Friday, October 30, 2009

Haunted Houses

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OBAMA'S REAL DEATH PANELS

by Ted Rall

http://images.ucomics.com/images/uexpress2/creator_photos/ru_hd.pngShortly after 9/11, George W. Bush secretly signed two executive orders. Both violated basic constitutional protections as well as U.S. obligations under international treaties, yet both carried the force of law.

They still do.

The first order grants the president (and other officials, including the secretary of defense, the secretary of homeland security and presumably certain postal clerks) the right to declare anyone--including an American citizen--an "unlawful enemy combatant." A person so declared has no redress, no way to appeal, no ability to challenge that designation. Once a person has been named an enemy combatant, according to the Bush Administration--and now to the Obama Administration--he has no rights. He can be held without charges forever, tortured, you name it--well, actually, the president or the secretary of defense names it.

In the second covert executive order, Bush authorized the CIA to target and assassinate said "enemy combatants"--again, including American citizens.

These two documents first came into play on November 3, 2002, when a CIA-operated Predator drone plane violating Yemeni airspace fired a Hellfire missile at a car containing Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, supposedly Al Qaeda's #1 man in Yemen at the time.

U.S. officials didn't know that an American citizen, Kamal Derwish, was riding along. (You know what they say about hitchhiking.) "The Bush administration said the killing of an American in this fashion was legal...this is legal because the president and his lawyers say so--it's not much more complicated than that," CBS News reported at the time. "I can assure you that no constitutional questions are raised here," said Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, after the CIA assassinations. "He's well within the balance of accepted practice and the letter of his constitutional authority."

It's right there in the Constitution between the right to tax and the repeal of Prohibition.

Anyway, Congress tried to clarify matters in the Military Commissions Act of 2006, part of which--the section that eliminated the writ of habeas corpus--got struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. But the rest of the MCA remains in force, including a passage that defines an enemy combatant as anyone who provides "material support" to the "enemy." And who is the enemy? The enemy is anyone the president says it/he/she/they is.

Again, there is no distinction between foreigners and U.S. citizens.

Jose Padilla, the so-called would-be "dirty bomber" held in a Navy brig since 2002, was tried and convicted of such "material support" charges in 2007. (The government couldn't prosecute Padilla for their original dirty bomb charges because they had tortured him so severely that he had been reduced to mental mush.)

Now that times have supposedly changed, it's time to ask: why hasn't President Obama abrogated Bush's controversial executive orders? If Obama truly seeks a break with the lawlessness of the prior administration, what better way to enact it?

Simply put, no one man--not even a nice, articulate, charismatic one--ought to claim the right to suspend a person's constitutional rights. Not in America. Certainly no one man--not even a young, handsome, likeable one--should be able to have anyone he wants whacked. Even in dictatorships, the right of life and death is reserved for judges and juries operating under a system purportedly designed to support impartiality and a search for the truth.

But that's not the case here in the United States. In 2002 Scott Silliman, director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke University asked: "Could you put a Hellfire missile into a car in Washington, D.C., under [the Bush] theory? The answer is yes, you could."

http://www.rall.com/

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Have you seen these smug bastards?

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Jack Herer Kidnapped?!

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Jack had a heart attack in Portland, Oregon on September 12. I was in California waiting for him to come home. I flew to Portland, went to the hospital and was told that a woman named Joy Graves had come to the hospital with a Medical Power of Attorney that Jack had allegedly signed, naming her and Chuck Jacobs as the people in charge of Jack's medical care. It wasn't complete and looks like someone forged his signature. The hospital's legal team determined it was no good.

Jack is now in a skilled nursing facility in Eugene. Joy Graves has taken the paper to them and they have accepted it until their legal team decides what to do. In the meantime, I am not allowed to see Jack or even get news about his condition over the phone. Jack has already been neglected in the nursing home. He fell out of bed there and hit his head shortly after being admitted. He had lumps on his head from it and bruises on his upper eyelids.

I've had to hire an attorney to deal with this. I don't have much money but I'll do what I can. I love Jack very much and can't believe this is happening to him now, when he needs me the most.

