frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
2010-01-23 04:45 am
Entry tags:

Hétu round-up!!!

Alright, the always reliable Richard Hétu was on fire on Friday, so here's a video round-up...

Mike Huckabee: "the beginning of the reelection of Barack Obama"


Hétu posted and transcribed this clip, in which Mike Huckabee shows more hope for democrats (for Barack Obama, at least) than democrats are probably showing in themselves right now:

If only I could be so hopeful...

Get some balls!


A message to democrats who don't have any:

Jon Stewart's Special Comment


If you missed out on Jon Stewart's take on Keith Olbermann, it's really worth following this link to the video, since I can't embed it.

Now we do think at Frandroid Corporate Headquarters that Jon Stewart is trying a little too hard in trying to "mock both sides" of the political spectrum these days, trying to burnish bipartisan or neutral credentials as he's finally hosting his show under an administration that's more aligned with his politics, unlike the first 7 or 8 years of his show. His efforts are a little too, shall we say, "Obamian" for our taste.

HOWEVER! Look at this:

Bonus Olbermann commentary


In the comments thread of the previous video, someone posted the send up to Olbermann Ben Affleck did on SNL:

I can't actually get the goddamn thing to play (if you can't either, and you live in the U.S., maybe you'll have better luck with the Hulu version) but I'm told it's quite funny!
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
2009-11-19 08:57 am
Entry tags:

Obama "unusually animated"?

Hétu describes Obama's reaction to new settlement construction in Jerusalem as "unusually animated". I don't think that there was anything of the ordinary there, but maybe my expectations are too high. Judge for yourself at 2:18:



Of course, the big news in all this is Obama giving an interview to Fox News at all, after nearly calling them an enemy of the state. Too much waffling...
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
2009-11-10 06:47 pm

Waiting to be let down by Obama again


Richard Hétu discute les cas de John Allen Muhammad et de Nidal Malik Hasan

Richard Hétu mentions that since the killings happened on a military base, if Nidal Hasan is condemned to the death penalty, Barack Obama will have to sign his execution order.

...
In a différent entry, Hétu also links to the Gawker story which debunks ABC News' Brian Ross story that Nidal Malik Hasan had tried to contact Al-Qaeda.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
2009-10-10 10:52 am

Doug Saunders on Obama's Peace Prize

I don't think I had commented on the Peace prize yesterday, but my first reaction was in the same line as most people in my lists: TOO SOON.

[livejournal.com profile] metalana posted a link to Doug Saunder's contention that Obama deserves the Nobel Peace prize, based on how the prize has been awarded in the past, and on the overtures Obama has made, which impact Europe a lot more than America and are taken a lot more seriously there. I think he makes a good case.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
2009-05-23 10:15 am

David Brooks: Cheney Lost to Bush

David Brooks: Cheney Lost to Bush/Rice, not to Obama

Condoleezza Rice, unsung hero of the Bush administration?
The Bush-Cheney period lasted maybe three years. For Dick Cheney those might be the golden years. For Democrats, it is surely the period they want to forever hang around the necks of the Republican Party. But that period ended long ago.

By 2005, what you might call the Bush-Rice-Hadley era had begun. Gradually, in fits and starts, a series of Bush administration officials — including Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley, Jack Goldsmith and John Bellinger — tried to rein in the excesses of the Bush-Cheney period. They didn’t win every fight, and they were prodded by court decisions and public outrage, but the gradual evolution of policy was clear.

From 2003 onward, people like Bellinger and Goldsmith were fighting against legal judgments that allowed enhanced interrogation techniques. By 2006, Rice and Hadley brought Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in from a secret foreign prison to regularize detainee procedures. In 2007, Rice refused to support an executive order reviving the interrogation program. Throughout the second Bush term, officials were trying to close Guantánamo, pleading with foreign governments to take some prisoners, begging senators to allow the transfer of prisoners onto American soil.
[...]
Cheney and Obama might pretend otherwise, but it wasn’t the Obama administration that halted the practice of waterboarding. It was a succession of C.I.A. directors starting in March 2003, even before a devastating report by the C.I.A. inspector general in 2004.

