Category Archives: torture

>Who Loves You? Clue: It’s Not the Hedge Funds

>** Message to any Nevadan, sitting in a home devalued by the collapse of the housing bubble inflated by the rampant speculation in securitized assets included therein: The Hedge Funds Are Not Your Friend. Just ask the Greeks. We may be seeing a repeat performance of the 1997-98 Hong Kong Double Play. [Sky] The Chicago Mercantile Exchange estimates that speculators have bet some $7.6 billion “in short positions” against the Euro. This needn’t be Greek to anyone. The ploy is almost simplicity itself.

Greece could have continued to fudge the figures concerning its level of indebtedness, but its new government chose not to do so. Therefore, in an already weakened economic situation, with a tax structure distinctly favoring the nation’s richest citizens, the Greeks were looking at an even more dire set of prospects when the “honest numbers” were revealed. Enter the Speculators, betting against the currency. Heads they win, Tails they win.

They (the speculators) said we can’t lose because if they don’t defend the currency, we’ll make money on the currency. “If they do defend it, we’ll make money on the stock market.” [Sky] What’s eminently clear at this point is that the speculators don’t give a large rodent’s rear end if the Greeks, the Spanish, the Portuguese, or any other government, has to make ever more expensive debt payments created by rising interest rates. Nor do they care if these governments have to trim economic stimulation and infrastructure spending to defend their economies — because the Speculators will simply shift the short positions from the currency markets to the stock markets. [GuardianUK]

What responsible governments can, and probably should, do is to support the Greek’s attempts to introduce those measures that can restrain spending without hampering long term economic prospects, and “burn the speculators” by intervening before the Hong Kong Double Play is reincarnated on the Greek peninsula.

Want to get into the weeds on this topic? See Chicago Fed’s copy of “The Double Play: Simultaneous Speculative Attacks on Currency and Equity Markets.” [PDF] Congressional Research Service, “The 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis” (FAS) “The 1997-98 Korean Financial Crisis: Causes, Policy Responses, and Lessons” IMF (PDF)

** After loudly calling for televising the Senate meetings on the reconciliation of the House and Senate versions of health care reform legislation, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) is hedging about attending the health care talks scheduled by the White House because…they’ll be televised. The GOP stall campaign started with the call months ago to “start over” (since at least last July) and now incorporates Boehner’s rather old idea that there should be no plan under discussion — just a plain sheet of paper. [TPM]

** If you missed this, a reminder: “The OPR’s Torture Memo will be an assault on the rule of law” [Unbossed] And, yes there’s now a time line of The Brief Bomber’s interrogation [WaPo] which doesn’t beat the Bush Adminstration’s five minute record for the Shoe Bomber.

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Filed under financial regulation, Health Care, torture

>By the Numbers: Wal-Mart Up, Guantanamo Down


Good news? The Shopping Center industry’s annual convention in Las Vegas, NV put the spotlight on “retailers that continue to aggressively expand despite the recession.” Who’s on top of the list? Wal-Mart. “Heading the list was Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which, despite the economic slowdown, plans to spend $12.5 billion to $13.55 billion in the fiscal year that started Feb. 1 on capital expenditures, including opening, relocating or expanding 165 to 185 stores in the United States and 550-600 in other nations.” [full story at Las Vegas Sun] The retail mega-operation can afford up to $13.55 billion for expansion, but is still offering its employees who work “full time” at 34 hours per week an average wage of $10.86 per hour, for a total of $19,200.48 per year? Wal-Mart issues statistics on its average hourly wage, but will not make public its median wage figures. Therefore, what the public sees are skewed figures in which the hourly wages for both managers and “store associates” are averaged in together. [WMW]

Accountability? The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Javaid Iqbal’s lawsuit contending that former Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller saying Iqbal cannot demonstrate a link between the abuse (six months in solitary confinement in New York after 9/11) and Mr. Mueller and Mr. Ashcroft. [WaPo] Approximately 1,200 people were rounded up and detained after the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the Justice Department’s IG reported in 2003: “In a widely noted report released earlier this month, the IG found ”significant problems” in the way federal officials dealt with the post-Sep. 11 roundups. Dozens of detainees were subject to verbal and physical abuse by guards at the facility, where they were left to languish in ”unduly harsh” conditions for months, some without access to family members or attorneys, it said.” [CD]

