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DoD's Claims of Gitmo Prisoners Returning to Battlefield Debunked

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

By William Fisher
The Public Record

A prominent law professor is charging that the Defense Department is issuing questionable data on the number of Guantanamo detainees who have been released “and then returned to the battlefield” because the government “is now in a position where they have to find some bad guys -- even if they have to invent them by naming people who were never there.”

Their ultimate aim, Professor Mark Denbeaux of the Seton Hall University law school told us, “is to foment fear among American voters and limit the freedom of the Obama Administration to release any of the detainees still imprisoned."

Denbeaux heads the law school’s Center for Policy and Research. The Center has issued a report which it says “rebuts and debunks” the most recent claim by the Department of Defense (DOD) that 61 “former Guantánamo detainees are confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight.”

The report is one of a series produced by the Center’s faculty and law students. Professor Denbeaux says the Center has determined that “DOD has issued 'recidivism' numbers 43 times, and each time they have been wrong --this last time the most egregiously so.”

He told us, “Once again, they’ve failed to identify names, numbers, dates, times, places, or acts upon which their report relies. Every time they have been required to identify the parties, the DOD has been forced to retract their false IDs and their numbers. They have included people who have never even set foot in Guantánamo—much less were they released from there.”

He added, “They have counted people as 'returning to the fight' for their having written an Op-ed piece in the New York Times and for their having appeared in a documentary exhibited at the Cannes Film Festival. The DOD has revised and retracted their internally conflicting definitions, criteria, and their numbers so often that they have ceased to have any meaning -- except as an effort to sway public opinion by painting a false portrait of the supposed dangers of these men.”...(Click for remainder).


Obama to set strict executive compensation rules

By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will set a $500,000 annual compensation cap on Wednesday for executives at companies getting taxpayer bailouts as part of a wider process to clamp down on excessive corporate pay.

An Obama administration official said the new rules would require banks and other companies that get government funds in the future to abide by the new cap going forward, with any additional compensation being limited to restricted stock that does not vest until government funds are paid back.

Companies that have previously received bailout money would have to agree to stricter oversight and prove that they have followed already established restrictions on executive compensation.

The rules, part of Obama's multi-pronged effort to revamp financial regulation and revive the economy, would kick off long-term measures to rein in high salaries on Wall Street, including steps to require all public financial institutions to disclose compensation arrangements.

Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner were scheduled to make the announcement at the White House at 11:00 a.m. EST.

Obama last week branded Wall Street bankers as "shameful" for giving themselves billions of dollars in bonuses even after the financial crisis and government bail-out had unfolded....(Click for remainder).


The Man Who Made Obama

David Katz/Obama for America
Plouffe with Obama at the second presidential debate last October. The prep was serious, he says, "but we had fun. It wasn't like the Clinton campaign."

By Lisa Taddeo

When you have been to the moon, you can't come back to Earth and stand in line at Starbucks. You can't order a coffee, and pay for it, and drink it beside someone wearing Sarah Palin glasses and a cruise visor. The regression to mediocrity is stunning and sapping. You would die inside.

After de-mooning, Buzz Aldrin got depressed and divorced. He drank and he returned to the Air Force. But the Air Force doesn't fly to the moon; it's glad to clear the clouds.

Campaign consultant Paul Begala landed Bill Clinton the most powerful job on the ground. That's a moon trip, too. Once, Begala sent Buzz Aldrin a fan letter. What Begala wondered — because it's the same question that bedevils the people who get other people elected president — is what you do after you come back down. What in the world do you do now?

"Buzz was the second man on the moon, and the guy comes back and he can't get out of bed in the morning," says Begala. "What the fuck do you do after you get on the moon? What the fuck do you do?"

There is a picture of large-eared David Plouffe in his college newspaper. It's 1988 at the University of Delaware, and there's a story on the student who, two decades later, would design a black man's winning campaign for president that at its most linear was described by its opposition as "perfect." At its most cultish, it was "breathtaking," "golden," "justice."

The seven-hundred-word article is about beer pong. Plouffe and his college roommate were prolific. "For two years," says Barack Obama's campaign manager, "that's all we did." Classes, he wasn't that into them. He never graduated....(Click for remainder).


DCCC Announces Families First Ad Campaign


The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), chaired by Congressman Chris Van Hollen, today announced the DCCC is launching a Putting Families First ad and grassroots campaign in 28 targeted Republican districts. The ads focus on the Republicans out of step priorities by putting bank bail outs and building schools in Iraq before the needs of the Americans in the struggling economy. The Putting Families First ads begin airing on Tuesday morning during drive time and will run for a week.

