April 22 2009 show notes

Wednesday 22 April '09 show

  • Happy Earth Day.
  • Quote for the day: "Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect." - Chief Seattle, 1855.
  • Article: Of Black Holes and Radio Silence, Elizabeth de la Vega.
  • Guest: Elizabeth de la Vega, former federal prosecutor, member of the Organized Crimes Strike Force, and chief of the San Jose Branch of the US attorney's office for the Northern District of California. Author of "United States v. George W. Bush et al". Her article, "Of Black Holes and Radio Silence". Appointing a special prosecutor would lead to a grand jury and dumping the issue of torture into a black hole, letting people avoid the issue by saying it is under investigation.
  • We are learning why they waterboarded. Cheney attacking Obama's economic policies today.
  • Clip:
    GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: "we need to make it clear to our allies we expect the inspectors back in to make sure he's not developing weapons of mass destruction."

    JIM LEHRER: "OK. Well, then my question was a more general question -- that we had both Iraq with Saddam Hussein and Yugoslavia with Milosevic; they're the ones who committed the sins that caused us to move militarily, and they're not only alive and well -- many innocent people died -- they're not only alive and well, they're still in charge. What -- is there a realistic way to deal with that kind of thing when you have an evil person in charge and causing these things to happen?"

    GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: "Well, I think the most realistic ways to keep them isolated in the world of public opinion and to work with our alliance is to keep them isolated. I'm just as frustrated as many Americans are that Saddam Hussein still lives. I think we ought to keep the pressure on him. I will tell you this: If we catch him developing weapons of mass destruction in any way, shape or form, I'll deal with that in a way that he won't like."

    JIM LEHRER: "Like what, bomb him?"

    GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: "Well, it could be one option. He just needs to know that he'll be dealt with in a firm way."

    JIM LEHRER: "But you don't think that there's any way in our democratic society that we can move against individual leaders?"

    GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: "Do you mean to go assassinate him?"

    JIM LEHRER: "Well, any way."

    GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: "Actually, it's against the law, as I understand, for an American president to order the assassination of any world leader. I am -- I think that's right -- if I'm not mistaken, Jim, and yeah, I mean, obviously we need to keep the pressure on these men. At some point in time the forces of good will take -- will handle Saddam Hussein; I'm confident of that. But we've just got to keep the pressure on him."

    JIM LEHRER: "And just live with the frustration that that's what happens in our kind of society."

    GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: "Well, that may be true, but keep the frustration down to a minimum by doing what we say we're going to do and when we do something make sure he understands loud and clear we mean it".
    NewsHour, February 16, 2000.

  • Article: Report: Abusive tactics used to seek Iraq-al Qaida link, Jonathan S. Landay.
    "The Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist."
  • Bumper Music: Let's Get It started In Here, Black Eyed Peas.
  • CIA Acting General Counsel John Rizzo, the one who put together torture memos, is still acting as Obama's nominee is being obstructed.
  • Article: In Adopting Harsh Tactics, No Look at Past Use, Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti.
  • "But is an enemy so execrable, that, though in captivity, his wishes and comforts are to be disregarded and even crossed? I think not. It is for the benefit of mankind to mitigate the horrors of war as much as possible. The practice, therefore, of modern nations, of treating captive enemies with politeness and generosity, is not only delightful in contemplation, but really interesting to all the world, friends, foes, and neutrals."
    Thomas Jefferson.
  • Clip:
    "Soon afterward, Washington lead his soldiers across the Delaware River and onto victory in the Battle of Trenton. There he captured nearly 1000 foreign mercenaries and he faced a crucial choice.

    How would General Washington treat these prisoners? The British had already committed atrocities against Americans, including torture. As David Hackett Fischer describes in his Pulitzer Prize winning book, Washington's Crossing, thousands of American prisoners of war were “treated with extreme cruelty by British captors.” There are accounts of injured soldiers who surrendered being murdered instead of quartered, countless Americans dying in prison hulks in New York harbor, starvation and other acts of inhumanity perpetrated against Americans confined to churches in New York City.

    You can imagine, the light of our ideals shone dimly in those early dark days, years from an end to the conflict, years before our improbable triumph and the birth of our democracy. General Washington was not that far from where the Continental Congress had met and signed the Declaration of Independence. But it is easy to imagine how far that must have seemed. General Washington announced a decision unique in human history, sending the following order for handling prisoners:


    Treat them with humanity, and Let them have no reason to Complain of our Copying the brutal example of the British army in their Treatment of our unfortunate brethren.

