US News

Transcripts of Senate Judiciary Committee Released

Senate Judiciary Committee

For your reading pleasure.

As a part of its oversight of the Justice Department’s enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act and federal investigations into potential improper influence during the 2016 presidential election, the Senate Judiciary Committee conducted bipartisan staff interviews with and submitted written questions to witnesses regarding circumstances surrounding the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting. 

The following witness interviews are available:

RIP Commander Jeffry Lyle Huber, US Navy (retired)

We learned, late, of the passing of Commander Jeffry L. Huber (retired) at the age of 57, on January 24, 2012.

He was one of ePluribus Media's bright bulbs who shined a light from his flight deck experience in a bounty of words wizened by U.S. Navy command and time on the USS Theodore Roosevelt.   It all sharpened the satire in his critcally acclaimed Bathtub Admirals.

He graced not only our shores but through the wider appeal of his blog, Pen and Sword, the DailyKos, and AntiWar.com, among other venues. 

The spirit of his humor and insighted commentary are a loss and will be missed by many. 

RIP Commander Huber. 

For a long thread of worthy respect, see this eulogy at DailyKos or the bon voyages of well-wishers at Tributes.com.

Arizona is burning.

For those who haven't heard anything about it yet, Arizona is burning.

From Seattle PI,

SPRINGERVILLE, Ariz. (AP) — Smoke from a massive wildfire in eastern Arizona that has claimed more than 30 homes and forced nearly 10,000 people to flee has officials worried about serious health impacts to residents and firefighters as tiny particles of soot in the air reached "astronomical" levels.

Read more: Full article.

This is the second-largest fire in Arizona history (so far), according to the article. And it's not the only one currently ablaze in the state:

Firefighters are battling another major wildfire in far southeastern Arizona, also near the New Mexico line. The so-called Horseshoe Two blaze burned through 211 square miles or 135,000 acres of brush and timber since it started in early May. The fire has destroyed 23 structures but caused no serious injuries. It was 45 percent contained late Friday and fire officials hope to have it fully contained by late June.

Read more: Full Article.

I can't imagine what it would be like to speak of dealing with an ongoing natural disaster in terms of "months" before it could be contained or mitigated. Well...ok, strike that. There's similar scale concepts - tho far different types of impacts and longer durations - when looking at unnatural disasters like Fukushimasee also and even longer-term consequences when considering the impact of anthropomorphic climate disruption.1, 2

And yes, there are those who have wondered if the AZ wildfires are linked to climate disruption, and while they can't prove it, they can show earlier predictors that reinforce indications that it might/could be related - and that there would be more, bigger incidents yet to come.

Not a very reassuring thought, with all those billions currently being spent in order to cripple any attempt to directly admit to and deal with the problem from a national public policy perspective.

 

Epic: Severe weather leads to record water levels and dangerous flooding conditions

On Saturday, 14 May 2011, the US Army Corps of Engineers opened the first bay of the Morganza spillway as part of an ongoing effort to alleviate the swollen Mississippi river and avoid uncontrolled flooding further downriver. Via CNN:

The plan to open the spillway will still impact human populations - including the town of Butte La Rose, Louisiana:

Opening the spillway will redirect floodwaters from the Mississippi River through the Atchafalaya River Basin, which runs between Baton Rouge and Lafayette south toward Morgan City.

There are more than 800 homes in the Butte La Rose area of St. Martins Parish, which sits right in the flood path.

[...Click for more...]

What's worse, the impact of the plan will be felt long after the waters recede:

Roy Dakka, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Center for Geoinformatics at Louisiana State University, predicted it will take weeks to months for the farmland to dry.

"Any existing crops are going to be toast," he said, citing the fields of corn, sugar cane and soybeans that will be covered with sediment. "Plus, God knows what's in the water and what gets deposited."

[...Click for more...]

On the somewhat brighter side, officials are pretty sure that there won't be any failure in the untested system of levees, which could lead to unmitigated disaster.

That's not much comfort to the people impacted by the waters released into the spillway and redirected toward their homes and property, but it is - unfortunately - the best chance that experts have to reduce and mitigate the potential for a far more catastrophic flood in larger population areas.

It's for situations and events like this that our national infrastructure needs to be shorn up, bolstered instead of cannibalized as some sort of political bargaining chip.

This year, in particular, has seen quite a bit of severe weather already, and climate change theories imply that such severity is likely to increase.

 

A heartwarming story that skewers Santorum's bias against gay adoption

Sorry for the quick fly-by, but didn't want this to stagnate...

