Saturday, January 31, 2009

'I don't need to hide,' exclaimed Rove. 'I don't need to hide'

Nadler: If Rove won't testify, he's 'presumably' jail-bound

According to Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), should Karl Rove continue refusing to give testimony, the House of Representatives will "presumably" hold him in contempt, landing Rove in jail.

When House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) issued a Monday subpoena against former Bush Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove regarding his alleged involved in the political prosecution of an Alabama governor, and the firings of nine US Attorneys, he likely expected a fight.

And when Rove went on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News Factor Wednesday, the right-wing editorialist even jokingly expected a flight, and offered the embattled politico a "place to hide out."

"We have all kinds of tunnels and places we can put you ..." began O'Reilly.

"I don't need to hide," exclaimed Rove. "I don't need to hide."

But if Rep. Nadler is correct, and Rove doesn't appear before the Judiciary Committee, he'll likely need to pack.

Rove's Washington, D.C. lawyer, Robert Luskin, said in a Tuesday statement, "It's generally agreed that former presidents retain executive privilege as to matters occurring during their term. We'll solicit the views of the new White House counsel and, if there is a disagreement, assume that the matter will be resolved among the courts, the president and the former president."

Joining MSNBC's Keith Olbermann Thursday night, Rep. Nadler, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, shot down Rove's legal wrangling on the issue of executive privilege, and stated rather bluntly the process to follow.

"If he refuses to show up, we're going to have to vote a contempt citation," which would require the ballots of the House at large, he said. The Democratic-led Hosue would "presumably" carry the measure.

The contempt citation is then given to a US Attorney with the Department of Justice, said Nadler quoting the law, "whose duty it shall be to deliver it to the grand jury.

"In other words, he must enforce and prosecute the subpoena. Now, President Bush, as in so many other things, simply ignored the law and instructed the US Attorney not to obey the law, and not to enforce the subpoena. I imagine President Obama will not do the same."

The subpoena, approved by an earlier vote of the House, was issued pursuant to "authority granted in H.R. 5 (111th Congress), and calls for Mr. Rove to appear at deposition on Monday, February 2, 2009."

Specifically, it enjoins Rove "to testify regarding his role in the Bush Administration's politicization of the Department of Justice, including the US Attorney firings and the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman."

~ more... ~

Musical Innerlube: Jimmy Eat World - 'Work'

'Chandni Chowk...' gets lukewarm reception from U.S. media

American mainstream media has given a lukewarm reception to Chandni Chowk to China, the largest-ever release of a Bollywood movie in North America, calling it "a genetic experiment" and a "genre-mashup overkill".

"A veggie-slicing galoot from Delhi goes to China to realise his destiny as a martial arts master -- and just from the synopsis, I'm on board with Chandni Chowk to China," says Time magazine reviewer Richard Corliss.

But "the results of this genetic experiment are mixed. Chandni Chowk to China is probably a decent sampler for Americans who've never seen a full-out Bollywood musical since it goes heavy on the action scenes and light on the big dance numbers", he says.

The film "has the feel of one of many Indian glosses on American films, not of something fresh and foreign. For a really thrilling amalgam of Bollywood and Hong Kong, I'm still waiting", says Corliss.

The New York Times says: "Genre mixing is mother's milk to Hindi films, so it's no surprise that 'Chandni Chowk to China' can so seamlessly add Kung Fu to the usual blend of comedy, dance and melodrama."

~ more... ~

Porn claims endanger science foundation funds

The ranking GOP member of the Senate Finance Committee wants Congress to reconsider new funding to the National Science Foundation amid allegations that top staffers spent long stretches of their day surfing the Internet for pornography.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a letter to the foundation's Office of Inspector General on Tuesday seeking all documents it has related to the inappropriate use of the foundation's network.

The foundation is the major source of federal backing in fields such as mathematics, computer science and social sciences.

Grassley told The Associated Press on Thursday he wants Congress to reconsider $3 billion in NSF funding that is included in the current stimulus bill until his questions are answered.

"I think they ought to. I think they need to," he said.

The senator said he sought the information after a team of staffers led by his finance committee aide discovered numerous investigations into the misuse of the Internet by science foundation employees. The investigations were buried inside a semiannual report on NSF's activities, he said.

According to the report, one senior staff member spent as much as 20 percent of his time during a two-year period at lurid sites and in sexually explicit chat rooms. That time cost taxpayers more than $40,000, the report stated.

~ more... ~

Bush punk'd us again

And then on January 20th Barack Obama was inaugurated as our 44th president. We took a collective breath and relaxed. Apparently Bush really didn't believe in granting pardons.

Think again.

Michael Isikoff reported for Newsweek that while many of us were fomenting about Bush preemptively pardoning at-risk members of his administration, he and his lawyer Fred Fielding (White House Counsel) were concocting one last expansion of executive privilege. Four days before he left office, Mr. Bush authorized Fielding to write letters to Harriet Miers and Karl Rove giving them "absolute immunity" from Congressional inquiry and prosecution. Preemptively. In perpetuity. Absolute and irrevocable.

The letters set the stage for what is likely to be a highly contentious legal and political battle over an unresolved issue: whether a former president can assert "executive privilege" -- and therefore prevent his aides from testifying before Congress -- even after his term has expired.