Jeannie Herer
jeannieherer@yahoo.com
 
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Even Lieberman’s Ancestors Betrayed the Public Option

The Satirical Political Report

By Don Davis

C'MON MOSES, LET'S LEAVE THE POOREST AND UNINSURED ISRAELITES BEHIND TO DEAL WITH THE TEN PLAGUES, WHILE WE RIDE OUT ACROSS THE DESERT ON OUR PRIVATE CAMELS."

http://satiricalpolitical.com/2009/10/28/even-liebermans-ancestors-betrayed-the-public-option/

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Halloween Meat Hand

not martha 

I made something gruesome and delicious.

No, really, it was good.

This is meatloaf.

Meatloaf with cheese on top.

And some ketchup.

The nails are made of onion.

http://www.notmartha.org/archives/2009/10/27/meat-hand/

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When the tough should really get going

by Garrison Keillor
 
Garrison KeillorThe former Marine officer Matthew Hoh, who resigned his Foreign Service post in Afghanistan because he feels the war is pointless and not worth dying for, deserves all the attention he's gotten and more. The Obama administration faces hard decisions there, and the man made a good case against deeper American involvement. He says that our presence among the Pashtun people, the rural, religious people, is only aggravating a civil war between them and the urban, secular (and, it seems, fraudulent) government of Kabul, and the role of the Taliban and al-Qaida is not central -- the real issues are tribal and cultural.

American families, he said, "must be reassured their dead have sacrificed for a purpose worthy of futures lost, love vanished, and promised dreams unkept. I have lost confidence such assurances can be made any more."

It is rare that a high-level official -- he was the senior State Department guy in Zabul province -- resigns in protest, and in all the to-do about his four-page resignation letter, nobody had a single bad thing to say about Matthew Hoh.

Americans tend not to admire quitters, which is maybe why protest resignations are so rare. You can get up on your high horse and talk about your principles, but we suspect you're just another slacker looking for an easy way out. Your old football coach told you that when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and by "get going" he didn't mean "write a four-page letter about your disillusionment with his coaching and the split-T offense in general" -- he meant, Toughen Up, Assume the Three-Point Stance, Hit 'Em Hard, Eat Some Turf, Get Up and Hit 'Em Again.

On the other hand, you don't want to be the last man to believe in the mission after everyone else has seen the light and gone home. Sunday in San Francisco, they set out to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Woodstock by gathering 3,000 guitarists in Golden Gate Park to play Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze," and 50 showed up and some of them were playing ukuleles. The '60s are over. Time to move on.
 
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Glenn Greenwald: Lieberman and Bayh Enriching Themselves and Their Spouses with Opposition to Health Reform

http://static.crooksandliars.com/sites/all/themes/crooks/vidcafe/images/mainheader.jpg

 

Rachel Maddow talks to Glenn Greenwald about Joe Lieberman's threat to filibuster the health care bill if it contains a public option, Evan Bayh quickly following suit and the financial gain being made by both men and their spouses for doing so.

Maddow: Sen. Lieberman has made it very clear that he plans to oppose health reform that includes a public option. He'll filibuster it in fact which would be historic. What do you think is motivating him?

Greenwald: Well I think you have to look first of all at a Research 2000 Daily KOS poll that was taken last month that shows that a margin of 68 to 21% of Connecticut voters, the people who he's essentially representing, favor a public option. That's a 47 point margin which is almost impossible to find on almost any other issue. So when you ask why he's doing this, it's clearly not because the people he's supposed to be representing favor it.

I think clearly what it's about is primarily that fact that the industry that he's serving by doing this—by preventing competition with the public option—is an industry from which he receives very substantial benefits. He's drowning in campaign contributions from the insurance industry, the health care industry, the pharmaceutical industry—more than $2.5 million.

In early 2005 his wife was hired by a large P.R. firm, Hill & Knowlton, in the pharmaceutical division, which at the time was representing the health care giant Glaxo in major legislation before the Senate. And several months later Joe Lieberman was on the floor of the Senate offering legislation that would directly steer huge amounts of incentives to that company in order to develop vaccines.

So I think what you're seeing here is the kind of legalized corruption, legalized bribery that runs the United States Senate; only in this case it's particularly sleazy and transparent because Lieberman is ready to gut the major initiative of the Democratic Party.