    Senator Hillary Clinton, September 28, 2006.

  • Bumper Music: Where Is The Love, Black Eyed Peas.
  • Bumper Music: You can leave your hat on, Randy Newman.
  • Article: Naked gnomes ordered to cover up.
  • Nobody did the housecleaning from Watergate, or Iran Contra. Cheney, Wolfowitz, Feiff, Perle came out of old administrations. We and Obama must learn from that, or there will be another Republican president.
  • Book: "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals", Jane Mayer, who was on the show 17 July '08.
    "By the end of 2005, those defending the regime of torture were no longer seeking primarily to protect the search for valuable intelligence. They were fighting for its survival, in the face of considerable evidence of the failure of SERE and other programs, because they feared being prosecuted should the program be halted and exposed. Even releasing detainees whom they knew to be entirely innocent was dangerous, since once released they could talk. “People will ask where they’ve been and ‘What have you been doing with them?’” Cheney said in a White House meeting. “They’ll all get lawyers”. "
  • Article: 75 former state AGs Urge Review of Siegelman Case.
  • Guest: Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Update on his case. For the story so far, please see the transcripts from April 29, May 08, June 17 and the show notes for 08 July '08, 25 July '08, 30 July '08, 29 August '08, 30 September '08, 19 November '08, 01 December '08, 09 December '08, 27 January '08 and 01 April '09. There's a link to a CBS "60 Minutes" Siegelman Expose Feb 24, 2008 on his site. He heard Jim Hightower during break, who was Commissioner For Agriculture and they cut him out. Former state Attorneys General calling for a review of his case, which lifted his spirits. One, ex-Arizona Attorney General Grant Wood (Republican) was on 60 minutes, says it transcends politics, said it was because he's American first. Recap. Asking circuit for rehearing, if not, same judge can give him the same sentence as before. Leura Canary still prosecutor.
  • Bumper Music: Have a Nice Day Bon Jovi.
  • Article: Short View: All in the timing, John Authers.
    "It is all a question of timing. At some point, the economy will improve. Given the policies enacted across the world over the past year, at some point inflation will take off once more.

    But will these points come within months, years or decades? The slow-motion way in which the summer 2006 shock to US house prices sparked a sell-off in credit markets a year later, which did not cause a crash in equities until the autumn of 2008, is a reminder that remorseless economic logic can take a while to work itself out in the real world.

    This gives context to the news that the UK’s retail price index is in negative territory for the first time since 1960. The UK is following policies designed to spark serious inflation. But this will not happen immediately.

  • Article: Why the ‘green shoots’ of recovery could yet wither.
    "As the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development noted in its recent Interim Economic Outlook, “the world economy is in the midst of its deepest and most synchronised recession in our lifetimes, caused by a global financial crisis and deepened by a collapse in world trade”. In the OECD area as a whole, output is forecast to contract by 4.3 per cent this year and 0.1 per cent in 2010, with unemployment rising to 9.9 per cent of the labour force next year. By the end of 2010, the “output gap” – a measure of excess capacity – is forecast to be 8 per cent, twice as large as in the recession of the early 1980s. ...

    The danger is that a turnround, however shallow, will convince the world things are soon going to be the way they were before. They will not be. It will merely show that collapse does not last for ever once substantial stimulus is applied. The brutal truth is that the financial system is still far from healthy, the deleveraging of the private sectors of highly indebted countries has not begun, the needed rebalancing of global demand has barely even started and, for all these reasons, a return to sustained, private-sector-led growth probably remains a long way in the future.

  • If they can get us putting what little money we have left in the market, they can then drop it and take that money. Bull inside a bear, temporary recovery, fundamentals have not changed.
  • Bumper Music: World Hold On, Bob Sinclar (video).
  • Book: "In the Jaws of the Dragon: America's Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Hegemony", Eamonn Fingleton.

    "What if the Japanese never really did “surrender” to us, inasmuch as we think they “adopted” our culture and values after World War II, but instead have been playing us for suckers, angry about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ever since? What if they’re collaborating with the Chinese in creating an Asian sphere of influence – decidedly un-democratic – to rule the world over the next century?