When Cheney lambastes the change in security policy, he’s not really attacking the Obama administration. He’s attacking the Bush administration. In his speech on Thursday, he repeated in public a lot of the same arguments he had been making within the Bush White House as the policy decisions went more and more the other way.
[...]
As for the treatment of terror suspects, Jack Goldsmith has a definitive piece called “The Cheney Fallacy” online at The New Republic. He lists a broad range of policies — Guantánamo, habeas corpus, military commissions, rendition, interrogation and so on. He shows how, in most cases, the Obama policy represents a continuation of or a gradual evolution from the final Bush policy.
[...]
Obama has taken many of the same policies Bush ended up with, and he has made them credible to the country and the world. In his speech, Obama explained his decisions in a subtle and coherent way. He admitted that some problems are tough and allow no easy solution. He treated Americans as adults, and will have won their respect.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
2009-05-14 02:10 pm

War is Over (If You Want It)

White House Czar Calls for End to 'War on Drugs'

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration's new drug czar says he wants to banish the idea that the U.S. is fighting "a war on drugs," a move that would underscore a shift favoring treatment over incarceration in trying to reduce illicit drug use.

In his first interview since being confirmed to head the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske said Wednesday the bellicose analogy was a barrier to dealing with the nation's drug issues.

"Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on a product,' people see a war as a war on them," he said. "We're not at war with people in this country."

Mr. Kerlikowske's comments are a signal that the Obama administration is set to follow a more moderate -- and likely more controversial -- stance on the nation's drug problems. Prior administrations talked about pushing treatment and reducing demand while continuing to focus primarily on a tough criminal-justice approach.

The Obama administration is likely to deal with drugs as a matter of public health rather than criminal justice alone, with treatment's role growing relative to incarceration, Mr. Kerlikowske said.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
2009-05-07 09:19 am
Entry tags:

Obama = Spock


(and flashes Nimoy the Vulcan hand signal)
(h/t [livejournal.com profile] richardhetu)

I'm not too sure about the comparison to Spock's "alien-ness" match, although in Trek aliens = races, since "race" "doesn't exist".

The article also talks briefly about Obama's cabinet as "the Enterprise Crew", and it made me think about the praise that Obama is getting for nominating a diverse cabinet. It does remind me that Bush also had people of colour in prominent positions, even though eventually Bush/Cheney exploited Colin Powell's reputation, and Rice and Gonzalez weren't exactly stars in the firmament...
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
2009-05-03 11:51 pm

New York Times goodies on Green Day, Obama, etc

The Morning After ‘American Idiot’ - Good article on the new Green Day album.
Obama Is Nudging Views on Race, a Survey Finds.
Voices Reflect Rising Sense of Racial Optimism in the wake of Obama's election. (Companion article to the survey above)

On a more sour note, if you read French:
De la haine d'Obama à la violence armée -- From hatred of Obama to armed violence... Talks about the increase in the number of right-wing extremist and hate crimes groups, and hatred of Obama in general from the like.

Speaking of which, [livejournal.com profile] springheel_jack reposts: A longshot Georgia candidate for governor who’s already admitted having sex with a mule before finding God says he’s ready to sacrifice his own son in an effort to get his state to secede from the union.


Bonus for [livejournal.com profile] icecreamemperor: Leonard Cohen transformed 'Hallelujah' into a revelation
frandroid: large crowd of indian women (south asia)
2009-04-28 10:41 pm

Protesting with the Tamils

(from @_M_I_A_)

I went to the Tamil protest that is blocking University Avenue since Sunday at the American Consulate. I'd say that there were about 500 to 1000 Tamils there chanting non-stop. There was a sea of Tamil Tiger and American flags, with some Canadian flags in between. The protest's emphasis is to ask Obama to get involved. The protest is still going; the organizers say that they will not leave until there is a ceasefire. There was a lot of very long banners; you could ring the whole protest with them. Strangely enough, jute rope has been deployed in many places, kind of creating a pen on the street. There was a sound system broadcasting the cheerleadering from one guy in particular, but there were a lot of megaphones and some subsections of the protest were going at their own beat. Actually, the north end was the densest part of the protest, where drummers were keeping the energy and the spirits higher. All the chants were of the very short call and answer variety, such as "Canada - Break the silence" "Must stop - Genocide" "Our Leader - Prabhakaran" "Tamil Timers - Freedom fighters" "Obama - Free the Tamils" "Rajapakse - War criminal" and more stuff about Tamils and Tamil Eelam. You can guess which slogans I was selective in responding to.