Why are the Republicans going after Pelosi? The 107th Congress was in session from January 3, 2001 until January 2, 2003. The Speaker of the House at the time those controversial “briefings on torture practices” took place (September 2002) DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL) was Speaker of the House. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) was a member, ex officio, of the Intelligence committee. Pelosi was the ranking Democrat on the House Select Committee on Intelligence during the 107th, however there was nothing much she might have done about the use of torture by U.S. interrogators without the cooperation of PORTER GOSS (F-FL) who was chairman at the time. Among the Republicans on the House Select Committee on Intelligence during the 107th Congress – James Gibbons (R-NV) [LOC] So, why didn’t the GOP leadership of the House force the Bush Administration to stop the use of torture? They were in a much better position to do so.

During the 108th Congress, Rep. Goss remained as chairman, and had this to say about the functioning of his committee: “We take these oversight responsibilities very seriously, as does the leadership of Congress. Members of the committee are selected not by their party caucuses, but by those elected to lead their parties. All of the Members of the committee are appointed by the Speaker of the House. We hire a professional staff with experience in intelligence, legal, and legislative matters. We are very proud of the way the committee’s Members work in a bipartisan fashion on some of the most difficult national security problems faced by the United States.” [LOC] (emphasis added) Evidently, not quite seriously enough? At any rate, what we have here is an exercise in media irrelevance. Once more the corporate media gets distracted by the Shiny Object (Newt Gingrich, et. al.) and misses the point. Who authorized, executed, and implemented the use of torture on persons detained in U.S. custody?

More on Senator Ensign’s “worst of the worst” in Guantanamo: Someone actually did a study of the detainees, Professor Mark Denbeaux, of the Seton Hall University School of Law. His conclusions – by November 2006 approximately 45% of all detainees ever held at Guantanamo Bay were released; 55% were never alleged to have committed hostile acts against U.S. or allied forces; 60% were nothing more than associated with Al Qaeda or the Taliban; and, no more than 8% were accused of being ‘fighters.’ There are even more interesting numbers.

The 8% alleged to be ‘fighters’ were released at the same rate as the 60% alleged to be merely associated with terrorist groups. Alleged ‘fighters’ have been released at a rate greater than that for alleged ‘members’ and ‘associates.’ ‘Fighters’ were released an average of 43 days earlier than ‘associated’ with terrorist organizations. ‘Fighters’ were released an average of 57 days earlier than those held because they were ‘members’ of a terrorist organization.

Conclusion? “A review of the Department of Defense’s own data reveals that there is not a consistent practice of releasing detainees based on their alleged association to Al Qaeda and/or the Taliban. In addition, the number of charges against any given detainee does not seem to affect his release date. Instead, the only constant correlation to detainees who are released earlier than others is the nationality of those released. A finding that the only causal relation to release date is nationality shows that either the Department of Defense never believed their own allegations for the basis of detention, or that they knowingly released individuals they believed to be dangerous.” [Denbeaux] (via FactCheck)


Filed under Economy, Ensign, Guantanamo, torture

>Six Illogical Errors: Torture Apologists and Their Arguments


Each day brings another form of tortured logic to the torture debate. The following are the six lines of argument offered so far by the apologists for the application of torture on persons in U.S. custody – and why those arguments are tenuous, irrelevant, or simply downright obnoxious.

Is the application of torture a violation of U.S. statutes? Yes. See Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 113C (2340) in which torture is defined. Paragraph 2340A specifies the offense.

What are the main lines of argument offered in support of the Bush Administration’s use of torture on detainees?

  1. What was done to the detainees really wasn’t torture. Tautological circumlocution, as evidenced in the Bybee/Yoo memos is required to make this argument, contentions which brush perilously close to the edge of “it’s not illegal if the President does it.” The memos sought by the former Administration seek to define torture so narrowly that almost any action might be determined beyond the scope of the statute, even actions determined to be torture in established precedents. Torture apologists then argue that it can’t be torture if it was performed on members of the U.S. military. The concept of intent, so important to the Bybee attempts at justification, has to be ignored if the torture proponents wish to enter this thicket. The intent of the SERE program, in which members of the Armed Forces are subjected to torture techniques, is to introduce the trainees to those interrogation methods used by unscrupulous adversaries – for the express purpose of teaching the trainee how to avoid giving useful or operational information. Torture apologists really can’t have it both ways, and by attempting to argue both (a) it really wasn’t torture in the first place, and (b) it can’t be torture if we did it to our own troops, the apologists have placed themselves securely on the horns of their own dilemma.

