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Archive for February 3rd, 2009

Sen. Claire McCaskill discusses TARP, post-partisanship

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The Whole World Is Rioting as the Economic Crisis Worsens — Why Aren’t We?

By Joshua Holland, AlterNet

Americans are rightfully angry about the economic decline, but with a few small exceptions, quietly so. Why? It depends on whom you ask.

Explosive anger is spilling out onto the streets of Europe. The meltdown of the global economy is igniting massive social unrest in a region that has long been a symbol of political stability and social cohesion.

It’s not a new trend: A wave of upheaval is spreading from the poorer countries on the periphery of the global economy to the prosperous core.

Over the past few years, a series of riots spread across what is patronizingly known as the Third World. Furious mobs have raged against skyrocketing food and energy prices, stagnating wages and unemployment in India, Senegal, Yemen, Indonesia, Morocco, Cameroon, Brazil, Panama, the Philippines, Egypt, Mexico and elsewhere.

For the most part, those living in wealthier countries took little notice. But now, with the global economy crashing down around us, people in even the wealthiest nations are mad as hell and reacting violently to what they view as an inadequate response to their tumbling economies.

The Telegraph (UK) warned last month that protests over governments’ handling of the crisis “are widespread and gathering pace,” and “may spark a new revolution”:

A depression triggered in America is being played out in Europe with increasing violence, and other forms of social unrest are spreading. In Iceland, a government has fallen. Workers have marched in Zaragoza, as Spanish unemployment heads towards 20 percent. There have been riots and bloodshed in Greece, protests in Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary and Bulgaria. The police have suppressed public discontent in Russia and will be challenged again at large gatherings this weekend.

(more…)

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Dozens of secret Bush surveillance, executive power memos found; Could be made public

Raw Story- John Byrne
Published: Tuesday February 3, 2009

Details about more than three dozen secret memoranda written by Bush Administration officials now sit atop a chart created by a public interest reporting group. The memos track new details about dozens of secret Bush Administration legal positions on torture, detention and warrantless wiretapping.

Meanwhile, Obama’s freshly-confirmed Attorney General Eric Holder told senators that he was open to declassifying White House legal memos if no support for their original classification could be found, signaling a likely showdown with former President George W. Bush over executive privilege.

“The Bush administration’s controversial policies on detentions, interrogations and warrantless wiretapping were underpinned by legal memoranda,” Pro Publica’s Dan Nguyen and Christopher Weaver write. “While some of those memos have been released (primarily as a result of ACLU lawsuits), the former administration kept far more memos secret than has been previously understood. At least three dozen by our count.”

Nguyen and Weaver produced the chart. Propublica was founded in 2007 as a non-profit driven investigative news outlet and is run by a former managing editor from the Wall Street Journal.

The chart lists 40 memos that remain secret, along with identifying the 12 that have been made public.

Click for more

Given the chart, one can find the exact date a memo was written, its author and sometimes short details the authors have gleaned from other sources.

Among the memos’ titles: “Criminal Charges against U.S. terrorists”; “Options for Interpreting the Geneva Convention” and “Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to military operations abroad or in U.S.”

LARGER CHART & MORE HERE

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DOJ Rehires U.S. Attorney Fired Over Gay Rumor

Via HuffPo/NPR |   February 3, 2009 11:52 AM

On Monday, the Justice Department undid a small part of the damage that top officials caused in a scandal of politicized hiring and firing during the Bush administration. The department rehired an attorney who was improperly removed from her job because she was rumored to be a lesbian.

NPR first broke the story of Leslie Hagen’s dismissal last April, and the Justice Department’s inspector general later corroborated the report. Now, Hagen has returned to her post at the department’s Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys.

Read the whole story here.

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Attorney General Holder Expected To Change Bush Policies

DEVLIN BARRETT | February 3, 2009 01:10 PM EST | AP

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder, on his first day on the job, signaled a clean break with past policies of the Bush administration and promised to hold Wall Street accountable if any major financial institutions engaged in fraud that contributed to the global financial crisis.

Vice President Joe Biden swore in President Barack Obama‘s choice _ the first African-American to hold the post _ in a Tuesday morning ceremony before dignitaries and employees at the department.

The lanky, 58-year-old former prosecutor, federal judge and No. 2 official during the Clinton administration promised the start of a new era at the Justice Department, which was wracked by Bush administration scandals over politically motivated hirings and firings.

Holder has pledged to restore its reputation.

“This is a place that has I think been hurting, but I think it’s ready to heal,” he told reporters.

“I am determined to ensure that this shall be a new day for the dedicated career professionals that I am so honored to call my colleagues,” Holder said after taking the oath. He said he was committed to remaking the department “into what it once was and what is always should be.”

Biden said the department, under Holder, would return to a past standard of “no politics, no ideology. Only a clear assessment of facts and law.”

Shortly after the ceremony, Holder was questioned about Wall Street, reviled by some Americans for extravagant company bonuses while seeking taxpayer dollars to remain solvent.

MORE HERE

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Sudhan @18:25 CET

Washington Supreme Court Justice Richard B. Sanders urges new U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to make sure the full truth is known about the Bush administration’s past criminal conduct, and those individuals responsible are tried in a court of law.

If the rule of law means anything, it must mean at least this: Those who act or are in positions of authority in our government are subject to the same laws as everyone else. This has been the American tradition, the crown jewel of a free society, a government of laws, not of men.

However, under the Bush administration, we learned we can no longer take the rule of law for granted.

If the top law-enforcement officer of the United States, our attorney general, chooses not to enforce the criminal law against government agents and officials committing crimes in the name of national security, the “rule of law” is rendered a quaint phrase shorn of substance. Unfortunately, our past attorney general, Michael Mukasey, and his predecessor, Alberto Gonzalez, did just that.

Mukasey even advised President Bush not to issue pardons since — Mukasey reasoned — no crimes were committed. He claimed that “national security” superseded other laws. This is the road to tyranny and a trap for the unwary.

Continued >>

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