The cops have moved the protesters away from the south-bound lane this morning, as University has three hospitals and the avenue is a major access point. There was one row of about 6 cops on horseback at one end of the protest, and other pods of 4-5 cops are various ends of the protest. In spite of huge aggravation from drivers, the cops are not moving the protest out, as it is legal and non-violent.

I'm kind of conflicted about it, even if I went; it's quite clear that the Tigers are losing badly, with the SL Army claiming that they're boxed in an area of 10 square miles or so. If Prabhakaran is indeed there and needs to escape, a ceasefire is absolutely necessary for him right now. Personally, I think Tamils could do a lot better without the Tigers; at the "with us or against us" and "speaking with guns" game, you can rarely win against the state. The kind of absolute loyalty demanded of Tamils towards the Tigers belies the same kind of reductive view that made Tamils a persecuted minority in the first place. A poster was condemning the Sri Lankan Government and Indian, in particular the Congress Party, with a picture of Gandhi; while Congress has not been a particularly friendly with the Sri Lankan Tamils, I think they don't necessarily need to toss Gandhi with the rest of the bathwater. But then, what history do I know?

I was one of about 5 non-Tamils protesting. Where's everyone else? Although I don't think that the Tamils are particularly good at outreach or solidarity with other people. Not that many people want to see Tiger flags appear at their protests, either. This is all so insular. (No pun intended.)

I was asked many times to call the White House to ask the United States to get involved. I'm thinking of doing it and recording it to see how that works out.
frandroid: A key enters the map of Palestine (palestine)
2009-04-20 05:42 pm

Rahm joins self-hating club

National Union's Katz reminds Emanuel he's Jewish

Katz claims that in a private meeting with the unnamed leader, Emanuel said, "In the next four years, there will be a peace agreement with the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it does not matter to us who is the prime minister."


Political postering? (hat tip: [livejournal.com profile] richardhetu)
frandroid: INGSOC logo, from Orwell's 1984 (totalitarianism)
2009-04-20 08:36 am

Waterboarded 183 times

Waterboarding Used 266 Times on 2 Suspects [nytimes.com]

C.I.A. interrogators used waterboarding, the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, 266 times on two key prisoners from Al Qaeda, far more than had been previously reported.

The 2005 memo also says that the C.I.A. used waterboarding 183 times in March 2003 against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The C.I.A. officers used waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah, according to a 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum. Abu Zubaydah has been described as a Qaeda operative.
Words fail me.


Op-Ed: The Torturers’ Manifesto [nytimes.com]

In one of the more nauseating passages, Jay Bybee, then an assistant attorney general and now a federal judge, wrote admiringly about a contraption for waterboarding that would lurch a prisoner upright if he stopped breathing while water was poured over his face. He praised the Central Intelligence Agency for having doctors ready to perform an emergency tracheotomy if necessary.

These memos are not an honest attempt to set the legal limits on interrogations, which was the authors’ statutory obligation. They were written to provide legal immunity for acts that are clearly illegal, immoral and a violation of this country’s most basic values.

It sounds like the plot of a mob film, except the lawyers asking how much their clients can get away with are from the C.I.A. and the lawyers coaching them on how to commit the abuses are from the Justice Department. And it all played out with the blessing of the defense secretary, the attorney general, the intelligence director and, most likely, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
[...]
That investigation should start with the lawyers who wrote these sickening memos, including John Yoo, who now teaches law in California; Steven Bradbury, who was job-hunting when we last heard; and Mr. Bybee, who holds the lifetime seat on the federal appeals court that Mr. Bush rewarded him with.

These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him. And if the administration will not conduct a thorough investigation of these issues, then Congress has a constitutional duty to hold the executive branch accountable. If that means putting Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales on the stand, even Dick Cheney, we are sure Americans can handle it.

After eight years without transparency or accountability, Mr. Obama promised the American people both. His decision to release these memos was another sign of his commitment to transparency. We are waiting to see an equal commitment to accountability.

Please put Cheney on the stand. I want to see Fox News implode.

Speaking of which: But Can Obama Make the Trains Run on Time? [nytimes.com]

“Rhetorically, Republicans are having a very hard time finding something that raises the consciousness of the average voter,” said Saul Anuzis, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party who recently lost a bid to became national party chairman.