  2. What was done was torture, but it was necessary to protect the nation. The ‘necessity defense’ has no traction in this country, but finds some support in rulings of the Israeli Supreme Court. There is a fundamental hypocrisy in evidence when conservative torture apologists, who otherwise deride the acknowledgment of international laws and agreements, seek to advance the ‘necessity defense’ as set forth in foreign courts. However, the hypocrisy isn’t the main problem with this line of argument. The most popular incarnation of this defense is the ubiquitous “Ticking Bomb” scenario. The assumption underlying this fantasy is that, just like in the movies and on scripted television shows, the ‘bad guy’ will endure a few seconds of punishment and promptly ‘give up’ the location of the device. If these scripts were applicable in the real world then why would one detainee be subjected to waterboarding 83 times? The testimony available to date indicates that the waterboarding and other torture methods actually stopped detainees from cooperating with their interrogators. If we really want immediate and useful information about the location of that “Hollywood Bomb” then the slow application of torture would, in reality, produce the opposite result from that which we desire – reliable and truthful information. Perhaps we ought to remember that our adversaries may also be training to avoid giving useful, truthful, and reliable information under torture?

  3. There was torture, but those people who knew about it didn’t do anything at the time. The recent assertions that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Shelby, former Congressman Porter Goss, and former Senator Graham (FL), knew from briefings about the use of torture and did nothing at the time to stop the practices assumes that there was something they could have done. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s Rule 9.7 deals directly with classified briefings and information: “No member of the Committee or of the Committee staff shall disclose, in whole or in part or by way of summary, the contents of any classified or committee sensitive papers, materials, briefings, testimony, or other information in the possession of the Committee to any other person, except as specified in this rule.” And, the rule precludes sharing information without authorization. The House rules for its Intelligence Committee are equally stringent. Meeting are to be closed if the information received or discussed concerns: National security, Sensitive law enforcement information, Degrading or incriminating anyone; or otherwise violate House rules. When dealing with classified information members and committee staff “shall not at any time, either during that person’s tenure as a member of the committee or as committee staff, or anytime thereafter, discuss or disclose, or cause to be discussed or disclosed the classified substance of the work of the committee, any information received by the committee in executive session, any classified information received from any source, or the substance of any hearing that was closed to the public pursuant to these rules and the rules of the House. Frankly, this is one of the weaker arguments, and presents more distraction and explication. First, this line of argument admits that torture took place, (not a very comfortable admission for the torture apologists), and secondly, it assumes authority not granted to divulge the information received during the briefings, to anyone, much less the general public.

  4. There was torture, but then, there has always been torture so it must be effective. As stated in the previous post, this argument fails the laugh test. Merely because people have indulged in some belief or action over the centuries doesn’t mean the beliefs or actions are either effective or rational. The fact that for most of our existence as homo sapiens we dressed in animal skins and slept on the ground doesn’t imply that we should revert to doing so. Nor does this argument address questions of morality and ethics. Adultery has been a long standing human practice, that it has existed over the centuries doesn’t make it moral or ethical. Murder has been acknowledged since the Cain/Abel incident, but we do not condone it merely because of its historical tenure in the annals of mankind.

  5. There was torture, but to discuss it will embolden our enemies and place members of our government and Armed Services in jeopardy. Obviously, this argument, too, acknowledges the application of torture to detainees in U.S. custody; and it is no more reliable than the previous contentions in its abuse of reality. There has to be an initial determination that members of the CIA and the Armed Forces are already in jeopardy during the course of the work we send them to do on our behalf each and every day. The question, then, becomes does the acknowledgment of torture cause them to be in greater jeopardy? One of the more egregious results of our use of torture, and defiance of international standards, could easily be an opponent’s belief that if we torture their adherents then it must be perfectly acceptable for them to torture our military and intelligence personnel. Extrapolating these mutually destructive assumptions would logically lead to exactly the kind of sub-human behavior the authors and signers of the non-torture agreements sought to remove from the realm of acceptable human behavior in the first place. We would all be reduced to a level below that of the beasts of the forest; “nature is violent – only man is vile.” Surely, this bestial level of behavior is not what the torture apologists have in mind as they attempt to rationalize their conduct. If they do, then perhaps they should reflect on how much this reveals about themselves as opposed to how much it reveals about their adversaries?