Maddow: In doing so, using a procedural tactic that he's in part made his name by opposing is the thing that's so dramatic. Sen. Lieberman of course—he made this big announcement yesterday—today Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana followed suit saying that he reserves the right now not only to filibuster the final vote, but even to filibuster earlier than that any debate on a bill that he's not happy with. Sen. Bayh—we had thought that other conservative Democrats might follow Lieberman's lead here, he sort of threw the door open and now presumably Bayh and maybe even others will follow. Can you say anything about what may be motivating Bayh.

Greenwald: Well, let's look at Sen. Bayh. His wife sits on the Board of Directors of WellPoint, one of the largest health insurance companies in the nation. They own by their own disclosures between $500,000 and a million dollars just of WellPoint stock alone. And as I think you reported yesterday when Sen. Lieberman threatened to filibuster to the public option as one would expect the value of the stock of the health care industries and the health care companies skyrocketed—which directly benefited, personally benefited the finances of the Bayh family.

Let me just quickly reference this column two weeks ago by Dan Carpenter, a columnist for the Indianapolis Sun, who knows Sen. Bayh the best. He talks about how his wife is benefiting directly from the very actions Sen. Bayh is taking in the Senate to block health care reform—financially benefiting his family. And he wrote "after it became clear he was going to be a Senator, Susan Bayh started stacking up memberships on the board of health care corporations. Susan Bayh got paid a little over $2 million for her service between 2006 and 2008. Her husband had a good 2008 also, collecting more than $500,000 in campaign donations from the health care industry.

And now these very same people who receive enormous amounts of benefits, in Lieberman's case from camp contributions and through his wife and also in Bayh's case are not ignoring their constituents and the interest of their country to serve the very industries that enrich them. It's really clear corruption.

They went on to discuss the promises made by Joe Lieberman when he was allowed to keep his chairmanship and the way these corporate Democrats have been allowed to do anything they want while liberal Democrats have been threatened with loss of support unless they voted for the war supplemental bill.

http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/node/32353

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Daily Show under fire for covering Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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stewart bw7 Daily Show under fire for covering Israeli Palestinian conflictJon Stewart's comedy news show The Daily Show is reportedly under fire from pro-Israeli groups for giving airtime to two pro-Palestinian figures on Wednesday night.
 
Stewart hosted Palestinian democracy activist Mustafa Barghouti and human rights activist Anna Baltzer, author of A Witness in Palestine, who explained the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the perspective of the Palestinian side.

According to a letter reportedly written by Baltzer and circulated by blogger Eric Johnson, the show "was overwhelmed with angry emails and phone calls prior to the appearance, and up until the last minute it seemed like they might cancel."

"During the taping the show had its only heckler in 11 years," Baltzer wrote. "The entire staff were very nervous and may come to regret the monumental decision (and not make it again) as they will surely be inundated now that the show has aired."

At one point during the interview, Barghouti asserted: "We [Palestinians] are struggling for liberty, we are struggling for justice. It's Palestinians who have been subjected to the longest occupation in history and a system of segregation that is totally unjust."

At that point, a voice in the audience could be heard shouting: "Liar!"

"Apparently we have Joe Wilson with us tonight," Stewart quipped, referring the US House representative who yelled "You lie!" during President Obama's address to Congress last month.

The segment drew criticisms from a number of pro-Israeli activists and commenters.

"Jon Stewart [had] a couple of disgraceful guests on his show on Wednesday night for a night of Israel bashing," wrote blogger Israel Matzav. "No, there's no pro-Israel counterpoint (perhaps he will try to convince us that ISM activist Baltzer - who is Jewish - is meant to provide balance). And I thought Stewart's was a comedy show. What if no one watched him?"

Not all pro-Israeli voices were as critical.

"It doesn't actually seem that groundbreaking," wrote Rafi G. "He has a Palestinian talking about Palestinian rights and he has an Jewish leftist talking about Palestinian rights. They are advocating a non-violent approach, both from a Palestinian point of view."

But the blogger noted that "nobody said a word about Palestinian terror or their not accepting peace deals that were offered."

Baltzer is now urging Daily Show viewers to send letters of support to the show, in an effort to keep the show from being dissuaded from covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the future.

