For Our Jewish Friends…

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Easter Blessings to You!

Easter Message

Cross-posted from Politics Plus

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

StPatsDay Greeting

May the good Lord

Greet you in heaven

A half an hour before

The devil knows you’re dead!

Now, if we could just send St. Patrick to the White house!

Cross-posted from Politics Plus

A Sweep for Obama

Tom12-2007 Voters in three states voted yesterday for their choice in candidates. In both Washington and Wisconsin, Republican voters were McConned. Barack Obama won a narrow victory in Washington, but no delegates were at stake, having been decided in caucuses earlier. In Hawaii, Obama scored an overwhelming win, as expected, in his birth state. Wisconsin appeared closer, because the demographics of the state, in which the majority of democratic voters were white, female, lower middle class, and less educated seemed to favor Clinton. She was campaigning to her base. But Obama won convincingly, ahead or even with Clinton in every demographic category except voters over 65.

The Democratic Side

democrat-logo

The Votes

Clinton Obama
Hawaii 24% 76%
Wisconsin 41% 58%

The Demographics

20wiscexit

The Delegates

Pledged Super Total Pledged Super Total
Clinton 1005 234 1239 46.9% 59.2% 48.8%
Obama 1140 161 1301 53.1% 40.8% 51.2%
Total 2145 395 2540
Overall, the Democrats will have 4049 delegates at their convention. Of those 3,253 will be pledged delegates and 796 will be super delegates. I oppose the inclusion of the super delegates, because they give roughly 20% of the power to nominate to party insiders. They include Senators, Representatives, Governors, DNC members, and other party hacks, and they are not bound to represent the will of the voters.

The Republican Side

GOPKKK

The Votes

Huckabee McCain Paul
Washington 22% 49% 7%
Wisconsin 37% 55% 5%

The Demographics

100% of Republicans voted for war, greed, bigotry, inequity and injustice, except Ron Paul wing-nuts who voted only for the last four,

The Delegates

Pledged Uncom Total Pledged Uncom Total
Huckabee 214 3 217 19.5% 5.9% 18.9%
McCain 870 48 918 79.1% 94.1% 79.8%
Paul 16 0 16 1.5% 0.0% 1.4%
Total 1100 51 1151

Overall, Republicans will have 2,380 delegates at their convention. Of those 1,913 are pledged delegates and 463 are unpledged delegates. But of the 463 unpledged delegates, 340 of them are unpledged by stare rules. The remaining 123 delegates are RNC members.

Looking Forward

There are no primaries next week, but on March 4, there will be Democratic primaries in Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont. In order to regain parity in pledged delegates, Clinton would need to be close in Rhode Island, while scoring 30 point wins in both Ohio and Texas. Frankly, I don’t see it happening. Given the demographic similarities between Ohio and Wisconsin, except that Ohio has far more black voters. Hillary may do well in Texas, but will probably lose ground overall. Bear in mind, however, that is two weeks away, a political eternity, and factors may develop that I could not foresee.

Personally, if either candidate wins a majority (1,627 or more) of the pledged delegates, I will support that candidate, because I believe that voters, not party insiders, should decide the nomination.

Cross posted from Politics Plus

Will SCOTUS Goose Step?

THE BUSH administration has asked the Supreme Court to take a case it says needs to be decided quickly because it presents a serious threat to national security. The justices should grant the administration its wish, and promptly rule against it.

The case involves a challenge to a lower court’s ruling involving the Combatant Status Review Tribunals, which were set up to decide whether detainees at Guantanamo Bay are being legally held as enemy combatants. Under the tribunal system, a government recorder is tasked with gathering information about a detainee from government and military databases, including exculpatory information that may argue against the detainee’s incarceration. The recorder then culls the information for the most relevant evidence and provides it to the tribunals. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has the exclusive right under the Detainee Treatment Act to review the tribunals’ decisions.

In Gates v. Bismullah, a unanimous D.C. Circuit panel found last year that it could not properly rule on a case without seeing all of the information gathered by the recorder — not just what was forwarded to the tribunal. The administration decried the decision, saying it imposes an extraordinary burden on the government; the administration says it keeps records only of the information presented at a tribunal. Forcing government personnel to reconstruct the original record would squander resources necessary to the preservation of national security, the government claims. The D.C. Circuit gave the government a choice: Go back and re-collect all of the raw information or give detainees new tribunals. The administration filed its appeal with the Supreme Court on Thursday… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Washington Post>

The DC Circuit Court made the right decision. Considering the history of Bush and the GOP at cherry picking only the information they wanted while hiding clear evidence to the contrary while “fixing the intelligence around the policy” prior to Iraq, their Reich cannot bet trusted to have presented all the relevant evidence to the tribunal, especially exculpatory evidence. This case warrants watching.

Visualize for a moment, if you will that this case was coming before SCOTUS under a John McCain administration and that McCain had gotten to appoint just one more justice to the Court. Would there be any doubt about the decision then?

Cross posted from Politics Plus

Kangaroos at Work!

18kangaroo_court The Bush administration has announced its intention to try six alleged al Qaeda members at Guantánamo under the Military Commissions Act. That Act forbids the admission of evidence extracted by torture, although it permits evidence obtained by cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment if it was secured before December 30, 2005. Thus, the administration would be forbidden from relying on evidence obtained by waterboarding, if waterboarding constitutes torture.

That’s one reason Attorney General Michael Mukasey refuses to admit waterboarding is torture. The other is that torture is considered a war crime under the U.S. War Crimes Act. Mukasey would be calling Dick Cheney a war criminal if the former admitted waterboarding is torture. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, has said on National Public Radio that the policies that led to the torture and abuse of prisoners emanated from the Vice President’s office.