Oh, wow - what a great story, and a perfect rejoinder to idiotic statements like the recent one by Rick Santorum (http://bit.ly/kn9J95)...

Meet the Hams: Two Arizona gay men who have adopted TWELVE children

H/t Ron E. Tunning on FB.

Serial Killers: Bodies of Evidence on the East and West Coasts

The news out of New York is both grim and grisly:

Three additional sets of human remains have been discovered on the same New York beach where a serial killer is believed to have dumped the bodies of five other women.

Suffolk County police announced the discovery of the bodies today, raising the number of victims to at least eight.

And it gets worse:

The bodies are believed to the work of a serial killer. Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer told ABC News in December, "Four bodies found in the same location pretty much speaks for itself. It's more than a coincidence. We could have a serial killer."

The bodies were discovered as a result of a search for a missing prostitute, Shannan Gilbert, whose body the police expected to find in the same area. Gilbert's body is, so far, not among those found, leaving the possibility of a ninth body to the list of suspected serial killings.

And then there's LA: in a story with an oddly similar body count (so far), LA detectives fear the disappearance of Ayella Marshall may be linked to the work of South Los Angeles serial killer known as "The Grim Sleeper." Lonnie Franklin Jr. is in jail awaiting tried on 10 counts of murder and one attempted murder in the case. What makes Lonnie a credible suspect? Aside from the photos and id of Ayellah and two other missing women found in a refrigerator in Lonnie's garage,

After Franklin's arrest last July, family members brought to the attention of police another four missing women who detectives believe could be additional victims. They have been identified as: Cathern or Catherine Davis, 29, who has been missing since 1982; Rosalind Giles, 27, missing since 1991; Lisa Knox, 29, missing since 1993; and Anita Parker, missing since 1998.

[...snip...]

Detectives Tuesday also asked for the public's help in identifying 55 women who remain unidentified after police released 180 photos found in Franklin's house to try to eliminate them from a victim list. Some of the photos released in December appear to be of women sleeping.
The killer was dubbed the Grim Sleeper because the killings appeared to stop in 1988 and did not resurface until 2002. But [Detective Dennis] Kilcoyne said he believes there are many other victims.

Unlike the suspected New York serial killings, there's at least been an arrest in the Grim Sleeper case.

Let's hope the New York detectives catch a break and can land the east coast serial killer soon.

 

Pine Ridge Billboard Project by Aaron Huey

Bumped by GH. Originally posted 2011-03-10 10:29:06 -0400. For a donation as little as $10, you can help launch this project - and help make a difference. -- GH

I would like to announce a new project to raise NATIONAL awareness of the poverty on our reservations. My friend Aaron Huey is launching an ambitious billboard campaign using his images of Pine Ridge reservation. Aaron is donating his time and talent to organize this project.

I have been documenting the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for the past six years. Recently I have realized how inappropriate it is for this project to end with another book or a gallery show.

More than any project I have done in my career, the ever-evolving Pine Ridge project gives voice to social injustice and a forgotten history. I want my work to empower the Lakota and other tribes who fight for recognition of the past in order to help give them a chance to move forward.

Your involvement will help raise the visibility of these images by taking them straight to the public to the sides of busses, subway tunnels, and billboards. I want people to think about prisoner of war camps in America on their commute to work. I want the message to be so loud that it cannot be ignored.

Honor the Treaties

Illustration by Ernesto Yerena using images by Aaron Huey

Demonstrators for Uncommon Valor of Bradley Manning Blocked at Quantico Brig

The crowds that attend demonstrations on behalf of alleged Wikileaks-contributor Bradley Manning seemed to grow in their numbers with each new report from outside the military brig at Quantico, in Virginia.

The video taken over the weekend (below) is of controntation between what appeared to be as many Virginia State Police as protestors. The conflict culminated in arrests after sit-ins by members of the crowd led to police removal of famed Pentagon Papers leaker, Daneil Ellsberg, and Colonel Ann Wright.

The sit-in was staged after the protestors were denied access to the base of the World War II memorial of Iwo Jima, to lay flowers commemorating the 'uncommon valor' of Bradley Manning.

Please share this with your politicians IF...

Please share this with your politicians IF they have ever used the words "austerity" or "entitlements":

Poll: Public opposes most spending cuts

thehill.com

A majority of the public opposes most spending cuts, especially cutbacks to education and popular entitlement programs, according to a new poll released Wednesday. The Gallup poll showed that over 60 percent oppose cuts to Medicare, Social Security and education funding.

