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    • Dogs used to rape prisoners at Bagram?
      I don’t know.  But Pinochet did the same (plus rats), it’s not without precedent. I hope not: The war veteran, who loathed manipulating Western politicians even as he defended tactics of collective punishment, continued his account: Afghan prisoners were tied face down on small chairs, Jack said. Then fighting dogs entered the torture chamber. “If [...] […]
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Friday Morning News and Views


Good Morning Conflucians! TGIF!

I guess state-run media got together with the President and decided to try to distract us with some cutsie, lightweight news this morning:

Obama: “I Can Go to My Right, but I Prefer My Left”

President Obama hit the basketball court and talked politics with CBS “Early Show” co-anchor Harry Smith this morning.

Smith asked Mr. Obama, who is left-handed, if he can ever go to his right.

“I can go to my right, but I prefer my left,” the president says.

He doesn’t always sink his famous jump shot.

“You know, I’ve got a few other things on my mind,” said Mr. Obama, who then makes the jump shot. “Its like health care, I always come from behind – I finish strong.”

{Gag!} I don’t know, somehow cutsie just isn’t working for me at the moment.

Obama also gave Smith a recycled version of his famous “bitter working class people” remarks from the primaries. Some of us (the angry, creepy ones) are bitter, he says, but “the vast majority of Americans know that we’re trying hard, that I want what’s best for the country.” Obviously Obama either doesn’t read or doesn’t believe his poll numbers.

Today President Obama is going the Charlotte, NC, to make another speech–this time about “his administration’s plans to create jobs.” I wonder if he will reveal what that plan is? My guess is it’s “just words.”

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is still 9.7% (actually about 20%) even though the Labor department claims the addition of 162,000 jobs in March.

Here’s a nice feel-good story that works a lot better for me than Obama’s weak basketball jokes: Teen with autism advises other ‘different’ kids

Haley, 15, is using her experience as a person with autism to help others deal with middle school. She wrote and illustrated “Middle School: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About,” which details her advice for students….

Haley’s case is on the high-functioning side of the autism spectrum. She has always attended regular schools, doesn’t have special classes and is a straight-A student at a prestigious private school in South Florida.

“Most people just notice that I’m shy, and that I don’t eat a ton of food at school,” said Haley, of Parkland, Florida. “Other than that, I come across pretty normal.”

Go Haley! I like your style.

Thank goodness, Scott Roeder, convicted murderer of Dr. George Tiller, was sent to prison for life yesterday.

The sentence was handed down Thursday by Judge Warren Wilber at the end of a remarkable nine-hour hearing in which a self-righteous Roeder, shadowed by a burly bailiff, spoke unrepentantly in his own defense while the doctor’s widow, Jeannie Tiller, sat shaking her head “no.”

Roeder had been convicted in January of first-degree murder for gunning Tiller down in his Wichita church last May. The question remaining today was whether Roeder’s mandatory life sentence would carry a minimum of 25 or 50 years before he would be eligible for parole. Prosecutors — citing Roeder’s longtime stalking of Tiller and assault of others in the aftermath of the shooting — argued for the so-called “hard 50.” Determining that those aggravating factors were not outweighed by factors presented by Roeder and his counsel, the judge gave Roeder the maximum sentence.

Throwing the book at Roeder sends the clearest possible message that nothing — not even his stated belief that his actions prevented the “murder” of millions more — mitigates his crime.

This as the Democratic Congress and President as well as the Kansas legislature act to curtail women’s reproductive rights, and consequently women’s basic freedoms to seek life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Today at Counterpunch, Dave Lindoff is arguing that Obama should be impeached.

Here’s Lindorff back in October 2008 explaining why he planned to vote for Barack Obama instead of a third party candidate:

The reason is partly because I know I would vote for Obama if I lived in Ohio or Indiana, where the race between McCain and Obama is too close to call, and so, to vote for Nader when it is simply safe to do so here in Pennsylvania is really a cop-out.

But even more important, when I see the hate-filled racists and right-wing yahoos braying at McCain and Palin rallies, when I hear people calling for Obama to be killed or lynched, and when I see the rabid hate mail circulating in email inboxes falsely labeling him as a secret Muslim, a terrorist, a Marxist and a black nationalist, I want to see the man resoundingly win this election.

But it’s more than that. I also, perhaps against all logic and experience, admit that I expect something good of an Obama presidency.

Call me naive, but based upon my own life experience, I keep thinking that a guy who has worked as a community organizer, a Harvard Law School grad (and even law journal editor!) who could have named his price at a Wall Street law firm, but who chose instead to be a political and community activist, a guy who has relatives who live in humble surroundings in Kenya, and who spent some of his childhood actually living in a Third World Asian nation, not to mention a guy who has surely felt the sting of being called a nigger, has to bring something new to the White House. Certainly no other president in the history of the country has come to the office with such a background.

OK, Dave. I’m calling you naive.

So what are you reading this morning? Please share! And have a fabulous Friday!!!!!

Saturday Morning News and Views

Good Morning Conflucians!!!! It is 3 degrees here in the Boston western suburbs!!

Nevertheless, we are better off than you guys in the southern states where there is a winter storm going on. Yesterday, Texas and Oklahoma got about a foot of snow, and today the storm will move east into the Carolinas and Virgina and then out to sea.

California Conflucians are getting a break from the storms, but the state still needs more to end the long-term drought.

Our economics-challenged President is threatening to veto spending bills (except money for wars, banks, and insurance companies), because he thinks cutting the deficit is as important as creating jobs. I wonder when he’s going to figure out that the U.S. economy is dependent on consumer spending; and if people don’t have jobs, it’s kind of hard for them to buy things. Since he never held a full-time job before getting elected President and all his friends are rich corporate types, he doesn’t quite get what us ordinary people are so worried about.

“Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don’t,” Obama said. “And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will.”

In an effort to make a dent in the growing federal deficit, White House officials announced earlier this week that their budget proposal would keep non-military discretionary programs at fiscal 2010 levels (Greenwire, Jan. 26). The proposal would exempt some of the largest parts of the federal budget including defense and entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare.

It will be up to Congress to decide whether to comply with this request in its spending bills, and Obama pled with them last night to toe the line — addressing critics from his own party and calling the effort vital to keep markets in line and avoid increases in the cost of borrowing.

I guess Obama thinks he can solve our economic problems by creating jobs in the military and defense industries. Maybe he is hoping a lot of us will go to work for Blackwater? I don’t know what he’s thinking, but I like Joseph Cannon’s idea of replacing Geithner with our own Dakinikat.

Eric Holder has been taking a lot of criticism from the right for locating the 9/11 conspiracy trial in New York City, and now he will be getting critiques from not non-Obots on the left. The Justice department review has cleared the Bush torture memo writers of professional misconduct.

Previously, the report concluded that two key authors—Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor—violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics, say two Justice sources who asked for anonymity discussing an internal matter. But the reviewer, career veteran David Margolis, downgraded that assessment to say they showed “poor judgment,” say the sources. (Under department rules, poor judgment does not constitute professional misconduct.)

By this time everyone should be aware that the Obama administration is not going to hold anyone accountable for planning or participating in torture. Continue reading

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