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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
Number of posts: 45,257

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Environmental Scientist

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While we argue about deflated balls, we are less than 1 week from Bankster freedom!

Holder starts 90-day clock on potential prosecution of bankers

Finance executives who caused 2008 meltdown put on notice

By Alison Fitzgeraldemail 5:30 pm, February 17, 2015


90 days from Feb 17th is…..May 18th. Next Monday. Still Waiting…..

The CIA would have preferred to have tortured one guy to death.


As I mentioned a while back, Tiger Beat On The Potomac has been making some remarkably good hires on the margins far distant from the places where Mike (Payola) Allen and the like do their business. Today, the great Ray Bonner re-emerges with the winding tale of Abu Zubaydah, whom the CIA captured in 2002, tortured for a few years, and then tossed into Gitmo to languish. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that Gitmo detainees could challenge their sentences in federal court. Many of them, including Zubaydah, did. However, while a number of his fellow inmates were granted relatively speedy hearings, and 100 of them actually released, Zubaydah's case has been stuck in the mud of secret hearings for over six years. Bonner, of whom we who obsess about the crimes of the Reagan administration have fond memories, is pretty clear on why this case in particular hasn't moved the way the others have.

Soon after the agency's contractors began their program of "enhanced interrogation" at the secret black site in Thailand—placing him in a coffin-size box, slamming him against wall, depriving him of sleep, bombarding him with loud music, as well as waterboarding—they sent an encrypted cable to Washington. The CIA interrogators said that if Zubaydah died during questioning, his body would be cremated. And if he survived the ordeal, the interrogators wanted assurances that he would "remain in isolation and incommunicado for the remainder of his life." Senior officials gave the assurances. Zubaydah, a Saudi citizen, "will never be placed in a situation where he has any significant contact with others and/or has the opportunity to be released," the head of the CIA's ALEC Station, the code name of the Washington-based unit hunting Osama bin Laden, replied. "All major players are in concurrence," the cable said, that he "should remain incommunicado for the remainder of his life."
I mean, if the guy doesn't have the good grace to die while we're torturing him, then we should stash him away for life, because we have rendered him nothing more than evidence. He's the knife the killer washes off in the sink, the gun the stick-up kid throws in the river, the witness that has to die because he saw too much or knows too much. Commit the crime. Bury the evidence. These are not original thinkers there, in our intelligence community.

The old boogedy-boogedy has been ginned up now sufficiently that "national security" is said to be a prime issue in the upcoming presidential campaign. Various people on the Republican side are striving to outflex each other; Marco Rubio's alleged comeback is attributed to his tough-guy stance on the jihad menace, which Rubio summed up last weekend by quoting an action movie at a wingnut rodeo in South Carolina. Make no mistake. When they talk about this, it's about putting our national conscience back in cold storage again and returning American foreign policy to the control of the people who run the black cells, who torture people until they are little more than evidence, and then hope to hell they die.


Trade Show: The Senator Professor Takes Round One

In which we learn that Senator Professor Warren is indeed a politician, and a good one.


At the risk of being thought "dewy-eyed," I would have to say that this afternoon's events in the Senate justify the president's snark about Senator Professor Warren's being "a politician." He's right. She is. And, today, she was a better one than he was.

The Senate voted 52-45, missing the 60-vote threshold, to not limit debate on whether to proceed with a bill granting the White House authority to speed trade deals through Congress, which is opposed by many of Obama's fellow Democrats.
At its most basic, this was a demand by what Howard Dean used to call "the Democratic wing of the Democratic party" to be taken seriously, to have its issue taken seriously, and to exact a political price from anyone who declines to do so. The president's counterpunching on the TPP has been patronizing and, it now appears, ineffective as well. I'm not sure exactly whether this has slowed down substantially the runaway train that is the TPP. But it likely guarantees a full debate, a full airing of the issues, and if our corporate "trading partners" find the democratic process an inconvenience, as they do in so many ways in their own countries, they can sit back or pound sand.

(As far as our future leaders go, Marco Rubio skipped the vote and both of those Tea Party populist heroes, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, voted to give the tyrannical president this power.)

The TPP looks like a big enough turkey all on its own, and why the president has chosen this particular issue on which to go to knives so vigorously with his progressive supporters leads me to wonder if it isn't just a way to guarantee him some nice sinecures when he leaves office in 2017. Now, though, we will have the debate, and both sides of the issue will get aired, and he will have to work with Mitch McConnell to whip up enough support to keep the TPP out of the ditch. If that inconveniences him, he can take a number and wait on the pound-sanding line behind the Vietnamese moguls who are paying people five bucks a day. He still might win; it's a plutocrat's world right now, after all, and they're on his side here. But, there is a lot you can say about how he got beat today, but he didn't lose to anyone who's "dewy-eyed." He lost to a Massachusetts pol. Happens.


An Adjunct’s Farewell

by David J. McCowin

To my students at Assumption College:

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with you, but to answer the question many of you have asked: No, I will not be teaching at Assumption College again next year. Although I did receive an offer to return, the conditions that led me to decline that offer are most likely unfamiliar to many of you and your families. This letter aims to remedy that.

