants, hotel lobbies, office foyers, shopping malls, and other privately owned businesses and properties do not tolerate their presence for long. Public libraries, on the other hand, are open and accessible, tolerant, even inviting and entertaining places for them to seek refuge from a world that will not abide their often disheveled and odorous presentation, their odd and sometimes obnoxious behaviors, and the awkward challenges they present to those who encounter them.

Although the public may not have caught on, ask any urban library administrator in the nation where the chronically homeless go during the day and he or she will tell you about the struggles of America's public librarians to cope with their unwanted and unappreciated role as the daytime guardians of the down and out. In our public libraries, the outcasts are inside.

Public librarians are out of the loop altogether; our role in providing daytime shelter for the homeless is ignored. When, in an attempt to build my own useful network, I attended conferences on homeless issues, I was always met with puzzlement and the question: "What are you doing here?"

"Where do you think they go during the day?" I would invariably answer.

"Oh, yeah, I guess that's right -- you deal with them, too," would be the invariable response, always offered as if that never occurred to them before.

Paramedics are caught in the middle of this dark carnival of confusion and neglect. In the winter, when the transient population of the library increases dramatically, we call them almost every day. Once, when I apologized to a paramedic for calling twice, he responded, "Hey, no need to explain or apologize." He swept his arm towards the other paramedics, surrounding a portable gurney on which they would soon carry a disoriented old man complaining of dizziness to the emergency room. "Look at us," he said, "we're the mobile homeless clinic. This is what we do. All day long, day after day, and mostly for the same people over and over."

The cost of this mad system is staggering. Cities that have tracked chronically homeless people for the police, jail, clinic, paramedic, emergency room, and other hospital services they require, estimate that a typical transient can cost taxpayers between $20,000 and $150,000 a year. You could not design a more expensive, wasteful, or ineffective way to provide healthcare to individuals who live on the street than by having librarians like me dispense it through paramedics and emergency rooms. For one thing, fragmented, episodic care consistently fails, no matter how many times delivered. It is not only immoral to ignore people who are suffering illness in our midst, it's downright stupid public policy. We do not spend too little on the problems of the mentally disabled homeless, as is often assumed, instead we spend extravagantly but foolishly.
As a library administrator, I hear the public express annoyance more often than not: "What are they doing in here?" "Can't you control them?" Annoyance is the cousin of arrogance, not shame.

We will let Ophelia and the others stay with us and we will be firm but kind. We will wait for America to wake up and deal with its Ophelias directly, deliberately, and compassionately. In the meantime, our patrons will continue to complain about her and the others who seek shelter with us. Yes, we know, we say to them; we hear you loud and clear. Be patient, please, we are doing the best we can. Are you?

By fnord12 | April 2, 2007, 6:45 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (4)| Link

Snitch or Whistleblower?

Under a newly amended rule from the Internal Revenue Service, ordinary citizens can help the tax man cometh -- or at least collect. The new Whistleblower Office is the IRS' attempt to give incentives for you to rat out the tax cheats you know.

That's right. If your employer, co-worker, landlord, neighbor or father-in-law is raking in fistfuls of cash and bypassing Uncle Sam, you can anonymously report the abuse to the IRS and snag a windfall from their dishonesty. As long as the total amount of tax fraud comes out to at least $2 million -- including penalties, interest and whatever else the government ultimately collects based on your report -- you can get a 15%-to-30% cut.


Under the old rules, whistle-blowers could seek rewards up to 15% of the amount recovered by the IRS. But it was deemed a failure, mostly because the IRS was under no real obligation to compensate people who came to them with information of underpayments. Under the new law, however, a whistle-blower can make an appeal in court if the IRS decides not to issue a reward.


By min | April 2, 2007, 8:49 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

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