In addition to the strategic radio ads in 28 Republican districts, the DCCC will also begin a grassroots initiative which includes targeted e-mails to 3 million voters and nearly 100,000 person-to-person telephone calls.

House Republicans just don't get it. They celebrate being the party of no and status quo, while more than 2.6 million Americans have lost their jobs, the stock market has plummeted wiping out nearly $7 trillion stock market wealth and endangering thousands of investors' nest eggs, and one in 10 homeowners was delinquent on mortgage payments or in foreclosure this fall.

"These are serious times, hard working families are worried about keeping their jobs, health care and homes - they want action, not House Republicans cheering about doing nothing," said Brian Wolff, Executive Director of the DCCC. "Republicans' champagne wishes and caviar dreams simply don't connect with middle class families struggling to make ends meet and furious that their tax dollars are going to bail out banks, build schools in Iraq, or send American jobs overseas. The Putting Families First campaign is only the first step, we will continue to go district by district to hold Republicans who continue to vote in lockstep with party leaders and against the folks in their districts accountable."

According to Politico, House Republicans celebrated voting against economic recovery while at their retreat last week:

But the mood Thursday night here at the posh Homestead Resort was buoyant after Wednesday's vote, in which every Republican opposed the Democrats' stimulus bill. The assembled Republicans rose in a standing ovation Thursday night when Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio showed them a C-SPAN video of the vote itself, according to people present. [Politico, Members cheer vote at GOP retreat, 01/30/09]

Representative Dan LungrenCA-03
Representative Elton GallegyCA-24
Representative Ken Calvert*CA-44
Representative Brian BilbrayCA-50
Representative Bill Young FL-10
Representative Tom RooneyFL-16
Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart FL-21
Representative Mario Diaz-Balart FL-25
Representative Tom LathamIA-04
Representative Donald Manzullo IL-16
Representative Brett Guthrie KY-02
Representative Joseph Cao LA-02
Representative John Fleming LA-04
Representative Bill Cassidy LA-06
Representative Roscoe Bartlett MD-06
Representative Thad McCotter MI-11
Representative Michele Bachmann* MN-06
Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer*MO-09
Representative Lee Terry NE-02
Representative Leonard Lance NJ-07
Representative Christopher Lee NY-26
Representative Henry BrownSC-01
Representative Pete SessionsTX-32
Representative Eric CantorVA-07
Representative Dave ReichertWA-08
Representative James SensenbrennerWI-05
Representative Shelley Moore-CapitoWV-02

*Ads on economic recovery and children's health care will run in these districts.

Economic Recovery - Bank Bailout Ad

The following ad is the districts of Representatives Eric Cantor (VA-07), Pete Sessions (TX-32), Henry Brown (SC-01), Ken Calvert (CA-44), Dan Lungren (CA-03), and Lee Terry (NE-02):

Did you know Congressman Eric Cantor voted to bail out big banks, but opposed tax breaks for 95 percent of American workers? Times are tough, tell Member to put families first.

Economic Recovery - American Schools Ad

The following ad is the districts of Representatives Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL-21), Shelley Moore Capito (WV-02), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Elton Gallegy (CA-24), Tom Latham (IA-04), Donald Manzullo (IL-16), Thad McCotter (MI-11), Dave Reichert (WA-08), James Sensenbrenner (WI-05), Bill Young (FL-10), and Don Young (AK-AL):

Did you know Congressman Thad McCotter opposed over $526 million to modernize crumbling Michigan schools, but supported building new schools in Iraq? Times are tough, tell Thad McCotter to put American jobs first.

Economic Recovery - Saving and Creating American Jobs Ad

The following ad is the districts of Representatives Michele Bachmann (MN-06), Brian Bilbray (CA-50), Joseph Cao (LA-02), Bill Cassidy (LA-06), John Fleming (LA-04), Brett Guthrie (KY-02), Leonard Lance (NJ-07), Christopher Lee (NY-26), Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-09), and Tom Rooney (FL-16):

Did you know Congressman Christopher Lee voted against economic recovery to immediately create and save over 390,000 New York jobs? Times are tough, tell Christopher Lee to put families before politics.

Children's' Health Care Ad

The following ad is the districts of Michele Bachmann (MN-06), Ken Calvert (CA-44), and Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-09):

Did you know Congressman Ken Calvert gets health care at taxpayers' expense, but Calvert voted against health care for 11 million uninsured children? Times are tough, tell Ken Calvert to put families first.