  6. If you investigate the behavior of our Party, we’ll investigate yours. This line is closely related to the contention that any investigation of the behavior Bush Administration members is, of necessity and by definition, a political stunt. Partisanship often precludes logic, and certainly does so in this instance. The logical position is that questions of who knew what, or who may have acquiesced, are tangential. Anyone who was in a position of authority to devise, execute, and implement a policy of torture in contravention of U.S. law may be culpable for his or her actions; party affiliation is utterly irrelevant.

Tomorrow is another day, and no doubt more efforts to excuse the inexcusable and to justify the unjustifiable will be introduced to the discussion of this sad chapter in our nation’s history.

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>Torture Hearings Launched by Senate Judiciary Committee


While the distracted punditocracy discusses who was told what and when and did whatever, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) initiated hearings on the Bush Administration’s torture program. [SenJudCom] Among the statements, this from former State Department official Philip D. Zellikow: “The U.S. government adopted an unprecedented program of coolly calculated dehumanizing abuse and physical torment to extract information,” Zelikow said. “This was a mistake, perhaps a disastrous one. It was a collective failure. . . . Precisely because this was a collective failure, it is all the more important to comprehend it and learn from it.” [WaPo]

The New York Times characterized the hearing as a “bitter start.” The article references two lines of argument from torture apologists like Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). First, Graham alluded to the ‘feel safe’ contention – “would we be having this hearing if there were an attack this afternoon.” Secondly, he charged that torture techniques have been used for 500 years because they work.” The first contention requires the assumption that the use of torture yielded valuable information that directly prevented the planning or implementation of terrorist attacks – no such evidence is publicly available. The second contention assumes that the duration of a belief confirms its veracity. If this were true, then we could do without the nation’s meteorological services and simply rely on the predictions made by groundhogs for weather information.

Whitehouse opened the session saying, “Winston Churchill said, “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” The truth of our country’s descent into torture is not precious, it is noxious. But it has also been attended by a bodyguard of lies. This hearing is designed to begin to expose some of those lies, to prepare us to struggle with that noxious truth, and to examine the battlements of legal authority upon which that truth and its bodyguard of lies was constructed.”

The full statement from Philip D. Zellikow is available here in PDF format. FBI interrogator Ali Soufan added: “In addition the harsh techniques only serves to reinforce what the detainee has been prepared to expect if captured. This gives him a greater sense of control and predictability about his experience, and strengthens his will to resist,” during his opening statement.

David Luban took the underpinnings from beneath the legalistic ‘justifications’ for the Bybee/Yoo memos: “No lawyer’s advice should do that. The rules of professional ethics forbid lawyers from counseling or assisting clients in illegal conduct; they require competence; and they demand that lawyers explain enough that the client can make an informed decision, which surely means explaining the law as it is. These are standards that the entire legal profession recognizes. Unfortunately, the interrogation memos fall far short of professional standards of candid advice and independent judgment. They involve a selective and in places deeply eccentric reading of the law. The memos cherry-pick sources of law that back their conclusions, and leave out sources of law that do not. They read as if they were reverse engineered to reach a pre-determined outcome: approval of waterboarding and the other CIA techniques.” Jeffrey F. Addicott, of the St. Mary’s University School of Law provided an extended discussion of various interpretations and legal theories.

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>Thumbs Up, Down, and Sideways: Nevada’s Members of Congress and the Torture Apologist


Federal appellate judge, and torture apologist, Jay Bybee is now one for five in getting support for his “Enhanced Image” campaign from Nevada’s representatives on Capitol Hill. Only Senator John Ensign (R-NV) has given the author of the Tortures R’Us memos an unqualified thumbs up. Senator Harry Reid has not met with Bybee, and wants ‘more information’ [LV Sun] Representative Shelley Berkley (D-NV) has made her position clear, and according to the Sun article, isn’t likely to reverse course. Representative Dina Titus’s comments lead a person to believe that she would listen to him – and then he would listen to her. “I’d like to hear from him if he thinks he made the right decision interpreting the law and doing the job as he saw it defined,” Titus said Wednesday. “But I also will not hesitate to make it clear to him that I absolutely disagree with his interpretation. The United States is not a country of torture.” Representative Dean Heller (R-NV2), who periodically inserts himself into southern Nevada political issues, appears to be staying out of this one.

