Friday Reads

beatrix Good Morning!!

I thought I’d put up some longer suggested reads today since the news seems to be focused on several items we’ve been covering a lot recently.  This first link is from Alternet and features Noam Chomsky and Eric Bailey of Torture Magazine.  The discussion talks about our continuing abuse of civil rights and liberties stemming from the War on Terrorism during the Obama administration.  Here’s some discussion of US “black sites” which are still in operation today.

Bailey: It has been just over 10 years since the publication of the Bush administration’s “torture memos.” These memos provided a legal justification for the torture of detainees held by the CIA in connection with the “war on terror.” The contents of the memos are chilling and have created new debate on torture internationally. Despite all of the promises given by President Obama to close those illegal detention centers, it seems that “black site” activities still occur. What are your views on these detention centers and CIA torture? Also, what do you think about Obama’s promise of CIA reforms in 2008 and how has the reality of his presidency stacked up to those promises?

Chomsky: There have been some presidential orders expressing disapproval of the most extreme forms of torture, but Bagram remains open and uninspected. That’s probably the worst in Afghanistan. Guantanamo is still open, but it’s unlikely that serious torture is going on at Guantanamo. There is just too much inspection. There are military lawyers present and evidence regularly coming out so I suspect that that’s not a torture chamber any more, but it still is an illegal detention chamber, and Bagram and who knows how many others are still functioning. Rendition doesn’t seem to be continuing at the level that it did, but it has been until very recently.

Rendition is just sending people abroad to be tortured. Actually, that’s barred as well by the Magna Carta – the foundation of Anglo-American law. It’s explicitly barred to send somebody across the seas to be punished and tortured. It’s not just done by the United States, either. It’s done all over Western Europe. Britain has participated in it. Sweden has participated. It’s one of the reasons for a lot of the concerns about extraditing Julian Assange to Sweden. Canada has been implicated as was Ireland, but to Ireland’s credit it was one of the few places where there were mass popular protests against allowing the Shannon Airport to be used for CIA rendition. In most countries there has been very little protest or not a word. I don’t know of any recent cases so maybe that policy is no longer being implemented, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was still in effect.

The Atlantic has a feature on the ‘likely’ new Secretary of Defense.  That would be Republican and former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel.

In 2005, he began criticizing the George W. Bush administration, comparing the worsening Iraq war to Vietnam. When then-Vice President Dick Cheney said the Iraqi insurgency was in its “last throes,” Hagel told CNN, “Maybe the vice president can explain the increase in casualties we’re taking… If that’s winning, then he’s got a different definition of winning than I do.”

Over the next few years, Hagel’s criticism of Bush intensified, and in 2007, he told Esquire:

“The president says, ‘I don’t care.’ He’s not accountable anymore… He’s not accountable anymore, which isn’t totally true. You can impeach him, and before this is over, you might see calls for his impeachment. I don’t know. It depends how this goes.”

Hagel decided not to seek reelection to the Senate in the fall of 2007. In 2008, his name was floated as a potential running mate for Obama. Hagel didn’t endorse a presidential candidate in that election, but he criticized his colleague Sen. John McCain for his hawkish statements on Iran.

There are all kinds of people being caught in the crossfire of GOP intolerance, stupidity, and rejection.  Why is the Republican party fighting the Violence Against Women Act?  Greg Kaufmann writes on this in The Nation focusing on its impact on Native American women who are unprotected from various kinds of acts of violence.  The hope and the bad guy in this story is Congressman Eric Cantor.

  On April 25, Parker told of being “one of many girls” violated and attacked as a toddler on the reservation in the 1970s, and how the man responsible was never convicted. She spoke of an occasion in the 1980s, when she hid her younger cousins while listening to the screams of her aunt who was being raped by four or five men—the perpetrators were never prosecuted. She described her realization that “the life of a Native woman was short,” and consequently “fighting hard” to attend the University of Washington, where she studied criminal justice in the 1990s “so that I could be one to protect our women. However, I am only one.” She asked Congress to support the new provisions in VAWA to help protect Native women: “Send a strong message across the country that violence against Native women is unlawful and it is not acceptable in any of our lands.”

It was a turning point in the Senate’s work on the bill. It passed that month with sixty-eight votes, including fifteen Republicans—the kind of bipartisanship that is almost unheard of these days—with the new protections for Native women, and also for undocumented immigrant women and the LGBT community.

But in May the House passed a stripped-down version of the bill that contained none of these key provisions. Only six Democrats voted for it and twenty-three Republicans opposed it. Speaker John Boehner then used a procedural maneuver to avoid reconciling with the Senate on a final VAWA bill. Five House Republicans—led by Illinois Congresswoman Judy Biggert—wrote a letter to Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor urging them to adopt the stronger Senate provisions and move to a final bill.

Yet the legislation languished—until now.

Perhaps sensing from the 2012 election results that the GOP has a serious problem when it comes to relating to women who live on this planet and in this century, Cantor is now negotiating with the Senate and Vice President Biden—who sponsored the original VAWA in 1994. Word is Cantor has relented on the provisions for the LGBT community and undocumented immigrant women. He refuses, however, to consider any provision that gives tribes any kind of criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians.

