5.14.2009

Pelosi Says CIA Misled Her On Waterboarding Use


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This is huge! Madam Speaker is accusing the CIA of lying in a briefing. Isn't that illegal? Boehner says that all of the Dems were aware of the torture. Either way, someone needs to be in prison.
clipped from www.npr.org
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the CIA and Bush administration of misleading her about waterboarding detainees

"To the contrary ... we were told explicitly that waterboarding was not being used," she told reporters, referring to a formal CIA briefing she received in the fall of 2002.

an official at the CIA neither disputed nor accepted the California Democrat's statements.

House Republican Leader John Boehner dismissed Pelosi's account.

"They were well aware that they had been used, and it seems to me that they want to have it both ways. You can't have it both ways."
CIA records show Pelosi attended only one briefing — the one in the fall of 2002 where she says she was told that waterboarding had not been used.

"They misrepresented every step of the way, and they don't want that focus on them, so they try to turn the attention on us," she said.

Pelosi accused the CIA of being misleading during that session by explicitly telling her that waterboarding was not used.
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5.12.2009

Goldman Sachs settles bad Mass. loans


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Call your state attorney generals and demand that they follow Martha Coakley's lead. If you don't we'll never get our money back from the bank robbers.

Goldman Sachs agreed to spend about $50 million to write down loans for Goldman mortgage-holders in Massachusetts.
the state of Massachusetts announced a settlement with investment giant Goldman Sachs over the firm's role in the foreclosure crisis. It appears to be the first settlement of its kind, though likely not the last as the state goes after investment banks that knew the loans were bad and bought them anyway.
Goldman will spend about $50 million to write down loans for about 700 homeowners whose mortgages are held by Goldman.
Goldman Sachs
Martha Coakley has been agressive at going after the players in the subprime debacle. Interestingly, not a lot of other states have been following her lead.
Massachusetts attorney general Martha Coakley started investigating the foreclosure crisis

MARTHA COAKLEY: We've made the determination, and our courts have agreed, that many of these loans were unfair. They were destined to fail at the inception.

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5.11.2009

Bob Schieffer proves he's a square penned journalist every time he "interviews" Dick Cheney


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Cheney has gone on record several times accusing the Obama administration of diminishing the safety of the United States. He argues that “harsh interrogation” techniques and the “terrorist surveillance program” saved thousands perhaps even hundreds of thousands of lives. However, how many of our lives are potentially compromised when a leader bends the law as he sees fit as opposed to following the law as prescribed by the people? We need only to review any one of the infamous medieval inquisitions to discover how dreadful the long arm of law can be when interpreted by the few and not agreed upon by the many. The ruthless pragmatist president Barack Obama thoughtfully replies to Cheney’s accusations;
“We have rejected the false choice between our security and our ideals by closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and banning torture without exception.”
A sentiment all law abiding citizens can agree with.
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5.06.2009

Oakland’s $80 million shortfall tempts city council to employ hired guns


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In an effort to mitigate crime and cut costs Oakland City Council has decided to hire a private armed security force to patrol troublesome neighborhoods. City Council member Ignacio De La Fuente is a leading advocate for this increasingly popular solution. Despite the initial savings a private law enforcement agency presents to the debt laden city this solution is not without fault.

International Services Inc. was Oakland's primary candidate. However, their questionable background forced the city to end all negotiations. The following is an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal.

Ousama Karawia, founder of the Torrance, Calif., company, and two of its vice presidents were accused last week by the Los Angeles District Attorney's office of defrauding the state of California out of more than $9 million in workers compensation. The suspects were arrested last week after a three month investigation, said Jane Robinson, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.

Undeterred by the ISI's public record the City Council continues to explore alternative private guard solutions. De La Fuente said, "There is still a very serious need for security in some of our more crime-plagued areas."

Oakland is en route to join numerous other cities that are tempted to use public money to pay private guards to perform public services. According to The Washington Post "The more than 1 million contract security officers, and an equal number of guards estimated to work directly for U.S. corporations, dwarf the nearly 700,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the United States."

Just as the military in Iraq was supplemented by Blackwater, and other private military firms, so US City Councils are supplementing domestic law enforcement with private security agencies. Some say this is a recent development. History would disagree. Private law enforcement solutions are a return to the Old West. It's 1881 and Sherrif Pat Garret has just deputized Wyatt Earp to catch Billy the Kid and his gang of Rustlers. The problem with this approach to crime of course is that Wyatt Earp is himself an ex-con.

Unlike rookie US soldiers Blackwater agents often have marred pasts unbeknownst to superior officers. They are not subjected to the background checks that a soldier endures. Your local police also endure an extensive background investigation prior to beginning their career as an officer. Yet George Holland Sr., lead attorney for the Oakland chapter of the NAACP might argue that even the police vetting process is not dynamic enough. He said, "Oakland, unfortunately, has had a history of treating the African-American community unfairly. The community has a great distrust for police officers because they feel they can't be punished."

If the city introduces another law enforcement entity with more lenient background requirements, less training, an equal or greater amount of bias, and fewer legal accountability tools than the OPD—the already broken relationship between citizen and law will be further exacerbated.

The violence in Oakland has been steadily declining since the fourth quarter of 2008. If the city, citizens and politicians alike, wishes to further diminish crime in this grand old city we must take a creative, cutting edge approach. Hired guns didn't work in medieval warfare and they won't work in the age of information either. Dr. Christine Gardiner of the Department of Criminology, Law and Society at University of California, Irvine would certainly agree.

"There are so many factors that affect both the economy and crime, that you can't get a causal link," Gardiner said. "It's a lot more complex than that. Crime rate is not a function of one particular thing, and the number of police per resident or population is not really related to the incidence of crime – there are neighborhood, area factors that go into it."





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5.05.2009

Progressive Examiner


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Progressive Examiner


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Mapping torture authors and co-signers


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Double-click on boxes with plus signs to expand, or click the tool bar at left for more options. Single-click anywhere in the map then select reset to return to original view.

John Yoo and Jay Bybee are the hottest legal co-signers to the infamous torture memos. Take a look at various other connections and supporters in the map below.
MucketyMap





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