Thumbs up to the unequivocal stance taken by Representative Berkley! For all intents and purposes there is no such thing as ‘enhanced interrogation;’ the concept is simply a legal fiction of convenience allowing the unscrupulous to do the unthinkable.

Thumbs up at a slight angle for the stance taken by Representative Titus. Granted she and Bybee have been professional colleagues, and there is something to getting both sides of the story. However, Bybee’s memos are the story. The tautological circumlocution required to sustain the argument that torture isn’t torture if one defines torture tortuously is proof in itself that Bybee has no ‘side’ to offer, merely excuses and rationalizations.

Thumbs sideways for Senator Harry Reid (D-NV). What more information could one possibly need about the memos that isn’t included in the memos themselves? Bybee wrote what his masters wanted to hear – not what the administration he served needed to know. There is no indication in the memos that Bybee looked seriously into the historical context of the torture issue. Had he done so it would have been evident at the outset that the Water Cure, Water Boarding, or any other manifestation of the technique, has been adjudicated and declared good old fashioned torture in well established precedents. Judge Bybee’s memos merely demonstrate the lengths to which sycophancy can beget illegal activity.

Thumbs down at a slight angle to Representative Dean Heller, usually so anxious to insert himself in those southern Nevada issues which might enhance his chances in a statewide election. A person could predict that Representative Heller will have something to say when the dust settles? Heller might benefit from a reminder that bad things happen when good people do nothing.

Thumbs down to torture apologist Senator John Ensign. Ensign has something of a track record in the Wet Pants Dance ensemble of the Republican Party. Evidently, now ‘having a brilliant mind’ somehow excuses egregious behavior: “In fact, Republican Sen. John Ensign has become one of Bybee’s most outspoken supporters in Congress.“He is a brilliant legal mind, and he simply offered his interpretation of the law,” Ensign spokesman Tory Mazzola said Tuesday.” [LV Sun] Let me get this straight: If my employer wanted me to draft a memo advising that there were circumstances under which it would be technically legal to cheat and defraud customers, and I defined “cheating” and “defrauding” and “intent” such that his proposed actions would be acceptable – then “I would have a brilliant legal mind?” And, worse yet, I was “simply offering an interpretation of the law?” Bybee’s memos are much closer to collusion and conspiracy than to merely offering interpretational comment. Senator Ensign, having convinced himself of Dick Cheney’s wisdom, is ready to rationalize any unconstitutional behavior in the service of protecting the physical safety of the timid and the placid lifestyle of the cowardly, at the expense of the core values upon which our country is founded.

Update: More at Think Progress this morning.

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Filed under Berkley, Ensign, Heller, Reid, Titus, torture

>Overnight Express: News Roundup


** Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazer, has pledged to open four renewable energy permitting offices, and to create renewable energy teams. Four states have been selected: Nevada, Wyoming, California, and Arizona. [DoI]

** Bid’ness News – The Hedge Fund Boyz lose again: This round a federal bankruptcy judge has ruled against their attempt to stop the sale of Chrysler assets saying there is evidence of an “urgent need for the deal to be consummated.” [Reuters] “GM may report loss tomorrow ahead of June 1 bankruptcy filing” [Bloomberg] The Bank of America has been told it needs $33.9 billion in capital to withstand any additional decline in the U.S. economy. [NYT] Almost 25% of U.S. homeowners are ‘underwater’ on their mortgages. [Bloomberg] “Gender gap ‘off the charts’ in current recession” [ColIndy]

The vulture funds are looking at small hometown banks [NYT] “Some Aspects of our Industry Seem Greedy” an interview with a Goldman Sachs exec in Der Spiegel. “Pension Privateers: How the boss absconded with your benefits” [Mother Jones] “AIG bonus pool gets bigger” [TDB]

