Khadr sentenced to 40 years

8 years more served at most, under the plea bargain, though at that point he’d have been in custody for 16 years.

Others have covered this more than I have, but to me the initial charges were always absurd.  He killed a soldier in a firefight in a country that the US invaded.  The idea that doing so qualifies as murder is ridiculous, unless we also want to charge everyone who kills an invading soldier with murder?  And, I suppose, charge every American soldier in Iraq (a clear case of aggressive war, illegal under the Geneva conventions and exactly what Americans hung Germans for at Nuremburg) with murder?

Kangaroo court justice, the victors punishing the losers, for “crimes” far more minor than those the victors have committed.  Get back to me when George Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Colin Powell are in the dock, and we’ll talk.

(Aside: I added a new category, Justice, for this post.  I did not put it under Law Enforcement, an already existing category, since the two seem to have less and less to do with each other, especially in the US.  I should add, of course, that it’s not clear that Khadr did throw a grenade, though I don’t think that’s particularly relevant.)

If you’ve lost Jerome Armstrong…

Seriously, Jerome was, in Democratic terms, the centrist’s centrist.

I’ve ended my hyper-partisan allegiance to the Democratic Party. In moving beyond the past decade’s partisan affair with Democrats, I am ready for a real revolution to happen in this country.

It has got to happen over the next two years, and its going to take progressives, libertarians, tea partiers, coffee partiers, conservatives… everyone that is not part of the problem (the financial/political/military elite). Get radical, first by moving beyond attachment to a single party or a political identity. Radicalize them both, go independent; whatever, and if that’s not you too, then get out of the way.

Of course, I’d say a political identity in terms of an ideology is important, still, given Jerome’s self-confessed prior hyper-identification with the Democratic party, this is rather remarkable.

The Blogger Meeting With Obama

What Sean-Paul said, pretty much.  Overall the questions were less hard hitting than I would have liked, but I can understand why folks might be intimidated by the President of the US.  I expected nothing of Oliver Willis, and like Sean-Paul, I don’t read Kos.

However, I’ll say publicly what I’ve said privately: Obama reaches out to bloggers only when he’s in trouble.  During the election, the only time period we were seriously consulted was during the brief period when Obama was behind John McCain.  The second the numbers improved, they didn’t bother to even pretend they cared what we think.  I will believe that this meeting matters at all if such meetings continue and if Obama starts acting more progressive (this doesn’t mean talking more progressive once he loses the House and knows he has an even better excuse for not keeping his promises.)

A meeting just before the midterm means squat.

Gulf Dispersants Still Making People Sick

The Obama administration and BP were warned, but they kept using Corexit (h/t: T-Bear):

“I was with my friend Albert, and we were both slammed with exposure,” Matsler explained of his experience on August 5, referring to toxic chemicals he inhaled that he believes are associated with BP’s dispersants. “We both saw the clumps of white bubbles on the surface that we know come from the dispersed oil.”

Gruesome symptoms

“I started to vomit brown, and my pee was brown also,” Matsler, a Vietnam veteran who lives in Dauphin Island, said. “I kept that up all day. Then I had a night of sweating and non-stop diarrhea unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.”

He was also suffering from skin rashes, nausea, and a sore throat…

“I’m still feeling terrible,” Matsler told Al Jazeera recently. “I’m about to go to the doctor again right now. I’m short of breath, the diarrhea has been real bad, I still have discoloration in my urine, and the day before yesterday, I was coughing up white foam with brown spots in it.”

As for Matsler’s physical reaction to his exposure, Hugh Kaufman, an EPA whistleblower and analyst, has reported this of the effects of the toxic dispersants:

“We have dolphins that are hemorrhaging. People who work near it are hemorrhaging internally. And that’s what dispersants are supposed to do…”

Read the rest.  Of course, it’s from Al-Jazeera. Crazy A-rabs.  They seem to think that the fourth estate’s job is to do real investigative journalism and expose the lies of governments and big corporations.  Their reporters will never make millions a year as long as they keep such misguided ideals.

Cowardly Republicans attack woman

One guy headstomps her while another one holds her down.  Wanna-be stormtroopers without the guts to take on someone who can fight back.  Find out their names, and publish them, so that they can be held up as the gutless wonders they are.

Update: The curb stomping coward turns out to be Tim Profitt who appears to be Rand Paul’s Burbon Country coordinator.  Charges have been laid, and an arrest warrant issued.  The guy who held her down while she was head stomped appears to have been Mike Pezzano. As far as I am aware he has not been charged with battery yet.

This is what happens when you bail out the rich

David Cay Johnston:

Every 34th wage earner in America in 2008 went all of 2009 without earning a single dollar, new data from the Social Security Administration show. Total wages, median wages, and average wages all declined, but at the very top, salaries grew more than fivefold…

…The number of Americans making $50 million or more, the top income category in the data, fell from 131 in 2008 to 74 last year. But that’s only part of the story.

The average wage in this top category increased from $91.2 million in 2008 to an astonishing $518.8 million in 2009. That’s nearly $10 million in weekly pay!