Native peoples will have to start over from scratch after over three years of work if the bill does not pass within the next few weeks.  It is critical that we contact Cantor and appeal to the small dot of a humanity that might reside within him.

Scientists have found glowing, green galaxies that have been dubbed ‘green bean’ galaxies.r-GREENBEANGALAXY-large570  I have to say that this is really kewl and the video is worth the watch.  Do little green critters come from green bean galaxies?

The galaxy represents a new type, and falls within the range of active galaxies known as Seyfert galaxies. It glows green because of X-rays spewing from a gigantic black hole at its center that weighs several million to billion times more than the sun.

Dubbed a “green bean” galaxy, it appears to be quite rare. Scientists found only about 20 green beans in the vast swath of sky surveyed for this research.

These galaxies will provide a window into the evolution of quasars, which are faraway galaxies powered by massive black holes. [Video: Green Bean Galaxies]

“These things are light echoes,” said Mischa Schirmer, the lead researcher of a paper reporting the findings released today (Dec. 5) and accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal. “What we see is a quasar that is shutting down,” Schirmer said. “It hasn’t shut down entirely yet.”

A southern California judge has admonished a raped woman for permitting the rape by not struggling enough.   Judge Derek Johnson told the victim that “If Sex Isn’t Wanted, Body ‘Will Not Permit That To Happen”.  Where the hell do these men come from and how do they get to these positions of power?  It just appalls me that over 40 years of activism has not gotten rid of the blame the victim attitude of so many morons.

A Southern California judge is being publicly admonished for saying a rape victim didn’t put up a fight during her assault and that if someone doesn’t want sexual intercourse, the body “will not permit that to happen.”

The California Commission on Judicial Performance issued a report Thursday saying Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson’s comments were inappropriate and a breach of judicial ethics.

Johnson is a former prosecutor in the Orange County district attorney’s sex crimes unit. He issued an apology saying he was frustrated with a prosecutor during an argument in 2008 over the sentencing in the case before him compared to other more aggravated cases.

The case involved a man who threatened to mutilate the face and genitals of his ex-girlfriend with a heated screwdriver before committing rape, forced oral copulation, and other crimes.

I guess Governor Bobby Jindal isn’t getting the attention he wants these days . He’s called for making birth control available over the counter in  a WSJ interview.  Will the governor be getting a tweet from the Pope on that?

Jindal cites a December committee opinion from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists which comes out in favor of over-the-counter birth control “to improve contraceptive access and use and possibly decrease unintended pregnancy rates.”

Although the op-ed might seen like a shift to the left for the Catholic governor, Jindal also reiterated his conservative reasoning behind his support for the issue.

First, he made clear if birth control was more readily available, employers currently mandated to provide it under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act would not need to do so.

This argument most clearly is geared toward religiously-affiliated employers who have come out against providing birth control against Church doctrine.

Second, he touts the impact it could have on the individual buyers, saying “it’s time to put purchasing power back in the hands of consumers.”

Finally, he said if birth control is available over-the-counter, this would put an end to the politicization of the issue.

“Contraception is a personal matter — the government shouldn’t be in the business of banning it or requiring a woman’s employer to keep tabs on her use of it.”

Guess we’ll have to see how that goes over with the Right to Forced Servitude Crowd.  Meanwhile, I’m getting ready for the mass insanity that will come shortly as we host the Super Bowl.  I’m just really glad I don’t work down town any more.  However, I think I’m going to go back to gigging during the time because those folks do like to eat out and tip big.  I’m just hoping we get a few teams from the rich part of the country.  Who do I root for?  The Pats?

So, that’s my suggested reads today.  What’s on your reading and blogging list?

28 Comments on “Friday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Man in Mitt Romney mask robs bank in VA. Two years ago the same bank was robbed by someone in a Hillary Clinton mask.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    Yes, dak, you MUST root for the Pats! How could you even ask that question???

    The “war on women” continues unabated. However, what happens on tribal lands is appalling. The struggle for justice is fought between the government itself and tribal law that was extended as a “measure of conciliation” when we invaded their land and took what we wanted before we just went off and ignored them altogether.

    Drunkeness, child abuse, sexual molestation, hunger, inadequate medical access, few jobs, and shabby education take place on those lands but few outside the territories have any idea of what the Native American endures within the confines of those reservations. It’s as if they barely exist.

    The ignorance of the judge in California is astounding! This man actually holds a degree in juris prudence? What is wrong with these people?

    There are just too many stupid people walking around in this world and they are not all named Lindsay Lohan!

    • RalphB says:

      That damn judge not only holds a degree, he is a former prosecutor in the Orange county sex crimes unit! I’ll bet he really sucked at that job.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Good grief! Judge Derek Johnson is an insane creep, but how on earth did he manage to be a prosecutor in the sex crimes unit with that attitude? Where do these people get their crazy ideas?

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Steve King: Benghazi is ten times worse than Watergate and Iran Contra combined.

    Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, said Wednesday that the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is 10 times bigger than the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals put together.