** Polly Ticks – Michelle Bachmann (R-Planet X) is channeling Ron Paul (?-TX) [MNIndy] Two Minnesota DFL Party members will compete to run against Bachmann next round. [MNIndy] And, that Senate Race? “Bush lawyer is Fox’s lone expert pushing Coleman-Franken to federal courts” (None other than Hans “Vote Suppression Meister” von Spakovsky). [MNIndy] “Republicans are against it – whatever it is” [Salon] “Profiling the GOP: Contami-i-nation” [Nation]

** Afpak-istan – “Karzai seeks ‘civilian surge’ likely beyond U.S. capacity” [WashIndy] “Holbrooke backs embattled Pakistan government” [WashIndy] “A new approach to Karzai” [WaPo] Swat residents are fleeing their homes [BBC] “Doubts remain as Sharia bill signed” [BBC] Pakistan fears an exodus from Swat valley [AJN] Up to 100 civilians feared dead in US air raids in Afghanistan [GuardianUK] “How Dangerous are the Taliban?” [Foreign Affairs]

** Muddle East – UN Report says Israeli military intentionally fired at UN facilities in Gaza [AJN] [BBC] Four arrested in West Bank unrest [BBC]

** Remembering Haiti every once in awhile – “Obama administration reconsiders Haitian policy” [SunSent] Perhaps this is as good a time as any to review Secretary Clinton’s remarks during her April visit.

** Tortured Logic – “Limiting food aided ‘enhanced interrogations: Justice Department memo describes liquid diets for detainees” [WashIndy] “Torture memos: inquiry suggests no prosecutions” [NYT] “Judgment Day May be Approaching for CIA agents (el-Masri Case) [Der Spiegel] “The reluctant enablers of torture…mental health professionals raised questions about harsh interrogations” [Salon] “Interrogating Torture” [New Yorker]

** Ecology – “EPA proposes changes to biofuel regulations” [WaPo] West coast ports make for ‘greener’ shipping [LAT] Motorcycle smog tests proposed in California [LAT] Thousands flee Brazilian floods [BBC] “Waxman hits back on climate change” [The Hill]

** Psych Turf – right wing commentator Michael “savage” Weiner announced he wants to sue the UK after finding himself on their “Do Not Come” list. [BBC]

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Filed under ecology, Economy, Middle East, Politics, torture

>Bits and Pieces: Budget Passes House


Various Things and Stuff captures the essential problem with Judge Jay Bybee, and his infamous memos. The former UNLV law prof “…has too much respect for authority, and will avoid a confrontation no matter what.” This would serve to explain why someone in the legal profession would stoop to the pedantic exercise necessary to parse each and every torture technique such that it could fit into the Bush Administration’s preferred interpretation. David Rose calls it “Tortured Reasoning,” (Vanity Fair). Katherine Eban discusses “Torture memos link lawyers and psychologists” in Vanity Fair. Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) have written to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting the appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate and potentially prosecute those involved in the torture of detainees held by U.S. authorities. [CD] David Corn writes on “The Problem With A Special Prosecutor,” for Mother Jones.

Dan Froomkin compiles various points of view on “The Advocates of Ignorance,” and the Future of Freedom Foundation provides more information in its four part series, “Ten Terrible Truths About the CIA Torture Memos.” Does Judge Bybee really intend for any rational person to believe that 10.999 days without sleep is somehow substantially different from 11 days of sleep deprivation?

Newsweek takes a serious look at the efforts of White Supremacist groups and their efforts to rebrand themselves. Note: That warning about lone wolves being ever more dangerous should be heeded. See “Rebranding Hate in the Age of Obama: With an African American president and the economy in bad shape, extremist groups are trying to enter the mainstream – and they’re having some success.”

One response to the Prison-Industrial Complex is provided in “Jim Webb’s Reading List” at the Nation. The Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition published “Private Prisons and Public Money” in September 2002, and its still provides good background information on the subject. For further information see “Who Profits from Private Prisons” at Firedoglake which takes an interesting perspective on the relationship between the Census and the construction sites for private prison facilities.

The House has passed the President’s budget, $3.4 trillion of it. [TDB] Comparing this to the Bush FY 2009 $3.1 trillion budget makes it hard for the Right to keep asserting that Now!(?) we’re spending ourselves into oblivion? The Budget Resolution passed on a 233-193 vote, [roll call 216] Representatives Titus (D-NV3) and Berkley (D-NV1) voted in favor of the resolution, Congressman Heller (R-NV2) voted against it. *The FY 2010 budget includes the costs of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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