    What if the Chinese have perfected a neo-Confucian system (with surprising resemblance to Machiavelli’s “The Prince”) that melds an oppressive and fascistic state with laissez faire capitalism, creating greater strength for both than has ever been seen before on Earth? And they are using this to both co-op and change our values, to take over our corporate and economic system, and to ultimately gain control of our political system? What if they were already well over halfway to that goal?

    It all sounds a bit far-fetched to somebody raised on a steady diet of American corporate news. But the corporate news in this country is coming from the very corporations that are profiting from and empowering the Communist Chinese new Reich. We’ve been intentionally deceived, by “useful idiots” like Tom Friedman and openly staged news events like those surrounding the Yasukuni shrine “controversy” or the Sino-Japanese “war” over the Senkaku islands.

    In the Jaws of the Dragon: America’s Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Hegemony is one of the most powerful, shocking, well-written, solidly documented, tear-the-scales-from-your-eyes books I’ve read in more than two decades. If you have any concern whatsoever about the future of American democracy, about peace in the world, about your own personal economic and political future, you must read this book.

    Eamonn Fingleton, the author and former editor for Forbes and the Financial Times, has really done his homework."

  • Article: Japan set for fresh $110bn bond issue.
    "Japan is to issue an extra Y10,800bn ($110bn, £74.6bn) of government bonds this fiscal year to help it tackle its worst recession since the second world war.

    The bonds will fund the bulk of the government's $154bn stimulus plan and will bring its expected total new issuance for the fiscal year starting this month to a record Y44,100bn - a 33 per cent rise on last year.

    The move comes as governments around the world take on record debt levels to bail out loss-making banks and bolster economies while they attempt to spend their way out of the downturn.

    The US is expected to issue about $2,000bn in the fiscal year starting last October - more than double last year. The eurozone governments are set to raise €800bn ($1,035bn) this calendar year - 23 per cent up on 2008. The UK government is in today's Budget expected to announce plans to issue £180bn in the 2009-10 financial year - a 25 per cent rise on last year's record.

  • Guest: Journalist/author Eamonn Fingleton. Irish journalist/author of numerous books on global economics and globalism. A former editor for the Financial Times and Forbes. Author, "In the Jaws of the Dragon: America's Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Hegemony". Live from Japan. Recession, because they did not nationalize their banks? Idea promoted in the US that everything is going to be fine soon. Japan had a bad time because export markets are bad, not because of problems there. He's been there for 23 years. No housing loan problems. Banks were hit in the early 1990s, recovered long ago. Japan has been rebuilding, top end manufactured goods, capital goods like the machines that make the goods. Germany too. USA no longer. The only solution is to amputate the leg? No solution will satisfy everybody. To revive manufacturing you would have to have tariffs. The US will probably see inflation, Obama to pump prime the economy, some kind of recovery, but not revival of industries.
  • Bumper Music: Roll Me Away, Bob Seger (video).
  • Bumper Music: Crazy, Gnarls Barkley.
  • Article: Wal-Mart Employee Accused of Stealing Goods, Posting Them for Sale at Store.
  • Republican Party Platform of 1872.

    The Republican party of the United States, assembled in National Convention in the city of Philadelphia, on the 5th and 6th days of June, 1872, again declares its faith, appeals to its history, and announces its position upon the questions before the country

    First. During eleven years of supremacy it has accepted with grand courage the solemn duties of the time. It suppressed a gigantic rebellion, emancipated four millions of slaves, decreed the equal citizenship of all, and established universal suffrage. Exhibiting unparalleled magnanimity, it criminally punished no man for political offenses, and warmly welcomed all who proved loyalty by obeying the laws and dealing justly with their neighbors. It has steadily decreased with firm hand the resultant disorders of a great war, and initiated a wise and humane policy toward the Indians. The Pacific railroad and similar vast enterprises have been generously aided and successfully conducted, the public lands freely given to actual settlers, immigration protected and encouraged, and a full acknowledgment of the naturalized citizens' rights secured from European Powers. A uniform national currency has been provided, repudiation frowned down, the national credit sustained under the most extraordinary burdens, and new bonds negotiated at lower rates. The revenues have been carefully collected and honestly applied. Despite large annual reductions of the rates of taxation, the public debt has been reduced during General Grant's Presidency at the rate of a hundred millions a year, great financial crises have been avoided, and peace and plenty prevail throughout the land. Menacing foreign difficulties have been peacefully and honorably composed, and the honor and power of the nation kept in high respect throughout the world. This glorious record of the past is the party's best pledge for the future. We believe the people will not intrust the Government to any party or combination of men composed chiefly of those who have resisted every step of this beneficent progress.