And some commentators are praising Stewart for taking on the issue. TalkingPointsMemo blogger M.J. Rosenberg credits Stewart with starting a "sea change" in American media's coverage of the Middle Eastern conflict.

Rosenberg wrote:

Not long ago, no mainstream media personality would ever allow himself to be associated with anyone who suggests that diplomacy, not war, is the way to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Being thought of as not 100% down with the government of Israel was a career killer. And, if it wasn't, media and show business figures believed it was and that was the same thing.

That era ended with the rise of Jon Stewart, the most trusted television personality in America (and the only one the kids pay attention to). Stewart is the antithesis of the scared Jew.

The following video was broadcast on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, October 28, 2009.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Anna Baltzer & Mustafa Barghouti Extended Interview Pt. 1
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Anna Baltzer & Mustafa Barghouti Extended Interview Pt. 2
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis
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US Chamber Shuts off TheYesMen.org and Websites of Hundreds of Other Activist Groups

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Free Speech, Free Commerce Threatened by "Free Trade" Champion

Hundreds of activist organizations had their internet service turned off last night after the US Chamber of Commerce strong-armed an upstream provider, Hurricane Electric, to pull the plug on The Yes Men and May First / People Link, a 400-member-strong organization with a strong commitment to protecting free speech.

"This is a blow against free speech, and it demostrates in gory detail the full hypocrisy of the Chamber," said Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes Men. "The only freedom they care about is the economic freedom of large corporations to operate free of the hassles of science, reality, and democracy."

After suffering embarrassment at the hands of the Yes Men on Monday, the Chamber immediately threatened legal action, then followed through Thursday by sending a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice to Hurricane Electric Internet Services. In the DMCA notice, the Chamber claimed that the parody Chamber website operated by The Yes Men constituted copyright infringement, and demanded that the site be shut down immediately and that the creator's service be canceled.

But the Yes Men are not served directly by Hurricane Electric, but by May First / People Link. And when Hurricane Electric shut down the fake Chamber of Commerce site (now relocated), they also took down the websites of 400 other organizations.

May First / People Link fought back. They immediately "mirrored" the site, and then quickly negotiated with Hurricane Electric to restore service to their other members.

"The DMCA attacks the critically important right we have to effectively comment and criticize institutions and companies," said May First/People Link Co-Director Alfredo Lopez. "It's an undemocratic, backwards law, a perfect example of how the government shouldn't intrude on our lives. But the Chamber was perfectly happy to use it to stomp on the Yes Men's rights to free spech, and the rights of hundreds of other organizations to operate on the web."

The 400 May First / People Link members weren't the only victims of the Chamber's action on Thursday. Today is the start of the national release of the Yes Men's new film, The Yes Men Fix the World. The film is being released in a number of independent theaters - who, not being part of a chain, are heavily dependent on the Yes Men website for selling tickets to the film. The Chamber's actions thus impinge on the ability of these small businesses to turn a profit.

http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/10/23-5

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Iowa Republicans wince at Palin fee

 
Politico
by Jonathan Martin
 
A conservative Iowa group's effort to lure Sarah Palin to its banquet next month has had an unintended effect: Rather than exciting conservatives about the prospect of a visit from the former Alaska governor, the group's plan to raise a six-figure sum to bring her to the state has GOP activists recoiling at the thought of paying to land a politician's speaking appearance.

The Iowa Family Policy Center's effort to cobble together $100,000 for Palin would represent a striking departure from customary practice in the first-in-the-nation state, these Republicans say, noting that a generation of White House hopefuls has paid their own way to boost their party and presidential ambitions.

Were Palin to appear in Iowa on November 21st, it would mark her first trip back to the state since she spoke to a handful of rallies there last fall as the GOP's vice-presidential nominee. She would offer powerful counter-programming to another major political event that night: The Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner with Vice-President Joe Biden as the headliner.

But representatives from other Iowa-based political advocacy groups said they would never consider shelling out money for what many politicians see as a privilege: the opportunity to speak to a room full of sure-fire caucus-goers who often serve as precinct captains and can be instrumental to a presidential candidate's success.