Generals Seek to Reverse Obama Withdrawal Decision

There really is a simple solution to this. Barack Obama is the President of the United States, and as such he is also Commander and Chief. All he has to do is order Gen. Patraeus to withdraw the troops. If he doesn't do it, Obama can replace him. Simple.

WASHINGTON, Feb 2 (IPS) - CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus, supported by Defence Secretary Robert Gates, tried to convince President Barack Obama that he had to back down from his campaign pledge to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months at an Oval Office meeting Jan. 21.

By Gareth Porter

But Obama informed Gates, Petraeus and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen that he wasn't convinced and that he wanted Gates and the military leaders to come back quickly with a detailed 16-month plan, according to two sources who have talked with participants in the meeting.

Obama's decision to override Petraeus's recommendation has not ended the conflict between the president and senior military officers over troop withdrawal, however. There are indications that Petraeus and his allies in the military and the Pentagon, including Gen. Ray Odierno, now the top commander in Iraq, have already begun to try to pressure Obama to change his withdrawal policy.

A network of senior military officers is also reported to be preparing to support Petraeus and Odierno by mobilising public opinion against Obama's decision.

Petraeus was visibly unhappy when he left the Oval Office, according to one of the sources. A White House staffer present at the meeting was quoted by the source as saying, "Petraeus made the mistake of thinking he was still dealing with George Bush instead of with Barack Obama."

Petraeus, Gates and Odierno had hoped to sell Obama on a plan that they formulated in the final months of the Bush administration that aimed at getting around a key provision of the U.S.-Iraqi withdrawal agreement signed envisioned re-categorising large numbers of combat troops as support troops. That subterfuge was by the United States last November while ostensibly allowing Obama to deliver on his campaign promise....(Click for remainder).


IBM Offers To Move Laid Off Workers To India

Really? I mean good on IBM for wanting to employ people. But shipping them off to India or some other third world country? Hmmm, ridiculous.

Big Blue wants to help redundant U.S. employees relocate to developing markets, according to an internal document.

By Paul McDougall

The climate is warm, there's no shortage of exotic food, and the cost of living is rock bottom. That's IBM (NYSE: IBM)'s pitch to the laid-off American workers it's offering to place in India. The catch: Wages in the country are pennies-on-the-dollar compared to U.S. salaries.

Under a program called Project Match, IBM will help workers laid off from domestic sites obtain travel and visa assistance for countries in which Big Blue has openings. Mostly that's developing markets like India, China, and Brazil.

"IBM has established Project Match to help you locate potential job opportunities in growth markets where your skills are in demand," IBM says in an internal notice on the initiative. "Should you accept a position in one of these countries, IBM offers financial assistance to offset moving costs, provides immigration support, such as visa assistance, and other support to help ease the transition of an international move."

The document states that the program is limited to "satisfactory performers who have been notified of separation from IBM U.S. or Canada and are willing to work on local terms and conditions." The latter indicates that workers will be paid according to prevailing norms in the countries to which they relocate. In many cases, that could be substantially less than what they earned in North America.

IBM has laid off more than 4,000 workers in the United States since the beginning of January, according to an employee group. The company has confirmed layoffs but won't comment on specific numbers....(Click for remainder).


The Nativists Are Restless

By The New York Times

The relentlessly harsh Republican campaign against immigrants has always hidden a streak of racialist extremism. Now after several high-water years, the Republican tide has gone out, leaving exposed the nativism of fringe right-wingers clinging to what they hope will be a wedge issue.

Last week at the National Press Club in Washington, a group seeking to speak for the future of the Republican Party declared that its November defeats in Congressional races stemmed not from having been too hard on foreigners, but too soft.

The group, the American Cause, released a report arguing that anti-immigration absolutism was still the solution for the party’s deep electoral woes, actual voting results notwithstanding. Rather than “pander to pro-amnesty Hispanics and swing voters,” as President Bush and Karl Rove once tried to do, the report’s author, Marcus Epstein, urged Republicans to double down on their efforts to run on schemes to seal the border and drive immigrants out.

This is nonsense, of course. For years Americans have rejected the cruelty of enforcement-only regimes and Latino-bashing, in opinion surveys and at the polls. In House and Senate races in 2008 and 2006, “anti- amnesty” hard-liners consistently lost to candidates who proposed comprehensive reform solutions. The wedge did not work for single-issue xenophobes like Lou Barletta, the mayor of Hazleton, Pa., or the former Arizona Congressman J. D. Hayworth. Nor did it help any of the Republican presidential candidates trying to defeat the party’s best-known voice of immigration moderation, John McCain, for the nomination....(Click for remainder).



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