    Second. The recent amendments to the national Constitution should be cordially sustained because they are right, not merely tolerated because they are law, and should be carried out according to their spirit by appropriate legislation, the enforcement of which can safely be entrusted only to the party that secured those amendments.

    Third. Complete liberty and exact equality in the enjoyment of all civil, political, and public rights should be established and effectually maintained throughout the Union, by efficient and appropriate State and Federal legislation. Neither the law nor its administration should admit any discrimination in respect of citizens by reason of race, creed, color, or previous condition of servitude.

    Fourth. The National Government should seek to maintain honorable peace with all nations, protecting its citizens everywhere, and sympathizing with all people who strive for greater liberty.

    Fifth. Any system of the civil service under which the subordinate positions of the government are considered rewards for mere party zeal is fatally demoralizing, and we therefore favor a reform of the system by laws which shall abolish the evils of patronage, and make honesty, efficiency, and fidelity the essential qualifications for public positions, without practically creating a life-tenure of office.

    Sixth. We are opposed to further grants of the public lands to corporations and monopolies, and demand that the national domain be set apart for free homes for the people.

    Seventh. The annual revenue, after paying current expenditures, pensions, and the interest on the public debt, should furnish a moderate balance for the reduction of the principal and that revenue, except so much as may be derived from a tax upon tobacco and liquors, should be raised by duties upon importations, the details of which should be so adjusted as to aid in securing remunerative wages to labor, and to promote the industries, prosperity, and growth of the whole country.

    Eighth. We hold in undying honor the soldiers and sailors whose valor saved the Union. Their pensions are a sacred debt of the nation, and the widows and orphans of those who died for their country are entitled to the care of a generous and grateful people. We favor such additional legislation as will extend the bounty of the Government to all our soldiers and sailors who were honorably discharged, and who, in the line of duty, became disabled, without regard to the length of service or the cause of such discharge.

    Ninth. The doctrine of Great Britain and other European powers concerning allegiance—"Once a subject always a subject"—having at last, through the efforts of the Republican party, been abandoned, and the American idea of the individual's right to transfer allegiance having been accepted by European nations, it is the duty of our Government to guard with jealous care the rights of adopted citizens against the assumption of unauthorized claims by their former governments; and we urge continued careful encouragement and protection of voluntary immigration.

    Tenth. The franking privilege ought to be abolished, and the way prepared for a speedy reduction in the rates of postage.

    Eleventh. Among the questions which press for attention is that which concerns the relations of capital and labor, and the Republican party recognizes the duty of so shaping legislation as to secure full protection and the amplest field for capital, and for labor—the creator of capital—the largest opportunities and a just share of the mutual profits of these two great servants of civilization.

    Twelfth. We hold that Congress and the President have only fulfilled an imperative duty in their measures for the suppression of violent and treasonable organizations in certain lately rebellious regions, and for the protection of the ballot-box, and therefore they are entitled to the thanks of the nation.

    Thirteenth. We denounce repudiation of the public debt, in any form or disguise, as a national crime. We witness with pride the reduction of the principal of the debt, and of the rates of interest upon the balance, and confidently expect that our excellent national currency will be perfected by a speedy resumption of specie payment.

    Fourteenth. The Republican party is mindful of its obligations to the loyal women of America for their noble devotion to the cause of freedom. Their admission to wider fields of usefulness is viewed with satisfaction, and the honest demand of any class of citizens for additional rights should be treated with respectful consideration.

    Fifteenth. We heartily approve the action of Congress in extending amnesty to those lately in rebellion, and rejoice in the growth of peace and fraternal feeling throughout the land.

    Sixteenth. The Republican party proposes to respect the rights reserved by the people to themselves as carefully as the powers delegated by them to the State and to the Federal Government. It disapproves of the resort to unconstitutional laws for the purpose of removing evils, by interference with rights not surrendered by the people to either the State or National Government.

    Seventeenth. It is the duty of the general Government to adopt such measures as may tend to encourage and restore American commerce and ship-building.

    Eighteenth. We believe that the modest patriotism, the earnest purpose, the sound judgment, the practical wisdom, the incorruptible integrity, and the illustrious services of Ulysses S. Grant have commended him to the heart of the American people, and with him at our head we start to-day upon a new march to victory.