The federal government is working overtime to try and clean up the legal mess made by the use of illegal interrogation methods. In a thinly-veiled attempt to sanitize the Guantánamo trials, the Department of Justice and the Pentagon instituted an extensive program to re-interview the prisoners who have undergone abusive interrogations, this time with “clean teams.” For example, if a prisoner implicated one of the defendants during an interrogation using waterboarding, the government will now re-interrogate that prisoner without waterboarding and get the same information. Then they will say the information was secured humanely. This attempt to wipe the slate clean is a farce and a sham.

In Brady v. Maryland, the US Supreme Court held that a prosecutor has a duty to give criminal defendants all evidence that might tend to exonerate them. Yet the CIA admitted destroying several hundred hours of videotapes depicting interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Ramin al-Nashiri, which likely included waterboarding. The administration claims Abu Zubaydah led them to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the defendants facing trial in the military commissions. So the government has destroyed potentially exonerating evidence. Moreover, the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” are classified so they can be kept secret from the defendants, and CIA agents cannot be compelled to testify or produce evidence of torture.

A report just released by Seton Hall Law Center for Policy and Research reveals more than 24,000 interrogations have been conducted at Guantánamo since 2002 and every interrogation was videotaped. Many of these interrogations were abusive. “One Government document, for instance, reports detainee treatment so violent as to “shake the camera in the interrogation room” and “cause severe internal injury,” the report says.

The Military Commissions Act contains other provisions that deny the defendants basic due process. It allows a trial to continue in the absence of the accused, places the power to appoint judges in the hands of the Secretary of Defense, permits the introduction of hearsay and evidence obtained without a warrant, and denies the accused the right to see all of the evidence against him. Defense attorneys are not allowed to meet their clients without governmental monitoring, and all of their notes and mail must be handed over to the military

Inserted from <AlterNet>

18kangaroo2 Bush and the GOP like to compare these hearings to Nuremberg, but the comparison is flawed. At Nuremberg, no evidence was obtained under torture, and a defendants had all the rights they would have in a standard court martial. These are nothing more than show trials, of the kind we were taught to condemn as children when such trials were taking place in the USSR.

No doubt Bush will veto the recent legislation passed against torture to allow these trials to proceed, when they should not. Congress must overturn that veto.

At least some of these trials will not take place until after we have a new President in 2009. This makes the candidates’ positions on this issue especially important, from a human rights perspective.

…If elected president, Hillary Clinton would ask the Justice Department to determine if alleged 9/11 plotters currently held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could be tried in civilian courts or regular military courts rather than face military commissions that have sparked controversy both inside and outside the United States, her campaign says.

Clinton’s response to questions about charges filed last week against six Guantanamo prisoners was the most far reaching of the three leading presidential candidates.

Her opponent for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said that the so-called “high-value detainees” at Guantanamo should be tried in federal or traditional military courts, but did not say what actions he would take to move the trials.

Republican Sen. John McCain, the likely Republican nominee, said he plans to continue the military commissions even if the detention center in Cuba is closed… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <McClatchy DC>

While Clinton’s response is the most detailed, it leaves open the possibility of continuing the commissions. DOJ is still infested with unqualified ideologues planted by Bush and the GOP, and she would have insufficient time to clean them out that early in her presidency, so DOJ may well recommend in favor of the kangaroos.

Obama’s position is better, but he needs to flesh it out with detail on how he will accomplish it.

McCain is going what he promised to do. he’s goose stepping behind his Fuhrer in hope of becoming the new Fuhrer of the Reich. He must be defeated!

Cross posted from Politics Plus

Weekly Primary Report: 2/17

Tom12-2007-200 This will be shorter than previous reports, because there is not much going on this week. New Mexico finished their recount, announced a narrow win for Hillary Clinton. Most of the campaign news has centered on the controversy regarding seating the delegates from Florida and Michigan, and over the super delegates, an issue Politics Plus was one of the very first blogs to cover. Since John McCain has a virtual lock on the nomination from the Reich, I see no need to report their upcoming primaries. There will be no report next week, because there are no after Hawaii and Wisconsin this week, there are no more primaries until March 4. Don’t forget to vote!

The Democratic Side

democrat-logo

The Hawaii Caucus (2/19)

There is no polling data available.

The Wisconsin Primary (2/19)

According to Rasmussen:

Clinton Obama
43% 47%

The Delegate Count

  Pledged Super Total Pledged Super Total
Clinton 978 235 1213 47.0% 59.5% 49.0%
Obama 1102 160 1262 53.0% 40.5% 51.0%
Total 2080 395 2475      

Overall, the Democrats will have 4049 delegates at their convention. Of those 3,253 will be pledged delegates and 796 will be super delegates. I oppose the inclusion of the super delegates, because they give roughly 20% of the power to nominate to party insiders. They include Senators, Representatives, Governors, DNC members, and other party hacks, and they are not bound to represent the will of the voters.

The Republican Side

bush-gop-goosestep

The Delegate Count

  Pledged Uncom Total Pledged Uncom Total
Huckabee 214 3 217 20.7% 10.3% 20.4%
McCain 804 26 830 77.8% 89.7% 78.1%
Paul 16 0 16 1.5% 0.0% 1.5%
Total 1034 29 1063      

Overall, Republicans will have 2,380 delegates at their convention. Of those 1,913 are pledged delegates and 463 are unpledged delegates. But of the 463 unpledged delegates, 340 of them are unpledged by stare rules. The remaining 123 delegates are RNC members.

Cross posted from Politics Plus