You read that right. In the Great Recession year of 2009 (officially just the first half of the year), the average pay of the very highest-income Americans was more than five times their average wages and bonuses in 2008. And even though their numbers shrank by 43 percent, this group’s total compensation was 3.2 times larger in 2009 than in 2008, accounting for 0.6 percent of all pay. These 74 people made as much as the 19 million lowest-paid people in America, who constitute one in every eight workers.

They’re cashing out as fast as they can.

Go read the entire thing.

Personal Attacks and Trolling in Comment Threads

I like my commenters and readers.  There’s virtually no one who comments here regularly I don’t think I’d like in person.  I have continued blogging out of a sense of obligation to people who have read me for years.  I would personally greatly appreciate it if folks would stop the personal attacks.  If necessary I will start deleting comments or shutting down comment threads.  But I really want to avoid the irritation, both to you and me, of either mandatory registration or author approval comments, or a combination of both.

And I don’t think there’s any commenter here who can’t look at what they write and know themselves if it’s a personal attack or trolling.

Not everyone here likes each other, not everyone here agrees with each other and that’s fine: we discuss important issues and people should be passionate.  When that passion starts driving people away, when it starts turning personal amongst people who are basically on the same side, it becomes a problem.  So, please, if you disagree with another commenter, by all means say so politely, but no more personal attacks.  As for trolling, you know it when you see it, please refrain.

Oh, and if your comment doesn’t show up, it’s almost certainly due to the automatic spam filter, not due to anything manual. At this point I haven’t manually added anyone to the spam filter.  I often am offline or don’t check the spam filter for some time, so don’t take it personally.  You can contact me at admin-at-ianwelsh-dot-net if you think you’re caught in the spam filter.  Again, I may not see your email for some time depending on what’s going on in my life, so if you don’t get an immediate reply, it’s almost certainly not that I’m deliberately ignoring you.

How the Next 4 Years Will Play out

2010 – Republicans take control of the House.  The Senate remains in Democratic hands, but the margin is reduced.

2011 – Bush’s tax cuts are extended.  Social Security is slashed.  This is done at Obama’s behest, so that Dems get blamed for it.

2012 – The Republicans take the Senate (this is virtually guaranteed, 2012’s geography is awful for Dems). They retain the House.  They probably take the Presidency.

2013 – in charge of the judiciary, Congress and the Presidency, and with hard right crazies as a substantial caucus, the Republicans finally repeal the new deal.  SS is turned into privatized accounts (older folks will keep most of what they have), Medicare is slashed going forward, regulatory agencies like the EPA are cut to the bone, education is turned over to the private sector as the Feds withdraw virtually all support for public schools and move to a voucher system. A new bubble (the last one) is inflated at all costs by Bernanke.  Massive slashing of the federal civil service occurs, programs which are not slashed are transferred down to the States, where corruption is easier.

2014 – President Teabag starts a war somewhere to keep pump up the military Keynesianism.  Said war is used as an excuse to even further curtail civil liberties.

If the Republicans don’t win the presidency in 2012, no big deal, they’ll still control Congress and the Supremes, and they’ll get him in in 2016.  Obama will do much of what they want anyway, and get the blame.)

Praying for the French

In news you may not have heard, the French have been protesting a bill to raise the retirement age in France from 60 to 62. And by protesting, I don’t mean just showing up for one day. Sarkozy has struck back:

Clashes have broken out outside a major oil refinery in France after riot police moved in to clear strikers who blockaded the terminal for 10 days.

Two people were hurt outside the Grandpuits refinery east of Paris, one of 12 facilities affected by strikes.

President Nicolas Sarkozy ordered the authorities to lift the blockade earlier this week after thousands of petrol stations across France ran dry.

The Senate will vote later on the pension reform that sparked the action.

Ministers said the bill would clear its last major hurdle in a matter of hours, after the Senate was asked to halt debate on hundreds of opposition amendments and hold a single vote on all of them.

Changes to the retirement and pension age could become law next week, once they pass the committee stage and a final vote is held in both houses of parliament.

Notice something here: the protesters are doing economically damaging things. They aren’t just showing up in the mall, waving some flags, making some speeches and wandering off.

Notice also, that Sarkozy is still going to pass his bill.

The key point will be whether the opposition keeps up the pressure.  AFTER the bill passes, they must continue rolling strikes and occupations until the elite gives in.

RULE #1 Of Post-Modern Elite Thinking: Elites think in terms of costs.  If the cost of something is less than the benefit of doing it, assuming the return is also high enough they will almost certainly do it.

The strikes and shutdowns are a COST.  The benefit of raising the pension age is that it pays for bailouts, bonuses and high salaries for the elites (since it helps pay to continue the financial casino.)  Unless the cost is clearly going to be higher than the gain, they will do it. The strikes and other actions must continue until the elites who run Sarkozy realize the cost is higher than the benefit to them.  Or, of course, they can be made to fear something more existential.  It may be time for a new French Republic, for example, which takes power out of their hands entirely and bankrupts them by forcing them to pay back all their ill-gotten gains.

At this point in time, France is the only nation in the first world where there is meaningful resistance to the rush of Austerity (aka. Hooverism) and the attempt by elites to permanently break the power and wealth of the middle and working class.

Pray for France.  Because if they fall, no one is even trying, and if they fall the elites will know they can take anything away from any first world’s nation’s population.