    Nineteenth. Henry Wilson, nominated for the Vice-Presidency, known to the whole land from the early days of the great struggle for liberty as an indefatigable laborer in all campaigns, an incorruptible legislator and representative man of American institutions, is worthy to associate with our great leader and share the honors which we pledge our best efforts to bestow upon them.

  • Quote: "Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if Labor had not first existed. Labor is superior to capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." Abraham Lincoln.
  • Guest: Reihan Salam, Fellow at the New America Foundation and Associate Editor of The Atlantic. Co-author of “Grand New Party: How Conservatives Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream” (excerpt). The board of directors of the New America Foundation includes the chairmen of Google and 3com, Walter Russell Mead (Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Council on Foreign Relations); a diverse bunch (sourcewatch). He is conservative, but New America is diverse. What conservatives care about - stable families. 1874, history of the Republican Party, 1872 campaign platform. Abraham Lincoln, "Labor is superior to capital". Details of the 1872 platform. His book. He does not agree with Russell Kirk on everything. Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot. Sir Edmunde Burke.
  • Bumper Music: Shelter from the storm, Bob Dylan.
  • Article: Wikipedia.
    "To fund Ignite!, Neil Bush and others raised $23 million from U.S. investors, including his parents, Barbara Bush and George H.W. Bush, as well as businessmen from Taiwan, Japan, Kuwait, the British Virgin Islands and the United Arab Emirates, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. As of 2006, at least $2 million had come from Taiwanese interests that had given Neil Bush a job consulting for a semiconductor manufacturer, and at least $3 million came from Saudi interests. A foundation linked to Reverend Sun Myung Moon donated $1 million for a research project by the company in Washington, D.C.-area schools. ... In early 2006, Ignite Learning announced that Barbara Bush had donated funds to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund (a charity established by former Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton), with instructions that the money be used to purchase "COWs" ("Curriculum on Wheels") from Ignite! for several economically disadvantaged schools."
  • Video:
    Jack: "My name is Jack and I'm an American colonist. We're tired of the British hitting us with all these taxes. The 1765 Stamp Act was a terrible burden on us all."

    Elizabeth: "My name is Elizabeth and I'm from London. I don't understand what you colonists are all complaining about. We repealed the Stamp Act in 1766 but it's never enough for you people."

    Jack: "Sure, you repealed it, and then passed the Townshend Acts in 1767 to raise more money from colonial imports. You're like a big mosquito getting fat from draining the colonies."

    Elizabeth: "You ignorant man. We've got more debt from the French and Indian war. It's like the British politician George Grenville said, you want protection and we want obedience. You've got your protection, now do as we say."

    Jack: "Did you ever hear of the straw that broke the camel's back? One of these taxes one of these days it's going too be much, and we're going to see who needs protection."
    Mr. Bighead on "Tensions between Between the Colonists and the British", by Neil Bush's Ignite! Learning.

  • Bumper Music: Who Says You Can't Go Home, Bon Jovi.
  • Article: Feingold To Obama: Hold Off On Prosecution Decision.
  • Article: A Few Bad Men, May 17, 2004.
    "The Bush administration's enemies fantasize that there has been an effort to "suppress" this story. To the contrary, this is probably the least "suppressed" such story in American history. Indeed, we are told there are more horrifying pictures and video to come. There's only one way to drain this poison, and it isn't further breast-beating, from the administration or its foes. Bring on the trials, and the punishment."
  • Article: Statement By Senators Graham, McCain, And Lieberman.
    "Given the great challenges that face our country in dealing with detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay, Bagram Airfield, and elsewhere, along with detainees that will undoubtedly fall into U.S. custody as the result of future operations, we have every interest in looking forward to solutions, not backward to recriminations. That is why we do not support the idea of a commission that would focus on the mistakes of the past."
  • Article: Weekly Standard Backs Prosecution Of Bush Officials.
  • Article: Corporations Lowering Their Tax Rate More Than 20 Points Due To Offshore Deferral.
  • Milly called and said that is we legalize illegal immigrants, they can speak out. She won a copy of "Screwed" as listener of the day.
  • The Automatic Earth. Dig a garden.
  • Bumper Music: You'll Accompany Me, Bob Seger (video).
  • Banking scandal.
  • Torture.
  • Military spending. Do people do the right thing because of fear (religion or prison), or out of true respect of convictions? Conservatives believe in original sin, they look for good people, leaders, they would say because afraid. Liberals say we are all good, so says Thom.

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