Especially important if they have ever used those right wing framing words, austerity and entitlemnts, in the same sentence. That should narrow it down to about 98% of the politicians in office today.

"Military Harassing David House, Jane Hamsher for Visiting Bradley Manning"

Michael Whitney at FDL is running the twitter feed from Jane Hamsher, right now, who was being harrased by the military at Quantico along with David House, They were there with the required visitor's pass to meet with the the alleged leaker of #cablegate, Bradley Manning, to Wikileaks in order to deliver a petition concerning Manning's treatment:

BREAKING: Military Harassing David House, Jane Hamsher for Visiting Bradley Manning

Jane Hamsher is with David House who is trying to visit Pvt. Bradley Manning at Quantico today while carrying a petition with 42,000 signatures requesting humane treatment for Manning. The military isn’t making it easy at all and detained Jane and David for two hours. We’re publishing her tweets as well as David House’s tweets here as a post in case you haven’t been able to follow them on Twitter (@JaneHamsher and @DavidMHouse

UPDATE: At 2:50pm the military released Jane and David, and told David he could go off base and come back on to visit Bradley. But visiting hours end at 3pm, so Bradley won’t get a visit. We’ll have more soon.

Welcome to Bananastan, USA. Where the real media of the day get detained by the military and their car towed away and the fake media will probably file a report blaming them for being angry Bloggers.

Update below the fold...

Deja voodoo all over again: StopDomesticTerror.com

Remember when Frank Schaeffer sounded the alarm with a campaign to StopDomesticTerror.com ?

I do. And I remember composing my thoughts for the story that forced me to question whether my rhetorical approach was too strong:

StopDomesticTerror.com - Murdered MDs? Presidential assassination? Hangings? Military coups? What's next?

Wholesale Body Bags?

I don't have any more questions, do you?  

Death Panels, Palin's Targets, and Political Assassination

Michael Collins

The attempted assassination of Representative Gabrielle Giffords raises the bar for political lies and hate to a new level.  Previously, incendiary political lies stopped just short violent imagery.  Sarah Palin's Take Back 20 campaign presented a violent threat in the form of rifle site crosshairs placed over the congressional districts of 20 Democratic supporters of health care reform.

Ironically, Giffords sent Palin a clear message to end the violent allusion in the ads.  In this brief video, she warns:

Open Thread - Lord of The Dance

Because, I am certain they will tell you, it'll be good for you if they slash Social Security and eliminate Medicare and Medicaid::

House GOP: Cut Gov't Spending By 20 Percent Despite Economic Impact

tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com

The GOP plan to cut federal spending to 2008 levels appeals to the conservative base, because it predates big spending items like the stimulus bill. But it would constitute a severe reduction in spending, below levels proposed by President Obama and even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

What? You think they will take that budget axe the military budgets or to Halliburtons and Blackwater/Xe's welfare checks?

This should not even be a debate:

Barbara Lee, Bobby Scott Introduce Bill For 99ers

www.huffingtonpost.com

WASHINGTON — Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Bobby Scott (Va.) introduced legislation Friday that would provide additional assistance to "99ers" — people who've exhausted 99 weeks of unemployment benefits without finding work.

But you know that there are idiots, refer to that first open thread story, that would love nothing more than kicking these people to support certain other people's interests:

End Corporate Domination: More Than Advocacy We Must Resist

www.commondreams.org

On December 16, 2009, I stood in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building with about a dozen single payer supporters. We were holding signs and standing vigil on the eve of the first time in U.S. history that a single payer bill would make it to the floor of either body in Congress.

Below the Open Thread fold is a Not Safe For Work Youtube featuring an "every man" informed type responding to questions about the bailouts for the rich. And maybe some dancing...

Senate Passes Bill That Destroys Existing Whistleblower Rights

Also, see NWC Calls for Correction of Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act

Senate Passes Bill That Destroys Existing Whistleblower Rights  (source)

Take Action!

The Senate passed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (S. 372) on Friday, December, 10th, by unanimous consent. As the National Whistleblowers Center has repeatedly stated S. 372 is a bad deal for whistleblowers. There are two poison pills in the bill that fundamentally undermine the small advances in the bill. There is still time to fix the bill.

 

TAKE ACTION! Stop the repeal of existing whistleblower rights

 

For the first time ever, federal employees will not be protected for blowing the whistle on a violation of law. The excuse given to justify this dangerous rollback is that it only excludes minor violations of law. The fact is there is no such thing as a minor violation of law. Either it is violation of the law or it is not. Federal managers should not be allowed to decide what laws they can violate.