These letters were delivered before Congress or any prosecutor had initiated action against Miers and Rove. Clearly Bush sought to inoculate Rove and Miers from all attempts to prosecute them for their actions during his administration. Only when John Conyers (Chairman, House Judiciary Committee) subpoenaed Mr. Rove did the letters come to light. Waving his letter in the air, Karl Rove refused to appear before the committee.

~ more... ~

'We want to take money out of the equation'

ISTANBUL - A group of self-identified anarchists are bringing back an already forgotten tradition. They opened a bartering bazaar at a cafe in Avcılar district. 'We want to take money out of the equation,' says one of the hosts of the event. The barter bazaar may move out onto the streets soon.

Bartering is a long-gone tradition that is seeing a revival around the world as people begin questioning excessive consumption and begin experimenting with more sustainable ways of living.

This very notion is what has lead a group of self-identified anarchists to start a bartering bazaar in Avcılar, a district of Istanbul on the European side where Istanbul University has a campus, at a cafe-bookstore called 'Birarada.' Nestled on the first floor of an old business center called Ozan Bağcılar, this quaint and friendly cafe-bookstore is playing host for the anarchists' bartering bazaar.

~ more... ~

[ via Dan Clore ]

Mindless menace of violence

Robert F. Kennedy speech


The secret of money: Beyond socialism by Fred Williams

Excerpt:

8 Working towards a Solution

Gandhi said that the worst form of violence is poverty! He said this after observing what British colonialism did to his country of India. Colonialism is an example of what competitive economics means in terms of real consequences. When you look at what was done to India by the British, you get a batter understanding of what the term "economic violence" really means, and you can see how money is used as a weapon. You can see the same thing in what the United States has done in Latin America, time after time, and the Middle East.

Centuries ago the idea of people having the right to govern themselves took root. The concepts of Democracy and Political Equality were born. Looking back, briefly, at the history of democracy we note several events like the Magna Carta. Before that kings had absolute power, not just in England but around the world in various places. The people were told that this power could not be questioned, because it came from God. This was known as "The Divine Right of Kings." [Those wishing absolute power and unquestioning obedience often find it useful to invoke God as their sponsor.] Peasants generally didn't have enough of an education to develop their own ideas on the matter, but the time had to come when the nobility also felt the pinch and they had a good idea of what was going on. They were painfully aware that the King was getting all the spoils whenever he wanted.

So the nobles got together and reasoned that maybe God wasn't quite so in favour of one person having all the power, as the King would have them believe and regardless, things were getting "freaking' desperate." Something had to be done and the idea of limits on the King's power seemed like progress.

Since then, over the centuries, progress towards political equality was made. Various revolutions with varying degrees of success paved the way for at least the appearance of political equality and democracy. We still don't have true political equality, but we're a lot closer to it than we were.

Yet political power isn't the only power. Economic power is a strong and growing factor in today's world. There is also military power, technological power, and others. In the economic sphere there are the artificial concepts of property, ownership and money, promoted very much as a new religion; a new absolute and unquestionable divine right. In the economic sphere, there has not been the principle of economic equality to any great extent, and where it has cropped up, those with economic power have been quick to denounce the idea as "evil," with considerable vigour. They know their power is ended once the ideals of economic equality and democracy catch on.

Since we have some political equality and thus some political power to the people, the rich and powerful are now trying to promote the idea that "government," the seat of political power, is somehow bad for us and everything should be privatized. Thus the egalitarian political power that has been won over centuries of struggle can be lost and the major remaining power will be economic power, where there is no such thing as democracy, and no principle of equality. There would only be the power of the wealthy growing ever more wealthy and they insist on their "divine right" to use their economic power in any way they wish. Money is their weapon of choice. The economic tyranny that we face today is no better than the political tyranny that our ancestors faced in centuries past, and the result is much the same.

People have a right to equal access to the economic system governing the exchange of goods and services. This must be fundamental! It is the democratization of economic power! It is the same process that we have come to cherish politically and we now have to apply it to the economy. Regardless of the power base, be it political, economic, technological, or whatever, the principles of equality and democracy must still apply! If the principles don't transcend the power base, then they just won't work.

Lets look at the parallels in our history of the struggle for political equality. When political democracy was first suggested, (and for some time after), the objections included the idea that common people couldn't possibly manage to govern themselves. They were "commoners" and incapable of understanding the complexities of government. "You're expecting uncommon skills from common people." was one of the sayings. Indeed, at the time "common people" weren't given much of an education and of course they had little idea how to govern themselves, because they had never been called upon to do it, nor imagined that they would be, for the most part. Nevertheless, through education and trial and error, many common people understand the principle of "equality" and intelligently discuss political matters. Just like freed slaves who sometimes don't know what to do with their new-found freedom, common people had to learn to define their own roles, politically, and to manage their equality. Political equality and human rights are now considered cornerstones of an enlightened society. We should now see that economic equality and economic democracy are also essential.

~ more... ~

Anarchist nation? - Republic of Caesars

"From this space I declare the creation of the Republic of Césares, a micronation located to the south of the Argentine Republic and that is composed by diverse islands: the Island of Césares, the Island of the Brooks, the Creek Island, the Island of the South and the Olga Island. This Republic is based on libertarian principles, and as new citizens add themselves, we will be discussing the bases for an authentic libertarian nation."

~ more... (in Spanish) ~

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