So Mr. Anuzis has turned to provocation with a purpose. He calls the president’s domestic agenda “economic fascism.”

“We’ve so overused the word ‘socialism’ that it no longer has the negative connotation it had 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago,” Mr. Anuzis said. “Fascism — everybody still thinks that’s a bad thing.”
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
2009-04-03 05:11 pm

President Hussein strikes again

Should I move my vacations forward and visit Istanbul while Obama is there? [livejournal.com profile] tomscud, is that why you're there now? :)

Ah damn, that's not where he's going to do his big speech in an islamic capital coming-out as a Moozlim. No point in going!!

Someone should write the speech of Obama's revelation as the Mahdi, and ensuing press coverage.
frandroid: camilo cienfuegos in a broad-rimmed hat (anarchism)
2009-04-01 10:50 pm

Obama’s Ersatz Capitalism

Joseph Stiglitz: Obama’s Ersatz Capitalism

In theory, the administration’s plan is based on letting the market determine the prices of the banks’ “toxic assets” — including outstanding house loans and securities based on those loans. The reality, though, is that the market will not be pricing the toxic assets themselves, but options on those assets.
[...]
Consider an asset that has a 50-50 chance of being worth either zero or $200 in a year’s time. The average “value” of the asset is $100. Ignoring interest, this is what the asset would sell for in a competitive market. It is what the asset is “worth.” Under the plan by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the government would provide about 92 percent of the money to buy the asset but would stand to receive only 50 percent of any gains, and would absorb almost all of the losses. Some partnership!
[...]
But Americans are likely to lose even more than these calculations suggest, because of an effect called adverse selection. The banks get to choose the loans and securities that they want to sell. They will want to sell the worst assets, and especially the assets that they think the market overestimates (and thus is willing to pay too much for).
[...]
Some Americans are afraid that the government might temporarily “nationalize” the banks, but that option would be preferable to the Geithner plan. After all, the F.D.I.C. has taken control of failing banks before, and done it well. It has even nationalized large institutions like Continental Illinois (taken over in 1984, back in private hands a few years later), and Washington Mutual (seized last September, and immediately resold).

What the Obama administration is doing is far worse than nationalization: it is ersatz capitalism, the privatizing of gains and the socializing of losses. It is a “partnership” in which one partner robs the other. And such partnerships — with the private sector in control — have perverse incentives, worse even than the ones that got us into the mess.
frandroid: Pirate ghostship, moored in a lava creek, underground. (ghostship)
2009-03-25 05:02 am

Sharia in Swat

Very interesting BBC article on the implementation of Sharia in the Swat valley of Pakistan.

This follows Chapati Mystery's Reading Swat from February, which compiled a bunch of articles on the topic, from both the U.S. and Pakistan.

If you haven't really followed this topic on the news, the Pakistani government in February agreed to let the Swat valley be governed by Sharia law, after Pakistani Taliban elements where basically chasing the government out of there and were becoming more threatening to the rule of law elsewhere. At first this might sound like a heretic proposition, but as the first article demonstrates, it's not all bad, although there's no coverage of rape/adultery cases, which is where things often get ugly. (They also are ugly under non-sharia Pakistani law, though.)

I'm posting about these things because Pakistan is shaping up to become the most important area of Obama's foreign policy as it relates to Afghanistan, the Taliban, and in some smaller (but not unimportant) measure Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and the future of Islamic terrorism and militancy against the United States and its allied regimes. The implications for global security are quite important.

I have found Chapati Mystery, in particular, to be a rich source of information: Sepoy (Manan Ahmed) holds South Asia history PhD from the University of Chicago, has a progressive take on things and has quite a depth of historical and political knowledge.

I need to read Tariq Ali again, although the value of his writing works at a different level...
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
2009-01-21 07:23 pm

Olbermann: President Obama, Please Prosecute Bush War Crimes



If Republicans block Eric Holden at Justice, I nominate Keith Olbermann as a backup!
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
2009-01-21 12:51 am
Entry tags:

For those in the "Obama won't change anything" camp

Did you watch the Daily Show?  The juxtaposition of quotes from Obama's inauguration speech with nearly identical quotes from Bush?  That was a good TDS suckerpunch.