Bush No Longer Has Diplomatic Immunity

That is a fact. Now, you may ask "why is this important?"

Leading up to a 2004 visit to Vancouver, Canada, lawyers there sought to have him charged for his criminal behavior resulting in a court decision that reflected the Canadian Attorney General's view that Bush could not be charged for torture at that time because he had diplomatic immunity:
“These charges were properly laid and backed up by powerful evidence. The government didn’t deny that evidence because it couldn’t deny it. Diplomatic immunity is purely procedural. It doesn’t affect the validity of the charges, only whether they can be proceeded with, for the time being, in a foreign court, in this case a Canadian court. Even if Bush has immunity, it’s only temporary and it won’t shield him or anyone in his administration from Canadian law, or any other law, when they leave office. That the Canadian government would try to hush this up by hiding Bush behind diplomatic immunity was only to be expected. Paul Martin invited Bush here to ingratiate himself with the President, despite the President’s crimes against our laws and against international law, despite even his inadmissibility as a war criminal under Canada’s immigration laws – above all, despite the unending human disaster the President’s ‘war of choice’ has brought to the people of Iraq.”
Cut back to 2009, as Bush makes plans to deliver a speech in Calgary, Canada, and this time? Bush no longer enjoys the diplomatic immunity that his status as a politician provided back then:
Bush is scheduled to speak in Calgary March 17, but Vancouver lawyer Gail Davidson says that because Bush has been “credibly accused” of supporting torture in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Canada has a legal obligation to deny him entry under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The law says foreign nationals who have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity, including torture, are “inadmissible” to Canada. ”The test isn’t whether the person’s been convicted, but whether there’s reasonable grounds to think that they have been involved,” says Davidson, who’s with Lawyers Against the War (LAW). “…It’s now a matter of public record that Bush was in charge of setting up a regime of torture that spanned several parts of the globe and resulted in horrendous injuries and even death. Canada has a duty.”
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Canadian Border Services Agency aren't talking, as of yet, as to what they will do, if anything, should Bush bother to make it to the Canadian border.

This news comes on the heels of the UN announcing that they are going to pursue an investigation of torture and rendition policies:

UN to Investigate Bush Torture

Hasn't happened here in the USA because our politicians are too afraid of what they would find out about themselves.

(h/t Buzzflash)

We all know pretty much everything on the torture story and there is too much evidence to ignore, yet there are still no real investigations, prosecutors and all, in the USA that we know of.

If you hear anything about this visit to Canada being abruptly canceled... Then you might already know the reason why.

As for the leadoff homeless kids story in that video?

In and out of classrooms, sleeping in shelters, shielded by parents, homeless children can seem invisible to society at large.

A national study released Monday finds that one in 50 children in America is homeless. They're sharing housing because of economic hardship, living in motels, cars, abandoned buildings, parks, camping grounds or shelters, or waiting for foster care placement.

More on homeless students:

‘Tidal wave’ of homeless students hits schools School

Districts across U.S. struggling to pay for needs of uprooted kids

Many of us in the Blogosphere knew that it was on the verge of becoming epidemic as a series of diaries written by teachers started appearing at many Blogs concerning these kind of issues as as far back as December:

Soooo, I was just doing my regular job, today. That's where things fell apart thanks to the real pain of our Main Street meltdown hitting real children.

For my 8th graders, some of my kids didn't get an 80% (mastery) on the Forms of Government test. As per my usual routine, I gave up my lunch and offered a LUNCH BUNCH study time and test re-take opportunity. One student arrived early sans lunch. I was busy gathering up lab equipment off tables from my 7th grade science class, so I wasn't looking at my early student as I said, "Hey, go on and get your lunch. You can eat while we do our Rapid Study Technique before the re-take."

I could feel the silence and non-movement of my student. So, I turned and looked. There were tears on the table beneath his bowed head. I pulled up a chair and asked, "Family or friends." Silence. That meant it was a family issue. Probing gently, I got, "Mrs K., both my Mom and Dad got laid off and our house ... our house. I was too worried to ask for a check for lunch money, and I'm too embarrassed to ask for the P&J lunch." When he said "our house," it came out like a moan.

For a while... Our kids were living this nightmare. It is breaking my heart to know that some kids may not be as lucky as ours were and could end up in shelters, moving in with relatives or, even worse, living in Bushvilles - the tent cities that have popped up across the nation as more and more Americans become homeless.

Modern Day Hoovervilles
A Bushville in Sacremento, California

Justin Sullivan - Getty Images


Will the GOP upChuck on Norris support?