I am an adjunct (part-time) instructor. As such, I receive drastically less pay than full-time faculty members, and I receive zero benefits. Assumption College pays me $3,500 per course, which is more than many other institutions pay. But “more,” in this case, is still not even close to “good.” According to my own conservative calculations, I devote roughly 220 hours to every course I teach – including construction, delivery, administration, and evaluation – which means that my compensation equates to $15.91 per hour (less at other colleges). At Assumption, the department for which I teach typically has very few courses available for adjuncts (at other institutions, the number of adjunct-taught courses is often far higher), so I have never taught more than two courses per semester there. (With special administrative approval, I once taught four courses at another college in one semester.)

Because I earn so little, I must seek adjunct employment at more than one institution. This semester, for example, I taught at three different colleges. This is not atypical for many adjuncts. In central and eastern Massachusetts, securing adjunct work at multiple institutions is far easier to do, however, than in most other regions, given the number of colleges and universities here. But teaching more courses is incredibly taxing and time consuming.



(note I am not the author)

The Turtle is angry

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell railed against Senate Democrats on Tuesday after they blocked movement on a "fast-track" trade bill.

The Kentucky Republican suggested Senate Democrats who voted "no" on the trade legislation "rail against the future."

"The rationale for voting ... a vote that would simply have allowed the Senate to debate the issue, was overwhelming," he said. "It was supported by the facts, and yet voices in the president's party who rail against the future won out today."


Remember, this is the man who pledged to make Obama a "one term president"

Another example of the Weasel that is Rand Paul

He came out this morning in opposition to Fast Tracking TPP


Then he voted yes to cloture this afternoon, on the side giving fast track authority to the President.

Fuck Rand Paul.

(apologies to all real weasels out there, fine and noble animals all)

TPP Trade Authority Battle Rd. 1: Warren/Democrats 1, Obama/Republicans 0

By Paul Kane May 12 at 3:10 PM
The liberal grass-roots movement gave birth to two huge stars over the last decade, one who rode a wave of anti-war support into the White House and the other who became the ideological standard-bearer in the fight against big banks and corporate greed.

Now, in a battle few saw coming three years ago, President Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are locked in an increasingly personal dispute over a mammoth global trade deal that the president is trying to finalize in his last years in the White House. The faceoff has become the defining battle in the Democratic Party, as Obama seeks “fast-track” trade authority from Congress, which would allow him a freer hand to cut trade deals.

The ultimate goal is approval of a deal with 12 Pacific-rim nations representing roughly 40 percent of the global economy.

Moreover, this dispute sets the stage for the campaign to succeed Obama in office, as the firebrand senator has opted not to run but instead is focusing her effort on moving the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton, farther to the left.

On two fronts Warren appears to have won initial battles. The Senate on Tuesday ran into a filibuster of the Trade Promotion Authority measure that would grant Obama fast-track powers to pass global deals, as the overwhelming majority of Democrats blocked consideration of the legislation.



Something strange going on with DU

When I have posted recently, the site 'hangs' and doesn't load the posted page. Then if I check the thread, say GD, I find that it is posted. However even if it gets 5 or more recs it doesn't show up on the 'greatest' page, and it hangs when I try to respond to the OP. I think I am seeing other posts like it. Something wrong in the inner workings of the site?

Revealed: FBI violated its own rules while spying on Keystone XL opponents

Paul Lewis in Washington and Adam Federman

The FBI breached its own internal rules when it spied on campaigners against the Keystone XL pipeline, failing to get approval before it cultivated informants and opened files on individuals protesting against the construction of the pipeline in Texas, documents reveal.

Internal agency documents show for the first time how FBI agents have been closely monitoring anti-Keystone activists, in violation of guidelines designed to prevent the agency from becoming unduly involved in sensitive political issues.

The hugely contentious Keystone XL pipeline, which is awaiting approval from the Obama administration, would transport tar sands oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf coast.

It has been strongly opposed for years by a coalition of environmental groups, including some involved in nonviolent civil disobedience who have been monitored by federal law enforcement agencies.

The documents reveal that one FBI investigation, run from its Houston field office, amounted to “substantial non-compliance” of Department of Justice rules that govern how the agency should handle sensitive matters.



US taxpayers subsidising world's biggest fossil fuel companies

The world’s biggest and most profitable fossil fuel companies are receiving huge and rising subsidies from US taxpayers, a practice slammed as absurd by a presidential candidate given the threat of climate change.

A Guardian investigation of three specific projects, run by Shell, ExxonMobil and Marathon Petroleum, has revealed that the subsidises were all granted by politicians who received significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.

The Guardian has found that:

A proposed Shell petrochemical refinery in Pennsylvania is in line for $1.6bn (£1bn) in state subsidy, according to a deal struck in 2012 when the company made an annual profit of $26.8bn.

ExxonMobil’s upgrades to its Baton Rouge refinery in Louisiana are benefitting from $119m of state subsidy, with the support starting in 2011, when the company made a $41bn profit.

A jobs subsidy scheme worth $78m to Marathon Petroleum in Ohio began in 2011, when the company made $2.4bn in profit.
“At a time when scientists tell us we need to reduce carbon pollution to prevent catastrophic climate change, it is absurd to provide massive taxpayer subsidies that pad fossil-fuel companies’ already enormous profits,” said senator Bernie Sanders, who announced on 30 April he is running for president.


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