"If somebody tells me they want me to pay an appearance fee, it tells me they're not very serious about running for president," said Ed Failor, Jr., president of Iowans for Tax Relief and an influential GOP insider.

"I found it really, really odd," Failor said.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20091029/pl_politico/28873

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FOX News Isn't News. It's a Political Operation.

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Curry spice 'kills cancer cells'

British Broadcasting Corporation

curry
The yellow spice gives curries their bright colour

An extract found in the bright yellow curry spice turmeric can kill off cancer cells, scientists have shown.

The chemical - curcumin - has long been thought to have healing powers and is already being tested as a treatment for arthritis and even dementia.

Now tests by a team at the Cork Cancer Research Centre show it can destroy gullet cancer cells in the lab.

Cancer experts said the findings in the British Journal of Cancer could help doctors find new treatments.

Dr Sharon McKenna and her team found that curcumin started to kill cancer cells within 24 hours.

'Natural' remedy

The cells also began to digest themselves, after the curcumin triggered lethal cell death signals.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8328377.stm

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7.3 Billion Years Later, Einstein’s Theory Prevails

 
Astronomers said Wednesday that a race halfway across the universe had ended in a virtual tie. And so the champion is still Albert Einstein — for now.

A Sprint Across Bumpy Space-TimeThe race was between gamma rays of differing energies and wavelengths spit in a burst from an exploding star when the universe was half its present age. After a journey of 7.3 billion light-years, they all arrived within nine-tenths of a second of one another in a detector on NASA's Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, at 8:22 p.m., Eastern time, on May 9.

Astronomers said the gamma-ray race was one of the most stringent tests yet of a bedrock principle of modern physics: Einstein's proclamation in his 1905 theory of relativity that the speed of light is constant and independent of its color, or energy; its direction; or how you yourself are moving.

"I take it as a confirmation that Einstein is still right," Peter F. Michelson of Stanford, principal investigator for Fermi's Large Area Telescope and one of 206 authors of a paper published online Wednesday in the journal Nature, said in an interview.

There is no evidence so far that the energy or wavelength of light affects its speed through space. That is important because of what it could say about the structure of space-time. Some theorists have suggested that space on very small scales has a granular structure that would speed some light waves faster than others — in short, that relativity could break down on the smallest scales.

Dr. Michelson and others emphasize that while the new Fermi results do not yet eliminate the prospect, further observations with more gamma-ray bursts could eventually verify or refute the hypothesis. That would have a major effect on physicists' efforts to unify the Einsteinian gravity that governs outer space with the weird quantum laws that govern the inner space of the atom.

Mario Livio, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, called the Fermi results an interesting effect but not revolutionary by any stretch. "The beauty of the experiment is not as much in what it achieves," Dr. Livio said, "as in the fact that you can use astronomical observations to place some interesting limits on very fundamental physics."

Quantum theory, as Einstein discovered to his chagrin, reduces life on subatomic scales to a game of chance in which elementary particles can be here or there but not in between. One consequence is that space-time itself should become discontinuous and chaotic when viewed at very close distances, the way an ocean that looks smooth from an airplane appears choppy and foamy up close.

This, the story goes, could have an effect on the propagation of light — or photons, as they are called in quantum-speak — slowing light with short wavelengths relative to light with longer wavelengths. The higher the energy of a photon, the shorter is its wavelength. One way to think about it is to envision the photons as boats on this choppy sea. The small ones, like tugboats, have to climb up and down the waves to get anywhere, while the bigger ones can slice through the waves and bumps like ocean liners, and thus go a little faster.

Until now such quantum gravity theories have been untestable. Ordinarily you would have to see details as small as 10-33 centimeters — the so-called Planck length, which is vastly smaller than an atom — to test these theories in order to discern the bumpiness of space. Getting that kind of information is far beyond the wildest imaginations of the builders of even the most modern particle accelerators, and that has left quantum gravity theorists with little empirical guidance.

"What's really lacking," Dr. Michelson explained, "is a laboratory experiment that tells us anything. So we have to use cosmology: we use the universe as the lab."

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/science/space/29light.html?_r=3&ref=global-home

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TED WILLIAMS JUST BECAME THE BEST HALLOWEEN COSTUME OF THE YEAR


 
Ted Williams
 
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