Here we have the GOP's favorite far right wingnut Chucky Norris discussing his wish to destroy America with dreams of a Texas secession where he can reign supreme because he didn't get his way in the last elections with FOX news lunatic, Glen Beck, trying to start a wingnut revolution:

On Glenn Beck's radio show last week, I quipped in response to our wayward federal government, "I may run for president of Texas."

That need may be a reality sooner than we think. (...snip...)

How much more will Americans take? When will enough be enough? And, when that time comes, will our leaders finally listen or will history need to record a second American Revolution? We the people have the authority according to America's Declaration of Independence, which states:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience has shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

When I appeared on Glenn Beck's radio show, he told me that someone had asked him, "Do you really believe that there is going to be trouble in the future?" And he answered, "If this country starts to spiral out of control and Mexico melts down or whatever, if it really starts to spiral out of control, before America allows a country to become a totalitarian country (which it would have under I think the Republicans as well in this situation; they were taking us to the same place, just slower), Americans won't stand for it. There will be parts of the country that will rise up." Then Glenn asked me and his listening audience, "And where's that going to come from?" He answered his own question, "Texas, it's going to come from Texas. Do you agree with that Chuck?" I replied, "Oh yeah!" Definitely.


For those losing hope, and others wanting to rekindle the patriotic fires of early America, I encourage you to join Fox News' Glenn Beck, me and millions of people across the country in the live telecast, "We Surround Them,"

Certainly explaining why Chucky was so fond of secessionist Sarah Palin...
When I heard Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was McCain's choice, I knew she was a woman whom Americans could support and trust.
Will Palin renounce him and his lunatic call for secession? This is a woman who has secessionist issues of her own and still has aspirations to be the president. (Maybe president of Alaska?) But you have to remember that her and her families involvement in AKIP is about secession through a vote, not with some call for a violent revolution.

Although, some of her connections to far right wing secessionists are also tied into people with racist/conspiracist whack job extraordinaire Mark Chryson and other crazy militia type ties like "Black Helicopter Steve" Stoll:
During the 1990s, when Chryson directed the AIP, he and another radical right-winger, Steve Stoll, played a quiet but pivotal role in electing Palin as mayor of Wasilla and shaping her political agenda afterward. Both Stoll and Chryson not only contributed to Palin's campaign financially, they played major behind-the-scenes roles in the Palin camp before, during and after her victory.

Palin backed Chryson as he successfully advanced a host of anti-tax, pro-gun initiatives, including one that altered the state Constitution's language to better facilitate the formation of anti-government militias. She joined in their vendetta against several local officials they disliked, and listened to their advice about hiring. She attempted to name Stoll, a John Birch Society activist known in the Mat-Su Valley as "Black Helicopter Steve," to an empty Wasilla City Council seat. "Every time I showed up her door was open," said Chryson. "And that policy continued when she became governor."


After intense evangelizing by Chryson and his allies, they claimed Palin as a convert. "When she started taking her job seriously," Chryson said, "the people who put her in as the rubber stamp found out the hard way that she was not going to go their way." In 1994, Sarah Palin attended the AIP's statewide convention. In 1995, her husband, Todd, changed his voter registration to AIP. Except for an interruption of a few months, he would remain registered was an AIP member until 2002, when he changed his registration to undeclared.


Clark pointed to Palin's political career as the model of a successful infiltration. "There's a lot of talk of her moving up," Clark said of Palin. "She was a member [of the AIP] when she was mayor of a small town, that was a nonpartisan job. But to get along and to go along she switched to the Republican Party … She is pretty well sympathetic because of her membership."
Much like the loony secessionist Sarah Palin in Alaska, Norris is a crazed wingnut that has always been treated as a mainstream representative of the GOP...
  1. Chuck Norris roundhouses GOP presidential campaign

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Right now, the FOX news sponsored group "We surround them" has not only exposed, yet again, their true allegiance to Republican rule for ever but, also, the violent underbelly of supporters amongst their viewership willing to fall in line for a war against the USA, with literal calls to arms by some of the most extremist Americans:
The call by some right wing leaders for rebellion and for the military to refuse the commander in chief’s orders is joined by Chuck Norris who claims that thousands of right wing cell groups have organized and are ready for a second American Revolution. (snip) Norris claims that; “Thousands of cell groups will be united around the country in solidarity over the concerns for our nation.” The right wing cells will meet during a live telecast, "We Surround Them," on Friday March 13 at 5 p.m.
Which the rest of the lunatic fringe right wing is already quite willing to do:
Norris and Beck are not the only crazies. Watch this video by a group called "Restore the Republic" calling for soldiers and law enforcement to not only to disobey President Obama but to be prepared to arrest and detain federal officials.