    “I believe that it’s a lot bigger than Watergate, and if you link Watergate and Iran-Contra together and multiply it times maybe 10 or so, you’re going to get in the zone where Benghazi is,” Mr. King said. “I don’t think the public has any idea, and I tell you, I don’t either, of the chronology of the events — what took place, and who was where doing what and why. And all the way down through — we still haven’t seen an autopsy report on the ambassador yet. Simple questions that you would ask in the first 24 hours have not been asked yet.”

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    The GOP has been dying to find a “gate” issue since Watergate brought down Nixon and Irangate sullied their savior, Reagan. Folliw that up with “no WMDs” in Iraq and you can understand their reasoning for digging and labeling anything that would make the Dems look “gulity” of something.

    But to equate Benghazi with those two events is too stupid for words. However, this is Steve King talking, a Tea Party lunatic who has made some other egregious statements in the past so no shock value here.

    As far as I can determine, the CIA was using this consulate to hide the fact that they were arming the Syrian rebels, something the GOP has been calling for since the uprising began. If so, then there is reason to believe that the consulate itself was a “target” by Islamic factions preferring to keep Assad in power or Al Qaeda itself wanting to get their hands on those weapons for themselves.

    It was a mess on any level but whenever the CIA is involved one can rest assured knowing that “covert” is the name of the game.

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    Here we go again: another mass shooting at a public middle school about 45 miles from me. Details are sketchy at this point but a teacher is reported to be wounded.

  7. RalphB says:

    Charles Pierce takes an axe to the F-35 fighter boondoggle. Cut Defense Now!

    Canada’s Not Buying This

  8. RalphB says:

    Paul Krugman has a column today on The GOPs Existential Crisis where he basically argues they’ve hit the end of the road and have no ideas left of what they really want.

    Unfortunately, I think SteveM has a better grasp of today’s GOP from looking at what they do when they have full control, like in Michigan, and he concludes:


    So the GOP has plenty of agenda left. The agenda is making America either Republican or ungovernable. Parts of America are the former (MI), and in D.C. the Republicans will settle for the latter — for now.

    • RalphB says:

      And speaking of Michigan and Republican priorities…

      booman: “Let them suck ice cubes”

      In another stunning legislative maneuver, Michigan Republicans passed a bill last night (attached as an amendment to an appropriations measure) that provides Michigan grocery store clerks may refuse to accept Food Stamps (under the Federal Government’s Supplemental Nutritional Assistance program or SNAP as it is more commonly known) for payment of qualifying purchases if they have “moral objections” or believe that accepting food stamps as payment for food is a “matter of conscience.” Furthermore, the clerks may not be fired by or otherwise penalized by their employers for refusing to accept food stamps or other means of federal food assistance such as EBT cards. The Obama administration has refused to make an announcement regarding the legislation until Governor Snyder signs the Bill into law, which he is expected to do later today. However, several activist organization have indicated they intend to file lawsuits to overturn the legislation.

      A separate bill expected to come to a vote today proposes to remove charitable status from shelters and soup kitchens that provide meals to the homeless, as well as local food banks. Sponsors of the bill say they believe they have the necessary votes needed to pass the legislation before adjournment.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    How abusers get away with targeting women on Indian reservations. Irin Carmon

    “We have serial rapists on the reservation — that are non-Indian — because they know they can get away with it,” said Charon Asetoyer, executive director of the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center in Lake Andes, S.D. “Many of these cases just get dropped. Nothing happens. And they know they’re free to hurt again.”

    Asetoyer was talking about the loophole that prevents tribal authorities, who have jurisdiction over crimes committed on Indian territory by Indians, from having any authority over non-Indian male abusers. That’s despite the fact that non-Indian men account for an estimated 80 percent of rapes of Indian women, and that the astronomical rate of abuse of Indian women is well documented by the federal government.

    A provision in the Senate version of the reauthorization Violence Against Women Act, which has been languishing in partisan deadlock since the spring, would change that. But according to a Huffington Post report, it’s proving the last sticking point for House Republican leadership. The version of the bill passed by the House did not include the expanded protections for Native, immigrant and LGBT victims, but 10 House Republicans broke ranks Tuesday to urge the leadership to support the Senate version.

    “It’s immoral that the Congress of the United States would stand there and say that Indian women are less than their white counterparts, that we shouldn’t have the same equal protection under the law,” said Asetoyer.

    • dakinikat says:

      Thank you for that link. I had no idea what was going on until I ran across that link yesterday. Unbelievable!!!

    • dakinikat says:

      Asetoyer was talking about the loophole that prevents tribal authorities, who have jurisdiction over crimes committed on Indian territory by Indians, from having any authority over non-Indian male abusers. That’s despite the fact that non-Indian men account for an estimated 80 percent of rapes of Indian women, and that the astronomical rate of abuse of Indian women is well documented by the federal government.

      That deserves a repeat.

      • RalphB says:

        If it’s their land, they should have authority over crimes regardless of the race of the perp. That’s like me committing a crime in a neighboring community and them not being able to prosecute because I am not a resident. Blatantly wrong on it’s face.

  10. Greywolf says:

    More insanity coming out of Michigan:

    Not quite ready to read the posts about the shooting. Hugs to everyone. We could use some.