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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 03:31 PM
Number of posts: 48,792

Journal Archives

President Barack Obama's assault on open government


The Obama administration is obsessed with secrecy — it is arguably the most secretive presidency since Richard Nixon scowled through the halls of power. The latest example: a furious crackdown on government watchdogs, the inspectors general at agencies whose job it is to keep the government honest. It has been a stunning turnabout for Barack Obama who promised during his first inaugural address that "Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency." It has been anything but.

As The New York Times reported Friday, at least 20 investigations across the government have been "slowed, stymied or sometimes closed" because of disputes between the administration and its own watchdogs over how much access to give inspectors. The signature example among many cited: an investigation last year by Justice Department inspectors into the role of federal drug agents in the killings of unarmed civilians during raids in Honduras. The Honduran government cleared the U.S. agents of any wrongdoing but an American inspector investigating the case was denied emails on the attacks. It took 11 months to get the records.

In another case cited by the Times, investigators tried to look into allegations of sexual assault on Peace Corps volunteers overseas. A volunteer was murdered in Benin in 2009 and dozens of volunteers have reported that the Peace Corps handled their cases poorly. The inspector general for the agency reported that lawyers for the Peace Corps refused to turn over documents or only offered heavily censored documents — a common tactic by government agencies that may have something to hide.


Republicans and Democrats alike have complained about the administration's record, and so has the press. Journalism organizations including the Society of Professional Journalists for months pushed for greater openness on behalf of the public. In a letter sent to Obama in August, the groups wrote: "The public has a right to be alarmed by these constraints — essentially forms of censorship — that have surged at all levels of government in the past few decades." Those groups will meet with White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Dec. 15. When such constraints are imposed, government operates in the dark with little accountability. Whatever you think of the way Obama has handled his job as president, this is unacceptable and dangerous. The administration's actions have created, as Bill Lueders, the president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, put it, "a culture of contempt for the public's right to know."

John Doe prosecutors want courts to preserve, not destroy, records (Scott Walker)


Madison— The latest front in the legal battle over a pair of probes into Gov. Scott Walker's campaign and his associates is whether evidence and investigation records must be destroyed. The state Supreme Court this summer ruled prosecutors must destroy material they gathered in the second of those two probes.

Prosecutors this week asked a federal judge for an order that they hang onto it so they can defend themselves in litigation over how they handled the investigations. They also asked to protect material from the first probe, out of fear that some of it could be at risk of being destroyed. It's a reminder that while the investigations are over, the legal fight is not.

The latest squabble could lead to a dispute between state and federal courts over whether anything must be destroyed. Prosecutors have asked the state Supreme Court to modify its order to destroy records so they can use them to defend themselves. This week they also asked U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman to order the preservation of those records.

That raises the possibility of the state Supreme Court ruling one way and Adelman ruling the other — with no clear answer on whose order had to be followed. Already attorneys for one subject of investigation have argued Adelman has no ability to rule on an issue the Wisconsin Supreme Court is already dealing with.

Our State Supreme Court is every bit as corrupt as Walker.

RoJo: Income Inequality Is The American Way!


Ron Johnson, in his last year of being a US Senator, says that income inequality is the American Way and that if you want better income equality, go to North Korea:

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said at a forum this week that people should look at North Korea if they want to improve the gap between the rich and poor, adding that he doesn’t want to see Americans be “equally poor.”

“First of all, you want really good income equality, go to North Korea,” the Republican senator said at a town hall-style meeting Tuesday at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. “I’m serious. Probably the nation on earth where you’ve got the most income equality is probably North Korea, so I don’t want to see people equally poor.”

In other words, what RoJo is saying is "Don't ask what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country's corporate overlords."

You can fight to unseat this asshat by giving a buck or two here: http://russfeingold.com/

5 Things You Can Do to Combat Climate Change


1) Don’t change your light bulb, not just yet. For a long time green groups told us that our individual carbon footprints were the critical focus. But this is wrong; climate change is a structural and systemic problem, so the most important thing to do is not be an individual. It’s to join together with others in a movement big enough to counter the power of the fossil fuel industry. 350.org is one easy way, and there are other groups as well, from the Sierra Club to the Indigenous Environmental Network.

2) Pressure your local utility, and its regulators, to make sure they’re making it easy to put up solar panels. Too many utilities are starting to cut deals with the bad guys, restricting renewable energy. The state’s public service board too often operates in darkness, but this can change.

3) Get your institutions—colleges, churches synagogues, local governments—to divest from fossil fuels. Already endowments totaling $2.6 trillion have sold their shares in coal, gas and oil stocks. Gofossilfree.org is the organizing hub.

4) Prepare yourself for civil disobedience, perhaps this spring in the worldwide day of action against the biggest carbon deposits on earth. As Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the wonderful Hip Hop Caucus always says, “this is the lunch-counter moment for the 21st century.” Peaceful resistance can have huge effect, and the better trained you are the more useful you’ll be.

The things I do with words are just some antics

Donald Trump: “I’m thankful for ...

Donald Trump: “I’m thankful for my TEN BILLION DOLLARS, my trophy wife, my hot daughter, and the media who are so easily manipulated. Amen.”

Fox News just reported that the turkey Obama pardoned yesterday flew to Syria and is now fighting for ISIS

Marco Rubio: "#ImThankfulFor the Paris attacks, which allow me to sound like a tough neocon, instead of the pathetic loser I really am."

Conservatives contend they are not Nazis and anybody that says that should be registered in a database and put in a special camp.


Grow Your Own Dope

Rahm Emanuel: "I ask the protests to be peaceful. Yes, it's police murder, but ...

Rahm Emanuel: "I ask the protests to be peaceful. Yes, it's police murder, but after I saw the video, I was able to keep silent for a year!"


Wisconsin DU Meetup in Madison Friday, December 4th.

Meet mopinko, Scuba and other DU members. Who's in????

When: Friday, December 4th at 5:00 p.m.

Where: Madison's Weary Traveler, 1201 Williamson Street, Madison


If there's anyone here who is good with gif files, please PM me. Thanks.

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