The lit match has always been there in the heart of the crazed GOP and these fanatics are trying to lead their allies into a pool of gasoline, dragging the entire USA into the fire with them.

Will the GOP stand by and watch their own side ignite a war on the USA?

Will Huckabee renounce him? John McCain, whom Norris eventually stood beside? How about WorldNetDaily? Will they renounce these calls to violence? Townhall? The Alaskan GOP and Rep. Don Young? Will Ron Paul, a guy he told conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was "the only guy he trusts" in politics kick Norris to the curb?

And How about FOX news? Will they fire Glen Beck and renounce these lunatic calls for a treasonous movement to begin their violence against the USA?

I doubt it because these people are just sick. All of them. Hate, lies, violence and tearing down our own government is all they know.

Another Single Payer National Call In Day

In my email inbox from COMA-CT: Another national call in day in support of H.R. 676. But before you do, we all want you to take a minute and dig through your drawers for some of your your insurance papers if you have any. With emphasis on paperwork showing these death dealers denials of service:

So on March 10th, 2009, we will host a deluge of activity in support of HR 676.

We ask that you join with thousands of others to call Congress and fax your health insurance bill or letter of denial to your Congresspersons.

If you don't know your Congresspersons, or want a script and sample fax coversheets, all of the information you need is on our National Call-In Day page.

They have additional information and resources at the Healthcare-NOW! site. And please remember to blank out personal information like your Social Security number. You don't want your activism to result in identity theft.


Negotiate with AHIP vs. Best We Can Get 51 Senators For?

Hijacked in entirety from DrSteveB at dkos.

Since we all want to get health some (any?) kind of health reform" we are being told by Washington insiders to set aside our advocacy for single payer and join in with the kumbaya negotiations with enemy (AHIP) to get 'er done. Sure, as a matter of policy and economics, single payer is the best way to reduce and control costs, and also get to universal comprehensive coverage. However, as a matter of realistic power politics, I am told by the powers that be that we can't do it this year, so we should settle for what is doable.

Okay. I'll bite. Let’s get the best plan we can get with 50% plus one in each house of Congress. And as usual, that means 51 Senators, since we have a larger and more probably liberal majority there.

But can we please please stop pretending that we can or should "negotiate" with AHIP? This idea that the private insurance companies are compromising is nonsense!

Ron Brownstein provides some happy talk in the Atlantic regarding talks between SEIU Andy Stern and Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry trade association. Supposedly, there is a convergence around the goal of "universal" coverage with progressive calling for "guaranteed issue" while the insurance companies get "individual mandates." They are of course opposite sides of the same coin. The insurance companies would have to sell you an insurance plan product; the police power of the state would require you to buy it.

Brownstein does point out that the "only" thing left to negotiate is "affordability." Gee. Is that all?

Community rating is the term for setting the cost of a plan (your premium) based on everybody in the same insurance pool, and not basing it on your individual risk. It ends the practice of most insurers in most states charging different customers different prices (not just premium, but also deductible, copes, exclusions, etc) based on age, health status, location. This is important since even if they have to sell it to you, and even if you have to buy it, if you have a serious pre-existing condition (i.e. are actually sick and need care), they may charge you a million dollars to buy the plan. Or exclude your prior condition. Or set a million dollar deductible. Or 50% copay. Or whatever makes it so they can still make a profit, even if they have to sell you plan and you have to buy it.

Therefore, community rating helps a bit with this, though once again the devil is in the details. What is the community, that is the pool, on which your plan rate is set? Is it just the small company who is your current employer; in which case, one person getting sick increases the rate a lot for everybody? It is always better (for we the people) to have the community pool be as large and unselected as possible. Of course, the best would be a single big insurance pool covering all Americans. Hmmmm... I wonder if there is a name for something like that...?

Of course, if there were also a broadly available public option, open say to everybody, then the insurance companies would have to compete for your business.

So there has been lots of talk about AHIP compromising and being weak 'cuz everybody hates them. Yes, insurers ought to be operating from a position of weakness, and their business model is increasingly inadequate, and everyone should be able to imagine a health system without their participation. Alas, we have on our side Senator Max "lobbyists just want what’s best for America" Baucus negotiating for our side, who knows what we are going to get.

Actually it was pretty funny reading Brownstein's Atlantic piece about Andy Stern/SEIU trying to find common ground with Karen Ignagni/AHIP, having just read the NY Times a day before reporting just the latest collapse of the phony grand coalitions, with AFSCME and SEIU pulling out when AHIP & Pharma were signaling no compromise was possible on Public Option, and silence on Community Rating.

On the other Michael Hitzlitz gets it better than most in today's LA Times:

The genius of modern marketing is pouring old material into new packaging. Over the years this has given us yogurt in tubes, prechopped salad greens in cellophane bags and, most recently, the health insurance industry's new image as a friend of reform.

In December, the industry's trade group, AHIP (for America's Health Insurance Plans) revealed that it had experienced an epiphany and decided for the first time to support the principle of universal healthcare -- insuring everyone in America, regardless of health condition.

It described its change of heart as the product of three years of sedulous soul-searching by AHIP's board of directors, who claimed to have "traveled the country and engaged in conversations about healthcare reform with people from all walks of life."

As a connoisseur of health insurance lobbying practices, however, I withheld judgment until I could scan the fine print. What I found by reading AHIP’s 16-page policy brochure was that its position hadn't changed at all. Its version of "reform" comprises the same wish list that the industry has been pushing for decades.

Briefly, the industry wants the government to assume the cost of treating the sickest, and therefore most expensive, Americans. It wants the government to clamp down hard on doctors' and hospitals' fees. And it wants permission to offer stripped-down, low-benefit policies freed from pesky state regulations limiting their premiums.

As for universal coverage, which is the goal of many reformers (if not yet the Obama administration), the industry will accept a government mandate to take on all customers, as long as all Americans are required by law to buy coverage.


The insurers think government intervention is fine if it applies to customers they don't want. The way they put it in their reform plan is that we need a system that "spreads costs for high-risk individuals across a broader base" -- the base consisting of all taxpayers, that is.

Who are these "high-risk" individuals, by the way? At an AHIP convention last year, I heard a prominent industry consultant describe the customers the industry is desperate to dump on taxpayers as those with multiple chronic diseases, like diabetes sufferers with asthma or cancer patients with heart problems. He called these people "clinical train wrecks." (Nice way for someone connected with the "caring professions" to talk, isn't it?)

So how about this:

Insist that the CBO do an honest, complete, side-by-side comparison that includes true single payer such as John Conyers HR-676 United States National Health Insurance Act, and the alternative of a strong public option such as Pete Starks' HR-193 AmeriCare (keep what you have if want to; strong public option of expanded and improved Medicare otherwise), and whatever it is that HCAN, Obama and Baucus, etc are proposing as of now. Heck, for that matter, they should also look at whatever it is important Republicans such as Enzi or Grassley or AHIP are proposing.

And, then lets have a straight up and down vote... on the best plan that can get 51 senator (heck let's make it 50 + vice president Joe Biden; gotta give him something to do).

Let the Republicans (and if need be blue dog DINOs) block the best real reform we can get now. One option is to bypass the filibuster via budget or reconciliation. The other is to make them REALLY filibuster by having the Senate Majority Leader (I hear he is one of us) disallow or revoke Senate Rule 22 (which it is his power to do) and actually force them to vote.

Layers of Irony

As the financially crippled NY Times writes about the financially disastrous Citi's reckless new campaign:
Citigroup — the mega-bank that managed its own finances so badly that it has required three taxpayer bailouts totaling at least $45 billion so far — is preaching fiscal responsibility to young people
Now, I am quite willing to cut the NY Times a lot of slack here because they aren't doing this on my dime. Others don't appear to be so forgiving on that and hilarity ensued in the comment threads there.

But Citi trying to sell My Space credit cards to kids with interest rates that can go as high as 29.99% as some kind of responsible thing to do is the height of irony.

And I am so sure "Generation Forward" is looking forward to the nationalized Citi bank.

[update] Some FDIC irony:

At a time when the FDIC is seeking a $500 BILLION dollar loan - only $470 Billion than their normal line of credit and for reasons unknown as of yet - and with trillions of dollars being poured into welfare bonuses for bankers we get this announcement from the FDIC:

Nuts and Bolts: Tools for Today’s Economy

National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) highlights consumer education efforts across the nation. NCPW 2009 can help people get the most for their money, whether they are trying to stretch their paychecks, improve their credit history, or tell the difference between a real deal and a potentially fraudulent product or service. For more information about this program visit: http://www.consumer.gov/ncpw/index.html.

The FDIC is a major sponsor of NCPW (...snip...)

(emphasis mine) It would be funnier if it were coming from the Treasury Dept. or the FED, but still pretty funny as is.